|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 8. - The prophet compares the past and present condition of Nineveh. But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water; and (or, though) Nineveh hath been like a pool of water all her days. Others, altering the points in accordance with the Septuagint and Vulgate, translate, "But as for Nineveh, her waters are like a pool of water." This is what she has come to, for "her waters" represent herself. She is compared to a pool or reservoir (Nehemiah 2:15; Nehemiah 3:15) from the multitude of her inhabitants gathered from all parts of the world, and streaming unto her, both as tributary and for commercial purposes (comp. Jeremiah 51:13; Revelation 17:1, 15). Yet they shall flee away. In spite of their numbers, the multitudes represented by "the waters" fly before the enemy. In vain the captains cry, Stand, stand. They pay no attention. None shall look back. No one of the fugitives turns rounder gives a thought to anything but his own safety.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water,.... This was a very ancient city, built by Nimrod, as some say; or rather by Ashur, as appears from Genesis 10:10 and it was like fish pool, full of people, as it was in the times of Jonah, who for their number may be compared both to water and to fish; and likewise full of wealth and riches, which for their instability may be signified by water also; and moreover, like a pool of standing water, had never been liable to any commotions and disturbances, but had remained from the beginning in a tranquil and prosperous state; besides, some regard may be had in a literal sense to its situation, being watered by the river Tigris, and which was for its profit and defence: so some copies of the Septuagint read the words,
"Nineveh is like a pool of water, the waters are her walls:''
and the Syriac version is,
"Nineveh is as a lake of water, and is among the waters;''
see Nahum 1:6,
yet they shall flee away; the waters out of the pool, the sluices being opened, or the banks broken down; or the people out of the city, breaches being made in its walls, or its gates opened, and the enemy entering; when everyone would flee for his life, and make his escape in the best manner he could:
stand, stand, shall they cry; either the generals and officers of the king of Assyria's army, to the soldiers running away; or the more courageous inhabitants of the city, to those that were timorous and seized with a panic, fleeing in the utmost consternation; or the enemy, as Kimchi, who shall call to them to stop, promising to spare their lives upon a surrender of them to them:
but none shall look back; and stand to hear what is said unto them, but make the best of their way, and flee with all their might and main.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. But—rather, "Though" [G. V. Smith].
of old—rather, "from the days that she hath been"; from the earliest period of her existence. Alluding to Nineveh's antiquity (Ge 10:11). "Though Nineveh has been of old defended by water surrounding her, yet her inhabitants shall flee away." Grotius, less probably (compare Na 3:8-12), interprets, the "waters" of her numerous population (Isa 8:7; Jer 51:13; Re 17:15).
Stand, stand, shall they cry—that is, the few patriotic citizens shall cry to their fleeing countrymen; "but none looketh back," much less stops in flight, so panic-stricken are they.
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