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The Book of Nahum
Nineveh once had responded very favorably to the preaching of Jonah and turned from their evil ways to serve the Lord God. But 100+ years later, Nineveh returned to their old wicked ways: idolatry, violence and arrogance, as we shall see in Na.3:1-4. And again God sends one of His prophets to Nineveh preaching judgment in the destruction of the city and calling for them to repent, but the Ninevites did NOT heed Nahum’s warning and the city was brought under the dominion of Babylon.
God is merciful and gracious and slow to anger (Na.1:3; Ps.103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13). He gives every country time . . . enough time, to proclaim Him as their Lord. But He will NOT be mocked (Gal.6:7). Any time a country turns away from Him to serve its own greedy and sinful ways, God shall step in with judgment. Over 200 years ago, the United States was formed as a nation guided by principles found in the Bible . . . BUT . . . in the last 50 years that has drastically changed. The apostasy in the USA is clearly presented in Revelation 3:14-22. BEWARE!!! My friend . . . you DO need God!
This country is accepting, condoning, excusing and encouraging horrible sins: abortion, adultery, blasphemy, corruption, drugs, drunkenness, fornication, homosexuality, idolatry, on and on and on! Everyone has a Bible or is able to get one if so desired! In that Book are God's warnings about turning your back on Him. IF a person, or a nation, persists on ejecting God and His Words, judgment shall follow!
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV)
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (KJV)
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (KJV)
Revelation 22:14-15 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (KJV)
Avenging Action of God Justified
In chapter 3 Nahum gives the cause for and God's rightful justification in the destruction of the city of Nineveh. Nineveh's destruction is a very good example of the fact that "...whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7). This is also true of a nation. In many ways God deals with individuals and nations in a very similar manner. This chapter gives a most vivid description of the destruction of that city.
Nahum 3:1 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; (KJV)
What a ghastly picture of the internal condition of the city of Nineveh we see here.
Woe to the bloody city! . . . Nineveh, was the capital of Assyria, and was known in that ancient time to be very brutal and bloody. They were dreaded and really feared by other nations. The Assyrian army was just like a tornado which devoured and destroyed everything in its path. Some times an entire community would commit suicide rather than suffer the brutal attack of Assyria.
It is all full of lies . . . Assyria could never be depended upon. She NEVER fulfilled promises which she made to other nations to help them and protect them.
But . . . what about us today? Do people lie to us? Do people we should be able to trust, like bankers and those who watch over our retirement funds lie to us? Do candidates running for office lie to us? Does our government lie to us? Is God happy with these people? His wrath came to a head, and judgment came down on Nineveh and I really do believe that it shall come fall on us in this country!
One of the reasons God judged the city of Nineveh was that it was "all full of lies and robbery." These sinful crimes characterized the life of the city. Again . . . what about us today? Are our homes today safe? Is Nahum talking about us? Nahum gives a very vivid description of Nineveh . . . BUT . . . it is also a picture of America.
Both Jonah and Nahum reveal that God deals with gentile nations, as well as the Jews! He did back in the old days and He shall do it in present times as well. WHAT is the answer to all the 'crazy' weather? Floods in the east, severe drought in the southwest! Earthquakes everywhere! A tiny town in Oklahoma had a 5.6 quake yesterday, which was the strongest one in Oklahoma ever! They have had over 1000 quakes this year so far. Do you think that MAYBE God is trying to tell people something? Sin is rampant, and there is NO sign of a let-up anywhere in sight!
Down through history, we have seen great civilizations, one after another, crumble and disappear. WHY??? Because God judged them, my friend . . . THAT is WHY!
Do you think that America is God's pet? Do you think that just because we are one of the strongest nations in the world, that we cannot be judged? Nineveh thought she was safe and secure! But, what happened? DOWN she went! We today, think that we live in securely . . . BUT . . . my friend it very well may be a false security, because God DOES bring down great nations, and Nahum makes that very clear here. Also consider the following.
