|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!
Verse 2. - This ruin shall fall on Nineveh because God is mindful of his chosen people, whom Assyria has oppressed. Hath turned away. It should be rendered, returneth to, or restoreth, bringeth back; reddidit (Vulgate); Isaiah 52:8; Hosea 6:11. The excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel. The Lord restores the glory and honour of Jacob, the nation in its political aspect, and the high privileges of the spiritual Israel, the chosen people of God (comp. Obadiah 1:18). For. Asshur is visited because Judah has had its full measure of punishment. The emptiers have emptied them out. The plunderers (the enemy) have plundered the Jews. And marred their vine branches. The heathen have cut off the members of Israel, the Lord's vineyard. (For the metaphor "vine," comp. Psalm 80:8, etc.; Isaiah 5; Jeremiah 41:10.) Not only from what is read in the Bible (e.g.. 2 Kings 15:19; 2 Kings 16:7, etc.; 2 Kings 17:3; 18:14), but from the details in the cuneiform inscriptions, we learn that the Assyrians were a constant danger and annoyance to Israel, and harassed continually both the southern and northern provinces.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the Lord hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel,.... Or, "will render" a recompence for, or "revenge the pride of Jacob" (e); all that insolence, and those injuries done in a proud and haughty manner by Sennacherib king of Assyria to the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; invading their land, taking their fenced cities, and besieging their metropolis; and in an audacious manner threatening them with utter destruction, unless they surrendered; and also by Shalmaneser, another king of Assyria, who had besieged and took Samaria the capital city of Israel or the ten tribes, and had carried them captive; and now Assyria, though it had been the rod of God's anger, and the instrument of his chastisement and correction of his people, must in its turn suffer and smart for all this:
for the emptiers have emptied them out: the Assyrians, partly by their exactions and tributes they demanded, and partly by their spoil and plunder, had stripped Israel and Judah of all, or the greatest part, of their substance, wealth, and treasure:
and marred their vine branches; their children, their sons and daughters, slaying them, or carrying them captive. Israel and Judah are often compared to a vine, and so their posterity to branches: or "corrupted" (f) them, with superstition and idolatry. The Targum interprets it of their renowned cities; these, and towns and villages, being to the land as branches to the vine; and which had been ransacked and pillaged by the Assyrians, and now they should be paid in their own coin.
(e) "ulciscitur enim Jehova adhibitam in Jacobaeos superbiam", Castalio; "reponit Deus Assyrio illam superbiam quam ipse in Jacobo et Israele exercuit", Grotius; "quia reddidit superbiam", &c. Tirinus. (f) "corruperunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vatablus, Burkius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. For the Lord hath turned away the excellency of Jacob—that is, the time for Nineveh's overthrow is ripe, because Jacob (Judah) and Israel (the ten tribes) have been sufficiently chastised. The Assyrian rod of chastisement, having done its work, is to be thrown into the fire. If God chastised Jacob and Israel with all their "excellency" (Jerusalem and the temple, which was their pre-eminent excellency above all nations in God's eyes, Ps 47:4; 87:2; Eze 24:21; see on Am 6:8), how much more will He punish fatally Nineveh, an alien to Him, and idolatrous? Maurer, not so well, translates, "restores," or "will restore the excellency of Jacob."
emptiers—the Assyrian spoilers.
have emptied them out—have spoiled the Israelites and Jews (Ho 10:1). Compare Ps 80:8-16, on "vine branches," as applied to Israel.
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