on Nahum 3 :19
There is no healing of thy bruise - Thou shalt never be rebuilt.
All that hear the bruit of thee - The report or account.
Shall clap the hands - Shall exult in thy downfall.
For upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed - Thou hast been a universal oppressor, and therefore all nations rejoice at thy fall and utter desolation.
Bp. Newton makes some good remarks on the fall and total ruin of Nineveh.
"What probability was there that the capital city of a great kingdom, a city which was sixty miles in compass, a city which contained so many thousand inhabitants, a city which had walls a hundred feet high, and so thick that three chariots could go abreast upon them, and which had one thousand five hundred towers, of two hundred feet in height; what probability was there that such a city should ever be totally destroyed? And yet so totally was it destroyed that the place is hardly known where it was situated. What we may suppose helped to complete its ruin and devastation, was Nebuchadnezzar's enlarging and beautifying Babylon, soon after Nineveh was taken. From that time no mention is made of Nineveh by any of the sacred writers; and the most ancient of the heathen authors, who have occasion to say any thing about it, speak of it as a city that was once great and flourishing, but now destroyed and desolate. Great as it was formerly, so little of it is remaining, that authors are not agreed even about its situation. From the general suffrage of ancient historians and geographers, it appears to have been situated upon the Tigris, though others represent it as placed upon the Euphrates. Bochart has shown that Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Ammianus Marcellinus, all three speak differently of it; sometimes as if situated on the Euphrates, sometimes as if on the Tigris; to reconcile whom he supposes that there were two Ninevehs; and Sir John Marsham, that there were three; the Syrian upon the Euphrates, the Assyrian on the Tigris, and a third built afterwards upon the Tigris by the Persians, who succeeded the Parthians in the empire of the East, in the third century, and were subdued by the Saracens in the seventh century after Christ. But whether this latter was built in the same place as the old Nineveh, is a question that cannot be decided.
"There is a city at this time called Mosul, situate upon the western side of the Tigris; and on the opposite eastern shore are ruins of great extent, which are said to be those of Nineveh.
"Dr. Prideaux, following Thevenot, observes that Mosul is situated on the west side of the Tigris, where was anciently only a suburb of the old Nineveh; for the city itself stood on the east side of the river, where are to be seen some of its ruins of great extent even to this day. Even the ruins of old Nineveh, as we may say, have been long ago ruined and destroyed; such an utter end hath been made of it, and such is the truth of the Divine predictions!
"These extraordinary circumstances may strike the reader more strongly by supposing only a parallel instance. Let us then suppose that a person should come in the name of a prophet, preaching repentance to the people of this kingdom, or otherwise denouncing the destruction of the capital city within a few years. 'With an overflowing flood will God make an utter end of the place thereof; he will make an utter end: its place may be sought, but it shall never be found.' I presume we should look upon such a prophet as a madman, and show no farther attention to his message than to deride and despise it. And yet such an event would not be more strange and incredible than the destruction and devastation of Nineveh; for Nineveh was much the larger, stronger, and older city of the two. And the Assyrian empire had subsisted and flourished more ages than any form of government in this country; so there is no objecting the instability of Eastern monarchies in this case. Let us then since this event would not be more improbable and extraordinary than the other, suppose again, that things should succeed according to the prediction; that the floods should arise, and the enemies should come; the city should be overthrown and broken down, be taken and pillaged, and destroyed so totally that even the learned could not agree about the place where it was situated. What would be said or thought in such a case? Whoever of posterity should read and compare the prophecy and event together, must they not, by such an illustrious instance, be thoroughly convinced of the providence of God, and of the truth of his prophet, and be ready to acknowledge, 'Verily, this is the word which the Lord hath spoken; verily, there is a God who judgeth the earth?"' - See Bp. Newton, vol. i., dissert. 9.
on Nahum 3 :19
There is no healing - (literally, "dulling") of thy bruise It cannot be softened or mitigated; and so thy wound is grievous (literally, sick), incurable, for when the wound ever anew inflames, it cannot be healed. The word, bruise, is the more expressive, because it denotes alike the abiding wound in the body Leviticus 21:19, and the shattering of a state, which God can heal Psalm 60:4; Isaiah 30:26, or which may be great, incurable Jeremiah 30:12. When the passions are ever anew aroused, they are at last without remedy; when the soul is ever swollen with pride, it cannot be healed; since only by submitting itself to Christ, "broken and contrite" by humility, can it be healed. Nineveh sank, and never rose; nothing soothed its fall. In the end there shall be nothing to mitigate the destruction of the world, or to soften the sufferings of the damned. The "rich man, being in torments," asked in vain that Lazarus might "dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue."
