Habakkuk 2

Habakkuk 2  [cntrl/click to read chapter 2]

God justifies his own judgment(s)

This chapter could be titled the “woe” chapter of Habakkuk. Four times he writes woe as a word of warning. Chapter 2 centers around the unusual…God justifies his own judgment(s). Why would God need to justify anything? Let’s consider the “what” and “why” in chapter 2.

Charles Spurgeon stated this regarding the task assigned to Habakkuk:

“Chaldeans, who were treading down the people, were themselves far greater sinners (then were the Assyrians), — that, certainly, in the matter of oppression and bloodthirstiness, they were a far more guilty people than those whom they came to punish.” [Chas. Spurgeon Library of Messages]

Spurgeon summarizes the dilemma facing Habakkuk. Not only were the very evil Chaldeans going to overrun the evil Assyrians, but soon after capture, enslave, and mistreat the people of the Kingdom of Judah. Habakkuk understood the quest against Nineveh for they were a very dangerous people. But the brutal Chaldeans were also going to invade and conquer Judah. Habakkuk questioned his vision.

Habakkuk 2:1 Mystified by his vision, Habakkuk gives us an example of the correct way to “wait on the Lord.” Be in expectant. There are those today who sit in church contributing little to nothing to the worship service or gaining any spiritual growth. For years s/he has sat in her or his pew claiming to be waiting on the lord for guidance. They miss the entire point of Habakkuk. He is not just waiting. He is also expecting and watching for the coming guidance and reproof of God. We see this in the opening sentence. He is standing his watch.

Habakkuk 2:2 Here is his part of waiting on the Lord. He was actively seeking. God tells him, make good note of what I am about to reveal to you. You can’t share it with others until you yourself have it in hand. This is why we have the Book of Habakkuk. “That he may run who reads it”. This does not mean to run from, but to run to God’s instructions. So often misread are these few words at the close of verse 2. Verse 3 explains this well.

There is an appointed time for everything.

Habakkuk 2:3 There is an appointed time for everything. The Book of Ecclesiastes 3 is all about this; a time for everything. Habakkuk is not told to stand still. He is told to move forward in his mission to the Tribe of Judah and the Assyrians. Write out your vision, Habakkuk, in plain language. He is told what will happen and to make it plain and understandable to the people. He is waiting but not for the vision. He is watching for the fulfillment of his vision. He will live to see the very thing for which he is commissioned of God to foretell. We know this because Habakkuk is told to personally wait for it will surely come.”

JIV NOTE: Habakkuk is only mentioned in his own book. He is not mentioned anywhere else in the rest of the Bible. However, in the deuterocanonical additions to the Book of Daniel, he is mentioned in Bel and the Dragon. Habakkuk is held in high esteem not only by Christians but within Judaism and Islam.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him; but the righteous shall live by his faith.Puffed up means proud of self. One can imagine this person feeling if not stating Oh how religious I am. Listen to the sound of the coins of gold as I drop them into the offering.” One might ask this same person, “you give moneys but why is it you only sit in your pew week after week?” In a very real sense this is symbolic of the person whose testimony only goes back to accepting Christ as Savior. It is as if nothing has happened since. This attitude is reflective of Judah and Nineveh.

 Habakkuk 2:4b makes this verse pointed. BUT the righteous shall live by his faith.” This is not static Christianity. Rev. David Guzik regards pride:

There may be as much pride inside a beggar’s rags as in a prince’s robe; and a harlot may be as proud as (may be) a model of chastity. Pride is a strange creature; it never objects to its lodgings. [emphasis mine)

There is a connection with this pride and the soon-to-invade Chaldean-Babylonians. Look at the pride of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel had to deal with this pride of Nebuchadnezzar just as did his prototype Habakkuk with the people and leaders in Judah. Assyria was falling. So did the Kingdom of Judah 5 to 8 years later.

Habakkuk 2:5 is not about Judah or Assyria as much as it is about the Babylonians. He does not stay at home means the Babylonians will conquer other nations… unto himself. He will gather under his tree (recall the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:1-37) all peoples by captivity.

Habakkuk 2:6 We are now in a part of Habakkuk where two proverbial sayings apply.