1 Thes. 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (KJV) . . . They are the people of the world who reject God. There will be NO peace (Jud.18:7,9; 27-278; Jer.6:14; Eze.13:10). Sudden means all were unaware (Luke 21:34). As travail, like labor pains comes in an instant upon a woman (Ps.48:6; Isa.13:8). Then is when they least expect it (Dan.5:1-6, 26-28; Acts 12:21;31). Shall not escape means NO where to hide, their utter ruin is their fate (Am.9:2; Rev.6:15-16).
The prey departeth not . . . Nineveh never did stop her plundering. Unjust gain by fraud and force; extortions and violent taking away what was not theirs. What they did, they continued to do. There was NO change from injustice to justice, and the injustice today is the same. Wake up, big shots in the world!
Nahum 3:2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots. (KJV)
The noise of a whip . . . those driving the horses used whips to rouse and move the horses to a faster pace, in their warlike chariots.
The noise of the rattling of the wheels . . . by the swift motion of the horses, and of the pransing horses, in the chariots proudly and stately trampling, and of the jumping chariots, made to jump by the swiftness and strength of the horses which drew them. Nahum seems to put us right in the middle of the fight (Jer. 47:3).
And of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots . . . the horses were stirred up by the whips, and the chariots jumped . . . over the many dead bodies.
The greatest lesson in the Book of Nahum is that the character of God makes Him not only "slow to anger" (Ps.103:8; 145:8) and "a stronghold to them that trust Him" (Na.1:7) but also One who "will not at all acquit the wicked" (Na.1:3). He can be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26) but only because His holy law has been righted in the cross of Christ.
Nahum 3:3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: (KJV)
The horseman . . . means the Chaldean and Mede, or their confederates in the war.
Lifteth up . . . has his sword not only drawn, but in a position ready to strike, wound or kill.
The bright sword and the glittering spear . . . these warriors kept their weapons very clean, that they were fit both to cut and kill, and also to dazzle the eye and make the enemy fear.
And there is a multitude of slain . . . in the streets of Nineveh, by the sword of the prevailing army.
A great number of carcasses . . . dead bodies lay in the streets unburied, with chariots "jumping" over them.
There is no end of their corpses . . . no one knew the number of those slain.
They stumble upon their corpses . . . there is a multitude of slain bodies, both invaders and the invaded, within Nineveh. The number of the dead was unbelievable. Assyria had been a brutal and cruel enemy, but now they were reaping what they had sown (Gal.6:7).
Nahum 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. (KJV)
Because of the multitude of the whoredoms . . . this is the reason for Nineveh's destruction. God is just, and He says that Nineveh deserved all this. Her crafts and policies, in which she resembled lewd women; as they by their wiles abuse and deceive men, so did the Assyrian kingdom, deceive, impoverish, and enslave nations by state policies (Isa. 23:17; Re 17:2). By whoredoms here may be meant idolatries, which were multiplied by the many people that served the Assyrian idols, or whoredoms can be literally understood; for this sin undoubtedly did abound where wealth, luxury, ease, and long continuance of these immoralities, were found.
Of the wellfavoured harlot . . . Assyria was NOT a worshipper of the TRUE God. She did worship false gods; but also, her harlot-like deceptive practices whereby she ensnared her neighbors to subject themselves to her demands. The gullible were baited by the "wellfavored harlot", as was Judah under Ahaz, who, calling to his aid Tiglath-pileser, was made tributary by him, 2 Ki. 16:7-10. Too, other nations were tempted by the deceptive professions of Assyria, and by the lure of commerce to trust her (Rev. 18:2-3).
The mistress of witchcrafts . . . (Isa. 47:9-12). God, through Nahum, really lays it out! This refers to the love incantations whereby harlots tried to demoralize and ensnare youths; revealing the sly, subtle plotting Assyria used to attract nations to her. Witchcrafts = bewitching policies, enchanting counsels and promised favors; OR it may literally be occultic witchcrafts or necromancies, which sin abounded no doubt among the Assyrians. Witchcraft is rampant in today's world, highly encouraged by the satanic Harry Potter books and movies and other demonic things! BEWARE! STAY AWAY! Witchcraft is an ABOMINATION to Almighty God (Lev.19:31; 20:6; Deut.18:10; 2 Ki.9:22; 23:24; Gal.5:20).
