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Full text of "A critical and exegetical commentary on Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Obadiah and Joel"

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Presented to 



Reverend Neill McRae 

Critical Commentarp 

on tjri Holp Skripturis of % ($tb anfr 



Regius Professor q/ Hebrew, Oxford; 


Late Master of University College, Durham 



oj Theological Encyclopedia and Symbolics^ 
nion Thtolo^tcai Seminary, New York. 















FIRST PUBLISHED . . . November ign 

The Rights of Translation and of Reproduction are Reserved 


IN 1890 the late Pres. William R. Harper agreed to write a 
commentary on the Minor Prophets in two volumes for this 
series of commentaries. But later on this was found to be 
impracticable, and it was agreed to allow him three volumes for 
the work. The first volume, containing Amos and Hosea, was 
published in 1.905. Dr. Harper was at work upon the second volume 
when he was taken from us by death. His pupil and associate, 
Prof. J. M. Powis Smith, who had assisted him in his preliminary 
studies, was asked to complete the commentary on Micah and 
now assumes the entire responsibility for that work. He wishes 
to make grateful acknowledgment of his indebtedness to the late 
Pres. William R. Harper for invaluable inspiration and much 
help in the work on Micah, and to Mrs. William R. Harper for 
the free use of Dr. Harper s papers and books and for permis 
sion to incorporate some of his results in the present commentary. 
These appear chiefly in the general comments on Micah, chs. i 
and 2 and 6 1 " 8 . 

The delay in the preparation of the volumes was so great that 
it seemed best to distribute the work remaining to be done among 
several scholars. Accordingly, Zephaniah and Nahum were un 
dertaken by Prof. Charles P. Fagnani, who, however, was obliged 
after some years to give them up on account of ill health, when 
Prof. J. M. Powis Smith kindly assumed the task. Habakkuk 
was assigned to Dr. W. Hayes Ward, Obadiah and Joel to Prof. 
Julius A. Bewer. These six prophets are published in this vol 
ume. The remaining prophets, Haggai and Zechariah by Prof. 
Henry G. Mitchell, Malachi by Prof. J. M. Powis Smith, and 
Jonah by Prof. Julius A. Bewer, will be published soon in a third 
volume completing the commentaries on the Minor Prophets, 



The order of arrangement of the Minor Prophets in these vol 
umes differs, not only from the traditional arrangement found in 
our Bibles, but also from that proposed by Dr. Harper in his orig 
inal plan. Dr. Harper departed from the traditional arrangement 
in his volume by placing Amos before Hosea, and also in his plan 
for the remaining volumes stated in the preface of his commentary. 
The traditional arrangement was not a chronological one, even 
from the point of view of traditional theories of authorship, and 
from the point of view of modern criticism it has little if any pro 
priety. It would be exceedingly difficult and, so far as the edi 
tors are concerned, impracticable to insist upon any chronological 
scheme, especially in view of the great number of different writ 
ings of different dates combined under the names of these Minor 
Prophets, where indeed there is ample room for differences of 
opinion. We were compelled therefore to consider the views of 
the several authors, and at the same time respect the traditional 
arrangement wherever practicable. The order finally agreed upon 
in this commentary is not therefore an ideal one, but the best that 
we could make under all the circumstances. 

The several authors have their own special preferences in doing 
their work, and there are therefore differences in these commenta 
ries such as would have been avoided if any one author had com 
posed them all. All the commentaries, however, conform to the 
general plan of the series. 

It was thought best to publish the work of the several authors un 
der separate sub-titles, each with its own separate pagination. This 
volume is thus really composed of three little volumes bound in one, 
each author being responsible only for his own work. The editors 
are not responsible for the opinions of the authors or for the details 
of their work, but only for the choice of the authors and such gen 
eral supervision of their work as to insure its conformity to the 
plan of the series. 



PREFACE . iii-iv 




1. THE TEXT 5-6 





1. His NAME 17 

2. His HOME 17-18 

3. His CHARACTER 18-19 



2. THE BACKGROUND OF CHS. 1-3 21-23 






1. THE MAN 166-167 

2. THE TIMES 167-171 


1. THE CONTENTS 171-172 


3. POETIC FORM 174-176 







i. THE BOOK OF NAHUM 267-274 


ITS UNITY 268-270 


2. THE TIMES OF NAHUM 274-279 


THE MAN 279-280 

THE MESSAGE 280-282 
















6. THE METRE 15-17 







4. THE PROPHET 67-68 








Arabic Version. 

cited from Oesterley s 

Aq. = 

Aquila s translation, cited 

edition in the Journal 

from Field s Hexapla. 

of Theological Studies, 

Arm. = 

Armenian Version. 

vol. V (1903). 

AV. = 

Authorized Version (1611). 


= Luther s Version. 

Bab. Cod. 

= Prophetarum posteri- 


= The Massoretic Text. 

orum codex Baby- 


= Masora. 

Ionic us Petropoli- 

tanus. Ed. H. L. 


= New Testament. 

Strack (1876). 


= Old Testament. 


Origen s Quinta. 

Eth. = 

Ethiopic Version. 


= Q e ri. 

The Septuaglnt, in the 


= Revised Version. 

received Greek Ver 


= Revised Version, margin. 

<35 A 

Codex Alexandrinus. 


= The Peshitto, cited from 

(gAld = 

Aldine Text. 

the Paris Polyglot. 


Codex Sinaiticus. 


= Syro Hexaplar text. 

<B B = 

Codex Vaticanus. 


= Slavic Version. 


Codex Marchalianus. 


= Symmachus s translation, 

<S Y 

Codex Taurinensis. 

cited from Field s Hex 


HP. = 

Texts of Holmes and Par 


= The Targum, cited from 

the Paris Polyglot. 


Jerome s Version. 


= Theodotion s translation, 

Kenn. = 

R. Kennicott, Vetus Tes- 

cited from Field s Hex 

tamentum Hebraicum 



cum variis lectionibus 



= The Vulgate, cited from 
Hetzenauer, Biblia Sa 
cra Vulgates Editionis 


The Old Latin Text of 


the Minor Prophets, 


= Versions. 






= Amos 


= Joshua. 


= The Wisdom of Jesus 
Ben Sira, or Eccle- 



1,2 K. 

= Judges. 
= Judith. 
= i, 2 Kings. 



= Lamentations. 

i, 2 Ch. 

= i, 2 Chronicles. 


= Luke. 


= Colossians. 


= Leviticus. 

i, 2 Cor. 

= i, 2 Corinthians. 


= Canticles = The Song 


= Malachi. 

of Songs. 

i, 2 Mac. 

= i, 2 Maccabees., 


= Micah. 


= Daniel. 


= Mark. 


= Deuteronomy. 


= Matthew. 


= Ecclesiastes. 


= Nahum. 


= Ephesians. 


= Nehemiah. 

i, 2 Esd. 

= i, 2 Esdras. 


= Numbers. 


= Esther. 


= Exodus. 


= Obadiah. 



= Ezekiel. 
= Ezra. 


= Philippians. 
= Proverbs. 


= Galatians. 


= Psalms. 




= Revelation. 


= Habakkuk. 


= Romans. 


= Hebrews. 


- Ruth. 


= Haggai. 

1,2 S. 

= i, 2 Samuel. 


= Hosea. 

i, 2 Thes. 

= i, 2 Thessalonians. 


= Isaiah. 

i, 2 Tim. 

= i, 2 Timothy. 


= Job. 


= Tobit. 


= Jeremiah. 


= Wisdom of Solomon. 


= John. 


= Joel. 


= Zechariah. 


= Jonah. 


= Ze haniah. 



= Rabbi Izaak ben 
Juda Abarbanel 

Rabbi Abraham ben 
Meir ibn Ezra 





A OF. 


Earth, NB 




American Journal of 
Semitic Languages 
and Literatures. 

American Journal of 

Altorientalische For- 
schungen, von H. 

W. R. Arnold, The 
Composition of 
Na. i -2 3 , ZAW., 
XXI, 225-65. 

J. Bachmann, Zur < 
Text-Kritik des 
Propheten Zeph- \ 
anja, in SK., 1894, j 

PP- 641-55- 
F. Baethgen. 

= J. Barth, Die Nom- 
inalbildung in den 
Semitischen Spra- 
chen (1889-91). 

= G. A. Barton. 
Beitrage zur Assyri- 
ologie und Semiti 
schen Sprachwis- 

G.L.Bauer, Dieklein- 
en Propheten iiber- 
setzt u.s.w. (1786). 

A Hebrew and Eng 
lish Lexicon of 
the Old Testament, 
with an Appendix 
containing the Bib 
lical Aramaic , 
based on the Lexi 
con of William Ge- 
senius as trans 
lated by Edward 
Robinson, edited by 
Francis Brown, 
with the co-opera 
tion of S. R. Driver 
and Charles A. 

Beer = Article Zephanja, in 

PRE 3 

Bew. = J. A. Bewer. 

Bick. = G. Bickell, Beitrage 

zur semit. Metrik 

Bick. 1 = Idem, in ZDMG., 

XXXIV(i88o),55 9 

ff. or Carmina Vet. 


212 f. 

Boch. = S. Bochart. 

B6. = F. Bottcher. 

Br. = Breiteneicher, Ninive 

und Nahum (1861). 

Brd. = C. J. Bredenkamp. 

Bu. = K. Budde. 

Bu. Ge3(-h = Idem, Geschichte der 
althebrdischen Lit 
ter atur (1906). 

Cal. = Calvin s Commenta 

ries on the Twelve 
Minor Prophets. 

Casp. = Caspari, Der Prophet 

Obadja, 1842; 
Ueber Micha den 
Morasthiten und 
seine prophetische 
Schrift (1852). 

CB. = Critica Biblica, Part 

II : Ezekiel and 
Minor Prophets, by 
T. K. Cheyne 

Che. - T. K. Cheyne, Micah 

[Cambridge Bible, 

CIS. = Corpus Inscriptionum 


Con. == R. P. Condamin. 

Cor. = C. H. Cornill, Einlei- 

tung in die kanon- 

ischen Biicher des 

Allen Testaments 


Cor. Continued. 

(6th ed., 1908; 
Eng. transl. of the 
5th ed. = Intro 
duction to the Ca 
nonical Books of 
the Old Testament, 

COT. = Cuneiform Inscrip 

tions and the OT. 
(Eng. trans. 

Cred. = K. A. Credner. 

Dathe = J. A. Dathe, Proph- 

etce minores ex re- 
censione textus He- 
braei et versionum 
antiquarum . . . il- 
lustrati (1773). 

Dav. = A. B. Davidson. 

DB. -= A Dictionary of the 

Bible, edited by 
James Hastings, 
4vols. (1898-1902) 
and an "Extra 
Volume" (1904), 
cited here as vol. V. 

De. = Franz Delitzsch. 

de R. J. B. de Rossi, Varies 

lectiones Veteris 
Testamenti, etc., 
vol. Ill (1786); 
and Scholia critica 
in Veteris Tes 
tamenti libros 

de W. = W. M. L. de Wette. 

Dl. = Friedrich Delitzsch. 

Dl.P oi = Idem, Prolegomena 

eine s neuen He- 
bra, isch-Aramdis- 
chen Worterbuchs 
zum Alten Testa 
ments (1886). 

D1. HWB = Idem, Assyrisches 

Dr. = S. R. Driver, The 

Mi nor Prophets: 
Nahum, Habak- 
kuk , Zephaniah, 
Haggai, Zechari- 
ah, Malachi. In 
troductions, Re 
vised Version, with 
Notes, Index, and 
Map [The Cen 
tury Bible. 1906]. 

Dr.^ = Idem, A Treatise on 

the Use of the 
Tenses in Hebrew 
(1874; 3d ed., 

Dr. Intr - = Idem, An Introduc 

tion to the Litera 
ture of the Old 
Testament (Revised 
ed., 1910). 

Dru. = Drusius, Commentary 

on Minor Prophets, 
in Critici Sacri, etc. 

Du. = B. Duhm, Die zwolf 

Propheten in den 
Versmassen d e r 
Urschrift ilbersetzt 

EB. Encyclopaedia Bibli- 

ca, ed. by T. K. 
Cheyne and J. 
Sutherland Black, 
4 vols. (1899-1903). 

Ehr. = A. B. Ehrlich. 

Eich. = J. G. Eichhorn. 

Einl. = Einleitung in das 

Alte Testament. 

Elh. = H. J. Elhorst, De 

prophetic van Mi- 
cha (1891). 



Enc. Brit. = Encyclopaedia B r i- 
tannica (q\h ed.). 

Eus. = Eusebius. 

Ew. = H. Ewald, Die Proph- 

eten des Alien Bun- 
des (1840; 2cl ed., 
1867; transl. as 
Commentary on the 
Prophets of the Old 
Testament; 5 vols., 

Ew. = Idem, Ausfiihrliches 

Lehrbuch der He- 
brdischen Sprache 
des Alien Bundes 
(8th ed., 1870). 

Exp. = The Expositor, ed. by 

W. R. Nicoll. 

Expos. T. = The Expository Times. 

Fag. = C. P. Fagnani, The 

Structure of the 
Text of the Book of 
Zephaniah, in Old 
Testament and Sem 
itic Studies in 
Memory of. W. R. 
Harper, II, 260-77. 

GASm. = George Adam Smith, 
The Book of the 
Twelve Prophets 

Geb. = Gebhard, Griindliche 

Einleitung in die 
zwolf kleinen 
Propheten (1737). 

Ges. = Wilhelm Gesenius. 

GesJ = Wilhelm Gesenius s 

Hebrdische Gram- 
matik, vollig um- 
gearbeitet von E. 
Kautzsrh (igog 28 ). 
English trans, by 
Collins and Cow- 
ley, 19 lo 2 . 

Gie. = F. Giesebrecht 

Gr. = H. Graetz, Emenda- 

tiones in plerosque 
Sacrce Scriptures 
Veteris Testamenti 
libros, etc. (1893). 

Gray = G. B. Gray. 

Gre. =E. J. Greve, Vatic inia 

Nahumi et Hab., 
editio metrica 


Grimm =K. J. Grimm, Euphe 
mistic Liturgical 
Appendices in the 
Old Testament 

Grotius = Annotata ad Vet. Test., 
vol. II (1644). 

Gu. = H. Guthe, Der Pro 

phet Mich a, in 
Kautzsch, Heilige 
Schrift (3d ed., 

Gunk. = H. Gunkel, Schop- 

fung u. Chaos in 
Urzeit u. Endzeit 

H.* = W. R. Harper, Ele 

ments of Hebrew 
Syntax (1888; 5th 
ed., 1899). 

H. AH = Idem, Commentary on 

Amos and Hosea, 
ICC., 1905. 

Hal. = J. Halevy, Recher- 

ches bibliques : Le 
livre de Michee; 
Le livre a" Oba- 
dia, in Revue Se- 
mitique, vols. XII 
and XIII (1904 /.). 
Le Livre de Na- 
hum, ibid. , vol. 
XIII; Le livre de 



Hal. Continued. 

Sophonie, ibid., vol. 

Hap. = O. Happel, Das Buck 

d. Pro ph. Nahum 

Hartmann = Micha neu iibersetzt 
und erldutert ( j 800) . 

HC, = Kurzer Handcom- 

mentar zum AT. 

Hd. = E. Henderson, The 

Book of the Twelve 
Minor Prophets 
translated, etc. 

Ildt. = Herodotus. 

Hesselberg = Die zwolf kleinen 
Propheten ausge- 
legt (1838). 

Hi. = F. Hitzig, Die zwolf 

kleinen Propheten 
(1838; 4th ed. by 
Steiner, 1881). 

Holz. = H. Holzinger. 

Houb. = C. F. Houbigant, 

B iblia Hebraic a 
cum noils criticis, 
etc., 4 vols. (1753). 

Hpt - (i) Paul Haupt, 

Notes on Micah, in 
American Journal of 
Semitic Languages 
and Literatures, 
July and Oct., 1910. 
= (2) The Book of Na 
hum, in JBL., 
XXVI (1907), 1-53. 

HWB. 1 * = Gesenius s Hebr. und 
aram. Handworter- 
buch uber das A T., 
ed. F. Buhl. 

ICC. = International Criti 

cal Commentary, 
edited by C. A. 

B r i g g s , S. R. 
Driver, and A. 

JAOS. *= Journal of the Ameri 
can Oriental Soci 

JBL. = Journal of Biblical 


JE. = Jewish Encyclopae 


Jer. = Jerome (f42o). 

JMPS. = J. M. Powis Smith. 

Jos. = Fl. Josephus. 

Jos. Alit - = Idem, Antiquities. 

Jos. 1 " = idem, Bell. Jud. 

JQR. = Jewish Quarterly Re 


JRAS. = Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society. 

J:m. =A. Jeremias, in BAS., 


JTS. = Journal of Theologi 

cal Studies. 

Jus. = K. W. Justi, Micha 

neu iibersetzt und 
erldutert (1799; 2d 
ed., i32o). 

Kalinsky = Vaticinia Habacuci et 
Nahumi, etc. 

KAT* = Die Keilinschriften 
und das A lie Testa 
ment , von Eb . 
Schrader. Dritte 
Auflage . . . neu 
bearbeitet von H. 
Zimmern und H. 
Winckler (1902). 

Kau. = E. Kautzsch, Diehei- 

lige Schrift d. 

KB. = KeUinschriftHcheBib- 




Ke. - C. F. Keil, Commen 

tary on the Minor 
Prophets in Keil 
und Delitzsch, 
Bill. Kommentar, 
vol. IV (1866; 
transl. 1880). 

Kent = C. F. Kent, The Ser 

mons, Epistles and 
Apocalypses of Is 
rael s Prophets, etc. 
[Student s Old 
Testament, 1910]. 

Ki. = Rabbi David Kim- 

chi (fi23o). 

Kirk. = A. F. Kirkpatrick. 

Kit. = R. Kittel. 

Kl. = Paul Kleinert, Com 

mentaries on Mi- 
cah, Nahum, and 
Zephaniah in Lan- 
ge s Bibelwerk 
(1868; Eng. transl. 

Knabenbauer = Com. in pro ph. 
minores (1886). 

K6 = Ed. Konig, His- 

Lehrgebdudeder He 
brdischen Sprache, 
vols. I-III (1881- 
97); reference is 
made to the Syn 
tax (vol. Ill, 1897) 
unless otherwise in 

Koi. A. Ko\mod\n, Profeten 

Nahum, Ofversdtt- 
ning och Utldgg- 
ning (1898). 

Kre. - E. Kreenen, Nahumi 

Vaticinium phi- 
lolog. et crit. Exposi- 
lum (1808). 




Abraham Kuenen. 

P. de Lagarde. 

Max Lohr, Zwei 
Beispiele von Kehr- 
vers in den Proph- 
etenschriften des 
Alien Testaments, 
in ZDMG., LXI 
(1907), pp. 3-6. 

= Max L. Margolis, 
Micah (The Holy 
Scriptures with 

Marti = K. Marti, Dodeka- 

propheton [Kurzer 
zum Alien Testa 
ment, 1903]. 

Mau. = Maurer, Commenta- 

rius grammaticus 
historicus criticus 
in prophetas mi 
nores (1840). 

Me. = A. Merx. 

Mich. = J. D. Micha-lis, 

Deutsche Ueberset- 
zung des Alien Tes 
tament s u.s ,iv. 

Mich., C. B.= C. B. Michaelis, on 
Obadiah and Mi 
cah, in J. H. Mi- 
chaeKs s Biblia He- 
braica cum A nnott. 

Mich.J.B. =J.B. Michaelis. 

Mich., J.H. = J. H. Michaelis, 
Biblia Hebraica, 

MVAG. = Mittheilungen der 
Vorderasiat ischen 
Gese.ll chaft. 








Oort : " 



New Century Bible. 

Newcome, An At 
tempt towards an 
Improved Version, 
Metrical Arrange 
ment and Explana 
tion of the Twelve 
Minor Prophets 

Theodor Noldeke. 

W. Nowack, Die 
kleinen Propheten 
ilbersetzt und er- 
kldrt [Handkom- 
mentar zum Alien 
Testament, 1897; 
2d ed., 1903]. 

Idem, Duodecim Pro 
phets, in R. Kittel s 
Biblia Hebraica 

J. Olshausen. 

Orientalistische Lit 
er atur-Zeitung . 

Onomastica Sacra, 
ed. Lagarde. 

H. Oort, Textus He- 
braici Emendati- 
ones, etc. (1900). 

C. von Orelli, Die 
zwolf kleinen 
Propheten ausge- 
legt (1888; 3d ed., 
1908; Engl. transl., 

Osiander, Ezechiel, 
Daniel, Osee, Joel, 
Amos, etc., juxta 
veterem sen Vulga- 
tam translationem 
ad Hebraam veri- 
tatem emendati, etc. 

Perles = F. Perles, Analekten 

zur Textkritik des 
Alten Testaments 

Pet. = Norbert Peters. 

Pont = J. W. Pont, Micha- 

Studien, in Theolo- 
gische Studien 
(1888-89, J892). 

PRE. = Herzog s Realency- 

clopddie fur protes- 
tantische Theologie 
und Kirche. 3 

PSBA . = Proceedings of the So 
ciety of Biblical 

Pu. = E. B. Pusey, The 

Minor Prophets, 
with a Commen 
tary (1865 /.). 

Ra. = Rashi (Jarchi fiios). 

RB. = Revue biblique. 

Reinke = (i) Der Prophet Ze- 

phanja (1868). 
= (2) Zur Kritik der 
alter en Versionen 
des Pro ph. Nahum 

Reuss = Das Alte Testament 

iibersetzt, eingelei- 
tet und erldutert. 
Band II: Die 
Propheten (1892). 

Ri. = E. Riehm, Handwor- 

terbuch d. bibl. Al- 

Ro. = T. Roorda, Comme - 

tarius in Vaticini- 
um Michae (1869). 

Rosenm. = C. F. K. Rosenmiiller, 
Scholia in prophe- 
tas minor es (1836). 

Roth. =J. W. Rothstein, 

Translation of 



Roth. Continued. 

Zephaniah with 
notes, in Kautzsch s 
Heilige Schrift." 

Rub. = P. Ruben, Critical 

Remarks upon 
Some Passages of 
the Old Testament 

Ry = V. Ryssel, Untersuch- 

un gen iib er die 
Textgestalt und die 
Echtheit des Buches 
Micha. Ein krit- 
ischer Kommentar 
zu Micha (1887). 

Sanctius = Com. in proph. mi- 
nores (1621). 

Say. = A. H. Sayce. 

Schegg -= P. Schegg, Die klei- 
nen Propheten 
iibersetzt und er - 
kldrt (1854 /.) 

Schleus. = J. F. Schleusner, 
Opuscula critica ad 
versiones Grcecas 
Veteris Testamenti 
pertinentia (1812). 

Schnurrer = A ni madverslones 
philologica critica 
ad vaticinium Mi- 
chae (1798). 

Schw. = F. Schwally, Das 

Buck Ssefanyd, 
tine historisch- 
kritische U nter- 
suchung, in ZAW., 
X (1890), 165-240. 

Seb. - M. Sebok, Die Syr- 

ische Uebersetzung 
der zwolf kleinen 
Propheten u. s. iv. 
<i88 7 ). 




Sta. GVI 





> Ed. Sievers, Metrische 
Studien; Alttesta- 
mentliche Mis- 
cellen: 6. Zu Joel; 
7. Zu Obadia; 8. 
Zu Zephanja. 10. 
Zu Micha [Berichte 
uber die Verhand- 
lungen der Konig- 
lichen Sachsischen 
Gesellschaft der 
Wissenschaften zu 
Leipzig. Philolo- 
gisch - historische 
Klasse, Band LIX, 

R. Smend, Lehrbuch 
der Alttestament- 
lichen Religionsge- 
schichte (1893; 2d 
ed., 1899). 

C. Siegfried und B. 
Stade, Hebrdisches 
Worterbuch zum 
Alien Testament e 


B. Stade (fi9o6). 
Idem, Geschichte des 

Volkes Israel 

Idem, Lehrbuch der 

Hebr. Grammatik 

H. Steiner (see s. v. 

Schuurmans S t e k - 

hoven, De Alex- 

andrijnsche V er - 

taling van het Do- 

deka pro pheton 

(i) W. Staerk, Das 

Assyrische Welt- 

reich im Urteil det 



Stk. Continued 

Propheten (1908). 
For reff. in Micah. 
(2) Idem, A usge- 
wdhlte poetischc 
Texte des A It en 
Testaments in me- 
trischer und stro- 
phischer Gliederung 
zunt Gebrauch in 
Vorlesungen und in 
und zum Selbststu- 
dium. Heft 2: 
Amos, Na hum, 
Habakkuk (1908). 

Strauss = Nahumi de Nino 
Vaticinium (1853). 

Struensee = Neue Uebersetzung 
der Weissagungen 
Jesaias, Joel, A mos, 
Obadja und Micha 
nach dem Ebrd- 
ischen Text mit Zu- 
ziehung der griech- 
ischen Version 

Taylor = John Taylor, The 
Massoretic Text 
and the Ancient Ver 
sions of the Book 
of Micah (1891). 

Theiner = Die zwolf Heinen 
Propheten (1828). 

ThLZ. = Theologische Littera- 


ThSth. = Theologische Studien 
und Kritiken. 

ThT. = Theologisch Tijd- 


Um. = Umbreit, Praktischer 

Commentar uber die 
kleinen Propheten 






Wk l.Unt. 


WRS. Rel 



A. van Hoonacker 
Les douze petits 
prophetes (1908). 

M. Vernes. 

K. Vollers, Das Do- 
dekapropheton der 
A lexandriner, \ n 
ZAW., IV (1884). 

Die vorexilische Jah- 
weprophetie und 
der Messias (1897). 

J. Wellhausen, Die 
kleinen Propheten 
iibersetzt und er- 
kldrt (1892; 3ded., 

H. Winckler. 

Idem, Alttestament- 
liche Untersuchun- 
gen (1892). 

W. Robertson Smith, 
The Prophets of 
Israel (1882 ; new 
ed., with Introduc 
tion by T. K. 
Cheyne, 1895). 
s Idem, Lectures on the 
Religion of the Sem 
ites (2d ed., 1894). 
= A. Wiinsche. 

= Zeitschrift filr Assyr- 

ZAW.; ZATW. = Zeitschrift fur die 



ZDMG. = Zeitschrift der deut- 
schen morgenldndi- 

schen Gesettschaft. 
Zim. = H. Zimmern. 

Z6. Otto Zockler. 

ZwTh, - Zeitschrift fur wis- 

senschaftliche The- 






= absolute. 


= critical, criticism. 


= abstract. 


= construct. 


= accusative. 

d. f. 

= daghesh forte. 

ace. cog. 

= cognate ace. 


= defective. 

ace. pers. 

= ace. of person. 


= dele, strike out. 

ace. rei. 

= ace. of thing. 


= different, difference. 

ace. to 

= according to. 
= active. 
= added, addition, ad 


= dittography. 
= dubious, doubtful. 



= edition, editor, edi 


= adjective. 


ad loc. 

= ad locum. 


= for example. 


= adverb, adverbial. 


= elsewhere. 


= &ira% \cy6fj.cvov, word 


= especially. 

or phr. used once. 

et al. 

= et aliter, and else 


= always. 

where, or et alii, 


= apodosis. 

and others. 


= Arabic. 


= Ethiopic. 


= Aramaic, Aramean. 


= except. 




= Assyria, Assyrian. 



= and following. 
= feminine. 


= Babylonian. 


= figurative. 

b. Aram. 

= biblical Aramaic. 

f. n. 

= foot-note. 


= biblical. 


= following. 

ch., chs. 

= chapter, chapters. 


= frequentative. 
= future. 


= circa, about. 


= causative. 


= genitive. 


= century. 


= gentilic. 


= confer, compare. 


= Greek. 

cod., codd. 

= codex, codices. 


= grammatical. 


= cognate. 
= cohortative. 


= haplography. 
= Hebrew. 


= collective. 
= commentary, com 


= Hiphil of verb. 
= historical. 


= concrete. 


= Hithpael of verb. 


= conjunction. 


= idem, the same. 


= consonantal. 


= id est, that is. 


= consecutive. 


= imperfect. 


= construction. 


= imperative. 


= compare. 


= indefinite. 




= infinitive. 


= pronoun. 


= inscription, inscrip 


= prophet, prophetic. 



=- participle. 


= intransitive. 


= Pual of verb. 


= Introduction, intro 



= quod vide, which see, 


= read. 


= jussive. 


= reflexive. 

1., 11. 

= line, lines. 




= loco citato, in the 


= remark. 

place before cited. 


= South, southern. 


= literal, literally. 


= Sabean. 


= margin, marginal. 
= masculine. 


= suffix. 
= singular. 


= metrical. 


= followed by. 


= modern. 


= state. 

ms., mss. 

= manuscript, manu 


= strophe, strophical. 
= subject. 

mtr. cs. 

== mount(ain). 
= metrica causa, be 


= substantive. 
=- Syriac. 

cause of the met e. 

S. "V. 

= sub voce. 


= North, northern. 


= times (following a 


= New Hebrew. 


== transpose. 
= transitive. 


= Niphal of verb. 


= translate, translation. 


= object. 


= textual. 


= often. 

V., VV. 

= verse, verses. 


= omit. 


= vide see. 


= original. 


= verb. 

p., pp. 

= page, pages. 

v. i. 

= vide infra, see below 


= particle. 

(usually textual 


= parallelism. 

note on same 


= passive. 



= person. 


= videlicet, namely, to 


= perhaps 



= perfect. 


= vocative. 


= Piel of verb. 


= volume. 


= plural. 


= versus, against. 


= predicate. 

V. S. 

= vide supra, see above 


= pregnant. 

(usually general re- 


= preposition. 

mark on same 


= probable, probably. 





indicates all passages cited. 

parallel, of words or clauses 
chiefly synonymous. 

equivalent, equals. 

plus, denotes that other pas 
sages might be cited. 

= the root, or stem. 

= sign of abbreviation in He 
brew words. 

= -IDIJM, and so forth. 

= Yahweh. 

* indicates that Massoretic text 
has not been followed, but 
either Vrss. or conjectural 

Biblical passages are cited accord 
ing to the Hebrew enumeration of 
chapters and verses: where this dif 
fers in the English, the reference to the 
latter has usually (except in textual 
notes) been added in parentheses. 









i. The Text. 

The book of Micah stands sixth in the list of the Minor Prophets 
as given in the Hebrew Bible, but third as found in (&. The text 
has come down to us in a bad state of corruption. Of the Minor 
Prophets, Hosea alone has a worse text. In the following com 
mentary, it has been found necessary to make more than eighty 
corrections of the text as found in $&, in order to secure satis 
factory sense. Almost half of the errors are in chs. i and 2, while 
chs. 4 and 5 are remarkably free from them. 

In the correction of 4H, <g is of the most value. It offers a 
larger number of textual variants than all of the remaining ver 
sions combined. In many cases the text presupposed by (g s 
rendering is superior to $&- More than one-third of the emenda 
tions here adopted are based upon <g. & affords relatively little 
help, being chiefly dependent upon <g. Only seven corrections are 
made on the basis of &, apart from (&. H and Aq. furnish one 
each. The characteristics of the various versions of Micah are in 
general the same as in the case of Amos and Hosea. Cf. H. AH> , 
clxxiii-clxxvi. Certainly (g s rendering of the Minor Prophets as 
a whole seems to be the work of one translator throughout. 

The errors of HI are those which commonly appear in the trans 
mission of texts, viz., wrong division of words, e. g., 2 10 6 9 ; dit- 
tography, e. g., 2 3 5 1 6 10 ; haplography, e. g., 5*- 4 f\ wrong 
pointing, e. g., i 5 - 9 3 5 8 ; confusion of similar consonants, e. g., 
jii. 12 ^4 ^4. transposition of words or phrases, e. g., 2* 4"; con 
fusion of suffixes, e. g., 2 9 7 19 ; and deliberate theological change, 
e. g., i 5 . But the source of some corruptions is inexplicable, 



e. g., 7 3 . The preponderance of errors in chs. 1-3 is due partly 
to the large number of proper names in this material, partly to 
the greater age of this portion of the prophecy a* id [robably 
also in part to the denunciatory character of the message which 
later editors sought to soften. 

2. The Style. 

The style of Micah, as revealed in chs. 1-3, is direct and force 
ful. It is characterised by rapidity of movement, picturesque 
phraseology, vivid description and boldness of utterance. It re 
flects clearness of vision, keen insight and profound feeling. At 
first sight, this seems inconsistent with the indulgence in parono 
masia found in i 10 ff ; but the Hebrew prophets were able to couch 
their most biting denunciations in this form. Cf. Is. 3 16ff> . 

The logical development within each prophecy in chs. 1-3 is also 
admirable. Not only so, but there is an evident logical progress 
in the succession of the various prophecies constituting these 

Upon leaving this section of the book, the atmosphere changes. 
With few exceptions, the style becomes less forceful and direct. 
It loses in vividness and passion. The contrast is something like 
that existing between Isaiah, chs. 40^"., and the genuine utterances 
of Isaiah. The movement is calm and placid and the tone reflec 
tive rather than denunciatory. But there is greater variety and 
unevenness of style in chs. 4-6 than in chs. 1-3. 

3. Poetic Form. 

That the book of Micah is in poetic form is indisputable. Yet 
relatively little attention has been bestowed upon this phase of its 

Ewald (1840) contributed a strophical analysis of the book. Francis 
Brown (JBL. t 1890, pp. 71-82) used Micah, chs. 1-3 and 7"-*, to 
illustrate the value of poetic form as a consideration in the determi 
nation of the composite character of a writing. In 1891, Elhorst pre 
sented a strophic reorganisation of the prophecy involving revolution- 


ary transpositions and intended as a defence of the unity of the book. 
D. H. Miiller, in Die Propheten in ihrer urspriinglichen Form (1896), 
treated chs. 3, 5 e - u and 7 to an application of his complicated theory of 
strophe antistrophe, responsion, inclusion, concatenation, etc.. Sievers 
included ch. i in his Studien zur hebrdischen Metrik (1901), where he 
showed too great respect toward tSR. Francois Ladame reconstructed 
chs. 4 and 5, according to the theory of Miiller and Zenner, in the Revue 
de theologie et de philosophic for 1902. Condamin, belonging to the 
same school of metricists, would place 2 12 - 13 after 4"; see RB., XI 
(1902), 383-6. Duhm, in EB., Ill (1902), 3800, arranged 3- 12 poeti 
cally. Marti makes the poetic and strophic form the basis of his com 
mentary (1904). Lohr presents 3 J -<- - 12 as a literary and poetic unit in 
ZDMG., LXI (1907), 3-6. Sievers, in his Alttestamentliche Miscellen, 
published in Berichte iiber die V erhandlungen der Konigl. Sdchsischen 
Gesellschaft zu Wissenschaften, LIX (1907), 76-109, applies his metrical 
system to the whole book of Micah. Here he casts veneration for M to 
the winds and, on the basis of Marti s critical conclusions, reconstructs 
the text in accordance with the requirements of his system. The con 
clusions concerning the poetic form of Micah which are incorporated 
in the following commentary have already appeared in J. M. P. 
Smith s Strophic Structure of the Book of Micah, published in Old Testa 
ment and Semitic Studies in Memory of William Rainey Harper, II 
(1908), 415-438, and also in AJSL., XXIV (1908), 187-208. Since 
that publication there has appeared P. Haupt s Critical Notes on Micah, 
AJSL., July and October, 1910, containing a strophical reconstruction 
of the text. But Haupt s rearrangement is so subjective and arbitrary 
as almost to warrant the suspicion that he regards the book of Micah 
as a quarry from which stones may be hewed for any kind of a build 
ing. B. Duhm has also published a poetical version of Micah in Die 
zwolf Propheten in den Versmassen der Urschrift tibersetzt (1910); in this 
too much insistence is laid upon the necessity of four-lined strs.. 

No attempt is made here to stretch the text of Micah upon the 
Procrustaean bed of a metrical system. Neither Bickell, Grimme, 
Sievers nor Rothstein seems as yet to have evolved a system that 
does not do violence to the text. In the present stage of metrical 
study, certainly no existing system can be accepted as a safe guide 
to the nature and form of Hebrew poetry. The reconstruction 
here presented aims to follow the guidance of the parallelism and 
the logic. On the basis of the former, lines are discovered which 
are of approximately equal length, measured by the number of 
tones, or accents, in the line. The same length of line persists 


in general throughout a given piece. The constantly recurring 
measures are trimeter, tetrameter and pentameter, with frequent 
dimeters. There is less evenness and regularity in the length of 
lines than in Amos, but close affinity with Hosea in this respect. 
There is no marked difference in metre between the three main 
sections of the book. 

The logical development of the thought within a given piece 
resolves itself into a number of thought-groups, i.e., strophes, each 
with a given number of lines. The four-line strophe prevails in 
the greater part of the book, in chs. 1-3 there being only three 
strophes of different length, and in chs. 6 and 7 only one. In 
chs. 4 and 5 the six-line strophe prevails. There are in all nine 
strophes of six lines each, three of eight lines each and one of 
ten lines. The poetic form will be found frequently to have 
added another argument in favour of critical conclusions already 
arrived at upon the basis of other considerations. Only rarely 
has it been used in this commentary as an argument sufficient in 
itself to determine the source of a passage or phrase. 

4. Component Parts. 

The book of Micah falls naturally into three parts, the existence 
of which has long been recognised. They are chs. 1-3, chs. 4 and 
5 and chs. 6 and 7. They are differentiated from each other by 
their contents, tone and point of view and to some extent by their 
poetic form (v. s.). Chs. 1-3 contain almost exclusively denuncia 
tions of sin and proclamations of approaching punishment; chs. 
4 and 5 are devoted almost as exclusively to words of hope and 
cheer; while chs. 5 and 6 combine these two elements. But within 
these three main divisions the point of view and background change 
frequently; consequently many scholars have denied the unity of 
the book. Chs. 1-3, with the exception of i 7 u and 2 12 - 13 (q. v.), 
constitute the nucleus of the book and furnish a touchstone by 
which the genuineness of the remaining chapters may be tested. 
Stade and others have sought to athetize i 2 - 5 *, but, as it seems, 
without sufficient reason; see in loc.. 

The situation with reference to chs. 4-7 is quite different. The 


general condition here may be suggested by the following words 
from HaleVy, an ardent supporter of the unity of the book; his 
statement is particularly applicable to chs. 4-6: "The book of 
Micah has reached us in a critical state even worse than that of 
the books of Hosea and Amos. To say nothing of internal cor 
ruptions of words, many verses, and even groups of verses, have 
been torn from their context and inserted haphazard in passages 
which have no sort of suitable connection with their subject-mat 
ter." * This hypothesis of Halevy s, however, does not solve 
the problem. A bird s-eye view of the history of the criticism of 
these chapters will place the difficulty squarely before us. For 
the sake of clearness and convenience, the two groups, chs. 3-4 
and 5-6, will be treated separately. 

The criticism of chs. 4-5. Chs. 4 and 5 were first brought into prom 
inence by Ew. who, on the basis of differences of style between them and 
chs. 1-3, for a time regarded them as belonging to some prophet con 
temporary with Micah. Later, however, Ew. returned to the defence 
of Micah s authorship, urging similarities of form, thought and diction, 
and especially the fact that the denial of chs. 4 and 5 to Micah (as well 
as chs. 6 and 7) would remove all the Messianic element from Micah s 
utterance. Casp. followed with a detailed defence of the unity. In 
1871, Oort (ThT., V, 501-512) characterised 4 1 -*- "- 1 as an insertion 
by some pious reader who considered Micah a false prophet and tried 
to correct his errors. The ground for this was the fact that with the re 
moval of these verses the connection becomes smooth and the improba 
bility that Micah would have inserted a message of hope in the midst of 
an unfinished call to repentance and a threat of punishment. To this 
Kue. replied (ThT., VI, 45-66), defending the connection of 4 - , on the 
ground that the prophet here transports himself in imagination to the 
last days, and acknowledging that 4"- 13 describes existing conditions and 
cannot therefore stand where it does, notwithstanding that it belongs 
to Micah. De Goeje (ThT., VI, 279-284) then proffered a weak de 
fence of the connection of 4 n - s . Kue., in a second article (ThT., VI, 
285-302), suggested that some of the differences between chs. 1-3 and 
chs. 4-5 were due to the fact that the former deal with the godless lead 
ers while the latter are addressed to the people as a whole who have 
some claim to pardon. He also emphasised the mobility and vivacity of 
Micah s style, to which De Goeje had referred, as exempting him from 
submission to strict logical requirements. We., also, called attention 

* Revue semitique, XIII (1905), a. 


(Bleek s EinL, 4th ed., p. 425) to the contradiction between 4- 
and 4 11 . 

In 1881 appeared Sta. s epoch-making article (ZAW., I, 161-172), 
in which he denied Micah s authorship of chs. 4-5 in toto. The follow 
ing considerations are urged in support of this view. It is improbable 
that Micah would have weakened the effect of his utterances in chs. 1-3 
by introducing a message of directly opposite import in chs. 4-5. The 
content of this section departs widely from the ideas of Isaiah, while 
chs. 1-3 show close affinity to them; chs. 4-5 are, indeed, in full accord 
with Joel, Deutero-Isaiah and Zechariah, chs. 12-14. The section is 
full of postexilic conditions; e. g., 4 8 - 10 presupposes the Exile as having 
occurred; 5 - 3 gives an indefinite, apocalyptic vision of the Messianic age, 
while pre-exilic ideas of the Messiah spring immediately out of the ex 
isting historical situation. The inconsistency and lack of connection, 
within the chapters point to composite origin; e. g., 4 n ~5 3 is wholly in 
consistent with 4 8 - 10 , but it connects well with 4 1 - 4 and is continued in 
5- 14 . These three passages constitute the contribution of a later writer 
who desired to brighten the dark picture left by Micah; into this addition 
a later writer, thinking it to be a part of Micah s prophecy, inserted 4 8 - 10 
5 4 - s in order to harmonise it with the actual course of events and with 
the development of prophecy. 

Sta. s discussion has greatly influenced all later scholarship. Giese- 
brecht (ThLZ., 1881, p. 443) followed him in rejecting ch. 4, but held to 
the genuineness of ch. 5 on the ground that without it Micah s prophecy 
would be too one-sided. W. R. Smith, in 1882 (Proph., 2d ed., pp. 
43O/.), followed Oort in rejecting 4 11 - 3 , but refused to go further. In 
1883, Sta. (ZAW., Ill, 1-16) gave further arguments in support of his 
view, e. g., that Bethlehem and Ephratha (5 ) are never identified except 
in postexilic literature. Cor., in 1884 (ZAW., IV., 89), was the first 
to place himself unreservedly on Sta. s side. Now., in the same year 
(ZAW., IV, 277-290), yielded 4 5 - 8 - "- 13 to the interpolator, but rejected 
Sta. s claim that chs. 4-5 as a whole were inconsistent with pre-exilic 
prophecy, citing Is. i8 7 ig 19 n 10 B - as parallels to the description of the 
coming of many peoples " to Jerusalem, and Is. n 4 ff 9 5 - as parallels 
to the picture of idyllic peace in 4 1 -". As parallel to the fact that these 
chapters oppose masseboth and asherim, to which Isaiah made no objec 
tion, Now. cites 3 12 and the well-known attitude of Isaiah toward Jeru 
salem. Wildeboer, in 1884 (De Profeet Micha; so also in Letterkunde des 
Ouden Verbonds, 3d ed., 1903, 145/0, grants that Sta. s objections 
might apply to the spoken word, but declares them inapplicable to the 
written word. Che., in his commentary (1885), rejects 4 6 - 10 5 5 - 6 on 
grounds of logic. Ry. discussed these chapters fully in his commentary 
(1887), gathering up and reinforcing the arguments of his predecessors 
in favour of unity. He explained the difficulties of the section as due 


to a redactor who arranged scattered utterances of Micah in an order of 
his own which is to us no order at all. He also urged the general con 
siderations that our knowledge of Hebrew history is too defective to 
enable us to determine whether a given thought was or was not possible 
at a certain time, and that tht- more fact that a thought is much empha 
sised in some particular period does not preclude the possibility of its 
having been uttered previously. In 1889, Pont (Theol. Studien, VII, 
439-453) reaffirmed ihe unity, reiterating the old arguments. In the 
same year, Kue. again (Einl., II, 360-3) expressed himself upon these 
chapters, declaring it improbable that 3 12 was Micah s last word. Hence 
the authenticity of the following promises was probable. But inconcis- 
tencies, the lack of logical sequence and the presence of undoubtedly 
pre-exilic utterances alongside of others presupposing Judah s captivity 
made it probable that 4 6 - 8 - were postexilic, while 5 9 - u had under 
gone a thorough working over at a late day. 

In 1891, Elh. put forth an ingenious but fanciful theory in defence of 
the unity of the entire book. In accordance with this, chs. 4-5 should 
follow chs. 6-7 and should be rearranged thus: 4 1 - 8 5 1 - 7 4 9 - 14 5 8 - 14 . How 
ever, even thus, 4" is treated as a gloss and 4 9 - 14 5* as postexilic additions. 
We., in his commentary (1892; 3d ed., 1898), finds possible remnants of 
genuine utterances of Micah in 4 - 10 - I4 5 9 - 3 . He emphasises the use of 
n^N (4 7 ) as a technical eschatological term, the mutually exclusive con 
ceptions of 4 9 - 10 and 4 n - s , and the allusion in 5* to Is. 7 14 which has ap 
parently become a classic. In 1893, Kosters (ThT., XXVII, 249-274) 
aligned himself with Sta., making the two chapters postexilic. He re 
garded 5 1 - 8 as the continuation of 4 8 - 8 . He suggested also that the pres 
ent book of Micah was a result of two independent recensions of the 
original. The one consisted of chs. 1-3 + chs. 4-5 ; the other contained 
chs. 1-3 + 6-7; later these two were combined. In the same year, We. 
(Kleine Propheten, 2d ed.) surrendered all but 4"- 10 - " 5 9 - 13 . In 1896, 
GASm. rejected only 5 3b - 7 - 9 as inconsistent with Micah s times. In 
1897, Volz (Die vorexilische Jahweprophetie, 63-67), following We., 
granted to Micah 4-o. u 59-1^ an( j 54.5 as a badly distorted fragment. 
2 i2 1.46 i. iob- is (j-s are a ssigned to a later editor, while 4 8 5 l - s - belong 
to another hand and are probably later than 4 -*, which may be from the 
time of Deutero-Isaiah. Now. s commentary (1897; 2d ed., 1903) agrees 
with We. and Volz and adds little. Dr., in his well-known Introduction, 
with characteristic caution declines to commit himself to an opinion on 
this question. Che. (EB., art. Micah; cf. in Introd. to WRS., Proph., 
ad ed.) follows Sta., Cor. and Kosters in assigning these chapters to a 
postexilic date. Marti s commentary (1904) arrives at the same result, 
but assigns the chapters to a larger number of sources than any of its 
predecessors had employed. Bu. (Gesch., 1906, p. 89) and Du. (Zwblf 
Propheten, 1910) also agree with Sta. 


Reference may be made to the following commentary for de 
tailed statements of the position assumed here with reference to 
chs. 4-5. It suffices to say in this connection that the arguments of 
Stade against Micah s authorship seem irrefutable, except possibly 
in the case of 4 14 5 9 " 12 . Nothing short of a complete reversal of 
current views concerning Hebrew eschatology, such as that pro 
posed by Gressmann,* could make these chapters intelligible for 
the age of Micah. Furthermore, as the foregoing history of crit 
icism shows, it is impossible to regard the chapters as a unit in 
themselves; the attitude toward the heathen world, e. g., is wholly 
different in 4 12- 13 from that in 4 1 " 4 , nor is the view of the Messianic 
age in 5 4 - 5 consistent with that in 5 1 " 3 . But Stade s division of the 
material between two sources cannot stand. Glosses are repre 
sented by 4 4 5 5 2 13 14 J 4 1 - 4 stands alone; 4 "- 13 and s reflect the 
same background and breathe the same spirit; the remaining 
sections have no close affinity with any of the preceding or with 
one another. The chapters thus seem to contain a miscellaneous 
collection of fragments gathered up from various sources, and 
having little in common other than a hopeful outlook for the 

Criticism of chs. 6-7. The story of the critical study of chs. 6-7 also 
begins with Ew. (1867). His argument in brief was: (i) chs. 1-5 are 
so complete in themselves that nothing additional is needed. (2) The 
style is quite different; there is nothing of the elevated force still met with 
In chs. 1-5; the tone is more like that of Jeremiah; and the peculiarities 
of language characteristic of chs. 1-5 are lacking here. (3) The artistic 
form is quite different; this section has a purely dramatic plan and exe 
cution; it is not the utterance of a speaker but that of an artist. "The 
entire piece proceeds amid changing voices; and there are not fewer than 
ten voices that are heard one after the other. But since the prophet still 
retains the ancient artistic form of the str., the whole falls into five strs., 
which are also five acts, thus completing all that has to be said and giving 
it a perfectly rounded form." (Ew. s strs. or "acts" are 6 1 - 8 6 9 -" 7 1 - 6 
77-13 714-20). ( 4 ) The historical background is wholly different. There 
is no trace of the stirring and elevated times of Isaiah s activity. The 
nation seems to be very small and faint-hearted (6 8 f - 7" ) the selfish 
ness and faithlessness of individuals is greater (6 10 7 1 - 6 ); the idolatrous 
tendencies encouraged by Manasseh had long prevailed (6 U ); and the 

* Der Ursprung d. israel.-jud. Eschatologie (1905), 


more religious hardly ventured to name the king openly. The reign of 
Manasseh best complies with these conditions. 

The next important contribution to the discussion was made by We. 
(Bleek s Einl., 4th ed., 1878, pp. 425 /.). He follows Ew. in assigning 
6 -7 8 to the reign of Manasseh, but concludes that 7 7 - 20 was added dur 
ing the Exile. He summarises his argument as follows: "Thus the situ 
ation in 7 7 - 20 is quite different from that in 7 1 - 8 . What was present there, 
viz., moral disorder and confusion in the existing Jewish state, is here 
past; what is there future, viz., the retribution of v. 4b , has here come to 
pass and has been continuing for some time. What in vv. > was still 
unthought of, viz., the consolation of the people, tempted in their trouble 
to mistrust Yahweh, is in w. 7 - 20 the main theme. Between v. 6 and v. 7 
there yawns a century. On the other hand, there prevails a remarkable 
similarity between w. 7 - JO and Isaiah, chs. 40-66." (Quoted from Dr. Illtr -, 
p. 333.) Ew. s view, as modified by We., has been accepted fully, or with 
but slight variations, by Sta. (ZAW., I, 1881, 161 /.), WRS. (Enc. 
Brit., art. Micah), Che., Kue. (EinL, II, 363 /.), Cor. (Einl., 1891, 
183-6), Pont (Theol. Studien, 1892, p. 340.), Ko. (Einl., 1893, pp. 329/0, 
Dr. (Intr., pp. 333/.) and Du. (Zwolf Propheten, 1910). Cor., however, 
for a time maintained the authenticity of these chapters (ZAW., IV, 
1884, 89 /.; so also Kirk., Doctrine of the Prophets, 1892, pp. 229/5 
and van H., 1908), urging (i) that everything which may be brought 
forward in support of their origin in Manasseh s day applies equally 
well to the time of Ahaz (2 K. i6 8 ; cf. Mi. 6 7 ). (2) That the origin of the 
book would be inexplicable if Micah s work ceased with ch. 3, for chs. 
4-5 are enough to offset the gloomy tone of chs. 1-3 why then should 
there be added a section from the time of Manasseh having no inner con 
nection with chs. 4-5 ? On the hypothesis of the late origin of chs. 6-7, 
they should immediately follow chs. 1-3, since they give reasons for the 
drastic punishment there threatened. (3) That 6 -7 6 shows traces of 
the author of chs. 1-3, having perfect parallels in them (e. g., i 9 - 1J = 6 18 ) 
as well as in the addresses of Isaiah from the reign of Ahaz. (4) That 
a late working over of 7 7 - 20 must be granted. 

Now. at once replied (ZAW., IV, 288 /.) to Cor. (i) that chs. 6-7 
contain no thought not expressed in chs. 1-3 which could serve as a 
reason for the threat in 3"; reasons enough are stated in chs. 1-3; any 
thing further would be superfluous; (2) that ch. 6 cannot be regarded as 
a continuation of 3" since the representation in 6 1 ff - is wholly different 
from that in i 2 ff - and scarcely consistent with it; (3) that the judgment 
in 3 12 comes because of the sins of the leaders, priests and prophets, 
whereas in 6-7. the charge is quite general (7 2 ) and against no special 
classes; (4) that if chs. 6-7 come from the time of Ahaz, as Cor. declares, 
they can hardly state the grounds for the judgment in chs. 1-3, uttered 
in the time of Hezekiah (Je. 26"); (5) lhat the prophet who so sharply 


antagonises the wicked leaders in the time of the comparatively good 
king, Hezekiah, would not be likely to let them pass almost unnoticed 
in the reign of Ahaz, an exceedingly wicked king; (6) that "my people " 
is the object of the prophet s compassion in chs. 1-3, but in chs. 6-7 it is 
the object of his wrath. 

Wildeboer, in 1884 (De Profeet Micha, p. 57), adheres to Micah s 
authorship, stating (i) that differences in artistic structure and manner 
of presentation do not necessarily involve different authorship; (2) that 
as there was human sacrifice under Ahaz and also under Manasseh, it is 
quite probable that there were some who practised it, at least in secret, 
in the time of Hezekiah; (3) that in 7 3 the words "prince," "judge," 
"great one" are used collectively and thus disprove the charge that 
the leaders are not denounced in these chapters. In 1887, Ry. defended 
the authenticity of this material on the following grounds. The chapters 
were written in the beginning of Hezekiah s reign when conditions were 
essentially the same as under Ahaz. The religious formalism alluded 
to in 6 6 - 7 - 10 - 12 is wholly out of keeping with the reign of Manasseh. 7 1 - 8 
is an independent section and the immorality there described was possi 
ble in Hezekiah s day; but if it must be interpreted literally, it is intelligi 
ble neither as coming from Hezekiah s reign nor from that of Manasseh. 
The hope of return from Assyria and Egypt is indicative of pre-exilic 
origin; in Deutero-Isaiah the place of exile is always Babylon and Chal- 
daea. But if the chapters must be assigned to Manasseh s reign, it is 
still reasonable to assign them to Micah, who may have been still living. 

In 1887 also, Sta. (Geschichte d. Volkes Israel, I, 634), expressed his 
conviction of the postexilic origin of ch. 6. In 1890, Gie. (Beiirage zur 
Jesaiakritik, 2i6/.) declared himself with Ew. as to 6 1 -7 6 , but assigned 
7 7 -w to postexilic times. Elh. (1891), on the other hand, endorses the 
arguments of Cor. and Ry. in behalf of authenticity and attempts to ease 
all difficulties of connection by placing chs. 6-7 immediately after chs. 
1-3 and by rearranging the text in this order: 6 1 - 8 7 1 - 6 6 6 - 16 7" 7 7 - 12 7 14 - 20 . 
In 1892, We. again puts himself on record (Kleine Proph., 2d ed.), still 
maintaining the possibility of Micah s authorship, even in the age of 
Manasseh, for 6 1 - 8 , declaring 6 9 - 16 independent of its context and without 
indications of definite date, assigning 7 1 - 8 to the period of Malachi, and 
following Gie. with reference to 7 7 - 20 . In 1893, Kosters, in connection 
with a searching review of Elh. s commentary (ThT., XXVII, 249-274), 
suggested the postexilic origin of these chapters, citing many words and 
phrases as characteristic of postexilic language and thought. These 
chapters were written to explain the fall of Jerusalem as due to the cor 
ruption of the generation contemporary with that disaster, it being no 
longer believed that the children are punished for the sins of the father. 
The position of GASm. (1896) is near to that of We., for he holds to 
Micah s authorship of 6 J - 8 , is undecided as to 6- ie and 7 1 - 6 and regards 


7 7 -* as a psalm composed of fragments from various dates, of which 
j u-i7 points to the eighth century B.C. by its geographical references, and 
7 U to the period between the fall of Jerusalem and its rebuilding. 

Now., in his commentary (1897; 2d ed., 1905), considers the reign of 
Manasseh a possible date for 6 l -"j 6 , but denies Micah s authorship even 
were he then alive. He would locate 7 7 - 20 in the period between the 
decree of Cyrus and the journey of Nehemiah to Jerusalem. Dr. Intr - 
is inclined to agree with Ew. and to deny the necessity of separating 
7 7 - 20 and assigning it to a later age. Che. (EB., art. Micah), makes 
both chapters postexilic and finds them concerned with the ubiquitous 
Jerahmeelites. Sta. gives a long list (ZAW., XXIII, 1903, 164-171), 
of postexilic parallels to 7 7 - 20 and assigns the whole of 6-7 to the post- 
exilic age (in Bibl. Theol. d. Alt. Test., 1905, p. 230). 

Marti (1904) calls chs. 6-7 "a conglomerate, held together by the con 
viction that deliverance must finally come, though the sins of the present 
demand the continuance of God s wrath." Of this conglomerate 6 1 - 5 is 
editorial expansion; 6 6 - 8 belongs probably to the fifth century, possibly 
to the sixth; and ch. 7 to the second century B.C. Bu. also resolves the 
two chapters into fragments and places them all in the postexilic age 
(Gesch., 1906). The last commentator, van H. (1908), insists upon the 
unity of the chapters and upon Micah s authorship, basing it all upon 
the hypothesis that the two chapters are concerned with Samaria, not 
Jerusalem, and finding it necessary to transpose 7b-is to follow 7 6 (see 
ad loc.). 

Hpt. (1910) allows Micah only 33$ lines of text in chs. 1-3. Chs. 4-7 
are assigned to the Maccabaean period (170-100 B.C.), while i 2 - 7 is a 
poem written in celebration of the destruction of Samaria by John Hyr- 
canus in 107 B.C. This represents a step beyond the conclusions of the 
foregoing critics, in that Hpt. leaves Micah less than any previous scholar 
and is confident in his assignment of the non-Micah material to the 
Maccabaean period and even to the specific years to which the several 
poems belong. Unfortunately, this confidence cannot be shared by 
scholars at large until more definite and convincing considerations are 

The conclusions arrived at in the following commentary may 
be briefly summarised. There is no logical unity within chs. 6 
and 7 ; they resolve themselves into seven sections, no one of which 
connects closely with either its preceding or its following sections. 
The possibility of Micah s authorship remains open for 6 9 " 16 and 
7 1 - 6 , but is wholly excluded for the remainder. These two sections, 
together with 6 1 " 5 , might be placed in any period of Hebrew history 
subsequent to the appearance of the great prophets. 


to reflect the wisdom of the sages and to belong in the earlier half 
of the postexilic age. y 7 " 10 and y 14 " 20 come apparently both out of 
the same conditions; Israel is suffering but hoping, looking back 
with longing upon the good old days and praying for vengeance; 
they are best located in the later postexilic period, after the work 
of Nehemiah and Ezra. 7 11 " 13 , however, is wholly detached from 
its context and is to be explained as coming from the period after 
the fall of Jerusalem, but before the rebuilding of the city walls. 
The two chapters thus seem to be a collection of miscellaneous 
fragments, coming from widely scattered periods and from at least 
four different authors. 

5. The Formation of the Book of Micah. 

Various attempts have been made to trace the growth of the book 
of Micah, starting from chs. 1-3, its original nucleus. The views 
of Kosters and Elhorst have been already mentioned. Marti con 
siders 4 1 " 4 and 6 6 " 8 , joined together by 4 5 , the first addition to chs. 
1-3 ; since they reveal the closest sympathy with the ethical tone of 
Micah. This constituted the book as it existed in the fifth century 
B.C. Somewhere between this period and the second century B.C., 
by various unknown stages, 4 6 ~5 14 and 6 9 -y 6 were incorporated. 
Finally, in order that the prophecy might not end with denuncia 
tion, the Maccabaean psalms in y 7 " 20 were added. Cornill (Einl.) 
follows Kosters in part, making 6 l -y 6 the first addition to chs. 1-3. 
This combined product underwent two revisions, first receiving 
as insertions 4 1 " 4 n ~ 14 5 1 " 3 - 8 " 14 , and being completed by the addi 
tion of 2 12 - 13 4 5 - 10 s 4 - 5 y 7 - 20 , from the hand of the final redactor. 
Sievers, however, finds the growth of the book connected with the 
length of the various poems which constitute it. In chs. 4~y, as 
rearranged by Sievers, it happens that the longest poem comes 
first in each chapter, and the succeeding ones are added in the 
order of their length. It is quite evident that all attempts of this 
sort are futile, and that in the absence of any definite data it is 
impossible to secure general acceptance of any scheme, however 
ingenious. This portion of the history of the book is lost beyond 



1. His Name. 

Little is known of the man Micah. Our sources of information 
regarding him are very limited, being confined to chs. 1-3 and Je. 
26 18 . The name Micah was doubtless common among the He 
brews; more than a dozen individuals bear it, in one form or an 
other, in the Old Testament. The possession of this name, mean 
ing " Who is like Yahweh ?", is no indication of any unusual degree 
of religious fervour on the part of the prophet s parents or family; 
names containing the name of a deity are very common in all 
Semitic literature, and in the Old Testament are not infrequently 
borne by individuals whose parents were not noted for religious 
zeal; e. g., the children of Ahab and Ahaz, to-wit, Hezekiah. 
No allusion to his family is made in the superscription or elsewhere, 
a fact which may argue for his humble origin as a man of the people, 
like Amos; or may merely be another indication of the self-effacing 
character of the prophets. Concerning the lineage of no less than 
six of the prophets nothing is recorded. 

2. His Home. 

The appellation "Morashtite" (i 1 Je. 26 18 ) is applied to Micah 
to distinguish him from the many other bearers of his name; and 
particularly from his predecessor, Micaiah ben Imlah, with whom 
he is confused in i K. 22 28 , where a phrase from his book is ascribed 
to the earlier Micaiah. This descriptive term apparently identi 
fies his home with Moresheth-Gath (i 14 ). This name implies a 
location in the low hills bordering upon Philistine territory. The 
list of towns in i loff - over which the prophet pours out his grief 
seems to have been selected from the same region and so to 
confirm this location of Moresheth. Furthermore, in the Ono- 
masticon and in Jerome s preface to Micah, Moresheth is declared 
to be a small village to the east of Eleutheropolis, the modern 


This region and its significance in the training of our prophet are thus 
beautifully described by GASm.: "It is the opposite exposure from the 
wilderness of Tekoa, some seventeen miles away across the watershed. 
As the home of Amos is bare and desert, so the home of Micah is fair and 
fertile. The irregular chalk hills are separated by broad glens, in which 
the soil is alluvial and red, with room for cornfields on either side of the 
perennial or almost perennial streams. The olive groves on the braes 
are finer than either those of the plain below or of the Judean table-land 
above. There is herbage for cattle. Bees murmur everywhere, larks 
are singing, and although to-day you may wander in the maze of the 
hills for hours without meeting a man or seeing a house, you are never 
out of sight of the traces of ancient habitation, and seldom beyond sound 
of the human voice shepherds and ploughmen calling to their flocks 
and to each other across the glens. There are none of the conditions 
or the occasions of a large town. But, like the south of England, the 
country is one of villages and homesteads breeding good yeomen men 
satisfied and in love with their soil, yet borderers with a far outlook and a 
keen vigilance and sensibility. The Shephelah is sufficiently detached 
from the capital and body of the land to beget in her sons an indepen 
dence of mind and feeling, but so much upon the edge of the open world 
as to endue them at the same time with that sense of the responsibilities 
of warfare, which the national statesmen, aloof and at ease in Zion, could 
not possibly have shared." 

