1 [The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.]
2 God is jealous, and the LORD avenges. The LORD avenges and has indignation. The LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries and he reserves wrath for his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel languish, and the flower of Lebanon languishes.
5 The mountains quake at him and the hills melt. The earth is upheaved at his presence, even the world and all who dwell therein.
6 Who can stand before his indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken apart by him.
7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble. And he knows those who trust in him.
8 But with an over-running flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.
9 What do you devise against the LORD? He will make an utter end. Affliction shall not rise up the second time.
10 For while they are tangled together as thorns and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as fully dried stubble.
11 There is one gone out of you who devises evil against the LORD. He is a wicked counselor.
12 Thus says the LORD: "Though they are quiet and likewise many, yet thus they shall be cut down, and he shall pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will no longer afflict you.
13 For now I will break his yoke from off you and will tear off your bonds."
14 And the LORD has given a commandment concerning you, that no more of your name be sown. "Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the engraved image and the molten image. I will make your grave, for you are vile."
15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace! O Judah, keep your solemn feasts and perform your vows, for the wicked shall no longer pass through you. He is utterly cut off.
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter begins with the title of the book, showing the subject matter of it; and describing the penman of it by his name and country (verse 1); which is followed with a preface to the whole book; setting forth the majesty of a jealous and revenging God; the power of his wrath and fury; of which instances are given in exciting tempests; drying up the sea and the rivers; making the most fruitful mountains barren, which tremble before him; and even the whole world, and the inhabitants thereof, his indignation being intolerable; and yet he is slow to anger, good to those who trust in him, whom he knows, and whose protection he is in a time of trouble (verses 2-7). Next the destruction of the Assyrian empire, and of the city of Nineveh, is prophesied of; and is represented as an utter and an entire destruction, and which would come upon them suddenly and without warning, while they were in drunkenness (verses 8-10). A particular person among them is spoken of, described as a designing wicked man, an enemy to the Lord and his people, thought to be Sennacherib king of Assyria (verse 11); from whose evil designs, yoke and bondage, the Jews should be delivered; and he and his posterity be cut off, because of his vileness (verses 12-14); and the chapter is concluded with tidings of joy to Judah, who are exhorted to keep their feasts and perform their vows on this occasion (verse 15).
[v.1] - "Nahum" - In Hebrew, נחום, Nachum (Nakh-oom'), which means either comfort, comforter, or consolation.
[v.2] - "God is jealous, and the LORD avenges" - This can also be read as, "The LORD is a jealous God, and a revenger."
[v.5] - "upheaved" - Literally, "lifted up."
[v.6] - "abide" - Literally, "stand up."
[v.8] - "of the place thereof" - Literally, "of her place." This is referring to Nineveh. The feminine pronoun is used to refer to cities and nations.
[v.11a] - This verse can also be read as, "From you has gone forth a deviser of evil against Yahweh, an impious adviser." The Assyrians are spoken of here. From John Calvin's Commentary: "For why did God threaten the Assyrians with a sudden inundation and with perpetual darkness (verse 8)? The reason is here subjoined,— because they consulted against him and his Church."
[v.11b] - "wicked counselor" - Literally, "counselor of Belial."
[v.12a] - "quiet" - That is, at peace, secure, quiet (John Owen).
[v.12b] - "cut down" - Literally, "shorn."
[v.12c] - "and he shall pass away" - "The last verb is in the singular number, ועבד, 'and he shall pass through' or away, that is, the wicked counselor mentioned in the preceding verse." —John Owen