Haggai 2:6
For thus said the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Yet once, it is a little while.—The construction is very difficult. The best rendering appears to be, Yet one season more (supplying êth before achath), it is but a little while, and, &c. The meaning of these clauses is then that given by Keil—viz., “that the period between the present and the predicted great change of the world will be but one period—i.e., one uniform epoch—and that this epoch will be a brief one.” The LXX. (followed in Hebrews 12:27) omits the words “it is a little while” altogether, and so is enabled to render “I will yet shake once” (i.e., one single time, and one only), a rendering which, if we retain those words, is apparently impossible. The fact is, the original passage here, as in other cases, must be treated without deference to its meaning when interwoven in New Testament argument. There is yet to be an interval of time, of limited duration, and then shall come a new era, when the glory of God’s presence shall be manifested more fully and extensively. Notwithstanding its intimate connection with the Jewish Temple (Haggai 2:7; Haggai 2:9), this new dispensation may well be regarded as that of the Messiah, for Malachi in like manner connects His self-manifestation with the Temple. (Comp. Malachi 3:1, and see our Introduction, § 2.) Without pretending to find a fulfilment of all details, we may regard the prophet’s anticipations as sufficiently realised when the Saviour’s Advent introduced a dispensation which surpassed in glory (see 2Corinthians 3:7-11) that of Moses, and which extended its promises to the Gentiles. When Haggai speaks here and in Haggai 2:22 of commotions of nature ushering in this new revelation, he speaks according to the usage of the Hebrew poets, by whom Divine interposition is frequently depicted in colouring borrowed from the incidents of the Exodus period. (See Habakkuk 3; Psalm 18:7-15, Psalms 93, 97) If the words are to be pressed, their fulfilment at Christ’s coming must be searched for rather in the moral than the physical sphere, in changes effected in the human heart (comp. Luke 3:5) rather than on the face of nature.

Haggai 2:6-7. Yet once — Or, once more, ετι απαξ, as the LXX. render it, whom St. Paul follows, Hebrews 12:26. The phrase implies such an alteration, or change of things, as should be permanent, and should not give place to any other, as the apostle there expounds it. The expression, says Bishop Newcome, “has a clear sense, if understood of the evangelical age: for many political revolutions succeeded, as the conquest of Darius Codomanus, and the various fortunes of Alexander’s successors; but only one great and final religious revolution;” namely, a revolution, not introductory to, but consequent upon the coming of the Messiah; the change of the Mosaic economy for that of the gospel. A little while — Though it was five hundred years from the time of the uttering of this prophecy to the coming of the Messiah, which was the event here intended, yet it might be called a short time, when compared with that which had elapsed from the creation to the giving of the law, or from the giving of the law to the return of the Jews from Babylon, and the erection of this second temple. And I will shake the heavens and the earth, &c. — These and similar figurative expressions are often used in the prophetical Scriptures, to signify great commotions and changes in the world, whether political or religious. The political ones here intended began in the overthrow of the Persian monarchy by Alexander, within two centuries after this prediction, which event was followed by commotions, destructive wars and changes among his successors, till the Macedonian empire, which had overturned the Persian, with the several kingdoms into which it was divided, was itself subdued by the Roman. The expressions, the sea and the dry land, are added as a particular explication of what is meant by the general term earth, and signify only what is expressed without a figure in the next clause. I will shake all nations — All nations were more or less involved in, and shaken by, the wars that overthrew the Persian kingdom, and still more in and by those that overturned the empire of the Greeks. Grotius explains this prophecy as being, in part, at least, accomplished by the extraordinary phenomena in the heavens, and on the earth, at the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ, and mission of the Holy Spirit. But certainly the other is the interpretation chiefly intended. And the Desire of all nations — Christ, most desirable to all nations, and who was desired by all that knew their own misery, and his sufficiency to save them; who was to be the light of the Gentiles, as well as the glory of his people Israel: such a guide and director as the wise men among the heathen longed for; and whose combat was the expectation of the Jewish nation, and the completion of all the promises made to their fathers. And I will fill this house with glory — A glory not consisting in the magnificence of its structure, its rich ornaments, or costly sacrifices, which would have been only a worldly glory; but a glory that was spiritual, heavenly, and divine.2:1-9 Those who are hearty in the Lord's service shall receive encouragement to proceed. But they could not build such a temple then, as Solomon built. Though our gracious God is pleased if we do as well as we can in his service, yet our proud hearts will scarcely let us be pleased, unless we do as well as others, whose abilities are far beyond ours. Encouragement is given the Jews to go on in the work notwithstanding. They have God with them, his Spirit and his special presence. Though he chastens their transgressions, his faithfulness does not fail. The Spirit still remained among them. And they shall have the Messiah among them shortly; He that should come. Convulsions and changes would take place in the Jewish church and state, but first should come great revolutions and commotions among the nations. He shall come, as the Desire of all nations; desirable to all nations, for in him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; long expected and desired by all believers. The house they were building should be filled with glory, very far beyond Solomon's temple. This house shall be filled with glory of another nature. If we have silver and gold, we must serve and honour God with it, for the property is his. If we have not silver and gold, we must honour him with such as we have, and he will accept us. Let them be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what would be beyond all the glories of the first house, the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in human nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in human form and nature, could fulfil this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This prophecy alone is enough to silence the Jews, and condemn their obstinate rejection of Him, concerning whom all their prophets spake. If God be with us, peace is with us. But the Jews under the latter temple had much trouble; but this promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by his blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all nations. And the Jews shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have hitherto rejected.Yet once, it is a little while - This, the rendering of Paul to the Hebrews, is alone grammatical . "Yet once." By the word yet he looks back to the first great shaking of the moral world, when God's revelation by Moses and to His people broke upon the darkness of the pagan world, to be a monument against pagan error until Christ should come; once looks on, and conveys that God would again shake the world, but once only, under the one dispensation of the Gospel, which should endure to the end.

