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Nahum 1:11

11. There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord, a wicked counsellor.

11. Ex te egressus est cogitans (vel, consultans) contra Jehovam malum, consultor Beliiaal (hoc est, impius, vel, perversus; alii vertunt, Nihili.)


The Prophet now shows why God was so exceedingly displeased with the Assyrians, and that was, because he would, as a protector of his Church, defend the distressed against those who unjustly oppressed them. The Prophet then designed here to give the Jews a firm hope, so that they might know that God had a care for their safety; for if he had only threatened the Assyrians without expressing the reason, of what avail could this have been to the Jews? It is indeed gratifying and pleasing when we see our enemies destroyed; but this would be a cold and barren comfort, except we were persuaded that it is done by God’s judgment, because he loves us, because he would defend us, having embraced us with paternal love; but when we know this, we then triumph even when in extreme evils. We are indeed certain of our salvation, when God testifies, and really proves also, that he is not only propitious to us, but that our salvation is an object of his care. This is the Prophet’s design when he thus addresses Nineveh.

From thee has gone forth a devisor of evil against Jehovah, an impious adviser The manner of speaking is much more emphatical, when he says, that the Assyrians consulted against God, than if he had said, that they had consulted against the Jews, or consulted against the chosen people of God.

But though this was said of the Jews, let us yet remember that it belongs also to us. The Prophet confirms the doctrine which I lately alluded to, that whenever the ungodly cause trouble to us, they carry on war with God himself, that whenever they devise any evil against us, they run headlong against him. For God sets up himself as a shield, and declares, that he will protect under the shadow of his wings all those who commit themselves to his protection. If we then lie hid under the guardianship of God, and flee to him in all our adversities, and while patiently enduring all wrongs, implore his protection and help, whosoever then will rise up against us will have God as his enemy. Why so? because he consults against him. And this reason shows, that whatever the Prophet has hitherto said against the Assyrians ought to be extended indiscriminately to all the enemies of the Church. For why did God threaten the Assyrians with a sudden inundation and with perpetual darkness? The reason is here subjoined, — because they consulted against him and his Church. The same thing then will also happen to our enemies, provided we remain quiet, as it has been said, under the protection of God.

But when he says that he had gone forth from that city who contrived evil against Jehovah, — this ought not to be confined to Sennacherib, but must rather be viewed as common to all the Assyrians; as though he said, “Thou produces the fruit which thou shalt eat; for from thee will arise the cause of thy ruin. There is no reason for thee to expostulate with God, as though he cruelly raged against thee; for from thee has gone forth he who devised evil against Jehovah: thou reapest now the reward worthy of thy bringing forth; for where have originated counsels against the Church of God, except in thine own bosom, and in thine own bowels? The evil then which has proceeded from thee shall return on thine own head.”

He then adds, An impious consulter, or counselor, בליעל יועף, ivots beliol. Respecting the word בליעל, beliol, the Hebrews themselves are not agreed. There are those who suppose it to be a compound word, בל יעל, It profits not; and they think that it is applied to designate things of nought as well as men of nought. 218218     “From בל, not, and יעל, profit: — As an abstract noun, unprofitableness, worthlessness, wickedness: — As an adjective, worthless, wicked, good for nothing.” — Parkhurst. “It alludes to Baal, the common idol of the natives bordering upon the Jews, whom the penmen of Scripture changing some letters by way of scorn called Belial: to express a further hatred to this idol, they applied this name to the devil, 2 Corinthians 6:15; which word is derived either from a root that signifieth not to profit, or not to mount upward, because he seeks the fall of mankind, and to keep those that are fallen into his snares, 2 Timothy 2:26 Jerome fetcheth it from a root, which, with another word, signifieth without a yoke, or, lawless; therefore the Septuagint commonly translate it, παρανομος.” — Leigh. There are others who, like Jerome, render it, Without a yoke, but without reason. Then Beliol, is properly a vain thing, which is wholly unsubstantial; and so it designates a man in whom there is no integrity. It is also applied to all the wicked, and to their crimes: hence a thing or work of Belial is said to be any heinous sin or a detestable crime; and the man who acts perversely and wickedly is called Belial. And Paul takes Belial simply for the very gravity of Satan, and of all the wicked; for he opposes Belial to Christ, (2 Corinthians 6:15.) We now then understand the meaning of the Prophet to be this, — that God denounces war on the Assyrians, because they made war unjustly on his people, and consulted not only against the Jews, but also against God, who had taken them, as it has been stated, under his own keeping and protection. It follows —

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