The latter part of Nahum 1:4 reads “Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.”
This verse speaks about three lands that languished, the third of which that is mentioned is Lebanon.
Lebanon is a mountain range that bordered the northern boundary of the land of Canaan. Lebanon was known for its forests of cedar (Judges 9:15; 1 Kings 4:33, 2 Kings 19:23; 2 Chronicles 2:8; Psalm 29:5; 92:12; 104:16; Isaiah 2:13; 14:8; Ezra 3:7; Ezekiel27:5; Zechariah 11:1), its fruitfulness (Psalm 72:16), its roots (Hosea 14:5), its flowers (Nahum 1:4), its fragrance (Hosea 14:6; Song of Solomon 4:11), its wine (Hosea 14:7), for it was a land with a mountain of snow that melted to streams of cold water that brought life (Song of Solomon 4:15; Jeremiah 18:14). The wood from Lebanon was hewn to Solomon’s chariot (Song of Solomon 3:9) and in the building of the temple of God (1 Kings 5:6,9,14) . It was a land that Moses desired to go to (Deuteronomy 3:25) and because of its beauty made recorders of the Scripture expressed it with similes, such as skip like an unicorn (Psalm 29:6). The beasts of Lebanon are described as being insufficient for sacrifices (Isaiah 40:16).
Five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, the Sidonians and the Hivites dwelt in the mountain of Lebanon (Judges 3:3) and the valley (Joshua 11:17; 12:1). The kings that were by the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon sought to fight against the people of the Lord (Joshua 9:1; Joshua 13:6) for they were a violent people (Habakkuk 2:17) but the Lord God had set Lebanon before his people that he wanted them to go to and possess (Deuteronomy 1:7; 3:25; 11:24; Joshua 1:4; 9:1) and he would fight for them. So all the lovers of Lebanon are destroyed (Jeremiah 22:20) and God makes the forests of Lebanon into a wilderness, a city that is not inhabited (Jeremiah 22:6). The people of Lebanon trusted in making their habitation (nest) on its cedars (Jeremiah 22:23) instead of the Lord (Psalm 91:9) and are ashamed and hewn down (Isaiah 33:9) languishing as a woman in labor with pangs of pain (Jeremiah 22:23) for its glory would be stripped and be given to the redeemed people of God (Isaiah 35:2) and to Zion (Isaiah 60:13).
Ezekiel 31 speaks of the word of God coming to prophet Ezekiel who was asked to inform the Pharoah of Egypt that he would fall to the depths of hell (Ezekiel 31:17). Assyria with its capital at Nineveh (against whom Prophet Nahum brings the word of God) was a great nation and its ruler, Sennacherib, is likened to a cedar in Lebanon with a canopy of branches of high stature, signifying the greatness of this Assyria. It was the Lord God that had allowed this Assyrian to achieve such greatness (Ezekiel 31:9) but this Assyrian had a haughty heart (Ezekiel 31:10) like the heart of Lucifer (Isaiah 14:13-14), and he reproached the Lord God and his people by sending vain and vile threats against the people of Judah during the time of King Hezekiah, but the Lord intervened and the angel of the LORD slew 185 thousand Assyrians in one night (Isaiah 37:36). Sennacherib himself was then cut down (as a tree would be felled) by the sword by his own two sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer (Isaiah 37:38), as was Lucifer (Isaiah 14:8, 12) brought down to the pit (Ezekiel 14) cast down to hell (Ezekiel 31:16). Egypt was compared to Assyria and the Lord reminds Pharoah that just as he would hewn down Assyria, so would he do to the Pharoah of Egypt and all those who exalt themselves to be like God or above him (Ezekiel 31:18).
The languish of Lebanon is that its violent heathen kings were smitten by the Israelites led by Moses and Joshua during their Exodus from Egypt, the land of their physical bondage. The languish of Lebanon is that God would cause Lebanon to mourn (Ezekiel 31:15) as he cut down the evil king Sennacherib, likened to a great cedar of Lebanon, to the pit, to the grave, to hell (Ezekiel 31:17).
Points to ponder:
Those who attempt to exalt themselves shall be abased. Pride does come before a fall and when God makes one fall because they are proud, there is not getting back up. Let us trust in the Lord God and set our habitation in him i.e., dwell in his presence by letting him dwell in us. Let us have humble hearts. No matter how great (like the cedars of Lebanon) or how small we are, let us not seek to magnify ourselves, above the Most High God. Let us not be haughty like the evil king Sennacherib for a haughty heart is the heart of the devil (Lucifer) for if we do, what we can expect is languish.
Nahum 1:4 (KJV)
4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.
Isaiah 14:12-15 (KJV)
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Ezekiel 31:3-17 (KJV)
3 Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.
4 The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent her little rivers unto all the trees of the field.
5 Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth.
6 All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.
7 Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters.
8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.
9 I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.
10 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height;
11 I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.
12 And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.
13 Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches:
14 To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.
15 Thus saith the Lord God; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.
16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.
17 They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.