It is a little while - o "The 517 years, which were to elapse to the birth of Christ, are called a little time, because to the prophets, ascending in heart to God and the eternity of God, all times, like all things of this world, seem, as they are, only a little thing, yea a mere point;" which has neither length nor breadth. So John calls the time of the new law, "the last hour" 1 John 2:18, "Little children, it is the last hour." It was little also in respect to the time, which had elapsed from the fall of Adam, upon which God promised the Saviour Christ Genesis 3:15, little also in respect to the Christian law, which has now lasted above 1,800 years, and the time of the end does not seem yet near.

I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land - It is one universal shaking of all this our world and the heavens over it, of which the prophet speaks. He does not speak only of Luke 21:25 "signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars," which might be, and yet the frame of the world itself might remain. It is a shaking, such as would involve the dissolution of this our system, as Paul draws out its meaning; Hebrews 12:27. "This word, once more, signifieth the removing of the things that are shaken, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." Prophecy, in its long perspective, uses a continual foreshortening, speaking of things in relation to their eternal meaning and significance, as to that which shall survive, when heaven and earth and even time shall have passed away. It blends together the beginning and the earthly end; the preparation and the result; the commencement of redemption and its completion; our Lord's coming in humility and in His Majesty. Scarcely any prophet but exhibits things in their intrinsic relation, of which time is but an accident.

It is the rule, not the exception. The Seed of the woman, who should bruise the serpent's head, was promised on the fall: to Abraham, the blessing through his seed; by Moses, the prophet like unto him; to David, an everlasting covenant 2 Samuel 23:5. Joel unites the out-pouring of the Spirit of God on the Day of Pentecost, and the hatred of the world until the Day of Judgment Joel 2:28-32; Joel 3. Isaiah, God's judgments on the land and the Day of final judgment Isaiah 24, the deliverance from Babylon, and the first coming of Christ Isaiah 40-66, the glories of the Church, the new heavens and the new earth which shall remain forever, and the unquenched fire and undying worm of the lost Isaiah 66:22-24, Daniel, the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, of Anti-Christ, and the Resurrection; Daniel 11-12. Obadiah, the punishment of Edom and the everlasting kingdom of God; Obadiah 1:18-21. Zephaniah, the punishment of Judah and the final judgment of the earth . Malachi, our Lord's first and second coming Malachi 3:1-5, Malachi 3:17-18; Malachi 4:1-6.

