Nahum 1:15
Behold on the mountains the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace! O Judah, keep your solemn feasts, perform your vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Behold upon the mountains.—It is not plain why this verse has been made the first of Nahum 3 in the Hebrew. It is evidently the finale of the proclamation against the Assyrian invader, and rightly stands in the LXX. as the last verse of Nahum 2. It portrays the announcement of Sennacherib’s fate to the towns and villages of Judah. “From mountain-top to mountain-top by beacon fires they spread the glad tidings. Suddenly the deliverance comes, sudden its announcement. Behold, Judah, before hindered by armies from going up to Jerusalem, its cities taken, may now again keep the feasts there, and pay the vows which in trouble she promised; for the wicked one, the ungodly Sennacherib, is utterly cut off; he shall no more pass through thee” (Pusey). The opening clause necessarily reminds one of the description of deliverance in Isaiah 52:7. The one author probably borrows the language of the other; but which passage we regard as the original must depend on the view taken of the Book of Isaiah.

Nahum 1:15. Behold upon the mountains — Which surrounded Jerusalem; the feet of him — Of the messenger; that bringeth good tidings — Tidings that Nineveh is destroyed; that publisheth peace — Deliverance from the tyranny and oppression of the Assyrians, through the destruction of their capital city, and the overthrow of their empire; or safety and prosperity to the Jews, which the word peace often signifies. Compare Isaiah 52:7, where the same expressions are used with relation to the destruction of Babylon, the overthrow of the Chaldean empire, and the release of the Jews, and their restoration to their own land. These deliverances being typical of the great redemption wrought out for us by the Messiah, the words are applied by the apostle (Romans 10:15) to the gospel, which brings us glad tidings of that redemption, and of all the spiritual and eternal blessings consequent upon it. O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts — As thou now hast liberty to do, and mayest do with joy and gladness, being freed from thy fears; and to do which thou art now under peculiar obligations, having been so wonderfully delivered from the oppressive power of thy enemies; and having solemnly vowed to God, when thou wast in distress, that thou wouldest worship and serve him according to the precepts of his law, if thou shouldest be delivered from any further fear of thy oppressors. For the wicked shall no more pass through thee — The impious Assyrians, who set at naught and blasphemed Jehovah, thy God, shall no more come against thee. He is utterly cut off — The oppressor is taken away, and the Assyrian empire utterly and for ever ruined. 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.That publisheth peace - This declaration is general, that the coming of such a messenger would be attended with joy. The particular and special idea here is, that it would be a joyful announcement that this captivity was ended, and that Zion was about to be restored.

That bringeth good tidings of good - He announces that which is good or which is a joyful message.

That saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth - That is, thy God has delivered the people from their captivity, and is about to reign again in Zion. This was applied at first to the return from the captivity. Paul, as has been already observed, applies it to the ministers of the gospel. That is, it is language which will well express the nature of the message which the ministers of the gospel bear to their fellow-men. The sense is here, that the coming of a messenger bringing good news is universally agreeable to people. And it the coming of a messenger announcing that peace is made, is pleasant; or if the coming of such a messenger declaring that the captivity at Babylon was ended, was delightful, how much more so should be the coming of the herald announcing that man may be at peace with his Maker?

Nahum 1:15Behold upon the mountains, the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace - From mountain-top to mountain-top by beacon-fires they spread the glad tidings. Suddenly the deliverance comes, sudden its announcement. "Behold!" Judah, before hindered by armies from going up to Jerusalem, its cities taken 2 Kings 18:13, may now again "keep the feasts" there, and "pay the vows," which "in trouble she promised;" "for the wicked one," the ungodly Sennacherib, "is utterly cut off, he shall no more pass through thee;" "the army and king and empire of the Assyrians have perished." But the words of prophecy cannot be bound down to this. These large promises, which, as to this world, were forfeited in the next reign, when Manasseh was taken captive to Babylon, and still more in the seventy years' captivity, and more yet in that until now, look for a fulfillment, as they stand.