  1. That which goes around comes around
  2. The Pied Piper will be paid

Verse 6 declares this to be a proverb but against who? Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon! It will also be a riddle to him. This is the calling of Daniel when he continually interprets different dreams for Nebuchadnezzar. God is explaining to Habakkuk the consequences of Assyria being replaced by a nastier Babylon. A nation Habakkuk calls into question as an evil Assyria being destroyed by an even more evil people (Babylonians). We related this in the previous narrative commentary by saying ‘God might bring judgement upon America by bringing to power socialism.’ How can this be thought thinks Habakkuk?

Habakkuk gives verse 6b/7a an unusual twist by saying: (6b) to him who loads himself with many pledges’? (7a) Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? This metaphor exemplifies the indebtedness of one who owes too much to pay back his debt. This is not necessarily monetarily speaking but of good or evil done to others. One today might say or hear, I will get you for that! When God declares that vengeance is his it does not always mean direct intervention. He uses others to carry out his vengeance on the evil ones of this world. In End Time tribulation God will use evil to destroy the evil ones before he finally steps in and directly intervenes at his second coming.

Ahamoment: Who owns America’s huge debt?

Habakkuk 2:7 In short, others who hold a grudge as creditors will unite against a debtor. They will be his or her demise in a united front. The Medes and Persian-Caledonians did this to Assyria. The Babylonians then did this to the Medes. Alexander the Great did this to the Persians. These are but a few examples of how unpaid or perceived debt is redeemed be it financial or otherwise.

PS: China holds most of United States’ debt.

Habakkuk 2:8 underscores the above. Some call this a blood-debt. Some call it “getting even.” There is no end to this cycle of retrieving what one assumes to be a debt to be repaid. When one accumulates too many creditors (suppressed nations and kingdoms), they unite. Once that is settled, the tendency is creditors to think inwardly to settle the score with a previous ally. This is how the world will end. Son against father, daughter against mother, personal groups (kingdoms) against other groups (kingdoms), nation against nation, race against race, have-nots against those that have, neighbor against neighbor. We can easily see this is already being fulfilled. Those in the U.S.A. and other countries are now taught and instructed to report on his or her neighbor for even the smallest of infractions.

Habakkuk 2:9 This is the first of four ’woe’ verses in chapter 2 (v9, v12, v15, & v19). The Hebrew for woe (hoh’ee) is the prolonged version of ho and o’-ee. It is an adamant or unwavering attention-getter. One might experience this type of (hoh’ee) WOE if driving down a street. Unexpectantly a police car pulls in behind one with flashing lights and siren. It is time to (hoh’ee) pay attention. Habakkuk is told by God in his vision to pay particular attention. Very simply put, some will do evil to protect him or herself (family) from other evil or pending disaster. This too will be a defining moment during the Tribulation.

Habakkuk 2:10 This verse is what Matthew 24:7 means. Households during the second half of the Tribulation will fortress themselves by any means possible. They take what they can “…cutting off many people bringing sin against his or her own soul.” Habakkuk 2:10 belongs with verses 11 and 12. Three verses but one statement. We might akin or parallel this to Numbers 32:23… one’s deeds will find them out.”

Joseph Benson Commentary identifies this woe as inclusive of and applicable to all covetous, unjust, and oppressive methods used to raise a fortune. Each of these is a possession idol.

Habakkuk 2:12-14 is essentially one woe. Habakkuk ventures prophetically into the far future. Verse 14 reads: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, (just) As the waters cover the sea.” Knowledge does not mean acceptance. Isaiah 11:9 says the same thing. This is a reference to the Holy Mountains of Jesus i.e., the New Jerusalem of the Millennial age. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my Holy Mountain. Habakkuk is seldom given credit for this assurance of a Millennial Kingdom, but the wording is obvious. Woe to him or her who tries to do otherwise.

Habakkuk 2:15 points out not only the lewdness of mankind but the process through which his/her scheming mind works. This verse points out something else. Get someone drunk so s/he can be seen for what s/he is. Drunkenness weakens the immune system of thinking.

Reminder: Habakkuk is not only speaking to and of the Kingdom of Judah but to the end of mankind going without God’s judgement. What he is saying identifies man today. In short, get another person talking so what s/he says gives naked insight into that person, group, contract, on sale item, etc. We call it the fine print. King Hezekiah was guilty of this. His pride made him drunk and his lips “sunk his ship.”

