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Nahum 2:10

10. She is empty, and void, and waste: and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and much pain is in all loins, and the faces of them all gather blackness.

10. Exinanita etexinanita est, et nudata; et cor liquefactum, et collisio genuum, et terror in omnibus lumbis; et facies omnium contraxerunt nigredinem (vel, splendorem, ut alii vertunt.)


The Prophet here confirms what the last verse contains; for he shows why he had called the Chaldeans to take away the spoil, — because it was to be so. He did not indeed (as I have already said) command the Chaldeans in such a way as that their obedience to God was praiseworthy: but the Prophet speaks here only of His secret counsel. Though then the Chaldeans knew not that it was God’s decree, yet the Prophet reminds the faithful that the Ninevites, when made naked, suffered punishment for their cruelty, especially for having so hostilely conducted themselves towards the Jews: and hence he declares, that Nineveh is emptied, is emptied, and made naked. 233233     The three words in Hebrew form a very striking alliteration; and they present another peculiarity, — they increase in length or in syllables, somewhat similar to what follows, —
   She is made void, and empty, and desolate:


   She is empty, and emptied, and desolated.

   bwqh wmbwqh wmblqh

   Buke, umebuke, umebelake.

   Some consider the words as nouns, but they are evidently participles. — Ed.
By repeating the same word, he intimates the certainty of the event: Emptied, emptied, he says, as when one says in our language, videe et revidee We hence see that by this repetition what the Prophet meant is more distinctly expressed that the faithful might not doubt respecting the event: and then for the same purpose he adds, she is made naked.

We now then perceive the Prophet’s design. As in the last verse he shows that he had power given him from above to send armies against Nineveh, and to give up the city to them to be spoiled and plundered; so he now shows that he had not so commanded the Chaldeans, as though they were the legitimate servants of God, and could pretend that they rendered service to Him. He therefore points out for what end he had commanded the Chaldeans to plunder Nineveh; and that was, because God had so decreed; and he had so decreed and commanded, because he would not bear the many wrongs done to his people whom he had taken under his protection. As then Nineveh had so cruelly treated God’s chosen people, it was necessary that the reward she deserved should be repaid to her. But the repetition, which I have noticed, ought to be especially observed; for it teaches us that God’s power is connected with his word, so that he declares nothing inconsiderately or in vain.

He then adds, that knees smite together; and every heart is dissolved, or melted, and also, that all loins tremble We hence learn, that there is in men no courage, except as far as God supplies them with vigor. As soon then as He withdraws his Spirit, those who were before the most valiant become faint-hearted, and those who breathed great ferocity are made soft and effeminate: for by the word heart is meant inward boldness or courage; and by the knees and loins the strength of body is to be understood. There is indeed no doubt but the Assyrians, while they ruled, were a very courageous people, as power ever generates boldness; and it is also probable that they were a warlike people, since all their neighbors had been brought under their power. But the Prophet now shows, that there would be no vigor in their hearts, and no strength in their loins, or in any part of their body. The heart, then, he says, is melted And hence we learn how foolishly men boast of their courage, while they seem to be like lions; for God can in a moment so melt their hearts, that they entirely lose all firmness. Then as to external vigor, we see that it is in God’s hand; there will be, he says, a confriction, or the knees will knock one against another, as they do when they tremble. And he says afterwards, And trembling shall be in all loins 234234     These three lines are literally as follows, —
   And the heart is melted,
there is tottering of the knees,
And anguish in all loins.

   The word חלחלה is not trembling, but violent pain, pang, or anguish as that of a woman in travail. — Ed.
He at last adds, And the faces of all shall gather blackness The word פארור, parur, some derive from פאר, par; and so the rendering would be, “all faces shall draw in or withdraw their beauty,” and so also they explain Joel 2:6, for the sentence there is the same. But they who disapprove of this meaning say, that קבף, kobets, cannot mean to draw in or to withdraw; and so they render the noun, blackness. But this is a strained explanation. פארור, parur, [they say,] does not mean a black color but a pot: when therefore a caldron or a kettle contracts blackness from smoke, it is then called פארור, parur: but in this place these interpreters are constrained to take it metaphorically for that color; which is, as I have said, strained and far-fetched. I am therefore inclined to adopt their opinion who render the sentence, all faces shall withdraw their beauty, or their brightness: but as to the import of the passage, there is little or no difference; let then every one have his free choice. 235235     Parkhurst and others agree with Calvin, as to the construction of this line. The idea adopted seems to have been first suggested by Aben-Ezra, as it appears from Marckius, but was strongly opposed by Kimchi, and on apparently a good ground — the meaning of the verb here used. קבף, as a verb and as a noun, in all its variations, has invariably the idea of collecting or gathering, and in no instance that of withdrawing, except as it is said, in this sentence, and in Joel. Dathius, Marckius, and Newcome, retain the idea contained in our version; and consistent with this is the paraphrase of the clause given by the Septuagint, “και το προσωπον (τα προσωπα, comp.) παντων ως προσκαυμα χυτρας — and the face (or, the faces) of all as the burning on the pot.” This idea is much more expressive and striking than the other. — Ed. With regard to the Prophet’s design, he evidently means, that the faces of all would be sad, for the Lord would fill their minds and thoughts with dread. The withdrawing then of beauty signifies an outward appearance of sorrow, or paleness, or whatever may appear in the countenance of men, when dejected with grief. In short, the Prophet means, that how much soever the Assyrians might have hitherto raised on high their crests, and breathed great swelling words, and conducted themselves insolently, they would now be dejected; for the Lord would prostrate their courage and melt their strength: he would, by casting down their high spirits, constrain them to undergo shame. This is the import of the whole. It now follows —

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