Nahum 2:1
He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Keep the munition.—Better, guard the for. tress. These four sententious directions to Nineveh are, of course, ironical, like Elijah’s instructions to the priests of Baal in 1Kings 18:27. “He that dasheth in pieces” may perhaps be identified with Cyaxares.

Nahum 2:1. He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face — This is addressed to the city of Nineveh, and explains more fully how the change, described in the foregoing chapter, should be brought about. It begins with telling Nineveh, that he who should break down her walls, and discomfit her inhabitants, was coming against her, and was, as it were, already in sight. Keep the munition, watch the way — Use thy utmost industry to defend thyself, by strengthening thy garrisons, and guarding the passes. Make thy loins strong — Stir up all thy strength and courage. Fortify thy power mightily — Increase thy forces as much as thou canst. The meaning of this is, that let the Ninevites take all the precautions they could, and strengthen themselves to the utmost, yet it would be all in vain.

2:1-10 Nineveh shall not put aside this judgment; there is no counsel or strength against the Lord. God looks upon proud cities, and brings them down. Particular account is given of the terrors wherein the invading enemy shall appear against Nineveh. The empire of Assyria is represented as a queen, about to be led captive to Babylon. Guilt in the conscience fills men with terror in an evil day; and what will treasures or glory do for us in times of distress, or in the day of wrath? Yet for such things how many lose their souls!He that dasheth in pieces - Rather, "the Disperser," the instrument of God, whereby he should "break her in pieces like a potter's vessel, or should scatter" her in all lands, is come up against thy face, O Nineveh, i. e., either, over against thee" , confronting her as it were, face to face, or directed against thee . From the description of the peace of Judah, the prophet turns suddenly to her oppressor, to whom, not to Judah, the rest of the prophecy is directed. Jacob and Israel are spoken of, not to . The destroyer of Nineveh "went up against the face of Nineveh," not in the presence of Judah and Jacob, who were far away and knew nothing of it. "Keep the munition." While all in Judah is now peace, all in Nineveh is tumult. God whom they had defied, saying that Hezekiah could not "turn away the face of one captain of the least of his servants" Isaiah 36:9, now bids them prepare to meet him whom He would send against them. "Gird up thy loins now, like a man" Job 40:7. Thou who wouldest lay waste others, now, if theft canst, keep thyself. The strength of the words is the measure of the irony. They had challenged God; He in turn challenges them to put forth all their might.

Fence thy defenses - we might say. Their strong walls, high though they were, unassailable by any then known skill of besiegers, would not be secure.

The prophet uses a kindred and allusive word, that their protection needed to be itself protected; and this, by one continued watchfulness. Watch, he adds, the way: spy out (as far as thou canst), the coming of the enemy; strengthen the loins, the seat of strength. Elsewhere they are said to be girded up for any exertion. "Fortify thy strength exceedingly." The expression is rare : commonly it is said of some part of the human frame, knees, arms, or mind, or of man by God.

The same words are strong mockery to those who resist God, good counsel to those who trust in God. "Keep the munition, for He who keepeth thee will not sleep Psalm 121:3; watch the way," by which the enemy may approach from afar, for Satan approacheth, sometimes suddenly, sometimes very stealthily and subtly, "transforming himself into an angel of light." Jerome: "Watch also the way by which thou art to go, as it is said, 'Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein;' Jeremiah 6:16, so that, having stood in many ways, we may come to that Way which saith, 'I am the Way.'" Then , "make thy loins strong," as the Saviour commands His disciples, "Let your loins be girded about" Luke 12:35, and the Apostle says, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth" Ephesians 6:14; for nothing so strengthens as the Truth. For Christ being the Truth, whose with his whole heart hath belived in Christ, is strong against himself, and hath power over the loins, the seat of the passions. Then, since this warfare is hard, he adds, be strong, "fortify thy power mightily;" resist not listlessly, but vehemently; and that, in His strength who hath strengthened our nature, taking it to Himself and uniting it with the Godhead. For without Him, strong though thou be, thou wilt avail nothing.

CHAPTER 2

Na 2:1-13. The Advance of the Destroying Forces against Nineveh, after It Was Used as God's Rod for a Time to Chastise His People: The Capture of That Lion's Dwelling, According to the Sure Word of Jehovah.

1. He that dasheth in pieces—God's "battle axe," wherewith He "breaks in pieces" His enemies. Jer 51:20 applies the same Hebrew term to Nebuchadnezzar (compare Pr 25:18; Jer 50:23, "the hammer of the whole earth"). Here the Medo-Babylonian army under Cyaxares and Nabopolassar, that destroyed Nineveh, is prophetically meant.

before thy face—before Nineveh. Openly, so that the work of God may be manifest.

watch the way—by which the foe will attack, so as to be ready to meet him. Ironical advice; equivalent to a prophecy, Thou shalt have need to use all possible means of defense; but use what thou wilt, all will be in vain.

make thy loins strong—The loins are the seat of strength; to gird them up is to prepare all one's strength for conflict (Job 40:7). Also gird on thy sword (2Sa 20:8; 2Ki 4:29).The fearful and victorious armies of God against Nineveh.