3. His Character. 

A man of the countryside, like Amos, Micah was gifted with 
clearness of vision and time for thought. The simplicity and se 
clusion of his rustic life were conducive to " plain living and high 
thinking." He was not misled by false standards of value to place 
too high an estimate upon those things which perish with the using. 
He had Amos s passion for justice and Hosea s heart of love. 
Knowing his fellow-countrymen intimately, and sympathising pro 
foundly with their sufferings and wrongs, his spirit burned with in 
dignation as he beheld the injustice and tyranny of their rich op 
pressors. He was pre-eminently the prophet of the poor. He was 
absolutely fearless as their champion. He would denounce wick 
edness in high places even though it cost him his life. The fear 
lessness and force of his character and message deeply impressed 
his contemporaries, so that even a century later his example was 
cited as establishing a precedent for Jeremiah s freedom of speech 


(Je. 26 18 ). A man of this type must necessarily go his own way; he 
cannot slavishly follow where others lead. Breaking away from 
the prophets of the day who promise only blessings from Yahweh, 
he dares to "declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his 
sin," and to point out the inevitable connection between sin and 
punishment. To the citizens of Jerusalem, proud of their capital 
and blindly confident of Yahweh s protection, he unflinchingly 
announces the overthrow of their city. Completely dominated by 
a vivid consciousness of God and a fervid devotion to the highest 
interests of his country, he goes forth to his task unshrinking aiid 
invincible. To this man of keen perception and sensitive soul, 
the voice of duty was the voice of God. As with Amos and 
Hosea, neither angel nor vision was necessary to arouse in him 
the prophetic spirit; he found his divine call in the cry of human 

i. The Date of His Prophecies. 

The superscription of the book places Micah "in the days of 
Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah." This would make him a younger 
contemporary of both Hosea and Isaiah. But there is good reason 
to believe that the superscriptions of all three of these books, in their 
present form at least, are due to the hand of an editor. The super 
scription of Micah is supported in part by Je. 26 18 , which declares, 
"Micah the Morashtite was prophesying in the days of Hezekiah, 
king of Judah." This agrees admirably with the content of some 
of his utterances, e. g., i 10 " 16 which seems to sketch the course of 
Sennacherib s army. But the question arises whether or not Micah 
prophesied in the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz. His total silence 
concerning the Syro-Ephraimitish war, the appeal of Ahaz to 
Assyria and the subsequent deportation of the inhabitants of "all 
the land of Naphtali" to Assyria (2 K. i5 29 ), makes it improbable 
that he prophesied contemporaneously with these events of such 
momentous interest to both kingdoms. This confines his prophetic 
activity to the period following 734 B.C., i. e., the reigns of Ahaz 


and Hezekiah. His first prophecy (i 2 9 ) concerns itself with the 
approaching destruction of Samaria, with which is coupled immi 
nent danger to Jerusalem. There is no evidence in either Assyrian 
or biblical records that Jerusalem and Judah were jeopardised in 
721 B.C., when Sargon overthrew Samaria. Nor does Isaiah seem 
to have anticipated any immediate danger to Judah in connection 
with that event. Indeed, Judah was at that time paying its regu 
lar tribute* to Assyria and hence safe from harm. But the men 
tion of Samaria as still standing and doomed to destruction does 
not confine us to the period prior to 721 for the date of this first 
prophecy. As a matter of fact the kind of destruction threatened by 
the prophet in i 6 was not experienced in 721 by Samaria. Neither 
the biblical (2 K. 17) nor the Assyrian records speak of any de 
struction of the city (Sargon s Annals, 11. n ff.}. Indeed, the latter 
distinctly says, "the city I restored and more than before I caused 
it to be inhabited." But Sargon s kindness was but poorly repaid, 
for in 720 B.C. Samaria joined a coalition of Syrian states, viz., 
Hamath, Arpad, Simirra and Damascus in one more effort to shake 
off the yoke of Assyria.f In 715, Sargon settled Arabian tribes in 
Samaria ;{ the process of repopulating and thereby thoroughly sub 
duing Samaria was continued by Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, 
according to Ezra 4 2 - 9 - 10 . An Assyrian governor was resident in 
Samaria as late as 645 B.C. It is, therefore, probable that Micah s 
prophecy was spoken after 721 B.C. and in the light of the rebel 
lious attitude of Samaria up to and after that date. The specific 
occasion of the discourse may have been the conspiracy that called 
Sargon to Ashdod in 713-711 B.C., or perhaps better, that which 

* This is practically certain in view of the fact that Ahaz paid tribute in 734 B.C., while Sargon 
(Prism-Fragment, 11. 29 ff.) enumerates Judah with Philistia, Edom and Moab as peoples 
under obligation to pay tribute who united with Ashdod in revolt in 713. The reference in Sar 
gon s Nimrud-Inscr., 1. 8, to his subjection of Ja-u-du is best explained of the northern Ja udi, 
rather than of Judah, since the statement is made in immediate connection with an account of 
the overthrow of Hamath and other regions in northern Syria. Were the reference to Judah, 
it must have been in connection with the revolt of Hanno of Gaza in 720, for the Nimrud-Inscr. 
belongs to the year 717 B.C. and Sargon was engaged in other parts of his empire from 719-717. 
But it is difficult to see why Judah only should have been selected for mention, when Gaza was 
also involved in the revolt and evidently played a more prominent part. Cf. KAT.*, pp. 67 /., 

t Sargon s Annals, 1. 25, and K. 1349, 11. 17 ff.\ see AOF., I, 43, and KAT*, 66. 

t Annals, 11. 95 ft. 

C. H. W. Johns, Assyrian Deeds and Documents, II, 137; III, 108. 


resulted in the campaign of Sennacherib, 704-701 B.C. It is more 
than probable, in view of the previous history of Samaria, that she 
was involved in both attempts to throw off the yoke of Assyria. In 
either case, the prophet is talking of a destruction of Samaria that 
is in the future, which he sees to be a prelude to the overthrow of 
Jerusalem. This is more in consonance with the language of i 2 ff 
than the view that the prophet looks back upon the events of 721 
B.C. and makes passing allusion to them in order to give weight to 
his denunciation of Jerusalem.* The whole of the genuine mate 
rial in chs. 1-3 belongs to one period and that of short duration; 
it may have been the product of a few weeks or months at a time 
of great crisis, such as that of Sennacherib s invasion. 

2. The Background of Chs. 1-3. 

The situation in Judah in the period from 715 to 701 B.C. was 
one of absorbing interest. The air was full of plots and counter 
plots. Syria was the bone of contention between Assyria and 
Egypt, the rivals for world-dominion. Assyria was in possession; 
Syria was restless under her heavy yoke; Egypt was alert to foment 
dissatisfaction and aid in freeing Syria from her burden, hoping 
thereby to supplant Assyria. Jerusalem was naturally a hotbed of 
intrigue. Political feeling ran high. A pro-Assyrian and a pro- 
Egyptian party fought for pre-eminence in the councils of the weak 
king, Hezekiah. Success attended the adherents of Egypt, and 
revolt against Assyria was organised in 713 and again in 705 B.C. 
But the result on both occasions was but to weld the bonds of As 
syria more tightly upon Judah. Isaiah, resident in Jerusalem and 
probably related to the leading families, was deeply concerned in 
all this political turmoil and an active participant in much that 
was going on at court. Cf. e. g., Is. 20 1 ff iS 1 ff 3O 1 ff 3 1 1 ff io 5 ff -. 
Micah, however much he may have been stirred by these events, 
eschews politics in his public utterance, and confines himself to 
distinctively religious and ethical considerations. 

Micah portrays a social and economic situation in Judah very 
similar to that of Samaria as described by Amos in the years im- 

* So e. g., We., and Smend, Rcl*, 237 /. 


mediately preceding the overthrow of the northern kingdom. Cf. 
H. An , p. ciii. 

There is the same luxury and indulgence engendered by the possession 
of great riches. The plunder carried away by Sennacherib after the 
siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. is tabulated by him as follows (Taylor- 
Cylinder, col. 3, 11. 34-40): "Thirty talents of gold, eight hundred 
talents of silver, precious stones, . . . large lapis lazuli, couches of 
ivory, thrones of elephant skin and ivory, ivory, ushu and urkarinu woods 
of every kind, and his daughters, his palace-women, male and female 
singers, to Nineveh, my royal city, I caused to be brought after me." 

A degenerate aristocracy, mastered by greed and fattening upon 
tyranny, makes life unbearable for the tiller of the soil and the 
wage-earner. The possession of wealth is looked upon as the 
summum bonum; nothing may stand in the way of its attainment. 
The ordinary demands of justice and righteousness are trampled 
underfoot. The quality of mercy is swallowed up in avarice. The 
custodians and administrators of law abuse their powers. Jus 
tice is for sale to the highest bidder (3") . Under due process of 
law widows and orphans are expelled from their ancestral homes, 
that a few acres may be added to the estate of the neighbouring 
landlord (f- 9 ). In the lust for wealth, the substance and sus 
tenance of the poor are devoured, so thai they are reduced to the 
lowest depths of misery and degradation (3 1 " 3 ). Even the sacra 
ments and consolations of religion are on the market; priests and 
prophets cater to the rich and browbeat the poor (3 5ff - "). Simi 
lar conditions are exposed in contemporary utterances of Isaiah 
(e.g., i 16f - 28 7f -2 9 20f -). 

Making all necessary allowances for the prophetic point of view, 
it still remains true that affairs in Judah were on the down grade. 
Intimate contact with Assyrian and Egyptian civilisations in com 
merce and politics had brought in new standards of living and 
changed ideals. Secularisation of life was making rapid progress. 
Commercial ideals were supplanting those of ethical and spiritual 
origin. Appearances were becoming more important than real 
ities. Character was of less repute than power. The fatal vac 
illation which led Judah into a practical distrust of Yahweh and 
made her fate the shuttlecock of conflicting political parties was 


also sapping the moral strength of the nation. Loyalty to the old 
Hebrew ideals which had obtained in dealings between man and 
man was crumbling rapidly away before the desire to ape the 
splendour of foreign courts and live the life of sensuous ease. At 
such a time there was dire need of the prophetic cry calling men 
back to God and duty. 


The prophet Micah marks no great epoch in the history of proph 
ecy. He is not the apostle of any new teaching ; he does but reit 
erate the great truths proclaimed by his predecessors. But he is 
no mere imitator; he has forged his message in the passion of his 
own soul, and stamped upon it the impress of his own personality. 
Working amid conditions similar to those which confronted Amos, 
his message is necessarily also similar. But the preaching of Amos 
lacks the personal touch so distinctly felt in that of Micah, whose 
message quivers with feeling. Micah knows by experience whereof 
he speaks; he has been a victim of the circumstances against which 
he protests. Himself a peasant, he becomes the spokesman of 

Micah s task was to open the eyes of the blind and to unstop the 
ears of the deaf. But none are so blind as those that will not see. 
In spite of the preaching of Amos and Hosea, Israel persisted in 
cherishing an illusion. The key to the situation is furnished by 
Mi. 3". A wrong conception of God held sway over the minds 
of the people. "Yahweh is in the midst of us; therefore disaster 
cannot befall us." This was to look upon the relation of Yahweh 
to his people as necessary, and not voluntary on his part. It was 
to conceive of that relation, moreover, as unconditioned by any 
high demands. There was no essential difference between this 
conception of God and that common to the nations surrounding 
Israel. The language of 3 11 is, of course, not to be taken as liter 
ally exact. Israel had experienced too many chastisements at the 
hands of Yahweh to suppose that it possessed any guarantee against 
further afflictions. Yahweh might become angry at his land and 
vent his wrath upon his people for some real or fancied slight, even 


as Chemosh executed his anger upon Moab (Mesha Inscription, 
1. 5). But he would not definitely abandon his people to destruc 
tion ; he could not remain obdurate and insensible to holocausts of 
oxen and rivers of oil. On his great day, the day of Yahweh, he 
would repent himself of his anger and manifest himself on behalf 
of his people in destructive might against their foes and his. Cf. 
Am. 5 18 . For people so minded, sacrifice and offering were the 
substance of religion. Let the ritual be exact and gorgeous and 
the sacrificial gifts numerous and costly and Yahweh could 
desire little more. Cf. Is. i llff -. 

Against this whole attitude toward God, the prophets of the 
eighth century set themselves resolutely. Micah joined with Amos- 
Hosea and Isaiah in an effort to purify religion by elevating the 
popular conception of God. This he does by emphasising the 
true nature of Yahweh s demands upon his people. He seeks 
justice and mercy, not oxen and sheep. He desires right character 
rather than right ritual. Herein lies Micah s whole interest; he 
plays the changes upon this single string. He does not suppose 
himself to be announcing anything new to the people, nor indeed 
was he so doing. Israel had long credited Yahweh with ethical 
interests. But they were given only secondary significance, where 
as Micah would make them the supremely important element 
in the divine character in so far as it concerns men. Divine favour 
consequently at once ceases to be an affair of purchase at any price, 
and becomes a matter of striving after the attainment of divine 
ideals of righteousness and justice. 

Micah s message naturally assumes the form of denunciation 
of sin and threatening of punishment. Yahweh being just and 
righteous requires the same qualities from his people. But they 
have not yielded them; hence punishment must be inflicted upon 
them. The sins are charged primarily against the ruling classes 
in Jerusalem. They have been guilty of injustice and cruelty 
toward the poor; they have bought and sold the rights of men; they 
have violated the moral law as laid down by Yahweh himself. 
Even the religious leaders have not escaped the general corrup 
tion. They have dared to prostitute their high calling for the sake 
of gain. They make a mockery of religion by allying themselves 


with the rich and powerful in the oppression of the poor. They 
whose duty it is to expose sin cast over it the cloak of religion, 
and wax rich. This attitude on Micah s part toward the prophets 
of his day reveals the same cleavage in prophecy that had become 
evident in the days of his predecessor, Micaiah ben Imlah (i K. 22), 
is alluded to by Amos (7 12 ~ 15 ), placed Jeremiah in peril of his life 
(26 loff -) and continued to the last days of prophecy (Zc. I3 2 " 6 ). 
Micah, standing almost alone and in an unpopular cause, dared 
to denounce all the vested interests of his day. 

Apparently, Micah entertained no hope of repentance on the 
part of those whom he upbraided. He sees nothing ahead of them 
but punishment. Samaria and Jerusalem alike are to be de 
stroyed, and that utterly. The cities are the scene of destruction, 
being the home of the ruling classes. Micah is the first of the 
prophets to threaten Jerusalem with total destruction. A pro- 
nunciamento of this kind is indisputable evidence of the prophet s 
initiative and courage. That Yahweh s splendid temple, which 
had stood as the visible reminder of his presence since the days 
of Solomon, should pass into the hands of a pagan nation to be 
desecrated and destroyed was a statement altogether incredible 
to the citizens of Jerusalem, and one which only absolute and 
unswerving loyalty to Yahweh and his will could possibly have 
enabled Micah to make. 

Not a word of Micah s is preserved for us concerning hopes for 
Israel s future. Yet that he should have had no such hopes is 
psychologically and religiously unintelligible. His conception of 
Yahweh, even though as Lord of heaven and earth and able to 
move the nations at his will (i 3 - 4 - 10 16 ), never for a moment in 
cluded the possibility of Yahweh transferring his love to another 
nation. Were Israel as a whole to perish, Yahweh would be left 
without a representative among the nations of the earth. But 
while Micah saw the scourge of an invading army prostrate the 
countryside and destroy the capital, there is no evidence that he 
looked for the annihilation of the nation as such.* Living apart 
from the glamour and power of the capital, he did not identify the 
fate of the nation with that of Jerusalem. He may have given over 

* Cj. Sm., Rd.\ 237 /. 


the corrupt capital to destruction without a moment s hesitation as 
to Israel s future, believing it lay in the hands of the simple-minded 
country folk rather than with the degenerate leaders of church, 
state and society in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Yahweh was great 
enough to win glory for himself apart from the temple and the cap 
ital. He was not shut up to one way of manifesting himself among 
his people. He in whose presence the mountains quake and dis 
solve is surely able to vindicate himself in the sight of the world 
even though Jerusalem fall. 

What the immediate effect of Micah s preaching was we have no 
means of knowing. True, Je. 26 18- 19 preserves a tradition that 
Hezekiah s reformation was due to the influence of Micah. But 
however true that may be, neither the record of Je. 26 18 - 19 nor the 
account of Hezekiah s reform accords closely with the contents of 
Micah s message as known to us. For Micah seems to have de 
nounced the nobles and councillors of the king rather than the king 
himself as the face of the narrative in Jeremiah would imply; and 
his preaching was concerned primarily with social wrongs rather 
than with idolatry and cultus as in 2 K. i8 4 ff \ In any case his 
words were cherished among the people of the land for whom he 
laboured and his example of sturdy independence and freedom of 
speech in the name of Yahweh established a precedent that was 
of good service to Jeremiah, the bearer of a similar message. 


For discussions of the poetical form of Micah, see i. Only 
the more important literature can be mentioned here. 

i. On the Text. 

K. Vollers, Das Dodekapropheton der Alexandriner, ZAW., 
IV (1884), 1-12. V. Ryssel, Die arabische Uebersetzung des 
Micha in der Pariser und Londoner Polyglotte, ZAW., V (1885), 
102-38. Idem., Untersuchungen fiber die Textgestalt und die 
Echtheit des Buches Micha. Ein kritischer Kommentar zu Micha 


(1887). M. Sebok, Die Syrische Uebersetzung der zwb lf kleinen 
Propheten und ihr Verhaltniss zu dem Massoretischen Text und zu 
den alter en Uebersetzungen namentlich den LXX und dem Tar gum 
(1887). Schuurmans Stekhoven, De Alex. Vertaling van het Do- 
dekapropheton (1887). H. P. Smith, The Text of Micah, in He- 
braica, IV (1888), 75-81. J. Taylor, The Massoretic Text and 
the Ancient Versions of the Book of Micah (1891). H. Graetz, 
Emendationes in plerosque Sacrae Scripturae Veteris Testamenti 
libros, etc. (1893). P. Ruben, Critical Remarks upon Some Pas 
sages of the Old Testament (1896). H. Oort, Textus Hebraici 
Emendationes quibus in Vetere Testamento Neerlandice usi sunt 
A . Kuenen, J. Hooykaas, W. H. Kosters, H. Oort; edidit H. Oort 
(1900). W. O. E. Oesterley, The Old Latin Texts of the Minor 
Prophets, in Journal of Theological Studies, V (1903), 247-53. 
Idem., Codex Taurinensis (1908). Agnes Smith Lewis, Codex 
Climaci Rescriptus (Horae Semiticae, No. VIII, 1909), pp. 2 and 
22 (giving a Palestinian-Syriac Version of Mi. 4 1 " 6 ). B. Duhm, 
Anmerkungen zu den zwolf Propheten, in ZAW., XXXI (1911), 

2. On Introduction. 

All the standard handbooks of Introduction to the Old Testa 
ment have sections on Micah. Special attention may be called to 
Driver (new ed., 1910), Konig (1893), Kuenen (2d ed., 1885/0, 
Wildeboer (3d ed., 1903), Cornill (6th ed., 1908; Engl. transl., 
1907) and Budde, Geschichte der Althebrdischen Litteratur (1906). 
Good summaries are furnished also by the encyclopedia articles, viz., 
those of Cheyne, in Encyclopedia Biblica; Nowack, in Hastings s 
Dictionary of the Bible; and Volck, in Protestantische Realencyklo- 
padie (3d ed.). To these must be added, by the careful student, 
Caspari, Uber Micha den Morasthiten und seine prophetische 
Schrift (1852). Stade, Bemerkungen uber das Buck Micha, 
ZAW., I (1881), 161-72. Idem., Weitere Bemerkungen zu 
Micha, IV-V, ibid., Ill (1883), 1-16. Nowack, Bemerkungen 
uber das Buck Micha, ibid., IV (1884), 277-91. Stade, Bemer 
kungen, on Nowack s article, ibid., IV, 291-97. Ryssel, op. cit. 
(1887). Pont, Micha-Studi en, in Theologische Studien, 1888, pp 


235-46; 1889, pp. 431-53; 1892, pp. 329-60. Kosters, De Samen- 
stelling van het boek Micha, in ThT., 1893, pp. 249-74. Volz, 
Die vorexilische Jahweprophetie und der Messias (1897), 63-67. 
K. J. Grimm, Euphemistic Liturgical Appendixes in the Old Testa 
ment (1901), 78-81, 94/.. Stade, in ZAW., XXIII (1903), 163- 
71, on Mi. i 2 4 and 7 7 20 . See also the literature cited in i of 

3. On Interpretation. 

The modern movement in the interpretation of Micah began 
with Ewald s commentary (1840; 2d ed., 1867). Among later 
commentators may be mentioned Roorda, Commentarius in Vati- 
cinium Michae (1869), a keen textual critic. Reinke, Der Prophet 
Micha (1874). Hitzig-Steiner, Die zwb lf kleinen Propheten 
(1881). Cheyne, Micah, with Notes and Introduction (1882). 
Orelli, The Twelve Minor Prophets (1888; 3d ed., 1908; Engl. 
transl., 1893). Elhorst, De Profetie van Micha (1891). Well- 
hausen, Die kleinen Propheten ubersetzt und erklart (1892; 3d ed., 
1898). G. A. Smith, The Book of the Twelve Prophets (1896). 
Nowack, Die kleinen Propheten ubersetzt und erklart (1897; 2d ed. 
1904). Marti, Dodekapropheton erklart (1904). HaleVy, in Revue 
semitique, XII and XIII (i904/.). A. van Hoonacker, Les douze 
petits prophetes (1908). Margolis, Micah (1908). 

Special phases and passages receive consideration in the follow 
ing: H. Oort, Het Beth-Efraat van Micha V : i, in ThT., V 
(1871), 501-11. Kuenen, De Koning uit Beth-Ephrat, ibid., VI 
(1872), 45-66. Oort, Ter verklaring van Micha III-V. Nog 
iets over Beth-Efraat en Migdal-Eder, ibid., VI, 273-79. M. J. 
de Goeje, Ter verklaring van Micha III-V. Proeve van verk 
laring van Micha IV : i-V : 2, ibid., VI, 279-84. Kuenen, Ter 
verklaring van Micha III-IV. Nalezing, ibid., VI, 285-302. 
Duhm, Die Theologie der Propheten (1875), pp. 178-93. Wilde- 
boer, De profeet Micha en zijne beteekenis voor het verstand der 
profetie onder Israel (1884). W. R. Smith, The Prophets of Israel 
and Their Place in History (2d ed., 1895). Guthe s Translation 
and Notes in Kautzsch s Heilige Schrift des Alien Testaments (3d 
ed., 1909). Kent s Translation and Notes in Sermons, Epistles 


and Apocalypses of Israel s Prophets (1910). M. Rahmer, Die 
hebraischen Traditionen in den Werken des Hieronymus. Die 
Commentarii zu den zwb lf kleinen Propheten. Heft. 2, Obadja, 
Jona, Micha. (1902). 


i. The Superscription (i 1 ). 

This states the authority of the utterance and the author s name 
and clan, together with the period of his activity and the subject- 
matter of his writings. 

i. The word of Yahweh] This term is usually employed for 
the work of the prophet. V. H. AH , 201 /.. Which came unto] 
This use of the verb is common in prophetic utterance: in the 
superscriptions of Ho., Jo., Jon., Zp., Hg., Zc., Je., and also Hg. 
2 1 - 10 - 20 Zc. i 7 4 8 6 10 7 4 - 8 8 1 Is. 2 8 13 38 4 ; and exceedingly common in 
the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It is part of a larger usage 
representing the meaning come into existence, become. Cf. Gn. i 3 
and Mi. y 4 , where it is parallel to Wi. Micah] Little is known 
of the life of this prophet, except that he was of rustic origin, 
preached in the days of Hezekiah and made so profound an impres 
sion as to be still remembered in the days of Jeremiah, nearly a cen 
tury later (Je. 26 18 ). The Morashtite] Of the eight men named 
Micah, or Micaiah, in the Old Testament, the two leading ones are 
the Micah of our book and Micaiah ben Imlah (i K. 22 4 ff ), a con 
temporary of Ahab.* The appellation of Morashtite, distinguishing 
the former and occurring only here and in Je. 26 18 , is a gentilic 
adjective derived from the name Moresheth (i 14 ), which in all prob 
ability was the prophet s home. In the days of Jotham, Ahaz, 
Hezekiah, kings of Judah] A later addition,! for the substantial 
truth of which evidence is furnished by Je. 26 18 ; but no sufficient 
grounds exist for believing Micah to have prophesied in the days 
of Jotham. Which he perceived] This emphasises the character 

* V. H. AH , Iv, Ivi. t V. i.; and Introduction, 3. 


i 1 3 1 

of the prophet s message as a divine revelation. Concerning Sa 
maria and Jerusalem] An accurate summary of the contents of 
Micah s prophecies, whether the destruction of Samaria spoken of 
in i 5 7 be already past or yet to come. 

The superscription seems to be of Judean origin, since no mention is 
made of the contemporary kings of Israel. But it cannot in its present 
form be credited to Micah himself, for none of the contents of the book 
can be assigned to so early a date as the reign of Jotham; the use of run 
in the sense of "utter" or "announce" is a sign of late origin (cf. 
H. AH , 4; Hoffman, ZAW., Ill, 95) ; and the latter part of the superscrip 
tion is similar to the editorial additions in Ho. i 1 , Is. i 1 . The original 
legend, therefore, was, The -word of Yahweh which came to Micah, the 
Morashtite (so We., Now., Marti, Du.; cf. Che., in CB.). 

1 . rvn -HPN nirp -on] <8, and the word of the Lord came (so 2,0, A), a free 
rendering, rather than a different text; Jonah is the only prophetic book 
beginning > nan TPI, though isolated oracles are not infrequently so in 
troduced, e. g., Je. i 4 Ez. 3 16 . Some codd. of (& (87, 91, 228 and & H ) re 
produce f& literally. ^c] The interpretation of this name as mean 
ing, Who is like (this child)? (Gray, Hebr. Prop. Names, 157; cf. 
Nrp2, 2 S. 9 12 ), is hardly probable, for such a name leaves too much to be 
supplied by the imagination. It is better taken as a shorter form of 
rv3<p (so Kt., Je. 26 18 ); cf. 1^3/0 (2 Ch. 17?) and in;:np (i K. 22"), 
meaning, Who is like Yahu? Cf. irn, the form of the divine name in the 
Assouan Papyri and the form v found both as prefix and as affix on the 
ostraca recently discovered at Samaria. Analogous forms are Sxrp, 
and the Assyrian mannu-ki-ilu-rabu = who is like the great God? and 
mannu-ki-Adad = who is like Adad (Gray, Hebr. Prop. Names, 157; 
Fried. Delitzsch, Prol., 210). The longer and the shorter forms are 
used interchangeably in the later literature. Cf. <&, M.cixa.tav; Kt. and 
Qr. in Je. 26 18 2 K. 22 12 and 2 Ch. 34 20 ; and Ju. 17 4 , wherein a long form 
appears, while the short form prevails in the rest of chs. 17 and 18; in 17 - 
<S B reproduces the long form of M, 21 has the long form in v. , but the 
short in v. 4 , and <& A H have the short form in both verses. There is 
no good reason to suppose that this equivalence does not rest upon sound 
tradition. Tann] Cf. i 14 . (8, rbv TOV Mupao-Oel, treating it as a patro 
nymic, in Je, 26 18 (6 has 6 Mupadtrrts, several mss. omit the cr from be 
fore 8 here, this is due to the similar pronunciation of the two letters. 
, n f"!9 ?; similarly &, mistakenly connecting it with the Mareshah of 
i 15 . or>r] 2 mss. of de R. prefix o>nnj?. rvprrv] <g B g prefix conj.; 
hence, and because asyndeton is uncommon in historical prose, Ro. 
emends to mi; but cf. Is. i 1 Ho. i 1 , where (& again inserts /cat; the fact 
that the form TIT occurs in Chronicles 35 times, while the shorter form 


is found only 5 times, likewise argues for the full form in this late super 
scription. -WN] <&, inrtp oil/, a rendering made necessary by the literal 
translation of nrn as saw. Cf. QJ, which renders nm, he prophesied. JTC:: ] 
V. i. on vv. 4 - 5 ; on form, cf. Assy., Sa-me-ri-na. aStt>w] V. H. AH , 47. 

2 The Doom of Israel (i 2 9 ). 

This oracle resolves itself into six strophes of four lines each. 

(1) The announcement of Yahweh s appearance in judgment (v. 2 ). 

(2) The convulsions of nature attendant upon his coming (vv. 3> 
4a b )- (3) The occasion of this punitive manifestation is the sin 
of Israel, especially as represented in the capital cities (v. 5 >. (4) 
Yahweh states that Samaria is to be razed to the ground because of 
her sins (v. 6 ). (5) Therefore does the prophet break forth into 
inconsolable lamentation (v. 8 ). (6) For the destruction is irre 
mediable and will extend even to Jerusalem (v. 9 ). 

J-JEAR ye, peoples all; 

Hearken, O earth, and her fulness. 

Yahweh will become a witness against you, 

The Lord from his holy temple. 
VEA, see! Yahweh is coming forth from his place; 

He will descend upon the heights of the earth; 

And the mountains will melt under him, 

And the valleys be cloven asunder. 
TTOR the transgression of Jacob is all this, 

And for the sin of the house of Judah. 

What is Jacob s transgression? Is it not Samaria * 

And what is Judah s sin ? Is it not Jerusalem ? 
J HEREFORE will I turn Samaria into a field, 

Into a planted vineyard; 

And I will pour down her stones into the valley, 

And lay bare her foundations. 
JTOR this, let me lament and wail; 

Let me go barefoot and stripped; 

Let me make lamentation like the jackals, 

And mourning like the daughters of the desert. 
TTOR her stroke is incurable. 

Yea, it comes even to Judah; 

It reaches unto the gate of my people, 

Even unto Jerusalem. 

The measure of this poem is trimeter, with an occasional rise to a te 
trameter or a descent to dimeter (in v. 8 , where the elegiac movement 
appears in perfect harmony with the contents of the str.). The first three 

i" 33 

strs. describe the coming of Yahweh and its cause; the last three set 
forth the nature of the punishment and its effect. This arrangement in 
volves the retention of vv. z - 5 as genuine, notwithstanding the objec 
tions of Sta., Now., Marti, et al., and the excision of w. <> 1 as latei 
accretions. Now. has already felt the difficulty of v. * d and attempted 
to remedy it by interchanging the positions of w. * b and * . But * and 
b belong together; the expansion of a thought by the addition of a com 
parison is no uncommon thing (cf. 7 10 ); and the lines 4c d burden the 
str.. The argument against v. 7 lies in the fact that it breaks the close 
connection between v. 8 and v. 8 (the lamentation of v. 8 is certainly not 
on account of the destruction of the idols in v. 7 , but because of the fall 
of the city related in v. ); its indulgence in detail is likewise quite out of 
harmony with the swift, powerful strokes employed to sketch the scene 
of destruction. Moreover, Micah s emphasis was not upon the iniquity 
of idolatry, but upon that of crimes against the social order. It is not 
likely, therefore, that he would make idolatry the sole cause of the threat 
ened disaster, as is done if v. 7 be retained. The two great cities are here 
singled out for denunciation; but idolatry was no more rampant in the 
city than in the country. These facts, together with the marked varia 
tion from the strophic norm of the context, in that it constitutes a five-line 
strophe, make the case against v. 7 conclusive (so also Marti, Now. K , 
Siev., Gu.). Objections against w. 2 - 6a were first formulated by Sta., 
ZAW., XXIII, 163. They are (i) that here the judgment is directed 
against the heathen, with whom Micah has no concern; (2) that the con 
nection of this world-judgment with the impending calamity of Israel is 
a thought characteristic of later times; (3) that the conception of Yahweh 
as abiding in the heavens is of late origin; and (4) that in vv.*- 4 the 
movement is trimeter, while in vv. 6 fl - the Qzna-rhythm prevails. But 
it is by no means so certain that the prophetic eschatology took on its 
universalistic colouring only in later times. The first two chapters of 
Amos seem to indicate an early connection between Yahweh s judgment 
of Israel and a more or less widely extended world-catastrophe. Cf. 
also Gressmann, Der Ursprung d. isr.-jiid. Eschatologie (1905), 144 /.. 
There was certainly nothing in the eighth-century idea of God that pre 
vented attributing to him activities of world-wide scope. Cf. Am. 9 
and Gn. i-n. The belief that Yahweh enthrones himself in the hea 
ens cannot legitimately be made of late origin (contra Kau., DB., V, 
646) in view of the theophany at Sinai (Ex. 19" 18 = J); of the occur 
rence of the tide God of the heavens in the indubitably early passage 
Gn. 24 ( J) ; of the parallel title jvS? in Nu. 24", an equally early pas 
sage; and of the mention of a Phoenician deity, Baal-Samen, in a contract 
between Esarhaddon (681-668) and the king of Tyre (v. KAT.*, 357). 
The change of rhythm in w. does not necessarily involve a change of 
authorship (cf. Siev., who constructs a separate oracle in Qina-rhythm of 


vv. 8 ); similar changes occur elsewhere within a poem, e. g., 2* 4". 
Furthermore, the omission of vv. 25a leaves the opening of the oracle 
abrupt and brusque to a degree not paralleled elsewhere in Mi. 1-3. 

2. oSo] (&, \6yovs = Aram., O^D, a familiar term to the translators; a 
and D were easily confused in the old script. Cf. i 12 5 n - 7" (6, Jb. 8 
(where on o = nnn), Zc. 2 (where IK, j?2-\ND = <g, -IND) and Mai. 
i 10 (where & ^ = (& vs). The conjecture of Ry. that <& originally 
read \6yovs Trdvras is without any support and is unnecessary. & all of 
you (so Du.) ; but in Jb. 17 & makes the same change. M is substanti 
ated by i K. 22 28b , a verbatim quotation of this phrase. -o^pn] In codd. 
Kenn. 30, 96, 224, -ia ; in the same codd. and in 4, 101, 145, 150 (cf. 
<& & H) pm; but both of these variations are due to scribal correction. 
DNSs-i] < freely, and all who are in it; & with her fulness. mm >jn] 
Om. N with (6 A and A; it is superfluous to the metre, and is either a gloss 
on mm or a dittog. from the following line (so also Marti, Now. K , Siev., 
Stk., Du.. tyS] <8, els naprijpiov, abstract for concrete. 3 . l"ni] Om. with 
(6, as a dittog. of TVI; this also improves the rhythm; Siev., Hpt. om. TVI 
instead. Du. om. either. 4. ui IDDJI] (g, transposing the vbs., and shall 
be shattered the mountains under him and the valleys melted. D^popn] 
Codd. 229 (Kenn.) and 224 (de R.), mpajn. 5. nwonai] Rd. nxaroi, with 
<$ 31 (but cod. Reuchl. has pi.) and codd. 211, 1257 (de R.). 26 codd. 
of Kenn. have defective writing. The sg. is required by the parallel 
jjtfu, and by (g s rendering of mna in 1. 4 (so Ro., Taylor, We., Pont, Gu., 
Oort Em -, Now., Marti, Stk., Du.). S NTJ"] Rd. rnim, because of the use 
of the latter in 1. 4 (so Seb., Now., We., Pont, Gu.). A similar inter 
change of names occurs in Ho. 5 12 - "; according to the Massora such con 
fusion of names was not infrequent (v. the citation in Seb. 46, note 3). 
T] Seb. and We., nn. nina] Rd. nsan, with & and codd. (Kenn.) 
201, 228, on margin (so Houb., Dathe, Bauer, Ro., Oort Em -, Marti, 
Hal., Siev., Stk., Gu., Du.). Cf. <&, 17 a^aprta oticov; so ft, U. 
For a similar insertion of no by (&, see many codd. HP., which insert 
it in v. Bc before apy\ mca is a gloss which succeeded in displacing 
the original text; it is impossible because the answer Jerusalem does 
not fit; nor was Jerusalem noted for high-places, the temple tak 
ing their place; the parallelism is against it; the sin of Judah as 
Micah saw it consisted in oppression, murder, etc., rather than in 
worshipping on the high-places; and the Vrss. all testify against JH. 
Kue., nu nNisn (so H. P. Smith, Seb., Taylor, Elh., Pont, Gr., Gu., 
GASm., Now., We.). 6. mtrn ^S] Rd. n^S, omitting >y (so Marti, 
Siev., Gu.) as a gloss. (&, els 67r(i)po<f>v\dKiov dypov; &,for a house of the 
country, the field, connecting mtrn with the following instead of the pre 
ceding context. We., a>n ny 1 ? (cf. 3 12 Ez. 2i 2 ; so Now.), or n mj?S (cf. 
i S. 27 5 ). Hi., v myS, connecting me> with following words (cf. $); but 
rvp would be dir.. ^S] Rd. N^J*? with 6 codd. (Kenn.); N lost through 

i 35 

haplo.. 05, e/s x^ OJ - $> <?wos* aceruum lapidunt in agro. Gr. n SjS 
7. iro>] 05, KaTa.K6\j/ov<Ti, an active form with indefinite subject, equivalent 
to the passive. Cf. French on, German man (so Ry., contra Bauer, Jus., 
Hi., Vol., who posit a different pointing for UK) . m JJHN] 21, locationes. We. 
y^%* (so Oort Em -, Marti, Gu.), but this would require a fern, form of the 
vb. (Hal.). Hal. -7\J.on. nxnp] Rd., with & (5 B, 3p to conform with 
iro> and requirements of grammar (so Dathe, Ew., Taylor, Elh., We., 
Pont, Gr., GASm., Now., Hal., Marti, Siev., Gu., Du.). Cf. <5, vvrfaw. 
8. (& places all vbs. in 3d pers. sg., & in 2d pers. sg. fern., in 3d pers. 
pi. masc.. ruS>N] Qr. and some codd. of Kenn. roVs. SW] Qr. and 31 
codd. (Kenn.) SSii>. na>j7N] ( A , Trotijcrerai Kal Troi^craiTe. D uro] <, wr 
5paK6t>T(t)v y so H. Aq., ffciprfvuv. 6, Xe6j/ru>j>. &, a jackal. Cod. 96 
(Kenn.) pro. njyi nun] <&, dvyartpuv <reip-/ii>uv; so &. 9. H^IJN] (8, 
S 0, /3ta/a; H, desperata. rumon] Rd. nnso, with <g, ^ 
s, and in agreement with the sg. of the vbs. ; so & U (5 and 7 
codd. of de R. and i cod. of Kenn. (so We., Gr., GASm., Now., Marti, 
Hal., Siev., Stk., van H., Marg., Gu.). Du. n; n?p. pjj] Rd. npjj, with ft 
(5, in conformity with demands of grammar (so Taylor, We., Now., Marti, 
Hal., Siev., Stk., van H., Marg., Gu., Du.). Elh. yn. oStPTV~i> ] We., 
Now., Stk., om. as gloss. Marti, "p -pip. 

Str. I contains the call for attention. 2. Hear ye, peoples all] 
The prophet addresses the nations of the earth,* rather than the 
tribes of Israel f (although Q^D^ is sometimes used of the tribes; cf. 
Gn. 49 10 Dt. 32 8 33 3 Zc. n 10 Ho. io 14 ), as appears from the parallel 
expression, O earth and her fulness] which always designates the 
world as a whole and never any special portion. Cf. Dt. 33 Ps. 
24 1 . The nations are summoned not as witnesses (cf. Am. 3 Dt. 
4 26 3O 19 Is. i 2 ), but as vitally interested auditors whom it behooves 
to consider diligently what they hear, for Israel s case is part and 
parcel of the world s case. The logical object of the verbs hear and 
hearken is the whole of the succeeding oracle, beginning, Yahweh 
will become a witness against you] Not among you,l for Micah 
certainly would not conceive of Yahweh as a fellow-witness with 
the heathen of Israel s calamities; but rather of these calamities as 
bringing home to their consciences a condemning sense of their own 
guilt and a warning to flee from the coming wrath; i. e., Yahweh 
through his punishment of Israel will testify against the nations, 

* So Rosenm., Ew., Ke.. Casp., Hd., Pu., Or., Che., We., GASm., Now., Marti, 
t So Ki., Hi., Stei., Hal.. J So GASm.. 


who are even more guilty. His holy temple] i. e , nis dwelling in the 
heavens,* not the temple at Jerusalem,! as the language of vv. 3 - 4 
shows. Cf. Hb. 2 20 Zc. 2 13 Is. 63 15 Ps. n 4 . For similar views in 
early times regarding Yahweh s habitation, cf. Ex. i$ 21 L i4 19 - 24 

j lib. 18. 20^ 

Str. II introduces Yahweh himself upon the scene of action. 
3. Yea, seel Yahweh is coming forth from his place] The pic 
ture becomes more vivid; the judgment is on the verge of execu 
tion ! The place is the heavenly temple. Cf. Ho. 5 15 Ps. i4 2 Is. i8 4 . 
He will descend upon the heights of the earth] For the omission 
of the phrase, and tread, v. s. For a similar thought, cf. Am. 4 13 (a 
late passage). 4. And the mountains will melt, etc.] The ima 
gery here is based upon the phenomena of earthquakes or volcanic 
eruptions (cf. Is. 24* Zc. i4 4 Na. i 6 ), and is not descriptive of a 
thunderstorm; the description of the rending of the valleys forbids 
the latter interpretation. Like wax before the fire, like waters poured 
down a declivity] A later addition (v. s.). The volcanic stream 
of lava is the basis of this comparison. 

Str. Ill states the cause of Yahweh s fearful wrath. 5. For the 
transgression of Jacob is all this] Jacob is here applied to the 
northern kingdom, as appears from 1. 3. All this refers to the 
foregoing cataclysm, not to the threats of v. 6 . And for the sin cf 
the house ofJudah] The prophet couples Israel and Judah in the 
bonds of iniquity. The coming punishment will include both. 
Cf. w. 8t 9 . What is Jacob s transgression? Is it not Samaria?] 
The name of the capital, tne centre of the nation s corrupt and li 
centious life, sums up the offence of Israel. And what is Judah 1 s 
sin ? Is it not Jerusalem ?] The two capitals are denounced by 
the prophet of the countryside not only for their own inherent sin, 
but also because they serve as sources of corruption infecting the 
whole land. 

Str. IV presents the climax of the oracle in the clearly marked 
dirge-rhythm. The total destruction of Samaria is announced in 
terrible tones. 6. Therefore will I turn Samaria into afield] JJI 
ruin is not suited to the following word, field, nor to the parallel 

* Theincr, Rosenm., Hi., Mau. Hd., Ke., Che., Or., Now., GASm., We., Marti, 
t Os., Geb.. Hal., et al.. 

i - 37 

phrase, a planted vineyard. Now. s reading, the forest of the field, is 
too far removed from the received text and. does not quite meet the 
demands of the parallelism; the term forest is not elsewhere em 
ployed to denote desolation. Samaria is to become an utter waste, 
a ploughed field (cf. 3 12 ), a vineyard in cultivation. A vineyard is 
the type of arable land less easily utilised for building purposes than 
any other, because of the great labour and loss involved in the 
transplanting of the vines (so Hal.) . The hill of Samaria was very 
fertile and well adapted to vine-culture. And I will pour down her 
stones, etc.] Cf. i K. i6 24 . On the destruction of Samaria here 
foretold, v. i.. A total destruction of the city such as is here de 
scribed was effected by John Hyrcanus (v. Jos., Ant., XIII, 10, 
3). This, however, constitutes no valid argument for transfer 
ring this section of Micah to the Maccabaean period (contra Hpt.) . 
7. This verse forms a five-line strophe, detailing the destruction 
of idolatry which is to accompany the downfall of Samaria. It is 
an expansion of Micah s message from the hand of a later scribe 
who interpreted the fall of Samaria as a judgment upon idolatry 
(v. 5.). And all her idols will be shattered] These were idols 
carved from stone or wood; shattering demonstrates their power- 
lessness. Samaria was notorious among later prophets for her 
idolatry. Cf. Is. 2 20 io 10 f - 27 f - so 22 3i 7 . And all her images will 
be burnt with fire] For the rendering images, v. i.. The usual 
rendering, harlot-hires, is wholly unsuited here to the vb. burnt and 
to the demands of the parallelism. For various attempts to escape 
the difficulty by changing the text, v. s.. And all her idols I will lay 
desolate] A third word for idol appears here; Hebrew has no less 
than twelve words for this conception. For from the hire of a har 
lot they were gathered], i. e., not that the images were obtained by 
means of the gains of prostitutes,* but that they were made pos 
sible through the material prosperity which the people attributed to 
the favour of the Baalim (cf. Ho. 2 5 ).f And to a harlot s hire they 
will return] If it be asked how these idols already shattered and 
burned can again become hire, the answer is that we must not con 
fine a poet too strictly to prosaic fact. He evidently here is thinking 
of the use made by the heathen conqueror of the trophies of war; 

* So Hal., et al.. t So We., Or., Now.. 


these are presented to their deities in acknowledgment of their 
favour in bestowal of victory, and thus are designated by the 
prophet as harlot s hire. 

Str. V reveals the prophet s anguish as he contemplates the fate 
of the city.* 8. For this] Not for the immediately preceding de 
struction of idols certainly, but for the destruction pictured in v. 8 , 
and because this destruction carries with it injury of the most seri 
ous character to the southern kingdom in which, of course, the 
prophet was especially interested. Calamity to Samaria means 
panic in Jerusalem. Let me lament and wail] This dirge-like ut 
terance, with its many terms for lamentation, is characteristically 
oriental in its vigorous and concrete expression of emotion ; the 
repetitions secure emphasis and variety. The form in which the 
vbs. are used (with H-r) makes the lament even more tender and 
plaintive. This is one of several instances in which the man as 
patriot bewails most grievously the event which as prophet he is 
bound to announce. Cf. Je. 9 lff \ Barefoot and stripped] Not 
naked, but in the dress of one in sorrow (2 S. i5 30 ) ; here and else 
where (Is. 2o 2 " 4 ) the reference is to a symbolic act in which the per 
son thus garbed represents a captive.f The garment discarded 
was the outer cloak or tunic. Cf. Jb. 22 6 Ex. 22 26 Am. 2 s . Like the 
jackals] The wail of these animals is a long, piteous cry (cf. Is. 
i3 22 ), and may be heard almost any night in Palestine, where the 
jackal is now the most common beast of prey. And mourning like 
the daughters of the desert] The comparison is to the noisy, hid 
eous screech of the ostrich. 

Str. VI gives the justification for the prophet s grief which lies 
in the hopelessness of Samaria s outlook and in the fact that the 
calamity will include his own city, Jerusalem. 9. For her stroke is 
incurable] The reference is probably to the fall of Samaria in 721 
B.C., together with the subsequent calamities which had befallen the 
city prior to the prophet s time (v. i.), and not to any one specific 
event. Yea, it comes even to Judah] This is the burden of the 

* The change of speaker (from Yahweh to the prophet) is not sufficient reason for suspecting 
that v. 8 is foreign to this context (contra Gu.). The vivid style of the prophets frequently 
leaps from one speaker to another without warning. 

t Yet on Assyrian reliefs male captives are frequently represented as totally devoid of cloth 
ing. See, e. ., the scenes on the bronze ornaments of the gates of Balawat. 

I M 39 

patriot s soul, his all-consuming grief. It reaches unto the gate of 
my people] Jerusalem is so designated as the seat of the central 
market-place of Judah and of the highest judicial tribunal, the 
natural gathering- point of Judah. Even unto Jerusalem] The 
situation in the mind of the prophet is evidently that arising out of 
the campaign of Sennacherib* (v. i.}, not that in connection with 
Sargon s expedition against Egypt ending in the battle of Raphia 
(7i 9 B.c.).f 

The historical conditions amid which this oracle (i 2 - 9 ) was spoken are in 
dispute: Most interpreters have assigned it to the days immediately pre 
ceding the fall of Samaria in 722-721 B.C.; so, e.g., Ew., Hi., Or., Dr. Illtr -, 
GASm. (725-718 B.C.), Hal., Now. (who thinks that the denunciation of 
Samaria was originally uttered prior to 722 B.C., but was later in its present 
form incorporated for greater effect in an oracle against Judah spoken 
in connection with Sennacherib s campaign). Others place it in the 
period of Sennacherib s invasion, 705-701 B.C.; so, e. g., We., Sm. (ReL, 
2 37/-)> Cor -> Marti. The narrative certainly looks upon the chastisement 
of Israel and Judah as something yet to come; there is no hint that Sama 
ria has already been destroyed; the vbs. in v. 6 are indisputably future 
(contra GASm.). The two lands are indissolubly linked together in the 
coming destruction; their fate constitutes two acts of the same drama 
(Now.). The prophet may be standing on the verge of Samaria s fall in 
721 B.C., and with keen insight into the meaning of the situation pointing 
out its ultimate significance for Judah, the fate of which he deems immi 
nent. But the vividness of the description in i 9 ff - is more easily accounted 
for on the basis of calamities actually in progress in Judah than of events 
only anticipated in imagination. It seems better, therefore, to locate the 
prophecy in connection with the campaign of 705-701 B.C., and to sup 
pose that the final destruction of Samaria occurred in connection with 
that event (so Cor., Marti). The desolation here described is not the 
result of a siege and deportation such as occurred in 721 B.C., but stops 
short of nothing less than total destruction such as did not take place till 
some later time. For further discussion, v. Introd., pp. 18-19. 

2. vn ij?Dtt>] These words have been borrowed by the editor of i K. 
22* 8 as appears from (i) their omission in (Si s rendering of i K. 22", (2) 
their utter lack of connection there. aSu] For other cases of nSj with 
2d pers., v. i K. 22 28 Jb. I7 to 2 Ch. 18"; for very common lack of con 
gruence of persons after a vocative, v. Kb. * 344 L 833 f; cf. No., Syr, Gram. 1 , 
\ MOO. Ges. * 135r cites <I J"IN vn, and nrv as parallel cases of the loss of 
force in the sf. ; but Brockelmann, ZA ., XIV, 344 /. explains nrv by refer 
ence to the old adverbial ending A; while 01 and ^n did not wholly lose 

* So We., Now., Marti; contra Hal., Stk.. t GASm.. 


the force of the sf. in classical Heb.. The possibility remains that the 
process was hastened in the case of D^D and its transition to almost ad 
verbial usage was facilitated by the similarity to the common adverbial 
ending in DJDX ,o^n .oS-it* OB^jDjn. Cf. K6. <>*. >n>i] Juss. in 
stead of impf. for rhythmical reasons (Ges. * 109 k ); here also to avoid un 
pleasant assonance with the immediately foil. njrv. 3 . iDipDc] Here 
parall. with hyn (v. 2 ). In early Semitic and Heb. literature D = shrine, 
e. g., Gn. 28" Je. 7 12 Is. 18* 2 K. 5"- 19 ; it came to be identified with the 
deity himself in the Mishna, Tosefta, Gemara, and Midrashic literature. 
Its application to Yahweh s heavenly temple is common in OT., e. g., Ho. 
5 15 Is. 26" Hb. 2 20 (so J. A. Montgomery, JBL., XXIV, 17-26). 4. 
o^s . . . Jjns] Use of generic art. in comparison in ir, but omitted 
in D3; note recurrence of a in 4d D HJD] cbr.. Hoph. of "uj; We. sug 
gests -nj = Assy, gardru, run, flow (so Hal.), while Hpt. connects it with 
"us, to fall, as Pu. prtc. with initial D om.. The omission of 4C - d (v. s.) 
obviates the difficulty which leads Siev. to posit the omission of two lines 
from the original text of v. 3 . 5. "r] Used for nn only when the un 
derlying thought refers to persons as here, Ges. * 137 . Cf. i S. i8 18 2 S. 
7 18 . 6. ^nsan] Of future action, Ges. ^ 1I2x . D-O ijroe] Cf. the Assyrian 
phrase ana till u karmi utir = into a mound and a ruin I turned it.- 
7. in^] So-called Aram. Hoph. (Ges. *); rather than impf. Qal. 
pass. (Bottcher, Ges. * 63U ). n>jjnx] A S^DD (Dt. 7 5 ), or an mpN (Dt. 
i2 3 ), or even a HD3 (2 K. 23 15 ) may be burned, but not a harlot s hire; 
hence the suspicions against the text (v. s.). The best solution of the 
difficulty is to assign it to a new root, pn having the meaning resemble, be 
equal, whence come for pnx the signif. image, and hire (so Halper, 
AJSL., XXIV, 366^".). Satisfactory evidence for such a root is fur 
nished by Arabic tdnna (III. conj. of tannd), he measured, made comparison, 
and the noun tinnun, an equal, a like. Support for the ascription to 
IJPN of these two conceptions, resemblance and compensation, is found 
in the usage of the parallel roots npi and rnc ; ; Heb. PIDT = image, like 
ness; Syr., dmaya = value, price; in Syr., Aram., and Arab., mty = was 
equal, like, worth, pn is thus closely related to njp = repeat, rather than 
to pj. From this point of view the use of pns here is seen to be paro 
nomasia, very characteristic of Micah. nxafi] On __ for , v. Ges. * Ml . 
Cf. Ew. > 13lld (= Pu. with i for u); but the Vrss. and the syntax require 
the Pu al plural. 8. roW] Fully written vowel only here, Ez. 35" 
and Ps. 72"; v. Ges. $ b - not8 . SW] Kt. ^v is ATT.; elsewhere ^tf 
with Qr. (Jb. I2 17 - I9 ); cf. analogous formations, SSj: and 331^; the Kt. 
finds no certain analogies in Heb., though they are numerous in Arab. 
Cf. Earth, NB, p. 54. The -__ here is probably due to the influence 
of the two preceding forms. m3 . . . D jns] On pi. in comparisons, 
K6. % ZM b . 9. n^niDc] On pi. here, cf. K6. ^"8. )?Jj] On sg. masc. with 
fem. pi. subject as in US, cf. K6. 4 d . 


3. Lamentation Over Israel s Doom (i 10 ~ lfl ). 

In four strs. of four lines each, the prophet pictures desolation 
as it sweeps across the countryside with the march of an invading 
army. Wherever the blow falls, the piercing note of the dirge 
arises, (i) A call to some of the more northern towns to give them 
selves to mourning. (2) Disaster sent by Yahweh will smite the 
cities of Judah. (3) Let the inhabitants of Lachish and its en 
virons flee in hot haste before the impending judgment. (4) Is 
rael s territory will be in the hands of the foe, and her inhabitants 
will be carried into exile. 

it not in Gath; 

In Baca, weep bitterly; 

In Beth-ophrah, roll yourselves in the dust; 

Pass ye over from Shaphir in nakedness. 
""THE inhabitant of Zaanan comes not forth from her fortress; 

Beth-ezel is taken from its site. 

How has the inhabitant of Maroth hoped for good! 

For calamity has come down from Yahweh to the gates of Jerusalem, 
T3IND the chariot to the steed, O inhabitant of Lachish; 

For in thee are found the transgressions of Israel. 

Therefore thou givest a parting gift to Moresheth-Gath. 

Beth Achzib has become a snare to the kings of Israel. 
J WILL yet bring the conqueror to thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah. 

Forever is Israel s glory to perish. 

Make thyself bald and shave thee for thy darlings; 

Enlarge thy baldness like the vulture s, for they will go into exile from thee. 

This piece is the most remarkable, as well as most difficult and obscure 
of Micah s oracles. It is a dirge, the characteristic measure of which 
does not appear until Str. II, nor is it then perfectly sustained. On ac 
count of the uncertain state of the text, any attempt at reconstruction is 
extremely hazardous; hence this arrangement is presented with much 
hesitation. The only material excluded is v. 13b , a gloss which inter 
rupts the connection between I3a and 13c , in both of which direct address 
is employed. The arrangement by Siev. in seven strs. of two lines each, 
in perfect Qina measure, is attractive, but it omits material arbitrarily 
and handles the text too roughly. The poem as a whole is denied to 
Micah by Marti (whom Siev. follows) on three grounds: (i) that it shows 
reflection upon the events it describes such as is inconsistent with stirring 
and painful times like the days of Micah; (2) that the use of the name 
Israel as including Judah is late; (3) that v. 1S contradicts v. b . But the 


puns of the passage furnish no occasion for questioning the deep feeling 
of the author, since such usage was not inconsistent with great grief and 
was the furthest possible remove from any suggestion of humor. Its aim 
was rather to strike forcibly the attention of the listener. Similar usage 
in Am. 5 5 and Is. io 27 - 32 bears witness to this, for Marti s rejection of 
these two passages as late rests solely upon the fact that they contain 
paronomasia, an insufficient basis. Cf. Is. 5 6 11 7" Gn. 493 f - 8 - lt - lt . 
Westphal well says (Jahve s Wohnstatten, 1908, p. 174): "For the 
ancients the word, the name, had a wholly different significance than for 
us. Puns were not for them mere plays upon words; but just as the name 
had a connection with the thing named so intimate as to transcend our 
perception, in like manner there was in the similarity of sound between 
two words a mystical connection of the things themselves; nomen et omen 
is a conception that developed upon the soil of antiquity." The name 
Israel as applied to Judah is characteristic of Micah (v. 3 - 9 ). The 
supposed contradiction between v. 13 and v. B is only such as is due to the 
free impetuous utterance of the poet-prophet, which is not to be re 
strained within geometrically denned limits. In any case the exact sig 
nificance of v. 13 eludes us. 

10. wjn hx njj] (, /J.TJ /j.eya.\ijj>e(r0e = -iSnjri. fi>, ^o._*.Z = -iSvjn (un 
less fi is to be corrected with Seb. to ,oo-Z). Elh., iSvjn SN SjSja 
(so Wkl. Unt -, 185 /.). Che. (JQR., X, 573) and Hal., iS^n <?N riSja. 
But Hi seems established by the duplicate in 2 S. i 20 . wan hi* iaa] 
Rd., iaan loa Nsari, dropping SN as dittog. from prec. line. (35, ol 
tv AKet/j. ( H , codd. Q marg., 87, 91, 310, Aldine ed., tv /Sa/tefyt) 
fj.7] dvoiKodo/j.eiT. Some codd. tv A/c/capei/x. Comp. tv /3a/cetV. But 
tv AKdfjL, as <& s reading, is supported by , in Acim, and A. <8 s 
faKt/j. recalls its rendering of o^pjj? in Dt. 2 l(1 - l Jos. 14 * n- 
as Che., EB., 1646, suggests. In support of the emendation N333 may be 
urged (a) the reading tv /3a/cei/x, the last letter of which is a dittograph; 
(b) the pun thereby recovered; (c) the location of Baca in the region 
with which Micah is dealing; (d) the ease with which it might have dis 
appeared from the Hebrew text. Reland, Pal., ui isj?a (so Zunz, Ew., 
Hi., Kl., Ro., Che., Taylor, Gu., GASm., van H.). In support of this 
are urged the analogies, nppj = nypa>j, Am. 8 8 ; a = ^.a; nSa = nSya, 
Jos. 19 15"; mS = iD^.S, Ps. 28 8 ; and the probability that the last letter 
of (&, tv A/ccfyc, is a dittog. from following /xij. Against this Ry. well argues 
(i) that in the analogies cited the essential portion of the word has not 
been lost as here, except in -a, a much-used particle whose position at the 
beginning of its clause assures its proper recognition; (2) the remaining 
puns involve not merely the sounds of the words played upon, but also 
their sense; (3) the location of Acco, north of Carmel, is outside of the 
region with which Micah is immediately concerned, viz., the western 
slope of Judah. Mich., D paa: (cf. Ju. 2 - ; so Vol., Elh., Wkl. Un S 

I 10 43 

186; Che., JQR., X, 573; We., Now., Oort. Em -, Du.); Elh. and We. also 
om. SN, while We. changes the impf. to an imv. 133. Gr., n>Sj; D^N333 
n. Hal., -uari SN 133 N333. For 133, 18 mss. of Kenn. H33. 
ley mcyS n>33] Rd., with &, icy rnpjj noa. C/. 6, *00/9<. <g, ^ of/cov 
KCLTaytXuTa yrjv, which seems to reflect some form of icn. Cf. Karaye\- 
afferfffovrai = nsniin3 7 . S, drink ing-bowls. Elh., y ~ncj;S n>33; so van 
H.. Pont, ui n-op; so van H.. Oort Em -, "toy a map rvaa. Gr., VKTPM 
mojn. Wkl., ylOF., I, 103, -IDJ; Vs-noa, om. nicy as dittog.. 
^nt^Scnn] Rd. ^Ssrin, with <, /caraTrdcrao-fle; so & H, Hartmann, Ro., 
Elh., We., Pont, Wkl., Gu., Now., Marti, Siev., van H., Gu.. Qr., 12 
codd. of Kenn. and several of de R., ^snn (so Schnurrer, Bauer, Tay 
lor, Gr.). The pi. is demanded by the parallel vbs. of v. 10 and by 03*% 
v. . 11 . DnS nay] Rd. V -nay., with some Heb. codd., B 21, Aq., S, Hal.. 
05, KaraytXaTo. upuv; cf. the rendering of moyS, v. 10 . U, 5M/er derisum 
vestrum. &, Serve for thyself = -|S n3j?. Elh., 03^j? n3^ N 1 ?. Pont, 
03 1 ? may sS. Che. (JQR., X, 573) 13;;, om. as 1 ?. Marti, !]S n.aj?; 
c/". &. Siev. nS nSaw; so Gu.. PDIT naa" 1 ] Rd. vcB p, om. n3B>^ as 
dittog. from foil, line; the loss of D from 1 was due to its occurrence in 
immediately preceding a:>S. <&, /carotKoOaa KaXwj. B, habitatio pulchra. 
Hal., B> naa VD. ntr3 nn^] Om. r^3, with 05, as gloss upon nny; so 
Ges. ^ 131 . C/. Siev. (8, rets 7r6\6is OI^T^J. 0, ^ ?r6Xis aCr?; a.l<j-x\)vi\, J,con- 
fusa ignominia. Elh., ncbn nj;; so Pont, van H.. Hal., nrai nn^. Siev. 
and Gu. om. p^3 as dittog. of n3a < and rd. nxij for nny. Marti, n>oy 
ntf3 = v7erf shame. Che. (JQR., X, 573) conjectures for the line; 
Di 8" IT" 1 .?? *?W ? n ?^ P NX ] $, Seyi/ad/); some codd. Sevj di ; others 
2aivv6v. Aq., Sava^v. 0, Scmci?. 2, ey^voOcra. H, inexitu. C, inaelant. 
& = Zoaw. 2 codd. of Kenn. and 4 of de R., IJN^; cf. S. Van H., 
?nx. IDDD] Rd. nnoDD. 05, ic6^a<r0at. H, planctum. Van H., ipp^ 
or non. SSNH no] <S, of/cov ^b^evov a^rrjs. U, domum juxta earn. 
S, e?7j. H, domus vicina. & om. art. n. ^ treats NH a DD as sub 
ject of the clause. Elh., Pont, Sxsn no; c/. Zc. 14*. rip ] Gr., n,r. 
in-inj; 03c] Rd. TIOJ-DD, 3 being due to confusion with D (cf. on i 1 ) 
and dittog.. (8, ^ vfj.uv ir\ijyi]v 65vi>rjs; 2 codd. ir\l)v dStvrjs. C, 
plagam doloris. B, e^c voftw quae sletit sibimet. renders DJ? = 
the rendering of & for n?p in v. . One cod. of de R., imon; so , 
Stei.. Ro., foil. Bauer, inrp 033, correcting 05 to ir\-r}yr)v ojJr^s (so Taylor). 
We., nnn nsp, regarding ^ U/LCWI as a doublet in 05. Gr., D3.rnpn D3D, using 
o of v. . Oort Em , nnipi .p nnjv, for the last three words of fll. C/. Hal.. 
nnp 12 D3.Dp.\ Che. (JQR., X, 573) restores lines i and 2 of Str. II 
thus: vS>XN -U9P -in^S xrf n>33 ISDO JONX n3ty> jjran oSiyS. Siev. 
conjectures: Tnpy. SXNJ-O NH noa nsrp NX V> HNXJ S n^. 
12. n^n a] Rd. nj>no; c/. <S, T/J ^p^aro = nSnn ip; for confusion of a 
and D, v. on I 2 . S, 6Vi tv6fu<rcv. 6, di/ajLi^ou<ra. Aq., 


infirmata est; similarly &. Taylor, nS nn. Cf. Pont, n^nn. Oort Em -, 
nSm no. We., Now., and Marti, nSrv a. Siev. and Gu., nSm n-^c. 
Che. (JQR., X, 573) nnSn <a. aiaS] Gr., na^S Houb., niDS; so Che. 
(/. c.). Hal., aia t*S. nno] (&, dSi/pas. 0, efr fr/ os = mm. S, ^ 
irapaTTLKpaivova-a. Aq., ~M.apa.w0. &, ^?^i,oo, confusing 1 and x $J, in 
amaritudinibus. 21, Ny-\N "IDB>. Gr. and Che. (/. c.), nio-p; cf. Jos. 
I5 35 t TV > D ] Siev. om. a. -i?B>S] Rd. ^jr 1 ?, with <& g> 21, and codd. 
295, 380, 789 of de R.; so Ro., Gu., Che. (/. c.), Oort Em -, Now., 
Marti, Siev.. & joins last two words of v. 12 to v. 13 . 13. n o mj Rd. 
arn, inf. abs. with force of imv. (so Marti). (&, ^60os apudruv. B, tu- 
multus quadrigae. & = ^o -"iDn-;; so also Ro.. Ru., on pen. Gr., phn 
or prn. Oort Em -, ^nx Hal., nonn. Che. (/. c.), ^o <1 " ^. ^TH^B. 15 , 
JP-. (?); c/". 21, ^rn = wagon. B>anS] <B, Kai lirirevbvTwv, connecting 
with v. 12 up to this point. B, stupor-is = ^nS (Ry., Taylor). Ru., U onS 
Che. (/. c.), Doni. Siev. and Gu., na:ng!? on-j ^37.. J ^aS na^] <S ^ 
treat as subj. of foil, clause. "yoc] Hal., ytiD. 14. jnn] (S B = 
T-!?V > ? n .l? ?- R-> Oort Em -, ^nn. Marti, -uru?; so Now. K , Siev., 
Gu.. D^mW] d, tarro<rT\\on{vovs. B, emissaries. 21 Aq., S Q = gifts. 
^;J Marti, i:S>;; so Now. K . n^mo. (5 H & 21 = possession or tw- 
heritance. Gr., ncnso, or dittog. from v. 1B . Hal., transposing (~Ss = ) 
S> n^mD. Che. (/. c.), T^ na nc ^c 1 ?. "na] Rd. no, with Che. 
(/. c.). avas] (5 H ^ = Jece^V or vanity. 0, ^ dvdyicr]* = ijps 
(Ry.). arasS] Ro., arp^. aSo 1 ?] Gr., rrj; so Che. (/. c.), Now. 
15. n; ] <S, &os= -i>: ; so We., Che. (a?/>. 1897, p. 3 68 )> Now., Elh., 
Siev., Gu.. 3>-vn] Che. (Exp.), r^sp. -|V -ax] (g, dydyu<nv; but cod. 
Q war.g ., aydyw <roi. S, d^w; so g. Ten mss. of de R., NON. Elh., 
^Sos; so Pont, Che. (/. c.}, Oort Em -, Siev., Gu.. ruv] (& adds 
8"aS (by dittog. of iS and the first two letters of naa") and makes nttnrs 
the subject of the following Nia\ nSny] Rd. oSiy, with ^, ^^VvV; so 
Seb., Gr., Che. (/. c.), and Siev., who also restores oS-yjio after Nia^ (so 
Gu.). Mss. 112, 126 of de R., oSny. Elh., oSy. Ry. restores oS-\y ^ 
oS^ ng. Marti, Du., o^S 1 ^; c/. Che. (CB.). Van H., oS^?. Nia 1 -] Rd. nas>, 
with Che. (E^>., 1897, p. 368), Siev., Gu.. Gr.,^a> (?). Hal.,Do\ Elh., 
after a\ inserts 0*715, nao ^ carrying > aa over to v. I8 (so also Ro.). 
16. innip] 05, X. npio.v = widowhood, probably an error for Kovpdv 
(so Schnurrer, Schleus., Ry.). iSj] Gr., V?j\ 

Str. I issues a general call to lamentation. 10. Tell it not in 
Gath] A vivid appeal to those fleeing from before the invading 
army not to humiliate their native land by making its ruin known 
to their hostile neighbours. These words, freely quoted from the 
elegy on Saul and Jonathan (2 S. i 20 ), at once indicate the char- 

i 10 - 45 

acter of the oracle and constitute an appropriate opening of this 
dirge. There is no sufficient reason for omitting them as a marg - 
nal note, either by Micah himself * or by later readers,! intended 
to call attention to the parallel between this and the earlier lament. 
The resemblance between the two is hardly close enough to have 
suggested such a parallel to any reader. It is more probable that 
the phrase had taken on proverbial force and was used by Micah 
as an opening line which at once would suggest the nature of his 
poem. It seems almost certain that Gath had fallen prior to the 
time of Amos (6 2 ) and that it never recovered from this blow. It 
is not mentioned with the other four cities of Philistia either by 
Amos (i 6 - 8 ), Zephaniah (2 2 ~ 7 ), Jeremiah (47), Zechariah (g 5 7 ), or 
the books of the Maccabees. In Baca weep bitterly] M, weep not 
at all, is open to the objections that it is inconsistent with the form 
of phrase in the parallel lines where a verb is in each case coupled 
with a noun, that it is exactly the opposite of what the prophet 
might have been expected to say under such circumstances as these, 
and that it makes it difficult to account for the rendering of (g 
(v. s.~). The name "Baca" is applied to a village on the northern 
border of upper Galilee (v. Gu., Bibelatlas, map 13), to a wady 
discovered by Burckhardt near Sinai and to a portion of the valley 
south-west of Jerusalem extending toward Bethlehem and men 
tioned in Ps. 84. This last is the only one of the three that at all 
suits the requirements of this context. In Beth-ophrah roll your 
selves in the dust] The Beth-le-aphrah of m is a name otherwise 
unknown ; it likewise constitutes the only case of a preposition fol 
lowing Beth in a proper name. The form Beth-ophrah here adopted 
is preserved in & and . The correction involved is a slight one 
and preserves the paronomasia so characteristic of this passage, 
and therefore seems preferable to the reading "Bethel" (v. s.). 
The action called for symbolises a frenzy of despair. lla. Pass 
ye over from Shaphir in nakedness] fH in this line is badly corrupt; 
every word is more or less doubtful. But the general sense is clear 
and supports the translation here offered. The picture is that of 
a band of exiles being led away by their conqueror. The location 
of Shaphir is uncertain. The most probable identification is with 

* So Ry.. f So We., Now., Marti. 


