|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 5. - The prophet turns to the Ninevites and their preparations for defence. He shall recount his worthies; he remembers his nobles. The King of Nineveh calls to mind the mighty captains who have often led his armies to victory, and sends them to defend the walls (comp. Nahum 3:18). The LXX., anticipating the next clause, adds here, καὶ φεύξονται ἡμέρας, "and they shall flee by day." They shall stumble in their walk. In their fear and baste, or half drunken, they totter and stumble as they hasten to the walls of the city. The defence shall be prepared; literally, the covering is prepared. If this refers to the operations of the Ninevites, it means some kind of breastwork or fascine erected between the towers; but it most probably depicts the sight that meets their eyes from the wails. They see the besiegers bringing up their mantelets and towers. As used by the Assyrians, the machine called "the covering" is either a wooden tower or a wicker mantelet in which was suspended a battering ram. It stood on four or six wheels, and the larger sort had archers posted in the various stories, both to annoy the enemy and to defend the engine. The rams were provided with lance headed extremities, and must have rather picked at and loosened the courses of bricks of which the walls were composed than battered them down (see Bonomi, 'Nineveh and its Palaces,' pp. 160, 234, 243, etc. Layard, 'Nineveh,' ch. 5. p. 376, etc., figs. 57, 58). The Septuagint rendering applies rather to the besieged, Ἐτοιμάσουσι τὰς προφυλακὰς αὐτῶν, "They shall prepare their defences."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He shall recount his worthies,.... Either the dasher in pieces, Nahum 2:1, the kings of Babylon and Media, shall call together their general officers, and muster the forces under then, and put them in mind of their duty, and recount the actions of their ancestors in former times, in order to animate and encourage them to the siege and attack of the city of Nineveh; or the king of Assyria shall recount and muster up his nobles, and the troops under them, to sally out against the enemy, and meet him in the field, and give him battle:
they shall stumble in their walk: being many, and in haste to obey the orders of their commander, shall stumble and fall upon one another; or else the Ninevites in their march out against the enemy shall be discomfited and flee before him, or be dispirited and flee back again:
they shall make haste to the wall thereof; of Nineveh; that is, the Medes and Chaldeans shall make haste thither, to break it down or scale it; or the Ninevites, failing in their sally out, shall betake themselves in all haste to their city walls, and defend themselves under the protection of them:
and the defence shall be prepared; or the "covering": the word (h) used has the signification of a booth or tent, to cover and protect; here it signifies something that was prepared, either by the besiegers, to cover them from the darts and stones of the besieged, as they made their approaches to the walls; or which the besieged covered themselves with from the assaults of the besiegers; rather the former.
(h) "operimentum", Pagninus, Montanus; "integumentum", Calvin; "testudo", Vatablus, Grotius, Cocceius, Burkius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. The Assyrian preparations for defense.
He—the Assyrian king.
shall recount his worthies—(Na 3:18). Review, or count over in his mind, his nobles, choosing out the bravest to hasten to the walls and repel the attack. But in vain; for
they shall stumble in their walk—"they shall stumble in their advance" through fear and hurry.
the defence shall be prepared—rather, the covering machine used by besiegers to protect themselves in advancing to the wall. Such sudden transitions, as here from the besieged to the besiegers, are frequent (compare Eze 4:2), [Maurer]. Or, used by the besieged Assyrians [Calvin].
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