Nahum 1:14
And the LORD has given a commandment concerning you, that no more of your name be sown: out of the house of your gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make your grave; for you are vile.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And the Lord hath given.—Sudden changes of person are a common feature in Hebrew poetry. The denunciation of the Assyrian here passes from the third to the second person. Sennacherib is told that the royal line of Nineveh is to be suddenly exterminated—a prediction accomplished when his great-grandson Saracus, the last king of Nineveh, destroyed himself in despair. He is also told that the Assyrian idols are destined to destruction, and that their very temple is to witness his own death; the prophet’s expression being, I will make it thy grave: for thou art found worthless (lit. “light in the balance “—comp. Daniel 5:27). “And it came to pass as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword” (Isaiah 37:33). The allusion to Sennacherib’s death in the temple of Nisroch appears to us unassailable. That it was admitted in the earliest times is shown by the accentuation and the translation given by the Targum. Keil’s explanation that the “Assyrian power personified “is addressed, and that “I am preparing thy grave” is the true rendering, simply emasculates this vigorous passage. If, as is probable, Sennacherib’s death had already occurred, it would be strange indeed that Nahum should make no mention of this memorable instance of Divine retribution, while at the same time using words so capable of bearing the allusion.

Nahum 1:14. And the Lord hath given a commandment — God hath determined, concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown — The meaning of this seems to be, God had decreed that Sennacherib’s family should not long preserve their royal dignity. His son and successor, Esar- haddon, was now probably at man’s estate, for he succeeded his father in a little time after his defeat, (2 Kings 19:37,) and reigned with great prosperity for many years. But his next successor, or the next but one, was dispossessed of his kingdom by Nabopolassar, father to Nebuchadnezzar, whose family enjoyed the empire of Assyria, or Babylon, as it came then to be called, till the conquest of it by Cyrus. Out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image, &c. — All the images which thou worshippest will I destroy. The army of the enemy shall lay all waste, and not spare even the images of thy gods. I will make thy grave, &c. — The sense must be supplied from the former sentence: as if he had said, The house of thine idol shall become thy grave. There Sennacherib was dishonourably slain by his own sons, and there, some suppose, he was buried. For thou art vile — Held in no esteem, not even by thine own offspring, but disgracefully murdered by them, as having lost all interest even in their natural affection. Or the words may be interpreted of the ignominious fall of the Assyrian monarchy itself, upon the ruins of which that of Babylon was raised. Observe, reader, those that make themselves vile by scandalous sins, God will make vile by shameful punishments.1:9-15 There is a great deal plotted against the Lord by the gates of hell, and against his kingdom in the world; but it will prove in vain. With some sinners God makes quick despatch; and one way or other, he will make an utter end of all his enemies. Though they are quiet, and many very secure, and not in fear, they shall be cut down as grass and corn, when the destroying angel passes through. God would hereby work great deliverance for his own people. But those who make themselves vile by scandalous sins, God will make vile by shameful punishments. The tidings of this great deliverance shall be welcomed with abundant joy. These words are applied to the great redemption wrought out by our Lord Jesus and the everlasting gospel, Ro 10:15. Christ's ministers are messengers of good tidings, that preach peace by Jesus Christ. How welcome to those who see their misery and danger by sin! And the promise they made in the day of trouble must be made good. Let us be thankful for God's ordinances, and gladly attend them. Let us look forward with cheerful hope to a world where the wicked never can enter, and sin and temptation will no more be known.And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee, O Assyrian - In the word "I have afflicted thee," the land of Israel is addressed, as usual in Hebrew, in the feminine; here, a change of gender in Hebrew shows the person addressed to be different. : "By His command alone, and the word of His power, He cut off the race of the Assyrian, as he says in Wisdom, of Egypt, "Thine Almighty word leaped down from heaven, out of Thy royal throne; as a fierce man of war into the midst of a land of destruction, and brought Thine unfeigned commandment as a sharp sword, and standing up filled all things with death," (Wisd. 18:15, 16), or else it may be, He gave command to the Angels His Ministers. God commands beforehand, that, when it comes to pass, it may be known "that not by chance," nor by the will of man, "nor without His judgment but by the sentence of God" the blow came.

No move of thy name be sown - As Isaiah saith, "the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned" Isaiah 14:20. He prophesies, not the immediate but the absolute cessation of the Assyrian line. If the prophecy was uttered at the time of Sennacherib's invasion, seventeen years before his death, not Esarhaddon only, but his son Asshurbanipal also, whose career of personal conquest, the last glory of the house of the Sargonides and of the empire, began immediately upon his father's reign of thirteen years, was probably already born. Asshurbanipal in this case would only have been thirty-one, at the beginning of his energetic reign, and would have died in his fifty-second year. After him followed only an inglorious twenty-two years. The prophet says, "the Lord hath commanded." The decree as to Ahab's house was fulfilled in the person of his second son, as to Jeroboam and Baasha in their sons. It waited its appointed time, but was fulfilled in the complete excision of the doomed race.