They sound so absolute. "I will afflict thee no more," "the wicked shall no more pass through thee," "he is utterly (literally, the whole of him) cut off." Nahum joins on this signal complete deliverance from a temporal enemy, to the final deliverance of the people of God. The invasion of Sennacherib was an avowed conflict with God Himself. It was a defiance of God. He would make God's people, his; he would "cut it off that it be no more a people, and that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance" Psalm 83:4. There was a more "evil counselor" behind, whose agent was Sennacherib. He, as he is the author of all murders and strife, so has he a special hatred for the Church, whether before or since Christ's Coming. Before, that he right cut off that Line from whom "the Seed of the woman" should be born, which should destroy his empire and crush himself, and that he might devour the Child who was to be born Revelation 12:4.

Since, because her members are his freed captives, and she makes inroads on his kingdom, and he hates them because he hates God and Christ who dwells in them. As the time of the birth of our Lord neared, his hate became more concentrated. God overruled the hatred of Edom or Moab, or the pride of Assyria, to His own ends, to preserve Israel by chastising it. Their hatred was from the evil one, because it was God's people, the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, the line of David. If they could be cut off, they of whom Christ was to be born according to the flesh, and so, in all seeming, the hope of the world, were gone. Sennacherib then was not a picture only, he was the agent of Satan, who used his hands, feet, tongue, to blaspheme God and war against His people. As then we have respect not to the mere agent, but to the principal, and should address him through those he employed (as Elisha said of the messenger who came to slay him, "is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?" 2 Kings 6:32), so the prophet's words chiefly and most fully go to the instigator of Sennacherib, whose very name he names, Belial. It is the deliverance of the Church and the people of God which he foretells, and thanks God for.

continued...

15. This verse is joined in the Hebrew text to the second chapter. It is nearly the same as Isa 52:7, referring to the similar deliverance from Babylon.

him that bringeth good tidings—announcing the overthrow of Sennacherib and deliverance of Jerusalem. The "mountains" are those round Jerusalem, on which Sennacherib's host had so lately encamped, preventing Judah from keeping her "feasts," but on which messengers now speed to Jerusalem, publishing his overthrow with a loud voice where lately they durst not have opened their mouths. A type of the far more glorious spiritual deliverance of God's people from Satan by Messiah, heralded by ministers of the Gospel (Ro 10:15).

perform thy vows—which thou didst promise if God would deliver thee from the Assyrian.

the wicked—literally, "Belial"; the same as the "counsellor of Belial" (Na 1:11, Margin); namely, Sennacherib.

Behold: as this speaks some unexpected thing, so it calls for our heeding and minding of it.

Upon the mountains; over which he must needs come that either came from the Assyrian camp, where the miraculous slaughter was made, or from Nineveh, where the fugitive defeated tyrant was slain; many mountains environing Jerusalem, and lying dispersed in Judea, over which the messengers came, who brought news of Sennacherib’s death, or downfall of the Assyrian kingdom.

Good tidings; good news indeed to an oppressed and weakened people, at which they might well rejoice indeed, if it be considered what this tyrant intended, see Isaiah 10:5-31 now he is dead who designed the mischief.

Publisheth; proclaimeth, and tells to every one he meets.

Peace; not by league or friendship with the Assyrian, but as the consequent of his death, and overthrow of his kingdom.

Keep thy solemn feasts; be careful to serve God and worship him, ye that are his people. Perform thy vows, made in thy deep distress, when all seemed lost and forlorn. The wicked; that wicked counsellor, Nahum 1:11, the violent oppressor, proud Sennacherib, who shall fall by the sword, or rather is fallen by it, in his own land, when this messenger of glad tidings came, Isaiah 37:7,37,38.

Shall no more pass through thee; neither as a conqueror who beareth all down before him, nor as a triumpher glorifying in his acquists which in progress he takes view of.

