|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-8 About a hundred years before, at Jonah's preaching, the Ninevites repented, and were spared, yet, soon after, they became worse than ever. Nineveh knows not that God who contends with her, but is told what a God he is. It is good for all to mix faith with what is here said concerning Him, which speaks great terror to the wicked, and comfort to believers. Let each take his portion from it: let sinners read it and tremble; and let saints read it and triumph. The anger of the Lord is contrasted with his goodness to his people. Perhaps they are obscure and little regarded in the world, but the Lord knows them. The Scripture character of Jehovah agrees not with the views of proud reasoners. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is slow to wrath and ready to forgive, but he will by no means acquit the wicked; and there is tribulation and anguish for every soul that doeth evil: but who duly regards the power of his wrath?
Verses 2-6. - § 2. The prophet describes the inflexible justice of God, and illustrates his irresistible power by the control which he exercises over the material world. Verse 2. - God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; better, Jehovah is a jealous and avenging God, as Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24; Joshua 24:19. The threefold repetition of the name of Jehovah and the attribute "avenging" gives a wonderful force to this sublime description of the Divine character. God is here called jealous (ζηλωτὴς, Septuagint) anthropopothically, as ready to defend his honour against all who oppose him, as One who loves his people and punishes their oppressors. Is furious; literally, master of fury, as Genesis 37:19, "master of dreams." The Lord is full of wrath (comp. Proverbs 10:12:24; 29:22). The word used implies a permanent feeling, Hire the Greek μῆνις. He reserveth wrath. The Hebrew is simply "watching," "observing" for punishment. Septuagint, ἐξαίρων αὐτὸς τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτοῦ, "himself cutting off his enemies;" Vulgate, irascens ipse inimicis ejus. God withholds his hand for a time, but does not forget. All this description of God's attributes is intended to show that the destruction of Assyria is his doing, and that its accomplishment is certain.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth,.... He is jealous of his own honour and glory, and for his own worship and ordinances; and will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images; and therefore will punish all idolaters, and particularly the idolatrous Assyrians: he is jealous for his people, and cannot bear to see them injured; and will avenge the affronts that are offered, and the indignities done unto them:
the Lord revengeth, and is furious; or, is "master of wrath" (u); full of it, or has it at his command; can restrain it, and let it out as he pleases, which man cannot do; a furious and passionate man, who has no rule over his spirit. The Lord's revenging is repeated for the confirmation of it; yea, it is a third time observed, as follows; which some of the Jewish writers think has respect to the three times the king of Assyria carried the people of Israel captive, and for which the Lord would be revenged on him, and punish him:
the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries; on all his adversaries; particularly the Assyrians are here meant, who were both the enemies of him and of his people. The Targum explains it,
"that hate his people:''
vengeance belongs to the Lord, and he will repay it sooner or later; if not immediately, he will hereafter; for it follows:
and he reserveth wrath for his enemies: and them for that; if not in this world, yet in the world to come; he lays it up among his treasures, and brings it forth at his pleasure. The word "wrath" is not in the text; it is not said what he reserves for the enemies of himself and church; it is inconceivable and inexpressible.
(u) "dominus irae", Calvin, Vatablus, Grotius; "dominus excandescentiae", Piscator, Tarnovius; "dominus irae aestuantis, sive fervoris", Burkius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. jealous—In this there is sternness, yet tender affection. We are jealous only of those we love: a husband, of a wife; a king, of his subjects' loyalty. God is jealous of men because He loves them. God will not bear a rival in His claims on them. His burning jealousy for His own wounded honor and their love, as much as His justice, accounts for all His fearful judgments: the flood, the destruction of Jerusalem, that of Nineveh. His jealousy will not admit of His friends being oppressed, and their enemies flourishing (compare Ex 20:5; 1Co 16:22; 2Co 11:2). Burning zeal enters into the idea in "jealous" here (compare Nu 25:11, 13; 1Ki 19:10).
the Lord revengeth … Lord revengeth—The repetition of the incommunicable name Jehovah, and of His revenging, gives an awful solemnity to the introduction.
furious—literally, "a master of fury." So a master of the tongue, that is, "eloquent." "One who, if He pleases, can most readily give effect to His fury" [Grotius]. Nahum has in view the provocation to fury given to God by the Assyrians, after having carried away the ten tribes, now proceeding to invade Judea under Hezekiah.
reserveth wrath for his enemies—reserves it against His own appointed time (2Pe 2:9). After long waiting for their repentance in vain, at length punishing them. A wrong estimate of Jehovah is formed from His suspending punishment: it is not that He is insensible or dilatory, but He reserves wrath for His own fit time. In the case of the penitent, He does not reserve or retain His anger (Ps 103:9; Jer 3:5, 12; Mic 7:18).
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