He: some by mistake refer this to Sennacherib; it is more rightly referred to the Medes of Scythians or to the Chalthians, all which did somewhat against the Assyrians.

That dasheth in pieces; that as a heavy and strong hammer breaks into pieces. and then with his arm scattereth the broken pieces; so shall the destroyer of Nineveh do, as a maul, (so the word Proverbs 25:18) or as the wind scatters smoke, so the word Psalm 68:2.

Is come up before thy face, against thee, and is within sight, from thy watch-towers on thy frontiers thou mayst descry his avant-guards.

Keep the munition: the prophet derides Nineveh, and foretells all will be to no purpose; she shall never be able to withstand, so as to conquer; re-enforce thy garrisons, yet they shall fall.

Watch the way; know which way he comes, that thou mayst barricade the way, or set ambushes.

Make thy loins strong; encourage thy soldiers, and make them valiant as thou canst, choose out the ablest and most undaunted. Fortify thy power mightily; gather up all thou canst for the war, increase thy armies, fill up thy companies, engage assistance from abroad; nothing shall avail thee.

He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face,.... O Nineveh, or land of Assyria; for this is not to be understood of Sennacherib's coming up against Jerusalem, as Kimchi; but of Nebuchadnezzar against Nineveh, as Aben Ezra; not Nebuchadnezzar the great, who, the Jewish chronologers say (c), took Nineveh in the first year of his reign; but his father, Nebuchadnezzar the first, called Nabopolassar, who, with Cyaxares or Ahasuerus the Mede, joined their forces against Nineveh, and took it, see the Apocrypha:

"But before he died he heard of the destruction of Nineve, which was taken by Nabuchodonosor and Assuerus: and before his death he rejoiced over Nineve.'' (Tobit 14:15)

and these together, the Chaldeans and Medes, are the "dasher in pieces"; or, "the hammer" (d), as the word may be rendered; and so Babylon, over which one of these kings reigned, is called the hammer of the whole earth, Jeremiah 50:23 these came up openly, boldly, to the face of the king of Assyria, attacked him in his metropolis, not fearing his strength and numbers:

keep the munition; this and what follow are spoken ironically to the Assyrian king, and inhabitants of Nineveh, to take care of their towers and garrisons, and fortify them, and fill them with soldiers: and

watch the way; in which the enemy came; secure the passes and avenues that lead to their city; stop his march, and prevent his access:

make thy loins strong; put on armour, gird on the sword, prepare for war:

fortify thy power mightily; increase thine army, exert all thy strength and courage, and do all that is in thy power to do, to oppose the enemy, and defend thyself; and when all is done, it will be in vain.

(c) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 24. p. 69. (d) "malleus", Drusius, Tarnovius.

{a} He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.

(a) That is, Nebuchadnezzar is in readiness to destroy the Assyrians: and the Prophet derides the undertakings of the Assyrians who prepared to resist him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. Now begins the description of the attack upon Nineveh and its fall. Nahum 2:2, however, returns to Israel and contains a reflection on the meaning of the downfall of Nineveh—its purpose is the restoration of Israel. The following Nahum 2:3 continues Nahum 2:1, and the occurrence of Nahum 2:2 between them is very unnatural. Possibly Nahum 2:2 is the marginal reflection of a reader, which has fallen into the text, or it is to be placed before Nahum 2:1.

He that dasheth in pieces] Probably the word should be pointed so as to mean a maul or hammer, as Jeremiah 51:20; cf. Proverbs 25:18. The foe and destroyer of Nineveh is referred to.

before thy face] Or, against thy face. Probably “thy,” which is fem, in Heb. text, should be read as masc. Asshur is addressed.

Keep the munition] i.e. the fortress or stronghold. Nineveh or Asshur is exhorted to be ready for the foe who has come up: the fort is to be kept, the way by which the enemy approaches watched and occupied, and resolute courage displayed. The phrase “fortify thy power,” or, make strong thy might, is parallel to “make thy loins strong,” referring to inward resolution and not to external things, such as fortifications or the army; Amos 2:14.