Habakkuk 2:16 is another imagery or metaphor. Judah, which is one tribe within the chosen people of God, is supposed to be that light on the hillside. A light that others can see and emulate. Sadly, they were not a shining light. Therefore, the pending judgment Habakkuk states about Nineveh will also fall upon Judah. We KNOW this by what Habakkuk says in the second half of this verse.The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you, And utter shame will be on your glory.” Judah did not have long to wait. The invasion and captivity by the Babylonians began in 607 B.C., just five years after the fall of Assyria.

It was King Hezekiah who showed off the wealth of his Judean Kingdom. [See Isaiah 39:2]. Hezekiah was king of Judah when Nebuchadnezzar invaded, conquered, then began deporting the people from their homeland. Of course, he took the wealth that Hezekiah had boasted about and put on display. His vanity was to impress the previous Babylonian emissaries visitors claiming to be Babylonian ambassadors. His nakedness was exposed.

Habakkuk 2:17 mentions Lebanon. “For the violence done to Lebanon will cover you.” How does Lebanon fit into this prophecy? Much of the temple was built with the great cedars of Lebanon; the very Temple that Nebuchadnezzar razed. The people within the Kingdom of Judah will be redeemed after 70 years of Babylonian captivity due, in part, to Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the temple In Jerusalem. Lebanon cedar was the core of the temple structure. It was later rebuilt using Babylonian/Persian money. It was not destroyed again until 72 A.D. This time by the Romans 400 years later.

Habakkuk 2:18 is obvious. It means just what it says. Why does man build for himself idols then worship them? This is a great discussion in its application to what man does today, but not here. Essentially, what a person devotes his or her life to is their god.

Habakkuk 2:19 is the sarcasm regarding verse 18. Oh wood wake up? Hey stone. Don’t just sit there.

Habakkuk 2:20 is the contrast with other items of idolatry. God is for real and permanent. He is in his Temple and will be glorified. It is as inevitable as were the prophecies of Habakkuk.

JIV Note: Verse 20 tells us that the Temple, including during the Millennial Reign is God’s Temple. The New Testament tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that to the Christian our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

The Temple in Jerusalem is the abode of God. The true believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Keep this distinction in mind as we progress through our narrative commentary or as one reviews previous articles.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Ahabiblemoments begins this narrative commentary series on Habakkuk quite differently. You can click on the following and hear a three-minute overview of the Book of Habakkuk.

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=Habakkuk&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-qJ23qgcsJI

Has anyone ever asked of God WHY(?) this or that? Habakkuk did this 2700 years ago and he was a prophet of God. Some amazing understandings and clarity of our Christian issues today are revealed in the very first chapter Habakkuk. Answers to many of our common questions come to light.

One of the spiritual concerns of Habakkuk was that God seemingly would not answer his pleadings, petitions, prayers, and requests. He prophesied around 612 B.C. This is at the time of the fall of Nineveh and Assyria. Jonah wished the Assyrians (Nineveh) to be judged many years earlier but much to the chagrin of Jonah they repented. The Book of Micah exemplifies what Jonah had wished to be ill on the Assyrians. He also pointed the warning finger to both northern and southern kingdoms of Israelis. Nahum tells the Ninevites, you will have no more warnings. Here comes God’s judgement. Habakkuk sees God’s punishment happen (as also did Micah). But, he had difficulty understanding why God would replace the Assyrians with an even greater nation of evildoers.

Reminder of the sequence of prophetic events:

  • Amos: The book of Amos was to announce God’s holy judgment on the Kingdom of Israel (the Northern ten Tribes of Israel). This happened 120 years before Habakkuk prophesied in 712 B.C.
  • Obadiah: His prophetic mission as an Israeli was to the cousins of the Israelites; the Edomites or descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau.
  • Jonah: Like to Obadiah, Jonah took the same type of message to the Assyrians in their capital city of Nineveh.
  • Micah: As does Isaiah, the book of Amos announced God’s judgment on the Kingdom of Israel (the Northern ten Tribes of Israelis).
  • Nahum: Nahum 100 years earlier was essentially God’s follow up of the warnings to the Assyrians by Jonah. They repented then but fell back in their old ways within their next generations.
  • Habakkuk: He witnessed the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. (Assyrians) to an even more merciless people called the Chaldeans (Babylonians). He also saw the fall of the southern Kingdom of Judah to the same Chaldean-Babylonians.