Sawafir, SE. of Ashdod ; it is less likely an error for Shamir (Jos. 
i5 48 Ju. lo 1 - 2 ), a city in Judah. In nakedness], i. e., in the garb 
of a captive, deprived of the outer robe (v. on i 8 ). 

Str. II sets forth the conditions which enforce the call to mourn 
ing. lib, c. The inhabitant of Zaanin comes not forth from her 
fortress] Here the punning continues as in Str. I. Zaanan is per 
haps identical with ]M (Jos. 15"), which was in the Shephelah. & 
thinks of jy, i- e., Tanis or Zoan in Egypt. The suggestion is that 
of a people barricading itself in its city, afraid to face the oncoming 
foe. Beth-ezel is taken from its site] 4ft, with the addition of the 
last word in the previous line, is translated by RV., the wailing of 
Beth-ezel shall take from you the stay thereof. But this is unintel 
ligible, as is every other attempt to translate 4$. Cf. GASm., the 
lamentation of Beth-ezel takes from you its standing. The above 
rendering rests upon an emended text (v. s.*). The description is 
that of a city razed to the ground. The town Beth-ezel is nowhere 
else mentioned (cf. ^XS, Zc. i4 5 ), and was evidently unknown to 
j the Greek translators (v. s.) . 12. How has the inhabitant ofMaroth 
hoped for good!] But the help longed for has failed to come. 
Maroth ( = bitterness} is a wholly unknown village or town; it 
would seem to have been in the vicinity of Jerusalem in view of the 
close connection of this line with the following. RV. renders $H, 
For the inhabitant of Maroth waiteth anxiously for good; but it 
should rather be is in agony for good, which yields no satisfactory 
sense. For calamity has come down from Yahweh to the gates of 
Jerusalem] Yahweh is here represented as enthroned in the heav 
ens (cf. i 3 ), whence he sends down chastisement upon his wicked 
people. It is not necessary to suppose a siege of Jerusalem act 
ually in progress; the prophet rather in this way pictures the im 
minence of the danger that threatens. 

Str. Ill continues the elegiac measure begun in the last two lines 
of Str. II. Here are described the flight of inhabitants and the 
loss of territory. 13. Bind the chariot to the steed, O inhabitant of 
Lachish] The paronomasia here is in the similarity of sound be 
tween Bttl, chariot, and t^O^. The translation, bind, is somewhat 
conjectural, but seems required by the context. Lachish is identi 
cal with Tell-el-Hesy, sixteen miles NE. from Gaza and two miles 

I 11 4? 

S.of Eglon ;* it was formerly incorrectly identified with Umm Lakis, 
a little farther north. Tell-el-Hesy lies at the base of the foothills 
of the Shephelah in a fertile valley opening off the road to Egypt. 
Lachish thus constituted a frontier fortress between Judah and 
Egypt, and was always a place of strategic value. Rehoboam for 
tified it (2 Ch. ii 9 ) and Sennacherib captured it and established 
temporary headquarters there during the campaign of 701 B.C. (Is. 
36 2 37 8 ). A bas-relief now in the British Museum portrays his 
capture of the city. She is the chief sin of the daughter of Zion] 
This parenthetic statement seems foreign to the context, and is 
probably a marginal note by some reader or editor (v. s.). The 
grounds upon which so serious a charge is based are unknown; 
some have supposed that Lachish was the seat of some grossly li 
centious cultjf others base its guilt on the supposition that it was 
one of the chariot cities established by Solomon (i K. io 26 2 Ch. 
i 14 8 6 )4 The best hypothesis is that "as the last Judean outpost 
toward Egypt, and on a main road thither, Lachish would receive 
the Egyptian subsidies of horses and chariots, in which the poli 
ticians put their trust instead of in Jehovah." Cf. Ho. 14*. 
Until we know more definitely the nature of the charge against La 
chish or the circumstances under which it was uttered, the possi 
bility must remain open for the rendering, "she is the beginning of 
sin, etc." For in thee are found the transgressions of Israel} The 
address is to Lachish, not to the daughter of Zion.** The use of 
"Israel" is not to be explained as meaning that the sins responsi 
ble for Samaria s downfall are now regnant in Judah.ff "Israel" 
rather indicates the whole of Yahweh s people and territory of 
which Judah is now the more important part; on this use of "Is 
rael," v. s.. The order of words would seem to show that the 
thought is not that Lachish is characterised by such sins as are com 
mon to all the cities of Israel, but that the responsibility for the gen 
eral guilt rests largely upon Lachish ; this is in harmony with the 
gloss in the previous line. No hint is given as to the nature of the 

* See F. J. Bliss, A Mound of Many Cities, or Tell-el-Hesy Excavated. The excavations 
were begun by J. F. Petrie and completed by Bliss. 

t So, e. g., Now.. J So, e. g.. We., van H.. 

S GASm., 384 /.. ** Contra van H.. 

ft Contra van H.. 


sin laid to the account of Lachish. It is, of course, possible that 
this oracle was uttered after Hezekiah had sent tribute to Sen 
nacherib at Lachish (2 K. i8 14 16 ), and that Micah here expresses 
his judgment concerning that transaction. 14. Therefore, thou 
givest a parting gift to Moresheth-Gath] This is better than to treat 
Gath as a vocative,* or to consider Moresheth-Gath as the one 
addressed, f which necessitates a change of text, or to transpose the 
preposition and render, "thou shalt give Moresheth as a parting 
gift to Gath." J The address is to the daughter of Zion who is 
now to dismiss with the proper present one of her villages. The 
word used here for gift is that employed in i K. Q 16 to designate 
the dowry given by Pharaoh to his daughter. There was proba 
bly an intentional play here on the words flSnlQ and fitSHNQ 
(betrothed). Judah will lose the town and pay tribute besides. 
The site of Moresheth-Gath can only be conjectured. The form 
of the name would imply proximity to Gath, but unfortunately 
Gath s location is doubtful. Moresheth-Gath was probably near 
the Philistine border; Jerome declares that a small village near 
Eleutheropolis (Beit-Jibrin) on the east bore the name in his day. 
This is the region in which Lachish lay. Micah s appellation, "the 
Morashtite," was probably derived from this place. Much depends 
upon this interpretation, for otherwise no information is at hand 
concerning the prophet s home or origin. Beth Achzib has become 
a snare to the kings of Israel] 4H, the houses of Achzib. Achzib 
is not the old Phoenician town (Jos. ip 29 Ju. i 31 ),** as might appear 
from the phrase kings of Israel. Israel here represents Judah as in 
line 2, and the plural kings is generic. Achzib has been and still 
is for Israel s king a false hope, a brook whose waters have dried 
up. Cf. Je. i5 18 . The play on words here is between achzib and 
achzab. The exact site of Achzib has so far eluded discovery. 
Jos. i5 44 locates it in the Shephelah of Judah, in the vicinity of 
Libnah, Keilah and Mareshah. How so comparatively unim 
portant a place as Achzib evidently was (for it plays no part else 
where on the pages of Hebrew history) could have been a snare to 

* We.i. t So We., Now., Marti. 

% So Ha!.. So Hi., We., Now., Marti, van H.. 

** C). Ew. and Ro., who find here an allusion to both towns, the northern and the southern. 

I 14 49 

the kings of Israel must remain a mystery. The view of Hitzig, 
that Achzib had been in the possession of Philistia since the reign 
of Ahaz and that Judah had always entertained the hope of its re 
covery which is now doomed to disappointment, is wholly without 

Str. IV. continues in the elegiac strain, and reaches its climax 
with an announcement of the doom of exile. 15. I will yet bring 
the conqueror to thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah] The play here 
is on ydresh and MaresJtah. Even Mareshah, rejoicing in its 
name, a possession, shall not escape the hand of the conqueror, the 
dispossessor. The modern Merdsh, two miles S. of Beit-Jibrin, an 
swers the geographical requirements for the site of Mareshah as in 
dicated here and in Jos. 15" and by Eusebius, who locates it two 
miles S. of Eleutheropolis. But the excavators have thrown doubt 
upon its identity with the ancient Mareshah (v. i.~). It is evidently 
to be distinguished from Moresheth-Gath. The places with which 
the prophet has been concerned in this oracle are thus seen to be 
in all probability those in the immediate vicinity of his own home, 
places with which he had been familiar from childhood. They 
were scarcely of any significance in the great world, but to him and 
his fellow-villagers they represented home, country and religion, 
all that they held dear. Forever is Israel s glory to perish] f$, 
unto Adidlam shall Israel s glory come, defies interpretation; that 
most generally accepted is, the nobility of Israel shall take refuge 
in a cave. Cf. i S. 22* f -. Adullam, perhaps the modern Id-el- 
mije, six miles NE. of Beit-Jibrin, was originally the seat of a 
Canaanitish prince (Jos. i2 15 ), but was captured by Israel and in 
corporated in the territory of Judah (Jos. I5 35 ). Of the various at 
tempts to improve the text, that of Cheyne seems the best and is here 
adopted. The glory of Israel is probably the wealth and power of 
Judah which constitute the seal of Yahweh s approval upon her. 
16. Make thyself bald and shave thee for thy darlings] Zion is here 
addressed as a mother and bidden to go into mourning for the loss 
of her beloved children. Cf. Je. 3 1 20 . Reference is had to the cities 
and villages she has lost, with their inhabitants. Enlarge thy bald 
ness like the vulture s] The vulture is distinguished from the eagle 
by its bare head and neck. Shaving of the head was a common 


mourning custom. Cf. Am. 8 10 Is. 3 24 . Originally instituted, in all 
probability, as a sacrificial offering to the departed spirit, it later 
came to be obnoxious to the sensitive religious conscience of the 
prophets, who would permit no divided allegiance among the fol 
lowers of Yahweh. Such practices were therefore prohibited by 
the Deuteronomic Code (Dt. 14 ; cf. Lv. 2i 5 ). The fact that this 
verse summons Judah to such a rite, even figuratively, attests its 
origin in days prior to the enactment of the Deuteronomic law.* 
This verse, moreover, seems to grow right out of the preceding con 
text and so adds strength to the argument for Micah s authorship 
of this whole passage (i 10 ~ lc ). For they will go into exile from tliee] 
Thus ends in familiar but terrible fashion the lamentation over 
Judah s approaching punishment. The warning note sounded 
first of all by Amos and Hosea in northern Israel now finds its 
echo in the southern kingdom. With this picture of an invading 
army, giving the advance in detail, village by village, is to be com 
pared the similar passage, Is. io 28 32 . 

10. ru2] The location of Gath is uncertain; the OT. data are too 
fragmentary to make identification possible; nor are the Assyrian or 
Egyptian records any more satisfactory. The two sites most attractive 
are Beit-Jibrin and Tell-es-Safi. In either case Gath was the nearest of 
the five chief Philistine towns to the border of Judah. The excavations 
at Tell-es-Safi by Mr. Bliss in 1899 unfortunately yielded little, the greater 
part of the mound being occupied by the modern village and two grave 
yards, under which excavation is absolutely prohibited. The town stood 
"as a natural fortress between the plain and the rolling country." The 
origin of the town goes back as far as the seventeenth century B.C. accprd- 
ing to Bliss. Cf. F. J. Bliss and R. A. Stewart Macalister, Excavations 
in Palestine During the Years 1898-1900 (1902), pp. 28-43 an d 62 ff.. 
Jerome says that Gath lay on the road between Eleutheropolis and Gaza; 
hence Hpt. suggests Araq el-munSiyah, less than two hours from Tell- 
el-Hesy. IDS] For the form, cf. vj-; (J e . 4" 78) and i*n (Is. 6 9 ). SN 
wan] This and i K. 3" are the only cases of SN and an infin. abs. modi 
fying a finite vb., and in both cases the neg. follows the regular rule for 
S and other negatives in standing immediately before the finite form. 
meyS] Ophrah, the home of Gideon, in Manasseh (Ju. 6- M 8"- ) 
is out of the question as too far removed from the scene of Micah s 
thought. Another Ophrah, mentioned in Jos. i8 23 and I S. 13", is usu 
ally identified with Tayyibeh, five miles N. of Bethel. But this latter, 
* So even Marti, who assigns vv. - ls to a later hand. 

lying outside of Judah on the north, seems too remote to be satisfactory 
here. The same objection holds for the reading Bethel, if the north 
ern town is meant, which lies ten miles from Jerusalem and about 
twenty-five miles from the region of Micah s home. For those who 
incline toward this reading, it is safer to regard the Bethel referred 
to here as the one listed among the towns of the Negeb in i S. 
30" Jos. i5 30 (<B B ); cf. Jos. 19 i Ch. 4 ! . The suggestion of GASm. 
that our Ophrah is reflected in the name of the Wady el-Ghufr, lying 
south of Beit-Jibrin, is most attractive. ^ne^onn] This form is prob 
ably due to a desire to pun on the name Philistia. Qr., ^Sonn, is prob 
ably due to the singular forms of v. . DJ3 1 ? ^~oy] For a similar lack 
of agreement in gender and number, K6. $ es c jt es j e> j^soj but there 
the text is exceedingly doubtful, for the Qr., many mss. and the Vrss. 
make the agreement regular. ntya nn; % ] Apposition, Ges. * 131c ; K6. 
Sjsec. IQDD] M is here unintelligible. By connecting D with the pre 
vious line (v. s.), HNP is there furnished with its necessary complement 
and this line is relieved of a troublesome element, "ncp (v. s.) is a noun 
con jecturally restored on the basis of Assyrian supuru, enclosure (of a 
walled city, e.g., Erech); v. D1. HWB -, 509, Muss-Arnolt, 779. np ] For 
the sense take away, carry off, cf. Ez. 3 M . imnj? oar] There is nothing 
in the immediate context to which the pron. en can refer. It is easy to 
account for a o between two D S as a dittog. of D in the old script. 
Furthermore, mry is O.TT., yields no sense in HH, and was evidently not 
present to the eye of <B C &. Prefixing the D S restored from DDD the 
form VIDPDD is recovered without difficulty, and may be derived from 
iDj?p, station, post, or from npgD, standing-ground. 12. nno] The 
Meroth in upper Galilee which Josephus mentions (Wars, III, 3, i) is 
certainly not meant here. But no southern locality bearing that name 
is available. n !j n- o] According to fH, -o must be given the meaning 
verily, for there is no subordinate relation to the preceding or following 
context, n means writhe in pain and is wholly unsuitable before aitaS. 
-ij?e>S] For the sg. as in M, cf. Taylor, Cyl. of Sennacherib, col. 3, 
11. 22 /., " the exit of the great gate of his city I caused to break through." 
13. orn] For other cases of the masc. form in an address to a fern, 
subj., cf. Ges. * nok , K6. * 205c . It is better pointed as an inf. abs. having 
the force of the imv.. The translation bind is reinforced by the Assy. 
ratamu = wrap, bind (v. Muss-Arnolt, 991) and the Arab, equivalent 
which in the fourth form = tie a thread upon the finger as a reminder. 
nrn >] Van H. renders, the beginning of the expiation of, etc., but the 
meaning expiation for n is not attested earlier than Zc. 14 9 , a postexilic 
passage, and is closely related to the late priestly use of the word in the 
sense sin-offering. 14. DTnSsy] i.e., the dowry given with the bride by 
her father. Cf. document C of the Assuan Papyri, published by Sayce & 
Cowley, where the custom is witnessed to as current among the Jews 


of the Dispersion as early as the sixth century B.C.. Cf. Code of Hammu 
rabi which evidences the same practice in Babylonia as early as 1900 B.C.. 
The use of the term here is suggested by the similarity of penb to ntsh.sp, 
betrothed; it is one of the earliest allusions to the existence of the custom 
in Israel. Cf. Ju. i 12 - 15 Gn. 2Q 24 - 29 . hy] After pj more common preps, 
are *? and VN; perhaps Sy is used here in the sense with, along with. 
ru name] Analogous names cited by GASm. are Atroth-Shophan (Nu. 
32 3 - 3 ), Chisloth-Tabor (Jos. iQ 12 - 18 ), lye-Abarim (Nu. 33" f -), and 
Helkath (Jos. 19"). 15. -\ y] Not again, but still, even yet. The 
change to i>: (with (&) makes necessary corresponding changes in the 
remainder of the line which yields reasonable sense as it stands. ON] 
For other cases of omission of N, v. Ges. ^ 74k . n:?-c] The modern 
Merash seems to date no further back than Roman times, if we may 
judge by the slight depth of debris upon the site. The actual site of this 
ancient town may be represented by the modern Tell-Sandahannah, one 
mile SE. of Merash. The remains of an ancient town are evident there, 
and it is no uncommon thing for a town name to migrate to a new site 
along with the inhabitants, as, e. g., in the case of Umm Lakis. Cf. 
F. J. Bliss and R. Stewart Macalister, op. cit., pp. 6y/.. oSny] The cor 
rection to oSi;? (v. s.) removes one of the grounds for changing i; to n>* in 
1. i (u . s.), and for supposing ;r-pn to represent the name of a town (We., 

4. The Oppression of the Poor (2 1 11 ). 

In six strs. in which the elegiac strain is predominant, Micah de 
nounces the tyranny of the rich and warns them of coming judg 
ment. Str. I, the prophet speaks: Woe to those who plot night and 
day to despoil their neighbours of houses and lands. Str. II, Yah- 
weh speaks: For this reason I am about to bring upon this people 
a humiliating and unbearable yoke. Str. Ill, Yahweh continues: 
Then the wail of the mourner will arise among you, * Our land is 
allotted to others; we are wholly undone! Str. IV, the rich op 
pressors speak: Cease prating of such things. We are immune 
from calamity. Is Yahweh impotent, or can he mean anything but 
good to his own people? Str. V, Yahweh retorts: But ye are de 
stroyers of my people, robbing and plundering them and driving 
the women and children into slavery. Str. VI, Yahweh pronounces 
sentence: Rise and begone! Because of your sins, ye shall be 
hopelessly destroyed. 

a" 1 . S3 

to those who -devise iniquity upon their beds; 

In the morning light they execute it, because it is in their power. 

Yea, they covet fields and seize them, and houses and carry them off. 

So they crush a yeoman and his house, a man and his heritage. 

[Therefore thus saith Yahweh:] 
gEHOLD I am devising disaster, 

Which ye cannot remove from your necks; 

Nor will ye be able to walk erect, 

For it will be a disastrous time. 
JN that day a taunt-song will be raised concerning you; 

And a lament will be wailed, as follows: 

The portion of my people is measured with the measuring line, and there is 
none to restore it. 

To our captors our land is allotted; we are utterly devastated. 
F)O not keep harping on such things. 

Shame cannot overtake the house of Jacob. 

Is Yahweh impatient, or are such his deeds? 

Do not his words mean good to Israel? 
RUT ye have become my people s foe; ye rise up against those that are at peace. 

Ye strip off from those passing by in confidence booty of war. 

The women of my people ye drive away from their pleasant homes; 

From their babes ye take away my glory forever. 
A RISE and go! For this is not your resting-place. 

Because of uncleanness ye shall be destroyed with an irremediable destruction. 

This section is dramatic in form, three different speakers being brought 
forward, viz., the prophet, Yahweh, and the greedy oppressors. Its 
unity and artistic form are both strongly marked. The prevailing move 
ment in the six strophes is that of the Qma, except in Str. II, where the 
announcement of coming disaster is in short and sharp phrases. The 
closing str. pronouncing final sentence drops to two lines. The prosaic 
character of the first two lines of Str III and their lack of conformity to 
the metre of the balance of the str. raise the question whether they do not 
constitute the prose introduction to a new section; but the close connec 
tion of the thought of this str. with that of the preceding and the regular 
interchange of speakers throughout the entire passage seem to prohibit 
a division of the poem at this point. The more important textual 
changes which affect the form are the following: the omission of iSpei 
jn from v. , and of nstn nnsC Dn Sy from v. *; Sta. s reconstruction 
of v. 4 ; the omission of v. 5 as a prosaic interpolation (so Ru., Now., 
Marti, Siev., Gu.); the omission of -noun from v. 7 and of TIN from v. ; 
the treatment of v. " as a prosaic gloss originally belonging to v. ; its 
relation to v. 8 was already recognised by Dathe (1773 A.D.) and, more 
recently, by Hal., who transposes v. 6 to follow v. ". The introductory 
words in v. lie outside of the poetic form. Siev. omits much material 
from this section in his effort to restore anapaestic hexameters here, and 
then finds his scheme break down in w. 8 - 10 . 


-vn. jn ^yci] Hal.,jn o-i; c/".Du., jn *?JJ 

npan IIND] (& renders freely, /cai <5l/Aa T% ij^pq.. Cf. &. nwp^] Hal., 
<, 5i6rt OVK ypav ?rp6s TOP 0e6> T&S X e P a$ 
r; probably a free rendering for their hand is against God, viz., they 
do not lift their hands to him in prayer. This seems simpler than the 
supposition that <& read Nfe-; under the influence of WPJ in the foil, verse 
and that oik was inserted later in order to make the passage convey the 
right impression. & foil. <S, but om. its negative. H, quoniam contra 
Deum est manus eorum. Aq., STI Icrxvpbv %elp airrou. 0, 5i6rt $xpv<riv 
v T"?l v X e ?P a ctyrwv. Cod. 24 (de E ^, . . Siev. om. the phrase. 2. 
om.; so also Siev.. <8 adds tpfavofa as obj., probably as a free 
rendering. ws>ji] (5 B om. i. (& seems to have transposed IK tew and 
)p^i; for Naj is nowhere else rendered by KaraSwaffTetieiv, nor is ps i? 
elsewhere represented by diapirdfriv; whereas Karadwaffrevetv is a com 
mon rendering of pe>j? and 5ia/j7rdfeii , though not elsewhere used for SE>J, 
well conveys the idea of violence that j must carry in this context. The 
transposition may have been made deliberately by (, in order to avoid 
the immediate repetition of drfpirafrv, which had already occurred as 
the equivalent of iSui; so Vol., Ry.. Cf. the similar transposition of noni 
and ixnj by & in Na. i 6 . SN] ^ om.. < B , Aq., S and many Heb. 
mss. = ^NI. On metrical grounds, Siev. om. inSrw &"N (so Gu.). 
IPN] Marti om. as gloss. 2^12] Om. D as dittog. from won (c/. 
Kenn. 30, which om. D^o) and join final D with the foil, word as 
prep., D^rnNUD. This obviates two difficulties: first that of making 
CB , which has only local significance, refer to the abstract antecedent 
njn; second, the more natural object of ityrn is a word referring to the 
yoke, not to the neck; v. Ho. n 4 Je. 28" Is. 52 2 , but cf. Je. 278- 
Ne. 3 8 . non] (& adds ifatyvqs, possibly due to metathesis resulting in 
inn (for risi written defectively) and allowed to stand alongside of the 
correction 6pdoL; so Ry.. < A , 6p8poi. 4. nnji] (5 om.. n-nj] Om., with 
Sta. (ZAW., VI, 122 /.) as dittog.; so Taylor, We., Pont, Ru., Now., 
Oort Em - , Marti, Siev., Stk., Gu.. d, tv fif\et t and TH, cum suavitate, seem 
to have taken it as fern, of TU and treated it adverbially. Ro. and Elh. 
read ^nj in cstr. relation with foil. word. Gr., nnr.; so GASm. (?). Hal., 
nnj. Van H., nin^, as subj. of the foil. vb.. IDS] Rd. ncN 1 ?, with Sta., 
Taylor, We., Pont, Ru., Now., Oort Em -, Siev., Stk., Gu.; cf. CS A , X^wv; 
B, dicenlium. Ro., now (so Hal.) or ncsn (so Elh.). GASm., IDNI (?). 
untf j in^] Tr., with Sta., to the end of the verse; so Ru., Now., Stk.. 
& = u-nr; unless due to confusion of the Heb. preform. J with the Syr. 
preformative of the 3d pers.. ^o pSn] Marti, Siev. and Gu., -upSn. 
Van H., IDJL n. ~\w] Rd., with Sta., "?3n3 115% foil, (i, /care^erpi}^ ^v 
<rxotj/^; similarly 0; so Gu., Ru., Now.. Ssn Is obtained here from v. 5 , 
whither it probably dropped by error. This reading of the vb. is accepted 
also by Ew., Stei., Taylor, We., Pont, GASm., Oort Em -, Marti,, ie,y 

2 1 - 55 

Stk., Du.. Gr., np\ Hal., nh\ T N 1 Rd., with Sta., r$}, foil. <&, Kal ofa 
ijv, and fc; so Pont, Ru., Now., Oort Em -, Stk.; also Dathe, We. and Du., 
dropping }. Hal., :T>N. tyD- 1 ] Rd., with Sta., 2^0, foil. <, 6 KoMauv; so 
Ru.,Now.,Oort Em -,Stk.. 0om.. We., a^pn. Pont, B"cp. Hal., -nicn. 
Marti, -i^f p?, using foil. S^S. C/. Siev. and Gu., >S V?S>D\ Du., atsno. ^] 
Om. withi& as dittog.; so Sta., Ru., Now., Stk.. <g =iS; so Taylor, Oort Em -, 
Du.. , pnS. Van H., sS. Gr., -1^. aavjj-S] Rd., with Sta., -irai^S; so 
Pont, Ru., Now., Oort Em -, Stk.. < S 6 treat as an infin. depending upon 
B"3\ Aq., TO?J 7* TO<TI. "$, cumrevertatur. 03Jom. S. Marti, -uo^r. 
Gr., nafc S- i. Siev., ^Ty^- int?] <& AY H = oa^nip. pSrr] Rd., with 
Sta., pSrv; so Pont, Gr., Ru., Marti, Stk.. <g, Siewplffe-riffav. &, w#fc *fo 
measuring line. Siev. om. rr 7 -ity as a gloss. Two Heb. codd. pSn\ 
Hal., pSn -IT n.fer. 5. S pS] Elh., wS). i 1 ?] Pont, D^S; so Ru., Marti. 
Oort Em -, wS. S-nja n i^c-c] Tr. S^n to v. 4 (v. s.}. &, one who 
will measure by line and divide by lot. Ru. om. 3 San. 6. ID^H SN] 
Rd. lean SN, with Ru., Siev.. po^] Rd. ^BJ, with Taylor. (36, 5dx- 
pvo-ij ; so &. $J, loquenles. Aq., crraXdfoi Tes. S, ^d? ^TriTi/iTj^re. Ru., 
aiD>aj. Elh., D D es. ID^S* sS] Om. as dittog.. = 2d pers. ID BD; 
so codd. 295 (de R.) and 154 (Kenn.). If, non stillabit. Ru., & N*?\ 
JD^] Rd., with Gr., j^.; so UW5. 15 , Marti, Now. K , Siev., Gu., Hpt.. 
05, dTrtio-erot = jppi; so Ru., van H., Du.. U, comprehended 8, overtake 
you. Aq., KaraX-fi^y. Codd. 224 (Kenn.) and 554 (de R.), Jp;; codd. 150, 
226 (?), 201 (second hand) of Kenn., and 2, 380, 993, 1257, 411, 211 of de 
R., JB. Elh., jiy\ Hal., wfc \ mnSa] 14 codd. (Kenn.), nip ^p. Elh., 
n-io^. Ru., oSnx 7. IICNH] Rd. ^nsn, with <g, 6 \tyw and 21 (so 
Dathe, Bauer, Jus.), and om. as a gloss, with Marti, Siev.. H, dicit. & 
treats as pass. prtc. agreeing with mnSj. Ki., "viDNn; so Ew., Stei., 
Casp., Kl., et al. Ro., -HCNH; so Dr., ^/>., X (1887), 263. Taylor, 
npsn. Gr., oniDn or onnnn. Ru., rp^ni. Hal., nj\rsn. Van H., 
n>DNn. no] Now., ruac. nxpn] (5, irapApiiw, so &. DN] & = 
OR. nan] Rd., with (S and cod. 305 (de R.), vnai; so Gr., Gu., 
Ru., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev.. i^n -\^r\] Rd. SNW, with Now., 
Oort Em -. <8, tai (5p^ol ireirdpevvrai. Taylor, ijSn ^ Ru., iS I;TW? npp T |. 
Marti, Now. K and Gu., w. ^nr\ Hpt, mnN iSnn \n. 8. SIDHNI 
cy] Rd. -"Dj? 1 ? onNi, with WRS., Proph., 429, and GASm.. Cod. 89 
(Kenn.), SDPNI. Cod. 159 (Kenn.), SIDHNH. Cod. 300 (Kenn.), 
^D-PKI; so Ro., Taylor, Elh., Pont, Hal.. Hi., SID-^NI. Oort Em -, Sionxa, 
taking 3 from v. 7 . We., y hy_ oriNi; so Now., Siev., Van H., Du.. Marti, 
onN% omitting S as dittog. from ITN 1 ?, and transferring ^DJ? as iDR to end of 
v. 7 . Gu., onw, and om. *vy h\ ooip^] Rd., with We., vwpn; Now., 
Marti, Siev., Gu.. WRS., oip>; so Taylor, Elh., Pont, Gr.. HWB." 
and van H., o^pf?, giving " to a* 1 ** as sf. \ Cf. GASm., Du., opj. SIDD] Rd., 


with Marti, Sj;. We., S>:?; so Gr., Now., Siev.. nthv] Rd., with We., 
D>pSi?; so GASm., Now., Marti, Gu.. <g, T^S eJpiHs atfrof) = noW; so 
, WRS.. Oort Em -, nbStf (c/. Ps. 7 B ). Ro., npStf. Elh., Pont, oStf. 
Hal., oStf. Van H. joins with foil, word and reads rawcS;? = Shalma- 
neze r. TIN] Om., with Marti, as gloss on rinSa*; so Now. K , Siev.. <& t 
TT)V dop&v avrov, giving N its Aramaic force (so Biichler, ZAW., XXX, 
64/.) as in Gn. 25"; so &. WRS., n^x ; so Taylor, Gr.. Elh., rvri.NPj; 
so Pont Hal., -nsn. onapc] <S, TOU d^eX&rtfcu = Dnogp; so $. 
Ru., vajnS. Siev., i2J?p. -aw] Rd., with We., otf; so Now., Marti, 
Siev., van H., Gu., Hpt.. Cod. 17 (Kenn.), otr. <&, = na.#. H, 
convertistis. &, and ye tarn. 2, d/tepfytvws. Hoffmann (ZAW., Ill, 103), 
our. Taylor, i-yuf (so Elh.) or -o^ (so Ges., %P). Gr., >Njtr. Ru., 
nis^. Oort Em -, nair. Matthes, with foil, word, ann 1 ? onair; so Elh., 
Pont. 9. v^j] <g } i)yot/j.evoi wc*}. , n^^p, /Ae assembly. noc] 
We., ^39 (c/. i 16 ); so Now., Marti, Siev., Gu.. irjjyn] Rd., with & <& y 
l!TJ$p; so Gr., Ru., Marti, Now. K , Siev., Gu., Hpt, Du.. n^Sp] Rd., 
with (g Iff, I T^i?; so Gr., Ru., Marti, Now. K , Siev., Gu., Hpt, Du.. (6, 
rd Tro^pd liriTTjdeijfjiaTa. avr&v tt!)ff6r]<ra.v, the last word, ^ , being per 
haps a second rendering of the following inpn. inpn] <5, eyylffare. mnj 
<g, ^eo-tv = nin. g om. sf.; so Oort Em . Hal., nya. 10. nscto] Rd., 
with Ro., HNDto; so Elh., Pont, Gr M Oort Em -, Marti, Now. K , Stk.. All 
Vrss. except & treat it as a noun. Sam San.n] Rd., with <K, -iSann 
San; so Ro., Taylor, Gr., Perles, Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Stk., 
Gu.. & reproduces M with addition of a cognate ace. San after Sann. 
K = n Sann; so Bauer, Jus., Elh., n Sann. > -IDJ] (g, AcareSicix^Tc. Iff, 
pessima. &, violent. Gr., yvr ; so Marti, Now. K , Siev., Stk., Gu.. 
11 . iS] (& = xS. ^ om.. H, utinam non essem. iSn] We., "nS^; so Now., 
Marti, Siev., Gu.. T^r] <, ^ T^S ffraybvos. Iff, sw/w g-ew stillatur. 

Str. I utters a woe upon men zealous toward evil, who abuse 
their power by robbing the poor of their houses and lands. 1. 
Woe to those who devise iniquity] The address is made to the 
wealthy in Judah, whose riches had greatly increased during the 
long and prosperous reign of Uzziah. Their greed not satisfied, 
they would still more enrich themselves, and that at the expense of 
greater poverty and misery for the poor. Micah s spirit flames 
forth in indignant remonstrance, for these suffering farmers include 
many of his neighbours and friends. And work evil\ This is a 
prosaic gloss* as is shown by the fact that it comes in prematurely 
the evil is not done upon the bed but in the morning and 

* So We., Now., Oort Em , Marti, Siev., Gu., Du., Hpt, et ol.. 

*- 57 

that it is superfluous in the metre. GASm. seeks to retain the 
phrase by giving to ^ the meaning, " prepare ways and means"; 
but this is a usage not found elsewhere and one that adds nothing 
to 3t^n of the previous phrase. Upon their beds] They lie awake 
at night revolving schemes to circumvent the poor. Cf. Ps. 36*. 
In the light of the morning] Brought into contrast by chiasm with 
the night-work of arranging plans. They can scarcely wait for 
daylight before putting their nefarious schemes into operation. 
Because it is in their power] They oppress and rob because they 
can. This interpretation is supported by and Aq. and by the 
usage of the same phrase in Gn. 3i 29 Dt. 28 32 Pr. 3" Ne. 5 5 BS. 5 1 
14". The interpretation, "because their power is their God," 
common in the older commentaries* is rendered impossible by 
some of the parallel cases cited in which the phrase is negatived. 
2. They covet fields and seize them, etc.] Their only title to them 
is their greed. To the prophet s vivid imagination it seems no 
sooner said than done. He leaps over the intermediate steps be 
tween the birth of the desire and its fulfilment, such as extortionate 
rates of interest, foreclosure of mortgages, subornation and perjury 
of witnesses, bribery of judges. So it was in the days of Ahab 
(i K. 21), of Hosea (5) and Isaiah (5 8 ). For the peasant prophet, 
born and bred upon the vine-clad hill-slopes of western Judah, the 
ousting of peasant-farmers from their small holdings, inherited 
through successive generations of toilers whose very life had gone 
into the soil, was a wholly unpardonable crime. No amount of 
legal procedure could make it appear right. Custom and law, 
from the earliest to the latest times, all sought to perpetuate the 
family s tenure of its ancestral lands. Cf. Nu. 2f~ n ^6 l ~ 12 .So they 
crush a yeoman and his home, etc.] The inevitable result of their 
heartless policy, the property gone, the man and his family must 
succumb. "Q3 and tytf are used for variety, there being no es 
sential difference in their ordinary usage. 

Str. II introduces a new speaker, Yahweh himself. In trimeter 
movement and pointed phrase, Yahweh declares his purpose to 
punish. 3. Behold, I am devising disaster] This, in contrast 
with Str. I, represents Yahweh as the deviser, not, however, of 

* So, e. g., Mich., Stei., Mau., Ke., Ro., Reinke, Kue., Du.. 


iniquity, but of calamity. In 4H this line is broken up by the in 
sertion after the vb. of the words, against this family], i. e., the peo 
ple of Judah. The phrase is a gloss,* as appears from its abnor 
mal position in the sentence and from its metrical superfluity. 
Cf. Am. 3 1 Je. 8 3 . Which ye cannot remove from your necks] JH 
= that ye shall not withdraw your necks therefrom. For text, v. s.. 
The figure is that of a yoke, heavy and galling; it is a common met 
aphor in the prophetic books, e. g., Is. Q 4 io 27 47 Je . if 28 14 Ez. 
3o 18 34" Dt. 28 48 . Nor walk erect] i. e. } because bowed down by 
the crushing weight of the yoke. For it will be a disastrous time] 
There is no sufficient ground for considering this a gloss with some 
recent scholars. f It states the accomplishment of Yahweh s pur 
pose as indicated in the first line of the str., and thus brings the str. 
to a well-rounded close. 

Str. Ill represents Yahweh as putting upon the lips of Israel s 
foes a dirge describing the smitten state of the nation in the coming 
day of wrath. 4. A taunt-song will be raised concerning you, and a 
lament will be wailed] It is evident from the indefinite character 
of the verbal forms employed that the dirge is pronounced not by 
the sufferers themselves but by others. This is in keeping with 
ordinary funeral customs. Cf. Am. 5 16 Je. p 17 . This makes it clear 
that the precise character of the 7D is defined by TlJ as a satirical 
dirge. This is better than to treat mashal as describing the gibes of 
the foe, and n e hi as applying to Israel s own lamentation ;J or to 
eliminate both these introductory phrases as inconsistent with the 
contents of the dirge. The portion of my people is measured with 
the measuring line, and there is none to restore it] In this taunt- 
song the triumphant foe mockingly re-echoes the thought of Judah 
in the day of her calamity. Portion of my people is equivalent to 
our land in the next line. Cf. Gn. 31" 2 K. 9 36 Ez. 48 21 Am. y 4 . The 
process of allotting Israel s territory to her conquerors for perpetual 
possession is here graphically portrayed. To our captors our land 
is allotted; we are utterly devastated] The foe is unnamed, but 
Micah and his hearers understood equally well that reference was 
made to Assyria. The foregoing rendering of v. 4bi c involves some 

* So Marti, NOW.K, Siev., Gu.. Stk. substitutes or^Sj?. 

t Viz., Marti, NOW.K, Siev., Stk., Gu.. J Contra Hi., Mau., Or., Reinke. Marti. 

2 - 59 

slight rearrangement and modification of m, which reads: We are 
utterly devastated ; the portion of my people he changes ; how doth he 
remove for me! to a rebel he apportions our land. The difficulty 
with this is its lack of inner coherence, its failure to indicate the 
subject of the verbs in the last three clauses, the interchange of 
numbers in the pronouns of the first person and the failure to con 
form to the qma measure which the introduction leads us to expect. 
6. Therefore, thou shall have none that shall cast the line by lot 
in the assembly of Yahweh] This verse lies outside of the poetical 
form, and is to be considered as an annotation by some reader or 
editor which has found its way from the margin into the text. It 
cannot be joined to v. 4 as a part of the reproach by the enemy,* for 
the address is here evidently to only a part of the nation, and the 
parallelism of v. 4 is wholly lacking. Nor is it satisfactorily ac 
counted for as a retort to Micah from those he has been castigat 
ing,! for this leaves the therefore without any support in the con 
text. It is more easily taken as a resumption of the prophet s ad 
dress to the wicked, J ^b being treated as a distributive singular or 
as an error for D? /; but the verse adds nothing essential and varies 
widely in form from its context and is a later interpretation of v. 4 
to the effect that the wicked oppressors will no longer increase their 
huge estates at the expense of the poor, for rich and poor alike will 
be denied foothold in Yahweh s land. The use of TOPI, line, with 
"p^tPD is unique, while ^Ytt, lot, is common in such a connection ; 
perhaps ^n here belonged originally to v. 4 , where it has been 
supplied above on the basis of <g. 

Str. IV expresses the indignant protest of the rich who regard 
such preaching as disloyal and irreligious. The elegiac rhythm is 
continued. 6. Do not keep harping on such things] Treatment 
of this kind was no new experience for prophecy; it antedated 
Amos (2 12 ), and Amos himself was bidden to keep silence (5 y 10 " 13 ), 
as also Isaiah (28 10 ). By the time of Manasseh it had developed 
into actual persecution (2 K. 2i 16 ; cf. Je. n 18 " 23 26 loff -). The verb 
employed here is practically synonymous with JOJ, the ordinary 
word for prophesy, yet lends itself readily to an unfavourable con 
notation by reason of its original meaning, viz., drip, drop, i. e., of 

* Van H.. t Hi., Now. (?). J Ew., Ke., GASm.. 


the foam from the mouth of ecstatic, epileptic nebi im. $[ of this 
line has been variously treated, e. g., using the last two words of v. 5 , 
"In the assembly of Yahweh do not prophesy" (an address to 
Micah and his associates by his opponents, to which Micah replies) : 
"Whether they (i. e., the prophets) preach or do not preach to such 
as you, shame, etc." * Or again, as the utterance of two or three 
of the audience taken up by Micah into his address, i. e., one says, 
"You must not speak," a second replies, "O, let them speak," 
while a third adds, "They must not speak such things as these. "f 
Yet again, as a protest of the rich cited by Micah, "prate not," 
they prate, "let none prate of such things." if This latter is the 
best interpretation and the most widely accepted one, but it does 
not account for the interchange of h$ and tf 1 ?, nor render the change 
from 2d to 3d pers. anything but abrupt. Shame cannot over 
take the house of Jacob] This includes the first words of v. 7 ; for 
text, v. s.. The rich continue speaking here. The thought out of 
which this confidence springs is that of Am. 3 2 : Israel is Yahweh s 
chosen people and therefore safe from harm. Cf. 3 11 . It is the creed 
of the established regime, which is ever too ready to identify God s 
interests with its own. From the point of view of the rich, Micah 
is guilty of both treason and blasphemy. A single word, *lCKn, 
attached as a marginal note to call attention to the fact that the 
"house of Jacob" is the speaker in this and the following lines, has 
crept into the text here and caused much difficulty. The first part 
of the line as in HI may perhaps be rendered, reproaches do not de 
part, though the verb 31 D elsewhere always conveys an element of 
disgrace as attending the movement expressed by the verb, e. g. t 
backslide, or be driven back in defeat, or prove recreant ; the 
second part eludes explanation as may be seen from the various 
attempts to make sense, e. g., "O thou who art called the house of 
Jacob"; "O words of the house of Jacob"**; "What a word! O 
house of Jacob "ff; "O thou that speakest thus to the house of 
Jacob" tt i "Should it not be said, O,etc.";" Shall one say to the 

* Ro.. Cf. van H. f M. Jastrow, in Frankel s Monalschrift, 1872. 

J GASm., el al. Cal., Kc.. 

** Rosenm., Mau.. tt E\v., Casp., Stei., Urn.. 

GASm.. Hi.. 

2 7 - 8 61 

house of Jacob?"* ; "Is this the talk of the house of Jacob?" |- 
7. Is Yahweh impatient or are such his deeds ?] Is not Yahweh 
"slow to anger" (cf. Ex. 34), and has not our entire history demon 
strated his beneficent purpose toward us? Do not his words mean 
good to Israel?] This was the difficulty encountered by all the 
prophets the failure on the part of the people to realise that Yah- 
weh s favour was conditioned upon the character of his people, and 
that no amount of ritual or protestations of loyalty could supply the 
lack of truth and justice. The great task of prophecy, therefore, 
was to inform the national conception of God with moral content. 
HI reads here, do not my words mean good to him that walketh up 
rightly ? But this necessitates joinir g the line as an utterance from 
Yahweh with v. 8 and constitutes very bad Hebrew for the last 
clause. Of the various emendations (v. s.) offered, the foregoing 
best suits the demands of the context. 

Str. V, in the words of Yahweh himself, makes crushing reply 
to the protest of the rich oppressors, "How can you expect good 
when your deeds are evil?" The elegiac strain continues. 8. 
But ye have become my people s foe] The Hebrew text of this 
verse is badly corrupt; for the emendations adopted, v. s.. As 
emended it is an address to those who have been so loud in their 
resentment of Micah s message of woe. You yourselves are 
Israel s worst enemies. HJ, Formerly my people as an enemy 
raised up, etc., offers no proper object of the transitive raise. Ye 
rise up against those that are at peace] The rich make hostile plans 
against the unsuspecting poor to compass their spoliation and de 
struction. The most common treatment of 4H is to connect the 
verb rise up* with the first line, to draw jltStyfifi from the following 
line to this one, and translate, from upon the garment ye pull off the 
robe. The outer and more expensive garment is seized as security 
for debt, in violation of Ex. 22 26 - 27 . But the preposition ^1D regu 
larly means in front of, and the word TTW, not occurring elsewhere 
in this sense, is better considered as an error for the ordinary word 
nVM, which was added on the margin by some reader as a more 
specific designation of the garment in question after the original 
D^D^tP had become HDyt^. Ye strip off from those passing by in 

* Dr., Exp., 1878. t Or.. 


confidence booty of war] The words of this line are not to be taken 
literally; the prophet is not necessarily speaking of actual highway 
robbery; his thought is rather exactly parallel to that of the pre 
ceding line : " You take advantage of innocent, trusting neighbours 
and plunder them as though they were enemies." HI is very diffi 
cult; the best rendering of it is, if rfHS may be connected with this 
line, the mantle ye strip from those who pass by in security, averse to 
war; but "O^ is not found elsewhere, and the meanings given to 
it have been many and various. 9. The women of my people ye 
expel from their pleasant homes; From their babes ye take away my 
glory for ever] i. e. in their greedy haste to " join house to house and 
lay field to field," they do not hesitate to render families homeless 
or even to sell the fathers into slavery for debt. Wellhausen, et al., 
substitute "children" for "homes" (v. s.), and interpret the verse of 
selling into foreign servitude which deprives the little ones of ever 
living in the land of Yahweh. But it is very questionable whether 
so heinous a crime is referred to here; the laws on slavery seem not 
to have contemplated such a dire possibility, for they make not the 
slightest allusion to it; the only case in the Old Testament is the 
sale of Joseph to the Midianites by his brethren an altogether 
abnormal transaction. Furthermore, the phrase "my glory" can 
not well mean the glory of dwelling in Yahweh s land, for this 
does not reflect glory upon Yahweh, while the thought of glory 
granted to the people by Yahweh would be more naturally desig 
nated "their glory." Then too, the vb. expel suits home better 
than children, and the preposition from upon suits better the 
removal of fathers from their children than the taking away of the 
privilege of residence from the latter. For the use of the term 
glory as applied to men, cf. Is. 5 13 - 14 . The yeomen of Israel 
might well be designated as Yahweh s glory. 

Str. VI is Yahweh s curt, summary dismissal of the guilty to their 
irrevocable doom. 10. A rise and go/ for this is not your resting- 
place] Those who have driven out others are now themselves to 
be driven out. Because of uncleanness, ye shall be destroyed with 
an irremediable destruction] Men strict in their observance of 
ceremonial law, no doubt, are here brought face to face with their 
own inner depravity and Yahweh s insistent and terrible demand 

2 9 11 6 3 

for "clean hands and a pure heart." 11. If a man walking in a 
spirit of falsehood lies, saying, "I will prophecy to thee of wine and 
strong drink" he becomes the prophet of this people] This verse is 
a later addition as shown by its prosaic form and by its lack of con 
nection with its immediate context. It seems to have been suggested 
partly by the contents of v. 6 and partly by the severe terms of v. 10 . 
In contrast to the denunciatory Micah with his relentless message, 
a picture of the popular prophets is presented. To them Micah 
pays his respects in 3 5 ff- . This rendering of v. " adopts a use of 
Y?n quite common (v. i.) and treats Iptn fTH as a case of hendia- 
dys. An alternative rendering for the phrase is " walking in van 
ity (or emptiness) and falsehood"; for this use of rTH, cf. Is. 4i 29 
Jb. 7 7 i5 2 EC. i 14 . To "walk in a spirit of falsehood" and preach 
lies is to deceive people deliberately, and is far worse than to de 
ceive unwittingly. The substance of the false teaching is the prom 
ise of material prosperity and blessings of the most sensuous char 
acter. This is the only thing that will content the populace; they 
will not listen to the words of the true prophet whose message, how 
ever unpalatable, is born of supreme devotion to their highest 
good. To change "]f?in to the perfect tense as some do (v. s.) in 
volves either an awkward asyndeton for the verb DTD or else the 
separation of the phrase Ip^l fTH between the two verbs thus, "if a 
man walk in wind and falsely lie, saying, etc." The IptP however 
is redundant as a modifier of DTD and the phrase is much better 
taken as a unit and modifying *^in. 

1. jn ^Syei] For the meaning prepare, work out in advance, ref 
erence is had to such passages as Ps. 7" 58 Is. 41*. This thought is 
certainly present in Ps. 58*, if the text is sound; but even there the idea of 
planning is not in the vb. Syo itself, but is plainly expressed by the 
phrase in the heart which is attached. The question at issue is whether 
o may have that sense in itself, without such modifying phrase. It is 
clearly not required in Is. 41*, where the two vbs. o and ntrj? are more 
naturally treated as exact equivalents, being rendered who hath wrought 
and done it. Nor is there any reason in Ps. 7" for departing from the 
usual sense; when the psalmist says that Yahweh makes his arrows, he 
surely does not imply that Yahweh devises or plans them beforehand. 
^s] In the sense of strength, power, SN is found only in this id 
iom. Nor can this meaning be definitely connected with the ;/ hw. But 
the context of the various occurrences of the phrase seems to demand 


this sense; (& in all cases save this one gives it this force; likewise & and 
2L The alternative rendering, "their hand is as a god," is quite un 
natural when the phrase is negatived and, as No. has indicated, would 
require the Hebrew Ss S DT onS nrun, while the S after w> and p must be 
a genuine dative. Recently, however, this latter view has been revived 
in somewhat different form. Brockelmann, ZAW. XXVI ( 06), 29 /., 
calls attention to the belief found among many peoples that the various 
members of the body are tenanted by spirits which control their activi 
ties. But such beliefs among American Indians, West Africans and an 
cient Persians prove nothing for the Hebrews; nor is the Arabs belief 
that hunger is due to a serpent in the stomach any more convincing, 
even though serpents and spirits are frequently identical. Whitehouse, 
Isaiah (Cent. Bible), II, 344, explains on this same basis the use 
throughout the Mediterranean littoral of the facsimile of a hand as a 
prophylactic to the depredator or the evil eye ; but surely it is not neces 
sary to limit ourselves to this theory for an explanation of the magic hand. 
The objections urged above hold good in part against this newer view, 
while the conception "god of my hand" remains at present without any 
real Semitic parallel. In any case, if such a concept ever did exist in 
early Israel, it had long passed out of the consciousness of the people in 
Old Testament times. 2. IN^JI] A bold figure; nowhere else does 
no j occur. 3. n:n] On adv. use of the subst., cf. Ges. 1I8 V 4. NIT] 
The indefinite is often, as here, equiv. to a passive, like German man, 
French on. HTIJ] According to Ko. * 9I , the fern, of vu (so the Vrss., 
Ry., et al.) and used alongside of the masc. to express indefiniteness; but 
in KoJ 809k , cited as expressing the superlative idea; cf. Is. 3 . Others, 
e. g. Ew., Hi., Che., have taken it as Niph. pf . of mn, meaning it is done, 
either as the title of the dirge, or as its first word, viz. "it is done," will 
one say, "we are, etc."; but such a use of IDN is quite abnormal. TITJ> 
j j] The dirge rhythm always consists of a longer line followed by a 
shorter, usually in the proportion 3:2; 4H, however, exactly reverses 
that order here. On uniw, cf. Ges. * 67 u . ^] Ace. to IK, dot. ethicus, 
Ges. $"9. jait^S] ty = apostate, rebel; here of Assyria, and so inap 
propriate; in Je. 49 4 , of Ammon, which was, like Israel, a descendant of 
Abraham and thus could properly be charged with having deserted the 
faith of the fathers; in Je. 31", of Israel itself. <& connects it with the 
preceding as an infin.. 6. Sjn pVpc] n as an obj. of "|Str forces upon 
the latter a meaning, such as stretch or adjust (van H.), which it does 
not elsewhere have, nor can it easily assume. Vnp] is consistent with 
late origin of the verse, but does not demand it, for p occurs in E (Nu. 
22<), Ju. 20* 2 1 6 - 8 i S. iy 47 all early. Nor is any specific Messianic 
idea implied in the use of the term (contra Marti) ; it is a designation ap 
plicable to Israel by foreigners (Nu. 22 4 ) or to foreigners by Israelites 
(i S. i7 47 ). --n P here is synonymous with "the people of Yahweh," or 

"the inheritance of Yahweh." 6. wo* N^ pan* won ?] On orig. 
force of rpan, v. ZAW. Ill, 119. Or. accounts for change from VN to 
x 1 ? by making Micah begin to reply with S in the form of a question, 
"shall one not preach to such as these?". If M be retained, the only 
treatment of > S is as a positive prohibition by the rich, "they shall not 
preach such things." For inf. abs. Qal with Hiph. impf. as in emended 
text, v. Ges. * lls w . JD 11 ] For other cases of vb. in sg. masc. before a 
fern. pi. subj., Ges. * ; Ko. * " 8 .On the intensive pi. nioSo] Ko. 
*zi hj the change to sg. (Now.) is unnecessary, nor need * no be made 
the subj. (Marti). 7. "ncNn] As it stands, this can be only a Qal pass, 
prtc., either with the article, or with n interrog. (GesJ 100 n ; Ko. * M|W ) 
with gerundive sense, "is it to be said?" Cf. Ko. M b - 82 /*. But 
v. s.. a] This indirect question does not propound two alternatives, 
but rather two phases of the same thought; Ges.* 160 h ; K6.* . nj? 
-|Sn wn] An adv. use of -c" "one walking as the righteous," i. e. 
righteously. But the order of words is difficult. Jb. 3i 26 , *iSn np> rw, 
is not a parallel case, for there m 1 is the main word to which n ip> is 
attached as an attendant circumstance, while here the main word is fSn 
and comes last. Not only so, but the use of the article with -\w is an ad 
ditional difficulty. Indeed in Jb. 31" there is no reason for treating np> 
as other than an ordinary adjective and rendering a glorious moon as it 
passed along Ko. * 332 j , cites the analogy of the Hal clause in Arabic, 
which permits this order when the governing word is a participle as here. 
On the use of article with T^ and its absence from "iSin, cf. Wright, Arab. 
Cram. " > lle D - m B . 8. Sicnto] This word is without force in this 
context; Micah is concerned not with the dead past, but the living pres 
ent. ^D> ] It is not unlikely that this is a dittog. of oy in the last clause 
of v. 7 , or has been dislodged from its place after ^tott" (v. emended text); 
so Marti, Now. [; . Such an arrangement yields a smoother sentence here, 
but is not indispensable. DDI[V] fH requires Ty as subject, but as a 
transitive form it requires also an object which is not forthcoming. 
Furthermore, the succeeding vbs. are all in 2& pers. pi.. SIDD] The col 
location of four D S is suspicious, as also the unsuitability of this prep.,= 
from in front of, to the noun nc 1 ^] This designates the ordinary outer 
garment, while -ns], to be read m~N (n being lost before en; so BDB.), 
applies to the mantle, or cloak, worn as an overcoat. But this seems 
too detailed and petty in the present context. ow] On the gen. rela 
tion instead of a prep., cf. Ko. ^ S36 m ; on the pass. prtc. denoting a state 
or quality, cf. Ko. * m d . But the harshness of this ATT. idiom seems to call 
for correction of the text; v. s.. The most serious objection to the emen 
dation OK is that in its ordinary sense of captives or captivity it does 
not constitute a suitable object for IWPDP. But Am. 4 1 *, D^DID oe> op, 
furnishes a use of otr very close to that called for here. 10. HKDB] 
Some Heb. mss. followed by Baer read rwca, $ . e. pf . 3d sg. Qal; but this 


is difficult after maps, whereas the inf. cstr. of fH is a normal construc 
tion foil, prep.. But smoother sense results from the noun-form -INDO, 
undeanness (HWB. 1 *), which it is better to follow than to posit the &ir, 
noun ~iNpa (BDB.). 11. nn iSn] An ace. designating the goal or 
sphere of the action, K6.* 330s , cf. -\yn n, Jb. 29 ; npao n, Je. 23"; n 
no rwpy, Pr. 6 12 . There is no need to change the text (v. s.) ; the idio 
matic use of walk as designating a manner of life is common enough to 
justify M. 

5. The Return of the Exiles (2 12 - 13 ). 

A later editor, in a single eight-line str., prevailingly trimeter in 
movement, offsets the announcement of exile made in 4 by a 
promise of Israel s return from exile under the protection and 
leadership of Yahweh. 

J WILL surely assemble Jacob, all of him; 
I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. 
I will put them together like a flock in the fold, 
Like a herd in the midst of the pasture. 
The breaker will go forth before them; 
They will break through the gate and go forth thereat; 
And their king will pass on before them; 
Yea, Yahweh at their head. 

This arrangement involves two modifications of 4$; (i) the omission 
of the last two words of v. 12 as a gloss, (2) the omission of nayi from v. * 
as a dittograph of "OJ?M in the following line. The str. shows a gradual 
diminution in the length of its lines, from tetrameter through trimeter to 
dimeter (in the last line only). Marti obtains a ten-line str. by retaining 
all of M and beginning his eighth line with ^y& notwithstanding its close 
relation to the preceding vbs. as object. Siev. secures four of his indis 
pensable sevens by omitting nnxiy and the last two words of v. "and 
supposing a loss of one foot after "\yw. 

The difficulty of establishing any connection between these verses and 
2 1 - 11 has long been felt. The history of interpretation records various 
treatments. Among others, it has been interpreted as a continuation of 
the threatening language of v. 10 , i. e. "I will gather them to destruction, 
etc."; so e. g. Ki., Ephraem Syrus, Theodoret, Grotius, Tarnovius, Cal., 
and in recent times van H.. Again, as the teaching of false prophets, either 
spoken by Micah himself, viz. if I prophesy to this people of wine, etc., 
and say to them, "I will gather, etc." (so e. g. AE., Mich., Struensee); 
or as a marginal note by Micah or an early reader representing the 
contents of false prophecy (so e. g. Ew.) ; or as an interruption of Mi- 
cah s utterance by the false prophets themselves (so e. g. Kl., Ro., Or.). 
But against all three alternatives lies the fatal objection that these verses 


presuppose the exile as a matter of fact whereas the popular prophets 
never admitted the possibility of exile (cf. 3"). Furthermore, the con 
tent of the verses is thoroughly in keeping with the teachings of the true 
prophets of certain periods (v. z.). Another supposition is that, though 
belonging to Micah, the verses are out of their original connection; so 
e. g. Ry., Ko. Einl. 327, Dr.; Stei. who places them after 4*; Condamin, 
RB. 1902, who makes them foil. 4 7 . 

