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Bible Commentaries
Nahum 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-19


Verses 1-19:

Nineveh To Reap As She Had Sown

Verse 1 continues Nahum’s description of Nineveh. A doom of woe is pronounced upon her as a "bloody city," because of blood she had shed of innocent victims, to try to secure material gain. She was full of (puffed up with) lies, promises of security from sources that could not deliver. By dishonesty in trade and commerce, in measures and weights, she had robbed her poor. And she did not cease or restrain herself from a continuing pattern and practice of preying upon the weak, for her own gain, and that of her political and religious leaders, Ezekiel 22; Ezekiel 2, 2; Ezekiel 24:6; Ezekiel 24:9; Habakkuk 1:12.

Verse 2 describes the hurried and harried sound of horsemen going into battle, with the noise (crack) of a whip, the rattling of chariot wheels, the prancing of horses, and of the sound of jumping or high-bouncing chariots, as in Jeremiah 47:3.

Verse 3 further describes the horseman, v. 2, as he rides hard and fast into battle, with the high-held flashing sword and the glittering spear. A never-ending line and pile of slain human carcasses lay side by side, and body upon body in the midst of the battle, so that soldiers stumbled and tripped over carcass after carcass of their own band, slain in the conflict in the capital, Nineveh, when assaulted by the Medo-Babylonian enemy.

Verse 4 discloses the causes of the fall of so many in the battle at Nineveh. She had sought to ensnare others, entrap others in her idolatrous whoredoms, for the gratification of her own selfish, carnal lusts, Isaiah 23:17; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:5. She was a well-favored harlot­city, a mistress of w4chcrafts. She sought to ensnare or entrap other nations through her whoredoms, and families through her wicked witchcrafts, Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 47:12; Revelation 18:2-3. She sold them through her idolatry, robbed them of liberty, brought them under her bondage, and made them pay tribute to her to survive, Deuteronomy 32:30; Judges 2:14.

Verse 5 sounds a warning against wicked Nineveh and Assyria, that God will uncover her skirts upon her face, like the removing of the face covering shawl that the harlot wore over her face to conceal her identify and hide her shame, so that people would not recognize her; Observing nations and kingdoms would see her naked shame soon, her skirts raised, when God destroyed her and the sinful idolatrous ways she pursued, Jeremiah 13:22; Ezekiel 16:37-41; Isaiah 47:2-3.

Verse 6 also threatens that God will cast filth upon the city, abominable filth, to make her vile, and a gazingstock before curious beholders, exposed to public derision and scorn, Ezekiel 27:17.

Verse 7 describes all who look upon her filth and devastation, as turning to run in obnoxious disgust and shame, v. 6. Nineveh is declared to be a wasted city, Nahum 1:1. The question is raised, "who would mourn her?", Her destruction, and just where anyone, anywhere, might be found to comfort her. A silent void hovered after the prophet’s question, when no friend or comforter was to be found, as pay-day came to her, Isaiah 51:19; Galatians 6:7-8; Revelation 18:10.

Verse 8 raises a rhetoric question that means, "you are not better than No, are you?", than that No-Amnon royal city of Egypt that was destroyed Ezekiel 30:14-15; Jeremiah 46:25. It was protected with waters on every side, but not enough to protect her from judgment for her sins. Neither was Nineveh that strong.

Verse 9 declares that Ethiopia and Egypt, as supporting nations, were the strength or support of once populous and prosperous "No," or Thebes, with infinite or unlimited strength, while Put and Lubim were financial or tributary supporters as well. She trusted in their strength, for security in her sins, a false source of real security. And she could not preserve herself. See Genesis 10:6; Ezekiel 27:10; Jeremiah 46:9; Deuteronomy 33:26.

Verse 10 recounts that bloody end to which No or Thebes came, concluding that an even more severe judgment was soon to fall on Nineveh. No had been carried away, deported into captivity, while her young children, unable to travel and keep up with the enemy as captured property, were dashed in pieces at the gate posts, or against the gateposts of all the streets, right where their parents were slain or captured. They cast lots to determine who among the, conquering men would receive their captives, to hold as their own slaves. All the honorable and great men of the conquered are described as being bound in chains or fetters, to display as humiliated property of the conquering army, while being treated with cruel indignities, Joel 3:3.

Verse 11 asserts that Nineveh shall also be drunken or inebriated, not with wine or strong drink, but with the shocking punishment sent upon her by almighty God. Nineveh was to become hid, no longer visible to or with leadership in Assyria, or among the nations. She shall seek strength, some sources of help, when Divine judgment begins to fall, but it will not be found in her enemies, or former fair-weather friends, Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:21; Jeremiah 25:15.

Verse 12 prophesies that all the strongholds (fortresses) of planned battle security, v. 13, all fortifications will be taken away or destroyed by Nineveh’s foes, like the pickings of first-ripe figs that fall so lusciously into the mouths of the pickers, Isaiah 28:4; Revelation 6:12-13.

Verse 13 describes these people in the gates of Nineveh in the hour of judgment as "women," weak, effeminate, timid, unable or unwilling to offer resistance to the enemies, as they sweep down upon the city, Isaiah 19:16. So fearful will their people, males guarding Nineveh’s gates be, that they will simply let the city gates be opened and the gates and wall bars and braces burned, without resistance.

Verse 14 calls upon the Ninevites to prepare for the coming siege of their city by drawing and storing up cisterns of pure water within the walls. They are to build anew or brace up all their fortifications, rush to the brick kiln, work the clay mortar, and have extra repair brick made ready and piled up within the walls; For they should prepare for whatever wall repair might be needed to repair damaged places in the city walls, during temporary retreats of the foe for retrenching, Isaiah 8:9; Jeremiah 46:3.

Verse 15 then foretells that there, within those Nineveh city walls, the fire would devour them and the sword would eventually, cut them off from their royal reign. The battle would consume, like a wave of cankerworms destroys its prey, Joel 1:4. They are told to make themselves many, increase their population, like the cankerworm and the locusts, Joel 1:4; Amos 6:1.

Verse 16 declares that Nineveh and Assyria had multiplied their merchants, built up extensive trade in foreign business exchange, like the stars of heaven, beyond the ability to calculate, Ezekiel 27:23-24. But it is then certified that they will vanish like the cankerworm that destroys from without and within, then flees away, John 10:12-13.

Verse 17 describes Nineveh and Assyria’s crowned ruler and armed commanders to be like armies of locusts and grasshoppers that hide in hedgerows, overgrown fence rows in the cold, but they disappear at the heat of the rising sun. Revelation 9:7; Jeremiah 51:27. They flee so far away that they become invisible, of no help to the people they left behind. The rulers flee as cowards, desert their people when trouble comes, like the hireling shepherd deserts the flock he tends, serving only for what he gets out of it.

Verse 18 laments against the king of Assyria, whose throne was in Nineveh, that his shepherds were slumbering, asleep while a pack of voracious wolves was howling, stalking the flock nearby, for the kill, Psalms 76:6; Psalms 94:17. This alludes to her princes, nobles, and ruling governors, even her royal counselors, on whom the king and government relied. The flock, or masses of the king’s land, were about to be put to sleep in death, because those conditions existed, Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17.

Verse 19 concludes that for the healing of the grievous or mortal wound of Assyria there exists no healing or anointing remedy. It is also 4nnounced that all who hear of her suffering and fate shall clap their hands. Nahum then asks whether or not there is anyone on whom their one-world-Assyrian empire had not practiced wickedness continually, repeatedly, or almost without cessation, Proverbs 16:18; Lamentations 2:11; Lamentations 2:15.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Nahum 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/nahum-3.html. 1985.
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