Habakkuk 1:1,2 He begins his book by asking God a very blunt question. It almost reads like Habakkuk thinks God does not listen. “How long shall I cry; will you not listen; I cry out to you; will you not intervene” (paraphrase mine)? This is like Jeremiah 12:1. Jeremiah is asking the same thing of God. It is different circumstances but like Habakkuk questioning the ways of God.

Habakkuk 1:3 Christian believers who are some studied in the Word of God ask the same question today. Even do those who are believers ask…Where do we not see or hear of strife, contentions, iniquities, trouble around us, plundering and violence? It is everywhere and NOT just in the United States. We can add to this by reading the next verse in Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 1:4 “The law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” Are we not seeing this all around us today? Habakkuk sees it daily. It is around 612 B.C. (BCE: Before Current Era).

Habakkuk 1:4 God responds to Habakkuk in a vision; “this is what Habakkuk saw” [verse 1]. There is ruthlessness all around and the just seem to be the minority. God does not deny this. Even the laws of the land do not stop the evil. At times there seems to be a two-tier justice system. One set of enforced laws for the commoner and another set of limited laws for the elite. Let’s make it a three-tier system. The third tier is those who follow not any law other than domination, strength, and force…my gun is bigger than your gun attitudes. The laws of nature. Woe to those then and now who didn’t have let’s say, a means to defend self and family. What is going on with Habakkuk if he doesn’t feel or think GOD is a defense against such woes?

Habakkuk 1:5 God tells Habakkuk to not be nearsighted but look to the nations in existence at that time. God is telling Habakkuk to be more observing. Recall what has happened and what will happen. One should underline the following. Habakkuk saw the fall of Assyria and the fall of the Kingdom of Judah. He saw some of Jeremiah’s prophecies fulfilled. Jeremiah, Zephaniah and Habakkuk were contemporaries. He knew of the fall of the northern Kingdom of Israel. More on this human attitude in Habakkuk 2:5

Importantly is what God tells Habakkuk in verse 1:5b. “I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you.” It is amazing that Habakkuk, a prophet of God is told by God that he would not believe even if God told him? This in and of itself is astounding.

Habakkuk 1:6 is part of that unbelief God says Habakkuk will have…even though God is telling him. God says that he is raising up a counter-nation to Assyria, one that has an even worse attitude than did/do the Assyrians? How can this be? How can a God of creation do such a thing? Instead, how about a Red Sea event? Maybe another plague as in Egypt but now upon these bad Assyrian people? What about another Jericho Wall miracle? Perhaps a reuniting of all the Tribes of Israel, a strong leader, and a swift victory for their armed forces such as in the time of Jehoshaphat?

NOPE God says! I will use an even worse and evil nation to dissolve Assyria for the life of this planet earth.

Habakkuk 1:7-11 (NIV) God admits his solution is to use a more troubling nation than were the Assyrians. God even gave Habakkuk a long list of the reputation against humanity by those soon to invade Nineveh then Judah itself.

  1. They are terrible and dreadful
  2. Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves
  3. Their horses are as swift as leopards
  4. They are as dreaded as the evening wolf packs on the hunt
  5. They seem to not weary of their long travels
  6. They soar as eagles hunting for prey
  7. Their arrival or sight on the horizon means pending violence
  8. They gather captives as does the fierce easterly dust storms gathers sands
  9. They make mockery of other kings (and their gods)
  10. The Chaldeans are elated at their success just to transgress even more

One would think that Habakkuk’s complaint to God to this point in chapter 1 is personally dangerous waters. But he isn’t done trying to remind God who God is yet seems to violate HIS own standards.

Habakkuk 1:12  First Habakkuk recognizes and compliments God for who he is. Then…(v13b).Cntrl/Click on this link and read it for oneself. In verse 13a Habakkuk points out that God is pure, then he asks why he tolerates evil against mankind and God himself. Verse 13 also addresses a personal question some may hesitate to admit to wanting to ask but it is in one’s mind. Why does God allow the less righteous to dominate those who are trying to live a righteous life?

Habakkuk 1:14  Now Habakkuk, in a way, accuses God of not being a God of justice. Habakkuk says that God allows men to create a state of anarchy, by wrong going unpunished. It is as if there were no God of concern. He compares the world to the sea; men to fishes; Nebuchadnezzar to a fisherman (Jameison-Fausset-Brown).

