Nahum 1

Verse 16. The statutes of Omri are kept] Omri, king of Israel,

the father of Ahab, was one of the worst kings the Israelites ever

had; and Ahab followed in his wicked father's steps. The statutes

of those kings were the very grossest idolatry. Jezebel, wife of

the latter, and daughter of Ithobaal, king of Tyre, had no fellow

on earth. From her Shakespeare seems to have drawn the character

of Lady Macbeth; a woman, like her prototype, mixed up of tigress

and fiend, without addition. Omri Ahab, and Jezebel, were the

models followed by the Israelites in the days of this prophet.

The inhabitants thereof a hissing] lishrekah, "for a

shriek;" because those who should see them should be both

astonished and affrighted at them.

There are few chapters in the prophets, or in the Bible,

superior to this for genuine worth and importance. The structure

is as elegant as it is impressive; and it is every way worthy of

the Spirit of God.




Chronological Notes relative to this Book, upon the supposition

that it was written about seven hundred and thirteen years

before the commencement of the Christian era

-Year from the Creation, according to Archbishop Usher, 3291.

-Year of the Julian Period, 4001.

-Year since the Flood, 1635.

-Year from the vocation of Abram, 1208.

-Year since the first celebration of the Olympic games in Elis

by the Idaei Dactyli, 741.

-Year from the destruction of Troy, according to the general

computation of chronologers, 471.

-Year since the commencement of the kingdom of Israel, by the

Divine appointment of Saul to the regal dignity, 383.

-Year from the foundation of Solomon's temple, 299.

-Year since the division of Solomon's monarchy into the

kingdoms of Israel and Judah, 263.

-Year since the restoration of the Olympic games at Elis by

Lycurgus, Iphitus, and Cleosthenes, 172.

-Year from the foundation of the kingdom of Macedon by Caranus,


-Year from the commencement of the reign of Ardysus over Lydia,


-Year since the conquest of Coroebus at Olympia, usually called

the first Olympiad, 64.

-Fourth year of the sixteenth Olympiad.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to the Varronian

computation, 41.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Cato and the Fasti

Consulares, 40.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Polybius the

historian, 39.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor, 35.

-Year of the era of Nabonassar, 35.

-Year since the destruction of the kingdom of Israel by

Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, 9.

-Year before the birth of Christ, 709.

-Year before the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 713.

-Cycle of the Sun, 25.

-Cycle of the Moon, 11.

-Eleventh year of Zeuxidamus, king of Lacedaemon, of the family

of the Proclidae.

-Twelfth year of Eurycrates, king of Lacedaemon, of the family

of the Eurysthenidae.

-Sixth year of Gyges, king of Lydia.

-Tenth year of Hippomenes, decennial archon of the Athenians.

-Second year of Cordiccas, governor of the Medes, according to

some chronologers.

-Seventeenth year of Perdiccas, king of Macedon.

-Third year of Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome.

-Fourteenth year of Hezekiah, king of Judah.


This chapter opens the prophecy against the Assyrians and their

metropolis with a very magnificent description of the infinite

justice, tender compassion, and uncontrollable power of God,


To this succeeds an address to the Assyrians; with a lively

picture of their sudden overthrow, because of their evil device

against Jerusalem, 9-11.

Then appears Jehovah himself, proclaiming deliverance to his

people from the Assyrian yoke, and the destruction of the

Assyrian idols, 12-14;

upon which the prophet, with great emphasis, directs the

attention of Judah to the approach of the messenger who brings

such glad tidings; and exultingly bids his people to celebrate

their solemn feasts, and perform their vows, as a merciful

Providence would not suffer these enemies of the Jewish state

to prevail against them, 15.


Verse 1. The burden of Nineveh.] massa not only signifies

a burden, but also a thing lifted up, pronounced, or proclaimed;

also a message. It is used by the prophets to signify the

revelation which they have received from God to deliver to any

particular people: the oracle-the prophecy. Here it signifies the

declaration from God relative to the overthrow of Nineveh, and

the commission of the prophet to deliver it.

As the Assyrians under Pul, Tiglath-pileser, and Shalmaneser,

three of their kings, had been employed by a just God for the

chastisement of his disobedient people; the end being now

accomplished by them, God is about to burn the rod wherewith he

corrected Israel; and Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire,

is to be destroyed. This prediction appears to have been

accomplished a short time after this by Nebuchadnezzar and

Cyaxares, the Ahasuerus of Scripture.

Nahum, Nachum, signifies comforter. The name was very

suitable, as he was sent to comfort the people, by showing them

that God was about to destroy their adversaries.

