|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:9-15 There is a great deal plotted against the Lord by the gates of hell, and against his kingdom in the world; but it will prove in vain. With some sinners God makes quick despatch; and one way or other, he will make an utter end of all his enemies. Though they are quiet, and many very secure, and not in fear, they shall be cut down as grass and corn, when the destroying angel passes through. God would hereby work great deliverance for his own people. But those who make themselves vile by scandalous sins, God will make vile by shameful punishments. The tidings of this great deliverance shall be welcomed with abundant joy. These words are applied to the great redemption wrought out by our Lord Jesus and the everlasting gospel, Ro 10:15. Christ's ministers are messengers of good tidings, that preach peace by Jesus Christ. How welcome to those who see their misery and danger by sin! And the promise they made in the day of trouble must be made good. Let us be thankful for God's ordinances, and gladly attend them. Let us look forward with cheerful hope to a world where the wicked never can enter, and sin and temptation will no more be known.
Verse 10. - While they be folden together as thorns. The clause is conditional: "Though they be interwined as thorns." Though the Assyrians present an impenetrable front, which seems to defy attack. (For the comparison of a hostile army to briers and thorns, see Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 27:4; Henderson.) And while they are drunken as drunkards; and though they be drunken with their drink, regarding themselves as invincible, and drenched with wine, and given up to luxury and excess. There may be an allusion to the legend current concerning the destruction of Nineveh. Diodorus (2:26) relates that, after the enemy had been thrice repulsed, the King of Nineveh was so elated that he gave himself up to festivity, and allowed all his army to indulge in the utmost licence, and that it was while they were occupied in drunkenness and feasting they were surprised by the Medes under Cyaxares, and their city taken. An account of such a feast, accompanied with sketehes from the monuments, is given in Bonomi, 'Nineveh and its Discoveries,' p. 187, etc. We may compare the fate of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1, etc.). They shall be devoured as stubble fully dry; like worthless refuse, fit only for burning (Exodus 15:7; Isaiah 5:24; Joel 2:5; Obadiah 1:18). The LXX. renders this verse differently, "Because to its foundation it shall be dried up (χερσωθήσεται: redigentur in vepres, Jerome), and as bind weed (σμῖλαξ) intertwined it shall be devoured, and as stubble fully dry."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For while they be folden together as thorns,.... Like them, useless and unprofitable, harmful and pernicious, fit only for burning, and, being bundled together, are prepared for it; and which is not only expressive of the bad qualities of the Ninevites, and of the danger they were in, and what they deserved; but of the certainty of their ruin, no more being able to save themselves from it, than a bundle of thorns from the devouring fire:
and while they are drunken as drunkards; dead drunk, no more able to help themselves than a drunken man that is fallen; or who were as easily thrown down as a drunken man is with the least touch; though there is no need to have recourse to a figurative sense, since the Ninevites were actually drunk when they were attacked by their enemy, as the historian relates (i); that the king of Assyria being elated with his fortune, and thinking himself secure, feasted his army, and gave them large quantities of wine; and while the whole army were indulging themselves, the enemy, having notice of their negligence and drunkenness by deserters, fell upon them unawares in the night, when disordered and unprepared, and made a great slaughter among them, and forced the rest into the city, and in a little time took it:
they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry; as easily, and as inevitably and irrecoverably.
(i) Diodor. Sicul. l. 2. p. 112.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. while they are folden together as thorns—literally, "to the same degree as thorns" (compare 1Ch 4:27, Margin). As thorns, so folded together and entangled that they cannot be loosed asunder without trouble, are thrown by the husbandmen all in a mass into the fire, so the Assyrians shall all be given together to destruction. Compare 2Sa 23:6, 7, where also "thorns" are the image of the wicked. As this image represents the speediness of their destruction in a mass, so that of "drunkards," their rushing as it were of their own accord into it; for drunkards fall down without any one pushing them [Kimchi]. Calvin explains, Although ye be dangerous to touch as thorns (that is, full of rage and violence), yet the Lord can easily consume you. But "although" will hardly apply to the next clause. English Version and Kimchi, therefore, are to be preferred. The comparison to drunkards is appropriate. For drunkards, though exulting and bold, are weak and easily thrown down by even a finger touching them. So the insolent self-confidence of the Assyrians shall precipitate their overthrow by God. The Hebrew is "soaked," or "drunken as with their own wine." Their drunken revelries are perhaps alluded to, during which the foe (according to Diodorus Siculus ) broke into their city, and Sardanapalus burned his palace; though the main and ultimate destruction of Nineveh referred to by Nahum was long subsequent to that under Sardanapalus.
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