Nahum 3:19 – To be spared or not to be (that is the question)

The latter part of Nahum 3:19 poses a question – “Upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?” While the direct reference here is to the city of Nineveh and its wicked king, it can be extrapolated that the Assyrian king is a reference to the devil, as stated by prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 14:25). By beguiling Eve and through her Adam (2 Corinthians 11:3; Genesis 3), the deceiving serpent (the devil) subjected the entire creation to become sinful and be subject to death (Romans 5:12) and in that sense, the wickedness of the devil has passed over all continually since the willful disobedience of men.

Interestingly though, just as the last verse in the book of Nahum, an oracle against the city of Nineveh, ends with a question, so also the book of Jonah, which concerns the city of Nineveh, ends with a question – a question posed by God. The question is “Should I not spare Nineveh, the great city, its people and even its cattle?” God spared Nineveh, a little over 150 years ago (during the time of Jonah around 780 to 750 BC) but Nineveh had willfully chosen to revert to its wicked and evil ways, bringing God’s judgment on them, and this time, it was not going to be spared (during the time of Nahum around 615 to 612 BC).

Points to ponder:
The question is “Has not the wickedness of the evil one (devil) passed over us?” In other words, “Are we sinful?” All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And with sin came death for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). There is no one righteous, no not even one (Romans 3:10) meaning that all deserve death. Though the wicked (sinful) deserve to die, God is a God who spares, for he spared not his own Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:32). Jesus Christ willfully accepted to become the sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:12) and paid the wages of sin by his death (John 19:30).  Jesus was crucified in our place. So everyone who believes in him has eternal life (John 3:16).

And those who have believed, let us not revert back to our sinful ways (as did the people of Nineveh), drawing back into perdition (Hebrews 10:39). for if we keep on willfully sinning after having received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation of the Lord (Hebrews 10:26-27), which shall devour his enemies (friends of the world – James 4:4).

Have you believed in Jesus Christ to be spared? If you have, are you living according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Romans 8:1)?
To be spared or not to be – that is the question.

Nahum 3:19 (KJV)
19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

Jonah 4:11 (KJV)
11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Hebrews 10:26-27 (KJV)
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Romans 8:1 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Nahum 3:19 – No healing of thy bruise

Nahum 3:19 reads “There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?” The prophetic reference here is primarily to the ruler and king of Assyria, who was vile and whose officials were wicked men, sparring no mercy but pervasively and perpetually spreading their wickedness on all the nations they invaded and conquered. Essentially, the prophet Nahum, here is stating that the vile Assyrian and his nobles shall be bruised and wounded grievously that whoever shall hear of his destruction, shall rejoice with a clapping of their hands for the comfort that the Lord God has brought upon them.

Points to ponder:
Though in the physical realm, the reference to the vile Assyrian king is most likely to Sennacherib who blasphemed against the Lord, in the spiritual realm, prophet Isaiah refers to the devil as the evil Assyrian ruler (Isaiah 14:25) and his wickedness has not only been perpetual from the very beginning (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8), but also pervasive, so much so that whole creation groans (Romans 8:22) and all have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Even though the devil tried to destroy Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind, all he could do, was merely bruise the heel of Jesus with the nails that pierced his feet (Genesis 3:15), but Jesus once and for all grievously destroyed the devil (1 John 3:8) bruising the head of the wicked (evil) one, for which there is no healing (Genesis 3:15; Nahum 3:19) and laying him out bare from head to toe (Habakkuk 3:13), so that all who hear of the total shameful defeat of the devil by Jesus Christ, can rejoice for their liberty found in Christ (Galatians 2:4; 5:1), and rejoice always in the Lord (Philippians 4:4), with the clapping of hands.

 Nahum 3:19 (KJV)
19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

Genesis 3:14-15 (KJV)
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

1 John 3:8 (KJV)
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Habakkuk 3:13 (KJV)
13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.

Slumbering shepherds or Seeking Shepherd

Nahum 3:18 reads “Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.” This slumbering shepherds here refer to the rulers (nobles, princes, and officials) in the army of the vile king of Assyria (most likely reference here is to Sennacherib), who were supposed to keep watch over their own people, but are now no where to be found (), because they have been put to sleep/slumber (killed) in the dust, by the invading Medo-Babylonian army that God raised against them, to avenge his people (of Judah), whom they oppressed grievously. The king trusted in his own strength and military might (his rulers and officials) instead of on the Lord (2 Kings 19:8-13) only to find out that it was futile.

Contrarily, God the Good Shepherd is One who never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4). He is a Seeking Shepherd going after those who are lost (Luke 15:4-6) never abandoning his own people.

Points to ponder:
Are you in the fold of men who are like slumbering shepherds, putting your trust in officials (managers and leaders) who seek their own interests or are you in the fold of the One Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, trusting solely in him. Jesus said that he is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and he came to seek and to save those who were lost (Luke 19:10), by willingly giving his life for all lost in sin (John 10:18). Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5) and will be with you even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20).

