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Nahum 2:1-2

1. He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily

1. Ascendit destructor coram facie tua; custodi munitionem, respice viam, robora lumbos, fortifica vires valde:

2. For the LORD hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches.

2. Quia abstulit (alii vertunt, recedere fecit; alii, quiescere fecit) Jehova fortitudinem (alii, superbiam) Jacob, sicuti fortitudinem (vel, superbiam, est idem nomen) Israel; quia evacuarunt avacuantes, et palmites eorum succiderunt.


The waster spoken of here by the Prophet, some consider him to have been Sennacherib, and others, Nebuchodonosor. The verb עלה, ole, is also variously explained: it is often taken metaphorically in Hebrew for vanishing, as we say in French, Il s’en va en fumee; for smoke ascends, and this is the reason for the metaphor. They then elicit this meaning, — that a destroyer had ascended before the face of the chosen people, that is, openly; so that it was evidently the work of God, that the Assyrians vanished, who had come to lay waste the whole land: Vanished then has the destroyer; and then before thy face, that is, manifestly, and before thine eyes. מצורה נצור, nutsur metsure, guard the fortress; that is let every one return to his own city, and keep watch, as it is usually done; for the country shall be left without men; and watch the way, that is, look out which way Sennacherib took in coming to assail the holy city; that way shall be now free from enemies; and then, keep firm or strengthen the loins, for חזק, chesek, sometimes means to keep firm, — keep firm then or strengthen the loins, that thou mayest not relax as before, but stand courageously, for there is no one who can terrify thee; and, lastly, fortify strength greatly, that is, doubt not but thou shalt be hereafter strong enough to retain thy position; for cut off shall be that monarchy, which has been an oppression to thee. But others take a different view and say, — that the destroyer had ascended, that is, that Sennacherib had come; and what follows, they think, was intended to strike terror, as though the Prophet said “Now while ye are besieged keep watch, and be careful to preserve your fortresses and strengthen all your strongholds; but all this will avail nothing. — Why? Because God has taken away the pride of Jacob as he has the pride of Israel.” This is the second explanation. Others again think, that the Prophet addresses here the Assyrians, and that Nebuchodonosor is here called a waster, by whom the empire was removed, and Nineveh, as it has often been stated, was destroyed. According to these interpreters, the Prophet here denounces ruin on the Assyrians in this manner, — “The destroyer now ascends before thy face.” The Assyrians might indeed have regarded such threatening with disdain, when they were surrounded by many provinces and had cities well fortified: — “It will not be,” he says, “according to your expectation; the waster will yet come” before thy face; and how much soever thou mayest now guard thy fortresses, watch thy ways, and carefully look around to close up every avenue against thy enemies, thou wilt yet effect nothing; strengthen the loins as much as thou pleasest and increase thy power, yet this shall be useless and vain.” If this view be approved, it will be in confirmation of what has been previously said, — that God had now determined to destroy the city Nineveh and the empire possessed by the Assyrians. This meaning then is not unsuitable; but if we receive this view, something additional must also be stated, and that is, — that God now designed to destroy Nineveh and its monarchy, because it had humbled more than necessary his people, the kingdom of Judah, as well as the ten tribes. I cannot proceed farther now.

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