« Prev Nahum 1:8 Next »

Nahum 1:8

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

8. Et cum inundatione (vel, per inundationem) transiens consumptionem faciet locoejus; et inimicos ejus persequentur tenebrae (vel, persequi faciet inimicos suos a tenebris.)


The Prophet goes on with the same subject, — that God can easily preserve his people, for he is armed with power sufficient to overcome the whole world. But the Prophet now includes the two things which have been mentioned: Having spoken in general of God’s wrath, and of his goodness towards the faithful, he now applies his doctrine to the consolation of his chosen people. It is then a special application of his doctrine, when he says, By inundation, he, passing through, will make a consummation in her place There is a twofold interpretation of this verse.

Some make this distinction, — that God, as it were, in passing through, would consume the land of Israel and Judah, but that perpetual darkness would rest on his enemies. Hence they think, that the distress of the chosen people is distinguished from the overthrow of the kingdom of Asshur, for God would only for a time punish his own people, while he would give up profane and reprobate men to endless destruction. Then, by passing through, must be understood, according to these interpreters, a temporary distress or punishment; and by darkness, eternal ruin, or, so to speak, irreparable calamities. But the Prophet, I doubt not, in one connected sentence, denounces ultimate ruin on the Assyrians. By inundation, then, he, in passing, will make a consummation in her place; that is, God will suddenly overwhelm the Assyrian, as though a deluge should rise to cover the whole earth. He intimates, that God would not punish the Assyrians by degrees, as men sometimes do, who proceed step by step to avenge themselves, but suddenly. God, he says, will of a sudden thunder against the Assyrians, as when a deluge comes over a land. Hence this passing of God is opposed to long or slow progress; as though he said — “As soon as God’s wrath shall break forth or come upon the Assyrians, it will be all over, for a consummation will immediately follow: by inundation, he, passing through, will make a consummation in her place.” 216216     The first words in this line are better rendered in our version, “With an overrunning flood,” or, as by Newcome, “With an overflowing torrent,” or as by Henderson, “With an overflowing inundation.” The remaining part has occasioned a variety. The text as it is, and there are no different readings, is this, “A full end he will make of her place;” or, as Henderson renders it, “He will effect a consummation of her place.” The only difficulty is, that “her” has no near antecedent; but it is not unusual with the Prophets to allow the general context to supply this. As the vision is the “burden of Nineveh,” that city is no doubt referred to. Newcome, following the Greek versions, excepting that of Symmachus, translates thus, — “He will make a full end of those who rise up against him.” But it is better to follow the Hebrew text; for the many evident instances of mistake which are to be found in those versions forbid us to put any great confidence in them. The following may be viewed as a literal version: —
   And with inundation overflowing
A full end he will make her place;
And darkness shall his enemies pursue.

   How completely has this prophecy been fulfilled! Lucian, a Greek heathen author of the second century, has these remarkable words, — Νινος μεν απολωλεν ηδη, και ουδεν ιχνος ετι λοιπον αυτης, ουδ αν ειπης οπου ποτ ην — “Nineveh has already been destroyed, and there is no vestige of it remaining, nor can you say where formerly it was.” Bochart enumerates different conjectures which various authors have made as to its situation, most of them differing from one another. — Ed.
By place he means the ground; as though he had said that God would not only destroy the face of the land, but would also destroy the very grounds and utterly demolish it. A feminine pronoun is here added, because he speaks of the kingdom or nation, as it is usual in Hebrew. But it ought especially to be noticed that the Prophet threatens the Assyrians, that God would entirely subvert them, that he would not only demolish the surface, as, when fire or waters destroy houses, but that the Lord would reduce to nothing the land itself, even the very ground.

He adds, And pursue his enemies shall darkness He has designated the Assyrians only by a pronoun, as the Hebrews are wont to do; for they set down a pronoun relative or demonstrative, and it is uncertain of whom they speak; but they afterwards explain themselves. So does the Prophet in this place; for he directs his discourse to the Israelites and the Jews, and he begins by announcing God’s vengeance on Nineveh and its monarchy; but now he speaks as of a thing sufficiently known and adds, Pursue shall darkness the enemies of God By this second clause he intimates that the ruin of that kingdom would be perpetual. As then he had said that its destruction would be sudden, as God would, as it were, in a moment destroy the whole land; so now he cuts off from them every hope, that they might not think that they could within a while gather strength and rise again as it is the case with the wicked, who ever contend against God. The Prophet then shows that evil which God would bring on them would be without remedy. Some render the verb יררף, iredaph, transitively in this form, “He will pursue his enemies by darkness:” but as to the meaning of the Prophet there is but little or no difference; I therefore leave the point undecided. On the subject itself there is nothing ambiguous; the import of what is said is, — that God would, by a sudden inundation, destroy his enemies, — and that he would destroy them without affording any hope of restoration, for perpetual darkness would follow that sudden deluge. He afterwards adds —

« Prev Nahum 1:8 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection