Behold, I am against you, said the LORD of hosts; and I will discover your skirts on your face, and I will show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Nahum 3:5-7. Behold, I will discover thy skirts, &c., upon thy face — Nineveh, as a harlot, had been proud, and appeared beautiful and gay in the gifts of her lovers, but now God would deal with her according to her ways, would send her into captivity naked and bare, exposed to the greatest infamy, or would deal with her as inhuman soldiers deal with captive women. And I will show, &c. — I will expose thy shame to the world, a punishment often inflicted upon harlots: see note on Ezekiel 16:37. I will cast abominable filth upon thee — I will deprive thee of all thine ornaments, and cover thee with shame and reproach. And will set thee as a gazing-stock — I will make a public example of thee. All they that look upon thee shall flee from thee — As being affrighted at the sight of thy dismal condition, and not willing to lend thee any assistance. Who will bemoan her? &c. — Thou didst so offend all people in thy prosperity, that all will rejoice at thy fall, and none will be found to lament or condole with thee.Revelation 19:1-2. And Isaiah saith, "They shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that hath trangsressed against Me" Isaiah 66:24. Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts: see Nahum 2:13.
I will discover: Nineveh as a harlot had been proud, and appeared beautiful and gay in the gifts of her lovers; but now God will deal with her according to her ways, and (as men provoked use to do with harlots) strip her naked, and expose her to greatest infamy, or deal with her as inhuman soldiers do deal with captive women: see Annot. in Ezekiel 16:37.
The nations, which once did reverence thy greatness, shall now abhor thy nakedness which they behold. Thy nakedness; thy vileness and thy shame, as in the next words. Nahum 2:13,
and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face; turn up the skirts of her garments over her head, and thereby discover what should be concealed, than which nothing is more disagreeable and abominable to modest persons; it is here threatened she should be used in character as a harlot, or as women oftentimes are by rude soldiers, when a city is taken by them:
and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame; all her charms shall be taken away, and she become odious as a harlot to her former lovers; all her impostures, arts, and tricks, and shameful actions, will be discovered; and her aims and views at universal monarchy will be seen and her weakness to effect it made to appear; and, upon the whole, will become the object of the scorn and derision of kingdoms and nations.Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. discover thy skirts] or, uncover. The term means here to remove that which forms a covering, viz. the skirts; the effect is stated in the next clause. Jeremiah 13:22; Jeremiah 13:26; Ezekiel 16:37; Ezekiel 16:39; Micah 1:11; Habakkuk 2:15. Reference is probably to the practice of exposing the harlot or adulteress. Ezekiel 16:37-41 (cf. Cambridge Bible).Verse 5. - I am against thee (see note on Nahum 2:13). The Lord will punish Nineveh with the utmost ignominy, treating her ("the whore," ver. 4) like a harlot or adulteress. Thy skirts. The borders of the long flowing dress which added to her pomp (comp. Isaiah 47:2, etc.; Jeremiah 13:26; Lamentations 1:8). Upon (before) thy face. So that thou mayst know thine own shame. I will show the nations. All men shall see what thou really art, like an adulteress haled before the congregation. Jonah 3:10, that "God saw their doing, that they turned from their evil ways; and He repented of the evil that He had said that He would do to them, and did it not" (cf. Exodus 32:14), can be reconciled with this without difficulty. The repentance of the Ninevites, even if it did not last, showed, at any rate, a susceptibility on the part of the heathen for the word of God, and their willingness to turn and forsake their evil and ungodly ways; so that God, according to His compassion, could extend His grace to them in consequence. God always acts in this way. He not only forgives the converted man, who lays aside his sin, and walks in newness of life; but He has mercy also upon the penitent who confesses and mourns over his sin, and is willing to amend. The Lord also directed Jonah to preach repentance to Nineveh; not that this capital of the heathen world might be converted at once to faith in the living God, and its inhabitants be received into the covenant of grace which He had made with Israel, but simply to give His people Israel a practical proof that He was the God of the heathen also, and could prepare for Himself even among them a people of His possession. Moreover, the readiness, with which the Ninevites hearkened to the word of God that was proclaimed to them and repented, showed that with all the depth to which they were sunken in idolatry and vice they were at that time not yet ripe for the judgment of extermination. The punishment was therefore deferred by the long-suffering of God, until this great heathen city, in its further development into a God-opposing imperial power, seeking to subjugate all nations, and make itself the mistress of the earth, had filled up the measure of its sins, and had become ripe for that destruction which the prophet Nahum predicted, and the Median king Cyaxares inflicted upon it in alliance with Nabopolassar of Babylonia.
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