Nahum 3:18 (KJV)
18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.

John 10:11-18 (KJV)
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Nahum 3:15-17 – Cankerworms, Locusts and Grasshoppers

In verses 15 through 17, of chapter 3, the prophet Nahum brings the word of the Lord God using the imagery of insects – specifically the cankerworm, locusts and the grasshoppers. Nahum 3:15-17 reads “15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts. 16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away. 17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

The Biblical cankerworm is a reference to the larval stages of a locust, which like its adult form, has a voracious appetite, feeding and spoiling all vegetation, in the fields they invade. Verses 15 and 16 speaks of the invading Medo-Babylonian army as cankerworms and locusts that shall devour the vile Assyrian rulers and people. Even if the Assyrians made themselves as many cankerworms and as many locusts, the invading army of the Medo-Babylonians shall still prevail. They shall spoil (plunder) and flee with (take away) the uncountable merchandise (wealth) of the Assyrians, who had multiplied as merchants greater in number than the stars of heaven (Genesis 15:5). The Medo-Babylonian army shall invade Assyria just like a plague of locusts (Exodus 10:1-20), devastating all that they will come across.

Interestingly now, God through his prophet Nahum, in verse 17, uses the same species of insects to describe the Assyrians as he did of the Medo-Babylonians army. The crowned (royal princes of Assyria) are compared to locusts and their captains to great grasshoppers. Locusts have been observed to have their flight impeded when the temperature falls below a certain range but when the sun rises, they fly away. The nobles and the rulers of the land of Nineveh, are like these locusts that are immobile during the night and when the  sun rises, they fly away leaving and not looking back at their city and/or its people (Nahum 2:8).

Points to ponder:
One of the many plagues, ,that the Lord God sends to show his people, and the Egyptian Pharoah and the Egyptians, that he was the Lord, and that he would deliver his people from slavery (Exodus 7:3-5, Exodus 10:2), was the plague of locusts. God sends the Medo-Babylonian army as cankerworms and locusts, to comfort his people ,by affirming that the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and he knows those who trust in him (Nahum 1:7). God likens the vile Assyrian rulers and captains to locusts and grasshoppers to demonstrate that when it is dark and cold, even the great rulers are immobilized and lifeless before the living God and when the light shines, they are no where to be found.

Are you a spiritual slave in bondage to sin? Are you being oppressed seeking the Lord as your stronghold? Do your oppressors seem like they can take your life out of you? If so, take comfort and remember that the Lord is a good God who delivers. He is a stronghold in the tempestuous and trying situations of life and he can immobilize the forces that are against you, if you trust in him, for he knows you – and guess what, he may even use cankerworms, locusts and grasshoppers to prove himself to you.

Nahum 3:15-17 (KJV)
15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.
16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away.
17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

Nahum 3:8:12 – Fire and Sword

Nahum 3:15 reads as follows: There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.

The first part of Nahum chapter 3 verse 15 speaks of a devouring fire and a cutting sword. The people of Nineveh shall finally get a taste of their own medicine (cruelty), as the fire and sword, physically meant the elements of destruction that the Medo-Babylonian army would be bringing against them.

The Bible says that God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29) and that his Word is alive and active, sharp like a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). He led his people as the pillar of fire when it was dark (Exodus 13:21) and when he appeared to Joshua as the Captain of the hosts of the Lord, he had a drawn sword in his hand (Joshua 5:14).

Points to ponder:
God is jealous for his people and will avenge his people using the same measure against the oppressors of his people. He will be a consuming fire and a double-edged sword, alive and active, in the defense of his people. Are you his?

Nahum 3:15 (KJV)
15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.

Nahum 3:8-12 – Easy pickings

In the third chapter of Nahum, God singles out a single city, the city of No-Amon as an example to warn the Assyrians that a similar fate like that of No-Amon is soon coming to the wicked people of Nineveh as well. No-Amon is known as Thebes or the populous No (Jeremiah 46:25; Nahum 3:8).

Author Dr. Feinberg, in his book, Jonah, Micah, and Nahum describes that No-Amon was the capital city of the Pharaohs from their 18th to their 20th dynasties and its architecture was so good that the even the Greeks and the Romans admired this city. No-Amon was located on both banks of the river Nile and on its eastern bank (Arabian side) was the well known temples at Karnak and Luxor and on its western bank (Libyan side) was Qoornah and Medeenet Haboo. No-Amon was favorably situated among the canals of the river Nile and sought refuge in the protection as a rampart and a wall of defense provided by the waters (sea) of Nile (Nahum 3:8).  Sir William Smith in his book, The Dictionary of the Bible, writes of Thebes (No-Amon), that poet Homer said it was a city of a 100 gates and from each 200 men with horses and chariots went forth. It was called Diospolis by the Greeks for the Egyptian counterpart of Jupiter was worshiped there. Amon, the chief god of the Egyptians, characterized on relic as a figure with a human body and a ram’s head, was worshipped here. Prophet Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied the judgment of God against this godless and idolatrous city (Jeremiah 46:25; Ezekiel 30:14-16) and true to God’s word, No-Amon was destroyed completely by the Assyrians in 663 B.C. Their young children were dashed in pieces on the top of the streets (in public display), and the honorable men dishonored by being chained and treated as property to be auctioned (cast lots) (Nahum 3:10). Now, the Assyrians trusted in the fortifications of surrounding waters of the river Nile, as did their predecessors (No-Amon), and God’s message of judgment is falling down on them for their godlessness. Nineveh would drink the cup of God’s fury (Jeremiah 25:14-17; Nahum 1: 2) and be drunken (Nahum 3:11) and will try to hide (Revelation 6:16-17) because of the strength of God against them as their enemy (Nahum 3:5).

