|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:8-19 Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered merchants. Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.
Verse 19. - There is no healing of thy bruise; there is no assuaging of thy hurt (Revised Version; Jeremiah 10:19). The ruin is irretrievable; no one shall restore the destroyed kingdom (see Zephaniah 2:13, 14). Thy wound is grievous; Pessima est plaga tua (Vulgate); Ἐφλέγμανεν ἡ πληγή σου, "Thy wound is inflamed." The "wound" is the stroke or plague inflicted by God (Leviticus 26:21). Shall clap the hands over thee. All who hear of thy destruction will rejoice over it (Psalm 47:1; Lamentations 2:15). Thy wickedness. The cruelty and oppression of Nineveh have been universally felt. If Edom is the type of insidious foes of the Church's own household, Nineveh is the emblem of open, blaspheming infidelity, arrayed in powerful opposition against God's people. In the overthrow of this kingdom there is a prophecy of the destruction of all anti-Christian powers, which shall be utterly crushed in the latter days.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There is no healing of thy bruise,.... Made by the fatal blow given to the empire by the taking of Nineveh; the ruin of it was irreparable and irrecoverable; the city of Nineveh was no more, and the Assyrian empire sunk, and never rose again: or, "there is no contraction of thy bruise" (r); as when a wound is healed, or near it, the skin round about is wrinkled and contracted. The Targum is,
"there is none that grieves at thy breach;''
so the Syriac version; so far from it, that they rejoiced at it, as in a following clause:
thy wound is grievous; to be borne; the pain of it intolerable; an old obstinate one, inveterate and incurable: or, is "weak", or "sickly" (s); which had brought a sickness and weakness on the state, out of which it would never be recovered:
all that hear the bruit of thee; the fame, the report of the destruction of Nineveh, and of the ruin of the Assyrian empire, and the king of it:
shall clap the hands over thee; for joy; so far were they from lending a helping hand in the time of distress, that they clapped both hands together, to express the gladness of their hearts at hearing such news:
for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? to which of thy neighbours hast thou not been troublesome and injurious? which of them hast thou not oppressed, and used with violence and cruelty? what province or city but have felt the weight of thine hand, have been harassed with wars, and distressed with tributes and exactions? and therefore it is no wonder they rejoice at thy fall. The destruction of this city, and so of the whole empire, is placed by Dr. Prideaux in the twenty ninth year of Josiah's reign, and in the year 612 B.C.; and by what Josephus says (t) it appears to have been but a little while before Josiah was slain by Pharaohnecho, who came out with an army to Euphrates, to make war upon the Medes and Babylonians; who, he says, had overturned the Assyrian empire; being jealous, as it seems, of their growing power. Learned men justly regret the loss of the Assyriaca of Abydenus, and of the history of the Assyrians by Herodotus, who promised (u) it; but whether he finished it or no is not certain; however, it is not extant; and in one place, speaking of the Medes attacking Nineveh, and taking it, he says (w), but how they took it I shall show in another history; all which, had they come to light, and been continued, might have been of singular use in explaining this prophecy.
(r) "nulla est contractio", Junius & Tremellius, Burkius. (s) "infirmata", Pagninus, Montanus; "aegritudine plena", Vatablus; "aegra", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Burkius. (t) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 5. sect. 1.((u) L. 1. sive Clio, c. 184. (w) Ibid. c. 106.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. bruit—the report.
clap the hands—with joy at thy fall. The sole descendants of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians in the whole country are the Nestorian Christians, who speak a Chaldean language [Layard].
upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?—implying God's long forbearance, and the consequent enormity of Assyria's guilt, rendering her case one that admitted no hope of restoration.
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