That selleth nations through her whoredoms . . . Assyria deprived them of their liberty. Some say it deprived nations of their freedom, and literally selling them as slaves to distant peoples (Joel 3:2-3, 6-8). But there is no evidence that the Assyrians really did this.
Is there slavery today in the good old USA? Absolutely! Years ago, an inmate wrote to me and begged me to get this young girl out of the hands of a "pimp." He had her hooked on drugs, demanding she prostitute herself to receive drugs from him. We located her, and really tried to see her to talk to her, but the police said that if she did not want to leave, it was her decision. She was a slave! There are SO many of these youngsters being sold as slaves! How sad! (Rev.18:9-14).
And families through her witchcrafts . . . this is either an elegant illustration of the former passage, or it may mean the seducing of some famous and prominent families, because Assyria enslaved whole kingdoms, and brought them under her power and dominion, to be her slaves, not only of physical servitude, but of their selling themselves to work wickedness, by committing spiritual fornication (idolatry). Multitudes were led by Assyria's influence and example, and especially the kingdoms and families of Israel and Judah (2 Ki.16:10; Eze.23:5,7,11-12). In all these whoredoms and witchcrafts, as well as her bloodthirstiness, lies, and oppression, Nineveh was a type of the "whore of Rome" (Rev.17:1-2; 5-6; 18:23).
Nahum 3:5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. (KJV)
Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts . . . this is the second time that God says this to Nineveh (Na.2:13). He also says this to Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 & 39. Assyria's deeds were against God. Any time we do wrong to a person, we do wrong (sin) against God (Acts 9:4).
Assyria was completely given over to idolatry, the occult, witchcraft. Witchcraft is a reality to many in our government today. It is frightening to see the number of famous and well-known people who appeal to fortune-tellers and to horoscopes in an attempt to interpret the future. God said to Nineveh, a city greatly involved in the occult, "I am against thee."
And I will discover thy skirts upon thy face . . . that is, discover thy nakedness by throwing up thy skirts upon thy face (the greatest possible insult), pulling them up as as high as thy head (Jer. 13:22; Eze. 16:37-41). God says through Nahum, "I will treat NOT thee as a lady, but as a harlot whose shame is exposed; with her gaudy finery being lifted up off her" (Isa. 47:2-3). Nineveh shall be stripped of all her glory on which she prides herself. It was an ancient custom, to strip prostitutes naked, or throw their clothes over their heads, and expose them to public view, and public cursing, denouncing or loathing. This verse refers to such a custom.
I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame . . . all her charms shall be taken away, and she shall become hateful as a harlot to her former lovers. All her pretense, arts, tricks and shameful actions, will be discovered. Her universal monarchy will be seen and will become the object of the scorn and derision of kingdoms and nations.
Nahum 3:6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock. (KJV)
I will cast abominable filth upon thee . . . as dirt and dung, or anything that is abominable and filthy; which was cast at harlots when publicly disgraced, meaning that Nineveh and its inhabitants would be stripped of everything that was great and glorious in them, and they would be reduced to the utmost shame and humility.
And make thee vile . . . Nineveh had made herself morally evil and vile by sinning against Almighty God. Now, she shall pay the harsh penalty of God's judgment. God looks in disgust today at all the vile sin practiced and encouraged by our horrendous laws allowing it.
And will set thee as a gazingstock . . . Nineveh shall be looked and laughed at, that others may shun the evils and abominations Nineveh had been guilty of, or expect the same disgrace and punishment (Eze. 28:17).
Some interpret it "as dung" to simply be that of a manure pile. Yet others interpret it as "for a looking glass" that others may look into, and be warned, and avoid the sins that had brought such disaster on Nineveh. Sennacherib's grave should be a monument to make people remember that God is to be feared (Na. 1:14).
God says to Ninevah through Nahum, "I am going to bring you down. I'm opposed to you. I will expose you to the world for what you are." The excavations which have brought to light this great civilization reveal that all of this is quite accurate. The Book of Nahum is a vivid prophecy which was given long before this actually took place.