God then goes on to describe that the strength of the people of Nineveh would not be sufficient to stand against the Medes and the Babylonians that God was sending to punish the Assyrians. The people of Nineveh in all their strength would be easy pickings – easy pickings like fig that falls into the picker’s mouth by just been shaken (not even plucked) (Nahum 3:12). Why, because the men of Nineveh would be as woman and their fortified gates shall be set wide open. No matter how much the people of Nineveh attempted to draw waters to put off the fire set on the bars/gates (Nahum 3:14), by the invading Medo-Babylonian army, it would all be futile. The attempt to build walls of protection with clay, mortar and bricks (Nahum 3:14) would be futile as well, because the hand of the Lord will be against them.

Points to ponder:
Trust in the the Lord God and not in your own fortifications for they are easy pickings for the Lord. Because of our sinful and idolatrous lifestyle we deserve to drink the cup of God’s fury as did the capital city of No-Amon in Egypt and the capital bloody city of Nineveh in Assyria, but thanks be to God, who sent forth his Son, Jesus Christ, who willingly drank the cup of God’s wrath on sin for us (Mark 14:36), once and for all (Hebrews 10:10), so that we may be fortified in the Lord and not be easy pickings for the adversary, the devil. Are you easy pickings?

Nahum 3:8-12 (KJV)
Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?
Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.
10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.
11 Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy.
12 All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.

14 Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln

Mark 14:36 (KJV)
36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Nahum 3:5-7 – Don’t become a gazingstock

The rulers, princes and people of Nineveh were oppressors of the people of God (Judah) and the nations they conquered, so much so that Nineveh is referred to as the bloody city, by God himself  (Nahum 3:1). Its merciless atrocities extended all the nations they conquered, including the people of God, but this did not go unnoticed in the sight of the Lord of hosts. Through his prophet Nahum, God sends word to the people of Nineveh that he was personally against them and that he would shame them by lifting their skirts upon their face before the nations and would make them vile and abominable (Nahum 3:5-6) and all who look at Nineveh shall flee from it  for she will be laid waste and there shall be no one left to moan for her or comfort her (Nahum 3:7). All that she would become is a gazingstock for the people to clap their hands in joy (Nahum 3:6; 3:19) for the afflicters shall be no more (Nahum 1:9).

Why would the Lord of hosts lift the skirts of this sinful people? For in their skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocents (Jeremiah 2:34); abominable filth (Lamentations 1:9; Nahum 3:6);  their iniquity/sinfulness (Jeremiah 13:22). In other words. God shall lift their very sins upon their face and expose their wickedness which they thought they did in secret (Jeremiah 2:34; 13:26) and there shall be no one to look back at her or comfort her (Nahum 2:8; Nahum 3:7)!

Points to ponder:
God is definitely a just God and those who are sinners (which is all of us – Romans 3:23) deserve to be punished. There is no secret sin before God (Psalm 90:8) for he is omniscient and no one can get away from God with their sinful acts. He rightfully has to lift our very sins upon our face and shame us, exposing our sinfulness. But despite his “just” nature, he is also a loving God, and the shame of our sinfulness, he placed on his Son Jesus Christ, who was stripped and exposed to a cruel death on the Cross (Matthew 27:35). He was shamed and the abominable filth of our sins was placed on Jesus, who knew no sin, so that we may become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). When he was crucified, there was no one left to moan for him, for his very own disciples and people deserted him, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 26:31; 56). Even the Holy Spirit of God who comforts (John 16:7) was not around to give Jesus the support he needed, for Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Jesus became the gazingstock for men to see and mock (Mark 15:18-20) so that you and I would not have to be. In other words, Jesus spread his skirt (robes of righteousness) over us to cover our nakedness and entered us into a covenant with God so that we become God’s (Ezekiel 16:8). When we believe in Jesus, and receive him, he washes us clean with his shed blood and pours out his Holy Spirit in our lives, to comfort us. If we refuse to believe in Jesus and if we continue to reject him, we should be ashamed because of our abominable sins/filth and we can expect to be a gazingstock. Don’t become a gazingstock – Trust and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today and receive him.

Nahum 3:5-7 (KJV)
5 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.
6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.
7 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?

Ezekiel 16:8 (KJV)
8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.

Isaiah 61:10 (KJV)
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.