Out of the house of thy gods will I cut off graven image and molten image - As thou hast done to others Isaiah 37:19, it shall be done to thee. : "And when even the common objects of worship of the Assyrian and Chaldean were not spared, what would be the ruin of the whole city!" So little shall thy gods help thee, that "there shalt thou be punished, where thou hopest for aid. 'Graven and molten image' shall be thy grave; amid altar and oblations, as thou worshipest idols," thanking them for thy deliverance, "shall thy unholy blood be shed," as it was by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer. Isaiah 37:38. "I will make it thy grave" ; , what God makes remains immovable, cannot be changed. But He "maketh thy grave" in hell, where not only that rich man in the Gospel hath his grave; but all who are or have been like him, and especially thou, O Asshur, of whom it is written, "Asshur is there and all her company; his graves are about him: all of them slain, fallen by the sword. Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit and her company is round about her grave: all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living" Ezekiel 32:22-23. "Graven and molten image," the idols which men adore, the images of their vanity, the created things which they worship instead of the true God (as they whose god is their belly), in which they busy themselves in this life, shall be their destruction in the Day of Judgment.

For thou art vile - Thou honoredst thyself and dishonoredst God, so shalt thou be dishonored , as He saith, "Them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed" 1 Samuel 2:30. So when he had said to Edom, "thou art greatly despised" Obadiah 1:2, he adds the ground of it, "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee. For thou art vile" Obadiah 1:3. Great, honored, glorious as Assyria or its ruler were in the eyes of men, the prophet tells him, what he was in himself, being such in the eyes of God, light, empty, as Daniel said to Belshazzar, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting" Daniel 5:27, of no account, vile .

14. that no more of thy name be sown—that no more of thy seed, bearing thy name, as kings of Nineveh, be propagated; that thy dynasty become extinct, namely, on the destruction of Nineveh here foretold; "thee" means the king of Assyria.

will I cut off … graven image—The Medes under Cyaxares, the joint destroyers of Nineveh with the Babylonians, hated idolatry, and would delight in destroying its idols. As the Assyrians had treated the gods of other nations, so their own should be treated (2Ki 19:18). The Assyrian palaces partook of a sacred character [Layard]; so that "house of thy gods" may refer to the palace. At Khorsabad there is remaining a representation of a man cutting an idol to pieces.

I will make thy grave—rather, "I will make it (namely, 'the house of thy gods,' that is, 'Nisroch') thy grave" (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38). Thus, by Sennacherib's being slain in it, Nisroch's house should be defiled. Neither thy gods, nor thy temple, shall save thee; but the latter shall be thy sepulchre.

thou art vile—or, thou art lighter than due weight (Da 5:27; compare Job 31:6) [Maurer].

The Lord, God of Israel, against whom thou imaginest evil, hath given a commandment; determined with himself, and given charge to the Medes, which in due season they will observe, and, with assistance of the Chaldeans, will fitly execute.

Concerning thee, or against thee, Sennacherib; thy royal family, and the whole kingdom of Assyria. That no more of thy name be sown: though Esar-haddon, son to this Sennacherib, did succeed his father, yet may it be rather said he was never sown. he never took root, but was like seed that, falling on the surface of the earth, there withers and dies; or else, none shall bear thy name and title, but hereafter thy kingdom shall be swallowed up by the power, and silenced in the name, of the Babylonian or Chaldean monarchy.

The house of thy gods; temples built for their heathenish worship.

Gods; idols, intimating the number of them, and the chiefest of them.

I will cut off; destroy and abolish; so idolatrous conquerors were God’s servants to cut off idolatrous worship and idols of the conquered nations: so did this Sennacherib destroy the idols of the conquered, 2 Kings 18:33,34 Isa 37:19; so should they do against the Assyrian idols, who were appointed of God to waste Nineveh.

Cut off the graven image: either it respecteth the universal destruction of the idols, all cut off, not one left; or rather some one more noted, depended on, worshipped, called Nisroch, Isaiah 37:38, by some thought to be the sun; but nothing in particular is elsewhere recorded of this idol, or its worship.

And the molten image: added either to intimate that all idols should fall in the future ruin of the kingdom, or to let us know that neither the worth of the metal of which the image was made, and the curiosity of the work, nor yet the pretext of sacred as a god, should be any safeguard to it.