The evidence, however, seems convincing for the exih c or postexilic 
origin of 2 n - 13 . The total lack of connection and the presupposition of 
the exile and the dispersion; the lack of any moral or religious prereq 
uisites on Israel s part to the restoration of Yahweh s favour; the use of 
remnant to designate returning exiles (cf. Gie., Beitrdge z. Jesaia-Kritik, 
37 ff-)> an d the parall. in phraseology and conception to such late pas 
sages as Ho. 2 2 Is. ii 11 ff 52 12 Je. 31*, all combine to mark the passage as 
late (so Sta. ZA17. I, 162 /.; Kue. Einl. II, 359 /.; Cor. 340; Che. in 
WRS. Proph*, XXIII; We.; Now.; Grimm, Lit. App.\ Marti; Siev.). 
Possibly these verses have displaced a more severe ending for the chapter, 
with which the 12x1 of 3 originally made good connection (so Kue., Now., 

12. HDNS] (& shall be gathered, perhaps a free rendering (Ry.). 
a,-v"] ft = SNT^\ C A t^is people. iSs] Rd., with We., ^3; so Now., 
Oort L "-, Marti, Hal., Siev., Gu.; cf. <& <rbv Tra<riv. UD^N] <& adds as 
obj., TT]V diro<rTpo(j>T)j> afrrov (cf. QPs similar addition with raps); hence 
Taylor would insert nor. mxa] Rd., with Wetzstein (in De. Jesaia*, 
705) n-vw; so Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Gu., HWB. U ; cf. IB in ovili. 
2 Q iv dxvpd/J-a-Ti. (g tv 6\tyci = rnxa (so &); so Dathe, Taylor, 
van H.. Hal. rmja. Hpt. n^??. Against the reading nn^xa, Hpt. 
makes the point that we should hardly expect n-px here, when the 
equivalent form n-pa occurs in Gn. 25" Nu. 3i 10 Ez. 25* Ps. 69" i Ch. 
6 s9 ; but cf. the equivalent forms -sj and "OJ. nain] Rd., with Ro., 
lain, carrying i over to foil, word; so Ry., SS., Elh., Pont, Gu., Now., 
Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Hpt.. <& their lair. H caularum. S 6 T^S 
ip-flpjov, hence Gr., Hal. ^a^n. VanH. ignn. njD^nn] Rd. n^onni; so 
We., Gr., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Hal., Gu.. <& they shall escape. & is 
concealed. VanH. -njj -innnv ansc] Van H. D^NC. 13. tncn nS; % ] (ft 
SiA T^S 5ta/co7T^s = v^on V>\ IXID] ^ sg.. A omits with remainder of the 
verse. nayi] Om. as dittog. from foil, line; it is tautologous between 
i:no and wx^i, and likewise superfluous in the metre. ~\yv] om.. 

12. Jacob, all of him . . . the remnant of Israel] By these two 
terms the whole of the Hebrew people is embraced, the latter 
phrase probably referring to the survivors of the northern kingdom. 
The exile and dispersion are here treated not as possibilities, but 


as actually existing facts. Passages like this and 4 1 4 , written in 
periods when everything visible to the human eye was fraught with 
discouragement and gloom, reveal the extraordinary capacity of the 
Hebrew soul for faith faith in its God and in its destiny. The 
pronoun of the 2d person, as in M, must give place to that of the 
3d person (v. s.), in view of the parallel pronouns of the remainder 
of the poem. It is impossible to find anything but words of en 
couragement and comfort here.* Together will I put them like a 
flock in the fold] Put together is here synonymous with the pre 
ceding * assemble and gather. It refers not only to the two 
halves of the nation heretofore separated but also to the more or 
less widely scattered groups of exiles in various lands. The dias 
pora began early, as is demonstrated by the existence of a Jewish 
colony at Assuan on the Nile at least as early as 550 B.c..f RV. s 
sheep of Bozrah yields no satisfactory sense; nor is it safe to render 
* flock of the fold, for botsrah does not have the meaning fold else 
where, cannot be assigned to any root which yields such a sense, 
and lacks the preposition in which the parallelism seems to re 
quire. It is therefore necessary to adopt a slightly different read 
ing from 4H; v. s.. Like a herd in the midst of the pasture] The 
similes employed imply not merely the bringing together of Israel 
from its different places of exile, but also the thought of Yahweh s 
protecting care after the return; cf. Ps. 23*. And they will be 
tumultuous with people] These two words are a later expansion 
as shown by the looseness of their connection, by the difficulty of 
the grammar, and by their redundance in the metre. J The sub 
ject apparently is the fold and the pasture/ For the figure in 
the Hebrew, literally they will roar on account of men/ as des 
ignating great masses of people, cf. Is. iy 12 . 13. The breaker will 
go forth before them] The figure of the flock and herd is still re 
tained, but the scene now-shifts from Palestine as the fold and pas 
ture to the land of exile as a prison. Thence will Yahweh lead 
them forth, going before them like the ram of the flock to break 
down every barrier and remove every obstacle. That Yahweh is 

* Contra van H. (v. s.\ who finds it necessary to eliminate lines i, a and 8 as glosses made bj 
one who misunderstood the tenor of the passage, 
t V. JMPS. in Biblical World, XXXI (1908). 448 ff.. 
J So also Siev., though working upon a different metrical basis. 

2 12 - 18 6g 

the breaker is shown by the parallel terms in lines 7 and 8, which 
seem fatal objections to any attempt to identify the breaker with 
some particular part of the Israelitish army after the analogy of 
i S. i3 17 Ju. 2o 36fi Jos. 6 7 - 9< 13 .* The same verb is used to describe 
Yahweh s activity in Ex. ig 22 - 24 2 S. 5 20 i Ch. 14" Ps. So 13 . They 
will break through the gate and go forth thereat] The words and 
pass on which 4flJ presents immediately after break through* 
are redundant and render the following go forth belated and 
superfluous. Furthermore, the rendering pass on to the gate 
(so RV.) leaves the preceding verb without an object, while the 
sense pass through is difficult without a preposition. When to 
these difficulties is added the metrical redundance, it seems nec 
essary to relegate the phrase to the margin. And their king will 
pass on before them, Yea Yahweh at their head] The king and 
Yahweh are here identical, as in Je. 22 2 Zp. 3 15 Is. 33 22 4i 21 43 15 44 8 
Ps. 8Q 18 . To interpret king as designating the Messianic ruler 
or the exiled monarch would involve a double headship and leader 
ship of the returning procession such as finds no parallel elsewhere 
in the Old Testament. For other pictures of similar tone, cf. Je. 
3 i 9f - Is. 4 o lf - 5 2 12 . 

12. iSu] For this use of Sa, cf. on i*. mnsti ] Found prior to Isaiah 
and Micah only in Gn. 45? (E), 2 S. I4 7 Am. i 8 5 15 , i. e. twice in the sense 
of posterity, once of the few surviving Philistines, and once of decimated 
Israel. Isaiah is the first to introduce the thought of a holy remnant and 
to apply it to returning exiles; cf. Meinhold, Der heilige Rest (1903). 
mxa] Ordinarily taken as from ix:j, be inaccessible (common to Heb. 
and Ar.) and given the meaning fold; v. s.. The reading rnn is 
supported in part by (6 and furnishes a good parallel to "pro. The 
noun fry* is a by-form of n-yo, corresponding to the Ar. sira, and 
applied in Heb., Ar. and Syr. to the low stone wall surrounding an 
encampment, or to the encampment itself, or to a sheepfold similarly 
protected. nann] For other cases of art. with sf., cf. Ges. ^ tI7i ; K6. 
I oe > njD>nr] fH derives this from Din, but the existence of the Hiph. 
of this vb. is doubtful; the derivation from ncn (v. s.) is better. The 
fem. pi. because the subjects rryx and ">an represent things. 13. nS>] 
Proph. pf.; often used of return rom exile, e. g. Ho. i 11 2" Is. u ; 
cf. Na. 2 1 . INXM] On proph. pf. continued by waw consec. with impf., 
cf. K6. * " ; Dr. . 

* Conira Dr. Exp. 1887, pp. 259 / 


6. Denunciation of the Leaders and Prophets O 1 " 8 ). 

Of the seven four-line strs. constituting this poem, three are 
devoted to the secular leaders, three to the religious, and the last 
to Micah himself. 

Str. I charges the leaders of Israel with having perverted their 
calling they who should love and honour justice are devoted to 
the pursuit of wickedness. Str. II in highly figurative language 
pictures their oppression of the poor and helpless. Str. Ill an 
nounces a day of disaster when these leaders will reap the due re 
ward of their deeds and find that Yahweh turns a deaf ear to their 
cry for help in their distress. Str. IV turns the charge against the 
prophets of the day who being actuated by mercenary motives are 
leading Israel astray. Str. V, under the figure of an eclipse, de 
clares the time to be at hand when the impotence of these prophets 
will become manifest prophets without vision. Str. VI describes 
the shame and confusion that will overwhelm them when they 
discover that God heeds not their cry. Str. VII sets forth, in sharp 
contrast to the powerlessness just described, Micah s conscious 
ness of his own authority and power to denounce the sins of Israel. 

tJEAR now, ye heads of Jacob, 

And rulers of the house of Israel: 

Is it not yours to know justice, 

Ye who hate good and love evil? 
gUT they eat the flesh of my people, 

And their skin from upon them they strip off; 

And their bones they lay bare and break them up, 

Like meat in the pot, and flesh within the caldron. 
J HEN will they cry unto Yahweh, 

And he will not answer them; 

But will hide his face from them, 

Inasmuch as they have made their deeds evil. 

[Thus has Yahweh said:] 
CONCERNING the prophets who lead my people astray, 

Who when they bite with their teeth preach peace; 

But as for him who puts not into their mouths 

Against him they declare war. 
THEREFORE, it will be night for you without vision. 

And darkness for you without divination. 

Yea, the sun will set upon those prophets, 

And the day will become dark over them. 

3" 7i 

A ND the seers will be ashamed, 

And the diviners will blush, 

And they will cover the upper lip, all of them, 

Because there is no answer from God. 
BUT I, indeed, am full of power, 

And justice and strength, 

To declare to Jacob his transgression, 

And to Israel his sin. 

The symmetry of the poem is apparent. In both groups of three strs. 
each, the opening str. contains the address and the general charge, the 
2d str. presents a series of bold figures, and the closing str. declares the 
same climax Yahweh s refusal to hear the cry of the wicked. Further 
more, Strs. Ill and VI alike are made up of short trenchant lines, an 
nouncements of doom which fall like the blows of a sledge-hammer. 
This arrangement presupposes the omission of v. 2b - c as a variant of v. * 
(so We., Now., Marti, Gu.; cf. Lohr, ZDMG. LXI, 3-6); the treatment 
of *onn r\yi in v. < as a repetition of IN in v. (so Marti, Siev.); the 
excision of rnm nn HN from v. 8 as a gloss (so We., Now., Marti, Siev., 
Gu., Du.); and the exclusion of the introductory formulas inw. - B as 
extraneous to the poetic form. 

Lohr and Siev. agree in excluding vv. 6 - 8 from this piece and including 
w. - *, but this fails to do justice to the symmetrical relations between 
w. -* and 5 - 8 on the one hand, and the logical and formal independence 
of w. - 11 on the other. Furthermore, their metrical arrangement (Lohr, 
4+3 + 3; Siev. 7 + 3) takes too great liberties with the text, removing no 
less than twenty-five words from the 4R of vv. J - 8 , i. e. nearly one-fourth 
of the material, and adding two words at the opening of v. B . 

1. ncsi] <& & = "V??] We., Marti, Gu., Hpt. om. as gloss; so H, un 
less in temporc at the close of 2 13 represents it. Nj-iyc^] <B add 
DNT, as in v. . 3p>"] < & and 12 codd. of Kenn. and de R., i no, 
as in v. ; so Hal.. TXp] <35 ol Ka.Td\oiiroi; so also in v. 9 . 2. njn] Rd. 
jn, withQr.. 311;] Gr. ^y_ -vy. ornSjra] Hal. D p rn SJ?D. oninxp] Hal. 
PUD 1 ?*. 3. T^NI] (& 6v Tp6-rrov. U om. i. Taylor, ixen. on^yr] 
<5 A Q dir6 TUV 6ffr^it>v aiiTuv. itt ioi] (8> nal ^/xAicra^; so ^. they 
throw into. new] Rd. i f ?, with <& ws <r</?Kas; so Doderlein, Dathe, 
Bauer, Jus., Ro., Stek., Taylor, Elh., We., Pont, Gr., Gu., Now., 
Oort Em -, Marti, Lohr, Siev., van H., Du., Hpt.. Now., slavishly foil, 
by Marti, cites in support of this reading, but & reproduces 4H liter 
ally. Hal. nNC ; c. 4. IN] < oJrrws. Lohr om. as gloss, but inserts 
here, partly from v. * oryD -li^py, cf. Siev.. irD i] Marti, inpij. ^C N:;] 
(K a.vff &v; so 0. un ipin] (& freely, they have dealt wickedly in their 
practices against themselves; similarly V. 5. i - t pi] (8 tfyeipav, a free 
rendering, corrected by several codd. to ijylaa-av. v^;-] Siev. om. metri 
causa, as in & after nnp, where (6 adds it. 6. nS^ 1 ? pS] We. and Now. 


insert rvrp; c f. <&. natpm] Rd., with Hartmann, na#m; so Ry., Or., 
Taylor, SS., Elh., We., Pont, Gr., Now., Marti, Hal., van H., Hpt., Du.. 
Gu., rjtsrn. & treats as a verbal form. oopc] HWB. U , Marti, Hpt., Du., 
DpiJD^ for sake of parallelism with pin ; but the rhyme supports 48. 7 . wjn 
DCB> Sp] <S Kdl KaTaXaXTj<rovo-ij AC<IT avr&v, not a free rendering (contra Tay 
lor), but a mere guess. Cf. Schnurrer, Vol., Ry.. In Ez. 24" M where 
this phrase occurs, (8 renders ; by Trapo/caX^w; in Lv. I3 45 , by irept/SaX^cr- 
0w. Stek. therefore suggests that < derived it from t^p ; but where to>j? does 
appear in 4H, (5 failed to recognise it, rendering it by K\tvu in i S. 14** 
25", by tipwcras rov 6t<r6ou in i S. I5 19 , and by dta/jaffao-dai in BS. 34 16 . 
& renders V as if from ncir, /i/>. njpc] Some Heb codd. "ijgr; so<B&. 

6 tKu\Mi). Several codd. of <& read dXXA ^v = ^. 
-w; some codd. tveTr\-/i<r0T)v. nin 1 - nn PN na] Om. as gloss, "i r N, 
with We., Now., Marti, Siev., Du., Hpt.. Gie. Berufsbegabung, 123, 
om. n na. Oort Em -/ <i nna na. n-najn CDDtt Di] A om.; so cod. Reuch. 
of 31; so Taylor, Pont, Siev.. Chrysostom om. OBDI. SNiP Si] Two 

Str. I charges- the rulers of Israel with having grossly betrayed 
the trust reposed in them, the guardians of justice have become 
abettors of and participants in crime. 1. But I said] No satis 
factory connection of this phrase with anything preceding can be 
found. After the removal of the interpolation 2 12 - 13 , with which 
it has no point of contact, and of 2 11 (v. s.), connection might be 
made with 2 10 by rendering, Furthermore, I said ; but a particle 
would be expected to express such an idea, and it presupposes a 
close integration of thought between 2 10 and 3 1 ff which does not 
exist. Rather does a new theme present itself in ch. 3. It may be 
that some connecting link between 2 10 and 3* has been lost; other 
wise, this phrase must be regarded as an obscure marginal note. 
Heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel] The identical 
terminology in v. 9 , with the specifications in v. 10 , makes it clear 
that the address both here and there is to the officials of Judah in 
general and Jerusalem in particular. Know justice] Cf. Am. 3 10 . 
The knowledge required is not mere intellectual appreciation of 
the principles of justice, but a practical understanding of its obliga 
tions and a sympathy with its aims which will lead to a righteous 
administration of law. 2. Ye who hate good, etc.] Their con 
duct is, for Micah, susceptible of no other explanation. Ye who 

3 1 - 4 73 

pluck their skin from upon them and their flesh from upon their 
bones] A gloss as is shown by the lack of any antecedents for the 
pronouns, and by its substantial identity of contents with v. 3 . 

Str. II is marked by the transfer to the 3d person from the 2d 
oerson of direct address in Str. I, and by the contrast the picture of 
the actual conduct of the rulers affords to the ideal suggested for 
them in Str. I. 3. But they eat the flesh of my people] The people 
are in Micah s eyes like a defenceless flock at the mercy of wild 
beasts; the watch-dogs who should protect the flock have pounced 
upon them like ravening wolves. Micah s passionate sympathy 
with his countrymen is reflected in the pronoun "my." And their 
skin from upon them they strip off and lay bare their bones] The 
figures here employed suggest the violence and lawlessness of the 
processes whereby the very life was crushed out of the small land 
owners. And break them up like meat in the pot and flesh within 
the caldron] These words are omitted by some scholars as an edi 
torial expansion of the preceding figure.* Similes or compar 
isons are not common in Mi. 1-3, it is true, though they are not 
wholly lacking (i 8 - 16 3*); nor is the adjustment to the metre here 
the most easy; while the verbs lay bare and break have different 
objects, the latter referring to the fellow-citizens of Micah. But 
all this is not conclusive of secondary origin. Micah, quite as well 
as a later reader, could carry his figure through to the very end. 
The devastation of the poor is total and irreparable. f 

Str. Ill announces the coming of a day when Yahweh will ig 
nore the cry of these oppressors now brought low, because they 
have ignored his call to righteousness and justice. 4. Then will 
they cry] A reference to the coming judgment spoken of in 2 3> 4 - 10 ; 
cf. the similar use of now as = then in Am. 6 7 Ho. 2 12 . And he 
will not answer them] For the converse of this attitude, cf. Ps. 
34 15 . But will hide his face from them] That he may not be 
moved to pity by the sight of their distress. A common figure for 

* So We., Now., Marti, Lohr, Siev., Gu.. 

t If the language of Micah be thought stronger than the facts warranted, attention need 
only be called to the atrocities perpetrated upon the peasants of Germany in a supposedly more 
civilised age, which resulted in the outbreak of the Peasants War ; and that too with the sup 
port of the laws. See Schaff, History oj the Christian Church, VI, 440 if.; Newman, Manual of 
Church History, II, 69 ff.; Zimmermann, Allgemeiric Geschichle des grossen Baucmkriegs 


the divine displeasure; cf. Is. i 15 8 17 Dt. 3i 17 - 18 32* Jb. IT? Ps. 13*. 
At that time] A gloss, as shown by the metre,* intended to define 
more closely the application of then J in line i ; cf. 2*. Inasmuch 
as they have made their deeds evil\ A pregnant use of WfcO, im 
plying a comparison; the wicked conduct of the rich is clear 
evidence that they have turned a deaf ear to the call of Yahweh 
through his prophets; Yahweh now treats them in like manner.f 
Str. IV turns to another class of offenders, the popular prophets, 
whom Micah charges with base subservience to selfish ends. 5. 
Thus has Yahweh said} This phrase, stating the divine authority 
of the message about to be uttered, b es outside of the movement 
of the poem; cf. Am. i 86 2 19b 3 15b 4 s 8 9a .Concerning the prophets 
who lead my people astray] The prophets here denounced are the 
members of the prophetic guilds (see H. AH , xlix-lviii), the best 
of whom were victims of a too narrow patriotism and a low idea 
of God. Micah, with the undiscriminating passion of indigna 
tion, treats them all alike as swayed by unworthy motives. The 
cleft between the lower and the higher types of prophecy began at 
least as early as the days of Micaiah ben Imlah (i K. 22) and grew 
wider with each succeeding generation; cf. 3" Am. 7 12 Is. p 15 Je. 28. 
But the true prophet, in the face of opposition and isolation, re 
mained certain that he only wis the interpreter of the will of God. 
Who when they bite with their teeth preach peace] Not in the 
sense that they hypocritically proclaim prosperity though con 
scious that they are all the time injuring the people ;J but, as is 
shown by the following lines, that their good will is conditioned 
upon their being well fed. For a later estimate of the value and 
authenticity of prophecies of prosperity, see Je. 28- 9 . But if one 
puts not into their mouths they declare war against him] It seems 
less likely that prediction of national war is meant by this,** than 
that these mercenary prophets levy a tyrannical species of black 
mail upon their constituents. The man who will not contribute 

* So Marti, Now. K , Lohr, Siev., Gu., Du.; so also in Am. 5" 

t Gu. suspects this clause to be a later addition; but the only ground urged is its prosaic 
character. May not a prophet descend to prose occasionally? Homer sometimes nods. 

J So Casp.. 

For a similar indignant charge made by the Greek tragic poets against venal soothsayers, 
v. Sophocles, Antigone, 1036; ^Eschylus, Agamemnon, 1168. ** We.. Van H.. 

3" 75 

to their support is subjected to slander and abuse of various 
kinds. They represent it to be Yahweh s will that such men be 
treated as his enemies. The verb rendered declare literally 
means sanctify, consecrate, and has reference to the religious 
ceremonies always associated with the actual commencement of 
hostilities; cf. i S. is 8 " 12 Je. 6 4 Is. i3 3 Jo. 4 Dt. 2o 2 .* Prophets 
who thus brought their high calling into disgrace for the further 
ance of their own selfish ends seem never to have been lacking, 
from the earliest times (cf. Am. 7 12 ) even down to the days of the 
early Christian church, f 

Str. V, under the figure of an eclipse, represents the spiritual 
darkness into which the prophets will be plunged on the approach 
ing day of doom which they have been preparing for themselves. 
6. Therefore, it will be night for you without vision] This is 
not merely a figurative way of saying that the power of prophetic 
insight and foresight will soon be withdrawn from those who have 
abused such gifts, but rather a description of the great day of Yah- 
weh (cf. Am. 5 18 ), which awaits the whole nation. The sins of the 
leaders involve the entire people in suffering. The calamities of 
that day will stagger the shallow optimism of the prophets who 
would heal Israel s wounds lightly. They will have no message 
for such times. And darkness for you without divination] The 
verb to divine is never used of legitimate prophetic activity, but 
always of the arts of magic, soothsaying, necromancy, and the 
like. Yea, the sun will set, etc.] The second half of the str. re 
peats and so emphasises the thought of the first half. 

Str. VI describes the shame and confusion that will enshroud 
the pseudo-prophets when in the light of the events of the day of 
Yahweh their prophecies are seen to be lies and they find themselves 
utterly unable to read the will of God. 7. And the seers will be 
ashamed, and the diviners will blush] The terms seer and di 
viner are suggested by the opening lines of Str. V. And they will 

* V. Schwally, F., Semitische Krieg sailer /timer, I. Der heilige Krieg im alien Israel (1901). 

t Cf. Didache, XI, 3-6: "Now concerning apostles and prophets and the teaching of the 
gospel, so do ye: every apostle that comes to you, receive him as the Lord. But he shall re 
main only one day; if there be need, however, a second also. But if he remain three days, he is 
a false prophet. And when a prophet sets forth, let him take nothing except bread until he 
may find a lodging; if he ask for money, he is a false prophet." 


cover the upper lip, all of them] A common sign of mourning; cf. 
Ez. 24 17 - a Lv. i3 45 . The origin of this veiling of the lip and 
mouth in mourning is variously explained; by some, as a substi 
tute for an older custom of shaving off the beard as a hair-offering 
to the departed spirit; by others, as a method of disguise adopted to 
protect the survivors from recognition and injury at the hands of 
the departed ; by others, as a method of blocking the mouth against 
the entrance of malicious spirits; by still others, as a device to dis 
courage conversation so that the mourner might be undisturbed in 
his grief. Its original significance, however, had probably long 
been forgotten by Micah s day. Because there is no answer from 
God] Not that all this has come about because their oracles had 
been of their own concoction, and not of divine origin;* but rather 
that in the approaching day, Yahweh will refuse to reveal his will 
to them. 

In Str. VII Micah unhesitatingly declares his consciousness of 
possessing the indispensable equipment for the prophetic office 
which his opponents lack ; hence his message is of a totally differ 
ent character from theirs. 8. But I, indeed, amjull of power] In 
contrast with the vacillating pseudo-prophets who are swayed to 
and fro by every wave of public opinion, the true prophet forges 
straight ahead in the line of Yahweh s will which often compels him 
to defy the popular will. Micah knows he has strength sufficient 
for all his needs. The spirit of Yahweh] A prosaic gloss by some 
editor who deemed it necessary to indicate the source of Micah s 
power. Its extraneous character is shown by the fact that it alone 
of the four attributes is accompanied by fiS, by its unnatural posi 
tion in the series of four, and by its violation of the metrical move 
ment. And justice and strength] The time-serving prophets are 
filled with and inspired by the people s gifts; Micah s inspiration 
and satisfaction come from his God-given sense of right and his 
energy in the enforcement of righteousness upon his contempo 
raries. To declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin] 
This was the task to which Micah and all true prophets felt them 
selves called, to denounce and expose sin and to hold up in con 
trast with it higher conceptions of God and duty. This str. fur- 

* So Ro., Ry.. 

3 1 " 8 77 

nishes a hint as to the psychology of prophecy. The truths enun 
ciated by the prophet were not things imposed upon him from with 
out, but the choicest possessions of his own inner spirit, the product 
of his own divinely illuminated experience, observation, and medi 
tation upon the practical problems of life. 

1 . Obligatory idea lies in Da 1 ? NiSn] Ko. * 7 d ; not in njnS] Ges. 
H4 i ; Dr. M n . On force of the rhetorical question, cf. Ges. * 15 e . 
2. n;n] Qr. jn is supported by the balance it furnishes for the monosyl. 
3ttJ, and the fact that auo and jn accompany each other just as regularly 
as naio and npi; v. Ps. 52" 38" 35 12 Pr. i6 30 Nu. 24 13 . 3. inxa] dir; not 

from AVi^j to &rea& (so BDB. and TPFB. 1S ), but from Ai.% 

to /ay fere (so Bevan, cited by Marti), ordinarily used in Ar. to aenote 
the exposure of vices or faults; v. Lane, Lex. 2410. ichci] = and spread 
out, which does not suit the following similes; it is better taken as a by- 
form of D-IS, used in Qal of the breaking of bread and in Hiph. of the 
dividing of the hoofs of animals; cf. No. ZA. I, 417 /.. The sequence of 
tenses here demands DM. ~^3;] On absence of article, cf. Ko. 5*" 1 . 
rnSjt] Only here and i S. 2 14 , but context in both cases renders its gen 
eral sense quite clear; cf. Lagarde, Ubersicht, 88; Erman, ZDMG. XL VI, 
121. 4. -\HDM] The jussive, as in iK, is without any of its characteristic 
force here; it is most easily accounted for as a case of defective writing 
of the normal indicative form, Dr. * 174 ; but cf. Ko. * 192d , which attrib 
utes e to "the vowel-oppressing influence of the consonantal environ 
ment"; Ges. * log k , which explains forms of this kind as often caused by 
necessities of rhythm; and Hpt. who calls it an Aramaicism. wxu] For 
similar usage, cf. Ju. 6" i S. 28 18 Nu. 27" 2 K. i; 26 ; v. Ko. * 38 . 6. D-orjn] 
Serving as the protasis of a condition, Ges. * ns w . 6. npjym] On 3d pers. 
sg. fern., as in JH, used for natural phenomena, cf. Ges. $ 144c ; Ko. %323k . 
But the parallelism demands a noun. 7. DDC-] Lit. = mustache; cf. 2 
S. 19" (<B fiforag); on root, cf. Earth, ZDMG. XLI, 633 and Jensen, 
ZA. VII, 218. 8. nn> nn nx] On function of PN here, cf. Ko. * 288 . 
The thing with which is usually found in the ace. after N^D, when 
used in the Qal, and without the sign of the ace. even when the noun is 
denned; e. g. Dt. 34* Jb. 20"; but cases with TN, as here, are not wanting, 
e. g. Ex. 8 17 Ez. io 4 . Less likely does nN have prepositional force with, 
by, through, as perhaps in Gn. 4*. 


7. The Doom of Israel (f- 12 ). 

This is the climax of Micah s utterances. He here groups to 
gether the three leading classes in Judah, the princes, priests and 
prophets, and lays upon them the full responsibility for the ap 
proaching downfall of the capital city which he foretells. 

Str. I repeats the address and the charge with which the preced 
ing oracle opened, but adds to them a further specific accusation 
to the effect that Judah s rulers have tried to establish the prosper 
ity of Jerusalem upon the basis of oppression and murder. Str. 
II declares that princes, priests and prophets alike have all used 
their offices for their own enrichment through the encouragement 
of bribery and fraud, and exposes the fallacy and fatuity of their 
reliance upon the favour of Yahweh for protection from all harm. 
Str. Ill pronounces sentence: because of their evil deeds Jerusalem 
will be totally destroyed and become a waste and desolation. 

TJEAR this, now, ye heads of the house of Jacob, 

And rulers of the house of Israel; 

Who abhor justice, 

And pervert all that is right; 

Who build Zion with blood, 

And Jerusalem with iniquity. 
f^ER chiefs judge for a bribe, 

And her priests give oracles for hire, 

And her prophets divine for money; 

Yet upon Yahweh they lean, saying, 

"Is not Yahweh in the midst of us? 

No evil can befall us." 
pHEREFORE, on account of you, 

Zion will be ploughed as a field, 

And Jerusalem will become ruins, 

And the mountain of the house a high-place in a forest. 

This is the first departure in the genuine material of Micah from the 
norm of the four-line str.. Du. (KB. 3800) and Marti organise such strs. 
here; but to do so is to violate the logical connection. J3 of v. 10 is a 
continuation of the direct address employed in v. 9 , while v. passes over 
into the 3d pers.. The three classes mentioned in v. " belong together 
in one str., being all charged with the same crime; princes, priests and 
prophets form the great triumvirate of transgressors from which the 
prophets may not be segregated. Lohr and Siev. in their attempts to 

3" 79 

carry through a 4+3 + 3 or 7 + 3 movement do great violence to the text. 
Both omit lines 1-3 of Sir. II, simply because of the 3 + 3+3 movement 
there found (so also Gu., who urges the change of person as interrupting 
connection between v. 10 and v. IId ); likewise pS from the opening of 
Str. III. Not only so but Lohr finds it necessary to invent an additional 
word in each of three lines in vv. 10 for the sake of the metre, while Siev. 
accomplishes the same end by repeating lc after 9b and transposing 9d 
to follow I0b . All this seems arbitrary and superfluous in a text that 
reads as smoothly as M does here. 

9 . nut] Om. by Marti, Lohr, Siev., Hpt., Du.; cf. v. . no] Om. by We., 
Marti, Lohr., Siev., Du., Hpt.; c/.v. 1 . y> . . . apjp] Interchanged by 
<fc\_, r , pl ] <g as i n v< j._ma"n] <g H 01 pi.. 10. nja] Rd. \ja, with 
OS ol oiKodo/juvrres; so $ B 21 and We., Gr., Oort^ 11 -, Now., Du., Marti, 
Hal., Lohr, Siev., van H., Gu.. 11. nn:?] < H pi.. nr] Aq. 9 {<j><S>Ti- 
fof, probably connecting it with TIN. (5 bvenplvovro. 12. mir] Oort Em - 
mao. pj] Rd. 0"j?, as in Je. 26 18 ; so 8 codd. of Kenn. and 4 of Je 
R., We., Now., Marti, Hal., Siev., Gu., Hpt., Du.. no] Vtentpli; </.$. 
niDaS] Rd. np^, with S c/s C^oj and 9 eis fiovv6v t so We., Now., Oort Em -, 
Du., Marti, Hal., Gu.. <S has e/5 AX<ros, a grove (so also in Je. 26 18 ; 
elsewhere it represents rns>N); cf. & f ^ ^ - *~^ t a wooded region, 
which does not necessarily presuppose a reading no, but is better ex 
plained as due to the influence of <8. The use of the sg. in (6 is not 
conclusive in itself, since <B s renderings of ncu are so varied in charac 
ter (at least thirteen different ones in the OT.) and relatively heedless 
of number; cf. e. g. i Ch. 21" Dt. 32" Nu. 22" Is. 14" 15* 16 * Je. 
7". S on the other hand, so far as it can be tested, is faithful to the 
form of its original in its treatment of this word (e.g. 28. i 18 i K. 
12" 13" 15" 2 K. 17 - 23 8 - ). 

Str. I charges the leaders of Judah with betraying the trust re 
posed in them as the guardians of truth and justice. Lines i and 
2 are a verbal repetition of the corresponding lines in Str. I of the 
previous section ; 3 and 4 are a paraphrase of the latter half of the 
same str.; while 5 and 6 add a new figure. 9. And pervert all that 
is right] Lit. twist all that is straight ; apparently by insolent 
defiance of law rather than by Jesuitical interpretation thereof. 
Cf. Is. 5 20 . 10. Who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with 
iniquity] The prophet denounces a material prosperity which is 
based upon the spoliation of the poor and the confiscation of the 
property of the innocent condemned to death; cf. i K. 21 Am. 5" 
Ho. 4 2 Is. i 15 Je. 22 13 Ez. 22". 


Str. II first brings an accusation of bribery against all the lead 
ing officials of government, civil and religious; then contrasts with 
their depraved moral state their false security in Yahweh s pro 
tecting presence and power. 11. Her chiefs judge for a bribe] 
Judicial functions were exercised by the highest officials; cf. 2 S. 
1 5 2 " . Bribery has always been one of the most prevalent vices of 
oriental government; every official has his price;* cf. f Is. i 23 5^. 
In such a system the poor man has no chance. And her priests 
give oracles for hire] The only allusion to priests in the book Oi 
Micah ; cf. Ho. 6 9 io 5 Is. 28 7 . The most difficult cases were brought 
to the priests that they might obtain the judgment of Yahweh upon 
them; cf. Ex. i8 19 ff - Is. 28* Dt. 17- 9 2i 5 . Similar usage still exists 
among the Bedouin. The prophet thus makes the terrible ac 
cusation that the priests manipulate the oracle in such cases in the 
interest of the rich and powerful and to their own enrichment. 
And her prophets divine for money] Cf. note on v. 5 . It is not 
merely that pay, even when offered and received with the purest of 
motives, is a constant menace to the absolute independence and 
freedom of thought and speech without which true prophecy can 
not live; but these soothsaying diviners have deliberately sold them 
selves to the highest bidders. All three of the influential classes 
are money-mad. Yet, upon Yahweh they lean, saying} These 
men are not Godless miscreants; on the contrary, they wear the 
livery of religion and they congratulate themselves upon having 
the support of Yahweh. Is not Yahweh in the midst of us ? No 
disaster can befall us] Cf. Am. 3 2 . This was the crux of the con 
flict between the prophetic and the popular conceptions of God. 
This conviction on the part of the people in general made the 
preaching of Amos, Hosea and Micah sound like treason and dis 
trust of Yahweh. It is not improbable that the presence of the 
temple in Jerusalem as the headquarters of Yahweh gave added 
strength to this popular belief; cf. Je. f~ 7 . The common concep 
tion of Yahweh was not yet informed with the ethical ideal. Per 
formance of the ceremonial was thought to be the essence of 
religion; Yahweh cared for little more. Against this error, the 

* No. Sketches from Eastern History, 133 /.; Doughty, Arabia Deserta, I, 607, II, ao; 
GASm. 308. 

3 - 8! 

prophets with one consent insisted that Yahweh s supreme inter 
est was ethical, not ritualistic. His demand for righteousness 
was more insistent than his love for Israel. Cf. b 6 " 8 Is. i 10 " 17 Am. 
5 21 - 27 Ho. 6 6 . 

Str. Ill turns once more directly to the offenders, as in Str. I, 
and hurls upon them the responsibility for the impending ruin of 
Jerusalem. 12. Therefore, on account of you} The sense of indi 
vidual responsibility for sin had not yet developed sufficiently to 
raise any question in the prophet s mind as to the justice of de 
stroying a whole city for the sins of the leading citizens. But even 
so, the sins of the populace at large cried out for judgment with no 
uncertain sound. Micah does but fix the responsibility for lead 
ing the way in sin and thereby bring home guilt to the consciences 
of those in power. Zion will be ploughed as afield} A figure for 
total destruction; cf. Ps. I2Q 3 . Zion was the name of the Jebusite 
stronghold captured by David (2 S. 5 s - 9 ). This was probably lo 
cated on the southern slope of the hill to the east of the Tyropcean 
Valley. But the name soon came to be applied to the entire city, 
in which sense it is employed here in parallelism with Jerusalem 
and also in v. 10 . And Jerusalem will become ruins} Micah was the 
first prophet to threaten Judah with the annihilation of its capital; 
but he does so without a tremor. Jerusalem as the centre of cor 
ruption and pollution (i 5 ) must be cut out of the body politic, lest 
the entire nation become corrupt and perish. His heart goes out 
to the peasant farmers of the hillsides of Judah in passionate sym 
pathy with them in their misery and wrong, but he can condemn 
their oppressors to death with unshaken voice. And the mountain 
of the house a wooded height} The temple mount now thronged 
with worshippers will become a deserted hill-top like the summit 
of Mt. Carmel. This is the climax of the threat. That Yahweh 
would permit the destruction and desecration of his own chief 
shrine must have sounded like blasphemy to Micah s hearers. But 
it was the most stunning blow that could be dealt to the old con 
ception of God. It shows also how thoroughly Micah was freed 
from slavery to rites and institutions. He had certainly learned 
that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands. * 

* On the significance of the citation of v. in Je. 26 *, see Introduction. 


9. itpp>r] On force of impf. continuing a prtc., cf. Ges. * 118X ; on tran 
sition to 3d pers. after the vocative, cf. Ko. ^ 34 < l - m . 10. np] Is diffi 
cult of explanation either as a collective (van H.) or as applied to a 
typical individual of the class denounced. The reading \p is supported 
by the fact that the Vrss. all have the pi., by the close likeness to n;a in 
form, by the parallel prtc. ooynnn, and by the pi. form of wpy which it 
continues. 11. nneo] 3 pretii, Ko. i > 3320 . uanpa mm] C/". SNUD>:, Is. 
7", and F. C. Porter, JBL. XIV (1895), 19-36. 12. me>] Ace. of 
effect or product, Ges. * 121 d ; Ko. * 338 v . p>] Aram. pi. due to a copyist; 
cf. Je 26 18 ; note the suggestion that the error was facilitated by the fact 
that f was more easily articulated before the following n (Ges. ^ 44k ). 
ninuS] Usual form of cstr. pi. is >niea, but cf. Nu. 21 * Ez. 36* Ho. io. 
The pi. is hardly appropriate as applied to the temple mount, and (& has 
sg. both here and in Je. 26 18 . The meaning hill-top gives a stronger 
contrast here than is afforded by high-place. 


Chs. 4 and 5 have given much trouble to interpreters, great vari 
ety of opinion existing as to what portions, if any, may be attributed 
to Micah and as to the origin and date of the portions not thus as 
signed. All agree, however, that the chapters as they now stand are 
wholly lacking in logical continuity within themselves and must be 
regarded as composed of a series of more or less unrelated frag 
ments. By some, this lack of logical unity is urged, with other 
considerations, as warrant for denying these chapters to Micah, in 
whole or in part. By others, it is held to be consistent with Micah s 
authorship, either on the ground of the vivacity and mobility of 
his style, which is not to be confined within logical limits;* or be 
cause the spoken word permits of greater freedom from logical re 
straint than does the written word ;f or on the hypothesis that the 
present order is due to the work of a redactor who arranged frag 
ments of Micah s addresses in an order which is for us no order. J 

* So de Goeje, ThT. VI, 279-84; Kue. ThT. VI, 285-302. 
t Kue., Wildeboer, GASm.. 

t Ry.. Elh., Pont. For more detailed treatment of these questions, see the discussions 
of the individual sections, and the general Introduction, 2. 

8. An Ideal of Yahweh s World-Dominion (4 1 " 5 ). 

Three six-line strs. in trimeter movement, with a later expansion 
(w. 4 - 5 ), announcing the coming world- wide supremacy of Yah- 
weh and the beneficent results involved therein. Str. I states 
the fact that the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem is to become ths 
religious rallying-point of the nations. Str. II indicates their 
motive in coming as the desire to learn of Yahweh s ways at the 
only source of instruction. Str. Ill declares that Yahweh will be 
the world s arbiter, and that the weapons and art of war will per 
ish. The appendices add details to the picture of idyllic peace. 

TT will come to pass in the issue of the days, 

That the mountain of Yahweh s house will be 

Established at the top of the mountains, 

And it will be lifted up from the hills, 

And peoples will flow unto it, 

Yea, many nations will come, and say: 
X)ME, let us go up to the mount of Yahweh, 

And to the house of the God of Jacob; 

That he may teach us of his ways, 

So that we may walk in his paths. 

For from Zion goeth forth instruction, 

And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. 
A ND he will judge between many peoples, 

And will arbitrate for strong nations, 

And they will hammer their swords into ploughshares, 

And their spears into pruning-hooks. 

They will not lift up the sword, nation against nation, 

Nor will they any longer learn war. 

The progress of thought is clear in this poem, and points unmistakably 
to six-line (so Du.) rather than four-line (Marti) strs.. The direct dis 
course beginning in v. 2b distinctly marks the point of departure for a 
new str. and so establishes the six-line norm. The arrangement of Siev. 
fails to discover any strophic formation and does violence to the parall., 
in addition to its omission of three lines from w. * solely on metrical 

The original material ceases with v. *. Interpreters in general now 
concede the separation of v. 6 ; so e. g. Cor., GASm., Now., Marti, Siev., 
Gu., Du.. It sustains no close relatio^ to vv. ><. Marti and Gu. also 
athetize v. 4c ; but in view of the absence of the whole verse from the 
parallel passage in Is. 2*-<, and of the further fact that it is composed of 
stock phrases which add nothing essential to the description in w. , 


it seems safe to assign all of v. 4 to editorial expansion; so Che. Intr. to 
Is., on 2 2 -<; Skipwith, JQR. VI, 23, 583^.; F. Ladame, Revue de theolo- 
gie et de philosophic, 1902, pp. 446 Jf.; Du.. The only change in iK of 
vv. J - 3 required by the metre is the omission of pirn ~\y from v. 3b , as a 
gloss not present in Is. 2 4 . 

The repetition of these verses in Is. 2 2 - 4 has occasioned much discus 
sion as to their origin. Four views have found currency at various 
times: (i) that the passage was original with Isaiah and borrowed from 
him by Micah (so e. g. De. on Is. 2*-*; Ro., KL, Cor. ZAW. IV, 88); 
(2) that it was original with Micah and borrowed by Isaiah or an editor 
of Isaiah (so e. g. Hartmann, Ke., WRS. in Enc. Brit. art. Micah; 
RyO> (3) that it was an older oracle borrowed alike by Isaiah and 
Micah (so e. g. Ros., Mau., Ew., Hi., Reuss, Or.); (4) that it was a later 
interpolation both in Isaiah and Micah (so e. g. Sta. ZAW. I, 165^".; 
Kosters, ThT. 1893; Kue. Einl.; Che. Intr. to Book of Isa.,g-i6; Cor., 
We., Now., Marti, Gu., Du.). That it neither originated with Micah nor 
was incorporated by him from an earlier source seems certain. The tran 
sition from3 12 to 4 1 - 4 is too abrupt; there Jerusalem lies waste, here it is the 
centre of pilgrimages from all parts of the world; not a word is spoken of 
the restoration of the city involved in the latter description. The spirit 
of 4 1 - 4 is incompatible with that of 3 9 - lz ; here Jerusalem is the nation s 
pride and glory, there the prophet s love centres in the country people 
while the city represents to him all that is bad. Je. 26 18 tells against the 
early origin of this passage, for it is unlikely that such an impression 
of Micah s message would have existed in Hezekiah s time, if Micah had 
cancelled the effect of 3 12 by the comforting words of 4 1 ff -. It is apparent 
also that 3 12 was spoken in Hezekiah s reign and that 4 1 ff - therefore are 
still later, which fact shows that the passage has no rightful place in Is. 
ch. 2, which is in any case earlier than Hezekiah s reign. Furthermore, 
the ideas of the passage are those characteristic of the postexilic age. 
The thought of the conversion of the nations appears nowhere else in 
the book of Micah, but is first found in monotheistic writings of the exilic 
and postexilic periods, e. g. Is. 56* 7 60 66 23 n 10 and Jonah. The pil 
grimage to Mt. Zion is a postexilic idea, cf. Zc. 14" ff -, and its ne 
cessity could hardly have been felt until late in the postexilic age when 
the teachings of Deuteronomy and the Priestly Code had found such wide 
acceptance as to render the existence of local shrines like that of Ele- 
phantin impossible for the zealous follower of the law. The expres 
sion D- DTI nnnNa as denoting the opening of the Messianic era is first 
met with in Ez. 38. The conditions reflected in 4 1 B - are best satis 
fied by assigning the passage to the Greek period. 

1. no] <& oro. here and Is. 2*. Marti tr. to precede ONIS. poj] In 
Is. 2 2 preceding n>rv; so Marti; the metre shows the position in Micah 
to be preferable. OS s double rendering here, tfjL<f>av& preceding n\-p as in 

4 -" 85 

Isaiah and troi/jav standing as in Micah, together with the position of ji3J 
in Isaiah and <6 s rendering of the Isaiah passage, viz. fyQavis rb tpos 
Kvplov Kal 6 of/cos TOU 0eoC tir &Kpov TUP 6ptwv, has led Du. (on Is. 2 1 ), 
followed by Marti, Stk. (Die Dichtungen Jesaias [1907]), Box (Bk. oj 
Is. [1909]) and Gu. to reconstruct these two lines thus: 


But 4fl of Micah furnishes a smoother metre and connection. The fol 
lowing NO>J certainly refers to the nirn nn and thus ignores any inter 
vening N no. <& s text of Isaiah may easily be accounted for as due 
to some prosaic glossator who felt the difficulty of a physical elevation of 
Mt. Zion and so substituted the house of Yahweh. tPN-o] & pi.; so 
GASm.. Elh. e>nS. sin] Om. in Is. 2 2 ; so Siev.. nnji] The Pal.- 
Syr. fragment published by Mrs. Lewis offers the rendering and will 
be gathered = ffwaxOfoovrcu, not elsewhere found; but this is only free 
translation. vSy] Is. 2 2 rSw; so many codd. of Kenn. and de R.; so Siev., 
Gu., Hpt.. DT> ] Is. 2 l O un So (so Gu.). > and some mss. of Mi 
cah insert So. 2. DMJ] Is. 2 3 DTJ?. Dot] Siev. om.. nnto] Du. (on 
Isaiah), Marti and Hpt. om.. nSyji] <S g> U om. i. no SNI] lis om. in 
Isaiah and in some mss. of Micah. Siev. om. all this line. iJivi] 
(5 here = un^; but in Isaiah sg. and also in the Pal.-Syr. version 
published by Mrs. Lewis. TOIID] <& sg. and ignores D. H de -viis. 
Siev. om. the last two lines of this str. because they do not yield a seven- 
tone line. 3. EDBM] and & H take "the law" as subj. of this vb.. 
coi DV:; % ] Isaiah O vn; Siev. om. DOI; so &. rroini] B etcorripiet. 
- ^xj? 0"^] Isaiah DOT o^c^S. Siev. om. D^DXJ;. pinn iy] Om. as a 
gloss with Isaiah; so Briggs {Mess. Proph.*), Du., Marti, Siev., Gu., 
Hpt.. Drunann] Isaiah onann; so Siev.. NS] Some codd. Si; so <& 
B. we"] Sg. in Isaiah; so (g g> B QT. nnnSn] (S TroXe/xetV. 4. I3 1 i" i] 
C5 dmTrajJo-erat. 3T sg.. 21 in common editions pain* (= or;), but in 
cod. Reuch. parvi. 6. vnSs D" j] 05 r^v 68bv afcov (a theological 
change; cf. Am. 8" Dt. 29"), but the Pal.-Syr. version agrees with 4H. 
Between the text of w. and Is. 2-< there are in all twelve variations. 
The text of Micah is nearer the primitive form, as is evident from the 
position of fiaj (v. >), the stronger vSp for vS (v.), the more concise 
o^c;? for DM^n-Sa (v. ), and the pi. WB (v. ) for the sg.. But the Micah 
text has undergone expansion; v. s.. 

Str. I announces the acceptance of the religion of Yahweh by 
the nations at large. 1. // will come to pass in the issue of the 
days] i. e. at the end of the present age and coincident with the dawn 
of the Messianic era.* The phrase "in the issue of the days" oc- 

* Cf. Stk. ZAW. XI, 247 #., 


curs thirteen times in the OT., but belongs to the exilic and post- 
exilic circle of ideas, occurring only in 4 14 Ho. 3 5 Gn. 49* Nu. 24", 
aside from Jeremiah, Ezekiel and later books; and these four 
passages are due to interpolation. Despairing of the present, the 
later prophets built their hopes upon the future, and out of the 
blackest days came the brightest visions of Israel s future glory 
indisputable evidence of imperishable faith. That the mountain oj 
Yahweh s house will be established at the top of the mountains] This 
line, with the parallel line, lifted up from the hills,} does not mean a 
literal, physical elevation of Mt. Zion above the surrounding hills.* 
It is rather a figure representing the exaltation of Zion as superior 
to all other shrines and the focus of universal desire ; cf. Is. 2 14 40*. 
And peoples will flow unto it, (2) Yea, many nations will come, 
and say :] This vision of the world-wide influence of Yahweh in 
the conversion of the nations unto himself is unparalleled outside 
of Judaism and its dependent faiths. It is a common thought in 
Deutero-Isaiah and the later literature of Israel; but it could not 
find expression until monotheism had become firmly fixed in the 
religious consciousness of Israel through the discipline of the exile. 
The prophecies of the eighth century contain no suggestions of this 
thought. Is. ii 10 i8 7 iQ 16 - 25 in which it is more or less fully ex 
pressed are quite generally conceded to be of late origin. 

Str. II explains why the nations gather at Jerusalem, viz. be 
cause there they can learn Yahweh s will which is the only safe 
guide for life. 2. Come, let us go up to the mount of Yahweh, and 
to the house of the God of Jacob] The nations mutually incite one 
another to undertake the religious pilgrimage. The implication 
is that the temple at Jerusalem is the only authorised sanctuary of 
Yahweh. This seems to force the dating of the passage in the 
post-Deuteronomic period. The point of view of Is. ip 19 - 21 and 
of the adherents of the Jewish temple at Elephantine is foreign to 
this writer. Jacob here designates the nation as a whole as in 
3 1 - 8> 9 , not the northern kingdom as in i 5 . That he may teach us 
of his ways, so that we may walk in his paths] The phraseology 
suggests that these would-be disciples do not expect to know the 
whole of the divine will, but only such of it as is essential to their 

* Contra Marti. 

Welfare. For from Zion goes forth instruction and the word of 
Yahweh from Jerusalem] These words seem to close the utter 
ance of the nations, rather than to resume the speech of the 
prophet. It is a recognition by the world at large that Jerusalem 
is the seat and source of all authoritative religious teaching. The 
word tor ah is here denned by the parallel phrase word of Yah 
weh/ and this, together with the absence of the article, makes the 
general meaning instruction more probable than the specific 
law. Furthermore, on the lips of non-Israelites the latter term 
would be an anachronism. 

Str. Ill declares the result of the nations acceptance of Yahweh 
to be that all disputes will be referred to him and war will there 
fore be abolished. 3. And he will judge between many peoples, 
and arbitrate for numerous nations] As now all difficult cases in 
Israelitish litigation are brought to the priests as the court of last 
resort and to Yahweh as the supreme judge, so in the Messianic 
age the nations of the world will submit their differences to Yah 
weh, accepting without question his righteous decision. To em 
phasise the extent of Yahweh s dominion an editor here added the 
phrase unto afar. And they will hammer their swords into plough 
shares and their spears into pruning-hooks] The rendering plough 
shares is doubtful (v. i.}, but some agricultural implement is 
certainly meant; weapons of war will be converted into tools of 
peaceful industry. For the reverse process, cf. Jo. 4 10 . They will 
not lift up the sword, nation against nation ; nor will they learn war 
any more] Cf. Ps. 46 Is. g 9 - 7 n 6 - 9 Zc. 9. While disarmament 
is here positively predicated only of the n on -Israelitish nations, yet 
by implication Israel too is included. The prophet certainly does 
not conceive of Israel as dominating the rest of the world by force. 
This ideal of world-wide peace springs from the heart-longings of 
a people left broken and shattered by the stress of disastrous wars. 

To this vision of glory are appended some supplementary details 
by later hands. 4. And they will sit each under his vine and under 
his fig tree, with none to make them afraid] This verse presents 
the positive aspect of the thought that was expressed negatively in 
v. 3 . The subject, however, is individual and not national as in 
v. 8 ; the language portrays the peaceful Palestinian countryside 


with the rural inhabitants in the enjoyment of peace and plenty. 
The verse is made up of stock phrases, displaying none of the cre 
ative capacity of vv. "j cf. i K. 4 25 2 K. i8 31 Zc. 3* Is. if Je. 30 
46" Ez. 34 28 Zp. 3 13 Na. 2 11 Lv. 26. For the mouth of Yahweh of 
hosts hath spoken it] A concluding phrase commonly employed 
to attest the divine origin of a prophecy; cf. Is. i 20 40 5 58". 5. 
Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his God, yet we will 
walk in the name of Yahweh, our God, for ever and ever] This is 
the utterance of a practical man who realises the visionary char 
acter of the foregoing ideal and seeks to establish connection with 
things as they are. Instead of one universal religion, it is tot 
gentes quot dei. But even so, and even should it always be so, 
Israel will remain faithful and true to Yahweh through endless 
time. The expression walk in the name of is not elsewhere used; 
but it clearly means here that yielding of a hearty allegiance and 
obedience to the divine will spoken of in v. 4 as walking in his laws. 
It is fanciful to find here a contrast between the loyal obedience of 
the nations to their gods and the defective honouring of Yahweh by 
the majority of his people;* or between the eternal walking of 
Israel and the walking of the heathen which is not eternal.f 
This verse is certainly not from the writer of w. 1-3 or of v. 4 ; for the 
general point of view of v. 4 is identical with that of w. 1 " 3 , while 
that of v. 5 is wholly different. The writer of w. 1-3 lived wholly in 
the future; v. 5 is vividly conscious of the discordant present, and 
can only express Israel s determination to be true to her highest 
ideals at any cost. What is here expressed as a firm decision is 
found in Is. 2 5 as an exhortation. The two verses are evidently 
closely related, but on which side the dependence lies is wholly 

1. H\-P . . . n>ni] The subj. clause lacks an introductory parti 
cle. JIDJ . . . Him] Late usage; Ges. $" r . vSj?] Literally, upon it; 
stronger than vSs, Is. a 2 . 2. ioS] Including the speaker, K6. *". 
3pp> TI^N] The only occurrence of this title in the book of Micah; so 
also 3X nirp in v. *. NXP] If fut. it belongs in mouth of the prophet; 
but better taken as present of an existing fact. 3. D>nN^] Found only 
in i S. 13" Jo. 4 ; the latter sheds no light upon the meaning; in the 
former the list of agricultural implements begins with inann;c, plough- 
* Contra Ry.. * onlr > Pont. 

.6-10 O n 

4 "9 

share, hence it is unlikely that TN carries the same meaning; it is proba 
ble also that in 2 K. 6 5 -on-nN should read n DN and be rendered "the 
axe of iron." (8 renders by Aporpov, plough, except in i S. I3 20 , where 
the indefinite cr/ceOcs, tool, appears. 

9. T/te Doom of Exile and a Promise of Restoration (4 6 10 ). 

This section reflects a period when Jerusalem was in imminent 
danger from an invader. It foretells capture and exile as the in 
evitable outcome of the situation, but hastens to assuage the grief 
by the declaration that Yahweh will intervene, bringing deliver 
ance from captivity and restoration to the home-land. It can be 
treated as a unit only by transposing w. 9 - 10 to precede vv. e " 8 ; 
v. i.. Str. I pictures Israel s bitter suffering and gently satirises 
the futility of human leaders. Str. II declares that even greater 
calamity is coming, but that Yahweh will thereupon deliver Israel 
from its foes. Str. Ill announces that Yahweh will then gather 
together the exiles. Str. IV promises their re-establishment as a 
mighty nation under Yahweh as their eternal king. Str. V reaches 
the climax with the assurance that Jerusalem will be restored as 
the nation s capital. 

^HEREFORE, now, dost thou cry so loud? 

Is there no king in thee, 

Or, has thy counsellor perished, 

That agony has seized thee like one in childbirth? 
T^RITHE and bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like one in childbirth. 

For now thou must go forth from the city and dwell in the field, 

And go to Babylon; there shalt thou be rescued. 

There Yahweh will redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. 
JN that day, it is the oracle of Yahweh, 

I will gather the halt, 

And the outcast I will assemble, 

And her whom I have afflicted. 
A ND I will make the halt a remnant, 

And her that was sick a strong nation. 

And Yahweh will be king over them in Mount Zion. 

From now on even forever. 

thou, O tower of the flock, 

Height of the daughter of Zion, 

Unto thee will come the first dominion; 

Yea, there will come the kingdom of the house of Israel. 


The prevailing measure in this section is trimeter, but there are many 
variations. Str. II is in the rhythm of the dirge. Though the metre is 
on the whole very broken, the parall. is clear and furnishes the only 
safe guide to the length of lines and the formation of strs.. Siev. s ar 
rangement in three strs. of 3 + 3 + 2 seven-tone lines ignores this guid 
ance, as is evident from the fact that ncS nny (v. ) appears in the middle 
of one of his strs., and even of one of his lines, instead of starting a new 
line and str. as it clearly must. In the present arrangement, vv. 10 
are placed before vv. 8 - 8 in response to the demands of the logic. They 
furnish the presuppositions requisite to the understanding of the message 
of w. - 8 . The resulting movement of thought is clear and straight 
forward throughout the piece. It seems unnecessary to assign vv. 6 - 8 and 
10 to different authors and periods as has been done by Kue., We., Volz, 
Now., Marti, Hpt., et a/.. As here arranged, vv. I0 furnish the neces 
sary preparation for vv. - 8 . The order of events becomes perfectly 
natural downfall of Jerusalem, exile, deliverance, restoration to power. 
The date of the prophecy cannot be definitely determined, but it would 
seem to have originated in the dark days just prior to the fall of Jerusalem 
in 597 or 586 B.C.. Those who claim vv. 10 for Micah (Kue., et a/.) 
are under the necessity of excising "and thou shalt go to Babylon " (v. 10 ), 
but this phrase is demanded by the poetic form of v. I0 , and is, further 
more, in harmony with the background of the whole section. In sup 
port of the period suggested by this phrase may b urged the advanced 
stage in the conception of the remnant (v. *.), the significance of the 
phrase "tower of the flock " (v. i.), and the general Messianic tone of the 
passage. The only serious alternative to this date is suggested by the 
not altogether unlikely view that this is a vaticinium post evenium (so 
We., Marti; but v. i.), in which case a period after Deutero-Isaiah and 
the return may be sought. 

6. > DNJ] Siev. om.. njrSxn] &the distant ones; similarly 3L ^ 
<g Kal oOs diruxrdfjLrjv.; so Siev.; cf. Zp. 3 l . Ro., Elh. 
n. Ko. * 4I8m om.-otf and points V)jnn\ Gr. adds J^N. Du. in N D^N -,. 
7. nNSnjm] Rd., with We., nSnani; so Now., Marti, Gu., Du.. "Set earn 
quae laboraverat = n NSjni; so Stei., Gr., Oort Em -, Hpt.. <8 A Kal r^jv 
dTT(t>fffj.^vijv. Siev. nShrn. px va] Perhaps a marg. n.; cf. & s ad 
dition of and in Jerusalem. 8. Say] The Vrss. have confused this 
with Sps; so Aq. (r/cortiSijj; < atfx/"^ 7 ? 5 ; V nebulosa; S dr6/cpu0os; 21 
*vca; & dark. nnsn] Ry. om. as gloss upon DNS; so Taylor, Pont, Du.. 
noi] Tr., with Ro., to precede roVcc; so Elh., Now., Oort Em -, Marti. 
Hpt. om. as gloss on nnKn. noSno] Cod. Kenn. 4 om.. Marti, n^non. (g 
adds tic Ba/3vXwi>os. oS^w P3 1 ?] Rd., foil. We., Now., Du. VN-IB naS. 
Cod. Reuch. of 21 offers SN-IB for oSem\ Oort Em -, Siev. and Gu. om. 
r^. 9. nnj?] Siev. and Gu. om.. jn >ynn] (6 eyvwi Kaii=y-\ >y~\n. 
& doest thou evil, taking vb. as Hiph. of yy~\ and reading y~\ as obj., 

4 - 9i 

with <B. H moerore contraheris, deriving vb. from njn II. 01 con- 
nectest thou thyself with peoples. -|X> v] <& ij /SoiAiJ <rov; so also in Pr. 
ii u Is. Q 5 . 21 pi.. 10. TU) Sin] <$ &8ive ical avdplfov Kal tyyifr, of 
which dvSplfov is to be taken, with Ry., as a duplicate rendering of >S)n, 
which was wrongly connected with Svi; while represents a confu 
sion of TU with iyj. & s rendering of *Sm corresponds to <B s dvSptfov. 
<S A and codd. 87, 91, 97, 228, 310, & H om. Kal tyyifr. *ru is rendered 
by H, jo/ag; SI <>". Elh. and Che. CB jn>; </. J e . 48". HWB." 
*J?B-I; c/" Is. 42 14 ; so Now., Gu.. Pont, rrjn. Gr. and Marti njrn. 
*?wr] <S pfoeral at. -| U NJ> DC-] <S B om.. Several codd. of Kenn. ocn; 
so <S A Q S*. iin] (g adds 6 ^c6$ <roi>. 

Str. I, in good trimeter, brings out through three questions the 
desperate situation in which Israel now finds itself. 9. Wherefore, 
now, dost thou cry so loud ?\ Jerusalem is on the verge of a siege 
apparently, or already besieged. The anguish of the cry is to be in 
ferred from the last line of this str.. The person addressed is "the 
daughter of Zion" (v. 10 ). Now is not temporal, but logical; it 
lends a tone of expostulation to the question. 7s there no king in 
thee, or has thy counsellor perisJied ?] The confusion and terror in 
the city are so great, it would seem that no ruler was present (</. 
Ho. i3 10 ). The term counsellor, used of the Messiah in Is. 9", 
is here a synonym for king, rather than a collective for citizens 
pre-eminently wise (cf. Is. 36 5 ). The common meaning of the root 
-|^D in Assy, is advise, counsel. For a similar question, cf. Je. 8 19 . 
This question does not imply the actual absence of a king, involv 
ing a postexilic date for the passage, but is ironical and derisive. 
Of what use is it to trust in those who cannot help? Marti con 
siders Yahweh to be the king here mentioned, but this is an 
interpretation made necessary by his view that the passage is 
postexilic.* That agony has seized tJtee like one in childbirth ?] A 
figure frequently employed as the most vivid description of phys 
ical pain; cf. Je. 6 24 22 23 . 

Str. II, with a change from trimeter to the dirge movement so 
well adapted to the contents of the str., announces the climax of 
calamity, but only as a background for a message of hope. 10. 

