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Bible Commentaries
Nahum 3

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


Nineveh Is Laid Waste

Nahum Three

Nahum said Nineveh would face horrible punishment because, (1) They killed people or they were a bloody city, (2) They were guilty of telling lies, and (3) They robbed people and took things that were not theirs. ( Nah_3:1 ) The attack would be marked with cracking whips, churning wheels, galloping horses, noisy chariots and the army attacking with flashing swords and spears. So many soldiers would be killed in Nineveh they would stumble over piles of dead bodies. ( Nah_3:2-3 ) Nineveh was condemned for the evil practices of spiritual whoredom and witchcraft.

God was against Nineveh. People would see how evil they were. They would face a scornful end. God, in the brief book of Nahum, gave a vivid description of the overthrow of Nineveh. He said that "with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place." ( Nah_1:8 ) "While they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry." ( Nah_1:10 ) They would have no protection because "the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars." ( Nah_3:13 ) Nineveh would never recover because, "there is no healing of thy bruise." ( Nah_3:19 ) The city would be taken with ease, like shaking ripe figs into the mouth of the eater. ( Nah_3:12 ) Nineveh would have many soldiers, but it would avail nothing. Nineveh was fatally wounded. There was no hope for them. When other's heard the news of Nineveh's downfall they would cheer because of the constant cruelty and all the ways Nineveh had caused pain for others.

Verses 1-7

Nineveh's terrible ungodliness -- Nah_3:1-7 : Nineveh was the capital of crime and evil. It was a city of murder and treachery. It was doomed because of its wickedness. Their practice of preying upon the helpless and weak never ceased. This was a bloody city that showed no mercy. God described the "woe" that would come upon this wicked city. There would be a strong and deceive military attack against. It would involve cracking whips, churning wheels; galloping horses and roaring chariots. The soldiers would attack with swords and spears flashing. The battle would be so decisive that the soldiers would stumble over piles of the dead bodies of their fellow soldiers.

God set forth the reasons why this awful fate had befallen Nineveh. They had practiced whoredom. The word is used here in the spiritual sense to describe the abominable evils of idolatry. They would use witchcraft to defraud nations out of their possessions. The All-Powerful God was against Nineveh. She would be exposed to the gaze of the world. They would easily be able to observe his corruption. Nineveh would become a gazingstock. Her true, vile spiritual condition would be known by all. God had said, "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." ( Nah_2:10 ) Those that see what happened to Nineveh would shout with joy. There would be none willing to mourn or to give her comfort.

Verses 8-11

Nineveh compared to others -- Nah_3:8-11 : "Art thou better than populous No?" ( Nah_3:8 ) No is another name for Thebes. Thebes was a notable city in Egypt. The Nile River was its wall of defense. If No could be overthrown then Nineveh should not feel so confident in resisting their invaders. No or Thebes had many resources. Yet they were overcome by Assyria. Now it is Nineveh's turn to face similar destruction. No's large population did not save her from destruction. She trusted the mighty power of Ethiopia and Egypt; the nations of Put and Libya were her allies. No did not lack support, but she still was overthrown.

No or Thebes was a great city yet, she was humiliated carried away. She was captured and taken to a foreign country. Her people were murdered on the street corners. The members of her royal family were sold at auction. Her great men or the high court officials were bound in chains. Just as surely as the city of No was overthrown so now it is Nineveh's turn to face destruction and ruin. Nineveh would get drunk and try to hide from her enemy. She would seek help but it would do no good. All of these efforts would be in vain.

Verses 12-15

Nineveh's strong holds are weak -- Nah_3:12-15 : The invading army would take Nineveh with the greatest of ease. God said, "Your fortresses are fig trees with ripe figs. Merely shake the trees, and fruit will fall into every open mouth." The fortified places in the city would fall easily into the hands of the invading army. Their army would be no stronger than if it was a group of women with no training for battle. As a result their army would be weak and the gates of the land would be thrown wide open to the enemies. The fire of the enemy will devour the bars or fasteners on the gates.

God told Nineveh that she will need all the preparation she can make for the battle. Nineveh would be under attack. They were to draw extra water, fortify their strong holds and Start making bricks! In spite of all the preparation that was made for battle the fire would devour them and the sword would cut them off. The people of Nineveh would make themselves as numerous as like a swarm of locusts, yet they would be destroyed.

Verses 16-19

Nineveh's leaders are weak -- Nah_3:16-19 : These verses describe the utter defeat of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. There is neither the possibility that the nation might be spared or restored. Destruction was certain. Nineveh was strong from the standpoint of business and political interests. More merchants were in your city than there are stars in the sky. The invading army would be like locusts that eat everything and then fly away. In Nah_3:17 , Nahum said Nineveh's army officers would flee rather than fight. "Your guards and your officials are swarms of locusts. On a chilly day they settle on a fence, but when the sun comes out, they take off to who-knows-where."

The subject of the last verses of Nahum remains the same, the utter destruction of Nineveh. There is no possibility of restoration. It is too late for Assyria. Her officials and leaders sleep the eternal sleep. The people will be scattered in the mountains as sheep without a shepherd. Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, a most powerful city would suffer a wound that would never heal. Nineveh would be punished for her inhumane treatment of Israel. The Assyrian empire never recovered from the defeat. Nineveh would hurt for a little while and then fall. They were reaping what they had sown. Nineveh fell in 612 BC. Assyria collapsed in 608. The entire world at that time had suffered under the yoke of Assyria. Now the world rejoices that Assyria is destroyed!

Let us learn that those that serve God are blessed and those that rebel face certain and severe punishment.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Nahum 3". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/nahum-3.html. 2014.
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