Nay, our Lord Himself so blends together the destruction of Jerusalem and the days of Anti-Christ and the end of the world, that it is difficult to separate them, so as to say what belongs exclusively to either The prophecy is an answer to two distinct questions of the Apostles,

(1) "When shall these things (namely, the destruction of the temple) be?"

(2) "And what shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world?" Our Lord answers the two questions in one. Some things seem to belong to the first coming, as Matthew 24:15-16, "the abomination of desolation spoke of by Daniel," and the flight from Matthew 24:24 "Judea into the mountains." But the exceeding deceivableness is authoritatively interpreted by Paul 2 Thes at 5:2-10. of a distant time; and our Lord Himself, having said that "all these things," of which the Apostles had inquired, should take place in that generation Mark 13:30 speaks of His absence as of a man taking a far journey Mark 13:3, and says that "not the angels in heaven knew that hour, neither the Son Mark 13:32, which precludes the idea, that He had just before declared that the whole would take place in that generation. For this would be to make out, that He declared that the Son knew not the hour of His Coming, which He had just (on this supposition) declared to be in that generation.

So then, here. There was a general shaking upon earth before our Lord came. Empires rose and fell. The Persian fell before Alexander's; Alexander's world-empire was ended by his sudden death in youth; of his four successors, two only continued, and they too fell before the Romans; then were the Roman civil wars, until, under Augustus, the temple of Janus was shut. "For it greatly beseemed a work ordered by God, that many kingdoms should be confederated in one empire, and that the universal preaching might find the peoples easily accessible who were held under the rule of one state." In the heavens was the star, which led the wise men, the manifestation of Angels to the shepherds; the preternatural darkness at the Passion; the Ascension into the highest heaven, and the descent of the Holy Spirit with Acts 2:2, "a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind." "God had moved them (heaven and earth) before, when He delivered the people from Egypt, when there was in heaven a column of fire, dry ground amid the waves, a wall in the sea, a path in the waters, in the wilderness there was multiplied a daily harvest of heavenly food (the manna), the rock gushed into fountains of waters. But He moved it afterward also in the Passion of the Lord Jesus, when the heaven was darkened, the sun shrank back, the rocks were rent. the graves opened, the dead were raised, the dragon, conquered in his waters, saw the fishers of men, not only sailing in the sea, but also walking without peril. The dry ground also was moved, when the unfruitful people of the nations began to ripen to a harvest of devotion and faith - so that "more were the children of the forsaken, than of her which had a husband," and Isaiah 35:1. "the desert flourished like a lily" . "He moved earth in that great miracle of the birth from the Virgin: He moved the sea and dry land, when in the islands and in the whole world Christ is preached. So we see all nations moved to the faith."

And yet, whatever preludes of fulfillment there were at our Lord's first coming, they were as nothing to the fulfillment which we look for in the second, "when Isaiah 24:19-20 the earth shall be utterly broken down; the earth, clean dissolved; the earth, moved exceedingly; the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a hanging-cot in a vineyard and the transgression thereof is heavy upon it; and it shall fall and not rise again;" whereon follows an announcement of the final judgment of men and angels, and the everlasting kingdom of the blessed in the presence of God.

Of that "day of the Lord," Peter uses our Lord's image, Matthew 24:43. that it shall 2 Peter 3:10. come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works therein shall be burned up."