I will make thy grave; thou shalt not have a royal, magnificent tomb made by thy successor, or such as honour thee, but thou shalt be either buried in obscurity, or else thy tomb shall relate thy vileness, as it is reported it did by this inscription under Sennacherib’s statue in an Egyptian temple, Eiv eme orwn eusebhv estw, Learn to fear God who lookest on me.

For thou art vile; despised since thy defeat before Jerusalem; or rather hast been a vile, profane despiser of God, whom thou hast blasphemed and reproached, and an oppressor of men, whom thou hast slain or enslaved, unworthy of life, and unworthy of a grave when dead. And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee,.... This is directed to Sennacherib king of Assyria, as the Targum expresses it; and so Jarchi and Kimchi; and signifies the decree of God concerning him, what he had determined to do with him, and how things would be ordered in Providence towards him, agreeably to his design and resolution:

that no more of thy name be sown; which is not to be understood that he should have no son and heir to succeed him; for Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead, 2 Kings 19:37; and after him, according to Ptolemy's canon, Saosduchinus and Chyniladanus but the memory of his name should no be spread in the earth; or the fame of it, with any marks of honour and glory, but of shame and disgrace. So the Targum,

"neither shall be any memory of thy name any more:''

out of the house of thy gods will I cut of the graven image and the molten image; called "the house of Nisroch his god", 2 Kings 19:37; where he was slain; and some say that after that it ceased to be a place of worship, being polluted with his blood. Josephus (t) calls it his own temple, where he usually worshipped, for which he had a peculiar regard, and for his god Nisroch; but who this deity was is not certain. Selden says (u), he knew nothing, nor had read anything of him, but what is mentioned in the Scripture. Some of the Jewish writers (w) take it to be a plank of Noah's ark; and Mr. Basnage (x) is of opinion that it is Janus represented by Noah's ark, who had two faces, before and behind; a fit emblem of Noah, who saw two worlds, one before, and another after the flood. Some say Dagon the god of the Philistines is meant, which is not likely; See Gill on Isaiah 37:38; but, be he who he will, there were other idols besides him, both graven and molten, in this temple, as is here expressed; very probably here stood an image of Belus or Pul, the first Assyrian monarch, and who; was deified; and perhaps Adrammelech the god of the Sepharvites was another, since one of Sennacherib's sons bore this name; and it was usual with the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians, to give the names of their gods to their princes, or insert them in theirs: here also might be the Assyrian Venus, Derceto, Semiramis, and others: fishes also were worshipped by the Assyrians, in honour of Derceto; and doves in remembrance of Semiramis, said to be nourished by one in her infancy, and turned into one at her death; hence those creatures became sacred in Assyria, and were not suffered to be touched and killed, as Philo observed at Askelon; See Gill on Hosea 11:11; and Lucian (y) at Hieropolis in Syria; where, he says, of all birds, they think the dove most holy; so that they count it very unlawful to touch them; and if by chance they do, they reckon themselves unclean that whole day; hence you may see them frequently in their houses conversing familiarly with them, generally feeding on the ground, without any fear; and he also says (z) the Assyrians sacrifice to a dove, and which he must have known, since he himself was an Assyrian, as he tells us; but, whatever these graven and molten images were, it is here predicted they should be utterly demolished. The sense is, that whereas Sennacherib's empire should be destroyed, and his capital taken, the temple where he worshipped would be defaced, and all his gods he gloried of, all his images, both graven and molten, would be cut to pieces, falling into the conqueror's hands, as was usual in such cases; these would not be able to defend him or his, or secure them from the vengeance of God, whom he had blasphemed:

I will make thy grave, for thou art vile: the Targum is,

"there will I put thy grave;''

that is, in the house of thy god, as Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it; where he was slain by two of his sons, as before observed; and this judgment came upon him by the will of God, because he was a loose vile creature; because he had vilified the true God, and reproached him, as unable to deliver Hezekiah and his people out of his hands. The Targum paraphrases it,

"because this is easy before me;''

what the Lord could easily do, make his idol temple his grave; or, however, take away his life, and lay his honour in the dust: or it may be rendered, "I will put upon thy grave that thou art vile" (a); he, who thought to have a superb monument over his grave, and an epitaph inscribed on it to his immortal honour, as kings used to have; this shall be the sepulchral inscription,

"here lies a vile, wicked, and contemptible man;''

so Abarbinel. There was a statue of this king in an Egyptian temple, as Herodotus (b) relates, according, as many think, with this inscription on it,

"whosoever looks on me, let him be religious;''

though I rather think it was a statue of Sethon the priest of Vulcan, and last king of Egypt. Here ends the first chapter in some Hebrew copies, and in the Syriac and Arabic versions, and in Aben Ezra.

