|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 9. - The prophet suddenly addresses both Jews and Assyrians, encouraging the former by the thought that God can perform what he promises, and warning the latter that their boasting (comp. Isaiah 10:9, etc.; Isaiah 36:20) was vain. What do ye imagine against the Lord? Quid cogitatis contra Dominum? (Vulgate). This rendering regards the question as addressed to the Assyrians, demanding of them what it is that they dare to plot against God; do they presume to fight against him, or to fancy that his threats will not be accomplished? But the sentence is best translated, What think ye of the Lord? Τί λογίζεσθε ἐπὶ τὸν Κύριον; "What devise ye against the Lord?" (Septuagint). This is addressed not only to the Jews in the sense, "Do ye think that he will not accomplish his threat against Nineveh?" but to the Assyrians also. He will make an utter end. This denunciation is repeated from ver. 8 to denote the absolute certainty of the doom. Affliction shall not rise up the second time. The Assyrians shall never again have the power of oppressing Judah as they have ruined Israel there shall be no repetition of Sennacherib's invasion. Septuagint, Οὐκ ἐκδικήσει δὶς ἐπιτοαυτὸ ἐν θλίψει: Non vindicabit bis in idipsura (Jerome). From this text the Fathers take occasion to discuss the question how it is that God does not punish twice for the same sin.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What do ye imagine against the Lord?.... O ye Ninevites or Assyrians; do you think you can frustrate the designs of the Lord, resist his power, and hinder him from executing what he has threatened and has determined to do? or what mischief is it you devise against his people, which is the same as against himself? can you believe that you shall prosper and succeed, and your schemes be carried into execution, when he, the all wise and all powerful Being, opposes you?
he will make an utter end; of you, as before declared, and will save his people; which may be depended on will certainly be the case:
affliction shall not rise up the second time; either this should be the last effort the Assyrians would make upon the Jews, which they made under Sennacherib, and this the last time they would afflict them; or rather their own destruction should be so complete that there would be no need to repeat the stroke, or give another blow; the business would be done at once. This seems to contradict a notion of some historians and chronologers, who suppose that Nineveh was destroyed at two different times, and by different persons of the same nations; and so the whole Assyrian empire was twice ruined, which is not likely in itself, and seems contrary to this passage; for though some ascribe it to Arbaces the Mede, and Belesis the Babylonian as Diodorus Siculus (e); and others to Cyaxares the Mede as Herodotus (f), and to Nebuchadnezzar the first, or Nabopolassar the Babylonian in a later period; so Tobit (g) says it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar and Ahasuerus, the same with the Cyaxares of Herodotus; yet all seem to agree that it was taken by the conjunct forces of the Medes and Babylonians; and there are some things similar (h) in all these accounts, which show that there was but one destruction of Nineveh, and of the Assyrian empire.
(e) Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 110, 111. (f) L. 1. sive Clio, c. 106. (g) Tobit 14:15. (h) See the Universal History, vol. 4. c. 8. sect. 5. & vol. 5. p. 22. Margin, & Nicolai Abrami Pharus Vet. Test. l. 6. c. 19. p. 165.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. What do ye imagine against the Lord?—abrupt address to the Assyrians. How mad is your attempt, O Assyrians, to resist so powerful a God! What can ye do against such an adversary, successful though ye have been against all other adversaries? Ye imagine ye have to do merely with mortals and with a weak people, and that so you will gain an easy victory; but you have to encounter God, the protector of His people. Parallel to Isa 37:23-29; compare Ps 1:1.
he will make an utter end—The utter overthrow of Sennacherib's host, soon about to take place, is an earnest of the "utter end" of Nineveh itself.
affliction shall not rise up the second time—Judah's "affliction" caused by the invasion shall never rise again. So Na 1:12. But Calvin takes the "affliction" to be that of Assyria: "There will be no need of His inflicting on you a second blow: He will make an utter end of you once for all" (1Sa 3:12; 26:8; 2Sa 20:10). If so, this verse, in contrast to Na 1:12, will express, Affliction shall visit the Assyrian no more, in a sense very different from that in which God will afflict Judah no more. In the Assyrian's case, because the blow will be fatally final; the latter, because God will make lasting blessedness in Judah's case succeed temporary chastisement. But it seems simpler to refer "affliction" here, as in Na 1:12, to Judah; indeed destruction, rather than affliction, applies to the Assyrian.
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