He is utterly cut off; murdered by his sons, his kingdom shaken by intestine troubles arising on the slaughter of his army, and an anarchy, or interregnum, whilst the two brethren parricides warred with the third for the crown, and all three were in that juncture, as in an opportune season, invaded, subdued, and destroyed by Merodach-baladan king of Babylon: see Isaiah 10. Behold upon the mountains,.... Of the land of Israel, as the Targum; or those about Jerusalem:

the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; see how they come one after another with the news of the havoc and slaughter made in the army of Sennacherib by an angel in one night; of his flight, and of the dealt, of him by the hands of his two sons; and, after that, of the destruction of Nineveh, and of the whole Assyrian empire; all which were good tidings to the Jews, to whom the Assyrians were implacable enemies, and whose power the Jews dreaded; and therefore it must be good news to them to hear of their defeat and ruin, and the messengers that brought it must be welcome to them:

that publisheth peace; to the Jewish nation, who might from hence hope for peaceable and prosperous times: like expressions with these are used in Isaiah 52:7 on account of the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity; and are applied by the apostle to Gospel times and Gospel preachers, Romans 10:15 as these may also, and express the good tidings of victory obtained by Christ over sin, Satan, the world, hell and death; and of salvation wrought out, and peace made by him; it being usual for the prophets abruptly and at once to rise from temporal to spiritual and eternal things, particularly to what concern the Messiah, and the Gospel dispensation; See Gill on Isaiah 52:7,

O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts; of the passover, pentecost, and tabernacles; which had been interrupted or omitted through the invasion of the land, and the siege of Jerusalem, by the enemy; but now, he being gone and slain, they had full liberty, and were at leisure to attend these solemnities:

perform thy vows; which they had made when in distress, when the enemy was in their land, and before their city; promising what they would do, if it pleased God to deliver them out of his hands, and now they were delivered; and therefore it was incumbent on them to make good their promises, and especially to offer up their thanksgivings to God for such a mercy; see Psalm 50:14,

for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off; or Belial, the counsellor of Belial, as in Nahum 1:11 the king of Assyria; who, though he had passed through their land, had invaded it, and made devastation in it, should do so no more; being dead, cut off in a judicial way, through the just judgment of God, suffering his sons to take away his life while in the midst of his idolatrous worship; and this may reach, not only to him, and his seed after him, being wholly cut off, but to the whole Assyrian empire, who should none of them ever give any further trouble to Judah.

Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth {p} peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

(p) Which peace the Jews would enjoy by the death of Sennacherib.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 15. - The second chapter commences here in the Hebrew and Syriac; the Anglican follows the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Chaldee Versions. This seems most agreeable to the method of the prophecy, wherein threat is succeeded by promise, denunciation of the enemy by declaration of comfort to Judah (comp. Nahum 1:6, 7, 12, and 13; so here vers. 14 and 15). The prophet announces the joy with which Judah receives the news of the overthrow of Nineveh. Behold upon the mountains, etc. Isaiah (Isaiah 52:7) uses these words to proclaim the coming of Messiah (comp. Isaiah 40:9; Romans 10:15). The messengers come from the East across the mountains of Palestine, announcing the fall of Nineveh and the consequent peace and security of Judah - a type of the overthrow of God's enemies and the safety of his Church. There may be an allusion to the custom of spreading tidings by beacon fires. Keep thy solemn feasts. Judah is exhorted to resume the observation of her solemnities, which were interrupted during the enemy's occupation of the country, or which could not be properly attended by the distant inhabitants. Judah must offer her praises and thanksgivings for deliverance, and perform the vows which she made unto the Lord in the time of peril. The wicked (Hebrew, Belial) shall no more pass through thee. Belial is here the adversary, the opposing army (see ver. 11).



2 I cried to Jehovah out of my distress, and He heard me;

Out of the womb of hell I:cried: Thou heardest my voice!

The first clause recals to mind Psalm 18:7 and Psalm 120:1; but it also shows itself to be an original reproduction of the expression מצּרה לי, which expresses the prophet's situation in a more pointed manner than בּצּר־לי in Psalm 17:1-15 and בּצּרתה לּי in Psalm 120:1-7. The distress is still more minutely defined in the second hemistich by the expression מבּטן שׁאול, "out of the womb of the nether world." As a throat or swallow is ascribed to she'ōl in Isaiah 5:14, so here it is spoken of as having a בטן, or belly. This is not to be taken as referring to the belly of the shark, as Jerome supposes. The expression is a poetical figure used to denote the danger of death, from which there is apparently no escape; like the encompassing with snares of death in Psalm 18:5, and the bringing up of the soul out of sheol in Psalm 30:3. In the last clause the words pass over very appropriately into an address to Jehovah, which is brought out into still greater prominence by the omission of the copula Vav.

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