Nahum 2:11
Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid?
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(11-13) The figure of the lion appears so frequently on the Assyrian monuments that we may perhaps suppose it to have been a national scutcheon. The metaphor of the ravening beast is well illustrated by the Assyrian records, wherein the most frequent theme is the levying of gold, silver, brass, oxen, &c., from tributary cities. The “messengers” of Nahum 2:13 are royal heralds and delegates, subordinate agents in this business of extortion.

Nahum 2:11-13. Where is the dwelling of the lions — Where is the lion-like courage and strength, which formerly characterized the king of Nineveh and his people? What is become of the stately palaces of the king and princes of Nineveh? who, like so many lions, cruel, violent, and irresistible, knew no other law than their pride and ambition; preying upon their own people, and the neighbouring countries, and filling their houses with the spoils they took from them, as the lions fill their dens with their prey. I will burn her chariots in the smoke — Or, even unto smoke. The LXX. read, και εκκαυσω εν καπνω πληθος σου, I will burn thy multitude in the smoke. Some again render the clause, I will burn thy seat, or thy habitation, observing, that the simile taken from lions is continued; and therefore that the word chariots is quite improper here; the expression referring to the den or habitation of lions, which he threatens to suffocate with fire and smoke in their subterraneous caverns. The sword shall devour thy young lions — Shall destroy thy young people, and the most vigorous of thy soldiers. I will cut off thy prey from the earth — I will prevent thy spoiling any country any more. And the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard — Thou shalt no more send ambassadors with thy orders to distant countries, either to encourage thine allies or to terrify thine enemies.

2:11-13 The kings of Assyria had long been terrible and cruel to their neighbours, but the Lord would destroy their power. Many plead as an excuse for rapine and fraud, that they have families to provide for; but what is thus obtained will never do them any good. Those that fear the Lord, and get honestly what they have, shall not want for themselves and theirs. It is just with God to deprive those of children, or of comfort in them, who take sinful courses to enrich them. Those are not worthy to be heard again, that have spoken reproachfully of God. Let us then come to God upon his mercy-seat, that having peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ, we may know that he is for us, and that all things shall work together for our everlasting good.Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions? - Great indeed must be the desolation, which should call forth the wonder of the prophet of God. He asks "where is it?" For so utterly was Nineveh to be effaced, that its place should scarcely be known, and now is known by the ruins which have been buried, and are dug up. The messengers of her king had asked, "Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?" 2 Kings 18:34. And now of her it is asked, "Where is Nineveh?" It had "destroyed utterly all lands," and now itself is utterly destroyed. The lion dwelt, fed, walked there, up and down, at will; all was spacious and secure; he terrified all, and none terrified him; he tore, strangled, laid up, as he willed, booty in store; but when he had filled it to the full, he filled up also the measure of his iniquities, and his sentence came from God. Nineveh had set at nought all human power, and destroyed it; now, therefore, God appears in His own Person. 11. dwelling of … lions—Nineveh, the seat of empire of the rapacious and destructive warriors of various ranks, typified by the "lions," "young lions," "old lion" (or lioness [Maurer]), "the lion's whelp." The image is peculiarly appropriate, as lions of every form, winged, and sometimes with the head of a man, are frequent in the Assyrian sepulchres. It was as full of spoils of all nations as a lion's den is of remains of its prey. The question, "Where," &c., implies that Jehovah "would make an utter end of the place," so that its very site could not be found (Na 1:8). It is a question expressing wonder, so incredible did it then seem. This is the insulting or deriding speech of all that see and note it.

The dwelling of the lions; Nineveh, compared to a lion’s den.

Lions; tyrants and bloody warriors, as Pul, Tiglath-pileser, and Shalmaneser.

The feeding-place of the young lions; Nineveh.

Young lions; princes, the children of those tyrannical kings.

The old lion, the king of Assyria, walked in his pride, in safety, and his princes with his rapines about him, which none durst disturb.

