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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Nahum 1

Verse 1

Nahum 1:1 . Title.— On the name and home of Nahum, cf. Introduction

Verses 2-10

Nahum 1:2-2 Samuel : . The Avenging Wrath of Yahweh.— Yahweh is a jealous and vengeful God— sensitive to the honour of Himself and His people— who marcheth through whirlwind and storm to save them from the enemy. Before His presence sea and rivers dry up, Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon wither, the mountains quake and the earth itself is upheaved. How then can mortal man face the glow of His anger? To such as trust in Him He is a stronghold in the day of trouble; but His adversaries He thrusteth into darkness, taking not vengeance twice, but making a full end of them and all their devices. Though for a time He may remain silent, He is storing up wrath against them; and all of them shall be mown down like thorns, or burnt in the fire as stubble.

Nahum 1:2 b (the N stanza) ought clearly to follow Nahum 1:9 a, while Nahum 1:3 a is an interpolation (from Exodus 34:6 f.) modifying the severity of the opening words. The B stanza is found in Nahum 1:3 b, the description of Yahweh’ s march through storm and tempest.

Nahum 1:4 . Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon were proverbial for fertility and foliage.

Nahum 1:6 . are broken asunder: rather, “ are kindled” (transposing the middle letters).

Nahum 1:7 f. Using suggestions from the Versions, render somewhat as follows: “ Yahweh is good unto those that wait for Him— a stronghold in the day of trouble. He knoweth such as take refuge in Him, and in the overflowing flood He delivereth them. A full end doth He make of them that rise up against Him, and His enemies He driveth into darkness.”

Nahum 1:9 . Transposing the clauses (as the alphabetical scheme demands) read, “ He taketh not vengeance twice on His foes (LXX), but an utter end He doth make (of them). What then do ye devise against Yahweh?”

Nahum 1:10 . The text here is hopelessly tangled and corrupt, but with certain changes and omissions of letters (noted in Kittel’ s text) the following sense may be extracted: “ Like thorns cut down are they all, As dry stubble they are burnt in the fire” ( cf. Isaiah 33:12).

Verse 11

Nahum 1:11 ; Nahum 1:14 , Nahum 2:1 , Nahum 2:3-1 Chronicles : . The Fall of Nineveh.

Nahum 1:11-2 Chronicles : . In days gone by there went out of Nineveh one that planned villainous devices against Yahweh and His people. Now Yahweh has given commandment that his name shall be blotted out, his grave dishonoured, and the temple of his gods robbed of its images.

Nahum 1:11 . The reference is clearly to Sennacherib.— Belial ( mg.) : i.e. malicious destruction ( Nahum 1:15 *).

Nahum 1:14 . that no more of thy name be sown: in other words, that Sennacherib’ s family and nation may be brought to a common end.

Nahum 2:1 , Nahum 2:3-2 Samuel : . In a passage of amazing power the prophet describes the irresistible march of the destroying army against Nineveh, despite his ironical commands to mount guard on the rampart, watch well the road, strengthen the loins, and brace might to the utmost. With blood-red shields and scarlet tunics the assailants dash through the streets and broadways approaching the capital, their war-chariots flashing like torches and darting as lightning, while their nobles speed on to the wall, set up the mantlet, throw open the river-gates, and plunder the once proud city amid universal panic, anguish, and despairing flight.

Nahum 1:1 . He that dasheth in pieces: lit. the smasher or hammer (Cyaxares and his Medes. p. 60).

Nahum 1:3 . made red: probably painted (a widespread custom among primitive peoples).— in scarlet: the characteristic colour of soldiers’ tunics, in the ancient East ( e.g. Babylonia, Persia, and Sparta) as well as among ourselves.

Nahum 1:4 . The closing words are highly doubtful. Read per haps, “ the chargers quiver,” in mad excitement (LXX).— The streets and broadways ( r e hoboth) are, of course, those of the suburbs of Nineveh ( cf. the Rehoboth-Ir associated with Nineveh in Genesis 10:11).

