Nahum 1:7
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
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Nahum 1:7. The Lord is good — But though God is thus terrible in his power, yet he is merciful, gracious, and beneficent in his nature, and is a sure refuge and protection to those who worship and serve him sincerely, and put their trust in him; and he knows and pays a particular regard to all such, so that they are never overlooked or neglected by him; he approves, owns, and preserves them.

1:1-8 About a hundred years before, at Jonah's preaching, the Ninevites repented, and were spared, yet, soon after, they became worse than ever. Nineveh knows not that God who contends with her, but is told what a God he is. It is good for all to mix faith with what is here said concerning Him, which speaks great terror to the wicked, and comfort to believers. Let each take his portion from it: let sinners read it and tremble; and let saints read it and triumph. The anger of the Lord is contrasted with his goodness to his people. Perhaps they are obscure and little regarded in the world, but the Lord knows them. The Scripture character of Jehovah agrees not with the views of proud reasoners. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is slow to wrath and ready to forgive, but he will by no means acquit the wicked; and there is tribulation and anguish for every soul that doeth evil: but who duly regards the power of his wrath?The Lord is good: a stronghold in the day of trouble - "Good and doing good," and full of sweetness; alike good and mighty; good in giving Himself and imparting His goodness to His own; yea "none is good, save God" Luke 18:19; Himself the stronghold wherein His own amy take refuge; both in the troubles of this life, in which "He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able" 1 Corinthians 10:13, and in that Day, which shall hem them in on every side, and leave no place of escape except Himself.

And He knoweth them that tuust in Him - So as to save them; as Rahab was saved when Jericho perished, and Lot out of the midst of the overthrow and Hezekiah from the host of Sennacherib. He knows them with an individual, ever-present, knowledge. He says not only, "He shall own them," but He ever "knoweth them." So it is said; "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous" Psalm 1:6; "The Lord knoweth the, days of the upright" Psalm 37:18; and our Lord says, "I know My sheep" John 10:14, John 10:27; and Paul, "The Lord knoweth them that are His" 2 Timothy 2:19. God speaks of this knowledge also in the past, of His knowledge, when things as yet were not, "I have known thee by name;" or of loving kindness in the past, "I knew thee in the wilderness" Hosea 13:5, "you alone have I known of all the families of the earth" Amos 3:2, its contrariwise our Lord says, that He shall say to the wicked in the Great Day, "I never knew you" Matthew 7:23. That God, being what He is, should take knowledge of us, being what we are, is such wondrous condescension, that it involves a purpose of love, yea, His love toward us, as the Psalmist says admiringly, "Lord, what is man that Thou takest knowledge of him?" Psalm 144:3.

Them that trust in Him - It is a habit, which has this reward; "the trusters in Him," "the takers of refuge in Him." It is a continued unvarying trust, to which is shown this everpresent love and knowledge.

Yet this gleam of comfort only discloses the darkness of the wicked. Since those who trust God are they whom God knows, it follows that the rest He knows not. On this opening, which sets forth the attributes of God toward those who defy Him and those who trust in Him, follows the special application to Nineveh.

7. Here Nahum enters on his special subject, for which the previous verses have prepared the way, namely, to assure his people of safety in Jehovah under the impending attack of Sennacherib (Na 1:7), and to announce the doom of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian foe (Na 1:8). The contrast of Na 1:7, 8 heightens the force.

he knoweth—recognizes as His own (Ho 13:5; Am 3:2); and so, cares for and guards (Ps 1:6; 2Ti 2:19).

The Lord is good; though so terrible to his enemies, to obstinate sinners, yet he is as gentle, kind, and good to his people, to Israel; so the Chaldee paraphrast.

Is good; in his just severity he continueth to be good. None of that consuming anger comes from any want of goodness in God; yea, it is as much an effect of his goodness, as just punishments on incorrigible malefactors are the effects of goodness in a judge or magistrate. But here the prophet intends rather the kindness and grace of God towards his people, to whom he doth good, and will do more. Psalm 73:1 119:68.

