Behold, I [am] against thee, saith the Lord of hosts
Against Nineveh, and the whole Assyrian empire, for such rapine, violence, and oppression, their kings had been guilty of; and if he, who is the Lord of hosts, of all the armies of heaven and earth, was against them, nothing but ruin must inevitably ensue: or, "I come unto thee" F19; or will shortly come unto thee, and reckon with thee for all this; will visit thee in a way of wrath and vengeance. The Targum is,
``behold, I will send my fury upon thee:''and I will burn her chariots in the smoke;
either those in which the inhabitants of Nineveh rode in great splendour about the city; or those which were used in war with their enemies; and this he would do "in the smoke"; or, "unto smoke", as the Vulgate Latin version; or, "into smoke", as the Syriac F20; easily, quickly, at once, suddenly, so that they should evaporate into smoke, and be no more; or, with fire, as the Targum; that is, as Kimchi interprets it, with a great fire, whose smoke is seen afar off; and may be figuratively understood of the smoke of divine wrath, as Aben Ezra explains it: and the sword shall devour thy young lions;
the swords of the Medes and Chaldeans shall destroy the princes, the sons of their king. The Targum interprets this of towns or villages destroyed thereby: and I will cut thy prey from the earth;
cut them off that they should no more prey upon their neighbours; and what they had got should be taken away from them, and be of no use to them: and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard;
in foreign courts, demanding homage and subjection; exacting and collecting tribute; blaspheming the God of heaven, and menacing his people, as Rabshakeh, a messenger of one of these kings, did; and which is mentioned by most of the Jewish commentators as being then a recent thing. Some render it, "the voice", or "noise of thy jaw teeth" F21; alluding to the lion's breaking the bones of its prey, which is done with a great noise; signifying that such cruelty and oppression the Assyrians had been guilty of should be used no more; or rather, as R. Judah ben Balaam observes, as it signifies the noise of the teeth devouring the prey, it is as if it was said, I will cut off thy prey from the earth; and Ben Melech says that, in the Persian language, grinding stones are expressed by this word, and teeth are called grinders; see ( Ecclesiastes 12:3 ) .
F19 (Kyla ynnh) "ad te venturus sum", Vatablus; "ego ad te venio", Drusius.
F20 (Nveb) "in fumum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F21 (hkkalm lwq) "vox dentium molarium", Calvin.