All that is described here has a tremendous application for us today and is a very apt picture of this present day. The Book of Nahum reveals God's method in dealing with the nations of the world . . . and individuals as well. God does NOT change (Mal.3:6), so I do not think He has changed His way of doing things, and if He hasn't, we are in BIG trouble.
Nahum 3:7 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee? (KJV)
And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee . . . Nineveh shall be as something loathsome and abominable, not fit to come near to, lest they should partake of the same punishment.
Nineveh is laid waste . . . utterly destroyed; its walls broke down, houses demolished, substance plundered. All its inhabitants were either killed or carried away captive. No one would have ever thought it, because it was once so stately, rich and powerful.
Who will bemoan her? . . . there is NO one left in the city to do it. As for her neighbors, whom she had severely oppressed and cruelly abused, they will do nothing but laugh and rejoice. NO one would moan or comfort her.
Whence shall I seek comforters for thee? . . . from what place? Nineveh had wronged all her neighbors, totally ruining some of them. NONE would help or comfort her, for they could not forget her former cruelty and arrogance, but only rejoice in her calamity and destruction.
Nahum 3:8 Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea? (KJV)
Art thou better than populous No? . . . The Egyptian city of No-Amon was what we know as Thebes, the great capital of upper Egypt. It was the highly populated capital city of the Pharaohs of the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties having architecture that the Greeks and Romans admired. Jupiter was worshipped there. It was located on both banks of the river Nile. On the eastern bank were the famous temples at Karnak and Luxor. No-Amon's ruins covered an area of about 27 miles. Amon was the chief god of the Egyptians (Jer. 46:25), and was shown on Egyptian relics as a figure with a human body and a ram's head. The Greeks identified him with Zeus, and he was often portrayed with the head of their sacred animal, the ram.
The judgment of this godless and idolatrous city of "No" was foretold by Jeremiah (Jer.46:25) and Ezekiel (Eze.30:14-16).
No-Amon was situated favorably among the canals of the Nile with the Nile itself as a protection (Isa. 19:6-8). The Nile appeared as an ocean when it overflows its banks each year. God says that Nineveh was no better than the sinful city of No-Amon, for she was just as wicked as the mighty Egyptian capital.
The city of "No" should have been an example to the Assyrian Empire, because the Assyrians were the ones who had destroyed the great city which had seemed impregnable. It seemed that no one could take it, but the Assyrians did take it and did destroy it. God had judged "No" and He is here stating the fact that He will also judge Nineveh. My friend, God IS in total control, no matter what any human thinks! God has NOT changed . . . God still hates SIN and ALL wickedness! There is NOT a God of judgment in the times of old, and a different God who will not judge today! God's wrath was incited then against wickedness, and His wrath is still incited against wickedness today!
That was situate among the rivers . . . "rivers" is used in the plural to mean much water. When the Nile River would overflow at the flood season, it looked like the ocean.
That had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea? . . . The city of No (Thebes) was built so that at the flood season it would not be flooded. The water actually provided a natural protection for the city.
Nahum 3:9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers. (KJV)
Ethiopia (Isa.20:5; Jer.46:9)
Egypt (Jer.44:8; Eze.30:6; Hos.7:11)
Put (Gen.10:6; 1 Chron.1:8; Eze.27:10; 30:5; 38:5)
Her strength . . . furnished soldiers and warlike assistance.
It was infinite . . . there was no end to their confidence and warlike provisions.
Put . . . the Moors, who lie westward of Alexandria. Lubim . . . the people that inhabited that which is now called Cyrene, extending along the Mediterranean west of Egypt (2 Chron. 12:3; 16:8; Acts 2:10). The Lubim are always connected with the Egyptians and Ethiopians, yet they are distinct from the Libyans. The Lubim were probably at first wandering tribes, who afterwards were settled under Carthage in the region of Cyrene, under the name Libyans.
