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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Nahum 3

Verses 1-19

Chapter 3

Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and of the jumping chariots. [Suppose that would have been helicopters.] The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcasses; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: Because of the multitude of the whoredoms [God now giving the reason why Nineveh was to be destroyed.] of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, [the sorceries, the witchcraft, the occult practices that went on in Nineveh] that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts; I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and I will set thee as a gazingstock. And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee? ( Nahum 3:1-7 )

Remember, Nineveh was a great city. When at the time of Jonah, the city at that time was three-days' journey. In other words, starting at one end of the city and walking through it would take you three days. There were, at the time of Jonah, sixty thousand babies too young to know their right hand from their left hand. So the population of Nineveh was probably somewhere around the million mark. An extremely large city, and yet the judgment of God is to come; they are to be laid waste. Now the Lord says,

Art thou better than the [You think you're going to escape the judgment of God?] populous No, [Now this "No" would be Noammon in Egypt, which was destroyed. It was called "thieves" by the Greeks.] that was situate among the rivers [Up in the Nile river about four hundred miles from Cairo.], that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea? [Even though] Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, [the city of thieves] and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers. [And even though Lybia came in her defense,] Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains. Thou also shalt be drunken: thou also shalt be hid, that also shalt seek strength because of the enemy. All thy strongholds shall be like fig trees with the first ripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater. Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: [We made reference how that the city walls were destroyed by the flood, and then,] the fire shall devour thy bars ( Nahum 3:8-13 ).

When they took the city of Nineveh, then they torched it and left it with just ashes. So, again this prophecy, "The fire shall devour thy bars." Now prepare for the invasion.

Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strongholds: go into clay and tread the mortar, make strong the brickkiln. There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like a cankerworm [or like a locust] make thyself many as the locusts. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away. Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, [So the captains and the leaders are going to flee.] and their place is not known where they are. Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them. There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? ( Nahum 3:14-19 )

So, God's final declaration, and this is quite awesome. "There is no healing of thy bruise; your wound is grievous." There's no answer, there's no solution; you've gone too far. How terrible when God declares of a man's condition as incurable. How terrible when God said, as He did to Jeremiah, "Ephraim is joined to her idols, let her alone." When God said, "Don't pray anymore for their good, for if you do I will not hear you." When God declares the condition irreparable.

Assyria was one of the cruelest empires in history. The Assyrians were sadists. They maimed and tortured their captives. They would oftentimes pull out the tongues, cut off the ears or the noses or the hands, or gouge out the eyes of their prisoners of war. Extremely cruel. It was a deliberate cruelness to strike terror in the hearts of their enemies, and it worked. The world was terrified of Assyria, for Assyria ruled the world, so to speak, for over a century with her cruelty, with her viciousness, so that when the news that Nineveh has been destroyed, left desolate, is nothing but an ash heap, the Assyrians have been slaughtered, when the news comes through the world, people will clap their hands for joy. There will be no grieving for the fall of Nineveh, because of their exceeding wickedness.

So, God's witness against the Assyrian empire, against its capital Nineveh, and through Nahum remarkable prophesies that have been completely and literally fulfilled. How could Nahum write of its destruction by the troops becoming drunk and being taken by surprise? How could he write of the wall being destroyed by the river? How could he write of the city being left in ashes except that God was directing his pen as the scripture says, "Holy men of old wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit." Again these remarkable prophesies of Nahum are a testimony of the authorship of the Bible being none other than God. Man could not have written this account in advance and had it come to pass so completely. Again, just another strong proof that all scripture has been written by inspiration of God. Shall we pray?

Father, we thank You for Thy Word, and Thy faithfulness, and Thy righteousness, even in judgment. Father, even as Your judgment came against the Ninevites who had established themselves as your enemies, so we realize that Your judgment will one day come against all who have dared to stand against Thee. Thank You, Father, for loving us, for drawing us to Yourself. Thank You, Father, for Your goodness to those who put their trust in You. Thank You, Lord, for the help that You give to us in our days of trouble, and that we can just rely upon You, Lord, and know Your help through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Now, Father, hide Thy Word in our hearts, impress upon us Thy goodness that we might go, Lord, in Thy name, to declare Thy goodness to a needy world. That we might be the emissaries going out into the world with the good tidings of the gospel of peace, bringing good news to men, of the provision that God has made to forgive man their sins. Lord, may we be faithful heralds of Thy truth. In Jesus' name. Amen.

May the Lord watch over you as you go. May His hand be upon your life for good. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you, and fill you with His Holy Spirit, that you might walk in His love, that you might be an instrument through which He works His work of love in a world that is filled with hate and suspicion. May your life be as a light shining in a dark place, bringing hope to those who sit in darkness. In Jesus' name. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Nahum 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.