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Nahum 1:1

1.. The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

1. Onus Nineveh: Liber visionis Nahum Helkosi:


Though a part of what is here delivered belongs to the Israelites and to the Jews, he yet calls his Book by what it principally contains; he calls its the burden of Nineveh Of this word משא, mesha, we have spoken elsewhere. Thus the Prophets call their prediction, whenever they denounce any grievous and dreadful vengeance of God: and as they often threatened the Jews, it hence happened, that they called, by way of ridicule, all prophecies by this name משא, mesha, a burden. 206206     The word comes from נשא, to bear, to carry. Some regard it as the message carried or borne by the Prophets from God to the people, and hence the same as Prophecy. Others consider it to be the judgment to be borne by the people respecting whom it was announced. The latter seems to be its meaning here, where it is said, “the burden of Nineveh.” It was the judgment laid on them, and which that city was to bear, endure, and undergo. — Ed. But yet the import of the word is suitable. It is the same thing as though Nahum had said that he was sent by God as a herald, to proclaim war on the Ninevites for the sake of the chosen people. The Israelites may have hence learnt how true and unchangeable God was in his covenant; for he still manifested his care for them, though they had by their vices alienated themselves from him.

He afterwards adds, ספר חזון, sapher chezun, the book of the vision This clause signifies, that he did not in vain denounce destruction on the Ninevites, because he faithfully delivered what he had received from God. For if he had simply prefaced, that he threatened ruin to the Assyrian,, some doubt might have been entertained as to the event. But here he seeks to gain to himself authority by referring to God’s name; for he openly affirms that he brought nothing of his own, but that this burden had been made known to him by a celestial oracle: for חזה, cheze, means properly to see, and hence in Hebrew a vision is called חזון, chezun,. But the Prophets, when they speak of a vision, do not mean any fantasy or imagination, but that kind of revelation which is mentioned in Numbers 14, where God says, that he speaks to his Prophets either by vision or by dream. We hence see why this was added — that the burden of Nineveh was a vision; it was, that the Israelites might know that this testimony respecting God’s vengeance on their enemies was not brought by a mortal man, and that there might be no doubt but that God was the author of this prophecy.

Nahum calls himself an Elkoshite. Some think that it was the name of his family. The Jews, after their manner, say, that it was the name of his father; and then they add this their common gloss, that Elkos himself was a Prophet: for when the name of a Prophet’s father is mentioned, they hold that he whose name is given was also a Prophet. But these are mere trifles: and we have often seen how great is their readiness to invent fables. Then the termination of the word leads us to think that it was, on the contrary, the proper name of a place; and Jerome tells us that there was in his time a small village of this name in the tribe of Simon. We must therefore understand, that Nahum arose from that town, and was therefore called “the Elkoshite.” 207207     “It has been thought, and not without reason, by some, that Capernaum, Heb. כפד נחום, most properly rendered, the village of Nahum, derived its name from our Prophet having resided in it.” — Henderson. Let us now proceed —

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