The word "infinite" is only in the Bible 3 times:
#1. The strength and power of Egypt and Ethiopia (Nah. 3:9)
#2. Job's sins or iniquities (Job 22:5)
#3. God's understanding (Ps. 147:5)
Ethiopia, Egypt, Put and Lubim were the allies of Thebes (No). The city of Thebes, at one time the capital of the Egyptian Empire, felt that it could never fall because there was a big desert on both sides, the Nile River was a protection, and they had allies to the north and to the south. So . . . how could anybody get to them? But the Assyrians did.
And, the Assyrians, in turn, felt that NO one could touch them. What about the USA? Today we feel that we have enough atomic weapons and other sophisticated hardware to defend ourselves. My friend, when our sin has stacked up (Rom.2:5-8), and God's wrath reaches its boiling point, this country shall go DOWN! It happened in the past to extremely powerful nations, and it shall happen again to nations (or individuals) who go against Almighty God!
Can military weapons defend the USA? NO! Our best defense is to return to God! So many people make a profession of being Christians, but their language is so blasphemous and vile, you know they are NOT Christians! Hypocrites is what they are! I do not think that some of this country's forefathers were Christian, but I do think they had a respect for the Word of God. When a person or a nation despises and contradicts that morality of the Bible, as SO many do today, God CANNOT and will NOT bless us as a nation.
Nahum 3:10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains. (KJV)
Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity . . . this is what Assyria had done to "No" (Thebes), and now the same thing will happen to Assyria! Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (KJV)
Her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets . . . their young age did not save them. First, they were brutally murdered, and then trod under foot in the streets, as was usual with those cruel, bloody soldiers (2 Ki. 8:12; Ps. 137:9; Isa. 13:16).
And they cast lots for her honourable men . . . referring still to the city called populous No. The custom of casting lots among the commanders, for the famous prisoners which they had taken, is here referred to.
And all her great men were bound in chains . . . great in place, strength, valor, wisdom . . . most likely to do the conqueror a displeasure, should they not be secured. They were bound in chains of iron, or manacled and used as common slaves. These were reserved to glorify the victory of the victor.
Nahum 3:11 Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy. (KJV)
The Assyrians will try to build up their courage by getting drunk, but that will not help one little bit. They shall be made to drink of the cup of God's wrath (Isa. 51:17, 21; Jer. 25:15). Drunkenness is a huge problem today! Thou also shalt be drunken . . . shalt be drunken (Na.1:10; Ps.75:8; Isa.29:9; 49:26; 63:6; Jer.25:15-27; 51:57)
Thou shalt be hid . . . covered out of sight . . . some say this prediction was fulfilled when the ruins of Nineveh was found. Others say that Nineveh who so lifted themselves up, was forced to seek a hiding-place from the enemy. Thou shalt be hid (1 Sam.13:6; 14:11; Isa.2:10,19; Hos.10:8; Mic.7:17; Luke 23:30; Rev.6:15-17)
Nahum 3:12 All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater. (KJV)
All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs . . . the strong holds on the borders of Assyria, protecting Nineveh: "the gates of thy land" (Na. 3:13). This reveals the speed and ease of the capture of Nineveh (Isa. 28:4; Hab.1:10; Rev. 6:13).
Nahum tells Nineveh: "All your defenses will be like overripe figs. When the enemy comes, you will not stop him." When any fruit is fully ripe, all you need do, is touch it and it falls.
Nahum 3:13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars. (KJV)
Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women . . . all the warriors in Nineveh were cowards where they used to be brave. They were weak, afraid, they run away and hide (Jer. 30:1-24; 41:1-18; 48:41). The answer: God would fill them with terror. Thy people (Isa.19:16; Jer.50:37; 51:30). Women . . . unable to fight for thee (Isa. 19:16; Jer. 50:37; 51:30).
The gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies . . . thine enemies; Chaldeans, and their confederates. The gates of the city were especially strong, fortified frontiers which kept out the enemy, but shall be opened wide to the enemy . . . either through fear or treachery. The gates (Na.2:6; Ps.107:16; Isa.45:12; Jer. 15:7).
