Haggai 2:23
In that day, said the LORD of hosts, will I take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, said the LORD, and will make you as a signet: for I have chosen you, said the LORD of hosts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Signet.—On the figure of the signet-ring applied to one on whom confidence and affection are bestowed, see Song of Solomon 8:6; Jeremiah 22:24.

Haggai 2:23. In that day will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, &c. — Amidst the commotions which I will cause in the world, I will so order it, that Judea shall remain safe under thy government, O Zerubbabel, and thy successors, and be molested by none. A signet, or seal, particularly a royal one, is kept with great care; therefore the promise of making Zerubbabel as a signet, signified keeping him safe, or preserving him as a person of great estimation. For I have chosen thee — To be the ruler of my people. This whole prophecy, from Haggai 2:21, addressed to Zerubbabel, is considered by Bishop Chandler, Mr. Lowth, and many others, as parallel to that contained in Haggai 2:6-9; that the same commotions and shaking of nations are intended in both passages; and therefore that by Zerubbabel here, the Messiah, typified by him, is chiefly intended. That the prediction could not be properly and fully accomplished in Zerubbabel, personally considered, is evident, as in all likelihood he did not live many years after the finishing of the temple, and certainly did not see any of those great changes here foretold; and therefore the Messiah must be here described under the name of Zerubbabel, as he elsewhere is under that of David. He is, indeed, the signet on God’s right hand; for all power is given to him, and derived from him, he being constituted Head of the church, and Judge of the world. In him the great charter of the gospel is signed and sanctified, and it is in him that all the promises of God are yea and amen. And what is foretold, Haggai 2:22, respecting the overthrow of the throne of kingdoms, may probably ultimately refer to his second coming, or to that illustrious display of divine power, whereby a period shall be put to all anti-christian empires, and the kingdoms of this world shall be made the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ, Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15. 2:20-23 The Lord will preserve Zerubbabel and the people of Judah, amidst their enemies. Here is also foretold the establishment and continuance of the kingdom of Christ; by union with whom his people are sealed with the Holy Ghost, sealed with his image, thus distinguished from all others. Here also is foretold the changes, even to that time when the kingdom of Christ shall overthrow and occupy the place of all the empires which opposed his cause. The promise has special reference to Christ, who descended from Zerubbabel in a direct line, and is the sole Builder of the gospel temple. Our Lord Jesus is the Signet on God's right hand, for all power is given to him, and derived from him. By him, and in him, all the promises of God are yea and amen. Whatever changes take place on earth, all will promote the comfort, honour, and happiness of his servants.I will make thee as a signet - God reverses to Zerubbabel the sentence on Jeconiah for his impiety. To Jeconiah He had said Jeremiah 22:24, "though he were the signet upon My right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; and I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life." The signet was very precious to its owner, never parted with, or only to those to whom authority was delegated (as by Pharaoh to Joseph Genesis 41:42, or by Ahasuerus to Haman Esther 3:10 and then to Mordecai Esther 8:2.); through it his will was expressed. Hence, the spouse in the Canticles says, Sol 8:6. "Set me, as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm." The signet also was an ornament to him who wore it. "God is glorianfied in His saints;" 2 Thessalonians 1:10. by Zerubbabel in the building of His house. He gave him estimation with Cyrus, who entrusted him with the return of his people, and made him (who would have been the successor to the throne of Judah, had the throne been re-established) his governor over the restored people.

God promises to him and his descendants protection amid all shaking of empires. "He was a type of Christ in bringing back the people from Babylon, as Christ delivered us from sin death and hell: he built the temple, as Christ built the Church; he protected his people against the Samaritans who would hinder the building, as Christ protects His Church: he was dear and joined to God, as Christ was united to Him, and hypostatically united and joined His Humanity to the Word. The true Zerubbabel then, i. e., Christ, the son and antitype of Zerubbabel, is the signet in the hand of the Father, both passively and actively, whereby God impresses His own Majesty thoughts and words and His own Image on men angels and all creatures." "The Son is the Image of God the Father, having His entire and exact likeness, and in His own beauty beaming forth the nature of the Father. In Him too God seals us also to His own likeness, since, being conformed to Christ, we gain the image of God." "Christ, as the Apostle says, is Hebrews 1:3 "the Image of the invisible God, the brightness of His Glory and the express Image of His Person," who, as the Word and Seal and express Image, seals it on others. Christ is here called a signet, as Man not as God. For it was His Manhood which He took of the flesh and race of Zerubbabel. He is then, in His Manhood, the signet of God;

1) as being hypostatically united with the Son of God;

2) because the Word impressed on His Humanity the likeness of Himself, His knowledge, virtue, holiness, thoughts, words, acts and conversation;

3) because the Man Christ was the seal, i. e., the most evident sign and witness of the attributes of God, His power, justice, wisdom, and especially His exceeding love for man. For, that God might show this, He willed that His Son should be Incarnate. Christ thus Incarnate is as a seal, in which we see expressed and depicted the love power justice wisdom etc. of God;

4) because Christ as a seal, attested and certified to us the will of God, His doctrine law commands, i. e., those which He promulgated and taught in the Gospel.

"No one," John saith John 1:18, "hath seen God at any time: the Only-Begotten Son Who is the Image the Father, He hath declared Him." Hence, God gave to Christ the power of working miracles, that He might confirm His words as by a seal, and demonstrate that they were revealed and enjoined to Him by God, as it is in John Joh 6:27, "Him hath God the Father sealed." "Christ is also the seal of God, because by His impress, i. e., the faith grace virtue and conversation from Him and by the impress in Baptism and the other sacraments, "He willed to conform us to the Image of His Son," Romans 8:29. that 1 Corinthians 15:49, "as we have borne the image of the earthly Adam, we mnay also bear the image of the heavenly." Then, Christ, like a seal, seals and guards His faithful against all temptations and enemies. The seal of Christ is the Cross, according to that of Ezekiel, "Seal a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh," and in the Revelation Rev 7:2, "I saw another Angel having the seal of the living God." For the Cross guardeth us against the temptations of the flesh, the world and the devil, and makes us followers, soldiers, and martyrs of Christ crucified. Whence the Apostle says, Galatians 6:17. "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."

"This is said without doubt of the Messiah, the expected;" says even a Jewish controversialist , "who shall be of the seed of Zerubbabel; and therefore this promise was not fulfilled at all in himself: for at the time of this prophecy he had aforetime been governor of Judah, and afterward he did not rise to any higher dignity than what he was up to that day: and in like way we find that God said to Abraham our father in the covenant between the pieces, Genesis 15:7, Genesis 15:18. "I am the Lord who brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees to give thee this land to inherit it," and beyond doubt this covenant was confirmed of God to the seed of Abraham, as lie Himself explained it there afterward, when He said, "In that day God made a covenant with Abraham, saying, To thy seed have I given this land etc.," and many like these.

Abarbanel had laid down the right principles, though of necessity misapplied. "Zerubbabel did not reign in Jerusalem and did not rule in it, neither lie nor any man of his seed; but immediately after the building of the house, he returned to Babylon and died there in his captivity, and how saith he, 'In that day I will take thee?' For after the fall of the kingdom of Persia Zerubbabel is not known for any greatness, and his name is not mentioned in the world. Where then will be the meaning of 'And I will place thee as a signet, for thee have I chosen?' For the signet is as the seal-ring which a man putteth on his hand, it departeth not from it, night or day. And when was this fulfilled in Zerubbabel? But the true meaning, in my opinion, is, that God showed Zerubbabel that this very second house would not abide, for after him should come another captivity, and of this he says, 'I shake the heaven etc.,' and afterward, after a long time, will God take His vengeance of these nations 'which have devoured Jacob and laid waste his dwelling place;' and so he says 'I will overthrow the thrones, etc.,' and He sheweth him further that the king who shall rule over Israel at the time of the redemption is the Messiah of the seed of Zerubbabel and of the house of David; and God saw good to shew him all this to comfort him and to speak to his heart; and it is as if he said to him, 'It is true that thou shalt not reign in the time of the second temple, nor any of thy seed, but in that day when God shall overthrow the throne of the kingdoms of the nations, when He gathereth His people Israel and redeemeth them, then shalt thou reign over My people, for of thy seed shall he be who ruleth from Israel at that time forever, and therefore he saith, 'I will take thee, O Zerubabbel etc.,' for because the Messiah was to be of his seed he saith, that he will take him; and this is as he says, Ezekiel 37:24. 'And David My servant shall be a prince to them forever;' for the very Messiah, he shall be David, he shall be Zerubbabel, because he shall be a scion going forth out of their hewn trunk" Isaiah 11:1.

