Nahum 1:12

12 Thus saith the LORD; Though they be quiet,[a] and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.

Nahum 1:12 Meaning and Commentary

Nahum 1:12

Thus saith the Lord, though [they be] quiet, and likewise
The Assyrian army under Sennacherib before Jerusalem, though they were quiet and secure and thought themselves out of all danger; not at all fearing that the besieged would sally out against them they being so numerous, and therefore betook themselves to sleep and rest: yet thus shall they be cut down;
or "shorn" F12; as the wool is shorn off the back of a sheep with sheers; or grass or corn is mowed with a scythe; or else as the hair of a man's head and beard are shaved with a razor; which sometimes was done, not only in a way of ignominy and contempt, as David's servants were served by Hanun, ( 2 Samuel 10:4 ) ; but as a token of servitude; hence those words of the poet F13,

``after thou art a servant, dost thou let thy hair grow?''
upon which it is observed F14, that it belongs to freemen to let the hair grow; and so the philosopher says F15, to let the hair grow, or to nourish it, is commendable with a Lacedemonian, for it is a sign of liberty; for it is not for him who lets his hair grow to do any servile work; and it was usual with conquerors to shave the conquered, and such as were carried captives F16, which some think is referred to in ( Deuteronomy 32:42 ) ; and render the latter clause of that verse,
``and there shall be captivity, by reason of the head of nakedness of the enemy;''
that is, there should be captives whose heads should be made bare, or shaved by the enemy the conqueror F17; hence the king of Assyria, when a conqueror, is compared to a sharp razor, that should shave the head, and feet, and beard, even all sorts of people, ( Isaiah 7:20 ) ; but now he and his army should be shaved themselves; that is, conquered, slain, or taken captives, and become slaves, and treated with contempt; all which may be taken into the sense of this phrase, and serve to illustrate it: when he shall pass through;
when the angel should pass through the camp of the Assyrians, then were they cut down by him in great numbers, a hundred and fourscore and five thousand slain at once, ( 2 Kings 19:35 ) ; though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more:
or "any longer" F18; though the Lord had afflicted the people of the Jews by the Assyrian king, the rod of his anger, again and again, yet after this he would afflict them no more by him; for otherwise they were afflicted afterwards, yet not by the Assyrians, but by the Babylonians, Syrians, and Romans, Some understand this, as before, of the Ninevites and Assyrians, that should be utterly destroyed at once, and their affliction should not be a second time; see ( Nahum 1:9 ) ; so Abarbinel: or, "I will not hear thee any more" F19; as he did formerly, when they repented at the preaching of Jonah.

F12 (wzwgn) "tonsi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F13 (epeita dhta doulov wn komhn eceiv) Aristophanes in Avibus, p. 584.
F14 Scholia Graec. in ib.
F15 Aristotel. Rhetor. l. 1. c. 9.
F16 "Tonsa comas imo Barathri claudere recessu", Claudian in Ruffin. l. 1. prope finem. Vid. Barthium in ib.
F17 Lydius de Re Militari, l. 6. c. 6. p. 237.
F18 (dwe al) "non ultra", Pagninus, Montanus; "non amplius", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.
F19 (dwe Knea al) "non exaudiam te amplius", Burkius.

Nahum 1:12 In-Context

10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.
11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the LORD, a wicked counsellor.
12 Thus saith the LORD; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.
13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.
14 And the LORD hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Though...: or, If they would have been at peace, so should they have been many, and so should they have been shorn, and he should have passed away