This is the insulting or deriding speech of all that see and note it.

The dwelling of the lions; Nineveh, compared to a lion’s den.

Lions; tyrants and bloody warriors, as Pul, Tiglath-pileser, and Shalmaneser.

The feeding-place of the young lions; Nineveh.

Young lions; princes, the children of those tyrannical kings.

The old lion, the king of Assyria, walked in his pride, in safety, and his princes with his rapines about him, which none durst disturb.

Where is the dwelling of the lions?.... Of the kings of Assyria, comparable to lions for their strength, courage, and cruelty, tyranny, and oppression; such as Pul, Tiglathpileser, Shalmaneser, and Sennacherib. So the Targum,

"where are the habitations of kings?''

these are the words, either of the prophet, or of the people that had seen this city in its glory, and now see it in its ruins; and so desolate and waste, as that it could scarcely be said where it once stood:

and the feedingplace of the young lions? the sons of the kings of Assyria, the princes of the blood, and who were of the same blood, temper, and disposition of their ancestors, and were born, brought up, and educated, in Nineveh the royal city. So the Targum,

"and the dwelling houses of the princes,''

or governors:

where the lion, even the old lion, walked: not Nebuchadnezzar, as Jerom, who entered into Nineveh the den of those lions, or seat of the Assyrians, and took it, and walked about in it, as the conqueror and possessor of it; but rather Nimrod, that old lion and tyrant, if he was the first founder of this city, as some say; though it does not seem so much to design any particular person, but the kings of Assyria in general, even the most cruel and savage, as the old lion is. So the Targum in the plural number,

"whither the kings went;''

and the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid: there were none to resist their power, curb their insolence, and put a stop to their cruelty and oppression; or make them afraid of pursuing such methods. The Targum is,

"there they leave their children, even as a lion that continues in hunting with confidence, and there is none that terrifies.''

Where is the {l} dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid?

(l) Meaning, Nineveh, whose inhabitants were cruel like the lions, and given to all oppression, and spared no violence or tyranny to provide for their wives and children.

11–13. The prophet’s exultation over the downfall of Nineveh

11. Where is the dwelling] the den.

the old lion] Perhaps, the lioness.

