|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-10 Nineveh shall not put aside this judgment; there is no counsel or strength against the Lord. God looks upon proud cities, and brings them down. Particular account is given of the terrors wherein the invading enemy shall appear against Nineveh. The empire of Assyria is represented as a queen, about to be led captive to Babylon. Guilt in the conscience fills men with terror in an evil day; and what will treasures or glory do for us in times of distress, or in the day of wrath? Yet for such things how many lose their souls!
Verses 1-13. - Part II. THE EXECUTION OF THE DECREE; THE DESTRUCTION OF NINEVEH DESCRIBED. Verses 1-8. - § 1. Nineveh shall be besieged, because God is about to exalt his people by taking vengeance on the enemy, whose defence, howsoever formidable, is of no avail. Verse 1. - Nahum addresses Nineveh, and forewarns her of the siege she was about to undergo (see Introduction, § I.). He that dasheth in pieces; the disperser; qui dispergat (Vulgate); ἐμφυσῶν, "panting" (Septuagint). The mixed army that invested Nineveh is so called from its effect on the inhabitants of the neighbouring lands. Others translate it, "the maul," or "hammer" - an appellation of Cyaxares, which reminds one of Charles Martel and Judas Maccabaeus. Is come up before thy face. Placing his forces in thy sight, that thou mayest see his power and thine own danger. Keep the munition. The prophet urges the Ninevites to guard their fortress well. Some connect this clause with the preceding: "the disperser is come to maintain the siege;" as the Vulgate, qui custodiat obsidionem. But the other interpretation is more forcible, and suits the rest of the verse. The LXX., reading differently, gives, ἐξαιρούμενος [+ σε, Alex.] ἐκ θλίψεως, "one delivered from affliction." Watch the way, by which the enemy approaches. Make thy loins strong. Gather up thy strength, the loins being regarded as the seat of strength (2 Chronicles 10:10; Job 40:7; Ezekiel 29:7; 1 Peter 1:13). So weak, effeminate people were called in Latin elumbes, "loinless." Fortify thy power mightily; Ανδρισαι τῇ ἰσχύι σφόδρα (Septuagint). Make yourselves as strong as possible (comp. Amos 2:14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face,.... O Nineveh, or land of Assyria; for this is not to be understood of Sennacherib's coming up against Jerusalem, as Kimchi; but of Nebuchadnezzar against Nineveh, as Aben Ezra; not Nebuchadnezzar the great, who, the Jewish chronologers say (c), took Nineveh in the first year of his reign; but his father, Nebuchadnezzar the first, called Nabopolassar, who, with Cyaxares or Ahasuerus the Mede, joined their forces against Nineveh, and took it, see the Apocrypha:
"But before he died he heard of the destruction of Nineve, which was taken by Nabuchodonosor and Assuerus: and before his death he rejoiced over Nineve.'' (Tobit 14:15)
and these together, the Chaldeans and Medes, are the "dasher in pieces"; or, "the hammer" (d), as the word may be rendered; and so Babylon, over which one of these kings reigned, is called the hammer of the whole earth, Jeremiah 50:23 these came up openly, boldly, to the face of the king of Assyria, attacked him in his metropolis, not fearing his strength and numbers:
keep the munition; this and what follow are spoken ironically to the Assyrian king, and inhabitants of Nineveh, to take care of their towers and garrisons, and fortify them, and fill them with soldiers: and
watch the way; in which the enemy came; secure the passes and avenues that lead to their city; stop his march, and prevent his access:
make thy loins strong; put on armour, gird on the sword, prepare for war:
fortify thy power mightily; increase thine army, exert all thy strength and courage, and do all that is in thy power to do, to oppose the enemy, and defend thyself; and when all is done, it will be in vain.
(c) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 24. p. 69. (d) "malleus", Drusius, Tarnovius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Na 2:1-13. The Advance of the Destroying Forces against Nineveh, after It Was Used as God's Rod for a Time to Chastise His People: The Capture of That Lion's Dwelling, According to the Sure Word of Jehovah.
1. He that dasheth in pieces—God's "battle axe," wherewith He "breaks in pieces" His enemies. Jer 51:20 applies the same Hebrew term to Nebuchadnezzar (compare Pr 25:18; Jer 50:23, "the hammer of the whole earth"). Here the Medo-Babylonian army under Cyaxares and Nabopolassar, that destroyed Nineveh, is prophetically meant.
before thy face—before Nineveh. Openly, so that the work of God may be manifest.
watch the way—by which the foe will attack, so as to be ready to meet him. Ironical advice; equivalent to a prophecy, Thou shalt have need to use all possible means of defense; but use what thou wilt, all will be in vain.
make thy loins strong—The loins are the seat of strength; to gird them up is to prepare all one's strength for conflict (Job 40:7). Also gird on thy sword (2Sa 20:8; 2Ki 4:29).
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