For I have chosen thee - God's forecoming love is the ground of all the acceptableness of His creature 1 John 4:19. "We love Him, because He first loved us." Zerubbabel was a devoted servant of God. God acknowledges his faithfulness. Only, the beginning of all was with God. God speaks of the nearness to Himself which He had given him. But in two words He cuts off all possible boastfulhess of His creature. Zerubbabel was all this, not of himself, but "because God had chosen" him. Even the sacred manhood of our Lord (it is acknowledged as a theological truth) was not chosen for any foreseen merits, but for the great love, with which God the Father chose it, and God the Son willed to be in such wise incarnate, and God the Holy Spirit willed that that Holy Thing should be conceived of Him. So God says of Him Isaiah 42:1, "Behold My Servant whom I uphold, Mine elect in whom My soul delighteth;" and God bare witness to Him Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5, "This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."

23. take thee—under My protection and to promote thee and thy people to honor (Ps 78:70).

a signet—(So 8:6; Jer 22:24). A ring with a seal on it; the legal representative of the owner; generally of precious stones and gold, &c., and much valued. Being worn on the finger, it was an object of constant regard. In all which points of view the theocratic people, and their representative, Zerubbabel the type, and Messiah his descendant the Antitype, are regarded by God. The safety of Israel to the end is guaranteed in Messiah, in whom God hath chosen them as His own (Isa 42:1; 43:10; 44:1; 49:3). So the spiritual Israel is sealed in their covenant head by His Spirit (2Co 1:20, 22; Eph 1:4, 13, 14). All is ascribed, not to the merits of Zerubbabel, but to God's gratuitous choice. Christ is the "signet" on God's hand: always in the Father's presence, ever pleasing in his sight. The signet of an Eastern monarch was the sign of delegated authority; so Christ (Mt 28:18; Joh 5:22, 23).

In that day; during those days of troubles, wars, and destruction, and particularly towards the end of them. I will take thee; advance, honour, defend, and own. O Zerubbabel: personally understood it respecteth the beginning of those days. Politically understood, it refers to all those times in which God promiseth he would, and indeed did, preserve, guide, and honour such governors of his people, who were as Zerubbabel was; somewhat of which promise and performance you may observe in the times succeeding unto, and through, the Maccabees’ times. Typically this refers to Christ, and the setting up of is kingdom, shadowed out by the government of Zerubbabel. My servant: the style changed seems to point to him who was God’s most beloved servant, Isaiah 42:1 52:13. The son of Shealtiel, who was one of the progenitors of the Messiah, Matthew 1:12 Luke 3:27. Will make thee as a signet: which is very highly valued, carefully kept, and used to confirm and ratify gifts, edicts, and patents, Daniel 6:17. So shall the antitypical Zerubbabel, the Messiah, be advanced, loved, and inviolably preserved King, and supreme over his church, for he is the chosen One, the beloved One, in whom God was well pleased, as the Chaldee paraphrast, and Matthew 3:17. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts,.... When all these kingdoms, and their thrones and strength, are destroyed; which shows that what follows cannot be understood literally of Zerubbabel, who lived not to see these things done:

will I take thee, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord; that is, the Messiah, as is owned by Abarbinel; who says (x),

