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Bible Commentaries

Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Nahum 3

Verses 1-19


Nineveh’s Guilt and Well-Deserved Judgment

1. The great wickedness of Nineveh (Nahum 3:1-7 )

2. Her fate to be like the fate of No-Amon (Nahum 3:8-13 )

3. Her well-deserved and complete judgment (Nahum 3:14-19 )

Nahum 3:1-7 . Nineveh was a bloody city, for her kings never knew peace, but were constantly at war. The Hebrew Ir-Damim means “city of blood drops.” They boasted of making the blood of their enemies run like rivers. It was a city full of lies and rapine. Her word could not be trusted; she broke truces and covenants and deceived nations with lying promises of help and protection. As stated in the second chapter, she was ferocious as a lion and the prey never departed.

But she received as she had sown. The next two verses give again the scenes of carnage during her judgment hour.

The cracking of the whip; And the noise of the rattling wheels; The prancing of the horses, And the dashing chariots.

The horseman mounting, And the flashing sword, And the glittering of the spear And the multitude of the Slain; And the heaps of the corpses. There is no end of dead bodies; They stumble over their corpses.

And why? “Because of the multitudes of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.” She made herself attractive as a harlot does, to ensnare and beguile weaker nations. Like all these ancient cities she was filled with witchcrafts, that is, sorceries. The power of darkness manifested itself in the dominion of evil spirits, which Nineveh courted. Spiritism, as advocated today by men of research and culture, of the type of Oliver Lodge and Conan Doyle, and a multitude of others, is not a new thing. Egypt, Babylon, and Nineveh and other centers of paganism were filled with occultism, the practice of which hastened their doom; as the doom of our age will be consummated through the influence of the same evil powers.

Then Jehovah speaks again, as the God of retribution and judgment. These are solemn words.

Behold! I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts; And uncover thy skirts over thy face, And display to the nations thy nakedness, And to kingdoms thy shame! And I will cast vileness upon thee, And disgrace thee And make thee a gazing-stock. And it shall come to pass, That all that look upon thee Shall flee from thee, And say, Nineveh is laid waste; Who will lament over her? Whence shall I seek comforters for her?

She had acted the harlot and now she receives the punishment of a harlot, which consisted in exposing her in public. She would be a gazing-stock for nations and kingdoms, as the righteous God stripped her of all and exposed her shame. There would be no one to lament over the vile mistress of witchcrafts.

Nahum 3:8-13 . “Art thou better than No-Amon that dwelt by the rivers? Waters were round about her; her bulwark was the sea and her wall was of the sea. Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and there was no limit; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.” No-Amon was an Egyptian city, known to the Greeks by the name of Thebes. The judgment of No-Amon, or, as it is also called, “No,” was announced by the prophet Jeremiah. “The LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel saith, Behold I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh and Egypt, with their gods and their kings, even Pharaoh and them that trust in him” Jeremiah 46:25 . Ezekiel likewise had spoken of this great Egyptian city Ezekiel 30:14-26 . There existed an immense temple there in honor of the god of No, the building had great facades and columns and covered a large space; the ruins which are left are still most wonderful to look upon. It was situated on the upper Nile some four hundred miles from Cairo, and was built along the river front. On the other side of the river was the city of the dead, the Necropolis, with a long line of temples, devoted to the worship of former Pharaohs, and behind these temples were thousands of tombs, many of which have been uncovered by the spade of the explorer. The cuneiform monuments tell of the fate of Thebes. Though she was defended by the strong men of Ethiopia and of Egypt and Phut, and the Libyans, nothing could avert her doom. She was carried into captivity, her young children were dashed in pieces, and her great men were bound in chains. Could then Nineveh hope to escape? The fate of No-Amon was a prophecy of Nineveh’s fate. She was even more wicked than the Egyptian city. Her fate is described in Nahum 3:11-13 .

Nahum 3:14-19 . Dramatically the prophet calls upon Nineveh to draw water for the siege, to secure clay for brick to repair the breaches in the wall. But all would be useless, for the Almighty had decreed her downfall. The fire would devour the proud city, the sword do its havoc in cutting them off. Let them be as numerous as the cankerworm (see annotations of Joel 1:1-20 , make thyself as many as the locusts, which come in immense swarms, and it will be all to no avail. Her great commerce, her merchant-princes, were a vast host, like the stars of heaven, but all would soon be devastated, as the cankerworm spoileth and then flies away. Their crowned ones, the chiefs in authority, would all be scattered just as the sun-rise scatters the locusts and swarms of grasshoppers to a place unknown. Their shepherds, the leaders and rulers, under the King of Assyria, would sleep in death, while the population wandered homeless over the mountains, with none to gather them.

Nineveh’s ruin is complete and irreparable. All who hear of her fall rejoice and clap their hands.

Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Nahum 3". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.