* Cj. Sellin, Serubbabel, 67 j}., who, though accepting the postexilic origin of these verses, 
still insists that a human monarch is meant, and so seeks to posit a short period of monarchy 
under Zerubbabel; but in Sludicn zur Entstehungsgeschichle der iiidischen Gemcinde. II. 174 if., 
this view is in part abandoned. 


Writhe and bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like one in childbirth] 
The figure in the previous line (v. 9 ) is here taken up and enlarged 
upon. Having ironically inquired in Str. I why Jerusalem aban 
dons herself to grief, the prophet here in all seriousness says, thou 
hast good reason to agonise. For now thou must go forth from the 
city and dwell in the field] i. e. from the protection of the walled city 
into the open country, exposed to inclement weather, wild beasts, 
and hostile armies. . For exit from the city as denoting surrender, 
cf. Is. 36 16 2 K. 24 12 . Now, i. e. in a little while, soon; cf. 7*- 10 
Am. 6 7 . And go to Babylon] Those who would retain vv. 9> 10 
for Micah are forced to regard this phrase as an interpolation,* 
for it is unlikely that Micah had the Babylonian captivity before 
his mind. Israel s enemy in Micah s age was Assyrian, and Baby 
lon was playing a subordinate part. It is clear also from chs. 1-3 
that Micah expected the doom of Judah to follow close upon that 
of Samaria, and Je. 26 18 f< shows that the time for the fulfilment 
of Micah s prediction there cited was regarded as being long past 
in Jeremiah s day. The force of these objections to the phrase is 
not overcome by the suggestion that Babylon is representative of 
the Assyrian empire as being one of its most powerful kingdoms, 
nor by the fact that Sargon transported some of the population of 
Babylonia to northern Israel (2 K. if 4 ), and may therefore be 
supposed to have put Israelites in their places, thus suggesting to 
Micah a destination for Judah s exiles. Micah and contemporary 
prophets were occupied with Assyria, the world-power of the eighth 
century B.C.. But all that goes to show this phrase to be of late 
origin is evidence for the late date of the verse in which it stands, 
for the verse is incomplete without this clause which is essential 
both to form and content.f It is the only satisfactory antecedent 
to the following there, which cannot go back to the elusive and in 
definite field. There shall thou be rescued ; there will Yahweh re 
deem thee from the hand of thine enemies] The thought that de 
liverance from the foe would be accomplished in Babylonia and 
that this was but the first step in the coming of the Messianic glory 

* So e. g. Oort, Kue., WRS. Proph., de Goeje, Now., No., Pont, GASm.. 

t So e. g. We., Marti, Du.; cj, van H., who retains the context as the utterance of Micah, 
but relegates v. 10 as a whole to a later period. Du. likewise makes v. 10 a still later addition 
to vv. 8 - J which are themselves late. 

4 10 93 

was common from the time of Deutero-Isaiah ; cf. 43 1 7 - 14 20 44 24 " 28 
45 n ~ 17 55 12 13 - I* is impossible to say definitely when it first found 
expression, but the basis for it was laid in Isaiah s doctrine of the 
remnant. When it became quite clear that a Babylonian cap 
tivity was inevitable, it is reasonable to suppose that the deathless 
hope of the prophets never for a moment accepted this as final, 
but looked forward to the time when Yahweh should glorify him 
self in the sight of the nations through the rescue and exaltation of 
his people. Interpreting v. 10 from this point of view, it is not nec 
essary to suppose with Marti that the prophet wrote, like Deutero- 
Isaiah, in the full light of the victorious career of Cyrus, and thus to 
class his prediction as in large part a vaticinium post eventum. All 
that is said here is quite intelligible on the lips of a contemporary 
of Jeremiah s later years. 

Str. Ill, dropping the qina rhythm and taking up a dimeter 
movement, represents Yahweh as reassembling the afflicted exiles. 
While w. 6 ~ 8 have no connection with their context as they stand 
in m, the case is altogether different when they follow v. 10 ; for 
the thought of the halt and afflicted, inappropriate after the picture 
of universal peace in 4 1 " 5 , is peculiarly in place after such a catas 
trophe as is described in w. 9 ~ 10 . 6. In that day, it is the oracle of 
Yahweh] The day of Yahweh is in the prophet s mind, which day 
was commonly looked upon as closing the period of present dis 
tress and inaugurating the future age of bliss. "That day" here 
marks the end of the exile. I will gather the halt, and the outcast 
I will assemble] The words halt and outcast, suggestive of a 
flock of sheep, designate the exilic community as a whole, not indi 
vidual members of that community. At the time when these words 
were written the diaspora had already begun. The descendants of 
the captives from Samaria were scattered throughout the Baby 
lonian empire; refugees from Judah had doubtless already founded 
colonies in Egypt like that at Elephantine; Jehoahaz and his 
courtiers had been carried to Egypt; and perhaps the blow of 
597 B.C. had fallen. All of these are to be gathered home in the 
great day. And her whom I have afflicted] The fact that these 
words are missing in Zp. 3 19 where the two preceding lines re 
cur is not sufficient evidence for treating them as an interpolation 


here;* they furnish a comprehensive statement summarising the sit 
uation. The prophets never hesitated to ascribe any of Israel s ca 
lamities to the hand of Yahweh, but always as punishment for sin. 

Str. IV, in trimeter movement, declares the coming exaltation 
of the remnant of the nation and its permanence as Yahweh s 
people. 7. And I will make the halt a remnant, and her that was 
sick a strong nation] The parallelism shows that the term rem 
nant is practically equivalent to the corresponding term strong 
nation. This implies, as We. has noted, a much more advanced 
stage in the development of the idea of the remnant than can be 
imagined for the eighth century when Isaiah was first giving clear 
expression to the conception; cf. Is. f 8 16ff - io 20ff - Am. 8 15 . It 
presupposes a time when the idea had been long familiar and the 
mere mention of the term carried with it the suggestion of all the 
glory and splendour of the Messianic age that had gradually gath 
ered around the thought of the remnant. For her that was sick J 
|H reads her that was far removed ; v. s.. And Yahweh will be 
king over them] in a larger and truer sense than ever before and 
to the exclusion of any human being; cf. Is. 24 23 52*. In Mount 
Zion] This reflects an attitude toward Jerusalem quite contrary 
to that of chs. 1-3, and common only after the adoption of the 
Deuteronomic Code. The metrical form seems to point to this 
phrase as a gloss. From now on even forever] Now, i. e. in the 
immediate future, deliverance will be wrought; cf. the similar 
use of now in v. 10 . 

Str. V, in trimeter measure, promises the restoration of the old- 
time glory and power to Jerusalem. 8. And thou, O tower of the 
flock] The figure of Israel as a flock of sheep is resumed from 
w. 6< 7a . The tower was an elevated structure overlooking the 
sheepfold in which the flock was gathered for the night (Nu. 32 16 ). 
From this watch-tower the shepherd could keep a lookout for ma 
rauding beasts (2 Ch. 26 10 ; cf. 2 K. iy 8 i8 8 ). The phrase is not 
therefore an allusion to Jerusalem as a scene of desolation, f but 
rather as the headquarters of Yahweh, the protector of Israel; cf 
Is. I4 32 . The figure, perhaps, reflects the experience of Jerusalem 
in the campaign of Sennacherib, 701 B.C., which placed the stamp 

* Contra Gu.. t Contra We., Now., Marti. 

4 95 

of Yahweh s approval upon the city for later generations. Height 
of the daughter of Zion] b&y, height, is used of fortified hills in 
general (2 K. 5 24 ; Mesha-Inscr., 1. 22), and also specifically of the 
southern end of the hill Moriah, between the temple and Siloam 
(2 Ch. 27 3 33 14 Ne. 3 26 - J7 n 21 ). Here, as in Is. 32", it is either 
used in its general sense, or by synecdoche designates the whole 
of Jerusalem by the specific name of a portion. Unto thee will 
come the first dominion] The reference is probably to the days of 
the kingdom under David and Solomon when Jerusalem was the 
capital of the whole nation. Allusion to the prosperous days of the 
double kingdom under Jeroboam II and Uzziah is less natural; 
while to say that the implied contrast must be between the post- 
exilic regime and the pre-exilic* as a whole is without any basis. 
It is possible that first here is used in the sense of chief and thus 
describes the dominion as the greatest in the world, the world- 
empire. Yea, there will come the kingdom of the house of Israel] 
With the transposition of. the verb come (v. s.), there is preserved 
here the regularity and symmetry so characteristic of the paral 
lelism of these verses. $H reads there will come the kingdom 
of the daughter of Jerusalem ; but this is a prosaic repetition 
of the previous line and adds nothing. As corrected, the second 
line points out that Jerusalem s great honour is to come to her as 
the representative of the entire nation, the people of Yahweh. The 
kingdom will be such an one as will be worthy of Israel s exalted 

9. jr] On ace. cog. as substitute for inf. abs., Ges. *" w - >" <. 
10. rm] Irregular vocalisation might be for euphonic variation after 
^Sin; cf. >tfn in v. 1J and Ko. 60S , Sta. * 599b ; but in Gn. 43 13 under similar 
circumstances such variation is not made, and there are other imvs. and 
infs. from & impfs., where euphony plays no part, e. g. BID (Ps. 38" 46 ), 
r: (Is. 7 l ). The meaning of the vb. as used elsewhere (viz. in Aram., 
Ar., and Jb. 38" 40") is gush forth, break forth. In view of this, 
we might render here, burst forth (i. e. into weeping, lamentation, etc.), 
especially since the thought of a new birth for Israel is not at all present 
in the speaker s thought, but only the attendant suffering; and since the 
meaning "bring forth," i. e. in childbirth, is very doubtful for the vb. 
r;M. tvx ro] *. e. the people, not the town; K6.*" 7 . 6. HODN] Qal 

* So We., Now.. 


impf. of IDN, treated as N D vb., and often confused with Hiph. of no\ 
The n _ (4 times in 2 lines) is probably used for poetic assonance, and 
not with any specific meaning. nyS^n] The fern, used as a coll.; Ges. 
U2S 4 7. rwSrum] A Niph. prtc. from a denom. vb. Vn not elsewhere 
used, but the existence of such a vb. is very doubtful; the Vrss. had diffi 
culty with the word, <8 A rendering it just like nrrun of v. *, <& B using 
a slightly different word (^uafif for diruff/j. }, H rendering as if from nx 1 -, 
and & using same words here as for nySx and nmj in v. 8 , but in transposed 
order; 21 has expulsam in v. 6 and projectam here, but this is only for the 
sake of variety as appears from the renderings adflictam and contribula- 
tam for the one word ny^xn in the two verses. The proposed reading 
nSmn accounts well for the corruptions of fH and B, and its position 
together with its similarity to nmjn might easily have misled (5. 8. 
~\~\y S-UD] Gn. 35 21 (J), the only other place where this title occurs, 
evidently refers to a locality between Ephrath and Hebron, and appa 
rently nearer to the former than to the latter. But Ephrath was in the 
vicinity of Bethel, hence the application of the term is different from its 
usage here. Similar names are -u SHJS (Jos. 15"), fuaSn D (Ct. 7*), o 
SNUC (Ju. 8 17 ), 2DB> D (Ju. 9"), Ss D (Jos. ip 3 *). Sc>] If used here as 
a proper name (v. s.), it designates a place on the southern slope of the 
eastern or temple hill; cf. GASm. Jerusalem, I, 152 ff.\ Paton, Jerusa 
lem in Bible Times, 64. The basal idea of the word is swelling, pro 
tuberance, as appears from the Arabic root and from its use in i S. 
5- Dt. 28". The Assy, ublu, boil, ulcer (D1. HWB ) should perhaps be 
read uplu (Jensen, ThLZ. 1895, P- 2 5)- n -" Nri ] The use of this Aramaic 
word might perhaps be urged against Micah s authorship; but it is unnec 
essary to go further down than Jeremiah s time for Aramaisms, in the light 
of the general and widespread use of Aramaic revealed by the discovery 
of the Assuan papyri and by the Aramaic dockets on Assyrian and Baby 
lonian contract tablets dating as early as the time of Sennacherib. On 
preformative __, as regularly in Aram., instead of 6,cf. Ges. * G8 f . roSrc] 
On cstr. before prep.,c/. GesJ 130n , Ko. * 336 *. The function of the prep, is 
to define the relation between cstr. and gen. specifically; H. * 8 - 2b . Thus 
the meaning here is not kingdom over but kingdom for, or belonging 
to. 3*?;yn> ro] n-o may easily have been written na as in MeSa-Inscr., 
1. 23, Phoenician, Palmyrene, Sabaean; and, through the influence of 
jv* ru in 1. 2, oScnT displaced 

10. The Triumph cf Israel (4 11-13 ). 

In two strs. of six lines each and in trimeter measure, the prophet 
describes the scene of Israel s final vindication at Yahweh s hands. 
Str. I depicts the assembling of the nations of the earth for the 

4 fl " 97 

purpose of crushing Israel, whereas Yahweh s purpose is to use 
Israel to crush them. Str. II shows Israel turning upon her foes 
and, with Yahweh s aid, vanquishing them and dedicating their 
booty to Yahweh. 

A ND now there are gathered against thee 

Many nations, who say: Let her be desecrated, 

And let our eyes fasten upon Zion. 

But they know not the purposes of Yahweh; 

Nor do they understand his plan, 

That he hath gathered them like grain to the threshing-floor. 
^RISE and thresh, O daughter of Zion; 

For thy horn I will make iron, 

And thy hoofs I will make bronze. 

And thou shalt crush many peoples, 

And thou shalt devote their spoil to Yahweh, 

And their wealth to the Lord of all the earth. 

This passage reflects other conditions than those with which w. I0 - 
- deal. In both descriptions Jerusalem is in a state of siege; but there 
the result of the siege is the fall of the city and the exile of its inhabitants; 
deliverance comes only after captivity has begun. Here, Jerusalem 
turns upon its foes and conquers those who came confident of victory. 
There, the enemy is evidently the Babylonian; here, the whole pagan 
world gathers against Yahweh s people. This last feature was first in 
corporated in the prophetic descriptions of the latter days by Ezekiel 
(38 15 39 4 8 - 18 ) and in such a way as to indicate that it was original with 
him. Hence this oracle must belong to a late exilic or a postexilic date. 
The whole spirit of the passage is consonant with such a date. In view 
of 3 11 alone, Micah s authorship of this section seems out of the question. 

The text of the passage is well preserved. The two strs. present each 
a distinct phase of the situation and together constitute a complete rep 
resentation of the scene. The metre is regular except in lines 2 and 4 of 
Str. I, where tetrameters appear. To separate Str. I from Str. II on this 
account alone, with Siev., seems to be placing too much stress upon con 
siderations of form. The two are bound together into one prophecy by 
identity of situation and point of view. 

11. nnjn] om. i. IJnn] <& ^rixapotf/iefla. B lapidetur. Aq. (ace, 
to H ) will fall into wrath. & treats jvx as subj. of HJnn, and wry as 
subj. of inn, for which it supplies a pron. as obj.. We. inpn. wry] 4 
mss., fc V <F sg., ury. <& has pi., but puts vb. in pi. to agree with subj.. 
12. nnsnD] <g sg.. -VD>] T&foenum (hay) as always in B. Gears 
of grain. (& Spdynara (sheaves). Aq. 2 chaff". 6 a stalk of grain. 
13. -jnp] <& & pi.. nip-in] <gB Kara-rivets. 05 v - Q IM. m XeTrri/ms. <gv 
combines both renderings, Ka,TairaTT/i<reis tv avrats fBrq ical \eiTTvveit 


Xaoi>5 iroXXotfs; cf. 21 et tabescere faciam in eis gentes et minutatim fades 
plebes multas. 19 comminues. om. conj. i. "nc^rn] Rd. as 2d pers., 
with <& & 31 QJ, and nearly all interpreters. a^n] (g TT)V br-xjbv O.VTWV; 

Str. I states Yahweh s purpose to thwart the evil intentions of 
the nations toward Israel. 11. And now there are gathered against 
thee] Jerusalem is addressed. The prophet s now is at the end 
of the days, whither he has transported himself in spirit. The sit 
uation he depicts here cannot be identified with any set of known 
historical circumstances, not even the Maccabaean (pace Hpt.) . It 
is the vision of a seer. Many nations, who say:] The gathering of 
the nations in array against Jerusalem is a characteristic idea of 
exilic and postexilic prophecy; cf. Ez. 38 and 39; Jo. 3 2 - 12 Zc. i2 u9 
Is. 29 7 - 8 4I 11 16 Zp. | 8 . It belongs to the later eschatological as 
pect of prophecy. Pre-exilic prophecy sends its roots deep down 
into contemporaneous history; its visions of the future are indis- 
solubly linked with the conditions of the present; Yahweh s ac 
tivities in Israel s destiny are all historically mediated. But in the 
later eschatology, as here, the pictures of the future bear no neces 
sary relation to the circumstances of the present, and Yahweh s 
interventions are direct and immediate; not by human agencies, 
but by divine forces.* Let her be desecrated] The choice of lan 
guage is determined by the prophet s own point of view which is 
that Israel s land is holy to Yahweh and the tread of the nations 
is desecrating ; cf. Jo. 3 17 . The same figure appears in Is. 24 5 Ps. 
io6 38 Je. 3 1 - 2< 9 Nu. 35 33 . And let our eyes fasten on Zion] i. e. 
gloat in triumph upon the fallen city; cf. La. 2 16 Ob. 12 /.. 12. 
But they know not the purposes of Yahweh, nor do they understand 
his plan] Cf. Is. 55 8f - Ps. 92 5 Rom. n 33 . Just so Isaiah (io 5 19 ) 
had pictured the Assyrian army as unconsciously working out the 
purpose of Yahweh in reference to Israel, only to fall in turn a 
victim to Yahweh s righteous wrath. "The secret of the Lord is 
with them that fear him" (Ps. 25"). That he hath gathered them 
like grain to the threshing-floor] This is the content of the plan 

* Gressmann s attempt (Escfalologie, 177 ft.) to retain these verses as Micah s involves too 
much of unproved hypothesis and docs not carry conviction even to those in sympathy with 
his general contention, e. g. Stk. Das assyrische Wellreich, 132. 

4"- 99 

in question. Threshing is a favourite simile with the prophets: 
cf. Am. i 3 2 K. i 3 7 Hb. 3 12 Je. si 33 Is. 2i 10 4 i 15 . 

Str. II promises Israel complete victory over the nations as 
sembled to humiliate her. 13. A rise and thresh, O daughter of 
Zion] The prophet s national pride finds expression in this repre 
sentation of Israel as the agent of Yahweh in crushing the arrogant 
foes. For thy horn I will make iron and thy hoofs bronze] Israel 
is addressed as "the ox which treadeth out the grain" (Dt. 25* 
Ho. io n ). The reference to horns here is foreign to the figure of 
the threshing-floor, and introduces a new element into the picture 
that of the angry ox goring the foe; cf. i K. 22" Dt. 33". And 
thou shalt crush many peoples] The verb here means to pulver 
ise, to reduce to fine dust ; hence practical annihilation of the 
nations is here contemplated. And thou shalt devote to Yahweh 
their spoil\ Not the booty taken by them from others,* but the 
prey taken from them by Israel. There is no sharp distinction be 
tween the spoil of this line and the parallel wealth of the follow 
ing line. This is all to be placed under the ban, i. e. everything 
combustible is to be burned, and the non-combustibles, silver, 
gold, etc., are to be presented to the treasury of the temple; cf. 
Jos. 6 17 19 - 24 . Other instances of the ban are found in Ex. 22 19 
Dt. I3 8 - 18 Ju. i 17 i S. 15. And their wealth to the Lord of the 
whole earth] This title as applied to Yahweh is found only here, 
in the late passages Zc. 4" 6 5 Ps. gf, and in Jos. 3"- 13 (J), where 
it is generally conceded to be interpolated;! cf. Dt. io 14 . The 
ill-gotten gain of the nations is to be given to the God of the 
world, to whom it rightfully belongs. 

11. onDN.-i] Prtc. with art. after indeterminate noun is equiv. to an 
attributive clause; Ko. * m d . rnm] On fern. sg. of vb. with subj. in pi. 
(not dual, as in Ges.* n , and K6. * 7 ), cf. Ges. * " k . 12 . -PC;] Not 
specifically sheaves, but the grain in the swath; v. BDB. and cf. the 
renderings of the Vrss. here. nrn] Baer, incorrectly, -"U"^; Ges.* 901 . 
13. v y>Tn] On pointing, cf. v. 10 . rininn] Old ad pers. sg. fern. end. 
\T_, which occurs in several cases, e. g. in pron. ^rm; always in form 
of vb. before pronominal suffixes; in corresponding pron. of Assy., atti; 

* Contra Now., Marti. 

t So e. g. Carpenter and Battersby, Holzinger, Addis, Kent Dillmann (?); contra Steuer- 

loo MICAH 

in the verbal end. ti in An, Syr., and sporadically in Aram.. Other in 
stances of <n with vb. in Heb. are Je. 2 33 3 - 5 3i 21 46" Jd. 3 - Ez. i6 18 - 18 - 
n. 31. st. 43. 47. BI ? where the Mas. recognised it as 2d pers. and so pointed 
^n; and Je. a 20 Ez. i6 50 where it was mistaken for ist pers.. So jnN 
y-iN i] Cf. TIN) D^C ^ njp, Gn. 14"; and the Ranal Inscr., which men 
tions "the Lord (Baal) of heaven and earth." 

ii. A Call to Mourning (4"). 

A fragment of an oracle dealing with some siege of Jerusalem, 
perhaps that of Sennacherib, or that of Nebuchadrezzar, or some 
one unknown. It seems to reflect an actual historical situation, 
rather than a prophet s vision of the last days. But the material is 
too scant to furnish a basis for assignment to any specific date. Its 
closest connection is with w. 9 - 10 and it may have belonged orig 
inally after v. 9 or as a marginal note on v. 10 (so Marti). It has 
been generally recognised that no connection exists with what pre 
cedes, as is shown by the absence of 1 from before jiny and by the 
totally different thought conveyed. HaleVy places it after 6 12 , but 
no real connection is thereby attained. 

14. nvu na n-unn] Rd., with We., n-ijnn runn, or vice versa; so 
Now., Marti, Siev., Gu., Du., Hpt.. <& ipQpaxfrfrrertu dvy&Tijp inQpay/u?, 
mistaking the ad n for n; cf. van H., TU n*3 n^nn. 2 w8irJj<rovffl <rc 
0V/ ffwexo^vrj. H vastaberis filia latronis. & thou shall go forth in a 
troop, O daughter of troops. oe>] Rd., with g> B 21, -iDtf; so Taylor, 
Pont, Now., Marti, Gu.. S 4r40^. Hal. rir. Ro. o^j cf. Ry. p.82. 
\3"] Hal. >sn. -JD^] C6 rAs iriJXas. & shepherd, perhaps = 03^. Cod. 
548 (de R.) >apy; so Dathe, Gr.. Van H. <Ba, foil. (g. Hpt. opeb. 

14. TVoTe; //tow ar/ cutting thyself severely] Zion is addressed, 
not Babylon nor Assyria. Cutting of one s flesh was an element in 
the old Semitic mourning-cult and was long retained by the Israel 
ites; Dt. I4 1 . It was resorted to also as an act of worship and en 
treaty in cases of dire necessity; cf. i K. i8 28 .* The usual render 
ing of m is, "Now, thou shalt gather in troops, O daughter of 

* Hpt. denies the religious significance of the act of cutting oneself in mourning and declares 
it a symbolical perpetuation of the early custom in accordance with which mourners scratched 
themselves till the blood ran in order to show their grief. But on this supposition the prohibi 
tion in Dt. 14 Lv. ig 28 2i s is hard to account for. Nor can the custom be dissociated from such 
practices as appear in i K. i8 28 . 

troops," referring to the assembling of Zion s army to resist the as 
sault about to be made. But Je. 5 7 offers the only case where 
TTUnn must mean "assemble," and there it is far better to follow <$ 
/careXvov and read -TnurP, make themselves at home* This ref 
erence to a practice forbidden by the Deuteronomic law may point 
to an early date before the religious consciousness of Israel had 
branded the custom as heathenish, or it may be due to the fact that 
the prophet is merely describing what is actually taking place, and 
neither commanding nor approving it. A siege they lay against 
us] The prophet now identifies himself with his suffering people. 
The plural IDt^ is required by the corresponding 13\ A similar 
situation is depicted in Is. i 7 - 8 . With a rod they smite upon the 
cheek the ruler of Israel] The pun upon tasty and B31P is clear, the 
former being used rather than "j^D or ^tPD to make the parono 
masia; cf. Am. 2 3 . Such treatment was grossly insulting; cf. i K. 
22 24 Jb. i6 10 . It may refer to the insults heaped upon Hezekiah 
(Is. 36 4 " 20 ) by Sennacherib s general, or to the fact that the arro 
gance of the foe was an insult to Israel s greater king, Yahweh. 

12. The Messianic King (s 1 " 3 ). 

This eight-line str., secured by omitting v. 2 as a gloss, an 
nounces the coming of the Messiah, sprung from an ancient line, 
who shall rule as Yahweh s representative and in his might over 
the entire world. 

^ND thou, Beth Ephrathah, 

The least among the clans of Judah, 

From thee one will come forth for me, 

Who will be ruler over Israel, 

Whose origins are from of old, from ancient days. 

And he will stand and shepherd (his flock) in the strength of Yahweh, 

In the majesty of the name of Yahweh, his God; 

For now he will be great unto the ends of the earth. 

The trimeter movement of this str. is somewhat uneven; 1. 3 forms a 
light trimeter while 11. 5 and 8 are extremely heavy. The reconstruction 
includes the omission of a word each from 11. i, 2, and 8 (v. i.), in addi 
tion to the excision of v. . The arrangement in pentameters by Siev. 
includes all of these omissions except that in 1. 8, but likewise finds it 
* So e. g. Gie., Du., Cor., Dr.. 


necessary to suppose the loss of three words from v. 8 . V. 2 is om. by 
Du. (on Is. 7 14 ), G. H. Skipwith (JQR. VI, 584); Now., F. Ladame, 
Marti, Siev., Gu., Hpt.. It interrupts the connection between w. l and , 
and changes from the first person of v. l (ty to the third in v. 2 (njni), 
where Yahweh is evidently intended. 

The date of vv. l - 8 cannot be decisively settled. The attitude of re 
spect for the ancient Davidic dynasty and the largeness of the Messianic 
expectation make it reasonably certain that the oracle must be assigned 
somewhere in the postexilic age. The period of Haggai and Zechariah 
when Messianic hopes were gathering around the name of Zerubbabei 
furnishes the kind of background necessary to such an utterance as this. 
On v. s , v. i.. 

1. nrnoN on 1 ? r"3] Om. cnV as a gloss; so cod. 161 (Kenn.), Ro., 
Pont, We., GASm., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Gu., Du., Hpt.. <g 
of/cos E0/>d0a. Mt. 2 8 Be0Xeju, 777 Ioua. Comp. ofaoj rod 
rov Eu0pd0a. "p; i;] Rd., with Hi., *v;;*n; cf. (& dXiyovrbs el; 
so Ro., Taylor, Font, We., Kosters, GASm., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, 
Siev., Gu., Du., Hpt.. Twenty-one mss. cited by HP., together with 
A, U, Mt. 2 8 , Justin Martyr and Chrysostom, introduce a negative 
before *. nrnS] Om., as dittog. from 1. 4, with U, Mt. 2; so Hi., Che., 
Taylor, Pont, We., Kosters, Gr., GASm., Now., Marti, Siev., Gu., Du., 
Hpt.. nvnS x is poor Heb. ; the correct form would be TIE x. >S] &> and 
Mt. 2 8 om.; so Stk.. SE>D nvnV] <& A ^yov/j-evos rov elvat ets Apxovra. 
Mt. 2 renders the last part of verse loosely; from thee shall come forth 
a leader who shall shepherd my people Israel. 2 . DJ.-P] u> has vb. in 3d 
pers. pi.; A in 2d pers. sg. fern.. vnx] (5 SI A, pi. sf.. S;-] We., 
Now., Marti, Stk., Hpt. SN. 3. n;n] (g has a doublet, fyercu ical iroi- 
fjiavei rb irot/j-viov o^roO. Gr., GASm., Siev., Gu., foil. 05, add an obj., 
e. g. i-nv, pNjn] <S = jwm vnSs] <g has pi. sf.. iatBi] Om. as a 
gloss, or as a dittog. from paw in v. 2 . <B virdp^ov<riv ) connecting with 
v. 3 * and omit, i; so Taylor, Pont, who read vb. as in HJ. 3T conver- 
tentur; so 21. One ms. e 5 ;; 3 mss. uv^>i. Ro. WB?V. Siev., Stk., 
and Gu. suppose the loss of some word or phrase modifying m", e. g. 
119.3. SiJ>] (8 pi.. Siev. supposes the loss of the subj., or of an adv.. 

1. And thoUy Beth Ephrathah] M reads, "Bethlehem Ephra- 
thah"; but "Bethlehem" is a gloss as is shown by <g s rendering 
and by the metre. The identification with Bethlehem is, however, 
correct as appears from the reference to Judah in the following line, 
from the evident allusion of v. * to the Davidic dynasty which sprang 
from Bethlehem, and from the way in which Bethlehem and Eph 
rathah are associated in other passages. The family of David were 
Ephrathites of Bethlehem Judah (i S. i7 12 ); Mahlon and Chilion 

5 l I0 3 

are likewise classified (Ru. i 2 ) ; Ephrathah and Bethlehem are par^ 
allel terms in Ru. 4"; (g s version of Jos. i5 59 , which is generally 
conceded to represent the original text, identifies Ephrathah and 
Bethlehem; while i Ch. 2 19 - 50 4 4 enumerates Bethlehem in a list of 
Judean towns associated with Caleb and Ephrathah. The only 
evidence at variance with these facts is furnished by Gn. 35 16 - 19 
48 7 1 S. io 2 ; in Gn. 35 19 48 7 Ephrathah is identified with Bethlehem 
as above, but from Gn. 35 18 and i S. io 2 it appears that the Ephra 
thah in question, which was the burial-place of Rachel, was near 
Bethel and was in the border of Benjamin. Hence we are forced 
to conclude that there were at least two places named Ephrathah, 
one in Benjamin and one in Judah, and that the phrase "that is 
Bethlehem" in Gn. 35 48 is a gloss due to some reader who con 
fused the two places.* The Ephrathah of our text seems to have 
been the name of a larger district within which Bethlehem was situ 
ated, or of the clan to which Bethlehem belonged. On the basis 
of the existence of an Ephrathah in Benjamin, Oort endeavoured 
to show that this prophecy had to do with that site and was in 
tended to announce the coming of the Messianic kingdom through 
the restoration of the downfallen dynasty of Saul,f but upon the ex 
posure of the weakness of this proposition by Kue.,{ Oort himself 
abandoned it. The least among the thousands of Judah] The 
only possible rendering of 4U is, "little to be among the thousands 
of Judah," i. e. so small that one would hardly have expected to 
find thee in the number. But grammar and metre combine to 
recommend the corrected text. The word rendered clans is of 
somewhat doubtful significance as applied to Beth Ephrathah. 
It ordinarily designates, aside from its strictly numerical usage, 
either a band of one thousand men under a common leader, or a 
family. Here and in i S. 23 23 it has either the latter meaning, or 
else denotes the region or district occupied by an C|7S. It may re 
fer to Ephrathah as the seat of the Davidic clan, which at the time 
this was written seems to have been reduced to its lowest terms. 
But in contrast with the present low estate of the family, from thee 
one will come forth for me who shall be ruler over Israel] This im- 

* So e. g. Dillmann, Stk., Dr., Addis, Gunkel, Holzinger, Carpenter and Battershy. 

t ThT. V, 501-512. t ThT. VI, 45-66. TkT. VI, 273-279. 


plies that at the time of its utterance there was no king over Israel 
and thus indicates the late origin of this passage For me, i. e. in 
accordance with my purpose and as a result of my plans; the 
speaker is Yahweh. Whose origins are from of old, from ancient 
days] i. e. he will belong to one of the oldest families, viz. the 
Davidic; cf. Ez. 34^ f - 37 * f - Ho. 3 5 . The phrase "from ancient 
days" (D^IJ? ^D) is of indefinite scope, but is undoubtedly in 
tended to convey the impression of great antiquity; cf. Am. Q U 
Mai. 3 4 .* 2. Therefore will he give them up until the time when 
she who is to give birth shall have borne] The connection of this 
gloss with the preceding verse is very loose. The thought seems 
to be thus: since Yahweh is going to raise up a mighty king for 
Israel in his own good time, it is clear that the present oppression 
and suffering are only transitory and will come to an end when the 
Messiah is born. The change from the first person of v. * ("for 
me") to the third person here is awkward; the failure to define the 
subject is striking; and the lack of any mention of the antecedents 
of the pronoun "them" is confusing. The treatment of v. 2 as a 
marginal note best accounts for these facts. The statement con 
cerning the expected birth is evidently an allusion to Is. 7" and 
comes from a time when that prophecy was being given Messianic 
significance. This would point to an age long after the days of 
Isaiah.f And the rest of his brethren will return unto the sons of 
Israel] The only proper antecedent for "his" is the promised 
Messiah. The exile is evidently presupposed, but the exact mean 
ing of the phrase "the rest of his brethren" eludes us. Probably 

* An interesting analogy is furnished by t ne "Messianic" passage of Leiden Papyrus, No. 
344 [v. A. H. Gardiner, Admonitions o] an Egyptian Sage (1009)], where the "Messiah" is ap 
parently represented as a reincarnation of the god Re and thus can be spoken of as a contempo 
rary of the first generation of mankind; c}. JMPS. on Semitic Prophecy, BW. XXXV (1910), 

t Stk. s attempt to maintain Micah s authorship of this passage involves a mythological in 
terpretation of the Messiah as the Urmensch, the "days of old " as the age of Paradise, and " the 
one who is to bear " as the mother of the gods (both here and in Is. 7) all of which seems far 
fetched and fanciful. Much more plausible is the interpretation in the form offered by Gress- 
mann (Eschatologie, 270 #.) and Burney (Journal of Theol. Studies, X, 580-4), which is to the 
effect that this prophecy as well as Isaiah s Immanuel oracle rested upon a popular expectation 
of the advent of a Messianic ruler whose birth should be signalised by some remarkable portent. 
This passage refers to three phases of the expectation, viz. (i) that the Messiah will be of divine 
origin having existed in reality or in the mind of God from time immemorial; (2) that whether 
his fatherhood be human or divine he is to be born of a woman; and (3) that his birth will usher 
in a new age of peace and prosperity. 

.2. 3 

5 I0 5 

We. is right in seeing in it an allusion to the Shear Jashub of Is. f. 
Perhaps the prophet has in mind the return of all the exiles and 
their reunion with those who had not been carried away; or again, 
he may look forward to the reunion of Israel and Judah in the 
Messianic age; cf. Ho. 3 5 Is. n 13 f - Ez. i6 K - 81 Zc. 8 13 . 3. And lie 
will stand and shepherd (his flock) in the strength of Yahweh, in 
the majesty of the name of Yahweh, his God] The thought of v. * 
is here continued. "Stand" is probably used in the sense of 
"stand firm, steadfast, invincible." His power will emanate, not 
from the nation over whom he rules, but from God himself. The 
words "his flock" are not expressed in the Hebrew but are im 
plied in the verb used. And they will endure] This verb, found 
in JH, seems to be due to a copyist s error, for it is redundant in the 
metre and, as it stands, yields no satisfactory sense. It is com 
monly explained as meaning "dwell in safety," but the verb alone 
never has that meaning. The rendering here adopted is the least 
difficult; but it is doubtful, since in Ps. 125* Jo. 4 , the two pas 
sages cited in support of it (BDB.), the meaning "abide," "endure," 
is conveyed rather by the modifying phrase uhtyh than by the verb 
itself. The elimination of this word takes away all occasion for 
Duhm s transposition of v. 3b to follow v. 2 as a continuation of the 
gloss. For now he will be great unto the ends of the earth] Ac 
cording to M this clause furnishes the reason for the security of 
Israel, viz. the universal acknowledgment of the power of the 
Messiah. According to the text as here presented, it gives a con 
vincing illustration of the effect of Yahweh s strength as revealed 
in the Messiah. 

1. nrnas] n loc. with old fern, ending, Ges. * ; cf. nrn& , n vT^, 
etc.. ON with this spelling occurs also in Ru. 4" Gn. 35 18 - 48 Ps. 132* 
i Ch. 2 M - 80 4* Jos. 15" (&; but without n _ in Gn. 48 7 1 Ch. 2 19 . Hence 
it is better to retain n in Mi. 5 and to regard loss of n from before ;* as 
due to haplo.. Fr. Schulthess, ZAW. XXX, 62 /., following = 
apharld, would preserve M intact here, and treat is as epitheton or nans > 
related to the Aram. IO?K and Assy, apparu which mean pasture- 
land, marsh/ But the character of the region around Bethlehem does 
not warrant the application of such an epithet, nor can one clear case of 
the use of this word as an appellative be cited from either Heb., Ar., Syr., 
Aram, or Assy.. It is equally true, of course, as Schulthess points out, 

106 MICAH 

that nothing is known elsewhere of a Beth-Ephrathah, yet the formation 
of names with Beth is one of the most common. "vj?*] Position in 
sentence is against this being in predicate relation to nns; better as an 
appositive. On the adj. with art. as having superlative force, Ges. * 133g . 
The masc. form is no indication that Bethlehem is used as representing 
its people and not as designating a place, for town-names with no not in 
frequently take the masc. instead of the fern.; Ko. * 248 - 249c - f . Nor is it 
true that x applies only to persons (Hal.); cf. Dn. 8 9 (of a horn), Je. 
49 20 (of sheep), and the place-name, n-pyx, 2 K. 8". SCID nvnS NX*] It 
is difficult to make a nS the subj. of N^ (Now., Marti); it is better to 
assign an indefinite subj. and treat n *? as expressing purpose, i. e. "one 
will come forth to become ruler"; on indef. subj., Ges. * 144d ; on S with 
inf. to express purpose, Ges. * 114 . vmssic] air. in this sense; butcf. 
Assy, musfi,, used e. g. of the sources of the Tigris. A nominal clause 
with relative force; cf. Ko. %P. 2. ojrn] For meaning "deliver up," 
cf. Ju. 2o 13 i S. ii 12 and BDB. 6jgb. mSv n> % ] A noun in cstr. rel. 
with a sentence, equivalent to a noun limited by a temporal clause; 
cf. Ges. i 130 d. us i._ mS^] Fut. pf.; Dr. *" Ges. J 10 Ko J 129 . SJT] = 
Ss; c/. BDB. 757a; it is unnecessary to change the text. The meaning 
"along with," "together with," which some prefer here (e. g. BDB.), is 
usually found only where S; % connects closely with a noun (e. g. hy_ DK 
D^ja, Gn. 32 12 ), not where it governs a phrase modifying a vb. as here 
(so Now.). n;m] Not uncommonly used fig. of the activity of a ruler; 
but only here without an obj. expressed. Assy, reu commonly means 
"to rule, reign," and ~\ here seems to have that force. nr>] Used of 
fut. time as in 4 7 . 

13. Israel s Protection against Invasion (5 4 - 5 ). 

A ten-line str., the three closing lines of which are almost identi 
cal with its three opening lines. When the invader sets foot upon 
Israelitish soil there will be no lack of valiant leaders to repel him 
and to carry the war into his own territory. In contrast with 
the present defenceless, helpless condition, the Israel of the com 
ing golden age will be adequately equipped to defend her own 

A ND this will be our protection from Assyria: 
When he comes into our land, 
And when he treads upon our soil, 
Then we will raise up against him seven shepherds 
Yea, eight princes of men, 
And they will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, 

s . 107 

And the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword. 

And they will rescue from Assyria, 

When he comes into our land, 

And when he treads upon our border. 

The metre of this str. is irregular; 11. i, 4 and 6 are in tetrameter, the 
rest in trimeter, though 2 and 9 might be classified as dimeters. L. 6 
may have been originally a trimeter, VINTIN having come in by error 
from the foil, line; cf. <&. Siev. s attempt to secure four seven-tone 
lines here involves the omission of the last three words of 1. i and the 
insertion of the subj. after N:T in 1. 2. 

These verses are assigned to Micah by some modern scholars, e. g. 
Volz, GASm., and the specific mention of Assyria seems to settle the 
question. But the name Assyria is used by later writers, as the name 
of Israel s first great foreign oppressor, to designate typically later peo 
ples, e. g. Babylon (La. $), Persia (Ezr. 6), Syria (Zc. 10" Is. 27" < n 
Ps. 83 1?) ). The name Assyria clung to the territory long after the fall 
of Nineveh; cf. the Talmud s name for the Aram, script employed 
throughout the regions formerly controlled by Assyria, viz. nitt N aro; 
and Hdt. VII, 63, where the names Assyria and Syria are declared to be 
synonymous; v. Buhl, Kanon u. Text, 201. In some such way Assyria is 
used here. For it is hardly conceivable that Micah could have spoken 
of the Assyria of his day in the terms employed in v. B . Nor is the con 
fident, warlike spirit at all compatible with Micah s attitude toward the 
future and to Assyria in chs. 1-3. The verses seem to reflect later times 
when the Apocalyptists painted glowing pictures of the future with little 
reference to present conditions or to the possibility, from a human stand 
point, of their ever being realised. Until we know more of historical 
conditions in Judah during the postexilic period than is now accessible, 
we need not follow Marti and Gu. in assigning this passage to the Macca- 
baean age, with which it has no necessary connection, even though the 
reference of the "seven or eight princes" to Mattathias with his five 
sons and grandsons is alluring [so Hpt. Transactions of the Third Inter 
national Congress for the History of Religions, I (1908), 268]. In any 
case it is quite clear that vv. 4 - 5 do not belong with vv. - J ; for the Mes 
siah who is the dominant figure there is ignored here. Instead of the 
one great leader, there are here seven or eight, and these are not raised 
up by the Messiah but by the populace. Moreover, whereas in v. * the 
rule of the Messiah is to extend unbroken to the ends of the earth, here 
we find "Assyria" invading the territory of Israel. The point of view 
is thus distinctly different from that in w. - 3 . Cf. van H., who treats 
vv. 4 - 5 as a gloss; and Du. who considers vv. 4b - 5 a gloss upon the word 
"Assyria" in v. 5b , while w. 4 *- 6b form a four-line str. belonging to 5 1 - . 

4. nr] & om.. DiS^ ] Schnurrer, DiW; so Laufer, Gautier. Siev. 
D->Sc : . Siev. and Gu. eliminate the phrase ON /( ?v nr, as a superscription 
which has been mistakenly incorporated in the body of the poem. 

108 MICAH 

Rd. "watac, the loss of D from 4H being due to haplo.. For 
JD oV?tf = protection from, v, Zc. 8 10 Jb. 21". Taylor tr. to foil. >o% re 
garding the position in IE as due to influence of the order in v. B ; cf. 
Siev. s insertion of -na>N in the same place mtr. cs.. umio] <g ad pi. 
masc. sf. and in v. 6 . ^mjc-ua . Rd. UPD?, foil. <& tirl r^v xupav 
\>tiC)v t so Ro., Ry., Pont, Elh., Gu., Now., 6ort Em -, Hal., Siev., Hpt.. 
We., GASm. ySuja, as in v. . ucpn] < tirypd-/)<rorrai = -ICP?. ^Dj] 
(& 5-fafjMra, connecting it with ^rj, to bite. DIN] Gr. HDIN. 5. \y~\\\ Gr. 
ijnj. "IWM VIN nN ] $ T ^ y Aaaoi/j. rmpua] Rd. nrppsa; so Taylor, 
Pont,Now.,vanH.,Du.,Hpt.. <S ^" rfj Tdfipip afary*. V in lancets e jus; so 
Aq. E . n Aw -wrath. Ro. rpryrijs. Gr. and Marti, n>pirvpp3. Hi. 
mn^fla; so Elh., Gu., Oort Em -, Marti. S>xm] Rd. -iWrn; so Elh., Gu., 
Now., Siev.. Ro. *?>?n\ Oort Em - u^snS. Hal. Sxn\ We. ij-i 1 ?^ni (so 
Marti), or ijS^ni. J. Herrmann, in OLZ. XIV (191 1), 203, suggests that 
v. 6 b , ui *?>xm, was a true correction of v. , which should read DiStP nr n>m 
ui liB Ng Sixni. The correction was placed on the margin alongside 
of the error and finally came into the text in the wrong place. This 
is plausible; but the use of DiSa* is difficult and the Messiah seems su 
perfluous alongside of the "princes of men." 

4. And this will be the protection from Assyria] iJI is usually 
rendered, "and such shall be our peace. Assyria, etc"; but the 
connection thereby established is very harsh and abrupt. By 
some, the first words are connected with w. 1-3 and rendered, " and 
such an one shall be our peace." * But the description of the 
Messiah as abstract peace is unusual. The translation here 
adopted furnishes an admirable sense in this connection and in 
volves only the slightest textual change. This refers to the fol 
lowing, not the preceding context. Assyria stands as representa 
tive of the great world-tyrant of the time, whether Babylon, Persia, 
or Syria (v. s.}. When he comes into our land, and when he treads 
upon our soil] The invasion is not conceived of as a remote possi 
bility, but rather as an event likely to occur and therefore needing 
to be reckoned with. Seven shepherds, yea eight princes of men] 
This collocation of two numbers, the second being greater than the 
first by a unit, is employed to express the idea of indefiniteness; cf. 
H. AH , 2 1 .f The supply of leaders will be equal to all demands that 

* So Kl., Ro., Or.. The application of nr to the Messiah began with KL 

t The view of Gressmann, Eschat. 284, that seven and eight are to be added together yield 

ing fifteen, which is the number of Ishtar (KA T. , 454) the goddess-mother of the Messiah, can 

only be counted among the curiosities of the history of interpretation. 

5 4 5 I0 9 

may be made. Shepherds and princes of men are equivalent terms, 
both designating military leaders; cf. Jos. i3 21 . 6. And they will 
shepherd] i. e. in sensu malo, exercise punitive power over her. 
The land of A ssyria and the land of Nimrod] Nimrod " is chosen 
as a synonym for "Assyria," perhaps, because of its suggestion of 
the root marad, "to rebel." The only other references to Nimrod 
(Gn. lo 8 " 11 1 Ch. i 16 ) show that the whole Babylonian-Assyrian em 
pire was classified as the territory of Nimrod, the founder of Baby 
lon. And they will rescue from Assyria] m "he will rescue," 
referring to the Messiah of vv. 1-3 ; but this ignores all the interven 
ing context. Van H. s solution of the difficulty by dropping this 
context as a later addition is too drastic treatment. The whole 
progress of thought here requires the plural. 

4. nr] Eerdmans, ThT. XLI (1907), 502, would give nr here the 
meaning of Ar. dzu, lord of; but this rendering is necessary nowhere else, 
not even in Ju. 5 s ; nor does it belong to the Syr., Aram., and Eth. equiv 
alents. imiJDiN] is hardly appropriate here. The prophet is pictur 
ing a condition when the enemy will never be permitted to do more than 
cross the border; entrance of the palaces is out of the question; cf. v. 5 
and <g g>. DIN -o Dj] i. e. "princely men"; cf. Pr. 152 N ^Dp, "a foolish 
man"; cf. Ges. UMI._ 5. rnnpc] i. e. "in its entrances," establishing a 
blockade; or "in its passes," pursuing the fugitives to their mountain 
fastnesses. But the parall. calls for a weapon; hence it is better to 
read some form of nrrrs, drawn sword, as suggested by Aq. E and B. 

14. The Divine Emergence and Irresistible Might of tJie 
Remnant ($*-*). 

Two strs. of six lines each, in trimeter movement, set forth the 
glory of the remnant, as exhibited in its marvellous rise to power 
and in its victorious career. V. 8 is a marginal note on v. 7 (v. i.). 
Str. I likens the emergence of the remnant, from among the nations 
whither Israel has been scattered, to the silently falling dew and to 
the showers which enable the grass to grow independently of 
human aid. Str. II presents the remnant under the figure of a 
roaring lion, ravaging defenceless flocks of sheep with none to say 
him nay. 


A ND the remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, 

In the midst of many peoples, 

Like the dew from Yahweh, 

Like the showers upon the herbage, 

Which waits not for man, 

Nor tarries for the children of men. 
V"EA, the remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, 

In the midst of many peoples, 

Like the lion among the beasts of the forest, 

Like the young lion among the flocks of sheep, 

Who, if he pass over, 

Tramples and tears, with none to deliver. 

This piece is quite generally denied to Micah. In contrast to the 
prophecy of the eighth century, its interests are not in the present but 
exclusively in the future. The diaspora is a familiar idea and has at 
tained wide extent. The remnant is no longer the weak handful of 
Isaiah, but is endowed with invincible might, none can stand before it. 
There is no connection between this passage and vv. < 6 ; there Israel 
occupies its own territory whence it repels the invader; here Israel is 
scattered among the nations of the world. Nor does it connect with the 
following context; for while Israel is the victorious avenger over the 
nations here, in vv. 9 B - Israel becomes the victim of Yahweh s punitive 
wrath. This passage thus, like vv. 4 - 6 , is a fragment entirely indepen 
dent of the surrounding context. Not only so, but v. 8 is very loosely 
connected with vv. 6 - 7 , and is best considered as a marg. n. on v. 7 (so 
Siev., Gu., Hpt.); v. i.. Cf. Du. who puts 5 8 between 4 13i and 4 1Sb . 
Some also would separate v. 7 from v. 6 , on the basis that the two verses 
present diametrically opposite aspects of Israel s activity; so Ladame, 
Hal., Stk.; but this is dependent upon the interpretation given to v. 8 ; v. .. 

The symmetry of form between v. 6 and v. 7 is noticeable; the first two 
lines of each are identical, the third and fourth contain similes in both 
cases, and the fifth and sixth a relative clause. It results from this that 
the series of consonants opening the successive lines is the same in both 
strs., viz. 3 ,3 ,3 ,N ,1 ,v Such resemblance may, of course, be due to 
identity of authorship, or to imitation, though the latter is less likely than 
the former. 

It is difficult to fix the time of the origin of this section within any nar 
row limits. The only certain basis for a date is furnished by the extent 
of the diaspora herein reflected and the idea of the remnant that dom 
inates the whole passage. The wide scattering of Israel "among the 
nations, in the midst of many peoples" would seem to call for a date after 
the fall of Jerusalem in 586; while the conception of the irresistible might 
of the remnant as the representative of God among the peoples points to 
a time later than Deutero-Isaiah and the return from captivity. The 
only terminus ad quern available is furnished by the close of the prophetic 

5 - 8 in 

canon. But there is nothing in the content of the passage that makes it 
necessary to come down so far for the origin of this prophecy. It might 
well belong to the middle or latter part of the Persian period. 

6. apy] Add oyj?, with (gg>, cod. Kenn. 154 and v. 7 ; so Ro., Elh., 
Pont, Gu., Now., Siev., van H.. Oort Env - adds D^jn -pro. r -\ y :np2] 
Siev. om. here (so Stk.) and in v. 7 mtr. cs., as a gloss. a^onj] <& o>s 
Apves. All Vrss. and many Heb. mss. prefix t here and before voaa in 
v. 7 . mp\] (& ffwaxQy = nvj\ DIN ^sS] Siev. om. mtr. cs.. 7. ~\r] 
of the flock. m;-a] g> sg.. 8. D-o] Rd. a-n, with (g; so We., Now., 
Oort Km -, Marti, Siev.(?); cf. 35 codd. (Kenn.) ann. Hal. a^n. 

Str. I expresses the conviction that Yahweh himself will bring 
Israel, to her rightful place of power. 6. And the remnant of 
Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples] 
" Jacob" is used as representing the people of Yahweh as a whole, 
not those of northern Israel, nor those of Judah merely. The 
exile and scattering of the people are presupposed either as an ex 
isting fact, or as conceived of in the prophet s mind; the former is 
the more natural interpretation; v. s.. The use of the term " rem 
nant" is parallel to that in 4*, another late passage. Like the dew 
from Yahweh, like the showers upon the herbage} Opinions vary 
as to the exact point of the comparison here. Is it in the sud 
denness of the fall of the dew? Just so suddenly shall Israel fall 
upon its foes and smite them.* This furnishes a sense in harmony 
with the unmistakable meaning of v. 7 . Or is it that Israel in the 
Messianic age will be as innumerable as the drops of dew and 
rain ? j* Or again, is it found in the refreshing influence of the dew 
to which Israel s moral and religious influence among the nations 
is parallel ? { This, however, yields a sense for v. 6 entity at 
variance with that of v. 7 , for Israel which is here a blessing is 
clearly there an agent of destruction. Or yet again, is it in the 
divine origin of the dew and rain, which are wholly independent 
of human aid ? So will be Israel s rise to power over the nations. 
Or finally, must we confess our inability to discover the meaning ? ** 
The key to the meaning of the simile seems to be given by the fol 
lowing clause, viz. which waits not for man, nor tarries for the chil 
dren of men] The antecedent of the pronoun is not the dew nor 

* So Hi.. t So Now., Hpt.. J So Stk.. 

S So e. g. Casp., Ke., Now., Marti, Hpt.. ** So We.. 

112 MICAH 

the rain,* but the herbagef (v. i.}. The force of the comparison 
thus appears to be that just as the dew and rain falling upon the 
grass cause it to grow and render it independent of human irriga 
tion, so through the favour and might of Yahweh the remnant of 
Israel among the nations will rise to power, notwithstanding the 
absence of all human help. Israel s future depends solely upon 

Str. II goes on to say that this divinely produced remnant will 
overthrow all opposition. 7. Like the lion among the beasts of the 
forest> the young lion among the flocks of sheep] Wild beasts and 
domestic animals alike are defenceless before the lion; so will Is 
rael s power be supreme among the nations. Who, whenever he 
passes through, tramples and rends, with none to deliver] A pic 
ture of wanton destruction on the one hand, and utter defenceless- 
ness on the other. The two strs. thus interpreted fit together ex 
cellently, the second taking up the description where the first drops 
it. There is not the slightest necessity for segregating v. 7 . Fired 
by this vision of triumph, some reader added the patriotic and 
pious comment constituting v. 8. Thy hand will be high above 
thine enemies and all thy foes will be cut off} iH s "may thy hand, 
etc." is improbable, since what is declared to be an assured fact 
in v. 7 would hardly be prayed for in v. 8 , unless the latter were 
wholly unrelated to the former. Interpreters have always differed 
as to the person addressed, some holding it to be Yahweh,J others 
the remnant. The biblical usage of such phraseology as "thy 
hand is high" may be cited for either interpretation; cf. Is. 26" 
Ps. 89" Nu. 33 s Dt. 32" Ex. i4 8 . But a closer connection with 
v. 7 is obtained by taking the words as addressed to the remnant. 
For similar sentiments, cf. Is. 49^ f - 6o 12 Zc. 14" f - Ps. i49 e f \ 

6. r.nNty] Treated as masc. (cf. sf. in v. 8 ), since the term is thought 
of as practically identical with nation and people. m,-" tth T.PN] Syn 
tax may be satisfied here in either of four ways, (i) rel. clause with ante 
cedent w;; (2) rel. clause with antecedent Ss , a^an being regarded as 
subordinate or parenthetical; (3) rel. clause with antecedent 0001, but 

* So Ew., Hi., Hd., Ke., Casp., Kl., Or., Now., Marti, el a/.. 

t So Bauer, Theiner, Rosenm., Ro., van H., el al.. 

% So e. g. Mau., Hd.. 

So e. g. Rosenm., Ew., Ke., Kl.. Ro.. Or., Now., Marti. 

S" "3 

number of vb. is determined by zyy the nearest noun; (4) an explanatory 
clause stating the content of the resemblance, viz. "the remnant shall 
be, etc. ... in that it shall not wait, etc."; cf. 05. But (i) yields the 
smoothest structure. 7. 11 -ay DN] Regular form for a condition 
pointing to "any time in the indefinite or more or less remote future," 
Dr. * 138 . 8. Fine chiasm. 

15. Israel s Purification through Chastisement (5 9 ~ 14 ). 

This piece consists of two four-line strs., with an introductory 
prose line (v. 9a ) and two additional verses from the hands of edi 
tors (vv. 13- 14 ). The original piece probably dates from some time 
in the Deuteronomic period. Str. I foretells the destruction of 
the munitions of war in which Israel places confidence instead of 
trusting in Yahweh. Str. II denounces idolatrous practices which 
likewise lead Israel away from Yahweh. 

And it will come to pass in that day, it is the oracle of Yahweh: 
T WILL cut off thy horses from the midst of thee, 
And I will destroy thy chariots. 
And I will cut off the cities of thy land, 
And I will lay waste all thy fortresses. 
A ND I will cut off sorceries from thy hand, 
And thou wilt have no soothsayers: 

And I will cut off thine images and thy pillars from the midst of thee, 
And thou wilt no more bow down to the work of thine own hands. 

The assonance of the poem is noticeable, especially the repetition of 
Ti-oni and the suffix ^. The movement is trimeter except in the last 
two lines where a heavier metre appears. Siev. recognises this change 
in v. 12 , and therefore inserts S;j in v. 12a in order to secure six beats. 
But v. 12b cannot be made over thus, hence it is athetized from vv. 9 - 1J 
and with v. 13 is constituted another fragment. But v. 12b is the climax 
of the poem and the only natural stopping-place. Du. refuses any 
poetic form to vv. 9 - u and prints the entire passage as plain prose. 

That v. has no connection with vv. 9 - 13 has long been recognised; so 
We., Now., Ladame, Siev.. It introduces a wholly new subject, viz. 
Yahweh s vengeance upon the heathen, whereas vv. g - 13 are concerned 
with Israel exclusively. The fact that the vengeance is to be executed 
upon the nations at large points to a relatively late origin. Early proph 
ecy did not contemplate the conversion of the world to Yahweh, hence 
did not denounce the nations for disobedience to him. Its indignation 
was expended upon the particular nation which was oppressing Israel 
at any given time. 

114 MICAH 

The grounds for setting aside v. 13 are no less cogent. V. 13b , as it 
stands in M, is a weak repetition of v. 10a ; and if the common correction 
of T"^ to T 3s y be accepted the case is no better, for 13b then becomes 
superfluous after v. 12 . V. 13a likewise is an editorial insertion, giving 
an additional detail, which has no place after the summary in v. 12 ; any 
thing additional weakens the effect. Hpt., however, athetizes vv. 10 - 12 - 1S 
leaving w. 9 - " 14 as the original material. 

The date of vv. 9 - 12 has been a subject of debate for some years. Sta. 
(ZAW.I, 161-72), Cor. (ZAW. IV, 88/.; Intr. 342), Kosters (ThT. 
XXVII, 249-274), Marti, Bu. Gesch -, 86/., et at., deny the passage, to 
Micah and place it somewhere in the exilic or postexilic periods. Kue. 
(Einl. II, 360-3) and Che. (EB. art. Micah) suppose that it orig 
inated with Micah, but was thoroughly worked over in the postexilic 
age. Many scholars, however, still maintain Micah s authorship; so 
e. g. We., Ry., GASm., Volz, Now., Wildeboer, Ladame, van H., and 
apparently Dr.. 

The argument against an early date is best presented by Marti, viz. 
(i) that the mas^eboth and asherim were not denounced by Hosea and 
Isaiah, nor until the promulgation of Deuteronomy, which shows that 
they were not eliminated by Hezekiah s reform; (2) that the joint con 
demnation of munitions of war and idolatrous practices is a late char 
acteristic, as are also the combination of pesilim and masseboth, and the 
allusion to the existence of fortresses; (3) that parallel passages are of 
later origin, viz. Ho. 2 20 8" 14*; and (4) that the lack of any allusion to 
"high-places" is as easily accounted for on the hypothesis of origin after 
these were all destroyed, as it is on the supposition of origin before the 
movement against them had developed. When to all this is added the 
consideration that weighs as heavily here as in the case of i 7 , viz. that 
a polemic against idolatry lies outside of the range of Micah s thought, 
the argument seems convincing. 

Yet, on the other hand, though Amos, Hosea and Isaiah did not de 
nounce masseboth and asherim specifically, the polemic against images 
was taken up by Hosea (8 4 - 6 io 5 132). Horses and chariots are coupled 
with idolatrous images by Isaiah (2 7 ; cf. 3O 16 31 ), as hostile to complete 
faith in Yahweh as Israel s only defence. Furthermore, the Deutero- 
nomic prohibition of masseboth must have been prepared for by the 
teachings of the preceding prophets. Law is but the codification of an 
already existing sentiment or custom. Finally, the excision of i 7 does 
not necessarily carry with it the dropping of this section, for i 7 clearly 
is in no close relation to its context and carries the stamp of an addition 
even apart from its context. 

On the whole, therefore, it seems probable that 5 9 -" is of late origin ; but 
the possibility must remain open that it is a genuine fragment of Micah 
and represents to us a phase of his teaching not otherwise recorded. 

5 -" "5 

9. ^n-ONm] Siev. adds -Sri, mtr. cs.. 11. D^D^D] (& = T ooa, con 
fusing D and 3; cf. p. 32. TVD] (6 = in>c. 12. Tnusci] = 
/Ay high-places, or a//ar<>; c/. < 6v<ria(TTr)plov in Ho. 3*. npyo] <& pi.. 
13. -p-pi^N] (& the groves = an^N, again confusing 3 and D. & thy 
plants. *inp] (5 //wne enemies, i. e. inx; so also Che., Elh.. Hi. T"W 
(/Ay tamarisks). Krenkel (ZivTh. IX, 275), T?>p. Van H. -px; ( /*> 
/rew). Stei. T.3?; so Kosters, Gr., Gu., Now., Marti, Siev., Du.; cf. 2 
Ch. 24 18 . 14. iji nS "isi N] 06 avfl &v OVK K.T.\. T^ quae non, etc. , so&. 

Str. I threatens Israel with the destruction of every source of 
human confidence and help. 9. And it will come to pass in that 
day, it is the oracle of Yahweh] An introductory statement in prose. 
The last phrase occurs again only in 4 6 , a late passage; it is common 
in Amos. That I will cut of thy horses, etc.] A similar prophecy 
in Zc. 9 10 ; cf. Dt. i; 16 20 1 Ho. i4 4 . 10. And I will cut off the cities 
of thy land and lay waste all thy fortresses] The mention of forti 
fied cities is hardly sufficient warrant for placing the prophecy in 
the Maccabaean age as Marti does; cf. Ho. io 14 Am. 5 Is. if 22 10 
25 12 34 13 2 Ch. n 11 26 9 . Sennacherib (Taylor Cylinder) testifies to 
the large number of cities in Judah ; " but as for Hezekiah of Judah, 
who had not submitted to my yoke, forty-six of his strong walled 
cities, and the smaller cities round about them, without number, 
... I besieged and captured." Though Yahweh will destroy all 
Israel s means of defence, it is not to leave her defenceless; he him 
self will be her strength and shield. But she must be brought to 
realise her absolute dependence upon him. 

Str. II declares that Yahweh will destroy all supposed sources of 
divine help other than himself so that Israel may come to see their 
futility. 11. Sorceries] The exact content of this term is uncer 
tain; it is apparently a general designation of all sorts of magi 
cal rites. Soothsayers] This is an equally obscure word; it 
probably denotes those who practise various arts of divination. 
Both sorcerers and diviners alike totally fail to realise the true and 
only way to communion with God. 12. Thine images and thy 
pillars] Graven images are meant, such as were common in early 
Israel (cf. Ju. if- 4 Ho. n 2 Is. io 10 2i 9 Je. io 14 ), and continued 
in exilic and postexilic times (Is. 30 22 48 5 ), but were prohibited by 
all three codes (Ex. 20* Dt. i2 3 Lv. 26 1 ). The "pillars" were con- 


sccrated stones set up beside altars and at graves or as boundary- 
stones, and originally supposed to serve as the residence of deity; 
cf. Gn. 28 18 3i 13 - 45 35 14 - 20 Ex. 24 4 . They were a common Semitic 
institution, having been found at Gezer, at Petra, in Cyprus, and 
having existed also among Phoenicians and Arabs. They were 
first prohibited by the Deu teronomic Code, Dt. i6 22 ; but remained 
in good standing as legitimate elements in the Yahweh-cultus long 
after in the minds of many; cf. Is. ip 19 - 20 , a late passage. And 
tJwu wilt not bow down any more to the work of thy hands] This 
does away at one stroke with all idolatrous worship of images. 
Notwithstanding the prohibition in the Decalogue, the prophets 
found it necessary to wage unceasing war upon image-cults; cf. 
Ho. i3 2 2 K. 2 3 14 Ez. 8 3 - 5 - 12 Is. 44 9 - 20 . 

