The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yes, the world, and all that dwell therein.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Is burned.—Better, heaves.Isaiah 2:13-14. "And the earth is burned" (rather lifteth itself up; as an an earthquake it seems, as it were, to rise and sink down, lifting itself as if to meet its God or to flee. What is strongest, shaketh; what is hardest, melteth; yea, the whole world trembles and is removed. : "If," said even Jews of old, "when God made Himself known in mercy, to give the law to His people, the world was so moved at His presence, how much more, when He shall reveal Himself in wrath!" The words are so great that they bear the soul on to the time, when the heaven and earth shall flee away from the Face of Him "Who sitteth on the throne, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" Revelation 20:11; 2 Peter 3:10. And since all judgments are images of the Last, and the awe at tokens of God's presence is a shadow of the terror of that coming, he adds, The mountains; the more known mountains of that country were mentioned Nahum 1:4, now the prophet doth extend his speech to all mountains, how great soever, and how fast soever their foundations are laid.
Quake; tremble at his rebuke; not only are shaken by earthquakes from natural causes, disposed by God’s power and wisdom, but are shaken and tremble under the effects of his extraordinary presence, Judges 5:4 Job 9:5 Psalm 29:6 Jeremiah 10:10.
At him; by his power, or at his displeasure, or indeed at his presence, Psalm 68:8, and so the Chaldee paraphrast.
The hills; the lesser hills, distinguished from mountains, or else it is a confirming ingemination of what he had said.
Melt: God’s rebuke is as fire; mountains and hills, like wax, melt down before it, Psalm 114:6-8.
The earth, which seems to be secure against the fury of the fire, yet proves combustible under the fire of God’s wrath.
Is burnt; or else, is taken away, withdraws itself, lifts up itself, as sometimes in earthquakes; or, as the Gallic version, mounteth up in fire; the Hebrew imports all these.
The world; the habitable world.
All that dwell therein; whether they be far off or near to Israel; both men, and all the rest of the creatures, whose abode is on earth, are wonderfully shaken, affrighted, and overwhelmed at the tokens of God’s rebuke. Exodus 19:18. Mountains figuratively signify kings and princes; and hills large countries, as Jarchi and Abarbinel observe, and the inhabitants of them; particularly the kingdoms and nations belonging to the Assyrian empire, which would tremble and quake, and their hearts melt with fear, when they should hear of the destruction of Nineveh their chief city; and of the devastation made by the enemy there and in other parts, under the direction of the Lord of hosts; his power and providence succeeding him:
and the earth is burnt at his presence; either when he withholds rain from it, and so it be comes parched and burnt up with the heat of the sun; or when he rains fire and brimstone on it, as he did on Sodom and Gomorrah; or consumes any part of it with thunder and lightning, as he sometimes does; nay, if he but touch the mountains, they smoke; see Psalm 104:32;
yea, the world, and all that dwell therein; as in the last day, at the general conflagration, when the world, and all the wicked inhabitants of it, will be burnt up; see 2 Peter 3:10.The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. Nahum 1:5 returns to describe the Theophany in the tempest, and its effects.
mountains quake at him] lit., from Him, the effect comes from Him. It is not an earthquake that is described but the effect of the thunder and roar of the tempest. This shakes the mountains. It is not out of terror alone that the mountains tremble, it is the goings, the tread of the mighty God by which they are shaken, Micah 1:3-4. Habakkuk 3:6, “He stood (stepped on earth) and the earth rocked”; Jdg 5:4.
the hills melt] What the physical phenomenon is which suggests this figure is not quite clear. Possibly Jdg 5:4-5 explains the meaning: “When thou wentest forth from Seir the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, the clouds dropped water, the mountains flowed down”—the streams rushing down the mountains on all sides seemed as if the mountains themselves had become fluid. The rendering “flowed down” Jdg 5:5, is the most natural, though others derive the form used from another root which might mean “to quake.” In this case the melting of the mountains might refer to their motion, their undulating as if fluid. Micah 1:3-4, “Behold the Lord cometh forth out of his place, and will tread upon the heights of the earth (the storm cloud trailing over the mountains), and the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, as waters that are poured down a steep place.” The figure of melting wax hardly means that the mountains melt under the fiery feet of Jehovah.
the earth is burnt] Rather: riseth up, reference being to the rising and sinking motion of the earth—not its oscillation; cf. R.V. Amos 9:5. R.V. is upheaved. Bickell from a different root, becomes waste. The last clause is a not unusual formula; Psalm 24:1.Verse 5. - The mountains quake. The mountains, the very emblems of stability, tremble before him (Adios 8:8). The hills melt; Οἱ βουνοὶ ἐσαλεύθησαν, "The hills were shaken" (Septuagint). The hills dissolve like wax or anew at his presence (see Amos 4:13; Micah 1:4). Burned; Septuagint, ἀνεστάλη, "recoils," "is upheaved," as by an earthquake. This rendering has the greatest authority. The world; i.e. the habitable world, and all living creatures therein (Joel 1:18-20). Nature animate and inanimate is represented as actuated by the terror of conscious guilt. Genesis 14:13, and my Lehrbuch der Einleitung, 9, Anm. 2) - and that he worshipped "the God of heaven, who created the sea and the dry" (i.e., the land). ירא has been rendered correctly by the lxx σέβομαι, colo, revereor; and does not mean, "I am afraid of Jehovah, against whom I have sinned" (Abarbanel). By the statement, "I fear," etc., he had no intention of describing himself as a righteous or innocent man (Hitzig), but simply meant to indicate his relation to God - namely, that he adored the living God who created the whole earth and, as Creator, governed the world. For he admits directly after, that he has sinned against this God, by telling them, as we may see from Jonah 1:10, of his flight from Jehovah. He had not told them this as soon as he embarked in the ship, as Hitzig supposes, but does so now for the first time when they ask about his people, his country, etc., as we may see most unmistakeably from Jonah 1:10. In Jonah 1:9 Jonah's statement is not given completely; but the principal fact, viz., that he was a Hebrew and worshipped Jehovah, is followed immediately by the account of the impression which this acknowledgement made upon the heathen sailors; and the confession of his sin is mentioned afterwards as a supplement, to assign the reason for the great fear which came upon the sailors in consequence. מה־זּאת עשׂית, What hast thou done! is not a question as to the nature of his sin, but an exclamation of horror at his flight from Jehovah, the God heaven and earth, as the following explanatory clauses כּי ידעוּ וגו clearly show. The great fear which came upon the heathen seamen at this confession of Jonah may be fully explained from the dangerous situation in which they found themselves, since the storm preached the omnipotence of God more powerfully than words could possibly do.
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