Some say that "the gates of thy land" could be the natural fortified passes or entrances to the region of Nineveh (Jer. 15:7). Northeast of Nineveh, there were hills that were a natural barrier against an invader.
The fire shall devour thy bars . . . bars were used to shut and strengthened the gates (1 Sam. 23:7; Ps. 147:13). When the enemy is admitted, he shall burn either the city or the gates and bars. Thy bars (Ps.147:13; Jer.51:30).
Nahum 3:14 Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln. (KJV)
Draw thee waters for the siege . . . so as not to be without drinking water, in the event of being cut off by the enemy. Draw thee waters (2 Chron.32:3-4,11; 37:25).
Fortify thy strong holds . . . repair all that decays, and strengthen what is weak. Fortify thy strongholds (Na.2:1; Isa.8:9; Jer.46:3-4,9; Joel 3:9-11).
Go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln . . . have a supply of bricks of kiln-burnt clay, to repair breaches in the strong holds, or to build new fortifications inside when the outer ones are taken by the enemy.
This is a sarcastic warning to Nineveh to defend herself.
Nahum 3:15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts. (KJV)
There shall the fire devour thee . . . in the strong holds, made ever so firm and secure; either the fire of divine wrath; or the fire of the enemy. There shall come upon Nineveh, people who are as strong as fire.
The sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up as the cankerworm . . . the sword of the Medes and Chaldeans shall utterly destroy them, just as the cankerworm is destroyed by rain or fire as that creature destroys all herbs, plants, and trees it falls upon. So shall it be with Nineveh.
Make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts . . . successive swarms and devastation caused by locusts, is one of the clearest description that could be used to point out the successive armies and all-destroying influences of the enemies of Nineveh. The account of these destroyers is quite vivid in Joel 2:1-11, and fully illustrates what locusts can do, and what the enemy would do to Nineveh.
Cankerworms (locusts) go in swarms, are innumerable, and make the air "heavy" in which they fly.
Joel 1:4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten. (KJV)
This verse states 4 species or stages of locusts, NOT 4 different insects (Lev. 11:22).
- #1. the gnawing locust; is that of the locust, having just emerged from the egg in spring, and without wings.
- #2. the swarming locust; is when at the end of spring, still in their first skin, the locusts put forth little ones without legs or wings.
- #3. the licking locust; after their third casting of the old skin, they get small wings, which enable them to leap the better, but not to fly.
- #4. the consuming locust; which is a climax to the most destructive kind. The last one is often three inches long, and the two antenna, each an inch long. The back two hinder its six feet are larger than the rest, adapted for leaping.
Being unable to move far until their wings are matured, they devour everything that is before them: grass, shrubs and bark of trees: called "rough caterpillars" (Jer. 51:27). The fourth kind, the matured winged locusts (Na. 3:16).
In Joel 2:25 they are listed in the reverse order, where the restoration of the devastations caused by them is promised. The Hebrews make the first species refer to Assyria and Babylon; the second species, to Medo-Persia; the third, to Greco-Macedonia and Antiochus Epiphanes; the fourth, to the Romans. Though the primary reference be to literal locusts, the Holy Spirit doubtless had in view the successive empires which assailed Judea, each worse than its predecessor, Rome being the climax.
The following is taken from the Tarmud, the Jewish Encyclocopedia: . . . http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3967-cankerworm
Of all the insects the locust is most frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. It occurs under the following nine names, which probably denote different species; but there is no certain clue by which the exact species intended by each name can be identified: (1) "arbeh" (A. V. sometimes "grasshopper"), the most common term, comprising the whole genus; (2) "sol'am," derived by Ibn Ezra from "sela'" = "rock" (rock-locust; A. V. "bald locust"); (3) "ḥargol" (A. V. "beetle"; R. V. "cricket"; Jewish exegetes, "grasshopper"; comp. Arabic "ḥarjal" = "a troop of horses," or "locust," from "ḥarjala" = "to hop," "to jump"); (4) "ḥagab" (A. V. usually "grasshopper"; seems likewise to be used in a general sense in Num. xiii. 33; Isa. xl. 22); (5) "ḥasil" (I Kings viii. 37; Ps. lxxviii. 46); (6) "gazam" (Joel i. 4; Amos iv. 9), usually rendered "palmer-worm"; (7) "yeleḳ" (Jer. li. 27; Nahum iii. 15; LXX. and Vulgate, "bronchos"; R. V. "canker-worm"); (8) "ẓelaẓal" (Deut. xxviii. 42) may be an onomatopœic designation of locusts in general; (9) "gebim" and "gobai" (Nahum iii. 17; Amos vii. 1; A. V. "grasshopper"; R. V. margin to the latter passage, "green worms") are probably also general terms. The first four species are enumerated among the "winged creeping things" which are allowed to be eaten, and are described as having "legs above their feet to leap withal upon the earth" (Lev. xi. 21 et seq.).