To v. 12 has been attached a gloss, or marginal note, supple 
menting the statement there made. 13. And I will uproot thine 
asherim from the midst of thee] The asherah was a sacred wooden 
post that constituted a part of the equipment of the place of 
worship, both among the Canaanites (Ex. 34" Ju. 6 25 ) and the 
Hebrews (2 K. 23** Is. i; 8 ), perhaps taken over by the latter from 
the former. They were forbidden by the Deuteronomic Code 
(Dt. y 5 i2 3 i6 21 ; cf. Ex. 3 4 13 , in a late stratum of J); but, like the 
accompanying "pillars," they survived the prohibition for some 
time (cf. Je. iy 2 Is. 27). The precise nature of their origin and 
function are not yet known. And I will destroy thy cities] This 
adds nothing to v. 10a ; hence it is emended by many to " thine idols," 
but this is vain repetition of v. 12 . In either case, it is more easily 
assigned to a glossator than to the author of vv. 9 " 12 . Taylor recon 
structs vv. 12 - 13 thus: "I will cut off thine images and thy pillars, 
and I will uproot thine asherim from the midst of thee, and thou 
wilt no more bow down to the work of thy hands," omitting the 
last word of 12a , inserting 13a after 12a , and dropping 13b . This 
furnishes good progress of thought and preserves the proper cli 
max, but it destroys the symmetry of Str. II and makes no real 
contribution to its content. 

14. And I will execute vengeance, in anger and wrath, upon the 
nations which have not hearkened] An addition by an editor who 
was unwilling that a prophecy denouncing Israel s idolatry should 


close without a word of condemnation upon the great idolatrous, 
heathen world. The only way of escape for the nations is to sub 
mit themselves to Yahweh and his people, putting away their own 
gods; the failure to do this arouses Yahweh s anger and involves 
their total destruction. Yahweh will be satisfied with nothing less 
than a world-wide kingdom. 

11. D- D ^j] Only here and 2 K. 9" Is. 47 Na. 3*. *PD in Assy. = to 
practice magic ; in Ar. to cut ; cf. Syr. in Ethpe. = to pray (i. e.cut oneself; 
cf. i K. i8 28 ). Zim. (KAT. 3 , 605, 650) maintains that it is a loan-word 
from Assy ; but it is not likely that a word of this kind known in Ar., 
Assy, and Syr. would not be current in Heb., designating as it does 
a common Semitic custom. Furthermore, the vb. occurs in Ex. 22 1T 
which antedates the Assy, period of Heb. history. D^JI]?D] Forbidden 
in Dt. i8 l ; but mentioned in Je. 2y 9 Is. 57". Exact function, and the 
orig mean, of root are unknown; cf. (& d7ro$0e776/z.ej oi; Aq. K\r)8ovi- 
6fj.t>ot; 2, o"r)/j.eio<rKOTr oij/j.evoi; diviners, or necromancers. Cf. Ju. 
9". 13. "P"PS>N] Full writing of _; so also in Dt. 7 5 2 K. ij lt ; cf. UTpr, 
Jos. 9". On relation to the Canaanitish goddess Asirtu or Asratu, 
v. refs. in BDB., HWB. ls and EB. 331. iny] Various meanings have 
been proposed in order to avoid repetition of v. 10a , e. g. enemies (01, Ra. f 
Ki., Cal., Ro.); sacred forests (of Ar. origin; Theiner, Mich.); witnesses, 
used of trees, pillars, etc., as signs of altars (reading n for ~>; so Hi.). 14. 
Dpj . . . \n^; - ] The construction is unusual in that the noun as obj. is 
so far removed from its vb., and is unique in that j r y is followed by PN 
with the ace. of the person upon whom vengeance is executed; i. e. the 
compound expression is treated like the simple vb. opj; cf. Jos. io 13 Lv. 
19". -WN] Better treated as rel. part, with antecedent DMjn than as 
causal part., or as rel. with antecedent cpj, i. e. vengeance such as, etc. 


That these two chapters as they stand could not belong to the 
eighth century B.C. has been generally recognised since the days 
of Ewald. Opinion has been divided however as to the time to 
which they do belong. Ew., followed by many interpreters, as 
signed them to the reign of Manasseh as a product of Micah s old 
age. Recent scholarship has been more inclined to place them in 
the postexilic period. In any case they do not constitute a logical 
unit, but must be interpreted as representing different points of 
view and reflecting varying backgrounds. For detailed discussion 


of these questions reference is made to the Introduction, 2, and 
to the introductory statements at the opening of the various sec 
tions into which the chapters are here analysed. 

16. Yahweh 1 s Controversy with Israel (6 1 " 5 ). 

Four strs. of four trimeter lines each, seek to bring home to the 
conscience of Israel the obligation resting upon her to be loyal to 
Yahweh in return for his great goodness to her. Str. I. Let 
Israel in the presence of the mountains present her case. Str. II. 
Let these mountains "full of memories and associations with both 
parties to the trial" be witnesses in the controversy between Yah 
weh and his people. Str. III. Yahweh has given Israel cause 
not for complaint but for thanksgiving; witness, the deliverance 
from Egypt. Str. IV. Let Israel only recall the period of the 
wanderings in the desert, in order to be reminded of the mighty 
interpositions of Yahweh in her behalf. 

J-JEAR, now, the word 

Which Yahweh has spoken: 

Arise, plead unto the mountains, 

And let the hills hear thy voice. 
UEAR, O mountains, the controversy of Yahweh; 

Yea, give ear, O foundations of the earth; 

For Yahweh has a controversy with his people; 

Yea, with Israel he will enter into argument. 
^^Y people, what have I done to thee? 

And wherein have I wearied thee? Answer me. 

For I brought thee up from the land of Egypt, 

And from the house of bondage I rescued thee. 
^/[Y people, what did Balak counsel? 

And what did Balaam answer him ? 

Remember, now, "from Shittim to Gilgal," 

That thou mayest know the righteous deeds of Yahweh. 

The poetic form of this piece has been fairly well preserved by $R. 
It is necessary only to add a word in , with <g; to eliminate * as a gloss; 
to transpose NJ or from 8a to 6c ; and to omit D ^D from B and nipa p 
from Bb . The rhythm then becomes smooth and harmonious. 

Marti, Siev., and Gu. om. v. B as a historical expansion; but it consti 
tutes an excellent close for this phase of the thought and it conforms to 
the metric and strophic norm. The change from ist pers. (v. Ba ) to 3d pers. 
(v. id ) is too common in Heb. prophetic utterance to serve as valid reason 

for athetizing the verse in which it occurs. Du., however, treats both 
vv. 4 - 5 (and Hpt. vv. 4c - 8 ) as a later prose expansion. But this leaves 
vv. U3 hanging in the air. 

The contents of vv. l - 6 furnish slight evidence of any specific date for 
their origin. In themselves, the verses might belong to almost any period 
of prophecy. Du., indeed, assigns vv. l ~ z to Micah, together with the most 
of ch. 6. But the fact that in chs. 1-3 the religious and political leaders 
were the objects of denunciation as leading the people astray, while here 
the people as a whole is reproved, points to different authorship. More 
over, the presence of this passage in this context and in the collection of 
oracles making up chs. 6 and 7 is a sign of late origin. 

ui WDB>] Siev. om. vv. 1 *- b - 2a - b as superscriptions forming no part 
of the poem. NJ] B om.. :N] Add, with (8, "i^nn; so one ms. of 
Kenn., Marti, Now. K , Gu.. mrp -C-N] <& B /cfynos Kijptos. <8 A - 
icvptov & 6 Kvpios. T:X] Rd. ^CN, with (& el-rev; so Marti, Now. K , Gu.. 
~s] Rd. SN, with <S irpbs, and TJ adversum; so Hi., Stei., We., Cr., 
Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Du., Gu.. 2. onn] <& \aol; <S A Q powol. 
D^nNm] Rd. u- TN-n, with We.; so BDB., Or., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, 
Hal., Siev., Gu., Du., Hpt.. r and n were sufficiently alike to be easily 
confused in the old script; while D arose through dittog. of foil. r. Pres 
ence of art. with rx, though lacking from o^n, makes JH suspicious. 
<g al <f>dpayyes (mountain clefts) ; similarly &. U fortia. Cf. Elh. 
mn > an-nt* ij?nty. 3. -pnNSn nci] <S ^ rt e\uTn)<r6. o-e ^ rl 
<roi, a double rendering. 4. pi IN] (& B = N\ 5. 
NJOT] Tr. to precede o^B8n p in v. Bc ; this renders parallri in 
structure to the corresponding line of Str. Ill, and also makes 5e sus 
ceptible of sensible interpretation. Cf. Hi. who would repeat NJ or 
before Vn-jn. yp nr] <& adds Kara <rov; so &. 3N1D tSo] Om. mtr. 
cs., with Now. K and Siev.; so also ii> J p. D v ^tyn p] C5 airb ruv ffxotvwv 
(= rushes), perhaps an error for aylvuv (= mastich trees; so Vol., Ry.). 
Mau. prefixes \nttyp HDI; so Taylor, Elh.. Stei. prefixes TOJ?\ Ew. 
om. the whole phrase as a gloss; so Du., GASm., Now., Gu., et al.. 
nip-u] <S sg.. 

Str. I calls the world s attention to the message of Yahweh in 
trusted to the prophet. 1. Hear, now, the word which Yahweh 
has spoken] The prophet thus introduces Yahweh to the people. 
Arise, plead unto the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice] 
Yahweh now speaks to the prophet. The mountains have wit 
nessed the whole course of Israel s history, including the benefits 
showered upon the nation and the base ingratitude returned. 
These, therefore, may be regarded as just judges concerning the 

120 MIC AH 

righteousness or unrighteousness of Yahweh s case as presented 
through the prophet. The mountains and hills are not introduced 
here merely for rhetorical effect. It is a part of the prophetic doc 
trine that the animate and inanimate world are alike concerned in 
God s dealings. Besides the conception of nature as a witness, 
represented here, we find also that of nature "as sharing God s 
feeling of the intolerableness of the evil which men have heaped 
upon her, or by her droughts and floods and earthquakes as the 
executioner of their doom" (GASm., p. 420). Cf. Rom. 8 22 . 

Str. II represents the prophet, in obedience to Yahweh s be 
hest, addressing himself to the hills with a request for their atten 
tion to the statement of Yahweh s case. 2. Hear, O mountains, 
the controversy of Yahweh] The prophet now speaks, turning 
himself to the mountains. The figure in the prophet s mind is 
that of a case in court; Yahweh is the plaintiff, Israel the defen 
dant, the mountains serve as judge and jury, and the prophet is the 
plaintiff s counsel. Yea, give ear, O foundations of the earth] $& 
reads, "and ye, the everlasting ones, the foundations of the earth!". 
But this is a clumsily constructed phrase, and is also subject to 
serious criticism on linguistic and grammatical grounds (v. i.). 
The "foundations" are identical with the "mountains" in the 
parallel line, which were thought of as the pillars upon which the 
earth was supported; cf. Dt. 32 22 Ps. i8 8 Jb. i8 4 (&.For Yahweh 
has a controversy with his people; yea, with Israel he will enter 
into argument] The phrase "his people" involves the acknowl 
edgment of a special relation between Yahweh and Israel, indi 
cates the ground upon which Yahweh bases his right to enter into 
argument, and suggests the many mercies already extended to 
Israel by Yahweh. The appeal here, as always in prophecy, is 
made to the intelligence and reason of Israel; cf. Ho. 4*- 6 i2 2 Is. 
i 18ff - Je. 25 31 . The prophet s recourse is not to authority, nor to 
fanatical emotion, but to the self-evidencing power of truth and 
undeniable fact. 

In Str. Ill Yahweh speaks and makes his appeal to Israel s 
history for vindication of his right to be grieved. 3. My people, 
what have I done to thee? And wherein have I wearied thee? 
Answer me] The tone is full of entreaty. The inquiry is that 

6 3 - 121 

of a parent, not that of a judge or king. The implication is that 
Israel s attitude toward Yahweh is such as would be justifiable 
only on the basis of unkind or unjust treatment on the part of 
Yahweh. But Yahweh declares that he is not conscious of any 
intention to injure Israel and challenges her to cite any incident 
in her history that will convict him of wrong. He has made no 
unreasonable, oppressive demands upon his people (cf. Is. 43 23 ). 
He calls upon Israel to defend herself by justifying her implied 
charges against him. No answer comes to the question, for none 
can be made. 4a, b. For 1 brought thee up from the land oj 
Egypt and from the house of bondage I rescued thee] Not only 
has Yahweh given Israel no occasion for complaint, but she 
has every reason for gratitude. The first and most fundamental 
fact in Yahweh s long record of gracious deeds is the deliverance 
from Egypt. Israel s history, as understood by the prophets, 
begins with an act of redemption (Am. 2 10 3 1 cf Ho. 2 15 n 1 i2 9 - 13 
i 3 4 Je. 2 6 7 22 - M ii 4 - 7 Ez. 2o 5 f - Is. ii 16 52 4 63"). This event lies 
so deep in the national consciousness and is referred to so frequently 
as the starting-point and basis of the national development, that it 
is impossible to escape the conviction that it was a historical fact, 
rather than a product of the religious imagination. The prophet 
indulges in paronomasia in the choice of the two words "JTK^n 
(= weary, v. 3 ) and ^T^J/H {bring up). 4c. And I sent before thee 
Moses, Aaron and Miriam] This is a supplementary note by some 
reader, as is clear from its prosaic form. This is the only mention 
of Miriam in the prophetic books. Aaron and Miriam are given 
a prominence here, as co-leaders with Moses, which they do not 
have in the earliest sources; cf. Ex. is 20 f - i; 12 24 10 - 14 - 19 Nu. 12*. 
Str. IV recites other examples of Yahweh s kindness to Israel, 
this time taken from the period of wanderings in the desert, in or 
der to convince Israel of her total failure to appreciate Yahweh. 
5. My people, what did Balak counsel? And what did Balaam 
answer him ?] An allusion to the events recorded in Nu. 22-24. 
Familiarity with this story is presupposed by the prophet. By a 
stroke of the pen the writer brings vividly to mind one of the most 
striking episodes in Israel s history. On this occasion Yahweh 
turned a would-be curse into a blessing. The prophet seems to 

122 MICAH 

recognise at its full face value the supposed destructive effect of a 
curse. It was only Yahweh s interposition that saved Israel from 
destruction. This magical, superstitious conception of religion is 
sadly out of harmony with the magnificent ideal set forth in the 
immediately following verses. Remember, now, "from Shittimto 
Gilgal"] The verb is supplied here from v. 6a where it is super 
fluous. It is unanimously conceded that something must be sup 
plied here, if the words are to be retained in the text. Their pres 
ence is required by the parallelism. Others, retaining "remember 
now" in its place in 4H, would supply such phrases as "thou 
knowest what happened to thee";* or "and what I did";f or, re 
peating *OT, "remember what happened to thee"; J or "remember 
the favours I showed thee " ; or "and thy crossing over." ** A sim 
ilar idea to that of our text is found in Dt. 8 2 . Shittim was the last 
camping station before the crossing of the Jordan (Jos. 3* = E), 
while Gilgal was the first encampment after the crossing (Jos. 4 20 
= E). The mention of these two names, therefore, would at once 
bring to mind the wonderful exhibition of Yahweh s goodness and 
power in connection with Israel s entrance into the "promised 
land." That thou mayest know the righteous deeds of Yahweh] 
These words are dependent upon the preceding admonition to "re 
member," and they summarise what the incidents from history 
were intended to teach. If Israel could but realise and appreciate 
the extent of her obligation to Yahweh, she would surely gladly do 
his will. The "righteous deeds" are acts of Yahweh which reveal 
his just and righteous character to the world at large; cf. Ju. 5 11 
i S. i2 7ff> . They are practically Israel s God-given victories over 
her foes, which vindicate Yahweh as the strength and stay of his 
own righteous people. This is the prevailing sense of the word 
"righteousness" in Is. 40-66. 

The case rests here. The prophet has pointed out the obliga 
tion resting upon Israel, which grows out of Yahweh s goodness to 
her. Only by implication is it conveyed that this obligation is un 
fulfilled. The positive, direct charge against Israel, together with 
the pronouncement of sentence, remains unuttered. The passage, 
thus, seems to be only a fragment of a longer address. 

* CaL t Mau., Taylor. J Mich., Baur, KL Ro.. Ros.. ** SteL. 

6" I2 3 

1. nK an] Cf. Ho. 12*, where SN in 4H is an error for nx, as appears 
from i2 4 and <8. To suppose such an error here is better than to render 
DN in fellowship with (Ke.) which is impossible, or to treat it as = S 
(Mau., Hd., Ro.), or as = JD-PN, in presence of, apud (BDB., 86a; 
Elh.). 2. D jnNni] iK presents difficulties: (i) the parallel word onn 
lacks the article; (2) if an adj., jnx should follow its noun; (3) as a sub 
stantive, it is usually used of perennial streams; (4) the awkwardness of 
the phrase. 3. rip] Ges.*" d . noi] Adverbial, K6.* M V -pnNSn] On 
vocalisation, Ges. ^"P- 76ee . 4a, b. Clauses are in chiasm. 6. D^tfn] 
The exact location is unknown; the acacia grove near Khirbet el- 
Kefrein may be a survival of the place. SjSjn] Probably represented 
by the northern Tell Jeljfil, between the Jordan and Jericho, to the 
SE. of the latter. 

17. The Character of True Religion (6- 8 ). 

A discussion of the nature of Yahweh s requirements which 
yields the finest summary of the content of practical religion to be 
found in the OT. The material readily resolves itself into three 
four-line strs. in trimeter movement; the opening of Str. II is 
marked by the introduction of a new subject, while the beginning 
of Str. Ill is indicated by the change from question to answer. 
Str. I represents an individual inquiring what type of service 
Yahweh desires. Will gifts satisfy him? Str. II continues the 
inquiry in such a way as to show that even the most elaborate and 
costly gifts cannot secure Yahweh s favour. Str. Ill answers the 
inquiry with a positive definition of "pure religion and undefiled." 

^HEREWITH shall I come before Yahweh, 

And bow myself before the God of heaven? 

Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, 

With calves a year old ? 
YXflLL Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams, 

With tens of thousands of rivers of oil ? 

Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, 

The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 
TT has been told thee, O man, what is good. 

Yea, what does Yahweh seek from thee, 

But to do justice and to love kindness, 

And to walk humbly with thy God ? 

This piece is well preserved; no textual changes, transpositions or 
omissions are required by the poetic form. The metre is smooth and 
regular all through, except in 7 * and 8o in each of which an extra tone 

124 MICAH 

appears. Siev. omits a word in each of these two long lines, but this is 

Since Ew. s time this section has generally been assigned to the days 
of Manasseh, either as a product of Micah s old age, or as the work of a 
writer of the Deuteronomic School. The great reason for this has been 
the allusion to human sacrifice which is supposed to reflect the evil days 
when the king set the example by offering up his own son (2 K. 2i). 
But We. rightly calls attention to the fact that human sacrifice in our 
passage is not cited as a common practice, but rather as a sample of 
extraordinary sacrificial zeal. Such sporadic cases of religion grown des 
perate occur long before the reign of Manasseh. Hence we must rely 
upon other evidence for the date of these verses. The tone and spirit 
of the passage are wholly different from those of chs. 1-3. The calm, 
dispassionate speech of the teacher displaces the forceful utterance of 
the prophet. The same conception of religion appears as in Am. 5 M 
Je. 7 Ho. 6 Is. i-" Ps. 4O- 8 50"-" 5i ; and this was never with 
out its representatives in Israel from the age of Amos to the end. It is 
wholly unwarrantable to bring the poem down to 100 B.C. as Hpt. does, 
on the ground of its supposed reflection of the teachings of the Essenes. 
The fact that the answer is addressed to an individual, and to any indi 
vidual of the great human race, seems to point to the age when national 
lines were broken over and the scope and appeal of the true religion was 
recognised as universal In this respect the passage is in harmony with 
such writings as Jonah, Ruth, and large sections of the Wisdom literature. 
On the whole, therefore, a date early in the postexilic period seems the 
most probable. 

6. qax] (& &m\WofMt, treating it as a denominative from na. Gr. 
pjN. Elh. N n23N. 7. >Sn:] <& xi/xdpw* (so &); perhaps to be cor 
rected to xA"W w ", as in <S BO " u7 - K3 and Aq.; but cf. Ry.. C5 A &pvdv. H 
hircorum. & strength, connecting with Vn. joc>] heifers, probably 
a free rendering "strength of fat ones," *. e. "heifers"; the latter word is 
a formation from the root ne>n "to anoint with oil, etc.." ui jnN,-] 
J will not offer my first-born (a sin is he to me) ; nor the fruits of my body (a 
sin of my soul are they to me). nwa] (& = nwa. 8. T>J,-I] <g el dvrjy- 
7^17; hence We. nan; so Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev.,Gu., Du.. !H Indi- 
cabo; so 5. Aq., 6 tpp{0rj. D^N] Che. CB , o^nS. jmm] <g ical 
clvat; so &. Gr. j?m. Che. CB , N isjp riSpi. 

Str. I introduces an inquirer asking a series of rhetorical ques 
tions, evidently presupposing a negative answer. The prophet by 
the very form of these questions desires to suggest the absurdity 
of the popular conception of Yahweh and of his desires. 6. 
Wherewith shall I come before Yahweh, and bow myself before the 

Cod of heaven] A question growing out of the conception of Yah- 
weh as a great and mighty king to whom his subjects must bring 
presents when they would approach his presence; cf. i S. 6 2 ff> io 3 f - 
25" 2 S. I6 1 f -. It is inculcated by the law; Ex. 2^ 34 20 . It is 
an essentially commercial view of the relation between Yahweh and 
his worshippers, and its prevalence was consonant with an almost 
total lack of conscience in the sphere of morals and social justice; 
cf. Is. i 15 - 23 2 8 7 - 8 Am. 4 1 5 7 1(M2 Ho. 6 6 - 10 Je. 5 1 ff - Q 1 6 . It oper 
ated exactly like the sale of indulgences under the popes of the 
Middle Ages. The whole prophetic teaching concerning sacri 
fices and offerings was an endeavour to show that such gifts and 
ceremonies were of themselves without value in the sight of God. 
The term "God of the height," i. e. the heavens, is used in contrast 
to the verb * bow" to emphasise the humility and dependence of the 
worshipper. It is in harmony also with the priestly thought of 
God as ineffably holy and transcendent, far removed from the sins 
of men; cf. Ho. 5 15 Is. i8 4 Mi. i 2 f - Je. 25 30 . The title may have 
grown up in response to the effort to exalt Yahweh above the host 
of foreign gods clamouring for admission into Israel.* Shall I 
come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves a year old ?] The 
fact that the burnt-offering is mentioned rather than the sin-offer 
ing is no satisfactory proof of the pre-exilic origin of this passage; 
first, because it is improbable that the sin-offering first came into 
existence and prominence in the exilic period, even if the literature 
first recognises it at that time. The ritual of the Holiness Code, 
Ezekiel and the Priestly Code was not the creation of those writings 
but was an inheritance in large part, which it was the task of exilic 
and postexilic law-makers to codify and inform with new meaning, 
in so far as it failed to express the best religious thought of the age. 
Second, because the thought of the prophet here is not concerned 
with any particular offering as such, but rather with the whole 
sacrificial system, the efficacy of which in and of itself he wishes to 
deny. Calves were eligible for sacrifice from the age of seven days 
on (Lv. 22 27 ); cf. Ex. 22 30 . A yearling was, of course, relatively 
valuable; cf. Lv. Q S Gn. 15. 

Str. II continues the rhetorical question, the possible gifts to 

* Cl. Westphal, Jahwes Wohnstdllen (1908), 265. 

126 MICAH 

Yahweh becoming more costly with each succeeding question. 
7. Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams, with tens of 
thousands of streams of oil?] In neither this nor the preceding 
interrogation does the negative answer involved imply that the 
prophet thought of Yahweh as displeased with sacrifice per se ; cf. 
H. AH , 136 /.. He would merely repudiate the thought that sacri 
fice is all that Yahweh desires. For sacrifices on a large scale, cf. 
i K. 3 4 S 63 . Oil was an acceptable gift to deity among Egyptians 
and Babylonians as well as Hebrews; cf. Gn. 28 18 35" Ex. 2<f- 40 
Lv. 2 1 * 4 y 12 i4 10 ff> . There is no mention of oil in connection with 
the sin-offering (Lv. 5 lff )-* Shall I give my first-born for my 
transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul] Human 
sacrifice existed in Israel from the earliest times down to a rela 
tively late date ; witness, the law of the redemption of the first-born 
(Ex. i3 13 ); the story of the contemplated sacrifice of Isaac (Gn. 
22 13 ) ; the fulfilment of Jephthah s vow (Ju. n 34 s ) ; the sacrifice of 
the sons of Ahaz (2K. i6 3 ) and Manasseh (2 K. 2i 2ff -) ; the denun 
ciations by the prophets (Je. y 31 ip 5 Ez. i6 20 20 26 Is. 57 5 ); and the 
prohibition in the law (Lv. i8 21 2O 2 ) ; cf, also the act of Mesha, king 
of Moab, and its apparent effect upon the Israelitish army (2 K. 
3 27 ) . The practice was not equally prevalent at all times, but seems 
to have attained its greatest prominence in the days of Manasseh. 
Our passage evidently conceives of it as a possible method of pleas 
ing Yahweh, putting it upon the same plane as burnt-offerings and 
libations of oil. A mere formal, external, mechanical conception 
of religion does not give rise to nor sustain the custom of human 
sacrifice. It is the acme of religious zeal. It is the expression of 
the religious emotions of men who agonise with longing for the 
divine blessing, and are willing to yield their hearts dearest treas 
ures in order to secure it. The prophet here recognises this fact, 
and his words, therefore, reflect an unmistakable depth of sympa 
thy and tenderness toward his people. But the practice grows out 
of a wholly wrong idea of the character of God, and therefore can 
never be pleasing to him. The phrase sin of my soul has been 
taken by many as sin-offering of my soul; but this cannot well be, 
for the parallel word transgression never has the meaning guilt- 

* On the place of oil in early ritual and its primitive significance, cj. Now. Arch. II, 208 /.. 

6 7 - 8 127 

offering, and the technical sin-offering of the later law certainly 
never contemplated the possibility of human sacrifice as one of its 
constituent elements. The term soul here designates the psychic 
self, the seat of the desires and the will, and is used in deliberate 
contrast to the term fruit of my body. 

In Str. Ill the oracle rises to its climax, with the beautifully 
simple statement of the essence of religion. 8. // has been told 
thee, O man, what is good] The preceding questions have been 
raised only to be answered in the negative; the positive statement 
is now to be made. The address is to mankind in general, not 
to any particular individual. The "good" referred to is accessible 
to the whole race, without restriction. The verb might also be 
rendered, "He (i. e. Yahweh) has told thee"; but in view of the 
absence of any near antecedent for the pronoun and of the fact that 
a new str. begins with this phrase, which should therefore be com 
plete in itself, the indefinite form of expression seems preferable. 
And what does Yahweh seek from thee] jThe "good" is identified 
with the performance of the will of Yahweh. This is the view of 
the OT. throughout. Religion furnishecTtrie dynamic of ethics. 
The saints of Israel knew nothing of doing good for good s sake; 
virtue was not an end in itself, but only a way of approach to God, 
the_embodiment of the highest good. -But to do justice and to love 
kindness and to walk humbly with thy God ?] Nothing new is said 
here. Amos had emphasised Yahweh s insistence upon justice 
( e - g- 5 24 5 cf. Dt. i6 18 - 20 ); Hosea had exhibited the virtues of love 
(e. g. 6 8 ) and the whole book of Deuteronomy is permeated by the 
thought of it (e. g. io 12 - 22 i4 29 i5 9ff - 22 1 4 ); reverence and humility 
before God was no new ideal Moses was credited with it in a sur 
passing degree (Nu. i2 3 ); cf. Am. 2 7 Zp. 2 3 Is. 6 29. But it is, 
nevertheless, a great saying surpassed by nothing in the OT. and 
by but little in the New. Itjagsjiold of the essential j^kments 
in religion and, detaching them from all else, sets them in clear 
\reHe7r~Tt links ethics with piety, duty toward men with duty 
Ijtoward God, and makes them both coequal factors in religion. 
In this respect it anticipates the famous saying of Jesus (Mt. 
22 s4 40 ), and it marks a wide breach with the popular religion of 
the prophet s own times. With the latter, religion was pre-emi- 

128 MICAH 

nently a matter of obligation toward God, and this obligation was 
looked upon as consisting mainly in the proper performance of 
sacred rites and in a liberal bestowal of sacrificial gifts. But this 
prophet makes religion an inner experience which determines 
whole sphere of human activity. Religion becomes not merely 
the action, but also, and chiefly, character. 

6. PIM] On d. f. in D, GesJ I02k . 7. ^o] jru with two ace. hav 
ing the meaning "give something in exchange for, in compensation 
for something"; so Ez. 27" (cf. 27- " ". 19. ). This is better than 
to make D an ace. of purpose or effect and to create for it the meaning 
guilt offering which it nowhere else possesses; contra Ko.^ 8271 . nsan] 
has the meaning sin-offering first in 2 K. 12 17 , where it denotes a pay 
ment of money to the priests. From the time of Ezekiel on, this meaning 
is very common in the legal literature and in Chronicles. But it is not 
appropriate here because of (i) the parallel word and (2) the nature of 
the gift here spoken of. 8. n^n] On the indefinite subj. expressed by 3d 
pers. sg. masc., Ges. * " 4 d . noi] On change to direct question, Ko. ^ 377d . 
jwi] An adv. use of inf. abs., denoting here manner; cf. K6. < 2e - 
t9i a. rot,. The meaning of / seems to be "modest"; cf. Pr. n 2 ; it is 
the reverse of arrogant, conceited, self-sufficient. Its idea suggests 
the parable of Lk. i8 10 ff - 

18. The Sin of the City and the Punishment to Come (6 9 16 ). 

This section gives a vivid poetical description of Israel s wicked 
life and of the disasters which Yahweh must bring upon the nation 
as punishment. Yahweh himself is represented as speaking, and 
his utterance falls into five four-line strs. of prevailingly trimeter 
movement. Str. I addresses the city in Yahweh s name and char 
acterises it as an abode of violence and deceit. Str. II asserts that 
the riches of the town have been acquired by cheating and fraud 
in ordinary commercial transactions. Str. Ill announces that 
Yahweh s hand will soon begin the task of chastisement and that 
all attempts at escape will be futile. Str. IV details the various 
forms which the chastisement will assume, all of them involving 
famine. Str. V states that all this terrible wickedness is due to 
persistence in the sins of the past and that the inevitable result 
is destruction. The first two strs., thus, denounce the city s sins, 
the second two announce the consequent doom, while the last str. 
summarises both sin and punishment. 

fJARK! Yahweh is calling to the city: 

Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city. 

Whose rich men are full of violence, 

And her inhabitants speak falsehood. 
(~^AN I forget the treasures in the house of the wicked, 

And the accursed scant measure? 

Can I treat as pure him with the wicked balances, 

And with the bag of false weights? 
TDUT I, now, will begin to smite thee, 

To lay thee in ruins on account of thy sins and thy ... in the 
midst of thee. 

And thou shalt try to remove but shalt not rescue, 

And what thou rescuest I will bring to the sword. 
"THOU shalt eat, but not be satisfied; 

Thou shalt sow, but not reap; 

Thou shalt tread out the olive, but not anoint thyself with oil; 

And the must, but thou shalt not drink wine. 
pOR thou hast kept the statutes of Omri, 

And all the activity of the house of Ahab; 

In order that I may give thee to ruin, 

And her inhabitants to mockery. 

This piece has undergone much change in its transmission. The ar 
rangement here given involves the omission of vv. * b - 12c - Ie> - f , and the 
transposition of vv. I2 - b to follow v. and of v. I4 to precede v. ". The 
reconstruction is almost identical with that offered by Marti, but the 
elision of v. 9b and the two transpositions were decided upon before the 
appearance of Marti s commentary. Siev. (followed closely by Gu.) 
retains only vv. 9a - 10 - " l3 , dropping v. 1! as a gloss, and athetizes 
w. " " as a separate poem, dropping v. 14b - - a as a gloss, and trans 
posing v. 18 - b to follow 5 4 , with v. 18c - d - as a gloss. The passage 
as it stands in M defies all attempts to trace any logical continuity, but 
such radical treatment is unnecessary. The movement of thought in 
the poem as here reconstructed is perfectly natural and simple; and met 
rical considerations of themselves, unsupported by other evidences, do 
not warrant extreme measures in textual criticism. 

This section is wholly independent of the preceding one. There the 
tone is one of sympathy and instruction; here it is denunciation of sin. 
The date and origin of this prophecy are problems that have not been 
solved. Stk., van H. and Du. assign it to Micah; Marti places it in the v 
postexilic period, urging the linguistic usage and the historical reminis 
cence in v. u as evidences of late date; while We., Now. and GASm. are 
undecided as to its time. The fact is that the utterance might belong 
to any period of Israelitish history subsequent to the reign of Ahab. 
Parallels to it may be found all through the history of prophecy. The 
sins specifically mentioned are characteristically urban and would argue 

130 MICAH 

equally well for the authorship of Micah who was indignant against the 
oppression and vice of the great city, or for the last days when Jerusalem 
was the centre of all Jewish interests and trade and commerce had come 
to occupy a large place in Jewish life. The prophecy would seem most 
fitting at a time when some disaster to the city was imminent, or was 
thought to be so; but such periods were only too frequent both before 
and after the exile. Tradition claims the passage for Micah and cannot 
be proved wrong; but, on the other hand, the surrounding context, which 
is certainly not due to Micah, is likewise claimed for him by tradition; 
hence, the question must remain open. 

9. top 11 ] (& ^Tri/cXTjfliJcreTcu. m^im] ( Kal (rdxrei = jntyim. Hal. nx 
n C "W nx-p] Rd. nx-y>, with Ew., Hi., Pont, Gr., Or., Now., GASm., 
Oort Em -, Marti, van H., Gu., Du. ; cf. (& 0o/3oi^j>oi;s; so B &. Four codd. 
of Kenn. and 3 of de R. NT; so Theiner, Rosenm., Gu.. Taylor, ^x^y 1 ?. 
We. nx-v. -pir] (& & 2J = ictf; so Ro., Taylor, Pont, We., Gr., Gu., 
Oort Em -, Now.. tycir] <S& sg.; so Du.. Ro., Gu. -lyr^. nsc] <S B, 
vocative. Ro. -ingD. my my -DI]. Rd., with We., vjjn njnDi; so Perles, 
GASm., Now., Marti, van H., Du., Hpt.. (& Kal rls Kocrfj.^<rei ir6\tv 
" 1<t >! n n^2 <l1 ? 1 - $ & guis approbabit illud? & and who bears witness? = 
n?;;> >DI. 21 and the rest of the people of the land rngiDi. Ro. *vjp ^p 
v;;n. Gr. "pj? 1 ? my ^ci. Hal. }nn n;rn. Oort Em - om. n mj? as dittog. 
from my\ Siev. and Gu. rnjriD-i -iijrn ngo. Elh. "Pj?n nj?\ ia WBD-I. 
10. I^NH] Rd., with We., n^sri, impf. of ntf j; so Now., Marti, Siev., van 
H., Hpt., Gu.. <& M irvp = E Nn; so & B, but with n. Schnurrer, 
connecting with foil, word, n>3^Nn; so Oort Em -. Du. N^NH. no] One 
cod. each of Kenn. and de R. n-aa; c/. &H. Du. n?. Elh. n^\ ;-pJ 
Oort Em - om. as dittog.. Du. om. with nu as a variant of f ~\ xx. Elh. 
"\vy. nnxs] Rd. nnxx, with Marti, Now. K , Siev., Gu.. (& inserts 
6i)ffavpluv = nnxN. yjyn] Om. as dittog. with Marti, Now. K , Siev., 
Gu.. now pri now] C5 Kai /ierd (probably an error for /xrpa; so 
Ro.; cf. Am. 8 5 ) C/3pews dSticfa; c/. B ^ mensura minor irae plena. 
Elh. nin> ajn pli n^^xi. Gr. j.p. Oort Em - oprx. 11. HDIXH] Rd., with 
We. -tnjTxn; so Now., Marti, Siev., van H., Gu.. (6 d SiKcuwfliJo-ercu. 
= n 3p ! !I> so Ew., Che., Gr., Gu.. & 21 similarly, but in pi.. H numquid 
justificabo. Ro. n?;xn; so Elh., Pont, Hal., Du.. GASm. nsrnn. 
Oort Em - nzirxn. Hpt. 
pK n. 12. nn^y] (8 r 
(gAQ ^^._ 13. -.n^nn] Rd. \?^nn, with (jg Ap^o/xai; so B ^ Aq., 
Bauer, Struensee, Ro., Elh., We., Pont, Gu., GASm., SS., Oort Em -, 
Now., Marti, Siev., Du.. Cf. u codd (Kenn.) TiVm; /cai d?r dpxv 
yii> el/jii 6s ^/cdXetra. S ^Ti/j.djprjffdfj.rjv. DDtyn] (S d(f>aviu> <re; so 0. 
B perditione- so Aq., S . ^a-rrja-av. 14. jn2 <|11 ] <& (r/cordact = 
lirriM. (jj>Q, several mss. and ^ H Kal t&au <re. Aq., /cai 

<re = -j^ntPNi. 2 dXXck, Ka.1 8ia<f)0epei <re -= inntPM. B humiliatio 
tua. & dysentery. Che. -pro (cf. Ps. ioo 24 ). Elh. qnt M. Gr. qfnri. 
Oort Em - ptrm. Marti, ngte. Marg. ravo ^n^Ni. Hpt. in BTM. Du. 
^Ntri. JDHI] <J> Kai ^Kvetfcrei =jion\ Iff apprehendes = jppni = J^rn; 
so 2t Aq., S. Six codd. Jtfm. Gr., Du. rn. Marti, j pn. Hpt. JOM. 
-jVon] Ro. wSen; so Ry., Elh.. 16. p nntpn] <& om. noun and has 
vb. in pi., perhaps reading J-wwn; so Ro., Ry., Taylor. & also om. p, 
but retains vb. in sg.. 16. -Dnei] Rd. nb^rn, with Ro., We., Gu., 
Or., GASm., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., van H., Du., Hpt; foil. 
05 fc 21 H Q. V c-ustodisti; so & 21 6. < has a double rendering of 
the phrase, viz. /cai d^ancr^o ercu v6/j.i[jut XaoO /xou *cai ^0i5Xaas ri 
Zauppel. One cod. of Kenn. IDPM. Taylor, --nD^M. Elh. 
Gr., Marg. nnirrn. n^yo] (5 & SI Aq., pi.. isSm] We., Or. 
and Gu. sg.. IHN] & = nn; so Now.. Hal. DDPN. noie] Hartmann, 
72^; so Pont, Oort Em -, Du.. no^n] <S & pi.. ^y] Rd. 0^92, with <g 
Xawv; so Schnurrer, Struensee, Hartmann, Bauer, Ro., Che., Taylor, 
Elh., Pont, We., Gr., Gu., Or., GASm., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Hal., 
Siev., Du., Hpt.. 

In Str. I the prophet introduces Yahweh who addresses the 
city, declaring it to be full of oppression and trickery. 9. Hark! 
Yahweh is calling to the city] Jerusalem is certainly meant, as 
the city par excellence for all Jews.* And it is success to fear thy 
name] A glossf as is clear from its parenthetical character and 
the use of the word "success" which is characteristic of the wis 
dom literature, though found also in Is. 28 29 . M can only be trans 
lated, "and he who sees thy name is strong"; and this unique 
expression has given rise to a wide variety of explanations, none of 
which are satisfactory. With the thought of the text as corrected, 
cf. Pr. i 7 9 10 14" Ps. 34 11 in.Hear, O tribe, and the assembly 
of the city] Judah is the tribe addressed, and the assembly is the 
general meeting of the citizens of Jerusalem for the consideration 
of all matters affecting the welfare of the city as a whole. It prob 
ably corresponds roughly to the "town-meeting" of New England. 
The presupposition of the prophet that in addressing the popula 
tion of Jerusalem he speaks practically to the tribe of Judah seems 
to reflect a period when Jerusalem had come to be the centre of 
Jewish interest and life. |H is to be translated "hear the rod and 

* Cj. The use of urbs = Rome, cited by Marti. 

t So Hartmann (1800), Grimm (JA OS. XXII, 36), GASm., Marti, Siev., Gu., Du., Hpt. 

132 MICAH 

the one who appointed it," "the rod" being a concrete designation 
of the chastisement to be inflicted by Yahweh; but this involves 
using "hear" in the double sense "hear about" and "listen to," 
it makes the feminine suffix refer to a masculine antecedent, and 
it treats the indefinite noun "rod" as definite. Hence the text as 
corrected, in accordance with (& and QI, is preferred by many recent 
scholars. 12. Whose rich men are full of violence] The transfer 
of v. 12 to this position furnishes the feminine suffixes of v. 12 the 
required antecedent, which is lacking when it follows v. n ; and also 
yields the two lines necessary to complete Str. I, leaving v. 10 to go 
with v. n into Str. II where they belong together. The charge 
against Jerusalem s rich is that they have gained their wealth by 
oppression and injustice, a not infrequent complaint of the proph 
ets; c f. Am. 3 10 6 3 Zp. i 9 Ez. f 3 8 17 Is. $<f.And her inhabitants 
speak falsehood] While violence was predicated only of the rich, 
deceit is charged against all without discrimination. This is 
practically saying that all are equally bad; the poor would be as 
oppressive as the rich had they but the power. Trickery which is 
possible for all is confined to no especial class. And their tongue 
is deceit in their mouths] A vivid way of saying that not a word 
they speak can be trusted. Lying is a common oriental vice even 
at the present day, and apparently always has been; cf. Ho. 7* io 4 
Je. 6 13 9 s " 5 Zc. 5 4 Lv. 19". This phrase is to be set aside as a gloss 
on the preceding line;* cf. Ps. i2o 2 - 3 . It adds nothing and is 
superfluous to the str. and the parallelism. 

Str. II points out the impossibility of Yahweh s condoning or 
justifying a certain kind of cheating commonly practised in the 
commercial transactions of his day. 10. Can I forget the treasures 
in the house of the wicked] These ill-gotten gains must always 
arise as an ugly reminder of the injustice through which they 
were obtained and so render it impossible for Yahweh to be gra 
cious. fH is corrupt here and obscure. It has been variously 
rendered; e. g. "Are there yet treasures, etc.,"f with the variations 
"are there not yet?" and "there are yet"; but this is improbable 
grammatically (v. i.}. Or, "the great man is yet in the palace, 

* So Marti, Now. K , Du.. 

t So Cal., Dathe, Rosenm., Hi., Mau., Ew., Urn., Kl., Or., Hd., Casp., Ke., et a/.. 

6 10 - 133 

etc.";* or "fire devours the houses, etc.," cf. (H-t Or, yet again, 
"are there yet foundations in the house, etc."J For the corrected 
text, v. s.. And the accursed scant measure?] In days when no 
fixed and unvarying standard for weights and measures was known 
and when no police power existed for the enforcement of such laws, 
knavery of this type was doubtless very common ; cf. Am. 8 5 Dt. 
25". But Yahweh s curse is upon all such dealings (Dt. 25 16 ); 
he demands justice and fair dealing between one man and another. 
11. Can I treat as pure him with the wicked balances, and with the 
bag of false weights ?] Cf. Dt. 25 13 Ps. i8 26 . This closes Yahweh s 
appeal to the moral consciousness of Israel. He has pointed out 
the moral impossibility of his permitting wickedness to go unpun 
ished. According to U the verb must be rendered, "can I be pure 
with, etc." This has usually been interpreted either as repre 
senting Yahweh asking how he could be considered pure and holy, 
if he permitted such unfair practices; or as dependent upon an 
unexpressed thought such as "let each one ask himself." But 
neither interpretation makes good Hebrew usage. 

Str. Ill begins the description of the punishment involved by 
the sins just exposed. A hostile army will invade Israel. 13. 
But I, indeed, will begin to smite thee] For a similar idiom, cf. 
Dt. 2 31 . The pronoun refers, not to the individual guilty of the 
offences just described, but to the "tribe" (v. 9 ) as a whole, m 
reads, "but I, indeed, will make sore thy smiting"; cf. Na. 3 19 
Je. 3o 12 . But this use of the verb "make sick" is not paralleled 
elsewhere, hence the change of pointing suggested by (g seems 
preferable. To lay thee in ruins on account of thy sins] The pro 
nominal object is not expressed in the Hebrew text, but is clearly 
implied in the context. 14b, c, d. And thy . . . in the midst of 
thee] The meaning of the main word in this phrase is wholly un 
known; no help is to be derived from the Vrss.. In its present con 
text, parallel as it is with "thy sins," some such meaning as "trans 
gressions" or "abominations" seems called for. In its context as 
in IK, the meaning "hunger" or "emptiness" is usually conjec 
tured for the noun; but the presence of the suffix is hardly in 
harmony with such a rendering. The cognate languages know 

* So AE., Ra., Abar., Struensee. f So Mich.. J So Ro.. 

134 MICAH 

no such word. Hence no assurance is possible as to its meaning. 
And thou shall try to remove but shall not deliver ; and what thou 
dost deliver, I will give to the sword] The first part of the state 
ment apparently refers to property, none of which will be saved; 
the second, to the women and children who, though temporarily 
carried to a place of refuge, will finally meet death at the hands of 
the enemy. Margolis, following Ibn Ganah, adopts the rendering, 
"and she shall conceive, but shall not bear; and whomsoever she 
beareth I will give to the sword." On the basis of this Margolis 
suggests for the preceding phrase, "and thy wife in her body" 
(v. s.). But against this must be urged the harshness of the idiom, 
"thy wife shall conceive in her body"; and the fact that JDH 
nowhere else in the OT. approximates the meaning conceive ; 
the regular verb for this idea is pnn. 

Str. IV continues the description of the coming disaster, by 
pointing out with a few bold strokes how all of Israel s labour shall 
count for naught. 14a. Thou shall eat, but not be satisfied] The 
thought of an invading enemy is still in the prophet s mind. Pent 
up in the city by siege and reduced gradually to the last extremi 
ties, Israel will know all the agonies of starvation ; cf. 2 K. d 25 Je. 
52 Lv. 26 25 f -. The transference of this line to this place in Str. 
IV is made imperative by the break which it causes in the connec 
tion between v. 13 and v. 14b , by the admirable connection thereby 
established between v. 14a and v. 15 , and by the ease with which it 
solves the problem of the strophic structure. 16. Thou shall sow, 
but not reap] The process of harvest will be prevented by the ad 
vance of the enemy; cf. Dt. 28 38 ff \ Thou shall tread out the olive t 
but not anoint thyself with oil] This is the only direct mention 
of the treading out of olive-oil; cf. Jo. 2 24 . The finest oil was 
"beaten" (Ex. 2y 20 Lv. 24 2 ); but the bulk of the olive crop was 
trodden out into oil vats. Anointing with oil was a toilet custom 
common to all hot climates; cf. Am. 6 6 2 S. i2 20 i4 2 Ru. 3 3 2 Ch. 
28 15 . And the must, but thou shall not drink wine] All the joy of 
life will be cut off. Allusions to the treading out of wine are very 
common; cf. Ju. 9 27 Am. 9 13 Is. i6 10 6s 2 Je. 25 30 Jb. 24" Ne. is 15 . 

Str. V closes the poem summarising the sin of Israel and declar 
ing it to be the occasion of the disaster which Yahweh will send. 

6 15 " 135 

16. For thou hast kept the statutes of Omri] No special - statutes 
of Omri" are elsewhere mentioned, and it is doubtful whether this 
expression is meant to apply to definite laws. Omri is harshly 
condemned by the Deuteronomist in i K. I6 25 f -. But he is prob 
ably mentioned here as the founder of the strongest dynasty of 
northern Israel, and thus as representative of the type of life 
characteristic of that kingdom and responsible for its downfall in 
721 B.C. In Assyrian records after the reign of Omri, the northern 
kingdom was commonly designated bit Humri. And all the work 
of the house of A hob] In view of the charges made in w. 10 ~ 12 , 
it is probable that reference is had here to the judicial murder of 
Naboth (i K. 21), as typical of the methods of self-aggrandise 
ment common to Ahab and the tyrannical rich men of Jerusalem. 
And ye walk in their counsels] This adds nothing to the thought, 
is extraneous to the metrical form, and uses the plural of the verb, 
whereas the preceding and following context has the singular. 
Hence it is best considered as a gloss.* For similar phraseology, 
cf. 2 K. i6 3 Je. y 24 Ps. i 1 8i 12 i S. &.In order that I may give 
thee to ruin] In accordance with a common Hebrew usage, the 
prophet ironically attributes what was an inevitable but unde 
signed consequence of a course of action to the deliberate pur 
pose of the actor. And her inhabitants to mockery] The pronoun 
must refer to the city, as in v. 12b ; the sudden change of person is 
abrupt and confusing, but finds many parallels in Hebrew; cf. 
Gn. 49 4 i K. i 20 Is. 22 18 23* 31. That there may be no possible 
doubt as to the source of the mockery, a reader has added the 
gloss,f and the scorn of the peoples ye shall bear] The evidence for 
the secondary character of this line is identical with that for the 
later origin of the addition to v. 16b . This threat represents the 
lowest depths of humiliation to the proud and sensitive Hebrew 
spirit, m s "scorn of my people 1 has occasioned great fertility 
of exegetical ingenuity, e. g. Israel will not be punished as heathen 
are but far more severely in proportion to their privileges,^ or the 
suffering brought upon the people of God by their rich oppressors 
will now be inflicted upon the rich themselves by the foreign foe; 

* So Marti, Now. K , Siev., Du.. 

t So now Du.; but v. AJSL. XXIV, 187 ft., where this suggestion was first published. 

t Cal.. Dathe, Rosenm.. 

136 MICAH 

or, the heathen will delight in humiliating the nation representing 
the ideal of "the people of God," but this disgrace will justly be 
endured by the present representatives of the ideal who are re 
sponsible for its being brought into disrepute;* or, the disgrace 
which my people has brought upon my name will be borne by 
you;f or, Israel must bear the disgrace of being the people whom 
I have rejected;! or > the chastisement borne by the people as a 
whole will also be borne by each one of you individually. But 
none of them are satisfactory solutions of the difficulty occasioned 
by the essential identity of the subject of the verb and the phrase 
"my people." 

9. nwn] On meaning and etymology, cf. Grimm, JA OS. XXII, 
35-44, who rightly connects it with Assy, asfi, "to support, to help," as 
a tuqtilat form. nx-v] Ko. * 306 q explains 4SH as due to the Masso- 
retes having supposed an ellipsis of B"N; cf. Ko. ^ 226e , where all infs. in 
n __. are cited. noc] Of masc. gender ace. to Ex. 4 17 ; the fact that the pi. 
ending is m_ (Nu. ly 22 ) is, of course, no indication of fern, gender; cf. 
mas , nnxo. ^D] Usually rendered him who, but this would require 
MPN; ID always has interrog. force, direct or indirect. For the meanimg 
assembly given to the emendation t;.;;2, cf. Jb. 30" Nu. i6 2 Is. 14" Lant. 
i". 10. trxn 1137] y precedes interrogative only in Gn. ig 12 , but there in 
terrogative is a pronoun which often yields first place in the sentence to 
some more important word. If IPX = w, cf. Ges. * 47 b on interchange 
of N and \ and the regular usage in Aram.. 2 S. i4 19 is, perhaps, an 
other example of the confusion of these two words, but the text there is 
by no means certain; cf. also Pr. i8 24 . yy~\ no] = -i noa; cf. TVI, Ho. 
6 9 ; an ace. of place in which, Ges. * . HDTX] The Pi el does not else 
where have the forensic force of "declare pure" or "treat as pure"; but 
since it occurs only three times, and since the Qal does carry the fo 
rensic idea (Ps. 5i 6 ), this can hardly be considered a serious objection 
to the reading proposed. ^Jx] Weights were commonly of stone, as 
may be seen by an examination of the fine collection in the Haskell 
Museum. rime] Very common in the Psalms, and Wisdom Literature; 
but also in early books, cf. Am. 8 6 Ho. 12* Je. 5 27 . 13. ODtpn] In $L 
both this and niDn are substs. and in relation of obj. to TpSnn; but in cor 
rected text, they are supplementary infins. with verb, force. 14. "]r\w] 
V derives from -j/ nna>, as a noun formation with prefix >. Old ety 

mology was to connect it by metathesis with Ar. ^^^, be famished 

(so e. g. Ges., Hi., Ew.); Hd. proposed -7 = the Syr., dysentery; but 

* Ke., Casp.. t Ry. t Schegg. Hi., Reinke, van H.. 

6 i37 

neither of these meanings combines well with the suffix, and the context 
as reconstructed demands an entirely different sense. jprnj On juss. 
in protasis, cf. Dr. " " obs -. Hiph. of JPD elsewhere is always used 
of the displacement of a boundary; but Hiph. occurs in all only 7 times, 
and in the Qal, Niph. and Hoph. no such restriction of its scope of ac 
tivity appears. sSan . . . o^on] Hiph. only here and Is. 5"; used for 
sake of variety; there is no necessity for correcting the text to produce 
identity of form; the related vb. cSn likewise shares the meaning "de 
liver" between Hiph. and Pi el. 15. -pon] Always of the anointing in 
the toilet; with the ace. of material here and 2 S. 14* Dt. 28*. nti>D is 
used of both secular and religious anointing; cf. Am. 6 Je. 22" Lv. 7". 
16. Tins^i] Masc. sg. of vb. with two subjects, nearer of which is in 
fern, pi., K6.* ml - M ; but this, difficult as it is, is not in keeping with the 
meaning of the Hithp. in Ps. i8 24 (= 2 S. 22"); nor can mpn be treated 
as ace. after the Hithp.. The consecution of vb. forms in M of w. > ir 
abnormal, viz. simple impf., impf. with ], impf. with i. Impf. with i is 
better at beginning of v. 18 since reference is to a definite fact of the past 
and present. ]y^] On force of purpose clause, cf. Dt. 29" Ho. 8 4 Am. 
2 7 , and K6.* 396e . n,me] Always in parall. with HDP. Cf. Wkl. A OF. 
II, 74 jf. who connects it with the Assy. Sarrdku, to which he assigns the 
value "desert," "wilderness " ; but see Muss-Arnolt, Diet. s. v., where the 
meaning "thief" is clearly established for Sarrdku by the passages cited. 

19. Israel s Lamentation Over the Faithlessness Among Her 
People (y 1 - 6 ). 

This section is a group of six four-line strs. which bewail the 
general depravity in Israel. Str. I laments the state of general 
weakness into which Israel has fallen. Str. II accounts for this 
weakness by describing the wickedness universal in Israel. Str. 
Ill exposes the covetousness and bribery prevalent among the 
ruling classes. Str. IV declares their condition to be hopeless 
and their day of punishment to be close at hand. Strs. V and VI 
rise to a climax in the denunciation of sin, by showing that no man 
dare trust even his most intimate friends and nearest relatives. 

Y^OE is me! for I am become 

Like the gatherings of summer fruit, like the gleanings of the vintage. 

There is not a cluster to eat, 

Not an early fig that my soul desires. 
"THE pious has perished from the land, 

And of the upright among men there is none. 

All of them lie in wait for blood, 

Each hunts his brother with a net. 

138 MICAH 

r J"O do evil they have made ready their hand?: 

The prince demands a bribe, 

And the great man expresses the desire of his soul; 

He ... and they weave it. 
yHE best of them are like a brier; 

The most upright of them like a hedge. 

The day of their visitation comes; 

Now will be their havoc. 
pUT no confidence in a friend; 

Trust not an intimate; 

From her that lies in thy bosom, 

Guard the doors of thy mouth. 
I? OR a son insults his father; 

A daughter rises up against her mother; 

The daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 

A man s enemies are the men of his own house. 

The measure of the poem is prevailingly trimeter, falling occasionally 
to dimeter as in Str. IV, lines i and 2, and rising once to tetrameter, viz. 
Str. II, line 4. The text of Str. Ill is badly preserved and has thus far 
defied restoration. The strophic norm of the piece is already fixed by 
vv. ! 2 which fall naturally into four lines each (cf. Siev., Du.); the same 
metre fits well throughout, with the exception of Str. Ill, where the text 
is beyond recovery. 

The fact that the style changes in v. B from that of a lament to that of 
an address is insufficient reason for separating vv. 5 - 6 as a parallel from 
the original piece (vv. J - 4 ), with Marti (cf. Du., Hpt), or for eliminating 
v. 6 and transposing v. 6 to follow v. 3 , with Siev. and Gu.. Change of 
persons is a very common phenomenon in Hebrew discourse (cf. Ko. 
Stilistik, 238 Jf.}, as is also the change from one style of address to an 
other, e. g. from apostrophe or direct address to narrative (Ps. 34 4 - 8 45 12 - 14 
Is. 24 16 f ). Looked upon as an announcement of coming disaster, the 
piece, of course, finds its most natural conclusion in Str. IV. But dis 
aster is only incidental in this prophecy. Its main burden is rather that 
of grief for Israel s pitiable plight. Vv. 5 - 6 consequently form an emi 
nently fitting conclusion. The picture of universal disloyalty, even in 
the most sacred and intimate human relationships, is the true climax. 
What can compare with this as a just cause for lamentation? 

The time to which the prophecy belongs is difficult to discover. This 
section is wholly independent logically of both the preceding and the fol 
lowing. Yet it is generally conceded that 6 9 - 18 and 7 1 - 8 might easily have 
come from the same time and the same pen. The same moral and re 
ligious situation in general is reflected in both passages. The fact that the 
judgment is looked upon as still to come (7*) is consistent with origin in 
the time of Micah; but it is not inconsistent with postexilic origin (cf. 
Zc. i3 7 ff - 14* f - Mai. 3 8 *). The charge against the ruling classes (v. ) 

7 1 " 8 *39 

is likewise explicable upon either basis (cf. 3 Zc. u 1 Zp. 3 ). The 
general condition of depravity pictured here, and especially the faithless 
ness so widely prevalent are more easily accounted for in the postexilic 
period than at any previous time (cf. Is. sg 1 - 8 56-57 2 Mai. 2" 4* Ps. 
12, 14). But a fuller knowledge of the history of Israelitish life than is 
now accessible to us might show other periods when such conditions 

1. ^DNS] <g ffwdywv; sol; hence Elh. iDp or "cosp; so Now., 
van H., Du., Hpt.. Siev. ^nooso, i. e. prtc. with old fern, ending; so Gu.. 
Hal. BDN3. nSSjD] Now. nSSjn. Hal. nS^ajso van H.. Elh.nSSy \Dpss. 
Pont, nSVj;, droppings. Siev. ^riSSpD?, fern, prtc.; so Gu.. Hpt. ^fyp. 
now] (g ofytoi = mis, or "MN. nni33] Gu. 3 r. ^DJ] Marti, e>r>j f 
foil. <S. Nine codd. of <& have a double rendering, viz. i] ^vxti fu>v ofyoi 
^yjij. 2. 13 N] Aq., S 9 tK\t\ourev. erciS] & om. but substitutes 
the cog. ace. after i3iN\ 131*0] (& diKd^ovrai = w\\ n] Gr. SN. 
nw\| <S tKO\lpov<riv = nw\ cnn] C5 ^K^Xt/Sg, perhaps a free rendering. H 
ad mortem. 1& & to destruction. Aq., S dj/a^/xari. Du.wnn. Perles, oan; 
so Marti, Now. K (?), Gu.. 3. yin Sy] Rd., with Marti, ^nS; so Now. K , 
Siev., Gu., Du., Hpt.. H treats as in cstr. with DD, notwithstanding the 
article, and makes the whole phrase the obj. ace. of ipt^n. D -DO] Rd. 
on"??, with <B B &; so Dathe, Bauer, Seb., We., Ru., Now., Oort Em -, 
Marti, Siev., Gu., Hpt.. Hal. 0-gb. a^t9<nS] Rd. o^n, with <g ^rot- 
fj.dov<riv, B dicunt bonum; so Bauer, Taylor, We., Marti, Now. K , 
Siev., Gu., Hpt.. & 21 insert a negative before the inf. and treat inf. as 
a prtc. or finite form. & has double rendering of rrt3>n, viz. for evil they 
make ready their hands, and they do not good. *?N^] adds, give. 
3 Boom] Om., with Marti, as a gloss on -wi; so Now. K , Siev., Gu.. 
21 and the judge says. Now. adds tooir. Van H. om. i and makes V 
obj. ace. of ^Nty. DiSeo] <8 e^Tjj/i/toiJs X67oi>$. Iff in reddendo est. S 
^v dirairo56(m. & giVe a in ie. Snjn] <S om. ns- ] < t\d\r)<rev. 2 
XaXc?. mn] One cod. m; so Gr.. Marti, Now. K , mjn. Siev., Gu. 
n n. Kin WBJ] Marti, escten; so Now. K . Siev., Gu. irpip BBt^p-i. 
nin3yM] (81 Kal I^\OVIJMI. U conturbaverunt earn. & connects with 
v. and renders, and /foy rc/cc/ their good = i3; m. S Kal /card rA$ 
5a<rcts ^ Sacn/Ti/s a^roO. We. nini^i; so Gr., Marti, Now. K . Siev., Gu. 
rv$\ Hal. inpnxy. Ro. -ina^Mj.soElh., Pont, van H.. Du. -ini^. Nin] 
Hpt. vns\ 1 . D3Vi3] Ro. connects with v. 8 , foil. ^, and reads Down, using 
the suffix of the preceding vb.; so Elh., Pont, van H., Hpt.. p"iro] <g 
w$ <r^/s ticpdyuv = p^hp. Aq. ws /SoX/s IT ^Ma5* paliurus. & /i&e a 
ra^. as from a thornbush. We. pinn. nc] Rd. on^;, with Jus., 
Houb., Dathe, Bauer, We., Gr. t Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Hal., Siev., 
Gu., Du.. <8 Kal paSLfav. & which is torn in pieces. roiocc] Rd. 
n>iDD3; so Taylor, Pont, Gr., Now., Marti, Siev., Gu., Du.; 3 and D 

140 MICAH 

have been confused here as in i tz ; cf. U, 2, <j. (& &rl Kttvbvos = 
.TviipD3. S ws t tfj.<f>payfiov. & by the moth, a conjectural render 
ing of a misunderstood text. U quasi spina de sepe. DV] (6 lv ijntpy. 
Marti, Siev., Gu. om. as gloss. TBXD] Om. as gloss, with Marti, 
Now. K , Siev., Gu.. <B <r/co?rta5. 7J speculations tuae. & thy watchmen. 
Taylor, rrgxc. Ru. Dn>g*p. Gr. rpgx. irnpu] Rd. ornpjs, with Marti, 
Siev., Now. K , Gu., Du.. Ru. and Now. om. as gloss upon TDXD. <g oval 
ovaf, al ^K3i/ci}<reis <rou; hence Marti, Siev., Now. K , Du. and Gu. insert 
^n before PD. oronn] (6 jcXaufyioJ ourwv, deriving from mi, weep; sim 
ilarly &. H vastitas eorunt. Cod. 17 (Kenn.) anoiaD; so Ru.. Hal. 
no-lap. 5. pSN . . . jn] 05 & pi.. <S & render v. 6b very freely, e. g. 
<J5, from thy bedfellow, beware of entrusting anything to her 6. O^N] 

Str. I introduces Zion bewailing in figurative speech the total 
absence of righteousness and truth among her people. 1. Woe is 
me! for I am become like the gatherings of the summer fruit, like 
the gleanings of the vintage] Zion is the speaker; the language 
is wholly inappropriate in the mouth of Yahweh; nor is it to be 
easily attributed to the prophet himself. Zion is as when the fruit 
harvest and the vintage are completely gathered. There is not a 
duster to eat, not an early fig that my soul desires] It is unneces 
sary to drop the suffix and render "that any one desires," with 
Marti. The figure is perfectly intelligible as it stands in 4H. This 
clause shows that Zion does not identify herself with or liken herself 
to the bare vineyards and orchards, but rather to one appearing 
upon the scene seeking fruit after it is all gone. This pregnant use 
of the particle of comparison is common in Hebrew, e. g. Ps. i8 43 
Jb. 3 8 30 Gn. 34 31 . 

