Nahum 3:19
There is no healing of your bruise; your wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of you shall clap the hands over you: for on whom has not your wickedness passed continually?
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(19) Clap the hands over thee.—All that hear the “bruit” or report of the fall of Nineveh clap their hands with joy (Psalm 47:1), for where has not her oppressive rule been felt? The verse is addressed to the king (second person masculine) as the representative of the empire, perhaps also in view of his terrible end. The cruelty of the Ninevite régime is illustrated, as Kleinert remarks, in the sculptures, “by the rows of the impaled, the prisoners through whose lips rings were fastened, whose eyes were put out, who were flayed alive. Consequently it would be a joy to all nations to hear the voice of the messengers of the tyrant no more (Nahum 2:13), but to hear that of the messengers of his destruction.”

3:8-19 Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered merchants. Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.There is no healing - (literally, "dulling") of thy bruise It cannot be softened or mitigated; and so thy wound is grievous (literally, sick), incurable, for when the wound ever anew inflames, it cannot be healed. The word, bruise, is the more expressive, because it denotes alike the abiding wound in the body Leviticus 21:19, and the shattering of a state, which God can heal Psalm 60:4; Isaiah 30:26, or which may be great, incurable Jeremiah 30:12. When the passions are ever anew aroused, they are at last without remedy; when the soul is ever swollen with pride, it cannot be healed; since only by submitting itself to Christ, "broken and contrite" by humility, can it be healed. Nineveh sank, and never rose; nothing soothed its fall. In the end there shall be nothing to mitigate the destruction of the world, or to soften the sufferings of the damned. The "rich man, being in torments," asked in vain that Lazarus might "dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue."

All that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee - For none can grieve at thy fall.

Nineveh sinks out of sight amid one universal, exulting, exceeding joy of all who heard the report of her. "For upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?" "In that he asketh, upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? He affirms most strongly that his evil did pass upon all continually." His wickedness, like one continual flood. which knew no ebb or bound, had passed upon the whole world and each one in it; now at length it had passed away, and "the whole earth is at rest, is quiet; they break forth into singing" Isaiah 14:7.

It is not without meaning, that having throughout the prophecy addressed Nineveh (in the feminine), now, in the close Nahum 3:18-19, the prophet turns to him in whom all its wickedness is, as it were, gathered into one, the soul of all its evil, and the director of it, its king. As Nineveh is the image of the world, its pomps, wealth, luxury, vanity, wickedness, oppression, destruction, so its king is the image of a worse king, the Prince of this world. : "And this is the song of triumph of those, over whom 'his wickedness has passed,' not rested, but they have escaped out of his hands. Nahum, 'the comforter,' had 'rebuked the world of sin;' now he pronounces that 'the prince of this world is judged.' 'His shepherds' are they who serve him, who 'feed the flock of the slaughter,' who guide them to evil, not to good. These, when they sleep, as all mankind, dwell there; it is their abiding-place; their sheep are 'scattered on the mountains,' in the heights of their pride, because they are not of the sheep of Christ; and since they would not be gathered of Him, they are 'scattered, where none gathereth.'" "The king of Assyria (Satan) knows that he cannot deceive the sheep, unless he have first laid the shepherds asleep. It is always the aim of the devil to lay asleep souls that watch. In the Passion of the Lord, he weighed down the eves of the Apostles with heavy sleep, whom Christ arouseth, 'Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation' Matthew 26:41; and again, 'What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch!' 'And no man gathers them,' for their shepherds themselves cannot protect themselves. In the Day of God's anger, 'the kings of the earth and the great men, and the rich men and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains' Revelation 6:15. Such are his shepherds, and his sheep; but what of himself?

Truly his bruise or breaking can not he healed; his wound or smiting is incurable; that namely whereby, when he came to Him in whom he found nothing John 14:30, yet bruised His heel, and exacted of Him a sinner's death, his own head was bruised." And hence, "all who have ears to hear," who hear not with the outward only, but with the inner ears of the heart, "clap the hands over thee," that is, give to God all their souls' thanks and praise, raise up their eyes and hands to God in heaven, praising Him who had "bruised Satan under their feet." Ever since, through the serpent, the evil and malicious one has lied, saying, "ye shall not surely die, eat and ye shall be as gods," hath his evil, continually and unceasingly, from one and through one, passed upon all men. As the apostle saith, "As by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Romans 5:12.

Upon whom then hath not his sin paased? Who hath not been shapen in iniquity? and whom did not his mother conceive in sin? Yet, it passes only, for "the world itself also passeth away," and we pass away from it, and all the evil it can do us, unless we share in its evil, is not abiding, but passing. This then is the cause, and a great cause, why "all that hear the bruit of thee" should "clap the hands over thee;" because thee, whose wickedness passed through one upon all, One Man, who alone was without sin, contemned and bruised, while He riced and justified from wickedness them who "hearing" rejoiced, and rejoicing and believing, "clapped the hands over thee." Yet they only shall be glad, upon whom his "wickedness," although it passed, yet abode not, but in prayer and good deeds, by the grace of God, they lifted up their hands to Him Who overcame, and Who, in His own, overcomes still, to whom be praise and thanksgiving forever and ever. Amen.