"the King Messiah shall come, who is of the seed of Zerubbabel; and he shall be the seal of the structure, and the end of the kingdoms; as it is said, "I will make thee as a signet, for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts"; for this no doubt is said concerning the days of the Messiah:''

and another Jewish writer (y), quoting the above author for the sense of this passage, and Ezekiel 37:25, adds,

"for the King Messiah he will be David, and he will be Zerubbabel, that he may be a rod going out of their stem;''

and another (z) on these words observes,

"without doubt this is said concerning the expected Messiah, who will be of the seed of Zerubbabel; and therefore this promise was not at all fulfilled in him; for in the time of this prophecy he was but governor of Judah, and he never rose to greater dignity than what he then had:''

indeed these writers wrongly suppose the Messiah yet to come, and whom they in vain expect; and apply this, as they do many other prophecies, to the coming of Christ in the flesh, which belong to his spiritual appearance in his churches, or to his personal coming at the last day: however, this shows the conviction on their minds of the application of this and such like prophecies to the Messiah, who may be called Zerubbabel, as he is sometimes David, because he sprung from him, was of his lineage, and because he was a type of him, in bringing the people of the Jews out of the Babylonish captivity, in rebuilding the temple, in the government of the people, and in being chosen of God, and precious; as well as a servant of the Lord, as here expressed, and which is often mentioned as a character of the Messiah, Isaiah 49:3,

and will make thee as a signet; preserve, protect and defend, love, value, and esteem, and advance to great honour and dignity, power and authority: the signet or seal on a man's right hand, being what he always wears, is ever in sight, and he is careful of; as well as is what he greatly esteems, and is dear unto him, and he highly values; and by which a prince signs his decrees and edicts; see Isaiah 49:2 Sol Isaiah 8:6,

for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts; to be the Redeemer and Saviour of his people; to be their King and Governor, and the Judge of the world. Christ is peculiarly God's elect, and in whom all his people are chosen; be is the chosen of God, and precious, Psalm 89:19. The Targum is,

"for in thee I am well pleased;''

which is said by God the Father concerning Christ more than once, Matthew 3:17. It is a prophecy of the exaltation of Christ after he had done his work, as the Lord's servant, and especially in the latter day, when he shall be King over all the earth; all which cannot be so well applied to Zerubbabel; unless with Reinbeck we understand it of the time of his resurrection from the dead at the last day; when great honour shall be put upon him as a faithful servant, and great love and affection expressed to him; but that will be no other than what will be common to all the saints and chosen of God; Christ, in whom all prophecies terminate, and so this, is doubtless intended.

(x) Mayene Jeshuah, fol. 13. 4. Vid. & Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 67. 2.((y) Abendana in Miclol Yophi in loc. (z) R. Isaac, Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. c. 34. p. 289, 290.

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a {o} signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

(o) Signifying that his dignity would be most excellent, which thing was accomplished in Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. will I take thee] In such expressions as this (comp. Deuteronomy 4:20; 2 Kings 14:21; 2 Kings 23:30) the word “take” simply introduces the following action. It has not therefore the sense which some have here given it, “I will take thee into my care and protection.”

as a signet] This promise is referred to by the writer of the Book Ecclesiasticus, in his panegyric of the “famous men” of his nation: “How shall we magnify Zorobabel? even he was as a signet on the right hand,” ch. Sir 49:11. Among the Orientals great honour and importance attached to signets or seals. They were often “engraved stones pierced through their length and hung by a string or chain from the arm or neck, or set in rings for the finger” (Song of Solomon 8:6; Jeremiah 22:24). “The custom prevalent among the Babylonians of carrying seals is mentioned by Herodotus i. 195 … and the signet ring is noticed as an ordinary part of a man’s equipment in the case of Judah (Genesis 38:18), who probably, like many modern Arabs, wore it suspended by a string (rendered ‘bracelets’ in E. V.) from his neck or arm.” Dict. of Bible, Art. Seal.