Upward of forty orthopterous insects have been discovered in Palestine. The Acrydium lineola, A. peregrinum, and the (Edipoda migratoria are counted among the most destructive, and are therefore the most dreaded.
The term "locusts" is sometimes used figuratively; e.g., for swarming hordes and mighty hosts (Judges vi. 5, vii. 12; Jer. xlvi. 23; Prov. xxx. 28); for prancing horses (Joel ii. 4; Job xxxix. 20); as an emblem of voracious greed (Isa. xxxiii. 4; Amos vii. 1); of feebleness, insignificance, and perishableness (Num. xiii. 33; Isa. xl. 22; Ps. cix. 23; Nahum iii. 17).
Nahum prophesies that they will try to bring in reinforcements but that they will not help.
Nahum 3:16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away. (KJV)
Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven . . . (Eze. 27:23-24). Nineveh, because of their large canals, had easy access to Babylon; and it was one of the great routes for the people of the west and northwest to that city; lying on the Tigris it had access to the sea. The great number of merchants that were in Nineveh, and in the land of Assyria were either natives or came there because of merchandise, which enrich a nation, and therefore were encouraged to settle there. Above the stars (Gen.15:5; 22:17; Neh.9:23; Jer.33:22)
The cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away . . . means spoiled thy merchants. (Na. 2:9; Joel 1:4). Spoiled is an expression meaning to "put off" its clothes, disrobe and changes its form; or breaks out with force, out of its former worm state into a beautiful butterfly, and then flies away. The word is rendered a caterpillar (Ps.105:34). And "spoileth" is stripping, or putting off of clothes (1 Sam.19:24; Song 5:3). The meaning may be, that though their merchants were multiplied above the stars of heaven, there may be an allusion to the increase of caterpillars (Na.3:15) yet, as the caterpillar drops its clothes, and flies away, so their merchants, through fear of the enemy, would depart in haste, and/or be suddenly stripped of their riches, which make themselves wings, and fly away (Pro.23:5).
These merchants were increasing, adorning and enriching themselves in a time of peace, fled away fast in a time of war. Each year Nineveh's national wealth increased, for they were great merchants, but all of that was going to come to an end.
Nahum 3:17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are. (KJV)
Thy crowned men are as the locusts . . . the king's nobles and officers wore the tiara, as well as the king. These were like locusts for their number, fear, and flight in time of danger, and for their spoil of the poor; and some locusts have been seen with little crowns on their heads, as those in (Rev.9:7) "which had on their heads as it were crowns like gold".
And thy captains as the great grasshoppers . . . thy captains . . . Tiphsar, an Assyrian word; found also in Jer. 51:27, meaning military leaders. The last syllable, sar means a "prince," and is found in Belshaz-zar, Nabopolas-sar, Nebuchadnez-zar. As the great grasshoppers . . . literally as many as the swarming locusts.
Which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away . . . cold deprives the locust of power to fly, so they stay put in cold weather and at night, but when warmed by the sun, they soon "flee away." So too, shall the Assyrian multitudes suddenly disappear, not leaving a trace behind.
