Nahum 1:8
But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.
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(8) But.—Better, and. Jehovah protects His afflicted servants, and therefore He exterminates their oppressor.

Overrunning flood.—On the propriety of this figure see Nahum 2:6, Note.

The place thereofi.e., that of Nineveh. The verse ends, “and he shall drive his enemies into darkness.

Nahum 1:8. With an overrunning flood he will make an utter end — This seems to be spoken of Nineveh, and Bishop Newton is of opinion that the words allude to the manner in which it was taken. “Diodorus informs us,” says he, “that there was an old prophecy, that Nineveh should not be taken till the river became an enemy to the city; and in the third year of the siege, the river, being swollen with continual rains, overflowed part of the city, and broke down the wall for twenty furlongs; then the king, thinking that the oracle was fulfilled, and the river become an enemy to the city, built a large funeral pile in the palace, and, collecting together all his wealth, and his concubines and eunuchs, burned himself and the palace with them all; and the enemy entered the breach that the waters had made, and took the city.” Or, as a great destruction, or an army overrunning a country, is often compared to an inundation, the meaning of the passage may only be, that God’s judgments, like a mighty flood, which overflows all banks, should overwhelm and swallow up both Nineveh and the whole Assyrian empire. And darkness shall pursue his enemies — That is, troubles and destructive calamities.

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?But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof - that is, of Nineveh, although not as yet named, except in the title of the prophecy, yet present to the prophet's mind and his hearers, and that the more solemnly, as being the object of the wrath of God, so that, although unnamed, it would be known so to be. Image and reality, the first destruction and the last which it pictures, meet in the same words. Nineveh itself was overthrown through the swelling of the rivers which flowed around it and seemed to be its defense (see the note at Nahum 2:6). Then also, the flood is the tide of the armies, gathered from all quarters, Babylonians , Medes, Persians, Arabians, Bactrians, which like a flood should sweep over Nineveh and leave nothing standing. It is also the flood of the wrath of God, in whose Hands they were and who, by them, should "make a full end of it," literally, "make the place thereof a thing consumed," a thing which has ceased to be. For a while, some ruins existed, whose name and history ceased to be known; soon after, the ruins themselves were effaced and buried . Such was the close of a city, almost coeval with the flood, which had now stood almost as many years as have passed since Christ came, but which now defied God. Marvelous image of the evil world itself, which shall flee away from the face of Him who sat on the throne, "and there was found no place for it" Revelation 20:11.

And darkness shall pursue His enemies - Better, "He shall pursue His enemies into darkness" Darkness is, in the Old Testament, the condition, or state in which a person is, or lives; it is not an agent, which pursues. Isaiah speaks of the "inhabitants of darkness" Isaiah 42:7, "entering unto darkness" Isaiah 47:5; "those who are in darkness" Isaiah 49:9. "The grave is all darkness" Psalm 88:12; Job 17:13, "darkness, and the shadow of death" Job 10:21. Hence, even Jews rendered , "He shall deliver them to hell." Into this darkness it is said, God shall pursue them, as other prophets speak of being "driven forth into darkness" . The darkness, the motionless drear abode, to which they are driven, anticipates the being cast into "the outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Rup.: "The vengeance of God on" these who remain "His enemies" to the last, "ends not with the death of the body; but evil spirits, who are darkness and not light, pursue their souls, and seize them." They would not hear Christ calling to them, "Walk, while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you" John 12:35. "They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof" Job 24:13. "They loved darkness rather than light" John 3:19. And so they were driven into the darkness which they chose and loved.

8. with an overrunning flood—that is, with irresistible might which overruns every barrier like a flood. This image is often applied to overwhelming armies of invaders. Also of calamity in general (Ps 32:6; 42:7; 90:5). There is, perhaps, a special allusion to the mode of Nineveh's capture by the Medo-Babylonian army; namely, through a flood in the river which broke down the wall twenty furlongs (see on [1157]Na 2:6; Isa 8:8; Da 9:26; 11:10, 22, 40).

end of the place thereof—Nineveh is personified as a queen; and "her place" of residence (the Hebrew for "thereof" is feminine) is the city itself (Na 2:8), [Maurer]. Or, He shall so utterly destroy Nineveh that its place cannot be found; Na 3:17 confirms this (compare Ps 37:36; Da 2:35; Re 12:8; 20:11).

darkness—the severest calamities.

But, or And, or Therefore, since God is so good to Israel oppressed by Assyria, and so terrible, just, and mighty to punish oppressors.

With an overrunning flood; his judgments, like a mighty flood that overfloweth all banks, and scorns all that might check it, shall swallow up Assyria and Nineveh. which was in part effected by Phraortes about A.M. 3312, and in part by his son Cyaxares, who broke the Assyrian kingdom, and took Nineveh.

He, the Lord, by the Medes, will make an utter end, will destroy, so that it shall never recover or be rebuilt,

of the place thereof; of Nineveh, that is, Nineveh itself. So in Scripture sometimes the place is said to perish when the thing itself doth, as Daniel 2:35 Revelation 12:8 20:11.

Darkness: troubles, desolating afflictions, extreme evils. in Scripture style, are called darkness, Job 15:22 17:12 Psalm 35:6 55:5 Ecclesiastes 5:17 Isaiah 42:7 59:9, &c.; Joel 2:2.

Shall pursue; not a single calamity, which is soon at an end, but indeed a succession of calamities, a continued course of them, shall pursue: so Phraortes began, Cyaxares continued, Scythians helped on, and Astyages finally, with four hundred thousand men, finished the pursuit in the sack and ruin of Nineveh after two years’ siege.