I have chosen thee] “With these words the Messianic promise made to David was transferred to Zerubbabel and his family among David’s descendants, and would be fulfilled in his person in just the same way as the promise given to David, that God would make him the highest among the kings of the earth (Psalm 89:27). The fulfilment culminates in Jesus Christ, the son of David, and descendant of Zerubbabel (Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27), in whom Zerubbabel was made the signetring of Jehovah. Jesus Christ has raised up the kingdom of His father David again, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:32-33). Even though it may appear oppressed and deeply humiliated for the time by the power of the kingdoms of the heathen, it will never be crushed and destroyed, but will break in pieces all these kingdoms, and destroy them, and will itself endure for ever (Daniel 2:44; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Corinthians 15:24).” Keil ad loc. Clark’s Theological Library.Verse 23. - In that day. When the heathen nations of the earth are overthrown, Israel shall be safe, and be the more exalted by the Divine favour and protection. Will I take. The verb simply serves to introduce the following act as one of importance, and does not signify, "take under my protection" (comp. Deuteronomy 4:20; 2 Kings 14:21; Keil). My servant. An honourable title used especially of David (1 Kings 11:13, etc.; Jeremiah 33:21, etc.), and his future successors (Ezekiel 34:23, etc.; Ezekiel 37:24). Make thee as a signet. I will make thee most precious in my sight (comp. Song of Solomon 8:6). Among Orientals the signet ring was an article of great importance and value (see Revelation 5:1; Revelation 9:4; and 'Dict. of the Bible,' art. "Seal"). The allusion is particularly appropriate here, because Zerubbabel is set at the head of the nation in the place of his grandfather (?) Jeconiah, whose rejection from the monarchy had been couched in these terms: "As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim King of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence" (Jeremiah 22:24). The Son of Sirach, in his praise of great men, refers to this premise," How shall we magnify Zorobabel? even he was as a signet on the right hand" (Ecclus. 49:11). The signet, too, is the sign of authority (Genesis 41:42; Esther 3:10); so Zerubbabel has authority delegated to him from God, the type of him who said, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father" (Matthew 11:27). "The true Zerubbabel, i.e. Christ, the Son and Antitype of Zerubbabel, is the signet in the hand of the Father, both passively and actively, whereby God impresses his own majesty, thought, and words, and his own image, on men, angels, and all creatures" (Corn. a Lapide ap. Pusey). I have chosen thee. This is not a personal assurance only to Zerubbabel, for neither he nor his natural seed reigned in Jerusalem, or rose to any special eminence in the kingdoms of this world. The fulfilment must be looked for in his spiritual progeny and in Christ. Promises are often made in Scripture to individuals which are accomplished only in their descendants; witness those made to Abraham and the other patriarchs, the prophecies of Jacob to his sons, and many others of a similar nature in the Old Testament, Those large promises made to David in old time, that his seed should endure forever, that hie throne should be as the sun before God (Psalm 89:36, 37; 2 Samuel 7:16), were now passed on to Zerubbabel and to his line, because of him was to spring Messiah, in whom alone these wide predictions find their fulfilment, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32, 33).