A strong hold; it might have been rendered, good to be a strong hold, as the Hebrew affix imports, and is sometimes rendered. Though Israel seems to be exposed to the violence of enemies, and to be without any munition or fortress, yet verily the Lord their God is for a defence and fortress to them, Psalm 31:3 61:3 Proverbs 18:10, and is their strength also in that fortress.

In the day of trouble; at all times of affliction and danger, when outward pressures fill us with anguish and fears.

Knoweth; discerneth, approveth, owneth, and will make it appear that he doth preserve, that he may deliver his peculiar ones. He knows the wicked, and will restrain, rebuke, and destroy them; he knows the good, and will protect, rescue, and save them.

Them; whether you consider them in a body and community, or by themselves apart, or singly.

That trust; believe, depend, and wait on God, they that depend by faith, and wait with hope.

In him; on God, or on Christ, or on the word and promise of God. So God was to those that trusted in his word of promise in Hezekiah’s time.

The Lord is good,.... To Israel, as the Targum adds; to Hezekiah and his, people, that betook themselves to him, and put their trust in him; whom he defended and preserved from the king of Assyria, to whom he was dreadful and terrible, destroying his army in one night by an angel; and so delivered the king of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from that terror that had seized them, and that danger they were exposed unto; and so the Lord is good in himself, in the perfections of his nature, in the works of his hands, in all his persons to his people, that fear him, trust in him, and seek him, and wait for him, and on him:

a strong hold in the day of trouble; or, he is "good for a strong hold" (w), &c. it was a day of trouble, rebuke, and blasphemy, with Hezekiah and his people, when they were besieged by the army of Sennacherib king of Assyria, and had received from Rabshakeh by his orders a railing and reproaching letter; and then the Lord was a strong hold to them, to whom they betook themselves, and he protected and defended them. The whole time of this life is a time of trouble to the saints, though it is but a day, a short time; in which they meet with much from their own corrupt hearts, and the sin that dwells in them; from Satan and his temptations; from carnal professors, their principles and practices; and from a profane and persecuting world; and from the Lord himself, who sometimes lays his afflicting hand upon them, and hides his face from them; and yet he is their rock and their refuge, their strong tower and place of defence; where they find safety and plenty in all their times of distress and want:

and he knoweth them that trust in him; in his word, as the Targum; and they are such that know him, and are sensible of the vanity of all other objects of trust; who betake themselves to him for shelter and protection; lean and stay themselves upon him, and commit all unto him, and expect all from him: these he knows, loves, and has the strongest affection for; he approves of them, and commends their faith and confidence; he takes notice of them, visits them, and makes himself known unto them, even in their adversity; he owns and acknowledges them as his own, claims his right in them now, and will confess them hereafter; and he takes care of them that they perish not, whoever else do; see Psalm 1:6; he knows the necessities of those that trust in him, as Jarchi; he knows them for their good, takes care of them, provides for, them, and watches over them, as Kimchi. The ancients formerly had their and "notores" (x), such as knew them, and were their patrons and defenders; as when a Roman citizen was condemned to be whipped or crucified in a province where he was not known, and claimed the Roman privileges, such persons were his witnesses and advocates; and thus the Lord is represented as one that knows his people, and is their patron and advocate. The goodness of God expressed in this text is set off with a foil by the terribleness of his wrath and vengeance against his enemies.

(w) "bonus Dominus ad robur", Burkius; "bonus est Jehovah in arcem", Cocceius. (x) Dannhaver, apud Burkium in loc. Vid. Turnebi Adversar. l. 29. c. 36.

The LORD is good, {h} a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

(h) Lest the faithful should be discouraged by hearing the power of God, he shows them that his mercy appertains to them, and that he has care over them.

