Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 4.djvu/1055
OF THE PROPHECY OF
The name of this prophet signifies a comforter; for it was a charge given to all the prophets, Comfort ye, comfort ye my fieofile; and even this prophet, though wholly taken up in foretelling the destruction of Nineveh, which speaks terror to the Assyrians, is, even in that, comforter to the ten tribes of Israel, who, it is probable, were now lately carried captives into Assyria. It is verv uncertain at what time he lived and prophesied, but it is most probable that he lived in the time of Hezekiah, and prophesied against Nineveh, after the captivity of Israel by the kin^ of Assyria, which was in the nintli year of Hezekiah, and before Sennacherib's invading Judah, which was in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, for to that attempt, and the defeat of it, it is supposed, the first chapter has reference; and it is proba- ble that it was delivered a little before it, for the encouragement of God's people in that day of treading down and perplexity. It is the conjecture of the learned Huetius, that the two other chapters of this book were delivered by Nahum some years after, perhaps in the reign of Manasseh, and m that reign the Jewish chronologies generally place him; somewhat nearer to the time when Nineveh was con- quered, and the Assyrian monarchy reduced, by Cyaxarcs and Nebuchadnezzar, some time before the first captivity of Judah. It is probable that Nahum did by word of mouth prophesy many things con- cerning Israel and Judah, as it is certain that Jonah did, (2 Kings xiv. 25.) though we have nothing of either of them in writing, but what related to Nineveh, of which, though a great and ancient city, yet, probably, we should never have heard in sacred writ, if the Isi'ael of God had not had some concern in it.
In this chapter we have, I. The inscription of the book, t. I. II. . magnificent display of the glory of God, in a mixture of wrath and justice against the wicked, and mercy and grace toward his people, and the discovery of his majesty and power in both, v. 2. . 8. III. A par- ticular application of this (as most interpreters think) to the destruction of Sennacherib and the Assyrian army, when they besieged Jerusalem, which ivas a very memo- rable and illustrious Instance of the power both of God's justice and of his mercy, and spake abundance of terror to his enemies, and encouragement to his faithful ser- vants, V. 9 . . 16.
1.THE burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the El- koshite. This title directs us to consider, 1. The great city against which the word of the Lord is here delivered; it is the burthen of JVineveh; Vol. IV.— 6 R not only a.firophecy, and a weighty one, but a bur- thensome prophecy, a dead weight to Jineveh, a mill-stone hanged about its neck. JVineve/t was the place concerned, and the Assyrian monarchy, which that was the royal seat of. About a hundred years before this, Jonah had, in God's name, fore- told the speedy overthrow of this great city; but then the Ninevites repented, and were spared, and that decree did not bring forth; the Ninevites then saw clearly how much it was to their advantage, to iurn from their evil ivay, it was the saving of their city; and yet, soon after, they returned to it again; it became worse than ever, a bloody city, and full of lies and robbery; they repented of their repent- ance, returned with the dog to his vomit, and at length grew worse than ever they had been; then God sent them not this prophet, as Jonah, but this prophecy, to read them their doom, which was now irreversible. Note, The re/trieve will not be con- tinued, if the refientance be not continued in. Ifmen turn from the good they began to do, they caii