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!
3. his mighty men—the Medo-Babylonian general's mighty men attacking Nineveh.
made red—The ancients dyed their bull's-hide shields red, partly to strike terror into the enemy, chiefly lest the blood from wounds which they might receive should be perceived and give confidence to the foe [Calvin]. G. V. Smith conjectures that the reference is to the red reflection of the sun's rays from shields of bronze or copper, such as are found among the Assyrian remains.
in scarlet—or crimson military tunics (compare Mt 27:28). Xenophon mentions that the Medes were fond of this color. The Lydians and Tyrians extracted the dye from a particular worm.
chariots … with flaming torches—that is, the chariots shall be like flaming torches, their wheels in lightning-like rapidity of rotation flashing light and striking sparks from the stones over which they pass (compare Isa 5:28). English Version supposes a transposition of the Hebrew letters. It is better to translate the Hebrew as it is, "the chariots (shall be furnished) with fire-flashing scythes" (literally, "with the fire," or glitter, of iron weapons). Iron scythes were fixed at right angles to the axles and turned down, or parallel to it, inserted into the felly of the wheel. The Medes, perhaps, had such chariots, though no traces of them are found in Assyrian remains. On account of the latter fact, it may be better to translate, "the chariots (shall come) with the glitter of steel weapons" [Maurer and G. V. Smith].
in the day of his preparation—Jehovah's (Isa 13:3). Or, "Medo-Babylonian commander's day of preparation for the attack" (Na 2:1). "He" confirms this, and "his" in this verse.
the fir trees—their fir-tree lances.
terribly shaken—branded so as to strike terror. Or, "shall be tremulous with being brandished" [Maurer].