His enemies; the Ninevites and Assyrians.

But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof,.... Of Nineveh, against whom this prophecy was, and upon whom it lay as a burden, Nahum 1:1; and now though the Lord was good to them that trust in him, and a strong hold to them in a time of trouble; yet he was determined to destroy their enemies the Assyrians, and Nineveh their chief city; and that by the means of a powerful army, which, like a flood or inundation of water breaking in, overruns and carries all before it; and very fitly may the Medes and Babylonians, who joined together in an expedition against Nineveh, be compared to such a flood for their number and force; since, as the historian tells (y) us, they were no less than four hundred thousand men: though this may be literally understood; for as the same writer (z) observes,

"there was an oracle received by the Ninevites from their ancestors, that Nineveh could never be taken by any, unless the river (on which it stood) first became an enemy to it; and so it was, that, in the third year of the siege, the river, being swelled with continual rains, overflowed part of the city, and broke down the wall for the space of two and half miles; hence the king concluded the oracle was fulfilled, and gave up all hopes of safety; and through the breach of the wall the enemy entered, and took the city;''

and an "utter end" was made of it, and of the place of it, insomuch that historians and geographers disagree about it; some say it was situated upon the river Euphrates, others upon the river Tigris, which is the most correct; some say on the east of that river, others on the west; some will have it to be above the river Lycus, and others below it; so true is that of Lucian (a), that Nineveh is now entirely lost, and no traces of it remain; nor can one easily say where it once was; and travellers in general, both ancient and modern, agree that it lies wholly in ruins, and is a heap of rubbish. Benjamin Tudelensis (b), who travelled into these parts in the twelfth century, relates, that between Almozal or Mosul, and Nineveh, is only a bridge, and it (Nineveh) is a waste; but there are villages, and many towers. Haitho, an Armenian (c), who wrote more than a hundred years after the former, says,

"this city (Nineveh) at present is wholly destroyed; but, by what yet appears in it, it may be firmly believed that it was one of the greatest cities in the world.''

Monsieur Thevenot (d), who was upon the spot in the last century, observes,

"on the other side of the river (Tigris from that on which Mosul stands) at the end of the bridge begins the place, where, in ancient times, stood the famous city of Nineveh. --There is nothing of it, (adds he) now to be seen, but some hillocks, which (they say) are its foundations, the houses being underneath; and these reach a good way below the city of Mosul:''

and darkness shall pursue his enemies; the enemies of God and his people, who would make such a devastation of Nineveh; even he would cause all manner of calamities, often signified in Scripture by darkness, to follow and overtake them; so that they should be brought into the most uncomfortable and distressed condition imaginable.

(y) Diodor. Sicul. l. 2. p. 111. Ed. Rhodum. (z) Ibid. p. 113, 114. (a) sive, "contemplantes", in fine. (b) Itinerarium, p. 62. (c) Apud Bochart Phaleg. l. 4. c. 20. p. 255. (d) Travels, par. 1. B. 1. c. 11. p. 52.

But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the {i} place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

(i) Signifying that God will suddenly destroy Nineveh and the Assyrians in such a way, that they will lie in perpetual darkness, and never recover their strength again.

8. an overrunning flood] Isaiah 8:8; Isaiah 28:15.

an utter end of the place thereof] lit. make her place (Nineveh’s) an utter end, i.e. completely destroy it. It must be confessed that the “her” referring to Nineveh is unprepared for by any previous mention of the city. Again Sept. has read differently, giving for “her place” those that rise up against him, a reading which affords an exact parallel to “his enemies” in the next clause. Such a form as occurs Micah 2:8 would resemble “her place,” or less closely such forms as appear Psalm 17:7; Psalm 59:1. There is no objection to the Heb. text on the score of construction: Nehemiah 9:31 has two accus. for certain, and so apparently Jeremiah 30:11; Ezekiel 20:17; compare a similar construction Isaiah 5:6. The remark of Buhl (Zeitschr. für Alttest. Wiss. 1885, p. 181, followed, by Kautzsch) that a second ace. is not used after “make an end” is groundless.

darkness shall pursue] So ancient Versions as Sept., making “darkness” the subject. Less naturally R.V.: and shall pursue his enemies into darkness. Isaiah 8:22 is too obscure to be cited as a parallel; and in Jeremiah 23:12, even if “darkness” be connected with the verb the sense is rather: in the darkness shall they be thrust down (or, thrust at, Psalm 118:13; Psalm 37:5) and fall therein. Job 18:18 has the idea: “they thrust him out of light into darkness,” where the construction, however, is easier.

Verse 8. - With an overrunning flood. This may be merely a metaphor to express the utter devastation which should overwhelm Nineveh, as the invasion of a hostile army is often thus depicted (comp. Isaiah 8:7; Daniel 11:26, 40); or it may be an allusion to the inundation which aided the capture of the city (see note on Nahum 2:6). Of the place thereof; i.e. of Nineveh, not named, but present to the prophet's mind, and understood from the heading (ver. 1). (For the utter destruction of Nineveh, comp. Zephaniah 2:13, etc.) The LXX. has, τοὺς ἐπένειρομένους ("those that rise up"). The Chaldee has a similar reading, with the meaning that God would exterminate those who rise up against him. Darkness shall pursue his enemies. So the Septuagint and Vulgate. But it is better rendered, He shall pursue his enemies into darkness, so that they disappear from the earth. If this is the meaning of the clause, it resembles the termination of many Assyrian inscriptions which record the defeat of a hostile chieftain: "and no one has seen any trace of him since." Nahum 1:8But 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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