In conclusion, the prophet takes away from the city so heavily laden with guilt the last prop to its hope, - namely, reliance upon its fortifications, and the numerical strength of its population. - Nahum 3:14. "Draw thyself water for the siege! Make thy castles strong! tread in the mire, and stamp in the clay! prepare the brick-kiln! Nahum 3:15. There will the fire devour thee, the sword destroy thee, devour thee like the lickers. Be in great multitude like the lickers, be in great multitude like the locusts? Nahum 3:16. Thou hast made thy merchants more than the star so heaven; the licker enters to plunder, and flies away. Nahum 3:17. Thy levied ones are like the locusts, and thy men like an army of grasshoppers which encamp in the hedges in the day of frost; if the sun rises, they are off, and men know not their place: where are they?" Water of the siege is the drinking water necessary for a long-continued siege. Nineveh is to provide itself with this, because the siege will last a long while. It is also to improve the fortifications (chizzēq as in 2 Kings 12:8, 2 Kings 12:13). This is then depicted still more fully. Tı̄t and chōmer are used synonymously here, as in Isaiah 41:25. Tı̄t, lit., dirt, slime, then clay and potter's clay (Isaiah l.c.). Chōmer, clay or mortar (Genesis 11:3), also dirt of the streets (Isaiah 10:6, compared with Micah 7:10). החזיק, to make firm, or strong, applied to the restoration of buildings in Nehemiah 5:16 and Ezekiel 27:9, Ezekiel 27:27; here to restore, or to put in order, the brick-kiln (malbēn, a denom. from lebhēnâh, a brick), for the purpose of burning bricks. The Assyrians built with bricks sometimes burnt, sometimes unburnt, and merely dried in the sun. Both kinds are met with on the Assyrian monuments (see Layard, vol. ii. p. 36ff.). This appeal, however, is simply a rhetorical turn for the thought that a severe and tedious siege is awaiting Nineveh. This siege will end in the destruction of the great and populous city. שׁם, there, sc. in these fortifications of thine, will fire consume thee; fire will destroy the city with its buildings, and the sword destroy the inhabitants. The destruction of Nineveh by fire is related by ancient writers (Herod. 1:106, 185; Diod. Sic. 2:25-28; Athen. xii. p. 529), and also confirmed by the ruins (cf. Str. ad h. l.). It devours thee like the locust. The subject is not fire or sword, either one or the other, but rather both embraced in one. כּיּלק, like the licker; yeleq, a poetical epithet applied to the locust (see at Joel 1:4), is the nominative, no the accusative, as Calvin, Grotius, Ewald, and Hitzig suppose. For the locusts are not devoured by the fire or the sword, but it is they who devour the vegetables and green of the fields, so that they are everywhere used as a symbol of devastation and destruction. It is true that in the following sentences the locusts are used figuratively for the Assyrians, or the inhabitants of Nineveh; but it is also by no means a rare thing for prophets to give a new turn and application to a figure or simile. The thought is this: fire and sword will devour Nineveh and its inhabitants like the all-consuming locusts, even though the city itself, with its mass of houses and people, should resemble an enormous swarm of locusts. התכּבּד may be either an inf. abs. used instead of the imperative, or the imperative itself. The latter seems the more simple; and the use of the masculine may be explained on the assumption that the prophet had the people floating before his mind, whereas in התכּבּדי he was thinking of the city. Hithkahbbēd, to show itself heavy by virtue of the large multitude; similar to כּבד in Nahum 2:10 (cf. כּבד in Genesis 13:2; Exodus 8:20, etc.).

The comparison to a swarm of locusts is carried still further in Nahum 3:16 and Nahum 3:17, and that so that Nahum 3:16 explains the תּאכלך כּיּלק in Nahum 3:15. Nineveh has multiplied its traders or merchants, even more than the stars of heaven, i.e., to an innumerable multitude. The yeleq, i.e., the army of the enemy, bursts in and plunders. That Nineveh was a very rich commercial city may be inferred from its position, - namely, just at the point where, according to oriental notions, the east and west meet together, and where the Tigris becomes navigable, so that it was very easy to sail from thence into the Persian Gulf; just as afterwards Mosul, which was situated opposite, became great and powerful through its widely-extended trade (see Tuch, l.c. p. 31ff., and Strauss, in loc.).

(Note: "The point," says O. Strauss (Nineveh and the Word of God, Berl 1855, p. 19), "at which Nineveh was situated was certainly the culminating point of the three quarters of the globe - Europe, Asia, and Africa; and from the very earliest times it was just at the crossing of the Tigris by Nineveh that the great military and commercial roads met, which led into the heart of all the leading known lands.")

