« Prev Nahum 2:7 Next »

Nahum 2:7

7. And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.

7. Et quae stabat solida (vel, firma) ejecta est in exilium (vel, quae stabat occulta, patefacta est, jussa est ascendere;) et ancillae ejus ducentes tanquam in voce columbarum, plangentes super pectora sua.


There is some ambiguity in these words, and many interpreters think that הצב, estab, to be the name of the queen. The queen then they say, of the name of הצב, estab, is drawn away into exile; she is bidden to ascend, that she might migrate to a hostile land. But this view is too strained; nor was there any reason to suppose the word to be a proper name, except that there was a wish to say something, and that there was no other conjecture more probable. But I regard their opinion more correct, who refer this to the state of the kingdom; and there is here, I have no doubt, a personification, which is evident if we attend to the meaning. If any one prefers to regard the queen as intended, it would yet be better to take הצב, estab, in its proper and real meaning, — that the queen, previously hid in her palace, and hardly able, through being so delicate, to move a step, — that she was brought forth to the light; for גלה, gele, means to uncover, and also to cast out. If we render it, was made manifest, the Prophet alludes to hiding-places, and means that the queen did not go forth to the light, but was like delicate women who keep themselves within their chambers: but if we render it, Who is drawn forth into exile, it would be more suitable to one who was previously fixed in her dwelling. The word comes from יצב, itsab, to stand; but it is here in Hophal, הוצב, eustab,: it then signifies one who was before fixed and firmly settled, that is, in her concealment; she is drawn, he says, into exile. If then any one chooses to refer this to the person of the queen, the most suitable meaning would be, — that the queen, who before sat in the midst of her pleasures, shall be violently drawn into exile, and carried away to another country. And it is probable that the Prophet speaks of the queen, because it immediately follows, Her handmaids lead her as with the voice of doves, and smite on their breasts; that is, her maids, who before flattered her, shall laments and with sighing and tears, and mourning, shall lead away, as a captive, their own mistress. Thus the context would harmonize.

But, as I have said, their opinion seems right, who think that under the person of a woman the state of the kingdom is here described. She then, who before stood, or remained fixed, shall be drawn into captivity; or she, who before sat at leisure, shall be discovered; that is, she shall no more lie hid as hitherto in her retirement, but shall be forced to come abroad. And then, she shall ascend; that is, vanish away, for the verb is to be here taken metaphorically; she shall then vanish away, or be reduced to nothing. And as the Prophet sets a woman here before us, what follows agrees with this idea, — Her handmaids shall weep and imitate the doves in their moaning; that is, the whole people shall bewail the fate of the kingdom, when things shall be so changed, as when handmaids lead forth their own mistress, who had been before nourished in the greatest delicacies. 230230     Various have been the opinions respecting the construction of this verse. The Rabbins have generally considered the first word as the name of the queen of Nineveh: but this opinion has been adopted but by a few. Newcome joins the word with the last verse, and changes it into מצב, on no authority but that of conjecture, and renders it “fortress.” What Henderson has adopted seems the best: he also joins it to the last verse, but makes no change in it, only he gives the ו an adversative meaning, which it often has. The evident gender, as he rightly says, of הצב proves its connection with the former verse, it being masculine, while the verbs in this verse are feminines. His version of the two verses is the following, —
   7. The floodgates are opened,
And the palace is dissolved,
Though firmly established.

   8. She is made bare, she is carried up,
While her handmaids moan like doves,
And smite upon their hearts.

   With the exception of the word הצב, this version is liable to several objections. The verb גלה is often used in Kal intransitively, “is removed;” and this meaning enables us better to understand that of the next verb, “she is made to ascend,” that is, into captivity, even into Babylon, the seat of empire, being ever considered as the highest place. מנהגות is a word which in some form or another often occurs in Hebrew, and has never the meaning here given to it. Here it is a participle in Hophal, and “carried away” is its evident meaning, and is rendered ηγοντο, led away, by the Septuagint. “Like,” or, as “the voice of doves,” are literally the words which follow this verb. However connected, they must be considered as elliptical — “as with the voice, or, with a voice as that of doves.” They might then be construed with the next line. The whole verse would then be this, —

   She is removed, she is made to ascend;
Yea, her handmaids are led away,
Who with a voice as that of doves, tabor on their breasts.

   They were accompanying the tabering with a voice like that of doves. “Tabor” is literally the original, and “on their breasts” is an English idiom, as “on their hearts” is a Hebrew idiom. — Ed.

Now this accumulation of words was by no means in vain; for it was necessary to confirm, by many words, the faith of the Israelites and of the Jews respecting the near approach of the destruction of the city Nineveh, which would have been otherwise incredible; and of this we can easily form a judgment by our own experience. If any one at this day were to speak of mighty kings, whose splendor amazes the whole world, — if any one were to announce the ruin of the kingdom of one of them, it would appear like a fable. This then is the reason why the Prophet, by so many figures, sets forth an event which might have been expressed in few words, and confirms it by so many forms of speech, and even by such as are hyperbolical. He at length subjoins —

« Prev Nahum 2:7 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection