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THE burden of Ninive. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elcesite.



Nahum, whose name signifies a comforter, was a native of Elcese, or Elcesai, supposed to be a little town in Galilee.  He prophesied after the ten tribes were carried into captivity, and foretold the utter destruction of Ninive by the Babylonians and Medes; which happened in the reign of Josias, (Ch.) in the sixteenth year, when the father of Nabuchodonosor and the grandfather of Cyrus entirely ruined Ninive, and divided the empire between them, (C.) A. 3378.  Usher.  Tob. xiv. 16.

--- Nahum was probably on the spot when he proclaimed this beautiful prediction, which yields not to any work of profane authors.  He might have been carried captive by Salmanasar, as he alludes to the captivity of Israel and to the blasphemies of Sennacherib.  We cannot, therefore, place his prophecy before the fifteenth year of Ezechias.  C.

--- He appeared about fifty years after Jonas, when the Ninivites had relapsed, and were destroyed in the space of one hundred and thirty-five years, as a figure of the subversion of idolatry by Christ's preaching the gospel of peace.  W.

Ver. 1.  Burden, or threat. W.

--- Sept. "assumption," (H.) when the prophet saw in spirit the impending ruin.  Theod.

--- Allegorically, Nahum is "the comforter" of the just, shewing that God will avenge their cause against Ninive, "the beautiful," and destroy the world, (kosmos, which also means "beautiful,") after which the saints shall reign in eternal glory. W.

--- We have describe Ninive.  Jonas i. C.

--- It was overturned first A. 3257, and again A. 3378.  Usher.

--- Elcesite.  Some think that Elcesai was the father of Nahum; but most suppose that it was a village Galilee.  C.

2 The Lord is a jealous God, and a revenger: the Lord is a revenger, and hath wrath: the Lord taketh vengeance on his adversaries, and he is angry with his enemies.

Ver. 2.  The Lord.  The six following verses (H.) tend to excite attention. C.

3 The Lord is patient, and great in power, and will not cleanse and acquit the guilty. The Lord's ways are in a tempest, and a whirlwind, and clouds are the dust of his feet.

Ver. 3.  Cleanse.  Literally, cleansing, he will not make innocent."  H.

--- The same expression is rendered, No man of himself is innocent before thee.  Ex. xxxiv. 7.  C.

--- Sept. "the innocent he will not deem innocent." H.

--- No man is perfect in God’s sight, (C.) though they may appear to be such to others.  H.

--- None can escape punishment, if he be treated with rigour.  De Dieu translates, "he will not utterly evacuate," or destroy, which seems very correct.  Jer. xxx. 11.  Num. xiv. 18.

--- Dust.  He walks upon them as we do on dry land.

4 He rebuketh the sea, and drieth it up: and bringeth all the rivers to be a desert. Basan languisheth and Carmel: and the dower of Libanus fadeth away.

Ver. 4.  Desert, as at the Red Sea.  Ps. cv. 9.

--- Languisheth.  The most fruitful places produce nothing, when God is angry.


Carmel. Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis. Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12. --- Carmel, so famous for the miracles of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 20. Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) places it 120 stadia south of Ptolemais. This range of mountains extended northward through the tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon. Pliny (v. 17,) speaks of a promontory and of a town of this name. Here also the god Carmel was adored, having an altar, but no temple or image, as the ancients had decreed. Nec simulacrum Deo aut templum, (sic tradidere majores) ara tantum et reverentia. Tacit. Hist. ii. 78. --- Vespasian consulted the priest Basilides. Carmel means "the vineyard of the Lord," or the excellent vineyard, &c. It was so rich and beautiful as to become proverbial. The spouse compares the head of his beloved to Carmel. C. vii. 5. Isaias (xxxii. 15,) foretels that the deserts shall be equal to Carmel. It was covered with wood and fruit. S. Jerom in Isai. x. 18. Jer. iv. 26. The city, which was built upon this mountain, and which Pliny calls by the same name, was formerly styled Ecbatana. The oracle had denounced to Cambyses that he should die at Ecbatana, and he concluded that the city of Media was meant; but it was "that of Syria," says Herodotus, (iii. 64,) where he died.


Basan (Deut 3:4), a region S. of the Plain of Damascus; at first the Kingdom of Og, then given to the tribe of Manasses.

5 The mountains tremble at him, and the hills are made desolate: and the earth hath quaked at his presence, and the world, and all that dwell therein.

Ver. 5.  Made.  Sept. "shaken."

--- Quaked.  Heb. and Sept. "risen."  C.

6 Who can stand before the face of his indignation? and who shall resist in the fierceness of his anger? his indignation is poured out like fire: and the rocks are melted by him.

