Oracle (lit. “burden”) describes a kind of prophetic speech that responds to the questions of the community (Isa 13.1; Jer 23.33–40; Ezek 12.10; Hab 1.1; Zech 9.1; 12.1; Mal 1.1
). Here the prophet attempts to clarify the divine role in the collapse of Nineveh, capital of the Neo‐Assyrian empire. The vision,
. The location of Elkosh is unknown.
This paean to divine ferocity and retribution is presented in the form of a partial acrostic (most lines from vv. 2–8
begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet).
This variation on the classic formulation of the divine personality (Ex 34.6–7
) emphasizes judgment, in contrast to Jon 4.2
(also concerning Nineveh), which emphasizes mercy.
Cf. 2 Sam 22.8–16 = Ps 18.7–15
Whirlwind and storm,
cf. Ex 19.16; Job 38.1; Isa 29.6; Jer 23.19
; contrast 1 Kings 19.11–12
. Clouds are the dust of his feet,
2 Sam 22.10–11; Ps 18.9–10; 68.4
Bashan,Carmel, and Lebanon, regions famous for their fertility, were situated between Judah and Syria.
The ominous words for Nineveh are, at the same time, good news for Judah.
Addressed to Nineveh.
Consumed like dry straw,
cf. Isa 33.11–12
Counsels wickedness, alternate translation, “wicked counselor,” which may refer to a specific person (the same word, “wicked,” is used in v. 15
), such as Sennacherib.
Addressed to Judah.
Yoke, a slave collar (Isa 58.6,9; Jer 28.10–12
Addressed to the king of Nineveh.
Addressed to Judah. One who brings good tidings,
2 Sam 18.31; 1 Kings 1.42; Isa 40.9; 52.7
. Fulfill your
vows, presumably vows made to God during the oppression in hopes of deliverance.
Addressed to Nineveh. A shatterer (or scatterer; see translators' footnote a), the Medians and Babylonians who attacked Nineveh.
This parenthetical observation suggests that the fall of Assyria inspired hope for the release and repatriation of the Ephraimites
exiled in 722. Jacob here refers to the Northern Kingdom (Am 6.8; 8.7
). Ruined their branches, for Israel as a vine, see Ps 80.8; Isa 5.1–7; Jer 5.10
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