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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Nahum 1

Verse 1

Nah 1:1. Nahum was one of the minor prophets who wrote about 6 or 7 centuries before Christ. Burden is trom an original that means "an utterance," and is used here to mean that the prophet has something to say about Nineveh. That was the capital of the Assyrian Empire that was still in power as Nahum wrote. But the Lord gave him a vision of the fate of that nation and he wrote about it in his book. Assyria was the empire that had carried the people of the 10-tribe kingdom of Israel off into exile. It was God's decree that such an event should take place, yet He was incensed at the personal satisfaction that heathen nation got out of Israel's downfall, and of the unnecessary cruelty that was imposed in connection with the case. As a consequence, It was decreed that Assyria in turn should be made to suffer some reverses. The nation finally fell before the Babylonian power.

Verse 2

Nah 1:2. Jealousy is what causes a person to cling to that which he possesses and to resent any attempt of another to take it from him. Assyria had taken possession of a portion of God's people. He was determined to take vengeance because of it. Reserveth is defined "to cherish" in the lexicon, and the clause means that God holds a store of wrath for his enemies.

Verse 3

Nah 1:3. Slow to anger. This phrase is in keeping wtih the last sentence at the preceding verse. It God reserves wrath for certain characters, then He can take as much time as his wisdom suggests in executing it upon His wayward people. But he will not entirely overlook even their wrong-doing, which is the meaning of the words not at all acquit the wicked. That is why He suffered the Assyrians to take the people of Israel into exile. Hath his way means that God does as he wills with all the elements of the universe. If He wishes to use these agencies to carry out some or the decrees of chastisement upon a nation it will be done.

Verse 4

Nah 1:4. This is further specification of the power of God over the parts of the universe, and it denotes that if He wills to control them as agencies against men and nations it will be accomplished. Bashan was in a heathen tenitory and Carmel with Lebanon was in the possession of Israel. However, wherever the place might be that incurs the divine wrath, it wilt have to suffer whatever form of chastisement that He deems proper.

Verse 5

Nah 1:5. All of these statements are made as a description of the power of God. This verse Is quite inclusive, for it begins with the inanimate things in creation, and ends with the living in the words world, and. all that dwell therein. God is able not only to control the material things that have no intelligent power of resistance, but He can rule all living creatures in the world which includes men and nations.

Verse 6

Nah 1:6. It is logical to ask the question with which this verse begins, for if God has such universal power it is folly for anyone to think of resisting Him. His fury is compared to fire because of its effect upon corruption to which it is applied. Paul makes the same figurative comparison of God In Heb 12:29 which is also a quotation from Deu 4:24.

Verse 7

Nah 1:7. The Lord is good denotes that God's wrath is not to be regarded in the light of a destructive fire that ruins everything before it whether good or bad, it should rather be thought or as a purifying flarne that affects only such combustible matter as refuse, leaving unhurt and purified all elements that are useful.

Verse 8

Nah 1:8. The same might is now comparerl to a flood that sweeps everything before it that is not firmly attached. Darkness Is used figuratively, and among the words of the lexicon definition of the original are "misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow." These conditions come upon those who are enemies of the God of Israel.

Verse 9

Nah 1:9. What do ye imagine against the Lord. This is a challenge especially intended for Assyria. Affliction ... not...second time. When God moves to accomplish a certain result He makes a success of it and does not have to "try, try again."

Verse 10

Nah 1:10. Folden is from CABAK and is defined in the lexicon by "to entwine." Drunken and drunkards are from COBE, which means "carousal." The thought in both clauses is that of being in a conspiracy. But though the Assyrians form such an opposition against the people ol Israel, they will be devoured as stubble fully dry, which means that the resistance will be no more effective than dry stubble would be against a fire.

Verse 11

Nah 1:11. The pronoun thee stands for Assyria as a nation that was hostile toward the kingdom of Israel. But a whoie empire would not march against a foe; Instead it would go in the person of a chief representative. This is the significance of one come out of thee who is described as a wicked counsellor. T he wicked counsellor could be understood to be the man representing the Assyrian Empire in its rage against God's people, whether we consider the 10-tribe kingdom (2 Kings 17), or the vicious but unsuccessful tirade against the 2-tribe kingdom (2 Kings 18, 19).

Verse 12

Nah 1:12. Quiet means to be calm and having a feeling of security. The verse means that though the enemy have that feeling, encouraged perhaps by the fact that they were many, yet they (the enemy) shall be cut down. The passage now is addressed to Israel for consolation or encouragement. God afflicted his people by suffering the heathen nations to subdue them, but He promises that it will not be repeated.

Verse 13

Nah 1:13. This is a prophecy of the release from captivily. His means the Assyrians and/or Babylonians. depending on whether the reader applies it to the 10-tribe or the 2┬Ětribe kingdom, for either could be considered properly.

Verse 14

Nah 1:14. The language is still addressed to God 's people. Idolatry was the national evil for which it was to be sent into captivity. Idols were to be cut off or abolisbed by the effects of the period of exile in a foreign and heathen land. I will make thy grave is figurative. The land of Babylon was to be the grave and the nation of Israel was the corpse, for it underwent national death when Jerusalem was destroyed. (See another statement of this in Isa 22:14; Isa 22:18.)

Verse 15

Nah 1:15. Once more the prophet leaps from some experience of fleshly Israel to predict a great favor as spiritual Israel. The terms used are those of the rituals used by fleshly Israel but are figuratively used in this case, and reter to the spiritual practices under Christ. The prediction is cited by Paul in Rom 10:15.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Nahum 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/nahum-1.html. 1952.