Ver. 6.  Like fire.  Sept. "melts kingdoms."

7 The Lord is good and giveth strength in the day of trouble: and knoweth them that hope in him.

Ver. 7.  Hope.  Sept. "fear."  He approves of his faithful servants.  H.

8 But with a flood that passeth by, he will make an utter end of the place thereof: and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

Ver. 8.  Thereof; viz. of Ninive.  Ch.

--- This is connected with v. 1.  H.

--- Ninive was taken by the waters of the Tigris overflowing, at the first siege.  Diod. ii.  Athen. xii.

--- The like might happen at the second, though profane authors be silent.  C.

--- Many think that the flood means great armies.  Is. viii. 7.  Forer.  Vat.

--- Sept. "He will utterly destroy: those who rise up and his enemies, darkness," &c.  H.

--- Chal. The. and Aq. adopt the same sense, but Sym. &c. agree with us.  C.

9 What do ye devise against the Lord? he will make an utter end: there shall not rise a double affliction.

Ver. 9Affliction.  Sept. add, "for the same thing, or together."  H.

--- :Many hence infer, that those who have been slain by God, like the Sodomites, &c. will not be condemned to hell.  Orig. i. Ezec.  S. Jer.  S. Th. 3. p. q. 59. a. 5.

--- But this principle cannot be always correct.  C.

--- Their temporal suffering might usher in eternal ones.  S. Greg. Mor. xviii. 12.

--- Ninive shall perish; so that a second blow will not be requisite.  1 K. xxvi. 8.  Drus.  C.

10 For as thorns embrace one another: so while they are feasting and drinking together, they shall be consumed as stubble that is fully dry.

Ver. 10.  Dry.  The Assyrians, feasting in the hopes that they would speedily become masters of Jerusalem, were cut off in one night.  W.

--- God's enemies cannot escape; as when a thorn bush has taken fire, all must perish.  Ps. lvii. 10.  Is. ix. 18.  C.

11 Out of thee shall come forth one that imagineth evil against the Lord, contriving treachery in his mind.

Ver. 11Forth.  Some understand this of Sennacherib.  But as his attempt against the people seems to have been prior to the prophecy of Nahum, we may better understand it of Holofernes.  Ch.

--- One.  Sept. "a most wicked thought against the Lord, devising opposition."  H.

--- We may render, "hath come," &c. alluding to Sennacherib and Rabsaces.  Is. xxxvi. 18. and xxxvii. 23.  C.

12 Thus saith the Lord: Though they were perfect: and many of them so, yet thus shall they be cut off, and he shall pass: I have afflicted thee, and I will afflict thee no more.

Ver. 12Perfect.  That is, however strong or numerous their forces may be, they shall be cut off, and their prince or leader shall pass away and disappear.  Ch.

--- If there were many just at Ninive, or among the Jews, (C.) a moderate chastisement would suffice.  H.

--- The latter have been afflicted; now their enemies shall suffer.  Sept. have read otherwise: (C.) "the Lord, reigning over the great waters; thus shall they be divided, and thou shalt be heard of no more."  H.

13 And now I will break in pieces his rod with which he struck thy back, and I will burst thy bonds asunder.

Ver. 13.  Asunder.  Ezechias was tributary to Assyria.  4 K. xviii. 14.  After the fall of Ninive, its yoke was removed.  C.

14 And the Lord will give a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name shall be sown: I will destroy the graven and molten thing out of the house of thy God, I will make it thy grave, for thou art disgraced.

Ver. 14.  Commandment.  That is, a decree concerning thee, O king of Ninive, thy seed shall fail, &c.  Ch.

--- His son Asarhaddon succeeded; but soon the line was extinct.  W.

--- No alarm shall be spread by thee.

--- Grave.  Sennacherib was slain in the temple: (Is. xxxvii. 38.  C.) or the idols were deemed unclean by the victors.  Eurip. Troad.   H.

15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and that preacheth peace: O Juda, keep thy festivals, and pay thy vows: for Belial shall no more pass through thee again, he is utterly cut off.

Ver. 15.  Peace.  Sentinels were established on the hills.

--- Festivals.  S. Jerom quotes the B. of Paral. as saying (C.) that the Jews could not observe the Passover in the first month.  But they did it in the second, after they knew that Sennacherib was slain.  2 Par. xxxii.  H.

--- This passage does not, however, appear at present in Scripture, and it could not speak of the second month (C.) following Nisan, (H.) as the king was slain forty-five days (Tob. i. 22. Gr. 55.) after his return to Ninive; and some time must have elapsed before he could get thither, and the news arrive in Judea.  C.

--- Belial; the wicked one, viz. the Assyrian.  Ch.


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