(t) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 1. sect. 5. (u) De Dis Syris, Syntagm. 2. c. 10. p. 329. (w) Vid. Jarchi in Isaiam, c. 37, 38. (x) In Calmet's Dictionary, in the word "Samaritans". (y) De Dea Syria. (z) In Jupiter Tragoedus. (a) . (b) , . Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 141.

And the LORD hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be {o} sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.

(o) Meaning, Sennacherib, who would have no more children, but be slain in the house of his gods; 2Ki 19:36-37.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. Asshur is addressed.

house of thy gods] Perhaps: thy god.

I will make thy grave] This, according to a common use of the pron., might mean: a grave for thee, consign thee to the grave. More naturally Syr., I will make it thy grave, i.e. probably, the house of thy god. Bickell, turning the phrase “for thou art vile” into a noun by some change of consonants, educes the sense: I will make thy graves to be dunghills. The word “dunghill” is Syr. and Targumic.

15 (Hebrews 2:1). The ancient foe of Israel is no more, and those who announce his downfall hasten over the mountains proclaiming the good tidings. Judah is bidden hold her feasts, and fulfil her vows, made in the days of her adversity. The same words virtually occur in Isaiah 52:7. The phrase “perform (pay) vows” is common in the Psalms and later literature, but is found also in early prose, e.g. 2 Samuel 15:7-8.

the wicked] Or, the wicked one, Heb. belial, the wrongdoer; whether Asshur personified or the king of Assyria.

pass through thee] Cf. Joel 3:17; Zechariah 9:8.Verse 14. - Concerning thee. The prophet addresses the Assyrian, and announces God's purpose concerning him. That no more of thy name be sown. There is no special reference to Sennacherib in this or the next clause, but the prophet means that the Assyrian people and name shall become extinct. Out of the house of thy gods (Isaiah 37:38, whore the murder of Sennacherib in the temple of Nisroch is mentioned). An account of the religion of the Assyrians will be found in Layard, 'Nineveh and its Remains,' vol. 2 ch. 7. Graven image; carved out of wood or stone. Molten; cast in metal. The two terms comprise every kind of idol, as in Deuteronomy 27:15; Judges 17:3. The Assyrians used to destroy the images of the gods worshipped by conquered nations (2 Kings 19:18). Bonomi ('Nineveh and its Palaces,' p. 163) gives a picture of soldiers cutting up the image of some foreign deity, and carrying away the pieces. So should it now be done unto their gods. I will make thy grave. I will consign thee, O Assyrian, and thy idols to oblivion (Ezekiel 32:22, etc.). It is not, "I will make it, the temple, thy grave," as those who see a reference to the death of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:37) render it; but, "I prepare thy grave" - I doom thee to destruction. The reason is given: For thou art vile; quia inhonoratus es (Vulgate): ὅτι ταχεῖς, "for they are swift" (Septuagint). The word is also translated "light," weighed in the balances, and found wanting, as Daniel 5:27. "Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly."

The prayer which follows (Jonah 2:2-9) is not a petition for deliverance, but thanksgiving and praise for deliverance already received. It by no means follows from this, however, that Jonah did not utter this prayer till after he had been vomited upon the land, and that v. 10 ought to be inserted before v. 2; but, as the earlier commentators have shown, the fact is rather this, that when Jonah had been swallowed by the fish, and found that he was preserved alive in the fish's belly, he regarded this as a pledge of his deliverance, for which he praised the Lord. Luther also observes, that "he did not actually utter these very words with his mouth, and arrange them in this orderly manner, in the belly of the fish; but that he here shows what the state of his mind was, and what thoughts he had when he was engaged in this conflict with death." The expression "his God" (אלהיו) must not be overlooked. He prayed not only to Jehovah, as the heathen sailors also did (Jonah 1:14), but to Jehovah as his God, from whom he had tried to escape, and whom he now addresses again as his God when in peril of death. "He shows his faith by adoring Him as his God" (Burk). The prayer consists for the most part of reminiscences of passages in the Psalms, which were so exactly suited to Jonah's circumstances, that he could not have expressed his thoughts and feelings any better in words of his own. It is by no means so "atomically compounded from passages in the Psalms" that there is any ground for pronouncing it "a later production which has been attributed to Jonah," as Knobel and De Wette do; but it is the simple and natural utterance of a man versed in the Holy Scripture and living in the word of God, and is in perfect accordance with the prophet's circumstances and the state of his mind. Commencing with the confession, that the Lord has heard his crying to Him in distress (Jonah 2:2), Jonah depicts in two strophes (Jonah 2:3 and Jonah 2:4, Jonah 2:5-7) the distress into which he had been brought, and the deliverance out of that destruction which appeared inevitable, and closes in Jonah 2:8, Jonah 2:9 with a vow of thanksgiving for the deliverance which he had received.

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