Nahum 1:5 . The reading is again evidently at fault. By a clever emendation Duhm secures the following text: “ Straightforward their nobles gallop along their courses.”— mantelet: lit. “ covering,” probably a movable penthouse to cover the approach of the siege-parties.

Nahum 1:6 . The gates of the rivers: where the mountain stream Choser and its canals entered the city.— is dissolved: “ melts away” (in terror).

Nahum 1:7 . Huzzab: an obscure word, on which no light has yet been shed. The reference, however, is to the Queen, who is led out of the city dishonoured, her maidens passing with her into captivity, mourning like doves ( cf. Isaiah 38:14, Ezekiel 7:16, etc.), and beating upon their breasts.

Nahum 1:8 . “ From of old” : a clear result of dittography (p. 42). Render simply, “ And Nineveh (is become) like a pool (reservoir) of waters fleeing (fast ebbing) away”— a fine simile for a city quickly emptied of its inhabitants.

Nahum 1:9 . A dramatic address to the conquerors.

Nahum 1:10 . The desolation of the ruined city is depicted in a series of startled exclamations, “ Emptiness, void, and waste!”

Nahum 2:11-1 Chronicles : . Where now is the den of lions, whither the old lion used to retreat with his lionesses and cubs, filling it with the plunder of the nations? Behold, Yahweh is against that haunt of cruelty, and will burn it with fire, and destroy the lionesses and their cubs together by the sword.

Nahum 1:11 . For mir’ eh, “ feeding-place,” read probably me’ arah, “ cave.” The den of lions is Nineveh, to whose ruthless ferocity the records of Assyrian kings bear witness on every column.

Nahum 1:13 . For rikbah, “ her chariotry,” read probably ribtsek, “ thy lair,” and for mal’ akhek, “ of thy messengers,” millebhothayik, “ from thy lionesses.”

Verse 12

Nahum 1:12 f., Nahum 1:15 ; Nahum 2:2 . Comfort for Judah.— Now that the days of Yahweh’ s contention with His people are over, He will afflict them no more, but will break the yoke of the enemy from off their shoulders, and will burst their bonds asunder. Already their eyes may behold on the mountain-tops the feet of the herald bringing tidings of salvation. Let Judah then celebrate her feasts and fulfil her vows in confidence; for no more shall Belial pass through her midst, but Yahweh will restore the vine-tree which the spoilers have despoiled and whose branches they have ruined.

Nahum 1:12 . Here, too, the text is almost desperately corrupt. A plausible emendation yields, “ Now that the days of my contention are full, they are past and gone; if I have afflicted (humbled) thee,” etc.

Nahum 1:15 . Belial ( mg.) : the personification of wickedness ( Deuteronomy 13:3 * Psalms 61:2 *).

Nahum 2:2 . For g e on, “ pride,” the context practically demands gephen, “ vine” ( cf. Psalms 80:8 ff.).— Jacob here = Judah, and Israel = the north land ( cf. Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 44:1, etc.).

Verse 14

Nahum 1:11 ; Nahum 1:14 , Nahum 2:1 , Nahum 2:3-1 Chronicles : . The Fall of Nineveh.

Nahum 1:11-2 Chronicles : . In days gone by there went out of Nineveh one that planned villainous devices against Yahweh and His people. Now Yahweh has given commandment that his name shall be blotted out, his grave dishonoured, and the temple of his gods robbed of its images.

Nahum 1:11 . The reference is clearly to Sennacherib.— Belial ( mg.) : i.e. malicious destruction ( Nahum 1:15 *).

Nahum 1:14 . that no more of thy name be sown: in other words, that Sennacherib’ s family and nation may be brought to a common end.

Nahum 2:1 , Nahum 2:3-2 Samuel : . In a passage of amazing power the prophet describes the irresistible march of the destroying army against Nineveh, despite his ironical commands to mount guard on the rampart, watch well the road, strengthen the loins, and brace might to the utmost. With blood-red shields and scarlet tunics the assailants dash through the streets and broadways approaching the capital, their war-chariots flashing like torches and darting as lightning, while their nobles speed on to the wall, set up the mantlet, throw open the river-gates, and plunder the once proud city amid universal panic, anguish, and despairing flight.