Dr. David Guzik expresses this passage quite well in his commentary on Habakkuk:

It would be like crying out to God about the state of the church in America, and hearing God respond by saying, “I’ll fix the problem by [allowing] a Communist invasion of America.” We would say, “Wait a minute LORD – the problem is bad, but your cure is worse than the disease!”

We at ahabiblemoments see it similarly. It is like a former Christian nation like America crying out to God about the church being repressed and God says…”I will fix it by bringing socialists to power in your congress.”

Habakkuk 1:15They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad.” They delight in giving misery to others. Recall Habakkuk is not talking about the brutal Assyrians but of a force God is going to bring to uproot the Assyrians. These same people will within a couple years do the same to the Kingdom of Judah.

The last two verses of Habakkuk chapter 1 are, in a sense, similar to Matthew 13:12-14. God already told Habakkuk earlier in this chapter that even if God attempted to explained it to him, he would not understand. This is NOT a viable excuse for a Christian to neglect studying the Words of God. One cannot hide behind the excuse of not understanding. First gain knowledge then seek understanding. Read how Habakkuk handles this in verse 1 of chapter 2.

Rev Dr Jstark
2022

Nahum 3

Nahum 3 (all references refer to the NKJV unless otherwise stated)
The final chapter of Nahum is brutal and explains well why God’s judgement is to be upon the Assyrians. This chapter should be a parallel to Jonah knowing what he knew about this bitter enemy of Israel prior to his reluctant message to Nineveh. After reading chapter 3, one would have little doubt God’s patience exists and why they came to an end with the Assyrians.
We begin by abstracting descriptive bible phrases defining the cruelties of Nineveh, Assyria from the first four verses in Nahum 3.
• It is a bloody city full of captured victims
• Full of lies and robbery through unjust law, judges, deception by intent
• Any victim is doomed to death or cruel slavery if in Nineveh
• The sound of whips on victims is constant (the normal sadistic behavior of the Assyrians)
• Swords and lances are used within the city, not just at war (but are their fetish brutalities)
• The slain are a multitude piled in heaps
– This may remind us of the pictures of the holocaust camps of Germany in WWII
• There are countless corpses throughout the land
• Multitudes of harlots walk the streets
• Families are sold to others in the public marketplace
• The skins of many are spread upon the walls of the city
• Eyes are plucked out and limbs severed, then the victims left to die
• Those who dared to object against this cruelty are treated even more cruel
• Pillars of skulls could be seen
• The living and bodies of those slain are burned as a reminder to those who may rebel
• Captives are stripped naked without shelter or food
• No provision given to the captured or revolting leaders in Nineveh per weather conditions be they hot, cold, wet, dry, or storm.
NOTE: Is it any wonder Jonah wanted God’s wrath upon Nineveh, not a message of repentance.

There is more than scripture alone describing the cruelties of the Assyrians. Hundreds if not thousands of clay tablets have been discovered that describe the gruesomeness of the Assyrians upon their perceived enemies. At verse 5 God’s reprisal is prophesied as at-hand.
Nahum 3:5 “I am against you”. This is an absolute in the Hebrew. It simply means God will not withhold punishment. Ninevites have no chance of seeking or finding God’s mercy a second time. Jonah had warned them. Now Nahum 90 years later is telling Ninevites of their pending and certain doom.

As Jesus said at the cross of Calvary…IT IS FINISHED! This is God’s view of Assyria. It is finished! This condemnation is upon them who committed these horrible crimes of absolute and unrestrained cruelty. This included those Assyrians who stood idly-by watching. This same phrase is found in Nahum 2:13…”I am against you”.

JIV NOTE: This is like the world conditions will be during the End Days, God’s final days judgement [on that day] of humanity. There are three groups of people. The believer, and the unbelievers and those who lead and commit the sins against believers. Those who stand idly by trying to take no side at all by not intervening are as guilty as those committing attacks on believers. Taking no side at all is still not an acceptance of Jesus.

Nahum 3:6 means by deduction that God’s punishment will not be a swift death. The Assyrians will see it coming and pay a huge price for their repenting then rejection of the God of Jonah. Nahum is not there to redeem or evangelize them. He is there for one reason; to tell the Assyrians their final days are at hand. In the short of this verse, Ninevites no longer have any opportunity to repent “a second time.” This too will be true of those who take the mark of the beast yet continue to walk the face of the earth for a short time in the Tribulation “on that day.” It begins with the first bowl and angel of judgement found in Revelation 16:1-21.