Verse 2. God is jealous] For his own glory.

And-revengeth] His justice; by the destruction of his enemies.

And is furious] So powerful in the manifestations of his

judgments, that nothing can stand before him.

He reserveth wrath] Though they seem to prosper for a time, and

God appears to have passed by their crimes without notice, yet he

reserveth-treasureth up-wrath for them, which shall burst forth

in due time.

Verse 3. The Lord is slow to anger] He exercises much

longsuffering towards his enemies, that this may lead them to

repentance. And it is because of this longsuffering that vengeance

is not speedily executed on every evil work.

Great in power] Able at all times to save or to destroy.

The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm] These

are the effects of his power; and when they appear unusual, they

may be considered as the immediate effects of his power: and

although he be in them to punish and destroy, he is in them to

direct their course, to determine their operations, and to

defend his followers from being injured by their violence. The

pestilential wind which slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand

of the Assyrians did not injure one Israelite. See 2Ki 19:35.

The clouds are the dust of his feet.] This is spoken in allusion

to a chariot and horses going on with extreme rapidity: they are

all enveloped in a cloud of dust. So Jehovah is represented as

coming through the circuit of the heavens as rapidly as lightning;

the clouds surrounding him as the dust does the chariot and


Verse 4. He rebuketh the sea] The Red Sea, and the rivers:

probably an allusion to the passage of the Red Sea and Jordan.

The description of the coming of Jehovah, from the third to the

sixth verse, is dreadfully majestic. Na 1:3-6 He is represented

as controlling universal nature. The sea and the rivers are

dried up, the mountains tremble, the hills melt, and the earth

is burnt at his presence. Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon are withered

and languish: streams of fire are poured out, and the rocks are

cast down to make him a passage. If then, the seas, the rivers,

the mountains, the hills, the rocks, and the earth itself,

fail before Jehovah, or flee from his presence, how shall Nineveh

and the Assyrian empire stand before him?

Verse 7. The Lord is good] In the midst of judgment he remembers

mercy; and among the most dreadful denunciations of wrath he

mingles promises of mercy. None that trust in him need be alarmed

at these dreadful threatenings; they shall be discriminated in the

day of wrath, for the Lord knoweth them that trust in him.

Verse 8. But with an overrunning flood] Bishop Newcome thinks

this may refer to the manner in which Nineveh was taken. The

Euphrates overflowed its banks, deluged a part of the city, and

overturned twenty stadia of the wall; in consequence of which the

desponding king burnt himself, and his palace, with his

treasures.-Diodor. Sic., Edit. Wessel., p. 140, lib. ii., s. 27.

Darkness shall pursue] Calamity. All kinds of calamity shall

pursue them till they are destroyed.

Verse 9. Affliction shall not rise up the second time.] There

shall be no need to repeat the judgment; with one blow God will

make a full end of the business.

Verse 10. While they be folden together] However united their

counsels may be, they shall be as drunken men-perplexed and

unsteady in all their resolutions; and before God's judgments they

shall be as dry thorns before a devouring fire.

Verse 11. Imagineth evil against the Lord] Such were Pul,

2Ki 15:10,

Tiglath-pileser, 2Ki 15:29;

Shalmaneser, 2Ki 17:6; and

Sennacherib, 2Ki 18:17; 19:23.

A wicked counsellor.] Sennacherib and Rabshakeh.

Verse 12. Though they be-many] Sennacherib invaded Judea with

an army of nearly two hundred thousand men.

Thus shall they be cut down] The angel of the Lord (a

suffocating wind) slew of them in one night one hundred and

eighty-five thousand, 2Ki 19:35.

Verse 13. Now will I break his yoke from off thee] This refers

to the tribute which the Jews were obliged to pay to the

Assyrians, 2Ki 17:14.

Verse 14. No more of thy name be sown] No more of you shall be

carried away into captivity.

I will make thy grave; for thou art vile] I think this is an

address to the Assyrians, and especially to Sennacherib. The text

is no obscure intimation of the fact. The house of his gods is to

be his grave: and we know that while he was worshipping in the

house of his god Nisroch, his two sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer,

smote him there that he died, 2Ki 19:37.

Verse 15. Behold upon the mountains] Borrowed probably from

Isa 52:7, but applied here to the

messengers who brought the good tidings of the destruction of

Nineveh. Judah might then keep her solemn feasts, for the wicked

Assyrian should pass through the land no more; being entirely cut

off, and the imperial city razed to its foundations.

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