Nahum 3:1. Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;
Assyria became a great empire through violence, falsehood, and robbery. The soldiery had no respect for justice; they trod out the last spark of liberty, and crushed all nations under their feet.
Nahum 3:2-3. The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and of the jumping chariots. The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcasses; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:
When the Medo-Babylonian army came against the great city, it inflicted a terrible slaughter, killing the inhabitants without mercy, making a very holocaust of human bodies; but, inasmuch as it was a den of criminals, this horrible execution was well deserved. Yet is the story dreadful.
Nahum 3:4-5. Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that sell nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts;
These people had been steeped in sin of the worst kind, they had led other nations into it; and had practised the witchcrafts which God abhors. Therefore again Jehovah says, “I am against thee.” When God is in arms against a triumphant nation, he soon makes an end of it.
Nahum 3:5-6. And I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing-stock.
See what God can do. They were the proudest of the proud, and now he makes them the scorn of the scorner, and sets them as a gazing-stock. May God never deal in that way with any proud man here! He can easily do it; when we set ourselves up to be little gods, he can soon make us utterly mean and contemptible, and bring us down to nothing at all. It is his way to deal thus with the proud.
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?
If you could go today, and see the vast heaps of Kouyunjik, and of the great monuments of that mighty city all destroyed and crumbling into powder, you would know something of what God can do. It does not look likely to you that London can ever become a heap of ruins; and yet it may be, for its sins reek up to heaven as the sins of Nineveh did. The Lord can smite this city as he smote that.
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?
The prophet quotes the destruction of the city called No-Amon, probably Thebes, as an instance of what God can do.
Nahum 3:9. Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite;
There seemed to be no measure to her strength. If she wanted assistance from other nations, she had only to call them in, and the mercenary tribes were ready to defend her.
Nahum 3:9-10. Put and Lubim were thy helpers. 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.
So one city is a warning to another. No in Egypt is a warning to Nineveh in Assyria, and both of these a warning to our city, and a warning to every man who is proud, and haughty, and domineering, and oppressive to the poor, great in his own wisdom, and careless for the comfort of others.
Nahum 3:11. Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy.
Nineveh never dreamed of doing that; she said, “I am a queen, I shall see no sorrow; I am the greatest of all cities.”
Nahum 3:12. All thy strongholds shall be like fig trees with the first ripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.
As figs do when they are ripe. These castles, towers, fortresses, built to stand the siege, would be no sooner attacked than they would fall into the hand of the enemy.
Nahum 3:13. Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women:
You see, on those great Assyrian stones, the strong men that are sculptured there, with their enormous muscles, telling of gigantic force. When God came to deal with them, they became weak and cowardly.
Nahum 3:13-14. The gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars. Draw thee waters for the siege,
The prophet challenges them to defend themselves.
Nahum 3:14. Fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the mortar, make strong the brick kiln.
That was, to mend the walls whenever they were broken. They did this with great industry. “Do it,” says God, “yet you shall not be able to stand.”
Nahum 3:15-17. There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the canker-worm: make thyself many as the canker-worm, make thyself many as the locusts. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the canker-worm spoileth, and flee away. 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.
What marvellous poetry is this! How terrible! Their soldiers, their rulers, their captains, were as many as the locusts and the grasshoppers; but when they were wanted, all these hosts would flee, away. What cannot God do when he comes out to fight with men? “The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.” He brings confusion to his enemies. Oh, fight not against him! Beloved, let us be at peace with him, the strong and mighty God. Let us confess our faults to him, acquaint ourselves with him, and be at peace.
Nahum 3:18. Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria
They who should have taken care of the people, the chief governors, neglected them; they who should have defended the people were out of the way when they were wanted: “Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria.”
Nahum 3:18. Thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.
Let not the same be said of London. Are there any who can say, “No man careth for my soul”? Let them not be without a helper.
“Oh, come, let us go and find them!
In the paths of death they roam;
At the close of the day ‘twill be sweet to say, ‘I have brought some lost one home.’”
Brothers and sisters, rouse yourselves; be shepherds to the people of this modem Nineveh, and seek to gather the scattered flock of Christ.
Nahum 3:19. There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous:
Thank God, we have not come to that point yet, there is healing for the bruised sinner! Though the wounds of our people are grievous, there is a balm for them; we know where it is, and what it is; let us not be slow to tell them about it.
Nahum 3:19. All that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee:
I think that is the old Norman-French word, “bruit,” signifying noise or tumult, that has been left in our Bible.
Nahum 3:19. For upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?
Nineveh had been so wicked, and had done so much evil, that when men heard that it was destroyed, they would even clap their hands for very joy that such an evil-doer was out of the way.
I know not to what purpose I was moved to read this passage; but it is specially meant for some one, to whom may God apply it by his Spirit!