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who take the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image” [NASB; Revelation 16:2].
No second chance will exist for those with the mark of the Beast!

Nahum 3:7 can be compared to the filthy rejection of the labor or concentration camp conditions of Nazi WWII. They were vile. All who looked upon these concentration camps rejected the conditions to which humans were subjected. “Who will bemoan her?” Who will feel sorry for Nineveh? This is followed in 3:7 with “where will I find comforters [anyone to feel sorry for them] for you”? If God can’t find anyone to feel sorry for the judgment of the Assyrians, who can? Answer: No one! This verse doesn’t state who might God find but WHERE might he find one to sympathize with Assyria. There were none.

Nahum 3:8 No’ Amon is mentioned. This is better known today as Thebes in Upper Egypt. A very great city yet destroyed so fully there hasn’t been found a fully standing wall or monument after King Sargon, the great Ashurbanipal, then Nebuchadnezzar who twice destroyed it. No peoples were found still occupying it after three kings: Sargon of Mesopotamia, Ashurbanipal of Assyria, and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, leveled it. No’ Amon; the city of No’ and their local god Amon. Is somehow Nineveh greater than was No’ Amon asks God through Nahum? By comparative thinking we can imagine how great this Egyptian city in Upper Egypt must have been. Their greatness did not repel destruction.

Nahum 3:9 Ethiopia, Egypt, Put (Cush), and Lubim (lybia) is a comparison to the greatness against which Assyrians consider themselves to be. The primaries would be Ethiopia and Egypt. Nahum asks if Assyria is greater than the historical greatness of Egypt and/or Ethiopia. Recall that the Queen of Sheba at the time of King Solomon came from and ruled over Ethiopia. No’ Amon [Thebes] is in Upper Egypt.

NOTE: Today many only think of ancient Egypt as one historical EGYPT; one country. This would be incorrect. In ancient times Egypt was one country or it had two sections, north and south. At times both had their own pharaoh. At other times both upper and lower parts were united under one pharaoh. Take note that No Amon is better known by their Greek name Thebes of Egypt. In actuality, No’ is the city and Amon is their god. No’ Amon means the city of the god Amon. The Assyrians knew this comparison well. It was their armies that had previously devastated No’ Amon.

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Nahum 3:10 When one understands what happened to No’ Amon according to this verse, the brutality of the Assyrians becomes even clearer. It was the Assyrians who desecrated No’ Amon. look up the passage Nahum 3:10 and see for what other cruelties for which the Assyrians were known. They did this to the great No’ Amon and its population. Now it was Nineveh’s destiny for similar devastation in 612 B.C.

Nahum 3:11 What Assyria had done to others is now upon them. They will get what they sowed in cruelty. Verse 11 means they will try to hide in drunkenness, just like people still try to do today. They will run to-and-fro in attempts to avoid the consequences of invading enemies. An interesting understanding of the Hebrew for strength or refuge in verse 11 is “they will seek safety anywhere including former conquered peoples within the Assyrian Empire.” This offers a partial explanation as to what God meant by saying “they will be known no more.” They were scattered like ashes in the wind totally losing their identity as Assyrians. This, in part, is what happened to the Northern ten Tribes of Israel when the Assyrians scattered them to the corners of the earth, uninhabited places without clothing, shelter, and weapons for protection.

Nahum 3:12 The imagery of a fig tree full of ripened fruit is not something of encouragement to the Ninevites. A ripened fruit tree will drop its fruit with little encouragement from a picker. No longer is it a part of the tree (nation?). In modern agriculture and husbandry, the first fruit pickings often come from vibrating or shacking the fruit from the tree. It takes little effort and the tree itself is not damaged but the fruit, aka: Assyrian defenses, will fall without effort. Right into the hands of their enemies.

Archaeologists document the burning and fall of Nineveh. “The excavators of Nineveh have remarked on the large deposits of ash, which are evidence of a gigantic conflagration.” (Boice)

Nahum 3:13 “…are women?” This would be totally rejected as sexist in today’s societies. The fact remains that the majority of soldiers during this time period of Nahum was men. Yes, some women defended their homes and homelands when aggressed upon, but women did not constitute the army of their land. Nahum is describing the people of Assyria upon judgement from God.