Nahum 1:1 . He that dasheth in pieces: lit. the smasher or hammer (Cyaxares and his Medes. p. 60).

Nahum 1:3 . made red: probably painted (a widespread custom among primitive peoples).— in scarlet: the characteristic colour of soldiers’ tunics, in the ancient East ( e.g. Babylonia, Persia, and Sparta) as well as among ourselves.

Nahum 1:4 . The closing words are highly doubtful. Read per haps, “ the chargers quiver,” in mad excitement (LXX).— The streets and broadways ( r e hoboth) are, of course, those of the suburbs of Nineveh ( cf. the Rehoboth-Ir associated with Nineveh in Genesis 10:11).

Nahum 1:5 . The reading is again evidently at fault. By a clever emendation Duhm secures the following text: “ Straightforward their nobles gallop along their courses.”— mantelet: lit. “ covering,” probably a movable penthouse to cover the approach of the siege-parties.

Nahum 1:6 . The gates of the rivers: where the mountain stream Choser and its canals entered the city.— is dissolved: “ melts away” (in terror).

Nahum 1:7 . Huzzab: an obscure word, on which no light has yet been shed. The reference, however, is to the Queen, who is led out of the city dishonoured, her maidens passing with her into captivity, mourning like doves ( cf. Isaiah 38:14, Ezekiel 7:16, etc.), and beating upon their breasts.

Nahum 1:8 . “ From of old” : a clear result of dittography (p. 42). Render simply, “ And Nineveh (is become) like a pool (reservoir) of waters fleeing (fast ebbing) away”— a fine simile for a city quickly emptied of its inhabitants.

Nahum 1:9 . A dramatic address to the conquerors.

Nahum 1:10 . The desolation of the ruined city is depicted in a series of startled exclamations, “ Emptiness, void, and waste!”

Nahum 2:11-1 Chronicles : . Where now is the den of lions, whither the old lion used to retreat with his lionesses and cubs, filling it with the plunder of the nations? Behold, Yahweh is against that haunt of cruelty, and will burn it with fire, and destroy the lionesses and their cubs together by the sword.

Nahum 1:11 . For mir’ eh, “ feeding-place,” read probably me’ arah, “ cave.” The den of lions is Nineveh, to whose ruthless ferocity the records of Assyrian kings bear witness on every column.

Nahum 1:13 . For rikbah, “ her chariotry,” read probably ribtsek, “ thy lair,” and for mal’ akhek, “ of thy messengers,” millebhothayik, “ from thy lionesses.”

Verse 15

Nahum 1:12 f., Nahum 1:15 ; Nahum 2:2 . Comfort for Judah.— Now that the days of Yahweh’ s contention with His people are over, He will afflict them no more, but will break the yoke of the enemy from off their shoulders, and will burst their bonds asunder. Already their eyes may behold on the mountain-tops the feet of the herald bringing tidings of salvation. Let Judah then celebrate her feasts and fulfil her vows in confidence; for no more shall Belial pass through her midst, but Yahweh will restore the vine-tree which the spoilers have despoiled and whose branches they have ruined.

Nahum 1:12 . Here, too, the text is almost desperately corrupt. A plausible emendation yields, “ Now that the days of my contention are full, they are past and gone; if I have afflicted (humbled) thee,” etc.

Nahum 1:15 . Belial ( mg.) : the personification of wickedness ( Deuteronomy 13:3 * Psalms 61:2 *).

Nahum 2:2 . For g e on, “ pride,” the context practically demands gephen, “ vine” ( cf. Psalms 80:8 ff.).— Jacob here = Judah, and Israel = the north land ( cf. Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 44:1, etc.).

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Nahum 1". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/nahum-1.html. 1919.