Str. II expresses the same thought as Str. I, but in plain, un 
mistakable terms. "There is none that doeth good, no not one." 
2. The pious has perished from the land, and of the upright among 
men there is none] Cf. Ps. i2 2 Is. 57 1 . The term "pious" does 
not appear prior to the time of Jeremiah and Deuteronomy; it 
occurs chiefly in Psalms. It emphasises the practical side of re 
ligion as it finds expression in kindness and loyalty toward men. 
The "pious" and "upright" are the grapes and figs of Str. I. The 
term "land" applies to Israel only, not to the world at large; and 
the comprehensive term "man" includes only such representa- 

7 1 - 8 i4i 

tives of the race as are to be found in Israel. The prophet has no 
concern here with the world in general and passes no judgment 
upon it. Israel absorbs all his interest. All of them lie in wait for 
blood] Cf. Ho. 6 8 - 9 . The figure of the hunter and his prey is 
here applied to the devices whereby one Israelite takes advantage 
of another for his own profit. Each hunts his brother with a net] 
Cf. Hb. i 15 f - EC. 7 26 . The hunter s net rather than the fisher 
man s is probably meant here. The greed of the people stops 
short at nothing; fraternal obligations are ignored and violated 
in the mad rush for gain. 

Str. Ill specifies distinctly the kind of crimes the prevalence of 
which Zion is bewailing, viz. bribery of the courts of justice and 
consequent perversion of law and justice. 3. To do evil they 
have made ready their hands] fJl is untranslatable. It has been 
rendered: "besides doing evil thoroughly with their hands";* 
"on account of the misdeed of the hands to make it good the 
prince, etc." ;f "their hands go out to evil, to do it earnestly ";J 
"they reach out both hands after evil to make it good"; "their 
hands are upon that which is evil to do it diligently."** But the 
grammatical difficulties are insuperable. The thought of the text 
as emended is that of Je. 4** 13*. It is the deliberate purpose of 
the accused to do evil; they have trained and equipped themselves 
to that end. The prince demands a bribe] i. e. in his capacity as 
judge; cf. 2 S. 15* ff - i K. 3 16 ff> . Bribery is still the outstanding vice 
of oriental governments. 4ft inserts and the judge after "the prince," 
a gloss indicating the prince s judicial function. An interesting at 
tempt to interpret M is that of Prof. Morris Jastrow,ff who would 
assign to the participle btfW the meaning "priest," i. e. one who 
seeks oracles, and would treat D"6ttO as a corruption of some verb, 
so getting the rendering, "the prince, the priest and the judge. . . ." 
But ingenious as this is, it fails because such a use of this parti 
ciple in Hebrew cannot be established, and because the parallel 
^VTJn with its participle *mn demands a similar construction 
here. And the great man expresses the desire of his soul] The rich 
and powerful make known their wishes, and these are carried into 

* Rosenm.. t Ew.. J Or.. 

i Urn.; similarly Casp., Ke.. ** RV tt JBL. XIX, 95 /.. 

142 MICAH 

effect by the courts, whose judgments are for sale to the highest 
bidder. The word "desire" is always used of evil wishes. It is 
possible that "the great man " is an official and that the meaning of 
the phrase is, "the great man decides according to his own wicked 
desires." The pronoun Kin must be taken with this line if m is 
correct; the rendering then would be, "and as for the great man, he 
expresses the desire of his soul," the pronoun being emphatic; but 
the length of the line thereby produced and the unnecessary em 
phasis are against m s arrangement. The pronoun has been taken 
as intensifying the suffix, viz. "desire of his own soul"; but this is 
un-Hebraic. It seems best to regard Kin as a fragment of the first 
part of the following line which has been lost or corrupted beyond 
recognition. He . . . and they weave it] This line is partly 
missing, and what remains is obscure. The verb occurs only here, 
and its meaning must be conjectured from the substantives "leafy" 
and "cord," formed from the same root, and from the context here, 
The emendation "pervert" (v. s.) is attractive, but in so uncertain 
a context no certainty as to details is possible. The suffix ap 
parently refers to the wicked desire of the great, while the subject 
must be the combined classes represented by "the prince" and 
"the great man," who together overcome all opposition and cir 
cumvent the righteous poor. 

Str. IV in its first half summarises the denunciation up to the 
present point, and in its second half threatens the wicked oppres 
sors with punishment. 4. The best of them are like a brier] Cf. 
2 S. 23 6 - 7 . The comparison is probably double-edged, having 
reference to the roughness and sharpness of briers and also to their 
susceptibility to quick combustion; cf. Ex. 22 Is. g 18 io 17 . The 
most upright of them like a hedge] For text, v. s.. 4E = "more 
just than a hedge," which is nonsense. RV. "the most upright 
is worse than a thorn-hedge" cannot possibly be derived from iH; 
while RVm., "the straightest is as it were taken from a thorn- 
hedge" is no better. Whether the hedge is mentioned as suggest 
ing an obstruction or injurious roughness cannot be determined; 
cf. Pr. 1 5 19 . The day of their visitation comes, now will be their 
havoc] The day of Yahweh is here before the prophet s mind, that 
great day of judgment that engaged the attention of the prophets 

7" 143 

from first to last; cf. Is. 22*. Hence a gloss makes fH read, the 
day of thy "watchmen (i. e. thy prophets), thy visitation comes] which 
is poor Hebrew. The suffix must agree with those of the preced 
ing and following lines. 

Str. V abandons the form of the lament wholly and passes over 
into direct address, cautioning each Israelite to beware of treachery, 
even in the heart of his most dearly beloved. 5. Put no confidence 
in a friend; trust not an intimate] From the friend in general (JTl) 
to the bosom friend (5)^K), the prophet proceeds in ascending 
scale; none is worthy of confidence, not even a man s wife. From 
her that lies in thy bosom guard the doors of thy mouth] There is 
no hint here of any intention to cast a slur upon womankind in gen 
eral as unable to keep a secret; it is simply the crowning proof of 
the universal faithlessness. Roorda s view that v. 5 depicts not exist 
ing conditions, but those that shall supervene in the "day of their 
visitation," is wholly without foundation; cf. v. 2d . 

Having uttered the warning in Str. V the prophet proceeds in 
Str. VI to state the facts which warrant his advice. 6. For son 
insults father] A heinous offence in Semitic eyes; cf. Code of 
Hammurabi, 186, 192, 195; Ex. 2o 12 2i 15 - 17 Dt. 2i 18ff - Lv. 20* 
Pr. 2O 20 . Daughter rises up against her mother] The submissive- 
ness of the daughter to her parents is well illustrated by the mar 
riage customs in accordance with which the daughter s hand was 
absolutely at the disposal of her father; cf. Gn. 3i 15 . Her sub 
jection was more complete than that of the son ; consequently her 
insubordination would be correspondingly more shocking. The 
daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law] The ideal relationship 
between mother-in-law and son s wife is revealed to us by the 
story of Ruth and Naomi. The mother was granted absolute 
authority over her son s wL r e. A man s enemies are the men of 
his own house] Not merely his servants or slaves; but also, and 
chiefly, his nearest relatives, the members of his own family. 
With vv. 5 - 6 , cf. Ovid, Metamorph. I, 144 /.. 

1. ^SK] Again in Jb. io 15 ; both times expressive of grief; cf. Assy. 
alia; K6. n -p- 38 . CON] On d., cf. Sta. * *>. VN J>N] Circum 
stantial clause, with the force of the negative continuing in foil, clause. 
Inf. with S has force of a gerundive; cf. Ko. *. j nrw] Rel. 

144 MICAH 

clause with rel. particle omitted; Ges. Stl " n . 2. cnn] Ace. of instrument 
Ges. ^ 117 ff - K6. & 332 "; this is the sole example of this construction, but 
analogous usage is found in Ju. ig 5 Ps. 5 13 51". 3. Di^aa] Ace. to JH 
this is dependent upon SNC>, which is to be understood with tootyn; but 
3 SSB always applies to the consulting of deity through oracles, which 
is unsuitable here, i is probably due to the editor who inserted Bfltpn 
and was intended by him as 3 of price. *nn K>DJ] Treated by Ges. 
us f . KO. ^ i as a pron. strengthening the sf.; but such prons. are usually 
introduced by DJ> (cf. i K. 2i 19 ); cf., however, Zc. 7 6 Dt. 5*. 4. HNJ] 
Agreeing with the nearer noun, rather than with DV, the real subj.. 
6. n P23B ] Genitive, instead of ace. of place, or prep. 3, seems to im 
ply a closer relationship; cf. K6. ^ 338p . Tine] The pi. by metonymy, 
instrument for product; cf. Ko. * 26 . 

20. The Discomfiture cf the Foe (y 7 10 ). 

In four strs. of four lines each, the prophet expresses his con 
viction that Yahweh will vindicate his people by overthrowing 
their enemies. The poem sounds somewhat like an imprecatory 
psalm. Str. I warns the enemy not to rejoice too prematurely, 
for Israel s distress is only temporary. Str. II expresses the res 
olution to bear Yahweh s chastisement uncomplainingly, since it 
is due to sin and will end in Israel s vindication. Str. Ill declares 
that the tables are to be turned upon Israel s enemies; those who 
have reviled her will themselves be put to shame. Str. IV an 
nounces a time when those who scoffed at Israel s God because of 
Israel s calamities will in their turn be ground down by oppression. 

J^EJOICE not, O mine enemy, over me! 

Though I am fallen, I shall arise. 

Though I sit in darkness, 

Yahweh will be my light. 
HTHE anger of Yahweh I must bear 

For I have sinned against him 

Until he shall take up my cause, 

And execute my right. 
T-TE will bring me forth to the light; 

I shall gaze upon his righteousness. 

And mine enemy will see, 

And shame will cover her; 
gHE that said unto me, 

Where is Yahweh, thy God? 

Mine eyes will gaze upon her; 

Now will she be for trampling. 

- 1 

There are traces of the qina rhythm in this poem; but the interchange 
of trimeter and dimeter is too irregular to permit us to classify the poem 
as elegiac. This may be seen from Siev. s attempt (cf. also Du.) at such 
an arrangement which involves three changes for metrical reasons only 
as well as the omission of the first two lines of Str. Ill as a gloss in 
tetrameter. The parall. is beautifully regular and the logic unfailingly 
indicates the strophic divisions. 

The general period to which the poem belongs is manifest. Israel 
is no longer awaiting punishment as in 7 1 - 8 , but is already enduring it, 
and is hoping for deliverance. This points naturally to exilic or post- 
exilic conditions. There is the same acknowledgment of the justice 
of the punishment as in Is. 40-55, and the same conviction that de 
liverance will come. But the attitude toward the heathen foe is not 
that of the Servant passages toward the world in behalf of which Israel 
suffers, but rather that of the later prophets who had become bitter 
against their oppressors; cf. Is. 63 ff - Zc. i4 I2ff - Ob. 15 f -. No satis 
factory connection can be found for v. 7 either with the preceding sec 
tion or with this. It seems to be a misplaced fragment. 

7. ^NI] Siev. om.. nS"nix] VHS, deriving it from Sin. iyv<] <g 
T(p ffwrripL fjav; so & U. Siev. supposes the omission of a trimeter line 
from M at this point. 8. ^S] Siev. tr. to precede TU- N; cf. (&. S TIN] 
d> (fxane i not; SO0QJ&; several mss. </>tDs /JLOI. 9. *VPN TJ?] Du. T\y. 
HNIN] SomeHeb. mss. nsnNi; so&. 10. VN] We. HN; so Now., Oort Em -, 
Siev.. mrn] & om.. nnj;] Oort Em - r;;.. Siev. -o. 

Str. I serves warning upon Israel s foes that her present mis 
fortunes will soon give place to honour and glory from Yahweh, 
her God. 7. But I will watch expectantly for Yahweh, I will hope 
for the God of my deliverance; my God will help me] The original 
connection of this verse with another context is shown by the man 
ner in which it evidently contrasts "I" with something that has 
gone before, though there is no fitting contrast in the present con 
text.* The presence of this fragment here may be due to an 
effort to establish some connection between w. 6 and 8 . The 
speaker here is apparently not an individual, but the oppressed 
community, which gives expression to its unquenchable faith in 
Yahweh as the source of ultimate deliverance. For similar phra 
seology, cf. Ps. 5 4 i8 47 25* 38 16 43 5 Hb. 3 18 . The original poem 
begins with v. 8 . 8. Rejoice not, O mine enemy, over me I] "En 
emy" is collective here, including all of Israel s foes; cf. Ob. 12ff 

* C}. Du. Who attaches v. 7 to vv. * . 

146 MICAH 

Ps. 25 2 35 19 . Though I am fallen, I shall arise] Faith under diffi 
culties, the certainty of final vindication, was characteristic of all 
the exilic and postexilic prophets; cf. Is. 60 1 ff - Ez. 37-39 Zc. 14. 
Darkness . . . light] A common figure for calamity and pros 
perity; cf. Am. 5 18 Is. 62 lff - 9 lff - s8 10 59 Jb. 3 o 26 . 

In Str. II the speaker declares himself ready to bear patiently 
the well-merited punishment of Yahweh until such time as Yah- 
weh may choose to release him. 9. The anger of Yahweh I must 
bear} This is in accord with all Semitic thought which always 
explained disaster as due to divine wrath.* From the time 
of Josiah s untimely death on, the consciousness of being under 
the wrath of Yahweh was a heavy burden upon Israel; cf. 2 K. 
23 28 f - 24 20 Is. 42 24 f -. For I have sinned against him] A par 
enthetical statement of the occasion of the divine anger. Sin 
and punishment are indissolubly united in Hebrew and Semitic 
thought. There is in this ascription of the disasters of Israel 
to Yahweh s anger because of her sin a direct rebuke of the foes 
who have failed to realise in their unholy glee that they are but in 
struments in the hand of a just God. Until he shall take up my 
cause and execute my right] There is a limit to Yahweh s wrath; 
cf. Ps. io3 9 . Though he is now angry at Israel, yet when his 
punitive purpose is accomplished he will take his place as Israel s 
avenger over against her foes. As compared with them, Israel is 
righteous; Yahweh therefore will not allow them to push her to 
destruction; cf. Zc. i 15 f -. 

Str. Ill contrasts the fact of Israel s vindication with its neces 
sary corollary, the public humiliation of her foes. 9e, f. He will 
bring me forth to the light ; I shall gaze upon his righteousness] The 
"righteousness" of Yahweh, as in Is. 40-55, is here identical with 
the vindication of Israel. Israel being more nearly in accordance 
with the divine will than the nations are who triumph over her, it 
is required of the iustice of Yahweh that he deliver his people and 
punish their oppressors who have exceeded their commission of 
chastisement upon Israel. The destruction of Israel by the heathen 
nations would be wholly inconsistent with the character of the 
God of justice. His righteousness demands Israel s triumph over 

*Cf. Mesa-Inscription, \. 5; the Stele oj Nabonidus, 1. i if. 

7 M 147 

her foes. lOa, b. And mine enemy will see, and shame will cover 
her] Israel s vindication would be incomplete apart from the dis 
grace of her enemies. The latter is involved in the former. But 
to say with Caspari that Israel s joy is a holy exultation over the 
overthrow of the enemies of God does not tell the whole story. 
Such an element is undoubtedly present, but there is coupled with 
it the element of revenge for wanton and gross insults long en 
dured; cf. Na. 3 Ps. 109 and Ob.. 

Str. IV announces the complete and final overthrow of the ene 
mies of Israel and Yahweh. lOc-f. Where is Yahweh, thy God?] 
A proverbial expression indicative of the powerlessness of Yahweh; 
cf. 2 K. iS 34 Jo. 2 17 Ps. 79 10 ii5 2 . Among peoples entertaining a 
limited conception of deity as the champion of a particular nation, 
the continuous disaster of a nation must always be interpreted as 
due to the weakness of its patron deity. Mine eyes will gaze upon 
her] She who doubted Yahweh s power, if not his very existence, 
will now feel that power in her own person. The "gaze" is 
one of gloating hatred; cf. Ob. 12 - u Ez. 28" Ps. 22 18 . Now will 
she be for trampling] A final note of triumph over the prostrate 
foe. Like the mire of the streets] An editorial expansion, as is 
shown by the metre;* for similar additions, cf. i 4 . 

8. ^n^>N] Fern, as collective, Ges.* 122S . 9. *]??] Of anger of \ only 
here and Is. 3o 30 ; a stronger term than the more common IN ,D>N and 
rm?. >BDtPD r\vy] i. e. do me justice, give judgment in my favour ; cf. Ps. 
9 6 . 10. N^nVj An abnormal form and accentuation, but found also 
in Zc. 9* and Gn. 4i M (in some mss.). According to Ges. $"? due to 
desire to avoid hiatus before foil. N; but perhaps better treated as re 
flecting Aramaic usage, Ges. * " ". On the force of the tense, cf. Ko. 
Saw f. % rN ] Correction to .~PN is unnecessary in view of 2 K. 19" Is. 
19" Je. 37"; the sf. vividly anticipates the subj.; cf. K5.* Mo1 . rwjpn] 
D. f. affectuosum, as in njjjjn, Ju. 5"; Ges. % w . There is no room here 
for a sf.. 

* So Marti, Now. K , Siev., Hpt.. But cf. Du., who retains it and drops " mine eyes will gaze 
upon her." 

148 MICAH 

21. The Restoration of Jerusalem and the Return of 
Exiles (y 11 - 13 ). 

A single eight-line str. tells of the time when the city s walls will 
be rebuilt, her borders extended and her citizens brought back from 
every quarter of the earth; while the heathen world will receive 
drastic punishment for the sin of its inhabitants. 

A DAY will there be for rebuilding thy walls. 
On that day the border will be distant. 
A day will there be when unto thee will they come, 
From Assyria even unto Egypt, 
And from Egypt even to the river, 
And from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. 
But the earth will become a desolation, 
On account of its inhabitants, because of the fruit of their deeds. 

Tetrameter rhythm prevails in this oracle as it is found in iH; but 
the text is doubtful at several points. The connection within the str. 
is very close, except between w. 12 and 13 , where contrast must be under 
stood to make any connection possible. But since good connection may 
be secured in this way, it seems unnecessary to separate v. ", either in 
order to connect it with v. I8 (Marti) or with v. (Siev.). There is not 
the slightest link of connection between this passage and its context on 
either side. The proposition of Marti (so also Now. K ) to secure connec 
tion with vv. 7 - 10 by changing the sf. of the 2d pers. here to that of the ist 
pers. does not commend itself, for such promises for the future are ordi 
narily spoken to the community or concerning it by a prophet and do not 
emanate from the community itself. Van H. s proposal to place w. 
iib-is immediately after v. 6 , involves an impossible exegesis of v. ". The 
passage is, therefore, a fragment lacking close relationship to the other 
fragments of which chs. 6 and 7 are composed (so also Du.). 

The time of the writing of this piece is clearly revealed as falling 
within certain limits. The terminus a quo for its origin is necessarily 
the fall or Jerusalem in 586 B.C., at which time the walls of the city were 
razed (2 K. 2 5 10 ) ; the terminus ad quern is evidently the year of the rebuild 
ing of the walls under Nehemiah. The prophet apparently looks for 
ward to the rebuilding as close at hand; hence we might place the proph 
ecy shortly before that task was actually begun. But it is impossible 
to say how many times prophetic hopes of this character may have been 
kindled only to meet with disappointment. It is unsafe, therefore, 
to specify any time within the first century and a half after the fall of 
Jerusalem for the utterance of this prophecy. 

7" 149 

11. DV] Add KIM, with Marti and Now. K ,as copula; cf. \. ". Che. CB , 
Kinn ova. nuaVj <& dXoi^iJs ir\lvdov = nuaS. Siev. mjan. imj] ( 
^dXei^/s <rou. Marti, n-n; so Now. K , Siev.. Hal. TT?.?- Kinn DV] 
Siev. om.. pn prw] <& /caZ diroTptyerai v6/j.i/Mi <rov. & that thou be taken 
away, omitting pn. U longe fiet lex. Aq. /j.aKpvv8^ffTai ij &Kpi<rla. S 
/taffpAv eo-Tcu 17 tTriTay/i. Gr. prn pn-v. Oort Em - Tpprrv. Marti, "V 
^n; so Now. K , Siev.. Hpt. ipn aip\ Du. n t\nv. 12. qnjnj Rd. ^HJN, 
in agreement with v. n ; so Now., Hpt.. (& Kal al ?r6Xets <rov = ^njn. ^ 
/Ay //me. Marti, >-yv, so Now. K , Siev.. Nia>] Rd. -INO;, with 05, We., 
Taylor, Gr., Now., Marti, Siev., Hpt.. -on 1 ?] (& ef$ 6/xaXK7/i6v xai eZs 
Sianepiffrfv. n; i] Rd. ^Jji, with Aq. 6 Ew., Hi., Mau., Ro., Now., Elh., 
We., Gu., GASm., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., van H., Du., Hpt.. Taylor, 
^;i. Gr. -ri. -MXD] (& & H 21 take as common noun. IIXD ^jcSi] (& 
els SiaiMpiffijbv 6.iri> Ti/pou =Ti*p ijnS; so g. DM] Elh. nn^i. ->ni] & 
= nni; c/. Nu. 20". Elh. mm. nnn] Rd. nnp, with <& B, Taylor, 
Elh., We., GASm., Now., Marti, Hal., van H., Du., Hpt.. 

This short poem is full of movement, the rebuilding of walls, 
the exiles returning in great numbers from every quarter, and over 
against this scene of joyous activity the desolation of destruction 
upon the pagan world. 11. A day will there be for rebuilding thy 
walls] The city of Jerusalem is addressed. The language of the str. 
as a whole shows that the literal rebuilding of the city s walls is meant, 
rather than any such general idea as the restoration of the fortunes 
of Israel. On that day will the boundary be far distant] i. e. Is 
rael s territory will be very extensive. For prn as applied to the 
extension of boundaries, cf. Is. 26 15 . The boundary referred to 
may be either that of the city or that of the land; cf. Zc. 2 4 . The 
text here is somewhat suspicious; pn without the article or other 
token of definiteness is unusual, and the repetition of DT* and D*P 
NIP! in the first three lines is suggestive of dittography. Some would 
drop ftn as a dittograph from the verb; but the resulting sentence, 
"that day is far distant," is wholly out of harmony with the opti 
mism of the passage. Other interpretations of this phrase are: 
"that day distant is the date (pn)";* "the decree shall be ex 
tended," i. e. to include not only Babylon but all the countries 
around Judea and to provide for great numbers becoming prose 
lytes to Judaism ;f the limit separating Israel from the nations will 
be set aside and all the nations will come flocking to the people of 

* Ew., Urn.. t Hi. 

150 MIC AH 

God;* the Mosaic law will be surperseded ;f pn = the principles of 
the heathen after the captivity idolatry will be abolished;! pn = 
law and order in the time foretold in w. 1 " 8 , with which w. llb ~ 13 
should be connected, all restraint will be cast off and anarchy will 
prevail. But these are all open to serious objection and are now 
generally abandoned in favour of the view adopted here. 12. A 
day will there be when unto thee will they come from Assyria even 
unto Egypt] Not a prediction of foreign invasion,** nor a promise 
of the conversion of the nations ;ff but an assurance of the return 
of the Jewish exiles. The language of the verse presupposes the 
wide extent of the diaspora; the exiles are sojourners among all 
peoples. Assyria and Egypt are the extremities of the prophet s 
world on the east and west. And from Egypt even unto the river] 
The river in question is the Euphrates; hence this clause is prac 
tically identical with the preceding. And from sea to sea, and from 
mountain to mountain] The order of words is unusual in 4H and 
the text of the last word unintelligible in this context; v. s.. No 
particular sea is alluded to; the expression is rather general and 
indefinite, and so intended to convey the impression of vastness 
of expanse. The interpretation of Hitzig and Orelli, which identi 
fies the seas as the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, and the 
mountains as a northern Hor (Nu. 34*) and a southern Hor (Nu. 
20 23 ), makes Canaan the whole of the territory covered by the de 
scription of v. Mc> d ; but this is an anti-climax after v. 12b . For 
similar descriptions of a world-wide restoration from exile, cf. 
Ez. 34 13 Zc. io 8ff - Is. 2 y 12 Ps. ioy 2 f . 13. But the earth will be 
come a desolation] In its present context, the land thus threatened 
cannot be Canaan; but must be the heathen world in general, the 
land of Israel s foes; cf. Je. 49 13 - 17 so 23 Zp. 2 13 - 15 Jo. 3 19 . Because 
of its inhabitants, on account of the fruit of their deeds] That the 
land should suffer because of the sins of its occupants is a common 
thought in the Scriptures; cf. 2 S. 2i lff - Is. 24 5 Lv. iS 25 Rom. S 22 . 
The final phrase more specifically defines the occasion of the land s 
devastation; for other examples of the phrase, v. Is. 3 Je. i; 10 2i 14 
3 2 19 ; cf. Je. 6 19 . 

* Ke.. f KL. t Baur, Hal.. 

S Van H.. ** Van H.. ft Cal., Rosenm., Hesselbcrg, Mau., KL. 

7 14 J 5i 

11. nuaS ov] For nja = rebuild, cf. Ez. 36 10 - . The lack of cop 
ula would make it necessary to draw Ninn DV to this clause as its 
predicate (so Now.); but this violates the metrical norm; it is better to 
insert ton. aonn DV] An ace. of time when. For lack of art. with 
DV, cf. GesJ 126w . 12. *on DV] Lack of art. explained by Ges. * 
as due to corrupt text; by K6. ^ 334 as due to prominent character 
of DV. But it is much better taken with DV as subj. of sentence 
and Kin as copula (contra Hpt.). T" 1 ? 1 ] "and unto thee," i. e. "when 
unto thee"; cf. H. 44, 3. -USD] Elsw. only Is. 19" 2 K. 19* (= Is. 
37 25 ). Perhaps intended to suggest by its pointing the common noun, 
siege. Wkl. Unt -, 170, proposes to point "ore or "rt*i?, which he would 
connect with Mi-is-sa-ri of the Tel-el-Amarna letters; v. Letter of 
Ashur-uballit, 1. 2, and that of Tar-hundaraS of Arsapi, \. i. inj] Ab 
sence of art. = poetic usage, Ko. * 295 . For similar refs. to the Euphrates, 
cf. Zc. 9 Ps. 728 i K. 4"- * i4 15 2 S. io> Gn. is 1 * Dt. i 7 . 13. p-ian] 
As denoting all non-Israelitish territory, cf. the corresponding use of D IK 
in contrast with SNT^ in Je. 322, cited by Stei. and Now.. 

22. A Prayer for Yahweh s Intervention (y 14 20 ). 

Three strs. of four lines each, in qina rhythm, call for Yahweh s 
manifestation as the deliverer of his people and base the appeal for 
deliverance upon his mercy. Str. I is a prayer to Yahweh for the 
resumption of his former attitude of favour toward his people. 
Str. II prays for the utter humiliation of the heathen nations and 
their complete subjection to Yahweh. Str. Ill recalls the well- 
known character of Yahweh and reminds him of his oath to the 
patriarchs concerning the glory of Israel. 

gHEPHERD thy people with thy staff, the flock of thine inheritance, 

That dwells alone in a jungle, in the midst of a garden. 

May they feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. 

As in the days of thy coming forth from Egypt, show us wonderful things. 
]VJAY the nations see and be ashamed of all their might. 

May they lay hand upon mouth, and may their ears be deaf. 

May they lick dust like the serpent, like crawlers of the earth. 

May they come trembling from their dens, may they quake and fear on account 

of thee. 
YXfHO is a god like unto thee, forgiving iniquity and passing by transgression? 

And thou wilt cast into the depths of the sea all our sins. 

Thou wilt show faithfulness to Jacob and kindness to Abraham, 

As thou hast sworn to our fathers from days of yore. 

The qina rhythm is clearly marked in this poem. Only three lines 
need pruning to bring them within the limits of the metre (v. .), and the 

152 MICAH 

gloss-like character of these additions is very apparent. The three strs. 
are sharply differentiated one from another, the first dealing with Israel, 
the second with the nations, and the third with God. Siev. sets Str. 
Ill apart as an independent poem, but the identity of form and the 
good logical connection seem to require its junction with w. u - 17 . Sta. 
(ZAW. XXIII, 164 /.), followed by Now. and Marti, has recognised 
that vv. 18b - 19 interrupt the close connection between w. 18a and 19b 
(v. *.) . But these fragments have no real connection with v. 13 , where they 
are attached by Sta. and Marti. To put them there involves the appli 
cation of v. 13 to the land of Israel, and a contrast between the condition 
portrayed in vv. "- 12 and that actually existing as described in v. 1S , 
which is hardly conceivable in the absence of any particle indicating 
the changed time relations. They are better treated as a variant or 
parallel to vv. 18a - 19b . 

The general tone of this passage marks it as belonging to the later 
days. Israel is in distress; the land is only partly in its possession; the 
people have suffered many things at the hands of their enemies, upon 
whom they call down vengeance. The attitude of the author is quite 
similar to that revealed in vv. 8 - 10 , and the two passages might well come 
from the same period, if not from the same pen. The return from exile 
seems to lie in the past; the people are dwelling in Canaan, but their 
territory is of narrow limits. The days when Bashan and Gilead were 
occupied (eighth century B.C.) are "days of old." This indicates a time 
after the return movement under Ezra and Nehemiah and the accom 
panying development of particularism. Many terms common in the 
later Psalms occur in these few verses (v. i.}. 

14. WV] <& H 01 pi. = \Dir; so Ro., Sta. (ZAW. XXIII, 169), 
Elh., Now., Marti, Siev., van H., Hpt.. ->r] & = sheep. Hal. >.y.. Gr. 
*n> 3. Van H. "ijr 1 , may it be established. 15. IDNX] & 21, sf. in 3d 
pi.. onxo jnNs] Rd. onxnc, omitting V~\N with 05; so Marti, Siev., Du.; 
the metre supports this. UJON] Rd. -UN^n; so We., Taylor, Elh., 
Pont, Gr., GASm., Now., Che., Oort Em -, Marti, Hal., Siev., van H., 
Du., Hpt.. (& 6\f/(T0. & 21 sf. of 3d pers. pi.. Some codd. of <& 5e/o> 
Ro. MNin; so Gu.. 16. Snr] <g = Ssci. T] < g> 21 pi.. 
21 <S> A and 3 Heb. mss. rNi; so Taylor, Pont. 17. pmr] 
<g B pi., but (&^ sg.. Sma] 06 om. 3. ommjDDi:] < 31 = oca; <& 
also has noun in sg.. & from their paths. nno> imSs mrp-SN] Om. 
ipnSN ^x, with Marti, Now. K , Siev., as a gloss; this is shown by 
the use of 3d pers. as compared with ripe, and by the metre. It is not 
improbable that the entire phrase including nno 11 is an editorial citation 
from Ho. 3 5 . This would leave a smoother text and an easier metre 
(cf. Siev.). UOM] Siev. om. mtr. cs.. IDE] &om.. 18. TDD] Siev. adds 
mrp, mtr. cs.. ; B>D . . . fi> ] (821 pi.. Siev. adds i?" after r", mtr. cs.. 
in^nj r.nN>S] Om. as gloss, with Now., Marti, Du.. Siev. and Gu. 

7" iS3 

nNarrSp, and omit remainder of verse as gloss. pvnn] 9 2d pers. sg. 
lyS] < fk fjuipTtipiov = njjS. von] & has 2d pers. sg. of vb.. 19. Siev. 
and Gu. insert nn at opening of verse, and change all vbs. to ad 
pers. sg.. na^] & and he will gather together. i^m] fc Of JT 3d 
pers. sg. active. <B Kal airopi^a-ovrai; but in some codd. of (&, as in 
M. Ro. om. i; so Marti. ansan] Rd. ij HNisn, with <B B; so Ro., 
Elh., Pont, We., Gr., Gu., Now., Oort Em -, Marti, Hal., Siev., van H., 
Du.. 20. pn] <& 56<rei. H dabis, so some codd. of <8. Siev. fnni. 
IB>N] Gu. "v^Nj. "D c] ( icord T&S Tjufyas ws, confusing 3 and a as 
in i 2 . 

Str, I is a prayer for Yahweh s favour upon Israel in the restora 
tion to her of the territory once occupied by her. 14. Shepherd 
thy people with thy staff, the flock of thine inheritance] Yahweh is 
addressed as the shepherd of Israel; cf. Ps. 23 28 8o 2 Gn. 4p 24 . 
On "flock of thine inheritance," cf. Is. 63" Je. io 16 Ps. 74 2 95 ioo 3 . 
Israel is frequently designated as Yahweh s "inheritance," i. e. as 
his possession, in Deuteronomy and subsequent writings; cf. Dt. 
4 20 9 26 - 29 32. Dwelling alone in a jungle in the midst of a garden] 
This is not a prayer that Israel may be kept apart from the pagan 
nations,* but a statement of fact (as is shown by the participle) 
which serves as the occasion for the request of the previous line. 
Nor is it a description of Yahweh as having his home in a forest- 
shrine on Carmel, the sacred mountain. f It rather represents 
Israel as occupying the hill-tops of Judah, while access to the 
surrounding fertile plains is denied them, because the latter are 
in possession of powerful enemies. The sense is not materially 
changed if we translate, "dwelling alone, (like) a jungle in the midst 
of a garden"; but this division of the line is against the metre of 
the qina. The "jungle" (GASm.) is here used as a symbol of 
barrenness and desolation, as in 3 12 Ho. 2 14 Is. 2i 13 , and in Is. 29" 
32 15 , where it is contrasted with "garden" as here; cf. 2 K. ig. 
A reference to Israel as dwelling in the midst of Mt. Carmel would 
be unintelligible here. May they feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in 
days of old] The reference to these regions is not necessarily in 
dicative of the recent loss of this territory, and so proof of the 
origin of this prophecy before the fall of Samaria.f The phrase 
"days of old" renders this out of the question. The prophet liv- 

* Contra Sta. ZAW. XXIII, 169. t So Hi.. t So van H^ 

154 MIC AH 

ing at a late day prays for the restoration of former glory, with re 
united Israel once more occupying all of its long-lost territory, even 
that to the east of the Jordan. 15. As in the days of thy going 
forth from Egypt, show us wonders] iH "I will show him" is 
impossible in this connection. The prophet longs for a miracu 
lous intervention ; nothing else can give Israel the honour due her 
as Yahweh s people. The exodus of Israel is designated as a 
going forth of Yahweh, just as in Ju. 5"*; cf. 2 S. 5 24 Ps. 6o 10 . 

Str. II indicates the character of the wonders which Israel 
desires Yahweh to perform, viz. the complete humiliation and 
demoralisation of the enemies. 16. May the nations see, and be 
ashamed of all their might} i. e. because their vaunted strength will 
seem so puny in comparison with the mighty deeds of Yahweh. 
May they lay hand upon mouth] i. e. keep silent in astonishment 
and terror; cf. Ju. i8 19 Jb. 2i 5 29 4o 4 Pr. 30 32 Is. 52 15 . And may 
their ears be deaf] Deprived of both speech and hearing by the 
"thunder of his power" (Jb. 26 14 ). 17. May they lick dust like 
the serpent, like crawlers of the earth] i. e. prostrate themselves to 
the earth before Yahweh in reverence. Cf. Gn. 3" Ps. 72 Is. 
49 23 . May they come trembling from their dens] into which, they 
have fled terror-stricken. Cf. Ps. i8 45 . Unto Yahweh our God 
may they come quaking] The phrase "unto Yahweh our God" 
belongs with this verb rather than with the preceding, as appears 
from the idiom ^ IPS which occurs also in Ho. 3 5 ; this is recog 
nised in HI by the position of the verse accents. And may they fear 
on account of thee] A fitting state of mind for those who have long 
jeered at Yahweh and oppressed his people; cf. Ps. 33 8 6y 8 IO2 18 . 

Str. Ill closes the prophecy and the book with a tender appeal 
to Yahweh as the God of mercy and pardon that he will be gra 
cious toward Israel in accordance with his ancient Covenant. 
18a. Who is a god like unto thee] A common thought in Psalms, 
e. g. Ex. 15" Ps. 7i 19 y; 14 86 8 89*- 9 p6 4 97. Elsewhere, the point 
of the comparison is always the power of Yahweh; here only is 
it found in his quality of mercy. But Yahweh s power is the theme 
of w. 15 ~ 17 and thus constitutes the background of the thought 
here.* Forgiving iniquity and passing by transgression] Also 

* So Sta. ZAW. XXIII, 171. 

7" iss 

a common thought in the Psalter, e. g. 86 5> 15 gg 8 103 - 1S i3o 4 . 
To the remnant of his inheritance] A gloss specifying and lim 
iting the application of Yahweh s forgiving spirit to Israel, his 
chosen people. The inference to be drawn from this phase of 
Yahweh s character is plainly stated in the following comments at 
tached by some editor. 18b. He will not retain his anger for ever, 
for he delights in kindness} The change from the qma measure 
to simple trimeter and from the 2d person in address to Yahweh 
to the 3d person show the secondary character of this material. 
Similar phrases are frequent in the Psalter, e. g. 25* 30 32 33 5 
34 9 S7 4 u - 19a. He will again show us mercy] Israel s past 
experience of Yahweh s grace warrants this conviction as to his 
purpose for the future. He will tread down our iniquities] The 
sins of Israel are poetically pictured as enemies of Yahweh whom 
he will subdue and render powerless. The figure is striking and 
without parallel in the OT.. 19b. And thou wilt cast into the depths 
of the sea all our sins] This is the continuation of v. 18a . The 
prophet employs the strongest terms to express the conviction that 
Yahweh will fully forgive his people and restore them to the en 
joyment of prosperity and power. 20. Thou wilt show faithful 
ness to Jacob, kindness to Abraham] The names of the forefathers 
of the nation are here applied to their descendants; the kind of 
treatment accorded the former may be confidently expected by the 
latter. Cf. Ex. 34. As thou hast sworn to our fathers from days 
of old] Referring specifically, perhaps, to Gn. 22 18ff - 28 13 f -, and 
in general to all the promises through patriarchs and prophets 
throughout Israel s history. 

14. *J3S>] So-called hireq-compaginis, really the old genitive end 
ing retained in the cstr.; cf. Ges. * 90m ; Ko.^ 272 b - . On account of diffi 
culty of masc. prtc. agreeing with fsx (fern.), the reading as cstr. pi. is 
commonly accepted (v. s.), in agreement with coll. noun; cf. ijn\ But 
masc. may be explained as due to the force of o>, the main noun to which 
jx* is added parenthetically; or as due to |N* itself being treated as 
masc., as in Gn. 3O 39 , because of its relation to op. ir] Ace. of place 
in which, as after 3C" in Gn. i8>. 15. utn.N] Treated by Ew. ^ 238 as 
Aram, form of imv. ; this was objected to by Ew. s contemporaries because 
an Aramaicism in the language of Micah was improbable; but this objec 
tion loses its force with the prevalence of the view of the late origin of this 

156 MICAH 

material. In any case it might have been due to a scribe who spoke 
Aram.. But more probably it was intended as first person of impf. by a 
scribe who conceived of v. as the beginning of Yahweh s answer to 
Israel s petition, a view which is irreconcilable with the presence of the 
sf. in ~pn (v. l7 ). 16. ns Sy T] A common idiom, hence without art., 
K.6.* 294 -. 18. >D] An example of the near relation of question to ex 
clamation, Ges.* 1480 . pen] Verbal adj., rather than Qal pf., as shown 
by addition of Nin. 19. B > O3 < >] This isolated usage of BOD suggests the 
possibility of a confusion with DUD, which would furnish excellent sense 
here and an idiom frequent in the OT.; cf. Is. i 16 Je. 4" Ps. 5i 4 - . 033 
is used with the sense wash away, only in Lv. 13" ; cf. p:n, Is. 4*. 
Hpt. makes this same suggestion in AJSL, July, 1910; but the preceding 
sentences were written a year before the appearance of that article. 
20. T.?N] = -IPIO, as in Je. 33" 48* Is. 54" Ps. io6 M . 





These two termini include the period of the decline and fall of 
the Assyrian empire. Within its limits belong the prophecies of 
both Zephaniah and Nahum. The difficulty and the greatness of 
their work can be properly appreciated only as we obtain an un 
derstanding of the course of events of which it formed a part. 
Judah, under Manasseh, continued the vassalage to Assyria that 
had been inaugurated by Ahaz, through his panic-stricken recourse 
to the aid of Tiglath-pileser III, and had been riveted upon Heze- 
kiah by Sennacherib. Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal maintained 
the high prestige of Assyria throughout western Asia. The former 
had established her dominion over lower Egypt as far south as 
Memphis in 670 B.C., and had died (668 B.C.) while on the march 
to Egypt to drive back the Ethiopian Taharka, who had incited the 
Delta to revolt and was actively engaged in the attempt to free 
Egypt from the Assyrian yoke. Ashurbanipal (668-626 B.C.) im 
mediately took up the unfinished task of his predecessor. His reign 
was the last blaze of Assyria s glory. Taharka was driven back 
into Nubia and Assyria s sway re-established over the Delta. 
Twenty kings of the Mediterranean littoral and the neighbouring 
islands, including Manasseh of Judah, hastened to renew their 
submission to Assyria. The irrepressible Taharka resumed his 
intrigues with the princes of the Delta soon after Ashurbanipal s 
return home and again stirred up revolt. The traitors were all 
severely punished by Ashurbanipal, with the exception of Necho, 
prince of Sais, who was shown honour and appointed Assyria s 
representative in charge of the whole of the Delta, being granted 
a body of Assyrian troops with which to maintain his authority. 


This plan of organisation worked well for some time after the death 
of Taharka (663 B.C.). But in the third year of his successor, 
Tanutamon, negotiations were again opened between the princes 
of the Delta and the Ethiopian king, who attacked Necho and his 
Assyrian soldiers, inflicting defeat upon them and slaying Necho 
himself. In 66 1 B.C., Ashurbanipal despatched an expedition to 
Egypt which drove Tanutamon back into Ethiopia and seized and 
plundered Thebes, the ancient stronghold and capital. From this 
blow Thebes never recovered; though Tanutamon re-entered the 
city after the withdrawal of the Assyrian army and remained there 
until 654 B.C., when Psamtik, son of Necho and king of Sais and 
Memphis, expelled the Ethiopians and restored Thebes to Egyp 
tian ownership. 

While the Egyptian campaigns were draining Assyria of blood 
and treasure, Ashurbanipal was also compelled to wage a bloody 
war against Elam, which had resumed her former hostility shortly 
after his accession. Two campaigns reduced Elam to temporary 
submission, under the rule of princes appointed as Assyrian vas 
sals (665 B.C.). Another draught upon Assyria s resources was 
occasioned by troubles in the far west, where Ba al of Tyre had 
to be besieged and Arvad and Tabal brought to submission and 
tribute. Shortly afterward, Assyria s aid was besought by Arvad, 
Tabal and Lydia against the Cimmerians who had become ag 

An irremediable injury was done to the life of the Assyrian em 
pire by the civil war instituted through the revolt of Ashurbanipal s 
brother, Shamash-shum-ukin, king of Babylon. The struggle was 
fierce and of seven years duration, ending in 647 B.C. with the com 
plete triumph of Ashurbanipal, who became king of Babylon under 
the name Kandalanu. Thereupon followed a series of campaigns 
against Elam, which had aided Shamash-shum-ukin. These re 
sulted about 640 B.C. in the total destruction of Elam as a nation. 
The western peoples, who had eagerly seized upon the opportunity 
offered by the revolt of Babylon to rid themselves of the oppressive 
burden of vassalage to Nineveh, also required chastisement. The 
Arabian tribes, including the Kedarenes and Nabataeans, who had 
aided Shamash-shum-ukin, were brought into subjection by Ashur- 

FROM 66 1 TO 606 B.C. l6l 

banipal in a series of battles, in the course of which his troops 
overran the territory of the Kedarenes, Nabataeans, Edom, Moab, 
Ammon and the Hauran. Ushu and Acco, in Phoenicia, were also 
unmercifully punished. If any credence may be given to the 
Chronicler s story of the captivity of Manasseh of Judah, it is safe 
to say that the events which brought it about must be placed in 
connection with this same revolt of the western peoples. In ad 
dition to these foes on the east and west, the peoples of the north 
and north-west initiated hostilities and persisted in them. Among 
others the Mannai and the Cimmerians were smitten by Ashurban- 
ipal. Not until about 640 B.C. was peace restored throughout the 
Assyrian empire. For twelve years Assyria had been engaged in a 
desperate struggle for life, which she won, but at terrible cost. 
Meantime, Egypt, left to her own devices and led by the energetic 
Psamtik I, had expelled the Ethiopians, made alliance with Gyges 
of Lydia and so strengthened herself and increased her resources 
that Ashurbanipal made no further effort to reduce her to sub 
mission. The last fourteen years of the reign of Ashurbanipal are 
shrouded in obscurity. 

Since the accession of Manasseh, Judah had been passing 
through a period of reaction. The ideals exalted by prophets like 
Isaiah and Micah had suffered eclipse. A relation of vassalage to 
Assyria had been inherited from Hezekiah s reign. Heavy tribute 
taxed the resources of the people to the utmost and fretted the 
freedom-loving spirit of these hill-dwellers almost beyond endur 
ance. It is probable that, when the neighbouring peoples entered 
into the conspiracy with Shamash-shum-ukin against Ashurbani 
pal, Judah did not stand aloof. In any case, high hopes were 
raised by the general revolt throughout the empire only to be 
dashed to the ground with the collapse of the whole movement. 
This political maelstrom of dissatisfaction, restlessness, intrigue, 
hope and despair was intensified by the cross-currents of the social 
and religious life which ran fast and furious. Foreign customs and 
practices were welcomed with open arms. Manasseh himself led 
the reactionary movement in religion which sought to reinstate the 
old deities and shrines that had been discredited by Sennacherib s 
invasion. The Baalim and Asherah, so generally worshipped 


throughout Syria, were restored to favour in Judah. Sun-worship 
too was officially approved and practised. That all this was due 
to something more than mere religious indifference, easy-going 
toleration or even diplomatic acceptance of the cults of the neigh 
bouring peoples allied with Judah in the common desire and pur 
pose to obtain freedom from Assyria, is evident from the fact that 
Manasseh is said to have offered up one of his own sons as a burnt- 
offering. This means agonising endeavour on the part of a super 
stitious and idolatrous people and its king to secure the favour and 
help of Heaven in their endeavour to better their lot. Despairing 
of success with the aid of Yahweh alone, they turned eagerly to the 
other gods of the local pantheon in the hope of securing their co 
operation. They were willing to pay the highest price for such 
aid, withholding not their own heart s blood. The precise sig 
nificance of the statement in 2 K. 2i 16 that "Manasseh shed inno 
cent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to 
another" is undiscoverable. It may refer to frequent resort to in 
fant sacrifice, though it is unlikely that Manasseh would have been 
held solely accountable for this; or to a bloody persecution of the 
prophets of Yahweh (cf. Je. 2 30 ) ; or even to acts of tyranny, like 
the judicial murder of Naboth the Jezreelite in Ahab s time, oc 
casioned by the desire to replenish the royal treasury or to remove 
influential opposition to the royal policy. The interplay of such 
conditions and influences produced a high degree of ferment in 
Jerusalem. With the passing of Manasseh and Amon and the 
accession of Josiah about 638 B.C., new influences began to come 
to the fore in Judah. The principles inculcated by the earlier 
prophets were bearing fruit and were to receive official endorse 
ment when the boy king came to maturity of judgment. 

While the new regime was establishing itself in Judah, new forces 
and strange faces began to appear in the larger arena of western 
Asia. The Scythians, breaking loose from their mountain fast 
nesses in the north, came pouring down upon Assyria s territory, 
sweeping everything before them.* In the extreme west they en 
countered Psamtik I of Egypt, who had for years been occupied 
with the siege of Ashdod, which he was now forced to abandon by 

* Hdt., I, 103 ff.. 

FROM 66 1 TO 606 B.C. 163 

the advance of the new foe. Crowded back across his own border, 
there he held the barbarians at bay, whether by force* or by pay 
ment of a large amount of goldf is an open question. They 
seem to have left Jerusalem untouched, both on the way down to 
Egypt and on the return. But echoes of their march are heard in 
the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zephaniah, both of whom were 
called into public life probably by this great invasion. In the 
eastern half of Assyria s domain, Nineveh was undergoing a siege 
at the hands of Cyaxares, the Mede, when the Scythians appeared 
upon the scene. Cyaxares was continuing a struggle between 
Media and Assyria, the opening stage of which had closed with 
the defeat and death of Phraortes, his father. The son, again tak 
ing the aggressive, had gathered a new army, defeated the Assyrian 
forces in pitched battle and encamped before the walls of Nine 
veh itself (625 B.C.). The entrance of the Scythians into Media 
forced Cyaxares to raise the siege of Nineveh and return to the 
defence of his own land.t There he was defeated and rendered 
hors de combat for nearly twenty years, while the Scythians held 
his kingdom. This timely relief for Nineveh did but postpone for 
a little the inevitable downfall of Assyria. The successors of 
Ashurbanipal, viz., Ashur-etil-ili and Sin-shar-ishkun, were unable 
to recreate the blood and treasure that had been so lavishly ex 
pended by their predecessor on the one hand, and so ruthlessly de 
stroyed by the Scythians on the other. The damage done to the 
fabric of Assyrian power was irreparable. Weakened as Nine 
veh was, Babylon under Nabopolassar was able once more to as 
sert her independence and to maintain it. 

The exact course of events immediately preceding the fall of 
Nineveh is not on record. It can only be conjectured from three 
varying sources of information, viz., the narrative of Herodotus, 
the Babylonian tradition received by Berossus and preserved in 
citations from him by later Greek writers, and the cuneiform rec 
ords of Babylonia. Herodotus relates that Cyaxares, the Mede, 
treacherously murdered his Scythian masters, drove out their fol- 

* C}. Breasted, History of Egypt, 581. t So Hdt., /. c.. % Hdt., /. c.. 

The Persian tradition preserved by Ctesias is wholly untrustworthy. The tradition of 
Berossus was copied by Polyhistor (c. 50 B.C.) and transmitted by Abydenus. The latter, 
however, vitiated the tradition by combining it with the tales of Ctesias in such a way as to 
render practically futile any attempt to differentiate precisely between the two elements. 


lowers from his land and then proceeded once more against Nine 
veh which now fell into his hands. Berossus tells us that Sin-shar- 
ishkun (Saracus) heard of the approach of a numerous army from 
the sea toward Nineveh. Thereupon, he sent his general Busa- 
lossorus to check their advance. The latter, however, deserted 
his king, made alliance with the Medes, giving his son in marriage 
to the daughter of the Median leader, and then turned against 
Nineveh. Sin-shar-ishkun then set fire to his own capital and 
perished in the flames. Still another strand of the tradition of 
Berossus represents the king of Assyria as having been shut up 
in his capital for three years by the combined forces of the Medes 
and the Babylonians. The Tigris then swept away part of the 
city s walls and the king offered himself and his wives upon the 
funeral pyre. 

The stele of Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon, in relating 
the overthrow of Assyria says that the king of the Umman-manda 
came to the help of Babylon and that he laid waste the land of 
Assyria like a cyclone, ruined the temples of the Assyrian gods and 
destroyed the cities on the border of Babylonia which had not sup 
ported Babylon in the struggle. The vandalism of this ally is 
said to have grieved the king of Babylon, who had himself re 
frained from desecrating any of the shrines. The league between 
the Medes and Babylonians seems to have been brought about by 
the fact that while Nabopolassar was absent in the north of Meso 
potamia attacking the Subaru, the Assyrian king had taken ad 
vantage of the opportunity to enter Babylonia and cut off the re 
turn of the absent king and his army.* In this dilemma, Nabopo 
lassar called upon the Umman-manda for aid, which they were 
only too glad to give. Whether or not the Babylonians partici 
pated in the siege and capture of Nineveh itself is uncertain ; but 
it is quite clear that the fall of the empire was directly due to the 
combined efforts of the Babylonians and Medes (with whom the 
Umman-manda are probably to be identified; at least, the Medes 
constituted the most influential element in the hordes of the Um- 
man-mandaf) . The view that Babylon aided in the overthrow 

* So Messerschmidt, Millheilungen der vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft, T (1896), 7 ft.. 
t But Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria, II, 289, identifies the Umman-manda with 
the Scythians, so also Sayce, Lehmann, el al.. 

FROM 66 1 TO 606 B.C 165 

of Assyria is corroborated by two Neo-Babylonian letters which 
seem to refer to the events of this period.* One of them reports 
to the king concerning a campaign against Assyria which has re 
sulted in victory for Babylon; the other, probably referring to the 
same campaign, makes it clear that there were two commanders 
of Babylon s forces and that one of them was a foreigner, per 
haps a general of the Medes. 

Even before life was extinct in the body politic of Assyria, greedy 
hands were laid upon her estate. Necho II, successor of Psamtik 
in 609 B.C., set out at once to seize Assyria s possessions in the 
west. Gaza and Askalon fell before him. On his way to the 
north he was met by Josiah of Judah, probably at Megiddo (608 
B.C.). The inhabitants of Judah, knowing of course that Assyria 
was powerless and almost certainly doomed, were in a state of ex 
ultant confidence in themselves and in Yahweh, their God. He 
who had at last brought the proud foe and cruel tyrant to ruin was 
with them and ready to protect them. In this frame of mind, the 
prospect of replacing Assyria s yoke now broken with one of 
Egyptian make was not to be tolerated. But the result of the 
battle with Necho dashed all their hopes to the ground. Necho 
proceeded on his victorious way as far as the Euphrates, bringing 
the entire west into subjection to Egypt and upon his return march 
placing an Egyptian vassal upon the throne of David. With her 
territory already gone on every side into the hands of Egyptians, 
Medes and Babylonians, Nineveh herself gave up the hopeless 
struggle about 606 B.C. and the Assyrian empire fell to rise no more. 
Two hundred years later, when Xenophon led his band of Greek 
adventurers past the site of Nineveh (401 B.C.), he found no recol 
lection of the name of the former mistress of the world (Anabasis, 
III, 4, 8-i2).f 

* Published in Cuneiform Texts on Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum, XXII, 46 /.. 
Cf. Mcissner, OLZ., IX (1906), 444 ff., who first connected them with the fall of Assyria. 

t An excellent study of the last half century of Assyrian history is furnished by P. Kleinert, 
Nakum und der Fall Nineves, SK., LXXXIII (1910), 501 ft.. Cf. also T. Friedrich, Nineve s 
Ende und die Ausgange des assyrischen Reiches, in Feslgaben zu Ehren Max Biidinger s von 
seinen Freunden und Schulern (1898), where a close study of the ruins of Nineveh is made and 
the conclusion reached that the fall of the city was caused by a flood due to the high waters of 
the Tigris and its tributary streams. So also Lehmann-Haupt, Israel: Seine Enlwicklung 
im Rahmen der Wellgeschichte (1911), p. 149, who testifies to a tradition among the natives 
that the wall of Nineveh was broken through by the river Khusur. 



i. The Man. 

The traditions regarding Zephaniah, aside from the super 
scription of his book, are wholly valueless. His prophecies con 
stitute the only other source of information ; and what they furnish 
is painfully slight. As in the case of so many of the prophets, his 
personality lies hidden behind his message. He seems to have been 
an inhabitant of Jerusalem, in view of his familiarity with the 
topography of his capital (i lof< )> his knowledge of religious and 
social conditions within the city and the fact that he identifies it as 
his own standing-place in i 4 . The apparent claim of the super 
scription that he was a member of the royal family is supported 
somewhat by the fact of his familiarity with the manner of life 
in the princely households and his courage in denouncing the upper 
classes (i 8 * 9 3 3 ) . Moreover, his complaint is almost wholly against 
these privileged classes, the rich and the powerful; yet he does not 
pose as the spokesman of the poor and there is lacking in his 
utterances that note of sympathy with their sufferings which is so 
evident in Amos and Micah, a lack easily explained if he himself 
were a member of the aristocracy and had never felt the pinch of 

Pseudepiphanius (de vitis prophetarunt, ch. 19) declares him to have 
been "of the tribe of Simeon from the field (or hill) of Sabaratha (or 
Baratha)" and to have "died in an apocalypse of the Lord and been 
buried all alone on his own land." An apocalypse ascribed to Zephaniah 
is known to have existed by reason of a quotation from it preserved in the 
Stromata (V, n, 77) of Clement of Alexandria, viz., "And a spirit took 
me and carried me into the fifth heaven, and I saw angels, called lords, 
whose diadem was placed upon them by the Holy Spirit, and the throne 
of each of them was seven times brighter than the light of the rising sun 
and they were dwelling in temples of salvation and singing hymns in 
praise of the inexpressible God, most high." Pseudo-Athanasius re 
fers to the same apocalypse. Two fragments of an apocalypse in 
Coptic, ascribed to Zephaniah and discovered at Akhmim [published 
by Bouriant in Memoir es de la mission archeologique au Caire (1885); 
cf. Stern, Zeitschrift fiir dSgypt. Sprache (1886)] may also have belonged 


to it; v. Schiirer, Gesch. d. jiid. Volkes 3 , III, 271 /. According to DW 
max, his tomb was in Gibeah of the Lebanons. The traditional rep 
resentation of him in art shows him carrying a lamp in his left hand; but 
cf. Sargent s Frieze of the Prophets in the Boston Public Library. 

Schw. seeks to discount the probability of the ancestor Hezekiah hav 
ing been the king, which arises from the unusual length of the genealogy, 
by calling attention to the fact that long genealogies are frequent in the 
OT. and that their lack in the superscriptions of the prophets may be 
purely accidental. However, when only one of sixteen prophetic books 
exhibits a striking variation, the probability seems to lie on the side of 
that variation having been deliberate rather than accidental. Further 
more, long genealogies are indeed characteristic of priestly writings 
(Ezr., Ne., i, 2 Ch.), but are not common in the corresponding pro 
phetic histories (Ju., i, 2 S., Ki.), being found only in i S. i l . 

2. The Times. 

The date of Zephaniah s prophetic activity, according to the 
superscription, was in the reign of King Josiah (639-608) . Scholars, 
with one exception,* have accepted this as correct. There is no 
good reason to suspect the statement; it accords well with the con 
tents of the book, yet it could not easily have been conjectured upon 
the basis of the book. It is natural to suppose that it rests upon 
an independent tradition that goes back to fairly early times. The 
question that may profitably be discussed concerns itself with the 
particular portion of Josiah s reign to which the prophecy should 
be assigned. Did Zephaniah do his work before or after the cul 
mination of the great Deuteronomic reform in 621 B.C.?| The 
answer to this question must be sought in the prophet s own state 
ments as to the conditions prevailing in Judah in his day and in 
his outlook for the future. His denunciations of syncretism in 
worship, apostacy from Yahweh, the worship of the heavenly bod 
ies, the aping of foreign customs in religion and in dress (i 4 " 6 - 8 - ), 
and the practical scepticism rebuked in i 12 seem to accord per 
fectly with the state of affairs as it was during the reigns of Manas- 
seh and Amon (2 K. 2I 2 " 9 - 21 f -). and as it may be supposed to have 

* Viz., Ko.Einl.. who olaces him in the reign of Jehoiakim. 

t In favour of trie later period may be cited De. (on Habakkuk), KL, Schw., Schulz and 
Lippl. But the great majority of scholars is in favour of the earlier period, so, e. g.. Hi., 
We., Or., Dav., GASm., Now., Marti, Beer, Cor., Kennedy (>.). 


continued during the early portion ot Josiah s reign, before he had 
arrived at an age when he could exercise any powerful influence 
upon the currents of life and thought in his kingdom. It is unsafe 
to argue, as Lippl does, that the movement for reform must have 
begun with Josiah s accession, since the conspirators who slew 
Amon were supported by the prophets and priests. The motive 
for the assassination of Amon as a matter of fact is unknown and 
need have had no connection with his attitude toward religion. 
The intricacies of the politics of Jerusalem at that time are hid 
den from us. Opposition on Amon s part to some policy, home 
or foreign, endorsed by popular sentiment may well have caused 
"the people of the land" to rise against him. The lad Josiah was 
an unknown quantity and, perhaps, developed into a totally differ 
ent kind of ruler from what those who enthroned him had hoped 
for. In any case, during his early years religious interests prob 
ably remained for the most part in the hands of those who had con 
trolled them under Manasseh and Amon. 

Effort has been made to account for the conditions reflected by 
Zephaniah s utterances as indicative of the period of Josiah s reign 
after 621 B.C. But it seems improbable that such irregularities 
oT cultus could have been openly practised and tolerated in the 
period immediately after a reform, the main outcome of which was 
the purification of the cultus. Josiah was a zealous worshipper 
of Yahweh and no record has reached us of any cooling of his zeal 
after the reform. Passages from Jeremiah are sometimes cited 
to show that conditions were as bad in Judah after the reform as 
they are declared to have been by Zephaniah in his day. Three 
facts render this argument inconclusive. Jeremiah s early denun 
ciations apparently lay relatively little stress upon the impurity of 
the cultus which is emphasised by Zephaniah. Many of Jere 
miah s prophecies so confidently assigned to the first years after 
the reform probably belong to his latest work. None of his proph 
ecies were written down until the fourth year of Jehoiakim (36* f -), 
and it is practically certain that in the process of transcription they 
were largely coloured by the prophet s later thought and by the 
conditions amid which they were written. 

Other considerations urged in favour of the post-reformation 


date fail to make it probable. The phrase "remnant of Baal" 
(i 4 ) is said to presuppose the almost complete destruction of Baal 
ism in 621 B.C. But the phrase is equally well translated "Baal 
ism to the last vestige " as in Am. i 8 . Cf. fi^riN in Am. 4 2 9 1 . In 
like manner, the phrase "sons of the king" (i 8 ) is under no com 
pulsion to mean the sons of Josiah. In accordance with a very 
common usage of the word "son " in Hebrew, it may and probably 
does denote those characterised by the fact of membership in the 
royal fa-nily, viz., uncles and cousins of Josiah and the like. Cf. the 
similar phrase "sons of the prophets. " Again, the total silence of 
Zephaniah as to the king, though denouncing other members of 
the royal family, is just as easily understood on the basis of the 
king s youth as it is on the supposition that Josiah s well-known 
piety after 621 B.C. rendered him immune from all criticism. Nor 
does the fact that counsel was sought of Huldah, the prophetess, at 
the time of the discovery of the book of the law force us to con 
clude that at that time Zephaniah was not yet known as a prophet. 
The same kind of reasoning would dispose of Jeremiah who had 
then been in public life for eight years. Zephaniah may have died 
before 621 B.C., or have been absent from the city at that particu 
lar juncture, or not have been in the confidence of the party push 
ing the reform. Anything which would account satisfactorily for 
Jeremiah having been ignored would be equally applicable to the 
case of Zephaniah. 