Verses 1-13. - Part II. THE EXECUTION OF THE DECREE; THE DESTRUCTION OF NINEVEH DESCRIBED. Verses 1-8. - § 1. Nineveh shall be besieged, because God is about to exalt his people by taking vengeance on the enemy, whose defence, howsoever formidable, is of no avail. Verse 1. - Nahum addresses Nineveh, and forewarns her of the siege she was about to undergo (see Introduction, § I.). He that dasheth in pieces; the disperser; qui dispergat (Vulgate); ἐμφυσῶν, "panting" (Septuagint). The mixed army that invested Nineveh is so called from its effect on the inhabitants of the neighbouring lands. Others translate it, "the maul," or "hammer" - an appellation of Cyaxares, which reminds one of Charles Martel and Judas Maccabaeus. Is come up before thy face. Placing his forces in thy sight, that thou mayest see his power and thine own danger. Keep the munition. The prophet urges the Ninevites to guard their fortress well. Some connect this clause with the preceding: "the disperser is come to maintain the siege;" as the Vulgate, qui custodiat obsidionem. But the other interpretation is more forcible, and suits the rest of the verse. The LXX., reading differently, gives, ἐξαιρούμενος [+ σε, Alex.] ἐκ θλίψεως, "one delivered from affliction." Watch the way, by which the enemy approaches. Make thy loins strong. Gather up thy strength, the loins being regarded as the seat of strength (2 Chronicles 10:10; Job 40:7; Ezekiel 29:7; 1 Peter 1:13). So weak, effeminate people were called in Latin elumbes, "loinless." Fortify thy power mightily; Ανδρισαι τῇ ἰσχύι σφόδρα (Septuagint). Make yourselves as strong as possible (comp. Amos 2:14). Nahum 2:1With Nahum 2:1 the prophecy turns to Nineveh. Nahum 2:1. "A dasher in pieces comes against thee. Keep thy fortress! Look out upon the way, fortify the loins, exert thy strength greatly! Nahum 2:2. For Jehovah returneth to the eminence of Jacob as to the eminence of Israel; for plunderers have plundered them, and their vines have they thrown to the ground." על־פּניך cannot be addressed to Judah, as in Nahum 1:15 (Chald., Rashi, etc.). It cannot indeed be objected that in Nahum 1:15 the destruction of Asshur has already been announced, since the prophet might nevertheless have returned to the time when Asshur had made war upon Judah, in order to depict its ruin with greater precision. But such an assumption does not agree with the second clause of the verse as compared with Nahum 2:2, and still less with the description of the approaching enemy which follows in Nahum 2:3, since this is unquestionably, according to Nahum 2:5, the power advancing against Nineveh, and destroying that city. We must therefore assume that we have here a sudden change in the person addressed, as in Nahum 1:11 and Nahum 1:12, Nahum 1:13 and Nahum 1:14. The enemy is called מפיץ, "a dasher in pieces;" not a war-hammer (cf. Proverbs 25:18), because עלה, the standing expression for the advance of a hostile army, does not agree with this. על־פּניך, against thy face, i.e., pitching his tent opposite to the city (there is no good reason for altering the suffix into פּניך, as Ewald and Hitzig propose). Against this enemy Nineveh is to bring all possible power of resistance. This is not irony, but simply a poetical turn given to the thought, that Nineveh will not be able to repulse this enemy any more. The inf. abs. nâtsōr stands emphatically for the imperative, as is frequently the case, and is continued in the imperative. Metsūrâh is the enclosure of a city, hence the wall or fortification. צפּה־דרך, looking watchfully upon the way by which the enemy comes, to repulse it or prevent it from entering the city. הזּק מ, make the loins strong, i.e., equip thyself with strength, the loins being the seat of strength. The last clause expresses the same thought, and is merely added to strengthen the meaning. The explanatory kı̄ in Nahum 2:2 (3) does not follow upon Nahum 2:1 in the sense of "summon up all thy strength, for it is God in whose strength the enemy fights" (Strauss), but to Nahum 2:1 or Nahum 1:15. The train of thought is the following: Asshur will be utterly destroyed by the enemy advancing against Nineveh, for Jehovah will re-establish the glory of Israel, which Asshur has destroyed. שׁב (perf. proph.) has not the force of the hiphil, reducere, restituere, either here or in Psalm 85:5 and Isaiah 52:8, and other passages, where the modern lexicons give it, but means to turn round, or return to a person, and is construed with the accusative, as in Numbers 10:36; Exodus 4:20, and Genesis 50:14, although in actual fact the return of Jehovah to the eminence of Jacob involves its restoration. גּאון יעקב, that of which Jacob is proud, i.e., the eminence and greatness or glory accruing to Israel by virtue of its election to be the nation of God, which the enemy into whose power it had been given up on account of its rebellion against God had taken away (see at Amos 6:8). Jacob does not stand for Judah, nor Israel for the ten tribes, for Nahum never refers to the ten tribes in distinction from Judah; and Obadiah 1:18, where Jacob is distinguished from the house of Joseph, is of a totally different character. Both names stand here for the whole of Israel (of the twelve tribes), and, as Cyril has shown, the distinction is this: Jacob is the natural name which the people inherited from their forefather, and Israel the spiritual name which they had received from God. Strauss gives the meaning correctly thus: Jehovah will so return to the eminence of His people, who are named after Jacob, that this eminence shall become the eminence of Israel, i.e., of the people of God; in other words, He will exalt the nation once more to the lofty eminence of its divine calling (כּ used in the same manner as in 1 Samuel 25:36). This will He do, because plunderers have plundered (bâqaq, evacuare) them (the Israelites), and destroyed their vines, cast them to the ground; that He may avenge the reproach cast upon His people. The plunderers are the heathen nations, especially the Assyrians. The vines are the Israelites; Israel as a people or kingdom is the vineyard (Isaiah 5:1; Jeremiah 12:10; Psalm 80:9.); the vines are the families, and the branches (zemōrı̄m from zemōrâh) the members.
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