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Nahum 2:9

9. Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

9. Diripite argentum, diripite aurum; et non finis (quia non est, copula debet resolvi in causalem particulam; quia nullus finis) praeparationis ejus (sic vertunt, sed proprie תכונה significat locum;) gloria ex omni vase desiderabili.


Here the Prophet, as it were, by the command and authority of God, gives up Nineveh to the will of its enemies, that they might spoil and plunder it. Some think that this address is made in the name of a general encouraging his soldiers; but we know that the Prophets assume the person of God, when they thus command any thing with authority; and it is a very emphatical mode of speaking. It is adopted, that we may know that the Prophets pour not forth an empty sound when they speak, but really testify what God here determined to do, and what he in due time will execute. As then we know, that this manner of speaking is common to the Prophets there is no reason to apply this to the person of Nebuchadnezzar or of any other. God then shows here that Nineveh was given up to ruin; and therefore he delivered it into the hands of enemies.

It is indeed certain, that the Babylonians, in plundering the city, did not obey God’s command; but yet it is true, that they punished the Assyrians through the secret influence of God: for it was his purpose to visit the Ninevites for the cruelty and avarice for which they had been long notorious, and especially for having exercised unexampled barbarity toward the Jews. This is the reason why God now gives them up to the Babylonians and exposes them to plunder. But as I have spoken at large elsewhere of the secret judgments of God, I shall only briefly observe here, — that God does not command the Babylonians and Chaldeans in order to render them excusable, but shows by his Prophet, that Nineveh was to be destroyed by her enemies, not by chance, but that it was his will to avenge the wrongs done to his people. At the same time, we must bear in mind what we have said elsewhere, — that the Prophets thus speak when the execution is already prepared; for God does not in vain or without reason terrify men, but he afterwards makes it manifest by the effect: as he created the world from nothing by his word, so also by his word he executes and fulfill his judgments. It is then no wonder, that the Prophet does here, as though he ruled the Chaldeans according to his will, thus address them, Take ye away, take ye away But this must be viewed as having a reference to the faithful; for the Babylonians, in plundering the city Nineveh, did not think that they obeyed God, nor did they give to God the praise due for the victory; but the faithful were thus reminded, that all this was done through the secret providence of God, and that it was also a clear, and, as it were, a visible evidence of God’s paternal love towards his Church, when he thus deigned to undertake the cause of his distressed people.

It then follows, There is no end of preparations: Some render תכונה, techune, treasure, or hidden wealth, and derive it from כון, cun, which is to prepare; but תכונה, tacune, is almost always taken for a measure. תכנות, tacanut, from תכון, tacun means a sum, for תכש, tacan, is to number or to count; and this meaning suits the passage. 232232     Buxtorf derives the word from כון, to prepare, and Parkhurst from תכן, to regulate, to measure. It is rendered “store” by Newcome and Henderson. What is meant is evidently the vast treasure amassed by the Assyrians. The next words are more variously rendered. Newcome connects the word כבד with “store,” and renders the two lines thus, —
   And there is no end of the glorious store,
Because of all
kinds of pleasant vessels.

   But more consistent with the character of the language, and agreeably to what Dr. Wheeler suggests, is this, —

   And there is no end to her store,
It is more precious than all desirable vessels.

   The preposition מ, after כבד, may be viewed as the comparative degree. — Ed.
But there is no need of laboring much about this word; if we take it simply for place, the meaning would be, that there was no plot of ground in that city which was not as it were a gulf filled up; for it had amassed all the wealth of the nations: and this sense would harmonize well with the subject of the Prophet, — that the soldiers were to plunder until they were satiated; for the place was, as it were, a deep abyss.

He afterwards adds, There is glory from every desirable vessel. Those who think מ, mem, a particle of comparison in this place are much mistaken, and misapply the meaning of the Prophet; their rendering is, In comparison with every desirable vessel; but this, as all must see, is very frigid. The Prophet, I have no doubt, declares that the wealth of Nineveh consisted of every desirable vessel; for they had for a long time heaped together immense wealth, and that of every kind. The Hebrews call what is precious a desirable thing; and their vessels we include under the term furniture. We now then perceive what the Prophet means. Some take כבד, cabed, as a participle, and give this version, It is burdened, or adorned, (for it means both,) with every desirable vessel. But the simpler mode of speaking is what we have explained, — that its glory was from every desirable vessel.

And here the Prophet condemns what the Assyrians had done in heaping together so much wealth from all quarters; for they had committed indiscriminate plunder, and gathered for themselves all the riches of the nations. They had indeed plundered all their neighbors, yea, and wholly stripped them. The Prophet now shows, in order to expose them to ridicule, that other robbers would be made rich, whom the Lord would raise up against them. The same is said by Isaiah,

‘O thou plunderer, shalt not thou also be exposed to plunder?’ (Isaiah 33.)

So also the Prophet shows in this passage, that men foolishly burn with so much avidity for money, and with so much anxiety heap together great wealth; for God will find out some who in their turn will plunder those who have plundered. It follows—

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