19. bruit—the report.

clap the hands—with joy at thy fall. The sole descendants of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians in the whole country are the Nestorian Christians, who speak a Chaldean language [Layard].

upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?—implying God's long forbearance, and the consequent enormity of Assyria's guilt, rendering her case one that admitted no hope of restoration.

There is no healing of thy bruise; in a word, thou, Nineveh, must die, thy bruise he will not heal. who gave it, and others cannot. God by the Chaldeans hath wounded thee, and thy friends cannot bind up the wound.

Thy bruise; shivered and broken state.

Thy wound is grievous; hath brought a weakness on thee, thou art sick with thy wound, and faintest, not able to bear a cure.

All that hear the bruit of thee, of thy former carriage and present calamities,

shall clap the hands; insulting and rejoicing over thee.

Upon whom hath not; no kingdom, state, city, or family almost round about thee; not one can be named.

Thy wickedness; thy sins, thy idolatry, luxury, &c.; thy tyranny, pride, oppression, and cruelty; thy illegal, unprecedented violence.

Passed, without any bounds, and in most vehement and fierce manner.

Continually; either always treading down and trampling upon those whom thou hadst subdued, or else having conquered and spoiled one state, didst forthwith fall upon some other. Thus all suffered by thee, and all rejoice at thy utter downfall; and as none have cause to befriend thee, so none will find hearts to pity thee, or hands to help thee, but every one is ready to wish, that all who are, as thou wert, enemy to mankind and justice, may, as thou, perish without help or pity. There is no healing of thy bruise,.... Made by the fatal blow given to the empire by the taking of Nineveh; the ruin of it was irreparable and irrecoverable; the city of Nineveh was no more, and the Assyrian empire sunk, and never rose again: or, "there is no contraction of thy bruise" (r); as when a wound is healed, or near it, the skin round about is wrinkled and contracted. The Targum is,

"there is none that grieves at thy breach;''

so the Syriac version; so far from it, that they rejoiced at it, as in a following clause:

thy wound is grievous; to be borne; the pain of it intolerable; an old obstinate one, inveterate and incurable: or, is "weak", or "sickly" (s); which had brought a sickness and weakness on the state, out of which it would never be recovered:

all that hear the bruit of thee; the fame, the report of the destruction of Nineveh, and of the ruin of the Assyrian empire, and the king of it:

shall clap the hands over thee; for joy; so far were they from lending a helping hand in the time of distress, that they clapped both hands together, to express the gladness of their hearts at hearing such news:

for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? to which of thy neighbours hast thou not been troublesome and injurious? which of them hast thou not oppressed, and used with violence and cruelty? what province or city but have felt the weight of thine hand, have been harassed with wars, and distressed with tributes and exactions? and therefore it is no wonder they rejoice at thy fall. The destruction of this city, and so of the whole empire, is placed by Dr. Prideaux in the twenty ninth year of Josiah's reign, and in the year 612 B.C.; and by what Josephus says (t) it appears to have been but a little while before Josiah was slain by Pharaohnecho, who came out with an army to Euphrates, to make war upon the Medes and Babylonians; who, he says, had overturned the Assyrian empire; being jealous, as it seems, of their growing power. Learned men justly regret the loss of the Assyriaca of Abydenus, and of the history of the Assyrians by Herodotus, who promised (u) it; but whether he finished it or no is not certain; however, it is not extant; and in one place, speaking of the Medes attacking Nineveh, and taking it, he says (w), but how they took it I shall show in another history; all which, had they come to light, and been continued, might have been of singular use in explaining this prophecy.

(r) "nulla est contractio", Junius & Tremellius, Burkius. (s) "infirmata", Pagninus, Montanus; "aegritudine plena", Vatablus; "aegra", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Burkius. (t) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 5. sect. 1.((u) L. 1. sive Clio, c. 184. (w) Ibid. c. 106.

There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon {g} whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

(g) Meaning that the Assyrians had done hurt to all people.

19. no healing of thy bruise] Lit. thy breach, a favourite word of Jeremiah, e.g. Jeremiah 6:14, Jeremiah 8:11; Jeremiah 8:21, “the hurt of the daughter of my people.” The hurt of Nineveh is incurable (Jeremiah 30:12), her ruin shall be eternal.

the bruit of thee] i.e. the report of thy downfall.

clap the hands] A gesture of illwill and malevolent gladness.

upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed] Assyria has been the foe and the scourge of the human race.Verse 19. - There is no healing of thy bruise; there is no assuaging of thy hurt (Revised Version; Jeremiah 10:19). The ruin is irretrievable; no one shall restore the destroyed kingdom (see Zephaniah 2:13, 14). Thy wound is grievous; Pessima est plaga tua (Vulgate); Ἐφλέγμανεν ἡ πληγή σου, "Thy wound is inflamed." The "wound" is the stroke or plague inflicted by God (Leviticus 26:21). Shall clap the hands over thee. All who hear of thy destruction will rejoice over it (Psalm 47:1; Lamentations 2:15). Thy wickedness. The cruelty and oppression of Nineveh have been universally felt. If Edom is the type of insidious foes of the Church's own household, Nineveh is the emblem of open, blaspheming infidelity, arrayed in powerful opposition against God's people. In the overthrow of this kingdom there is a prophecy of the destruction of all anti-Christian powers, which shall be utterly crushed in the latter days.

The heading in Micah 1:1 has been explained in the introduction. Micah 1:2-4 form the introduction to the prophet's address. Micah 1:2. "Hear, all ye nations: observe, O earth, and that which fills it: and let the Lord Jehovah be a witness against you, the Lord out of His holy palace. Micah 1:3. For, behold, Jehovah cometh forth from His place, and cometh down, and marcheth over the high places of the earth. Micah 1:4. And the mountains will melt under Him, and the valleys split, like wax before the fire, like water poured out upon a slope." The introductory words, "Hear, ye nations all," are taken by Micah from his earlier namesake the son of Imlah (1 Kings 22:28). As the latter, in his attack upon the false prophets, called all nations as witnesses to confirm the truth of his prophecy, so does Micah the Morashite commence his prophetic testimony with the same appeal, so as to announce his labours at the very outset as a continuation of the activity of his predecessor who had been so zealous for the Lord. As the son of Imlah had to contend against the false prophets as seducers of the nation, so has also the Morashtite (compare Micah 2:6, Micah 2:11; Micah 3:5, Micah 3:11); and as the former had to announce to both kingdoms the judgment that would come upon them on account of their sins, so has also the latter; and he does it by frequently referring to the prophecy of the elder Micah, not only by designating the false prophets as those who walk after the rūăch and lie, sheqer (Micah 2:11), which recals to mind the rūăch sheqer of the prophets of Ahab (1 Kings 22:22-23), but also in his use of the figures of the horn of iron in Micah 4:13 (compare the horns of iron of the false prophet Zedekiah in 1 Kings 22:11), and of the smiting upon the cheek in Micah 5:1 (compare 1 Kings 22:14). ‛Ammı̄m kullâm does not mean all the tribes of Israel; still less does it mean warlike nations. ‛Ammı̄m never has the second meaning, and the first it has only in the primitive language of the Pentateuch. But here both these meanings are precluded by the parallel ארץ וּמלאהּ; for this expression invariably signifies the whole earth, with that which fills it, except in such a case as Jeremiah 8:16, where 'erets is restricted to the land of Israel by the preceding hâ'ârets, or Ezekiel 12:19, where it is so restricted by the suffix 'artsâh. The appeal to the earth and its fulness is similar to the appeals to the heaven and the earth in Isaiah 1:2 and Deuteronomy 32:1. All nations, yea the whole earth, and all creatures upon it, are to hear, because the judgment which the prophet has to announce to Israel affects the whole earth (Micah 1:3, Micah 1:4), the judgment upon Israel being connected with the judgment upon all nations, or forming a portion of that judgment. In the second clause of the verse, "the Lord Jehovah be witness against you," it is doubtful who is addressed in the expression "against you." The words cannot well be addressed to all nations and to the earth, because the Lord only rises up as a witness against the man who has despised His word and transgressed His commandments. For being a witness is not equivalent to witnessing or giving testimony by words, - say, for example, by the admonitory and corrective address of the prophet which follows, as C. B. Michaelis supposes, - but refers to the practical testimony given by the Lord in the judgment (Micah 1:3 ff), as in Malachi 3:5 and Jeremiah 42:5. Now, although the Lord is described as the Judge of the world in Micah 1:3 and Micah 1:4, yet, according to Micah 1:5., He only comes to execute judgment upon Israel. Consequently we must refer the words "to you" to Israel, or rather to the capitals Samaria and Jerusalem mentioned in Micah 1:1, just as in Nahum 1:8 the suffix simply refers to the Nineveh mentioned in the heading, to which there has been no further allusion in Nahum 1:2-7. This view is also favoured by the fact that Micah summons all nations to hear his word, in the same sense as his earlier namesake in 1 Kings 22:28. What the prophet announces in word, the Lord will confirm by deed, - namely, by executing the predicted judgment, - and indeed "the Lord out of His holy temple," i.e., the heaven where He is enthroned (Psalm 11:4); for (1 Kings 22:3) the Lord will rise up from thence, and striding over the high places of the earth, i.e., as unbounded Ruler of the world (cf. Amos 4:13 and Deuteronomy 32:13), will come down in fire, so that the mountains melt before Him, that is to say, as Judge of the world. The description of this theophany is founded upon the idea of a terrible storm and earthquake, as in Psalm 18:8. The mountains melt (Judges 5:4 and Psalm 68:9) with the streams of water, which discharge themselves from heaven (Judges 5:4), and the valleys split with the deep channels cut out by the torrents of water. The similes, "like wax," etc. (as in Psalm 68:3), and "like water," etc., are intended to express the complete dissolution of mountains and valleys. The actual facts answering to this description are the destructive influences exerted upon nature by great national judgments.
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