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The burden of Nineveh. The attributes of the Lord. i The burden of Nineveh. ness shall pursue his enemies. The book of the vision of Na- 9 What do ye imagine against hum the Elkoshite.
the Lord? he will make an 2 God is jealous, and the LORD utter end: affliction shall not revengeth; the Lord revengethi, rise up the second time. and is furious; the LORD will 10 For while they be folden totake vengeance on his adver- gether as thorns, and while they saries, and he reserveth wrath are drunken as drunkards, they for his enemies.
shall be devoured as stubble 3 The Lord is slow to anger, fully dry. and great in
and will not 11 There is one come out of at ali acquit the wicked: the thee that imagineth evil against Lord hath his way in the whirl- the Lord, a wicked counsellor. wind and in the storm, and the 12 Thus saith the LORD; clouds are the dust of his feet. Though they be quiet, and like
4 He rebuketh the sea, and wise many, yet thus shall they
5 The mountains quake at him, 13 For now will I break his
commandment concerning 6 Who can stand before his thee, that no more of thy name indignation ? and who can abide be sown: out of the house of in the fierceness of his anger ? thy gods will I cut off the graven his fury is poured out like fire, image and the molten image: and the rocks are thrown down I will make thy grave; for thou
art vile. 1 The Lord is good, a strong 15 Behold upon the mounhold in the day of trouble ; and tains the feet of him that bringhe knoweth them that trust in eth good tidings, that publisheth him.
peace! O Judah, keep th y solemn 8 But with an overrunning feasts, perform thy vows: for the flood he will make an utter end wicked shall no more pass through of the place thereof, and dark- thee; he is utterly cut off.
The book of Nahum was probably written about one hundred years after that of Jonah, and perhaps about the same length of time before the fulfilment of this prophet's warnings in the fall of Nineveh. That great city was the capital of Assyria, the most ancient and extensive of the early empires of the earth. And it
may be presumed, that when this prophecy was written, there had been no instance of such an entire overthrow of a mighty empire as is here foretold. In the prospect of its overthrow the prophet breaks forth into a sublime description of the attributes of God, declaring how signally He takes vengeance on his enemies, how surely, though He be slow to anger, He brings the wicked to judgment at the last. The earth and its high mountains, the sea and its depths, the world and its inhabitants, are described as altogether unable to withstand the shock of his displeasure. But whilst He is thus shewn to be irresistible in his wrath against the wicked, it is added, that “ The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” And this is the aspect in which God delights to be regarded, and in which it onght to be our joy to regard Him, and in which it is our privilege to regard Him constantly, if it were not for our want of faith.
From this view of the divine attributes the prophet turns to the proper subject of his book, “ The burden of Nineveh.” He foretells that the Lord will make an utter end of the place thereof,” “ with an overrunning flood.” In vain do its rulers and inhabitants exalt themselves against Him. He will surely bring them to destruction. He assures his people that they need no more fear affliction or bondage from that quarter. He tells his enemies, his and theirs, that their name shall perish with them, and their idol gods together, in a vile grave which He has prepared for them. And He again turns to give comfort to his people, bidding them look for the messengers of good news in due time, and charging them to keep their solemn feasts, and to perform their religious duties; the enemy who had hindered them being now devoted to destruction. Here then we see the Almighty in the aspect of a God of grace unto his people, as well as in that of a God of vengeance to his enemies. And even as He made manifest both his goodness and severity, see Rom. 11. 22, in his dealings with Israel and with Nineveh, so will He do hereafter in that day, when all mankind shall be divided into two classes, all be treated either as his wilful enemies, or as his devout people. The world will be no more able to stand before Him, than the great city here doomed to destruction. The disobedient and impenitent and unbelieving, at whatever period or in whatever country they have lived, will find how dreadful is that end which he reserveth for his enemies;" and for which there is no word in the original, where our translators have written “ wrath,” as if to shew, that no language can describe it. Whilst they which have loved Him and served Him faithfully, delivered froin all fear for ever, will keep an eternal festival in heaven, and be made partakers of the glory of the Lord.
The siege of Nineveh ; its spoiling, and desolation. i He that dasheth in pieces is bering upon their breasts. come up before thy face : keep 8 But Nineveh is of old like a the munition, watch the way, pool of water: yet they shall make thy loins strong, fortify flee away. Stand, stand, shall thy power mightily.
they cry; but none shall look 2 For the LORD hath turned back. away the excellency of Jacob, 9 Take ye the spoil of silver, as the excellency of Israel: for take the spoil of gold: for there the emptiers have emptied them is none end of the store and glory out, and marred their vine out of all the pleasant furniture. branches.
10 She is empty, and void, and 3 The shield of his mighty men waste: and the heart melteth, is made red, the valiant men are and the knees smite together, in scarlet : the chariots shall be and much pain is in all loins, with flaming torches in the day and the faces of them all gather of his preparation, and the fir blackness. trees shall be terribly shaken. 11 Where is the dwelling of
4 The chariots shall rage in the lions, and the feedingplace the streets, they shall justle one of the young lions, where the against another in the broad lion, even the old lion, walked, ways: they shall seem like and the lion's whelp, and none torches, they shall run like the made them afraid ? lightnings.