Nahum 3:18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them. (KJV)
Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria . . . who this king of Assyria was is not sure; some think it was Esarhaddon (2 Ki.19:37; Isa.37:38), who is the last of the kings of Assyria of which the Scriptures speak. But this king, whoever he was, was not on the ball, his "shepherds slumbered", went to sleep on the job. All those in charge: his ministers of state, his counsellors, subordinate magistrates in provinces and cities, and particularly in Nineveh; his generals and officers in his army were very careless and negligent of their duty, being lazy and at ease; as was certain of the king's own character.
Thy nobles shall dwell in the dust . . . to be brought very low, into a hopeless condition; their honor being laid in the dust or they were dead, slumbering in their graves, and so could be of no service to him. Being cut off by the enemy; so that this king would have none of his mighty men to trust in, but see himself stripped of all his vain confidences. (Ps.7:5; 94:17).
Thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them . . . like sheep without a shepherd (Mat.9:36), which were frightened by beasts of prey, run here and there, with no one to bring them back again. So it was with the subjects of this king, being terrified at the approach of the Medes and Babylonians, ran from their duty and fled to the mountains; where they scattered everywhere, having no leader and commander to gather them together, and put them in regular order to face and oppose the enemy (1Ki. 22:17). Meaning the rulers and tributary princes, who, as some say, deserted Nineveh in the day of her distress, and came not to her aid. Others say that the king dispatched messengers to all his subjects, demanding they come to help him, and that he thought he was able to endure the siege, remaining confident that the city would not be taken till the river became its enemy (Na.2:6; Ex.15:16; Ps.76:5-6; Isa.56:9-10; Jer. 50:18; 51:39,57; Eze.32:22-23)
The leadership of Assyria disintegrated to the place where they no longer attempted to lead the nation. I believe that one of the great evidences of our disintegration and deterioration as a nation is the lack of leadership that exists on the national level, the state level, the county level, and even at the city and community levels. There is a lack of good leadership at all levels. God says that the lack of leadership, was one thing that brought Assyria down. What God has said in this chapter concerning Assyria fits our nation too! BUT . . . are we listening to God today? NO! No one seems to be paying any attention. Certainly the leadership of our nation is NOT, they just keep on with more immoral laws. The tragedy of this is our retreat from God . . . the apostasy, and our blasphemous rejection of Christ Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the Saviour of the world.
Take careful note of God's final words through Nahum. Quite frightening indeed!
Nahum 3:19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? (KJV)
There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous . . . Nineveh will never be rebuilt.
All that hear the bruit of thee . . . hear the report or account.
Shall clap the hands over thee . . . shall rejoice in Nineveh's downfall.
For upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually . . . Nineveh had been a universal oppressor, and therefore all nations rejoice at her fall and utter desolation. Which of her neighbors had not been troubled and injured? Which of them had not been oppressed? Which of them had not been treated with violence and cruelty? What city had not felt the weight of Assyria's hand, had not been harassed with wars, and distressed with their taxes?
No healing (Jer.10:22; 30:13-15; 46:11; Eze.30:21-22; Mic.1:9; Zep.2:13-15).
Shall (Job 27:23; Isa.14:8-21; Lam.2:15; Eze.25:6; Rev.18:20)
Upon (Na.2:11-12; Isa.10:6-14; 37:18; Rev.13:7; 17:2; 18:2-3)
The Assyrians had sinned, sinned and sinned! It was just a way of life with them. But my friend, what about the good ole' USA? It is as though people just do not pay attention to God at all! Surely, even if they do not read the Bible daily, or have never even picked one up, they certainly have heard about God's power in past history! They have heard someone speak of God's wrath and God's judgment! It is as though these people simply do not believe God, do not believe that He absolutely hates SIN, hates wickedness, and my friend, God punished it MANY times in the past, and He shall punish it in the future! Count on it!
God is just and righteous. He will tolerate sin just so long, then He will lower the boom. He destroyed Nineveh completely. It disappeared off the face of the map and off the face of the earth . . . GOD was responsible for Nineveh's judgment. And God did warn Nineveh through Nahum. God always warns before He strikes! Consider the weather! What the stupid news media calls "Mother Nature." GOD is in charge of the weather! God is NOT happy with this country.
Book of Nahum
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