The word for people in Hebrew is ‛am. This word is not exclusive to women but all people from any walk of life within a tribe or grouping of people such as a kingdom or nation. Assyria’s strength will fall as if their forces were women. Many running in disarray and total fear. Men can do the same thing. Such is called desertion.

Verse 13b: “The gates of your land are (will be) wide open” for the enemy to simply walk into their no longer fortified city walls [emphasis mine]. This may support the secular hypothesis of floods and excessive rains upon Nineveh undermined the walls and gates of Nineveh. This allowed the enemy of Medes, assisted by the Babylonian Persians, to walk into the city. If this is a reference to the natural barriers that surrounded Nineveh north and east, the heavy and relentless rains would hinder or blind Assyrian guards to any invading forces moving in closer. Perhaps the soldiers at the “gates of the land” would be like most in heavy rains. They were initially hiding from the deluge. The guards did not see the enemy closing in around them.

Nahum 3:14 Some may read this verse as Nahum providing the Assyrians good advice to protect Nineveh. This is false. Nahum is making a mockery of any attempt to make void God’s “I am against you” declaration in Nahum 2:13 and in 3:5-7. This mockery is emphasized in 3:15.

Nahum 3:15 Look this passage up and read it for oneself. Modern bulldozers have discovered a great amount of charred remains in Nineveh.

Nahum 3:16 One may wish and perhaps to his or her study chagrin, take note that the Hebrew has ten different names for locust. None are for the good of the land. Nineveh will be wiped clean just as do locust to a field. Nothing will be left. This is precisely what happened when the Medes attacked, laid siege, then utterly destroyed this hated enemy of so many who were held under its powerful thumb of oppression. They vanished as do locust descending on green vegetation. Once the Medes, assisted by the Persian-Babylonians, destroyed Nineveh, they left it in such ruin it was not archaeologically discovered until 1840 A.D. [The Discovery of Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard, Esq., D.C.L.]. This means people walked over the face of the former great city for over 2,000 years without knowing what was below their feet.

We can best sum up chapter 3 of Nahum by looking at verse 19:

“Your injury has no healing, Your wound is severe. All who hear news of you Will clap their hands over you, For upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?” [NKJV]


Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Special JIV ahamoment: Most know of the Queen of Sheba and her trip to Jerusalem to test Solomon’s wisdom. Just as many question her name i.e. Queen of Sheba. Where was “SHEBA”. The original name of Ethiopia was the lands of the Habesha people. “Ha” in Hebrew is the word “the”. This makes the lands of Ha-besha people “the besha.” This famous queen of the gold coast with little play on spelling, the famous Queen of the Sheba (Basha) people.

Nahum 2

Nahum 2

The year: 612 B.C. The cruel Assyrians were in a heated prolonged family leadership quarrel. To whom did the kingship and authority belong? This strife, the crack that broke the infamous Assyrian Empire’s strength, became the breaking point of the powerful empire of Assyria. The nations and kingdoms under the thumb of Assyria were the likes of Persia, Medes, Babylonians, Arabia, Nubia, Chaldeans, and the territories of what we know today as Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Between 616 B.C. and 605 B.C. Assyria fell as an empire in bits and pieces. Knowing of the internal Assyrian civil wars these subject nations and people combined to make war with Assyria. The primary insurrection leaders were the Medes and the Persians (Babylonians).

Enter Nahum chapter 2.

“This chapter is a masterpiece of ancient literature, unsurpassed for its graphic portrayal of a military assault.” (James Montgomery Boice; 1938-2000)

Nahum 2:1 “He who scatters has come up before your face. Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily”. Nahum is not cautioning the Assyrian capital of Nineveh of what might be, but telling them what is to be. Be prepared! It cannot be avoided. As we learned in our narrative commentary of Nahum 1 there would be no-second chance for Assyrians and Nineveh to repent of their evil ways as they did in the time of Jonah.

Time-after-time God uses another people to bring judgement upon others. A wandering people called Israelites brought this judgement to the Canaanites. The Assyrians then brought this same judgement upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel, 10 Tribes of Israelites. 120 years later the Babylonians did the same to a divided Judah [Isaiah 54:16]. Evil Nebuchadnezzar is called “my servant” by God in Jeremiah 25:9. Assyrian cruelty (Nahum 2:14) was not ignored by God. In short, Nahum is telling Nineveh of their pending doom. The enemies of Assyria (primarily the Medes and Babylonians) were already on their way.