6. Yet once, it is a little while—or, "(it is) yet a little while." The Hebrew for "once" expresses the indefinite article "a" [Maurer]. Or, "it is yet only a little while"; literally, "one little," that is, a single brief space till a series of movements is to begin; namely, the shakings of nations soon to begin which are to end in the advent of Messiah, "the desire of all nations" [Moore]. The shaking of nations implies judgments of wrath on the foes of God's people, to precede the reign of the Prince of peace (Isa 13:13). The kingdoms of the world are but the scaffolding for God's spiritual temple, to be thrown down when their purpose is accomplished. The transitoriness of all that is earthly should lead men to seek "peace" in Messiah's everlasting kingdom (Hag 2:9; Heb 12:27, 28) [Moore]. The Jews in Haggai's times hesitated about going forward with the work, through dread of the world power, Medo-Persia, influenced by the craft of Samaria. The prophet assures them this and all other world powers are to fall before Messiah, who is to be associated with this temple; therefore they need fear naught. So Heb 12:26, which quotes this passage; the apostle compares the heavier punishment which awaits the disobedient under the New Testament with that which met such under the Old Testament. At the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, only the earth was shaken to introduce it, but now heaven and earth and all things are to be shaken, that is, along with prodigies in the world of nature, all kingdoms that stand in the way of Messiah's kingdom, "which cannot be shaken," are to be upturned (Da 2:35, 44; Mt 21:44). Heb 12:27, "Yet once more," favors English Version. Paul condenses together the two verses of Haggai (Hag 2:6, 7, and Hag 2:21, 22), implying that it was one and the same shaking, of which the former verses of Haggai denote the beginning, the latter the end. The shaking began introductory to the first advent; it will be finished at the second. Concerning the former, compare Mt 3:17; 27:51; 28:2; Ac 2:2; 4:31; concerning the latter, Mt 24:7; Re 16:20; 18:20; 20:11 [Bengel]. There is scarcely a prophecy of Messiah in the Old Testament which does not, to some extent at least, refer to His second coming [Sir Isaac Newton]. Ps 68:8 mentions the heavens dropping near the mountain (Sinai); but Haggai speaks of the whole created heavens: "Wait only a little while, though the promised event is not apparent yet; for soon will God change things for the better: do not stop short with these preludes and fix your eyes on the present state of the temple [Calvin]. God shook the heavens by the lightnings at Sinai; the earth, that it should give forth waters; the sea, that it should be divided asunder. In Christ's time God shook the heaven, when He spake from it; the earth, when it quaked; the sea, when He commanded the winds and waves [Grotius]. Cicero records at the time of Christ the silencing of the heathen oracles; and Dio, the fall of the idols in the Roman capitol. Yet once; after many repetitions and confirmations of the new covenant, one more repetition, and but one more, rests to be made.

It is a little while; comparatively it was little; though five hundred and seventeen years from the second of Darius Hystaspes to the incarnation of Christ, a long time to us, who are short-lived, and short-sighted, but a little time compared with that between the first promise to Adam and Christ’s coming; or take any other shorter period, as between Abraham or David and Christ, this last period is short, a little while.

I will shake; whether it be metaphorical or literal, it was verified at the time of Christ’s coming into the world. After the return of the captivity, what with the commotions among the Grecians, Persians, and Romans, which began soon after this time, (the prophet points at this,) it was metaphorically fulfilled, all states were shaken either with invasions from abroad, or intestine dissensions among themselves: literally it was fulfilled by prodigies, and earthquakes, &c., as some have observed and recounted, at the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The heavens; either states and governments of the world, or church affairs, which in Scripture are called the heavens; or the material heavens, and the firmament.

The earth, which, either figuratively or literally taken, will agree well with the text, and the history of times.

The sea; one part of that which is called earth, this lower globe.

The dry land, the other part of this inferior world; and both may, as former words, be literally or figuratively taken, and which better I do not undertake to determine. For thus saith the Lord of hosts;.... For the further encouragement of the builders of the temple, they are told, from the Lord of hosts, that in a little time, when such circumstances should meet as are here pointed at, the Messiah should come, and appear in this house, and give it a greater glory than ever Solomon's temple had; for that this passage is to be understood of the Messiah and his times is clear from the apostle's application of it, Hebrews 12:25 and even the ancient Jews themselves understood it of the Messiah, particularly R. Aquiba (i), who lived in the times of Bar Cozbi, the false Messiah; though the more modern ones, perceiving how they are embarrassed with it; to support their hypothesis, shift it off from him:

Yet once, it is a little while: or, "once more", as the apostle in the above place quotes it; which suggests that the Lord had before done something of the kind, that follows, shaking the heavens, &c. as at the giving of the law on Mount Sinai; and would do the same again, and more abundantly in the times of the Gospel, or of the Messiah. Jarchi interprets this of one trouble by the Grecian monarchy after the Persian, which would not last long: his note is,

