Nahum 1:10
(10) For while.--Better, For they shall be even as bundles of thorn fagots, and even while steeped in their drink they shall be burnt up like stubble fully dry. Dry thorn cuttings were commonly used as fuel. (See Psalm 58:9; Psalm 118:12; Ecclesiastes 7:6.) The verse compares the victims of Jehovah's wrath, first, to a compact bundle of thorn fagots; secondly, to a material equally combustible, the dry straw and stubble of the threshing-floor. With regard to the words "while steeped in their drink," it may be remarked that in the final siege of Nineveh a great defeat of its forces was effected by a surprise while the king and his captains were sunk in revelry (Diod. Sic. ii. 26). Benhadad, king of Syria, and Belshazzar, king of Babylon, were overcome under similar circumstances (1Kings 1:16; Daniel 5:1-30). Feasting and revelry may have gone on in Sennacherib's camp at the moment when the sudden visitation of the "angel of the Lord" was impending; but on this point we have no information. The introduction of this detail adds to the metaphor a certain grim humour. Soaked in wine though the enemy be, he shall surely burn like driest fuel in the day of Jehovah's fiery wrath. The opening clause of the verse is beset with difficulties, both grammatical and lexical. Kleinert renders "For in thorns they shall be entangled," &c.; Ewald and Hitzig, "For even though they be compact as a wickerwork of thorns," &c.

Verse 10. - While they be folden together as thorns. The clause is conditional: "Though they be interwined as thorns." Though the Assyrians present an impenetrable front, which seems to defy attack. (For the comparison of a hostile army to briers and thorns, see Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 27:4; Henderson.) And while they are drunken as drunkards; and though they be drunken with their drink, regarding themselves as invincible, and drenched with wine, and given up to luxury and excess. There may be an allusion to the legend current concerning the destruction of Nineveh. Diodorus (2:26) relates that, after the enemy had been thrice repulsed, the King of Nineveh was so elated that he gave himself up to festivity, and allowed all his army to indulge in the utmost licence, and that it was while they were occupied in drunkenness and feasting they were surprised by the Medes under Cyaxares, and their city taken. An account of such a feast, accompanied with sketehes from the monuments, is given in Bonomi, 'Nineveh and its Discoveries,' p. 187, etc. We may compare the fate of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1, etc.). They shall be devoured as stubble fully dry; like worthless refuse, fit only for burning (Exodus 15:7; Isaiah 5:24; Joel 2:5; Obadiah 1:18). The LXX. renders this verse differently, "Because to its foundation it shall be dried up (χερσωθήσεται: redigentur in vepres, Jerome), and as bind weed (σμῖλαξ) intertwined it shall be devoured, and as stubble fully dry."

1:9-15 There is a great deal plotted against the Lord by the gates of hell, and against his kingdom in the world; but it will prove in vain. With some sinners God makes quick despatch; and one way or other, he will make an utter end of all his enemies. Though they are quiet, and many very secure, and not in fear, they shall be cut down as grass and corn, when the destroying angel passes through. God would hereby work great deliverance for his own people. But those who make themselves vile by scandalous sins, God will make vile by shameful punishments. The tidings of this great deliverance shall be welcomed with abundant joy. These words are applied to the great redemption wrought out by our Lord Jesus and the everlasting gospel, Ro 10:15. Christ's ministers are messengers of good tidings, that preach peace by Jesus Christ. How welcome to those who see their misery and danger by sin! And the promise they made in the day of trouble must be made good. Let us be thankful for God's ordinances, and gladly attend them. Let us look forward with cheerful hope to a world where the wicked never can enter, and sin and temptation will no more be known.For while they be folden together as thorns,.... Like them, useless and unprofitable, harmful and pernicious, fit only for burning, and, being bundled together, are prepared for it; and which is not only expressive of the bad qualities of the Ninevites, and of the danger they were in, and what they deserved; but of the certainty of their ruin, no more being able to save themselves from it, than a bundle of thorns from the devouring fire:

and while they are drunken as drunkards; dead drunk, no more able to help themselves than a drunken man that is fallen; or who were as easily thrown down as a drunken man is with the least touch; though there is no need to have recourse to a figurative sense, since the Ninevites were actually drunk when they were attacked by their enemy, as the historian relates (i); that the king of Assyria being elated with his fortune, and thinking himself secure, feasted his army, and gave them large quantities of wine; and while the whole army were indulging themselves, the enemy, having notice of their negligence and drunkenness by deserters, fell upon them unawares in the night, when disordered and unprepared, and made a great slaughter among them, and forced the rest into the city, and in a little time took it:

they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry; as easily, and as inevitably and irrecoverably.

(i) Diodor. Sicul. l. 2. p. 112.

Nahum 1:9
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