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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Nahum

- Nahum

by Thomas Coke

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET NAHUM.

NAHUM was a native of Elkosha, a little village of Galilee. The particular circumstances of his life are altogether unknown; nor is there any certainty as to the time when he prophesied. We are inclined, says Calmet, to be of St. Jerome's opinion, that he foretold the destruction of Nineveh in the time of Hezekiah, and after the war of Sennacherib. Nahum speaks plainly, chap. Nah 3:8 of the taking of No-Ammon, a city of Egypt; of the haughtiness of Rabshakeh, and of the defeat of Sennacherib; and he speaks of them as things that were past. He supposes that the people of Judah were still in their own country, and that they there celebrated their festivals. He speaks of the captivity, and of the dispersion of the ten tribes; all which marks convince us that Nahum cannot be placed before the fifteenth year of Hezekiah, since the expedition of Sennacherib against this prince was in the fourteenth year of his reign; and as the taking of Nineveh, foretold by him, cannot be the first siege of this place, which happened after Sardanapalus, a long time before, that is to say, in the year of the world 3257, it must necessarily be understood of the second siege of the same city, formed by Nabopolassar and Astyages in the year of the world 3378, before Christ 622, and before the vulgar aera 626; which comes to the sixteenth year of king Josiah, under whom St. Jerome places the destruction of Nineveh. Tobit says, Tob 14:15 that this city was taken by Nebuchadnezzar and Ahasuerus, giving the name of Nebuchadnezzar to Nabopolassar, and to Astyages that of Ahasuerus. Nahum, according to St Jerome, signifies a comforter; for, the ten tribes being carried away by the king of Assyria, this vision was to comfort them in their captivity; nor was it a less consolation to the other two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who remained in the land, and were besieged by the same enemies, to hear that these conquerors would in time be conquered themselves, their city taken, and their empire overthrown. None of the minor prophets, says Bishop Lowth, seem to equal the sublimity, fire, and spirit of Nahum: besides, his prophesy is an entire and perfect poem. The exordium is extremely magnificent: the preparation for the destruction of Nineveh, and the description of that destruction, are painted in the most glowing colours, and are admirably clear and grand. See Bishop Lowth's 21st Prelection, and Calmet.