"yet once, &c. after that this kingdom of Persia that rules over you is ended, yet one shall rise up to rule over you, to distress you, the kingdom of Greece; but its government shall be but a little time;''

and not very foreign from this sense does Bishop Chandler (k) render the words, "after one kingdom (the Grecian) it is a little while; (or after that) I will shake all the heavens", &c.; and though it was five hundred years from this prophecy to the incarnation of Christ: yet this was but a little while with God, with whom a thousand years are as one day; and indeed with men it was but a short time, when compared with the first promise of his coming at the beginning of the world; or with the shaking of the earth at the giving of the law, soon after Israel came out of Egypt:

and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; which either intends the changes and revolutions made in the several kingdoms and nations of the world, between this prophecy and the coming of Christ, and which soon began to take place; for the Persian monarchy, now flourishing, was quickly shook and subdued by the Grecians; and in a little time the Grecian monarchy was destroyed by the Romans; and what changes they made in each of the nations of the world is well known: or else this designs the wonderful things that were done in the heavens, earth, and sea, at the birth of Christ, during his life, and at his death: at his birth a new star appeared in the heavens, which brought the wise men from the east to visit him; the angels of heaven descended, and sung Glory to God in the highest; Herod and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were shaken, moved, and troubled at the tidings of his birth; yea, people in all parts of Judea were in motion to be taxed in their respective cities at this time: stormy winds were raised, which agitated the waters of the sea in his lifetime; on which he walked, and which he rebuked; and this showed him to be the mighty God: at his death the heavens were darkened, the earth quaked, and rocks were rent asunder: if any particular earthquake about this time should be thought to be intended, the most terrible one was that which happened A. D. 17, when Coelius Rufus and Pomponius Flaccus were consuls, which destroyed twelve cities of Asia (l); and these being near the sea, caused a motion there also. The apostle applies these words to the change made in the worship of God by the coming of Christ, when the carnal ordinances of the law were removed, and evangelical ordinances instituted, which shall remain until his second coming, Hebrews 12:26.

(i) T. Bab Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 2. & Gloss. in ib. (k) Defence of Christianity, p. 88. "adhue unum modicum est, sc. regni venturi." Akiba apud Lyram in loc. (l) Taciti Annales, l. 2. c. 47.

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; {c} Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;

(c) He exhorts them to patience though they do not see as yet this temple so glorious as the Prophets had declared: for this should be accomplished in Christ, by whom all things should be renewed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. saith the Lord of hosts] The frequent recurrence of this expression, which is found here four times in as many verses, is a marked feature of the prophecies of Haggai and of Malachi, and of some sections of that of Zechariah. It is of the nature of an appeal to the power and resources of Almighty God, either as here to awaken the confidence, or as elsewhere to subdue the contumacy of the Jews. The expression is properly elliptical for “Jehovah (the God) of hosts.” See Appendix, note A.

yet once, it is a little while] It has been proposed to render this: “Yet one (a) little while, and I will shake,” &c. Luther has, Es ist noch ein Kleines dahin, and Calvin, Adhuc unum modicum hoc. Similarly Maurer and Hengstenberg. But grammatical considerations are in favour of the A. V. and R. V.

yet once] or, once again. “By the word yet he looks back to the first great shaking of the moral world, when God’s revelation by Moses and to His people broke upon the darkness of the pagan world, to be a monument against heathen error till Christ should come; once looks on and conveys that God would again shake the world, but once only, under the one dispensation of the Gospel, which should endure to the end.” Pusey.