12 The lion did tear in pieces 5 He shall recount his wor- enough for his whelps, and thies: they shall stumble in strangled for his lionesses, and their walk; they shall make filled his holes with prey, and haste to the wall thereof, and his dens with ravin. the defence shall be prepared. 13 Behold, I am against thee,
6 The gates of the rivers shall saith the LORD of hosts, and I be opened, and the palace shall will burn her chariots in the be dissolved.
smoke, and the sword shall de7 And Huzzab shall be led vour thy young lions: and I away captive, she shall be brought will cut off thy prey from the up, and her maids shall lead her earth, and the voice of thy mesas with the voice of doves, ta- sengers shall no more be heard.
LECTURE 1430. Of endeavouring to advance in holiness continually. A lively description is here given us of the preparations which the Ninevites would make, when threatened with a siege, of the vehemence with which their chariots of war would be driven to and fro in the streets, of the mustering of their subject princes, many of whom would fail in the time of need, and of the haste with which they would repair their walls, and make ready all their defences. But in vain would all this stir be made, in vain all this trouble taken. For thus runs the sentence of Him, who had turned away the excellency of Israel, and would much less spare the iniquity of Nineveh, " The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved." Then follows an account of Huzzab led away captive, probably the widow of the king, who perished in the siege. The flight and dispersion of the conquered people is next described. Long as they had been settled, in peaceable possession, like a pool of water in its place, soon would there be none left. Great would be the spoil of gold, silver, and precious goods. Desolate, most desolate, would be the city, so long the seat of empire; and full of pain and anguish the hearts, so lately flushed with power, pleasure, and prosperity. A lion's den could not present a scene of more violence, rapine, and fearlessness in spoiling all around, than Nineveh, in its treatment of the neighbouring nations. But the Lord was resolved to lift up his hand against this tyrannous city, He would give it up to the fire and sword of its enemies; and would thereby put a stop to its oppressive acts, and silence its cruel edicts.
When we consider that this was the city, which had repented at the preaching of Jonah, not many generations before Nahum prophesied, we shall be struck by the great change for evil which must have taken place in the meantime; for God to have now pronounced a sentence so terrible, and so express. And yet there can be no doubt that their repentance on Jonah's preaching was sincere; and that it led not only to a remission of their punishment, but to an amendment of their lives. There can be no security then that one generation, however truly penitent and obedient towards God, can transmit its religious impressions to those who come after it. Godly parents cannot indeed fail to do much for their children, by precept, by example, and by prayer. But they cannot do every thing. The son of a devout father, after all that can be done for him by others, must choose for himself, must act for himself: and therefore also must answer for himself. And it is not uncommon either in families, or in nations, to see a generation eminent in piety, or distinguished by the experience of signal mercy, succeeded by one that is thoughtless, graceless, godless, and which is to all appearance given up by God to a reprobate mind. Let us then watch over ourselves, lest we fall short of those who have
And whilst we thank God for all the good we have received at their hands, which is in truth his gift by their means, let us study to advance through grace in every good word and work, as our best way to avoid falling back unto perdition. So might religion be progressive, both in each single Christian, and in each successive generation ; children vying with their parents in true piety, surpassing them in the love of God and man, and to be themselves surpassed by their children after them.
The crimes and punishment of Nineveh are declared. | Woe to the bloody city! it streets : and they cast lots for is all full of lies and robbery; ber bonourable men, and all her the prey departeth not; great men were bound in chains.
2 The noise of a whip, and the u Thou also shalt be drunken: noise of the rattling of the wheels, thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt and of the pransing horses, and seek strength because of the of the jumping chariots. enemy:
3 The horseman lifteth up both 12 All thy strong holds shall be the bright sword and the glitter- like fig trees with the firstripe ing spear: and there is a multi- figs: if they be shaken, they tude of slain, and a great number shall even fall into the mouth of carcases; and there is none of the eater. end of their corpses; they stum- 13 Behold, thy people in the ble upon their corpses:
midst of thee are women: the 4. Because of the multitude of gates of thy land shall be set the whoredoms of the wellfavour- wide open unto thine enemies: ed harlot, the mistress of witch- the fire shall devour thy bars. crafts, that selleth nations through 14 Draw thee waters for the her whoredoms, and families siege, fortify thy strong holds : through her witchcrafts. go into clay, and tread the mor
5 Behold, I am against thee, ter, make strong the brickkiln. saith the Lord of hosts; and I 15 There shall the fire devour will discover thy skirts upon thy thee; the sword shall cut thee face, and I will shew the nations off, it shall eat thee up like the thy nakedness, and the king- cankerworm: make thyself many doms thy shame.
as the cankerworm, make thy6 And I will cast abominable self many as the locusts. filth upon thee, and make thee 16 Thou hast multiplied thy vile, and will set thee as a gaz- merchants above the stars of ingstock.
heaven : the cankerworm spoil7 And it shall come to pass, eth, and feeth away. that all they that look upon thee 17 Thy crowned are as the loshall flee from thee, and say, custs, and thy captains as the Nineveh is laid waste : who will great grasshoppers, which camp bemoan her? whence shall I seek in the hedges in the cold day, comforters for thee?
but when the sun ariseth they 8 Art thou better than popu- flee away, and their place is not lous No, that was situate amony known where they are. the rivers, that had the waters 18 Thy shepherds slumber, () round about it, whose rampart king of Assyria: thy nobles shall was the sea, and her wall was dwell in the dust : thy people is from the sea ?
scattered upon the mountains, 9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her and no man gathereth them. strength, and it was infinite; Put 19 There is no healing of thy and Lubim were thy helpers. bruise; thy wound is grievous :
10 Yet was she carried away, all that hear the bruit of thee she went into captivity : her shall clap the hands over thee : young children also were dash- for upon whom hath not thy ed in pieces at the top of all the wickedness passed continually?