The meaning of this verse has been differently interpreted, according to the explanation given to the verb pâshat. Many, following the ὥρμησε and expansus est of the lxx and Jerome, give it the meaning, to spread out the wing; whilst Credner (on Joel, p. 295), Maurer, Ewald, and Hitzig take it in the sense of undressing one's self, and understand it as relating to the shedding of the horny wing-sheaths of the young locusts. But neither the one nor the other of these explanations can be grammatically sustained. Pâshat never means anything else then to plunder, or to invade with plundering; not even in such passages as Hosea 7:1; 1 Chronicles 14:9 and 1 Chronicles 14:13, which Gesenius and Dietrich quote in support of the meaning, to spread; and the meaning forced upon it by Credner, of the shedding of the wing-sheaths by locusts, is perfectly visionary, and has merely been invented by him for the purpose of establishing his false interpretation of the different names given to the locusts in Joel 1:4. In the passage before us we cannot understand by the yeleq, which "plunders and flies away" (pâshat vayyâ‛ōph), the innumerable multitude of the merchants of Nineveh, because they were not able to fly away in crowds out of the besieged city. Moreover, the flying away of the merchants would be quite contrary to the meaning of the whole description, which does not promise deliverance from danger by flight, but threatens destruction. The yeleq is rather the innumerable army of the enemy, which plunders everything, and hurries away with its booty. In Nahum 3:17 the last two clauses of Nahum 3:15 are explained, and the warriors of Nineveh compared to an army of locusts. There is some difficulty caused by the two words מנּזריך and טפסריך, the first of which only occurs here, and the second only once more, viz., in Jeremiah 51:27, where we meet with it in the singular. That they both denote warlike companies appears to be tolerably certain; but the real meaning cannot be exactly determined. מנּזרים with dagesh dir., as for example in מקּדשׁ in Exodus 15:17, is probably derived from nâzar, to separate, and not directly from nezer, a diadem, or nâzı̄r, the crowned person, from which the lexicons, following Kimchi's example, have derived the meaning princes, or persons ornamented with crowns; whereas the true meaning is those levied, selected (for war), analogous to bâchūr, the picked or selected one, applied to the soldiery. The meaning princes or captains is at variance with the comparison to 'arbeh, the multitude of locusts, since the number of the commanders in an army, or of the war-staff, is always a comparatively small one. And the same objection may be offered to the rendering war-chiefs or captains, which has been given to taphsar, and which derives only an extremely weak support from the Neo-Persian tâwsr, although the word might be applied to a commander-in-chief in Jeremiah 51:27, and does signify an angel in the Targum-Jonathan on Deuteronomy 28:12. The different derivations are all untenable (see Ges. Thes. p. 554); and the attempt of Bttcher (N. Krit. Aehrenl. ii. pp. 209-10) to trace it to the Aramaean verb טפס, obedivit, with the inflection ־ר for ־ן, in the sense of clientes, vassals, is precluded by the fact that ar does not occur as a syllable of inflection. The word is probably Assyrian, and a technical term for soldiers of a special kind, though hitherto it has not been explained. גּוב גּובי, locusts upon locusts, i.e., an innumerable swarm of locusts. On גּובי, see at Amos 7:1; and on the repetition of the same word to express the idea of the superlative, see the comm. on 2 Kings 19:23 (and Ges. 108, 4). Yōm qârâh, day (or time) of cold, is either the night, which is generally very cold in the East, or the winter-time. To the latter explanation it may be objected, that locusts do not take refuge in walls or hedges during the winter; whilst the expression yōm, day, for night, may be pleaded against the former. We must therefore take the word as relating to certain cold days, on which the sky is covered with clouds, so that the sun cannot break through, and zârach as denoting not the rising of the sun, but its shining or breaking through. The wings of locusts become stiffened in the cold; but as soon as the warm rays of the sun break through the clouds, they recover their animation and fly away. Nōdad, (poal), has flown away, viz., the Assyrian army, which is compared to a swarm of locusts, so that its place is known no more (cf. Psalm 103:16), i.e., has perished without leaving a trace behind. איּם contracted from איּה הם. These words depict in the most striking manner the complete annihilation of the army on which Nineveh relied.

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