7. is good, a strong hold] More naturally: is good for (as) a stronghold, construction as Genesis 3:6. Sept. renders: is good to those who wait on him, which gives a better parallelism to the next clause. Cf. Psalm 37:39, “He is their strength in the time of trouble,” virtually the same words as Heb. here.

knoweth them that trust] Psalm 1:6, “The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous.” Genesis 18:19; Amos 3:2.

7–15. Jehovah will make an utter end of the enemies of his people

The preceding verses have been general, speaking of the attributes of Jehovah and their manifestation, and conclude with the inference that none can stand before His wrath. Now the prophet approaches his more immediate theme, the pouring of Jehovah’s anger on Nineveh. Nahum 1:7 forms an antithesis to Nahum 1:8 : Jehovah is the friend of His friends, Nahum 1:7, and the foe of His enemies, Nahum 1:8, of whom He will make an utter end.

Verses 7-11. - § 3. The prophet prepares the way for proclaiming the punishment of Nineveh lay deriding that the wrath of God falls not on those who trust in him, but is reserved for his enemies. Verse 7. - The Lord is good. The Targum adds unnecessarily, "for Israel" (Psalm 25:8). He is "good," in that he is a stronghold in the day of trouble, as in the perilous time when the Assyrians attacked Judaea (comp. Psalm 27:1; Jeremiah 16:19). He knoweth; loves and cares for (Psalm 1:6; Psalm 37:18; temp. 2 Timothy 2:19; and see note on Amos 3:2). Nahum 1:7But the wrath of God does not fall upon those who trust in the Lord; it only falls upon His enemies. With this turn Nahum prepares the way in Nahum 1:7. for proclaiming the judgment of wrath upon Nineveh. Nahum 1:7. "Good is Jehovah, a refuge in the day of trouble; and He knoweth those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:8. And with an overwhelming flood will He make an end of her place, and pursue His enemies into darkness." Even in the manifestation of His wrath God proves His goodness; for the judgment, by exterminating the wicked, brings deliverance to the righteous who trust in the Lord, out of the affliction prepared for them by the wickedness of the world. The predicate טוב is more precisely defined by the apposition למעוז וגו, for a refuge equals a refuge in time of trouble. The goodness of the Lord is seen in the fact that He is a refuge in distress. The last clause says to whom: viz., to those who trust in Him. They are known by Him. "To know is just the same as not to neglect; or, expressed in a positive form, the care or providence of God in the preservation of the faithful" (Calvin). For the fact, compare Psalm 34:9; Psalm 46:2; Jeremiah 16:19. And because the Lord is a refuge to His people, He will put an end to the oppressor of His people, viz., Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire, and that with an overwhelming flood. Sheteph, overwhelming, is a figure denoting the judgment sweeping over a land or kingdom, through the invasion of hostile armies (cf. Isaiah 8:7; Daniel 11:26, Daniel 11:40). עבר, overflowed by a river (cf. Isaiah 8:8; Habakkuk 3:10; Daniel 11:40). עשׂה כלה, to put an end to anything, as in Isaiah 10:23. מקומהּ is the accusative of the object: make her place a vanishing one. כּלה, the fem. of כּלה, an adjective in a neuter sense, that which is vanishing away. The suffix in מקומהּ refers to Nineveh in the heading (Nahum 1:1): either Nineveh personified as a queen (Nahum 2:7; Nahum 3:4), is distinguished from her seat (Hitzig); or what is much more simple, the city itself is meant, and "her place" is to be understood in this sense, that with the destruction of the city even the place where it stood would cease to be the site of a city, with which March aptly compares the phrase, "its place knoweth man no more" (Job 7:10; Job 8:18; Job 20:9). איביו are the inhabitants of Nineveh, or the Assyrians generally, as the enemies of Israel. ירדּף־חשׁך, not darkness will pursue its enemies; for this view is irreconcilable with the makkeph: but to pursue with darkness, chōshekh being an accusative either of place or of more precise definition, used in an instrumental sense. The former is the simpler view, and answers better to the parallelism of the clauses. As the city is to vanish and leave no trace behind, so shall its inhabitants perish in darkness.
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