Verse 11. - The prophet asks, as if in consternation at the complete collapse of the great city - Where is the site of Nineveh? Where is the dwelling (den) of the lions? The lion is a natural symbol of Assyria, both from that animal's cruel, predatory; ravenous habits, and from its use as the chief national emblem. Nergal, the war god, has a winged lion with a man's face as his emblem. See the figure in Rawlinson, 'Anc. Mon.,' 1:173, who adds (p. 308) that the lion is accepted as a true type of the people, blood, ravin, and robbery being their characteristics in the mind of the prophet. The feeding place of the young lions may mean the subject lands whence they took their prey. And the old lion; rather, the lioness. The lion is designated by different names, which may, perhaps, refer to the various satraps and chieftains of the Assyrian kingdom. There are the full-grown male lion, the lioness, the young lion able to seek its own food, and the whelp too young to find its own living. Instead of" the lioness." the LXX., Vulgate, and Syriac, reading differently, give, ταῦεἰσελθεῖν, ut ingrederetur, "that the lion's whelp should enter there." And none made them afraid. They lived in perfect security, without fear or care, irresistible in might (Leviticus 26:6; Micah 4:4; Zephaniah 3:13). Nahum 2:11Thus will the mighty city be destroyed, with its men of war and booty. Nahum 2:11. "Where is the dwelling of the lions and the feeding-place of the young lions, where the lion walked, the lioness, the lion's whelp, and no one frightened? Nahum 2:12. The lion robbing for the need of his young ones, and strangling for his lionesses, and he filled his dens with prey, and his dwelling-places with spoil. Nahum 2:13. Behold, O come to thee, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts, and I cause her chariots to turn in smoke, and thy young lions the sword devours; and I cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall be heard no more." The prophet, beholding the destruction in spirit as having already taken place, looks round for the site on which the mighty city once stood, and sees it no more. This is the meaning of the question in Nahum 2:11. He describes it as the dwelling-place of lions. The point of comparison is the predatory lust of its rulers and their warriors, who crushed the nations like lions, plundering their treasures, and bringing them together in Nineveh. To fill up the picture, the epithets applied to the lions are grouped together according to the difference of sex and age. אריה is the full-grown male lion; לביא, the lioness; כּפיר, the young lion, though old enough to go in search of prey; גּוּר אריה, catulus leonis, the lion's whelp, which cannot yet seek prey for itself. וּמרעה הוּא, lit., "and a feeding-place is it," sc. the dwelling-place (הוּא pointing back to מעון) in this sense: "Where is the dwelling-place which was also a feeding-place for the young lions?" By the apposition the thought is expressed, that the city of lions was not only a resting-place, but also afforded a comfortable living. אשׁר is to be taken in connection with the following שׁם: in the very place where; and hâlakh signifies simply to walk, to walk about, not "to take exercise," in which case the kal would stand for piel. The more precise definition follows in ואין מחריד, without any one terrifying, hence in perfect rest and security, and undisturbed might (cf. Micah 4:4; Leviticus 26:6; Deuteronomy 28:26, etc.). Under the same figure Nahum 2:12 describes the tyranny and predatory lust of the Assyrians in their wars. This description is subordinate in sense to the leading thought, or to the question contained in the previous verse. Where is the city now, into which the Assyrians swept together the booty of the peoples and kingdoms which they had destroyed? In form, however, the verse is attached poetically in loose apposition to Nahum 2:12. The lion, as king of the beasts, is a very fitting emblem of the kings or rulers of Assyria. The lionesses and young lions are the citizens of Nineveh and of the province of Assyria, the tribe-land of the imperial monarchy of Assyria, and not the queens and princes, as the Chaldee explains it. Gōrōth with the o-inflection for gūrōth, as in Jeremiah 51:38. Chōrı̄m, holes for hiding-places, or caves, not only applies to the robbers, in which character the Assyrians are exhibited through the figure of the lion (Hitzig), but also to the lions, which carry their prey into caves (cf. Bochart, Hieroz. i. 737). This destruction of Nineveh will assuredly take place; for Jehovah the Almighty God has proclaimed it, and He will fulfil His word. The word of God in Nahum 2:13 stamps the foregoing threat with the seal of confirmation. הנני אליך, behold I((will) to thee (Nineveh). We have not to supply אבוא here, but simply the verb. copul., which is always omitted in such sentences. The relation of the subject to the object is expressed by אל (cf. Nahum 3:5; Jeremiah 51:25). הבערתּי בעשׁן, I burn into smoke, i.e., so that it vanishes into smoke (cf. Psalm 37:20). רכבּהּ, her war-chariots, stands synecdochically for the whole of the apparatus of war (Calvin). The suffix in the third person must not be altered; it may easily be explained from the poetical variation of prophetic announcement and direct address. The young lions are the warriors; the echo of the figure in the previous verse still lingers in this figure, as well as in טרפּך. The last clause expresses the complete destruction of the imperial might of Assyria. The messengers of Nineveh are partly heralds, as the carriers of the king's commands; partly halberdiers, or delegates who fulfilled the ruler's commands (cf. 1 Kings 19:2; 2 Kings 19:23). The suffix in מלאככה is in a lengthened form, on account of the tone at the end of the section, analogous to אתכה in Exodus 29:35, and is not to be regarded as an Aramaeism or a dialectical variation (Ewald, 258, a). The tsere of the last syllable is occasioned by the previous tsere. Jerome has summed up the meaning very well as follows: "Thou wilt never lay countries waste any more, nor exact tribute, nor will thy messengers be heard throughout thy provinces." (On the last clause, see Ezekiel 19:9.)
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