All that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee - For none can grieve at thy fall.
Nineveh sinks out of sight amid one universal, exulting, exceeding joy of all who heard the report of her. "For upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?" "In that he asketh, upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? He affirms most strongly that his evil did pass upon all continually." His wickedness, like one continual flood. which knew no ebb or bound, had passed upon the whole world and each one in it; now at length it had passed away, and "the whole earth is at rest, is quiet; they break forth into singing" Isaiah 14:7.
It is not without meaning, that having throughout the prophecy addressed Nineveh (in the feminine), now, in the close Nahum 3:18-19, the prophet turns to him in whom all its wickedness is, as it were, gathered into one, the soul of all its evil, and the director of it, its king. As Nineveh is the image of the world, its pomps, wealth, luxury, vanity, wickedness, oppression, destruction, so its king is the image of a worse king, the Prince of this world. : "And this is the song of triumph of those, over whom 'his wickedness has passed,' not rested, but they have escaped out of his hands. Nahum, 'the comforter,' had 'rebuked the world of sin;' now he pronounces that 'the prince of this world is judged.' 'His shepherds' are they who serve him, who 'feed the flock of the slaughter,' who guide them to evil, not to good. These, when they sleep, as all mankind, dwell there; it is their abiding-place; their sheep are 'scattered on the mountains,' in the heights of their pride, because they are not of the sheep of Christ; and since they would not be gathered of Him, they are 'scattered, where none gathereth.'" "The king of Assyria (Satan) knows that he cannot deceive the sheep, unless he have first laid the shepherds asleep. It is always the aim of the devil to lay asleep souls that watch. In the Passion of the Lord, he weighed down the eves of the Apostles with heavy sleep, whom Christ arouseth, 'Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation' Matthew 26:41; and again, 'What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch!' 'And no man gathers them,' for their shepherds themselves cannot protect themselves. In the Day of God's anger, 'the kings of the earth and the great men, and the rich men and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains' Revelation 6:15. Such are his shepherds, and his sheep; but what of himself?
Truly his bruise or breaking can not he healed; his wound or smiting is incurable; that namely whereby, when he came to Him in whom he found nothing John 14:30, yet bruised His heel, and exacted of Him a sinner's death, his own head was bruised." And hence, "all who have ears to hear," who hear not with the outward only, but with the inner ears of the heart, "clap the hands over thee," that is, give to God all their souls' thanks and praise, raise up their eyes and hands to God in heaven, praising Him who had "bruised Satan under their feet." Ever since, through the serpent, the evil and malicious one has lied, saying, "ye shall not surely die, eat and ye shall be as gods," hath his evil, continually and unceasingly, from one and through one, passed upon all men. As the apostle saith, "As by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Romans 5:12.
Upon whom then hath not his sin paased? Who hath not been shapen in iniquity? and whom did not his mother conceive in sin? Yet, it passes only, for "the world itself also passeth away," and we pass away from it, and all the evil it can do us, unless we share in its evil, is not abiding, but passing. This then is the cause, and a great cause, why "all that hear the bruit of thee" should "clap the hands over thee;" because thee, whose wickedness passed through one upon all, One Man, who alone was without sin, contemned and bruised, while He riced and justified from wickedness them who "hearing" rejoiced, and rejoicing and believing, "clapped the hands over thee." Yet they only shall be glad, upon whom his "wickedness," although it passed, yet abode not, but in prayer and good deeds, by the grace of God, they lifted up their hands to Him Who overcame, and Who, in His own, overcomes still, to whom be praise and thanksgiving forever and ever. Amen.
on Nahum 3 :19
3:19 Shall clap the hands - Insulting and rejoicing. Thy wickedness - Thy tyranny, pride, oppression and cruelty; treading down and trampling upon them.