a little while] The explanation which interprets this to mean little in the sight of God, with whom a thousand years are as one day, is forced and unsatisfactory. “The prophet,” as Hengstenberg points out (Christol. iii. p. 270, Clark’s Translation), “lays stress upon the brevity of the time in this case, for the purpose of administering consolation. But only what is short in human estimation would be fitted to accomplish this.” Nor is it better to say that the 517 years which were to elapse to the birth of Christ were a little while “in respect to the time which had elapsed from the fall of Adam, upon which God promised the Saviour Christ,” or “in respect to the Christian law, which has now lasted above 1800 years, and the time of the end does not seem yet nigh.” Pusey. 500 years is not a little while in comparison of any known epoch of human history. The true explanation would seem to be that it is not the actual birth of Christ, but the preparation for that event in the “shaking of all nations,” (ver. 7) to which the little while refers. The whole grand future, embracing not only the first but the second coming of Christ and the final consummation of all things, is indeed included in the prophecy. But it was the beginning of the great drama, not its last act, that was then closely at hand. That beginning was the then immediate object of the Church’s hope; in that she was to welcome the promise and the presage of all that should follow. Time alone would unfold the plot. In prophetic prospect coming events were confused and blended, just as in our Lord’s great prophecy were the circumstances of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the end of the world. But the beginning was near at hand. “This shaking commenced immediately. The axe was already laid at the root of the Persian empire, whose subsequent and visible fall was but the manifestation of a far earlier one, which had been hidden from view.” (Hengstenberg). Our Lord’s use of a similar expression when He says to His disciples, “A little while and ye shall not see me, and again a little while and ye shall see me” (St John 16:17), may serve to illustrate its significance here. On His lips the “little while” had a three-fold reference; first to the few days before they should see Him again in His risen body; next to the few weeks before He would come to them in the Pentecostal gift of His Spirit; lastly to the interval, which in the retrospect will seem “a little while,” before His second personal advent.

I will shake the heavens, &c.] That political convulsions are here predicted is clear from the clause in ver. 7, “I will shake all nations;” as well as from the passage, ch. Haggai 2:21-22, which clearly refers back to this prediction, and explains the shaking of the heaven and the earth by the words, “I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen,” etc. ver. 22. But there is no reason to exclude physical convulsions also. In the earlier revelation of God on Mount Sinai, to which, as we have seen, there is an allusion here, they bore a prominent part. And when, as the inspired writer to the Hebrews teaches us, this prophecy shall receive its final accomplishment in the “removing of those things that are shaken as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain,” the whole material frame of the universe will be convulsed. Hebrews 12:27, with 2 Peter 3:10-12.

