on Nahum 1 :3
The Lord is slow to anger - He exercises much longsuffering towards his enemies, that this may lead them to repentance. And it is because of this longsuffering that vengeance is not speedily executed on every evil work.
Great in power - Able at all times to save or to destroy.
The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm - These are the effects of his power; and when they appear unusual, they may be considered as the immediate effects of his power: and although he be in them to punish and destroy, he is in them to direct their course, to determine their operations, and to defend his followers from being injured by their violence. The pestilential wind which slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrians did not injure one Israelite. See 2 Kings 19:35.
The clouds are the dust of his feet - This is spoken in allusion to a chariot and horses going on with extreme rapidity: they are all enveloped in a cloud of dust. So Jehovah is represented as coming through the circuit of the heavens as rapidly as lightning; the clouds surrounding him as the dust does the chariot and horses.
on Nahum 1 :3
The Lord is slow to anger - Nahum takes up the words of Jonah Jon 4:2 as he spoke of God's attributes toward Nineveh, but only to show the opposite side of them. Jonah declares how God is "slow to anger," giving men time of repentance, and if they do repent, "repenting Him also of the evil;" Nahum, that the long-suffering of God is not "slackness," that "He is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
And strong in power - Divine long-suffering gees along with Divine power. God can be long-suffering, because He can, whenever He sees good, punish. His long-suffering is a token, not of weakness, but of power. He can allow persons the whole extent of trial, because, when they are past cure, He can end it at once. "God is a righteous judge, strong and patient, and God wraths every day" Psalm 7:11. The wrath comes only at the last, but it is ever present with God. He cannot but be displeased with the sin; and so the Psalmist describes in the manner of men the gradual approximation to its discharge. "If he (the sinner) will not return (from evil or to God), He will whet His sword; He hath trodden His bow and directed it: He hath prepared for him instruments of death; He hath made his arrows burning" Psalm 7:12-13. We see the arrow with unextinguishable fire, ready to be discharged, waiting for the final decision of the wicked, whether he will repent or not, but that still "the Day of the Lord will come" 2 Peter 3:9-10. "He will not at all acquit."
The words occur originally in the great declaration of God's attributes of mercy by Moses, as a necessary limitation of them ; they are continued to God's people, yet with the side of mercy predominant Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 46:28; they are pleaded to Himself Numbers 14:18; they are the sanction of the third commandment Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11. He "will not acquit" of His own will, apart from His justice. So He saith, "I can of Mine own self do nothing" John 5:30, i. e., (in part), not as unjust judges, who "call good evil and evil good," following their own will, not the merits of the case; but, "as I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just." He cannot even have mercy and spare unjustly, nor without the lowliness of penitence. Even if it is Jerusalem, over which He wept, or His "companion, His own familiar friend" Psalm 55:14, He, who is no "accepter of persons," cannot of mere favor forgive the impenitent.
The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm - The vengeance of God comes at last swiftly, vehemently, fearfully, irresistibly. "When they say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them" 1 Thessalonians 5:3, and all creation stands at the command of the Creator against His enemies. "He shall take to Him His jealousy for complete armor, and make the creature His weapon, for the revenge of His enemies" (Wisd. 5:17).
And the clouds are the dust of His feet - Perhaps the imagery is from the light dust raised by an earthly army, of which Nahum's word is used Ezekiel 26:10. The powers of heaven are arrayed against the might of earth. On earth a little dust, soon to subside; in heaven, the whirlwind and the storm, which sweep away what does not bow before them. The vapors, slight on outward seeming, but formed of countless multitudes of mist-drops, are yet dark and lowering, as they burst, and resistless. "The Feet of God are that power whereby He trampleth upon the ungodly." So it is said to the Son, "Sit Thou on My Right Hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." Tempests have also, without figure, been used to overthrow God's enemies (Exodus 14:27; Joshua 10:11; Judges 5:20; 1 Samuel 2:10; and 1 Samuel 7:10; 2 Samuel 22:15).
on Nahum 1 :3
1:3 Hath his way - The methods of his providence. The whirlwind - Which beareth before it all things that stand in its way. The dust of his feet - Though he be surrounded with darkness, yet as an army afar off is discovered by the dust that their feet raise, so wilt God appear with great power marching against his enemies.