Nahum 2:2 is an interesting verse in and of itself. A contrast of outcomes. Nahum is telling the Ninevites that their doom will be permanent. Why? Good question. Recall that 90 years earlier Jonah had preached repentance in Nineveh. They repented but not for long. They later defeated and dispersed the ten northern Tribes of Israel throughout unsettled lands in Europe, Asia, what we know today as Afghanistan, and amongst the Medes.

The Kingdom of Judah lasted another 100 plus years but under the thumb and tributary yoke of Assyria. Nahum tells us in verse 2, Israel will eventually be restored! Assyria will not be restored. Let’s timeline this for educational and perspective purposes.

  • Jonah preached in Nineveh sometime around 760-750 B.C. Assyria repented.
  • In 722 B.C. Assyria attacked northern Israel dispersing God’s elect, naked and without shelter or provisions.
    • This is the cruelty Jonah recognized in the Assyrians and wanted God to destroy them.
    • Nineveh’s repentance did not last but for a few years.
  • (631 B.C.) King *Ashurbanipal dies. Leadership division begins in Assyria and its empire
    • Note the name Ashurbanipal. Asshur, second son of Shem (Noah’s son) gave his name to Assyria. The city of Asshur was the original capital of Assyria.
    • Asher became the name of the chief god of the Assyrians.
  • (626-612 B.C.) Medea and Persia (Babylon) rebel against Assyria’s heavy hand
  • 612 B.C. Assyrian Empire totally falls to the Medes and Persian-Babylonians
  • (606, 597, 586 B.C.) Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar captures the southern Kingdom of Judah dispersing the Judeans plus absorbing the likes of Daniel, Shaddrach, Meshak, Aben-Neggo. . 
IT BEARS REPEATING….

It bears repeating that all peoples of this time descended from Noah, Shem, Ham or Japheth, the survivors of the global deluge (flood). Of course, this relationship of mankind remains so of the 7+ billion people on the face of the earth today. Shem was quite familiar with nature due to the flood. He lived 500 years after the great deluge. The god of Assyria being Asher were basic nature, sky, and land worshipers.

The ‘emptiers’ mentioned in Nahum 2:2b are the Assyrians.

Nahum 2:3-7 describe the scene of the fall of Assyria. Nahum had cautioned them to prepare for these attacks in verse 1 even though they would fail and fall as an empire. What a description of this scene as the pages of Assyria’s final chapter unfolds. Nineveh will fall before this mighty army of Medea. She will be humbled and led away captive even as the Assyrians led other nations into captivity. The same fate had previously happened to the Canaanites, both kingdoms of Israel and Judah, now the Assyrians, eventually the Babylonians. The Romans removed millions of Jews from Jerusalem after their revolt against Rome in 70 A.D. All of this in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:63-64.

 Verse 6 is somewhat controversial. Some, if not many scholars, attempt to explain that the Assyrian defense of Nineveh was compromised by heavy rains, flooding, and the collapse of sections of their protective walls. This is not the same as in verse 8 where Nineveh is described as a “pool of water.” This has more to do with the flight of its people and troops. They drained away as might a pool of water. How do we conclude this? In verse 8b it also states that Assyrian leadership in Nineveh was crying for its defending troops to HALT (deserting). They didn’t listen and drained away to other places as does a pool of water. They never reunited as a people.

Nahum 2:11,12 in a very real sense describes the past character of Nineveh. A past where they gnawed the bones of their conquests. A den of bones. They feared no one. Assyrians were like prides of lions, lioness, and cubs within lands of plenty. They feasted upon others’ possessions, lands, and servitude. Once nothing is left to pillage they leave to conquer another kingdom, people or territory.

Nahum 2:13 is the bottom line of Nahum’s prophetic purpose and mission to the Assyrians. It was the consequence of what Jonah so much wished to see happen to the Assyrians about 90 years earlier. Nahum conclude chapter 2 by quoting the Lord God…”Behold, I am against you,” says the LORD of hosts, “I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more. Historically they were never heard of again other than through archeological digs.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022