6–9. The Prophecy Itself

In accordance with the ancient covenant, as a fresh manifestation of its perpetual virtue and undying life (for “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” Romans 11:29), God will yet again interfere on behalf of His Church and people. And this interference shall be on a scale of grandeur surpassing even the solemn pomp of Mount Sinai, and shall result in a world-wide fame and accumulated glory to the Temple, such as in the palmiest days of old it had never known.Verses 6-9. - § 2. The prophet, to reconcile the people to the new temple, and to touch them to value it highly, foretells a future time, when the glory of this house shall far exceed that of Solomon's, adumbrating the Messianic era. Verse 6. - Yet once, it is a little while; ἔτι ἅπαξ (Septuagint); Adhuc unum modicum est (Vulgate), The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:26, 27) quotes and founds an argument on this rendering of the LXX. The expression is equivalent to "once again within a little time." I will shake, etc. Some difference of opinion exists as to the events here adumbrated. All, however, agree in seeing an allusion to the promulgation of the Law on Mount Sinai, which was accompanied with certain great physical commotions (see Exodus 19:16; Psalm 68:7, 8), when, too, the Egyptians were "shaken" by the plagues sent on them, and the neighbouring nations, Philistia, Edom, Moab, were struck with terror (Exodus 15:14, 16). This was a great moral disturbance in the heathen world; the next and final "shaking" will be under the Messianic dispensation for which the destruction of heathen kingdoms prepares the way. The Israelites would soon see the beginnings of this visitation, e.g. in the fall of Babylon, and might thence conclude that all would be accomplished in due time. The prophet calls this interval "a little while" (which it is in God's eyes and in view of the vast future), in order to console the people and teach them patience and confidence. The final consummation and the steps that lead to it in the prophet's vision are blended together, just as our Lord combines his prediction about the destruction of Jerusalem with details which concern the end of the world. The physical convulsions in heaven and earth, etc., spoken of, are symbolical representations of political revolutions, as explained in the next verse, "I will shake all nations," and again in vers. 21, 22. Other prophets announce that Messiah's reign shall be ushered in by the overthrow or conversion of heathen nations; e.g.. Isaiah 2:11, etc.; Isaiah 19:21, 22; Daniel 2:44; Micah 5:9, etc. Thus will the mighty city be destroyed, with its men of war and booty. Nahum 2:11. "Where is the dwelling of the lions and the feeding-place of the young lions, where the lion walked, the lioness, the lion's whelp, and no one frightened? Nahum 2:12. The lion robbing for the need of his young ones, and strangling for his lionesses, and he filled his dens with prey, and his dwelling-places with spoil. Nahum 2:13. Behold, O come to thee, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts, and I cause her chariots to turn in smoke, and thy young lions the sword devours; and I cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall be heard no more." The prophet, beholding the destruction in spirit as having already taken place, looks round for the site on which the mighty city once stood, and sees it no more. This is the meaning of the question in Nahum 2:11. He describes it as the dwelling-place of lions. The point of comparison is the predatory lust of its rulers and their warriors, who crushed the nations like lions, plundering their treasures, and bringing them together in Nineveh. To fill up the picture, the epithets applied to the lions are grouped together according to the difference of sex and age. אריה is the full-grown male lion; לביא, the lioness; כּפיר, the young lion, though old enough to go in search of prey; גּוּר אריה, catulus leonis, the lion's whelp, which cannot yet seek prey for itself. וּמרעה הוּא, lit., "and a feeding-place is it," sc. the dwelling-place (הוּא pointing back to מעון) in this sense: "Where is the dwelling-place which was also a feeding-place for the young lions?" By the apposition the thought is expressed, that the city of lions was not only a resting-place, but also afforded a comfortable living. אשׁר is to be taken in connection with the following שׁם: in the very place where; and hâlakh signifies simply to walk, to walk about, not "to take exercise," in which case the kal would stand for piel. The more precise definition follows in ואין מחריד, without any one terrifying, hence in perfect rest and security, and undisturbed might (cf. Micah 4:4; Leviticus 26:6; Deuteronomy 28:26, etc.). Under the same figure Nahum 2:12 describes the tyranny and predatory lust of the Assyrians in their wars. This description is subordinate in sense to the leading thought, or to the question contained in the previous verse. Where is the city now, into which the Assyrians swept together the booty of the peoples and kingdoms which they had destroyed? In form, however, the verse is attached poetically in loose apposition to Nahum 2:12. The lion, as king of the beasts, is a very fitting emblem of the kings or rulers of Assyria. The lionesses and young lions are the citizens of Nineveh and of the province of Assyria, the tribe-land of the imperial monarchy of Assyria, and not the queens and princes, as the Chaldee explains it. Gōrōth with the o-inflection for gūrōth, as in Jeremiah 51:38. Chōrı̄m, holes for hiding-places, or caves, not only applies to the robbers, in which character the Assyrians are exhibited through the figure of the lion (Hitzig), but also to the lions, which carry their prey into caves (cf. Bochart, Hieroz. i. 737). This destruction of Nineveh will assuredly take place; for Jehovah the Almighty God has proclaimed it, and He will fulfil His word. The word of God in Nahum 2:13 stamps the foregoing threat with the seal of confirmation. הנני אליך, behold I((will) to thee (Nineveh). We have not to supply אבוא here, but simply the verb. copul., which is always omitted in such sentences. The relation of the subject to the object is expressed by אל (cf. Nahum 3:5; Jeremiah 51:25). הבערתּי בעשׁן, I burn into smoke, i.e., so that it vanishes into smoke (cf. Psalm 37:20). רכבּהּ, her war-chariots, stands synecdochically for the whole of the apparatus of war (Calvin). The suffix in the third person must not be altered; it may easily be explained from the poetical variation of prophetic announcement and direct address. The young lions are the warriors; the echo of the figure in the previous verse still lingers in this figure, as well as in טרפּך. The last clause expresses the complete destruction of the imperial might of Assyria. The messengers of Nineveh are partly heralds, as the carriers of the king's commands; partly halberdiers, or delegates who fulfilled the ruler's commands (cf. 1 Kings 19:2; 2 Kings 19:23). The suffix in מלאככה is in a lengthened form, on account of the tone at the end of the section, analogous to אתכה in Exodus 29:35, and is not to be regarded as an Aramaeism or a dialectical variation (Ewald, 258, a). The tsere of the last syllable is occasioned by the previous tsere. Jerome has summed up the meaning very well as follows: "Thou wilt never lay countries waste any more, nor exact tribute, nor will thy messengers be heard throughout thy provinces." (On the last clause, see Ezekiel 19:9.)
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