The occasion of Zephaniah s appearance as a prophet seems to 
have lain in some imminent danger to his nation. He evidently 
regarded the day of Yahweh as close at hand (i 7 ). In accord 
ance with the character of earlier prophecy in general and of 
the day of Yahweh prophecies in particular, it is probable that 
Zephaniah interpreted the approach of some foreign army as 
heralding the dawn of Yahweh s day.* The event that best meets 
the requirements of the situation is the Scythian invasion.f The 
exact date of the appearance of the Scythians upon the horizon of 
Palestine cannot be surely fixed. Psamtik I of Egypt began his 

* V. JMPS., The Day of Yahweh, AJTh., V (1901), 505 if.; cf. Gressmann, Der Ursprung 
d. isr.-jud. Eschatologie (1905), 142 if.. 

t This connection was first suggested by C. F. Cramer, Scythische Denkmdler in Paldstina 
(1778); it is now the prevailing view. 


operations in western Asia in 640 B.C.; and since the Scythians put 
an effectual stop to his advances in Syria, and Herodotus reports 
that Psamtik was engaged in the siege of Ashdod for twenty-eight 
years, it is practically certain that his encounter with the Scythi 
ans was nearer 620 than 640 B.C. Cyaxares, the Mede, who became 
king in 625 B.C., was forced to raise the siege of Nineveh about 
620 B.C. by the descent of the Scythians upon his own territory. 
Somewhere then between 630 and 620 B.C. it is probable that the 
Scythian raid upon the north and west provinces of the Assyrian 
empire took place.* The Greek tradition declares the Scythian 
domination of western Asia to have lasted twenty-eight years. 
Since their final expulsion was effected somewhere between 599 
and 590 B.c.,f this gives 627 B.C. as the earliest date for their ap 
pearance in that region. This coincides with the year of Jere 
miah s call ( Je. i 2 ) and furnishes the necessary external stimulus for 
the emergence of both Jeremiah and Zephaniah. The widespread 
activity of the Scythians corresponds with Zephaniah s vision of 
the coming judgment as extending from Assyria on the north-east 
to Ethiopia on the south-west. The speed with which the Scyth 
ian hordes swept everything before them seems reflected in certain 
of Zephaniah s utterances (e. g., i 14 2 4 ). That neither Assyria nor 
Egypt was thought of by Zephaniah as the agent or forerunner of 
the coming judgment is clear from the fact that they both are rep 
resented as falh ng victims to it-t These being out of the question, 
the Scythians remain as the most likely candidate for the doubtful 
honour of world-destroyer. The Babylonians cannot have bulked 
large in the prophet s mind until shortly before 606 B.C., and other 
considerations render it unlikely that the prophecy belongs to so 
late a date (v. s.). The fact that neither Assyria nor Egypt was 
destroyed by the Scythians, but that, on the contrary, Nineveh was 
temporarily saved by them, only proves that the expectations of 
the prophet were not fully realised. Ezekiel (38 17 ) distinctly im- 

* V. ]. V. PrdSek, Gesch. der Meder u. Perser, I (1906), 141 #.. Hdt., indeed, makes the march 
against Egypt follow the attack upon the Medes; but it seems difficult to reconstruct the history 
on that basis. 

t PrdSek, op. cit., 152. 

J Schw., in spite of this, seeks to identify the expected destroyer with Egypt. This would be 
possible only by eliminating i 12 or by discriminating sharply between Ethiopia and Egypt as 
Zephaniah probably did not do. 


plies that certain former prophecies of disaster had not been ful 
filled and looks to Gog, of the land of Magog, as destined to bring 
the final realisation of these predictions. Gog and his hosts, more 
over, very closely resemble the Scythians in their character and 
actions. The reference of Zephaniah to the inability of Jerusalem 
to ransom herself from the coming foe (i 18 ; cf. i n ) is no proof that 
he knew of the success of Egypt in buying herself free from the 
Scythians, as Herodotus reports. He may well have arrived at 
his conclusion on the basis of the reports that reached him of the 
ruthlessness of these barbarians. Indeed, Herodotus s statement 
regarding Egypt s escape may not tell the whole story. At any 
rate, threats similar to that of Zephaniah were made by other 
prophets who certainly did not have any thought of the Scythians 
(e. g., Is. i 3 17 Ez. 7 19 ; cf. Je. 4 5 )- 

On the whole, therefore, it seems probable that Zephaniah 
prophesied on the verge of the Scythian invasion of Syria. It is 
not necessary to suppose that he conceived of them as exhausting 
the divine anger in their chastisement of the nations. They seem 
rather to have been thought of as furnishing the prelude to the 
great drama of destruction. Human and divine forces were to 
co-operate in this as in other judgment scenes depicted by the 
prophets (e. g., Am. 5" 8 8- 9 ). In the approach of the Scythians, 
Zephaniah saw signs of the breaking up of the existing world- 
powers and hastened to proclaim it as the great judgment day of 
Yahweh, the God of Israel and the God of justice. 

i. The Contents. 

The thought of the book is centred upon one great theme, the 
coming of the day of Yahweh. As the book now stands, this 
theme is presented under four successive phases. Ch. i sets forth 
the first of these, viz., the announcement of the near approach of 
the great day with its overwhelming terrors which are to involve 
the world in general and Judah in particular. The prophet s 
primary interest naturally is in the fate of his own people; hence 


his message is addressed to them. Ch. 2, the second phase of the 
subject, announces the coming of this same great day upon the 
neighbouring peoples, viz., the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, 
Ethiopians or Egyptians, and Assyrians. In the third division, 
ch. 3 1 " 7 , the prophet returns to his own people and contrasts their 
sinfulness with the righteousness of Yahweh. In this contrast lies 
the cause of the disaster coming upon Jerusalem. In the fourth 
and final stage of the presentation, ch. 3 8 " 20 , the thought leaps for 
ward to the future, and declares that after the process of the puri 
fication of the people of Yahweh is completed, the nation will en 
joy world-wide fame as the redeemed of Yahweh, the mighty God. 

2. Later Additions. 

Critical study of the contents of the book during the last half 
century has resulted in the setting apart of certain portions of the 
text as belonging neither to Zephaniah nor to his times, but as due 
to accretion in later days. A presentation of the considerations 
which have produced this change of opinion may be found in the 
following commentary in connection with the various passages in 
volved. Here we may present only a sketch of the history of this 
critical movement and a summary of the conclusions reached in 
this commentary. 

The process of criticism began with Eichhorn (1824), Einl. 4 , and 
Theiner (1828), who decided against 2 13 - 16 as alien to the thought of 
Zephaniah. Forty years later, Oort, in Godgeleerde Bijdragen for 1865, 
pp. 812 ff., set aside 2 7 - 11 and 3 14 - 20 as secondary matter. His view of 
the latter passage has now won general recognition. Sta. GVI (1887), 
644, followed by denying the whole of ch. 3 to Zephaniah and question 
ing 2 1 - 3 - . Kue., Onderzoek (1889), responded by denying the force 
of the arguments against all but 3 "-20. J n 1890, Schw. made an elab 
orate investigation of chs. 2 and 3, coming to the conclusion that Zeph 
aniah wrote only 2 13 - 15 and possibly 2 1 " 1 , while an exilic hand con 
tributed 2 5 - 12 and a postexilic, 3 1 - 20 . We. endorsed the views of Sta. 
and Schw. on ch. 3, athetized also 2 8 -" and expressed doubt as to 2 2 - *. 
Bu. (SK., 1893, PP- 393 ff-> so also m Gesch., 1906) separated 2<- 18 
39. 10. u-20 f rom the genuine material. Dav. made a careful examination 
of the arguments of all his predecessors and was content to give Zepha 
niah credit for all except 3 10 - "- 20 . Now. eliminated only 2 s - 7 -- 8 - u 


3 14 - 20 (similarly also Baudissin, Einl., 553 /. and Selbie, art. Zephaniah, 
DB.). GASm. accepted Bu. s view of ch. 3, but dissented as to ch. 2, 
regarding all but 2 8 - 11 as genuine. Dr. [EB., IV (1903), 5406 /.; so also 
in his commentary (1906); in Intr. (1910) he adds 3 18 - 20 to the passages 
that are "very probably later additions"], with customary caution, con 
ceded the probability of the late origin of 2 7b - ll 3 9 - 10 and refused to de 
cide as to 3 14 - 20 , the latter part of which, viz., 3 18 - 20 , he considered "more 
open to suspicion than 3"-"." Marti, with enviable certainty as to the 
exact dates of the various additions, agreed with Sta. in taking away 
from Zephaniah the whole of ch. 3, but in ch. 2 deprived him only of 
2 s. 8-n. u^ aside from numerous glosses. Cor. accepted the view of 
Now. for the most part, setting aside 2 7a - c - 8 - u ^- 2 <>. Van H., a schol 
arly Catholic, contended for the unity of the book as the product of 
Zephaniah s preaching, with the exception of a few glosses (e. g., 2 7 - 10 - ") 
In the same year (1908), Beer gave essential adherence to Sta. s position, 
rejecting 2 7a - 10 - 15 , with the whole of ch. 3, and questioning 2 1 - 3 . The 
conclusions of Fag. are practically the same. Lippl, with Catholic 
caution and sound learning, concedes the later origin of only 2 7a - - 14b 
3 19 - 20 , though granting a reasonable doubt as to the originality of 2 8 - 11 in 
its present form. Du., the most recent writer, follows closely after We., 
dropping 2 3a - b - 6b - c - 8 -"- 15 and the whole of ch. 3. 

In this commentary, the following materials, in addition to minor 
glosses, are treated as of secondary origin. The oracle against 
Moab and Ammon (2*- 9 ) is relegated to later times since its phrase 
ology presupposes the conditions of the exile as actually existing. 
An expansion of this oracle is found in 2 10 - n . The fall of Nine 
veh is taken for granted in 2 15 , which is therefore placed after that 
event. In the third chapter the only original matter is found in 
w. lm& . Vv. 6 - 7 may possibly be old material; but in that case 
they are out of place in their present context. Vv. 8 " 13 are a post- 
exilic addition, in which is now included a gloss (vv. 9 ~ 10 ) revealing 
a different attitude toward the heathen and interrupting the con 
tinuity of thought between w. 8 and ". Vv. 14 20 are another ad 
dition from postexilic times, which has likewise undergone some 
inner expansion. 

The allowance of time necessary for the various additions to the 
book, together with the still later glosses upon those additions, 
necessitates placing the completion of the prophecy in its present 
form well along in the postexilic period. The final touches may 
have been given as late as the Greek period. The history of the 


growth of OT. books shows that they were all subject to this kind 
of treatment, at least until they were recognised as canonical. In 
deed, it is by no means certain that canonicity in its early stages 
guaranteed immunity from such modifications. The Book of the 
Twelve was, in all probability, the last candidate to secure ad 
mission to the prophetic canon. 

3. Poetic Form. 

The honour of having been the first to announce the discovery 
of a special poetic metre in the book of Zephaniah belongs to 
Budde,* who declared that 2 4 " 15 and 3 1 " 13 were written in the dirge- 
rhythm, i. e., in lines of 3 +2 beats each. 

In 1886, Dr. C. A. Briggs (Messianic Prophecy, 221-225) had printed 
a translation of Zp. i 2 - 3 - 14 - 18 2 1 - 3 3 8 - 20 arranged in poetic lines, but 
without special consideration of the question of poetic form. The 
next scholar to discuss the question was D. H. Mliller (Die Propheten 
in ihrer urspriinglichen Form, 1896), who hailed this book as the first 
prophecy to which it had been possible to apply his scheme of strophic 
analysis throughout. Treating the book as a unit, with the exception 
of 3 14 - 20 , and laying undue emphasis upon incidental resemblances, 
he wrought out a system of "inclusion," "concatenation" and "re- 
sponsion" (F. H. AH , clxv), yielding seven strs. in ch. i, with 5+7 + 7 
+ 7 + 6+6 + 6 lines each respectively. Ch. 2 fell into five strs. having 
7+7 + 8+8+4 lines, and ch. 3 yielded seven more strs. having 7+7+7 
+ 7 + 3 + 7+7 lines each respectively. An example of the artificial char 
acter of this scheme is furnished in the fact that 2 11 is separated from 2 
and with i-- is organised into an eight-line str. GASm., without any 
attempt at strophic reorganisation, followed Bu. in printing 2 4 - 7 - 13 - 1S 
as poetry written in elegiac rhythm. Marti was the first to attempt to 
restore in the various oracles both the metrical and the strophic uni 
formity which he supposed to have belonged to them originally. The 
genuine material in chs. i and 2 he organised into strs. of four lines each, 
in trimeter movement (or two lines each in double trimeter). In ch. 3 
he discovered three different poetic forms, viz., 3 1 - 7 = strs. of six lines 
each in dimeter; 3 8 - 13 = strs. of four qina-lines each; and 3 14 -" = strs. 
of four lines each in interchanging trimeter and dimeter. Hal., disre 
garding both metre and str., indicated his recognition of the material as 
poetry by printing it according to the parallelism. Siev. thus far has 
made the most serious attempt to reduce the text to rigidly poetical 
* SK. (1893); c}. Cesch. (1906). 


forms. But the result is by no means self-authenticating. Ch. i, for 
example, is presented in two sections; the first is composed of vv. *- 
s-ia. n an d is organised into seven strs. of two heptameter lines each; 
while the second is composed of vv. 7 - 14 - 16 and comprises four strs., each 
of two lines, one heptameter and one tetrameter. But in the first sec 
tion, Str. I breaks down metrically; Str. IV transposes materials as fol 
lows, w. 8b - 9b - 8e - 9a ; and Str. VII brings together w. 13 and "; while 
in the second section, Str. IV lacks the requisite tetrameter line. Again, 
3 1 - 7 is presented in five strs. of two lines each, one of eight beats and one 
of four. But to make this possible, a total of eighteen words is omitted 
at six different points and most of them for no reason but that of metrical 
necessity. This is too high a price for so slight a boon. Cor. satisfies 
himself with stating that the genuine materials in Zephaniah may all be 
reduced to strs. of twelve lines each (i. e., six double lines). Strophic 
uniformity of this kind can be secured only by rejecting as ungenuine 
all that does not readily conform to this strophic norm. Fag. offers a 
strophical reconstruction of the book which differs only in slight details 
from that of Marti. Lippl attempts no strophic structure, but prints 
in lines based upon the parallelism and points out the numerous changes 
necessary to reduce the various lines to uniformity even within the sepa 
rate sections of the prophecy. Du. finds strs. of four lines each all 
through the book, except in the case of a few glosses and additions, and 
applies the qina-rhythm throughout. 

In this commentary, effort is made not to lay undue emphasis 
upon considerations arising from the poetic form. The science of 
Hebrew metre is as yet in an inchoate state, notwithstanding the 
praiseworthy and painstaking studies of Sievers, Rothstein, et al.. 
Consequently, conclusions as to the integrity of a text which are 
based solely or primarily upon metrical considerations are inevi 
tably open to grave suspicion. The parallelism has been followed 
here as the only safe guide to the length of lines and the logical 
grouping of the thought as the primary consideration in the forma 
tion of strs..* For a statement of the views here controlling in 
reference to metre and str., reference may be had to H. AH , clxvi^".. 
Attention may be called to a slight variation in usage here, whereby 
the distich, rather than the single stichos or line, is made the basal 
unit of the str.. This seems required by the fact that the thought 
is completely presented only in the distich and that in some cases 
there is no clearly marked caesura within the distich (e. g., Mi. 

* Cl. Intr. to v^omm. on Micah, i. 


7 8b Zp. i 4b 2 9a - 14b 3 7c ). It may be noted also, that while there can 
be no doubt that the number of poetic feet in a stichos was de 
termined by the number of tone-phrases,* and that as a rule the 
same number of feet per stichos or distich prevailed throughout a 
poem, yet cases are plentiful in which changes of measure occur 
within a poem (e. g., Zp. i 7 18 2 1 7 3 1 " 5 ). To reduce these variations 
to metrical uniformity involves such arbitrariness in textual crit 
icism as to discredit the whole process. A large degree of freedom 
in the use of poetical forms seems to have been exercised by the 
prophetic poets. 

The book of Zephaniah, as here analysed, consists of eight po 
etic oracles of varying length. It is scarcely probable that these 
represent the entire literary output of this prophet. Nor is it 
likely that any of the eight constituted a complete sermon; they 
are rather selections from a larger body of materials. The metres 
used are three, viz., hexameter (3 13), qina (3 : 2) and tetrameter 
(2 12). Of these, the qina is the most commonly used; for an an 
nouncement of chastisement and affliction, it is the most suitable 
measure. The length of the strs. varies from two distichs to eight; 
but, with two somewhat uncertain exceptions (3 1 5 and 3 14 " 20 ), the 
strophic urit within a poem is constant. 

Zephaniah can hardly be considered great as a poet. He does 
not rank with Isaiah, nor even with Hosea in this particular. He 
has no gr^at imaginative powers; no deep insight into the human 
heart is reflected in his utterances; nor any keen sensitiveness to the 
beauties of nature. His harp is not attuned to the finer harmonies 
of life like that of Jeremiah. He had an imperative message to 
deliver and proceeded in the most direct and forceful way to dis 
charge his responsibility. What he lacked in grace and charm, he 
in some measure atoned for by the vigour and clarity of his speech. 
He realised the approaching terror so keenly that he was able to 
present it vividly and convincingly to his hearers. No prophet has 
made the picture of the day of Yahweh more real. 
* a. H.^, ;. c.. 



Zephaniah spoke at a time when wise and courageous leadership 
was needed in Judah. Whatever enthusiasm and loyalty to Yah- 
weh had been aroused by the preaching of Isaiah and by the de 
liverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib in 701 B.C. had died out 
during the long period of distress and humiliation under Manasseh. 
Lacking the incentive of a great devotion to Yahweh, the people 
had fallen away into all kinds of idolatry and corruption. No 
where is the religious and moral situation of the times more clearly 
portrayed than in Zephaniah s prophecies. He directs his blows 
against a syncretism in religion that does not hesitate to couple the 
worship of the Baalim, of Milcom and the host of heaven, with that 
of Yahewh (i 4 - 5 ). In Zephaniah s eyes, such conduct is tanta 
mount to apostacy from Yahweh (i 6 ). Indeed, he charges cer 
tain leaders with a kind of practical scepticism, or atheism ; they 
count upon the inertia of Yahweh, alleging that he does nothing, 
neither good nor bad ; they therefore proceed to the furthest lengths 
of wickedness. This indifference to religion and its claims on the 
part of those who were " settled on their lees" was accompanied, 
as in all similar cases, by a corresponding materialism which had 
no sense of justice. Hence Zephaniah denounces the prevalent 
violence and trickery, the tyranny of the rulers, the perversion of 
justice by the judges themselves, the prostitution of religion to base 
ends by the priests and prophets and the aping of foreign styles 
by the rich (i 8 - 9 3 1 4 ). 

The religious indifference and eclecticism on the one hand, and 
the materialistic selfishness and injustice on the other, were a 
natural reaction from the exalted ideas and ideals of the previous 
generation. The expectations and high hopes of Isaiah and his 
contemporaries had failed to materialise. Yahweh s people was 
still under the heel of the oppressor. The yoke of Assyria was as 
heavy and as galling as ever. In despair of deliverance through 
Yahweh, his followers were seeking to supplement his weakness by 
having recourse to other gods in conjunction with him, or were 
abandoning him altogether. The na ive faith of that earlier time 


was outgrown. Its driving power was gone. A new interpreta 
tion of history was the need of the hour. New conceptions and 
ideals must be substituted for those outworn. 

Zephaniah was not the man to supply this need. He had no 
new ideals. He furnished no new constructive principles. He 
saw no further into the meaning of current events than his pre 
decessors. He was content to apply the interpretations that had 
long rendered good service in the hands of the prophets. His 
preaching was not positive and constructive in tone, but wholly 
negative and destructive. Denunciation and threatening consti 
tute his message. 

As Amos and Hosea were called out by the approach of danger 
from the north, so it is probable that Zephaniah and Jeremiah were 
aroused by the imminence of the Scythian invasion. As earlier 
prophets had seen in the Assyrian army the herald of the day of 
Yahweh, so Zephaniah interpreted the approach of the Scythian 
hordes; this was the one great absorbing theme of his prophecy. 
Again, like Amos, he saw the day of Yahweh as fraught with de 
struction, as near at hand and as coming not only upon other 
nations, viz., Philistia, Egypt and Assyria, but also, and pre-emi 
nently, upon Yahweh s own nation (i 4ff - 7 - 14 2 4ff - 12ff -). Unlike 
Jeremiah, his contemporary, who uttered warnings of coming 
catastrophe while his heart was breaking, Zephaniah betrays no 
sympathy, compassion or emotion of any kind over the im 
pending fate of his people. He speaks almost as a disinterested 

The purpose of the approaching judgment as understood by 
Zephaniah was moral. It was a condemnation of sin and Ln 
expression of the ethical righteousness of Yahweh. Yet this 
ethical motive finds expression only in the announcement of the 
judgment upon Judah ; it plays no part in the threats against the 
nations. In these latter utterances, the old narrow particularism 
seems to find free course. The nations are overthrown as enemies 
of Israel and Israel s God. Out of the general catastrophe, a 
remnant of Israel will survive to worship Yahweh in undisturbed 
serenity. The spirit which will characterise this group, as noted by 
a later hand, will be one of humility, meekness, straightforward- 


ness, trust in Yahweh and genuine piety (3 U - 12 ). It is the type 
of religion enjoined in Mi. 6~ 8 . 

In only one particular has Zephaniah ever been credited with 
originality. Until within recent years he has been generally ac 
knowledged as the first of the prophets to announce the coming 
of a universal judgment. It is doubtful, however, whether this 
claim for him can now stand.* For a prophet who displays no 
capacity for constructive thought elsewhere, so great an advance 
step as this seems unlikely. The feature of the day of Yahweh 
which holds the foremost place in his thought is evidently a war 
(i 16 - 18 2 12 ), presumably the Scythian invasion, not a world-wide 
catastrophe. The latter is only the dark background against 
which the concrete impending disaster is shown in lurid colours. 
The catastrophic, cataclysmic subversion of the physical universe 
seems rather to be a part of the eschatology of the times to which he 
fell heir. This phase of the judgment has no definite aim; it is 
totally lacking in moral discrimination; it exhibits a certain in 
consistency of presentation (e. g., i 7 ; cf. i 2 ); and it is without any 
definite warrant, no reason being offered for its coming. It bears 
the marks of its origin in the misty realm of myth; and myths do 
not arise in the clear light of history. The conception of a world- 
destroying judgment belongs in the same category with the story 
of the Deluge. Like the latter, its origin probably dates back to 
prehistoric days. Zephaniah, like his predecessors (e. g., Am. i 2 ( 
5 18 - 20 7 4 - 6 Ho. 4 3 Mi. i 3f - Is. 2 loff -), does but endeavour to ad 
just the old conceptions to the new conditions created by the ap 
proach of the Scythians. The essential sanity and clear vision of 
Zephaniah and his predecessors is evinced in the fact that they lay 
their emphasis not upon the old, unethical and cataclysmic features 
of the current eschatology, but rather upon the definite historical 
forces of their own time, which are interpreted by them as great 
ethical agencies for the purificatory chastisement of Israel at the 
hand of Yahweh. 

The conception of a day of universal judgment does not in and 
of itself demonstrate a monotheistic idea of God. The Deluge 

*C/. Gunk., Zum religionsgesch. Verstandnis des N. T. (1903), 21 ff.; Gressmann, Escha- 
tologie (1905), 144 ij.. 


myth in Babylonia arose in the midst of a crass polytheism; and 
the story found a hospitable reception in Israel long before mono 
theism was developed. Nor does Zephaniah s attack upon the 
syncretism in the religion of his day (i 4 ff ) guarantee his monothe 
ism; this attitude of mind had long been characteristic of the proph 
ets, who had always insisted upon exclusive loyalty to Yahweh as 
over against foreign deities. Yet these views are not at all in 
consistent with a view of Yahweh as the Lord of lords and the only 
God. That such was Zephaniah s view is rendered probable by 
the emphasis he lays upon the ethical requirements of Yahweh, for 
it was by this route that Israel arrived at monotheism. This prob 
ability is reinforced by the fact that the religious writings of his 
contemporaries, e. g., Jeremiah and Deuteronomy, reflect a mono 
theistic theology. It may be, indeed, that Zephaniah himself was 
one of the group who wrought out the Deuteronomic Code and 
aided in the promulgation of the reform. Whether or not he was 
directly engaged in this enterprise we have no means of knowing; 
but it may be readily granted that his preaching had much to do 
with preparing the minds and hearts of the people and the court for 
the reformation. 


i. Commentaries. 

The more important commentaries of recent times are: Ewald 
(1867), Reinke (1868), Hitzig-Steiner (1881), Orelli (1888; 3d ed., 
1908), Wellhausen (1892; 3d ed., 1898), Davidson (1896), Nowack 
(1897; 2d. ed., 1903), G. A. Smith (1898), Marti (1903), Halevy 
(1905), Driver (1906), van Hoonacker (1908), Rothstein (in Kau., 
1909), and Lippl (1910). 

2. On Introduction. 

The chief writings on isagogic problems are cited in 3*. 
Special attention may be directed here to the studies of Stade, 
Schwally, Budde, van Hoonacker and Lippl. Useful summaries 


will be found in the well-known "Introductions" of Driver, 
Cornill, Konig, Kuenen and Wildeboer; in the Dictionary arti 
cles by Selbie (DB.), W. R. Smith and Driver (.), and Beer 
(PRE. 9 ); and in E. Besson, Introduction au Prophete Sophonie 

Discussions of the poetic form and character of the book are 
listed in 3 3 . 

3. The Teaching. 

In addition to the sections in the commentaries and "Introduc 
tions" setting forth the thought and teaching of Zephaniah, ex 
positions of this subject that are worthy of mention will be found 
in Duhm, Die Theologie der Propheten (1875), 222-25; Kuenen, 
The Prophets and Prophecy in Israel (1875), J 7 r /; Orelli, Old 
Testament Prophecy (1885), 34; Marti, Geschichte der israeli- 
tischen Religion* (1897), 184; Smend, Lehrbuch der alttestament- 
lichen Religions geschichte* (1899), 2437.; R. H. Charles, A Critical 
History of the Doctrine of the Future Life in Israel, in Judaism and 
in Christianity (1899), 97-99; Stade, Biblische Theologie des Alien 
Testaments (1905), 250/5 Gressmann, Der Ursprung der israel- 
itisch-judischen Eschatologie (1905), 141; Koberle, Sunde und 
Gnade (1905), 195/1 Staerk, Das Assyrische Weltreich im Urteil 
der Propheten (1908), 165-170; Cheyne, The Two Religions of 
Israel (1911), 44-46. 



This introduces the author, traces his lineage, declares the 
source and authority of his message and states the period of his 
public activity. 

The statements of the superscription are supported by the contents 
of the book at least so far as any evidence is forthcoming. Yet in view 
of the slight stress laid upon authorship in early Hebrew literature, 
much of it being anonymous, and in the light of the superscriptions to 
the remaining prophetic books, the majority of their titles being certainly 
of late origin, the probability is that this one is likewise from the hand of 
an editor (contra Hi.). There is no basis, however, for Marti s supposi 
tion that the chronological clause is of later origin than the remainder. 

i. The word of Yahweh] V. H. AH - 201 *-. Which came unto] V. 
on Mi. i 1 . Zephaniah] Nothing is known of him except what is to 
be learned from his book (v. Intr., i).The son of Cushi, the 
son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah] This is 
the most extended of the prophetic genealogies. Eight of the 
prophets are left without any family history;* the fathers of six 
others are named ;f while Zechariah s father and grandfather are 
both recorded; but Zephaniah is traced two generations still 
further back. This variation is certainly not without reason and 
the most natural explanation is that offered by the view that the 
Hezekiah here listed was the king by that name.t This proba 
bility is supported by the fact that the name Hezekiah is not borne 

* Viz., Dn., Am., Ob., Mi., Na., Hb., Hg., Mai., 
t Viz., Is., Je., Ez., Ho., Jon., Jo.. 

t So, e. g. t AE., Hi., We., Schw., Dav., Now., G ASm., Marti ; contra Abar., De., Cor.. On. 


I 1 183 

by any other pre-exilic person on record and that all the names of 
the genealogy, save Cushi, are formed with the affix "yah" which 
formation seems to have been specially common in the royal fam 
ily.* The only two objections to this view are (i) that Hezekiah 
is not here designated as king and (2) that the genealogy cites three 
generations between Hezekiah and Zephaniah, whereas between 
Hezekiah, the king, and Josiah in whose reign Zephaniah proph 
esied there are only two. In reply to the first objection, it is suf 
ficient to say that at the time the superscription was attached it is 
probable that it was taken for granted that it would be understood 
as indicating the king, and the word king was not added since its 
presence would have occasioned an unpleasant repetition. As to 
the second, it will be remembered that the reigns of Manasseh and 
Amon extended through fifty-seven years and that Manasseh was 
forty-five years old when Amon was born (2 K. 2i la 19 ). If Ama- 
riah was of adult age, or nearly so, when Manasseh began his long 
reign | and if we allow a lapse of twenty years between the birth of 
each father and that of his first son, Zephaniah may easily have 
been from fifteen to twenty years old when Josiah ascended the 
throne and thus of mature age when he began his ministry. Un 
fortunately, the exact date of Hezekiah s death is uncertain, and 
consequently the birth-year of Manasseh cannot be determined 
with precision ; but the period between the birth of Amariah and 
that of his great-grandson may be reduced to not more than forty- 
eight years, and the genealogy will still be not improbable. For 
Jehoiachin, king of Judah, was born when his great-grandfather 
Josiah was but forty-eight years old (2 K. 2i 19 22 1 23 30 f - 34 - 3C ).J 
Zephaniah s royal ancestry is rendered probable also by his ap 
parent familiarity with the conditions at court in his own day. Cf. 
Intr., 2 1 . In the days of Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah] 
The designation as "king of Judah," rather than as simply "the 
king," is insufficient reason for making this portion of the super 
scription of later origin than the rest; for oriental kings were not in 
frequently so designated by their contemporaries and even by them- 

* V. G. B. Gray, Studies in Hebrew Proper Names, 262. 

t Manasseh was not necessarily older than Amariah, since the succession did not always fall 
to the eldest son, especially in polygamous families. 
J V. G. B. Gray, Exp., July, 1900, pp. 76-80. 


selves.* The accuracy of this date for the activity of Zephaniah 
is not open to legitimate doubt (v. Intr., 2). Yet it is going too 
far to say that since no editor could have derived his information 
from the book itself the chronological statement must be correct.f 
The probability of its truth would seem to be even greater indeed 
if there were clear and unmistakable indications in the following 
prophecy of the period to which it belonged. 

1 . n>j3i], i. e., > is protector. It occurs also as the name of a priest in 
Je. 2 1 1 - 29"- 29 52" and in the fuller form I.-PJDX in 2 K. 25 18 Je. 37 ; as 
designating a returned exile in Zc. 6 10 - 14 , and a Levite in i Ch. 6 21 . The 
Elephantine papyri (C 20, D 32) furnish still another rpjsx; and a He 
brew gem in the British Museum (No. 1032) carries the legend nmntpS 
VPJDX p. The same root occurs as the second part of a proper name 
in JDX^N (Nu. 34") with its variant josSx (Ex. 6 22 Lv. io 14 ); (& in all 
three places has E\i(ra.(pa.v. Similar formations occur in Carthaginian 
inscriptions; e.g., Spajox in CIS., Nos. 207, 371, 415, as the name of a 
woman; and in Assyrian; e.g., Baal-sa-pu-nu, Gir-sa-pu-nu, Giri-sa-pu- 
ni, Ba li-sapuna, Ba il-sapuna and Sapuna, all of them apparently 
west-Semitic names (KAT. 3 , 479). The place-names pox hyz (Ex. 
I4 2 ) and pax (Jos. i3 27 Ju. i2 1 <? ); the personal names pox (Nu. 26 15 ), 
P DX (Gn. 46 16 ); and especially the Phoenician pox nap (CIS., 265; 
Euting, 192), and JDX nn (CIS., 208), and the divine name on the so- 
called Job-stone, found east of the Sea of Galilee, which is probably to 
be read jsxNjnx (v. Erman, Zeitschrift fur JEgypt. Sprache, XXXI, 
100 /.) make it probable that px was originally the name of a Semitic 
god whom the Hebrews ultimately came to identify with Yahweh ex 
actly as they had treated the Baalim (e. g., rrSpa, i Ch. i2 5 ; cf. Ho. 2 18 ) 
and as the Babylonians of later times treated their various deities whom 
they came to consider as but partial manifestations of the supreme god, 
Marduk (Pinches, Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, 
XXVIII, 8/.; cf. Zimmern, KAT. 3 , 609; Baethgen, Beitrdge z. sent. Re 
ligions geschichte, 22; H. P. Smith, AJSL., XXIV, 56). ^13] Else 
where a gentilic, except probably in Je. 36"; it also occurs, as Schw. has 
noted, in an ins. from Ipsambul (CIS., No. 112) as a man s name, wz. 
nnDN] This son of Hezekiah is otherwise unknown. The most 
plausible view of 2 K. 2O 18 makes it a late expansion, referring to "sons" 

* Cf.. e. g., the opening lines of the inscription of Nebuchadrezzar I, who is there entitled 
" King of Babylon"; so also in the inscription of Ashurnacirpal from the temple of Balawat, the 
monolith of Shalmaneser II, the Nimrud inscription of Tiglath-pileser III, the cylinder inscrip 
tion of Sargon, the Taylor cylinder of Sennacherib and several inscriptions of Esarhaddon, 
Ashurbanipal and Nebuchadrezzar II. 

t Contra Cor.. 

f- 1 185 

in the looser sense of "descendants," the words vVin na>N being a gloss. 
In any case, the captivity of the royal family there mentioned is only a 
partial one, and, on the hypothesis of the literal accuracy of the narrative 
as it stands, we may either suppose that Amariah escaped entirely or 
that it did not occur until after the birth of his son Gedaliah. rvprn] 
& = ^i^T j s Kenn. 178, 155, 201, 224, 225, and de R. 341, 346. Cf. 
an Arm. ms. cited by HP. as reading viov To5o\iov xc^^eou. p~N] <S A 
A and Kenn. 258 = PON. 

JERUSALEM (i 2 - 6 ). 

A single str. of eight lines announcing with prophetic finality 
the approaching day of judgment upon the world in general and 
Judah in particular. 

T WILL utterly sweep away all from upon the face of the ground; it is the oracle 

of Yahweh. 
I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the fowl of the heavens and 

the fish of the sea; 
And I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of 

And from this place I will cut off Baal to the last remnant, and the name of the 


And those prostrating themselves upon the roofs to the host of the heavens; 
And those prostrating themselves before Yahweh, who swear by Milcom; 
And those who withdraw from following Yahweh; 
Even those who have not sought Yahweh, nor inquired of him. 

This str. stands at the head of Zephaniah s prophecies, announ 
cing the general theme of them all. It has suffered somewhat at 
the hands of editors, but the additions are easily recognisable. 2. 
I will utterly sweep away all from upon the face of the ground] A 
day of doom for the entire world. The judgment is wholly un- 
discriminating and all-comprehensive. For a similar approach 
by way of the universal toward the particular, cf. Mi. i 2 ff - Am. 
i 2 " 4 . // is the oracle of Yahweh} The most solemn form of an 
nouncement (v. H.^ 1 59 ). Metrical considerations are insufficient 
warrant for the omission of these words as a gloss.* 3. I will 
sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the fowl of the heav- 

* Contra *"arti, Siev., Fag.. 


ens and the fish of the sea] For similarly all-inclusive pictures of 
destruction, cf. Ho. 4 3 Is. 2 12 ~ 21 Ez. 3 8 19 . The fish escaped in the 
Noachian deluge (Gn. y 21 - 23 ). Universal depravity demands uni 
versal destruction. The subordinate creatures share the fate of 
man, their ruler. And I will cause the wicked to stumble] This is 
a gloss* from some reader who felt the injustice of an indiscrimi 
nate punishment. iflj can be rendered only, "and the ruins with 
the wicked," which, as von Orelli notes, seems to be suggestive of 
an earthquake as constituting the disaster. The rendering of 
RV., "stumbling-blocks," involves a change of text (v. i.) and fails 
to improve the sense. In any case, any kind of allusion to "the 
wicked" at this point is premature. And I will cut off mankind 
from upon the face of the ground; it is the oracle of Yahweh] This 
is a gloss,f which adds nothing to what has already been said in 
w. 2< 3a . Some seek to save this line for Zephaniah by reading 
"the wicked" % or "the men of wickedness " with <g. But the 
reading of < is more easily explained as due either to free transla 
tion or to an inner Greek corruption than as representing the orig 
inal text from which |H has been derived. 4. And I will stretch 
out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jeru 
salem] The real object of the prophet s interest and Yahweh s 
wrath now emerges. The world-judgment forms only the stage- 
setting for the tragedy of Judah s affliction. For the figure of 
Yahweh s hand uplifted for punishment, cf. Is. g 12 - 17 - 21 io 5 5 25 
I4 2fi - 27 . The emphasis laid upon the wickedness of Jerusalem by 
Zephaniah is only slightly less than is the case with Micah. For 
both prophets alike, the capital city is the head and front of Judah s 
offending. The difference between the two is that for Micah the 
outstanding crimes of Judah were in the ethical and social sphere, 
while for Zephaniah they fall within the narrower sphere of re 
ligion proper. A nd from this place I will cut off Baal io the last 
remnant] The more familiar translation here is "the remnant of 
Baal," which would imply that Baalism had been reduced to small 
proportions by the time of Zephaniah. Such a diminution of its 

* So We., Dav., Now vtfarti, Siev., Dr., Stk., Fag., Roth.. 

t So We., Now., Marti, Siev., Stk., Fag., Roth.; Schw. om. only "from upon, etc."; Kent 
drops "it is the oracle of Yahweh." 

J Schw.. GASm.. 

I" 187 

influence would seem to require that Zephaniah s work be placed 
after the reform of 621 B.C.* But this date is less probable than 
an earlier period on other grounds (v. Intr., 2). The rendering 
here chosen avoids that necessity and is supported by usage else 
where; cf. Am. 4 2 Is. i4 22 i7 3 .f The prophet simply announces 
the total extermination of Baalism as close at hand. The Chron 
icler does indeed place the beginning of Josiah s reform activities 
very early in his reign (2 Ch. 34 3 7 ), but the historicity of that nar 
rative is open to serious question. Baalism died hard in Israel. 
Yahweh never had the sole and undivided allegiance of Israel in 
the pre-exilic age.J Notwithstanding the bitter opposition to 
Baalism on the part of Elijah, Hosea and all the succeeding proph 
ets, it still called for the prophetic wrath of Zephaniah. Nor is it 
necessarily a diluted form of Baalism with which we have here to 
do, a Baalism cloaking itself under the guise of Yahwism, a syn 
cretism wherein the outer shell of Yahwism was filled with the 
inner spirit of Baalism. It was rather an unadulterated Baalism 
which Zephaniah denounced. The out and out idolatry named 
in the following verse points in this direction. So does the tes 
timony regarding the idolatrous reaction under Manasseh and 
Amon (2 K. 21), which continued without serious check until the 
time of the Deuteronomic reform. The phrase "from this place" 
is treated by some as a gloss ; but the metrical basis upon 
which this is urged is not sufficiently strong. The place meant is 
Jerusalem which is thus designated as the headquarters of Baal 
and all his works. Zephaniah was at least in the city when he 
used this phrase even if his home were not there. And the name 
of the idol- priests] A designation for idolatrous priests found only 
here and Ho. 4* io 5 2 K. 23 5 ; cf. H. AH> S46f -. Name and person 
ality were so intimately connected in Semitic thought that to de 
stroy the former was to destroy the latter also. This expression 
is not infrequently used to indicate a most complete and thorough 
going destruction. With the priests] A gloss** intended to supple 
ment or explain the rare word "idol-priests." The best witnesses 

* So, e. g., Mau., Hi., Ke.. 

t So Schegg, Reinke, We., Or., Dav., Now., van H., el al.. 

t V. Toy, JBL., XXIV, 91-106. So Marti, Now.*, Siev., Stk., Fag., Roth.. 

** So Schw., Dav., Bach., Marti, Now.*, Roth., Kent 


to <g omit this phrase (v. i.) ; it adds nothing essential and is super 
fluous metrically. 

6. And those prostrating themselves upon the roofs to the host oj 
the heavens] Here begin three specifications under the general 
charge made in v. 4 . The worship of the sun, moon and stars 
is given first place. It was prevalent throughout the period of 
Manasseh and Amon (2 K. 2i 3 - 5 - 21 ), and continued into the days 
of Josiah (2 K. 2$*- 12 ) . It was denounced by the prophets and the 
Deuteronomists as a current practice (Je. 7 18 8 2 ip 13 44 17 " 25 Dt. 4 19 
iy 3 Ez. 8 16 ). Hints as to its character are supplied by Je. 44 17 " 19 
Ez. 8 16 Jb. 3 1 26 , and the fact was practised upon the house 
tops (cf. Je. 32 29 ) shows that it was offered directly to the heavenly 
bodies themselves, rather than to any representations of them. 
The Deuteronomic editor of the books of Kings attributed the fall 
of the northern kingdom, in part at least, to the prevalence there 
of this worship (2 K. iy 16 ; cf. Am. 5 26 ). Its prevalence in Judah 
at this time is generally attributed to the close contact, dating from 
the time of Ahaz (2 K. i6 10 ff -), between Judah and Assyria, where 
such worship had been carried on from time immemorial. It must 
be remembered, however, that the worship of the heavenly bodies, 
and especially that of the sun and moon, was a custom common to 
the ancient Semitic world* and hence likely to have persisted in 
Israel from early times.f Furthermore, such names as Baal-sha- 
mem (CIS., No. 7), En-shemesh, Beth-shemesh, Har-heres, Heres, 
Timnath-heres and Jericho make it clear that the Canaanitish 
Baalism, with which Israel had come into the closest possible con 
tact, was vitally concerned with the worship of the heavenly bod 
ies. J The reaction under Manasseh, due in part to the stimulus 
of foreign cults, did not introduce sun-worship as a new cult, but 
rather revitalised a worship which had long been known in Israel, 
though it had lain more or less dormant, or had been confined 
chiefly to the rural population, having had no official recognition. 
A nd those prostrating themselves to Yahweh who swear by Milcom] 
M introduces another "who swear" immediately after "them- 

* Baethgen, Beitrage zur sent. Religionsgeschichte (1888), 61 ff.. 
t C\. Hal., ad loc.. 

I C}. C. F. Burney, EB., 4784; G. F. Moore, ., 3354 /.; L. B. Paton, Encyclopedia of R+ 
ligton and Ethics, II, 288 /.. 

f 189 

selves," thus rendering the structure rough and broken and creat 
ing a Hebrew syntactical usage otherwise unknown. Another seri 
ous difficulty with fE is that it makes the prophet put worshippers 
of Yahweh on the same level with worshippers of Milcom, both 
alike being doomed to destruction. Zephaniah s charge against 
his countrymen, however, is not that some of them have forsaken 
Yahweh for Milcom, but that in general they do not yield undi 
vided allegiance to Yahweh, but worship Milcom and other gods 
alongside of Yahweh. The whole struggle of the prophets, on 
its strictly religious side, was in behalf of the idea that Yahweh 
alone was Israel s God. The masses of the people, however, did 
not reach this point of view until after the Exile. Indeed, the re 
cently discovered papyri of Elephantine include a list of gifts for 
religious purposes by the Jewish colonists which shows that as late 
as the fifth century B.C. Yahweh was still under the humiliation 
of seeing the devotions of his people shared by two other deities, 
one of whom was the goddess Anath.* Another of the same group 
of papyri reveals a Jewish woman in a legal transaction taking 
oath both by Yahweh and by Sati, an Egyptian god.f The atti 
tude of Zephaniah is in striking contrast with that of Elisha in the 
case of Naaman, the Syrian (2 K. 5 18 ft ), and thus illustrates the 
growth in the Hebrew thought of God. The proposal of Nestle 
to read "to the moon" instead of "to Yahweh" is attractive, but 
not convincing; moon-worship has already been included in the 
word against "those worshipping the host of the heavens" and 
needs no further consideration; while the change to the third person 
involved by the introduction of "Yahweh" is no uncommon oc 
currence when a prophet is speaking as the representative of Yah 
weh (e. g., i 8 - 17 3 5 - 6 Am. a 1 - 2 - 7 - 8 Ho. 4 6 - 9 - 10 Mi. 2 12 - 13 4 7 ). 
$i has "their king" in place of "Milcom," the difference being 
only one of vocalisation. The Vrss. unite in supporting the read 
ing "Milcom" (v. i.}, and on the whole this is preferable. Mil 
com was the god of the Ammonites (i K. n 5 - ^ 2 K. 23") who 
with other gods shared Judah s hospitality toward all cults. Cf. 
Ez. 23" ff . In case the reading of K is right, the essential mean- 

* V. Sachau, Die Aramaischen Papyrus aus Elephantine (1911). 
t Sayce and Cowley, Aramaic Papyri jrom Assuan, Papyrus F, 1. 5. 


ing is the same. The title "king" is then applied not to Yahweh, 
King of kings and Lord of lords, but either to the various local 
deities throughout the land, each of whom was entitled "king" of 
his special city, the word of Jeremiah being in point here, viz., "ac 
cording to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah" (2 28 ) ;* 
or to the Phoenician god Milk (whose name is regularly distorted 
to Molech in OT. and is thus made to suggest bdsheth= shame), 
whose very name meant "king" and whose cruel cultus was prac 
tised in Judah in Zephaniah s day (2 K. 2 3 10 Je. 7 31 32 25 Ez. i6 20 f ; 
cf. Lv. i8 21 20 2 ~ 5 ).f The chief objection to Milcom lies in the 
fact that after the time of Solomon who built high places to Mil 
com for his foreign wives (i K. u 5 - 7 * ffl 2 K. 23 13 ) no reference 
is made to his worship in Israel. J But this at best is only an 
argumentum e silentio. Furthermore, while Milk and Milcom are 
in one passage clearly differentiated (2 K. 23 13 ), it is probable 
that fundamentally they were closely related, being simply differ 
ent members of the Baalistic pantheon (cf. Je. 32 35 ), and that the 
rites offered to them were closely similar.** And those who with 
draw from following Yahweh] This verse does not merely sum 
marise in a general characterisation the practices of those con 
demned in w. 4b - 5 ,f| nor does it contrast the apostate Jews of ra 
with the godless heathen of 6b ;JJ but it adds a new class to the fore 
going, viz., those who do not merely divide their loyalty between 
Yahweh and other gods, but rather actually reject Yahweh out and 
out; cf. i 12 . It is something worse than religious indifference ; 
it is open and downright apostasy. Even those who have not sought 
Yahweh, nor inquired of him] This does but repeat in negative 
form what has just been said positively. There is hardly sum- 

* So Hal., who urges in further support of this view an interesting interpretation of the legends 
nDltP iScS .oStJ? l^D 1 ? ,p-On "J^D 1 ? ,pr "jSn 1 ?, stamped upon old Hebrew jar-handles 
(Bliss and Macalister s Excavations in Palestine, 116-121) to the effect that the "kings" here 
named were the tutelary deities of their cities. Cf. mpSo ( = fi > 1p "J^D), god of Tyre. 

t So Dav., GASm., Or.; G. F. Moore, EB., 3085. 

J Other allusions to Milcom are 2 S. i2 so <g Je. 49 - 8 . 

Cf. the name SjnsSD for a Phoenician deity in CIS., Nos. 147, 194, 380. 

** Cf., e. g., the king of Moab s sacri6ce of his oldest son (probably to Chemosh, his goJ> 
with the Hebrew rites in honour of Molech (2 K. s 27 ); v. also Lagrange, Etudes sur les relig 
ions semitiques*, 99 fl.. 

ft Contra Hal.. 

Jt Contra Marti ; similarly, Or., Hal.. Or., Dr.. 

I" 191 

dent basis for the rejection of this verse as an interpolation.* The 
change to the third person has already occurred in v. 5 (q. v.); the 
metre of this str. is too irregular to warrant the elimination on the 
ground of the poor balance of this verse; and the thought though 
somewhat repetitiously expressed forms a fitting climax to the str.. 

The metre of this str. is rough and uneven, being a mixture of hexa 
meter and pentameter; but the parallelism is regular and clearly marked, 
thus indicating plainly the poetic lines. The arrangement here pre 
sented involves the setting aside of the latter part of v. s , beginning with 
niSiWDni, and also the dropping of the phrase D"jnrn oy from v. < as a 
gloss. A threefold objection holds against the phrase ns ni^a^m 
trpann in v. 3 , viz.: (i) no such discrimination between the righteous and 
the wicked is implied in the threats of the immediate context; (2) it lies 
outside of any possible metrical scheme; (3) the presence of the asterisk 
in (& A . The remainder of v. 3 does but weakly reiterate what has al 
ready been said in the- opening words of the verse. 

2. n s ] (&, fK\ei\f/et. H, congregans. Four codd. of Kenn. rpox. 
Ips] This can only be a Hiph. juss. from ^D. But this is open to 
three objections, viz.: (i) the Hiph. of this vb. occurs only here and in 
Je. 8 13 where the text is almost certainly corrupt; (2) the juss. is Un 
called for here; (3) the use of the inf. abs. from a different root. An anal 
ogous case of the inf. of one vb. with the finite form of another occurs in 
Is. 28", urn> tfnN; but a root cnx is otherwise unknown and the text 
is probably corrupt, unless Earth, NB. ^ 49b , be correct in supposing 
that forms like f\btt and rns are survivals of a primitive Hiph. inf. abs. 
form of the i r y vb.. Rd. IP* as ist pers. sg. impf. of ipN, with Stei., 
Or., Schw., We., Now., Ges.* 72a % Marti, Siev., van H., Stk., Fag., 
Roth., Kent. For similar forms, cf. i S. i5 6 2 S. 6 1 Mi. 4 Ps. 104". Cf. 
Ges.4i. *. Sa] (&BY an( j Kenn. 245 om.; so Roth.(?). 3. ]DN] 
Rd. ips both times as in v. 2 . Vrss. render as in v. 2 . Stk. ION, 
omitting it the second time as do also Fag., Kent. a^an,? ON rnSiPDDni] 
Rd. wnVtsbni; so GASm., Oort Em -, Now. K , van H., Roth., Kent. 
<g, teal &<reevf)<rov<Ttv ol d<re/3e?j (<g**, /3a<nXs). H, et ruinae impiorum sunt. 
&, and I will bring the stumbling-block upon sinners. HP. 36, 240, ical 
rd. <TKdv8a\a. <ri>v TO?S a<7<?/3c<rt. HP. 130, 211 om. the phrase, while <g A has 
it under asterisk. Bach., -in rnntf ino^j. Schw./ui inS^i. We., D^apn 
ui; so Fag.. Marti, w >nnc^nj; so Stk.. It s rendering of Jfl is correct, 
viz., ruins ( stumbling-blocks calls for the text as emended by We.); 
but it is hardly an appropriate term in this context; it would be in 
telligible only in the pregnant sense ruins about to be made. <& & 

* Contra Marti, Now. K , Fag., Kent. 


seem to presuppose a verbal form and dittog. would account for D of 
4ft since D and o are so easily confused; v. on Mi. i 2 . Or. s objection 
to this reading as too weak is not well taken, in view of 2 Ch. 25* 28** 
Je. 6 21 . D^yann] A word much more common in exilic and postexilic 
writings than in earlier times; but its occurrence in pre-exilic liteiature is 
frequent enough to make it unsafe to base an argument for the late date 
of a passage upon this word, especially when the writing in question is as 
close to the exile as Zephaniah. DiNn-ps] <&, robs &v6/j.ovs; so Schw.. 
GASm., j?Eh DIN. < may have arisen through avovs as an abbreviation 
for avdpAtrovs; in any case neither ~\ nor ?i>? can easily have been changed 
to DIN. 4. INB>] <8, rb. 6v6fMTa 01?; so 2 codd. of Kenn. and one more 
in margin; so also Schw. (cf. Ho. 2 lfl ), Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Dr. (?), 
Stk., Roth.. But JH deserves preference as the harder reading and be 
cause if (35 were correct we should have expected DE> with D^ron also. 
D^-DN] Rd. o^-nxi, with OS & 1Ef 31, and many Heb. codd.; so Or., 
Marti, Siev., Fag., Roth.. We., on basis of asyndeton of 4H, suggests 
om. of D2>-nN as a variant of iwp-nN; so Stk.. Dncnn] A word occurring 
in Strassburg Papyrus i 8 , in the Elephantine papyri published by Sayce 
and Cowley (E 15) and by Sachau (i 6 ), and on the Teima Stone; always 
applied to non-Yahwistic priests. It was a common Semitic word be 
ing now known in Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Nabataean, Punic (v. G. A. 
Cooke, North-Semitic Ins., Nos. 64, 65, 69, 98; Lidzbarski, Handbuch 
d. nordsem. Epigr., 297) and Assyrian (a high Babylonian official is 
called Kamiru in Amarna Letters, No. I, 15, 33; and an Arabic priestess 
is entitled Kumirtu in an ins. of Ashurbanipal; v. KAT.*, 467). -op 
D^ron] <g BA A om.; in marg. of & H with asterisk; but found in HP. 22, 
36, 42, 51, 62, 68, 86, 87, 95, 97, 147, 185, 228, 233, 238, 240, 310, Com- 
plut., Arm., Slav.. 5. nujn] (5 N , f5o\a. Eight mss. of Kenn. and 7 of 
de R., nujn. mrp 1 ? D^stpjn o^nntPDn DNI] ( A A, HP. 49, 106, 153, 
233 om.; while & H has all of it in marg. under asterisk and only tPDn-nN) 
is om. by <gQ, HP. 23, 26, 36, 40, 42, 51, 62, 86, 95, 97, 114, 130, 147, 185, 
238, 239, 240, 311 and Arm.. "Swearing by "*" was a perfectly legiti 
mate proceeding as appears from Is. 19" 45" 2 Ch. 15", in all of which 
it means worship v But the phrase h tfjn here encounters three diffi 
culties, viz.: (i) it is a useless repetition of the thought of the immediately 
preceding word; (2) it renders the sentence heavy and awkward; (3) if 
nin-" 1 ? were correct after E>JH, we should expect ooSoS likewise. The 
state of <& indicates very much uncertainty as to the text at a relatively 
early date. The omission of Dnnntycn as a dittog. would leave an ad 
mirably balanced line; but rnrvV follows it more easily than it does Vjn 
in this context. Hence the latter is better om., with We., Schw., Oort Em -, 
Now., Or., Marti, Dr. (?), van H., Fag., Roth, and Kent, as a dittog. or 
a marg. correction of the foil. Vjm. nin>S] Or. adds niNitx. Nestle 
suggests n-vS; so Marti, Now. K , Stk.; cf. Dt. 17* Je. 8* Jb. 31". 

I" 193 

Om. i with <B NA ; so Hi., Stei., We., Now., Marti, Dr. (?), Stk.. 
The om. of r.x here points to the absence of i originally. The whole 
wcru is om. by (S^*, HP. 26, 130, 311. Eth. reads, "and those swear 
ing in the name of > their king deceitfully "; similarly, (5. DoSo3] Rd. 
orSca, with < Y , HP. 22, 36, 51, 95, 185, 238 (all = AIXXOM), 5B; so Hi., 
Stei., We., Now., Marti, Siev., van H., Stk., Fag., Roth., Kent. <g<2 mar *-, 
HP. 62, 86, 147, jwXox. H , by the king their God. , their idols. 
HP. 114, /card TOV MeXxou; 240, Kara MoXxo/z. 6. inzm] <g, drrc- 

TOV Kvplov. For a comparison of am with tfpa, v. H. AH , 113. 


A vivid picture of the terrible judgment now so near at hand. 
The poem falls into eleven short strs. of two lines each, as though 
the burden of the message were too heavy to be borne by strs. of 
greater length. Str. I announces the near approach of the dread 
day (i 7 ); II pronounces judgment upon the king s counsellors 
(i 8a - 9b ); III deals with those who practise social and religious 
customs of foreign origin (i 8b - 9a ); IV describes the woe to come 
upon every quarter of the city (i 10 - lla ); V vividly represents the 
impossibility of the escape of any guilty man (i 12a - b ) ; VI shows 
how such men will realise their mistake in disregarding Yahweh 
(i 12c - 13a ); VII reiterates the announcement that Yahweh s day is 
near (i 14 ); VIII and IX characterise that day with its terrors 
(i 15 - 16 ) ; X describes the pitiful condition of mankind on that day 
(i 17 ) ; and XI closes the poem with the threat of a most complete 
destruction (i 18a - c ). 

gILENCE in the presence of the Lord Yahweh, for Yahweh s day is near at 

For Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests. 
A ND I will punish the princes and the king s sons, 

Who fill their master s house with violence and deceit. 
A ND I will punish every one who leaps over the threshold, 

And every one who clothes himself with foreign raiment. 
J.JARK! a cry from the Fish-gate, and a wail from the New-Town; 

And a great crash from the hills, and a wail from the Mortar. 
pOR at that time, I will search Jerusalem with a lamp, 

And I will punish those who are at ease, thickened upon their lees; 
"THOSE who say in their hearts, "Yahweh does neither good nor bad"; 

And their substance will become a ruin, and their houses a desolation. 


at hand is Yahweh s great day, near and speeding fast; 
Near at hand is Yahweh s bitter day, hastening faster than a warrior. 
A DAY of wrath is that day, a day of distress and straitness; 

A day of desolation and waste, a day of darkness and gloom. 
A DAY of cloud and thunder-cloud, a day of the trumpet and battle-cry, 

Against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. 
A ND I will press hard upon mankind and they shall walk like blind men, be 

cause they have sinned against me; 

And their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 
^"EITHER their silver nor their gold can deliver them; 

For a full destruction, yea, a fearful one, will Yahweh make of all the inhabi 
tants of the land. 

Str. I, in a striking figure, declares that the day of Yahweh is 
close at hand, all preparations having been made. 7. Silence in 
the presence of the Lord Yahweh /] By this command for a solemn 
hush, the prophet vividly conveys his feeling of the immediate 
proximity of God. At the same time, the silence he enjoins was 
probably a characteristic feature of the sacrificial ritual, which is 
here used figuratively. We are reminded of the Latin favete lin- 
guis (Horace, Odes, 3 : i, 2; Vergil, JEneid, 5 : 71).* Smend de 
clares that the Arabs also "stood around the altar a long time still 
and silent after the performance of the sacrificial slaughter " and 
that this was the time when the deity was thought to approach the 
altar.f For similar injunctions to silence in the presence of Yah 
weh, cf. Hb. 2 20 Zc. 2 13 Am. 6 w .For near at hand is the day of 
Yahweh] The thought of this dread day bulks larger in Zephaniah 
than in any preceding prophet. % It is the black shadow that over 
casts all of his message. He agrees with Amos, the creator of the 
ethical conception of the day of Yahweh, in supposing its advent 
to be imminent (cf. i 14 ) and in making it a day of judgment. The 
ethical aspect of the judgment is less prominent in Zephaniah than 
in Amos; but, on the other hand, more stress is laid upon its uni 
versal scope (i 2 - 3 2 4 6 - 12> 13 3 8 ). The probability is that as Amos 
connected the day of Yahweh with the operations of Urartu or As 
syria in the west, so Zephaniah s expectation of the day was aroused 
by the onslaught of the Scythians (v. Intr., 2). But neither Amos 

* So Schw.. t Rel*, 140. 

t For a sketch of the historical development of this idea, v. JMPS., AJTh., V, 505-33. Cf. 
H. AH , 131 /.; Gressmann, Eschatologie, 141 ft.. 

I 7 195 

nor Zephaniah looked upon the invasion of the foreigner as ex 
hausting the terrors of the judgment. War, drought, pestilence 
and cataclysmic convulsions of nature were all to contribute toward 
the appalling catastrophe. Natural events were but the forerun 
ners of more terrible supernatural phenomena. The near ap 
proach of the end of the age, the indispensable prerequisite of the 
dawn of the new and better day, is a constant feature of the pro 
phetic idea of Yahweh s day (e. g., Am. 6 3 Is. 13 Jo. i 15 2 1 ). For 
Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice] This is the first instance of Yah 
weh s judgment upon Israel being represented as a sacrificial 
feast. The figure is taken up and expanded by Ezekiel (39" ff ; cf. 
Is. 25 8 34 6 Je. 46 10 Rev. ip 17 f< ). The victim, of course, is Judah. 
He has consecrated his guests] Such preparation, involving puri 
fication from all uncleanness, was necessary to participation in 
the sacrificial meal; cf. i S. i6 5 . The participant must pass from 
the sphere of the profane into that of the holy. Wild beasts and 
birds of prey constitute the guests in Ezekiel s representation; 
but here the guests are left undetermined. Some would identify 
them with the Chaldeans;* others prefer the Scythians;f while 
GressmannJ declares that guests and victim are the same, viz., 
Judah. Davidson feels a certain inconsistency in the figure, in 
that it represents Yahweh as slaying the sacrifice, whereas the real 
slaughterers are the guests themselves, viz., Israel s foes. All such 
attempts to interpret the figure in every detail seem to ignore the 
ideal element in the representation. The only essential feature 
of the figure is the picture of Judah as a sacrificial victim about 
to experience the punitive wrath of Yahweh. The remaining 
features are but accessory circumstances, necessary to the round 
ing out of the view, but never intended to be taken literally. For 
evidence that guests were invited to participate in sacrifices, cf. 
i S. 9 13 - * 2 S. 6 19 15" i K. i 9 Ne. 8 10 and the common usage 
among the Arabs.** The argument for removing v. 7 from its 
present position to another, whether preceding v. 2 as the opening 
sentence of the prophecy, ff or preceding v. 14 and there opening a 

* So Abar., Jer., Rosenm., Mau., Hd.. t So Ew., Dr.; cf. We.. 

J Eschalologie, 136 /.. So van H.. 

** WRS. R -, 236 /.; We., Rtste d. Arab. Heidenlhums, 114 /.. 
ft So Marti, Fag., Kent. 


new poem,* is not sufficiently strong. The use of the third per 
son between the verbs of v. 4 and v. 8 , which are in the first person, 
is not a serious consideration in view of prophetic usage and in any 
case is not obviated unless v. 6 be also eliminated. Even then, 
matters are not helped much, when v. 7 in the third person is 
transferred solely for that reason and placed before v. 2 , which is 
in the first person. 

Str. II, threatening the king s household with punishment, is 
introduced by a line in prose, contributed by some editor, f viz., 
8a. And it will come to pass in the day of Yahweh s sacrifice] 
A slight emendation would make this read, "in the day of my sac 
rifice," and do away with the difficulty felt by some as to the use 
of the third person ; but this difficulty would not be a serious one, 
even if this line were a part of the original text. I will punish the 
princes and the king s sons] Lit., visit upon, a common idiom for 
punish, especially in Je. (e. g., 5 p 25 n 22 25" 3 6 31 ; cf. 23 - 12 ). The 
royal family and the members of the court are here held respon 
sible for the wickedness of the times, the king himself having 
been too young probably at this time to have taken the reins of 
government into his own hands; cf. 2 K. 22*. In any case, the 
reference here cannot be to the sons of Josiah, the eldest of whom 
was not born until six years after Josiah assumed the crown (2 K. 
23 36 22 1 ) and was not old enough to have wielded any influence un 
til well toward the close of Josiah s long reign. Zephaniah s 
relationship to the royal family (v. on i 1 ) gave him a position at 
court which enabled him to keep in touch with all that was going 
on and to expose the secret machinations of those high in authority. 
9b. Who Jill their master s house] i. e., the king s palace, not the 
temple of Yahweh as in (. The charge is not that they use the 
palace as a storehouse for stolen goods, nor even primarily that 
they enrich the royal treasury through fraud and oppression; but 
that they themselves by their conduct and character make the 
king s house a symbol and synonym of all that is bad. Where 
righteousness should reign, iniquity abounds. With violence and 
deceit] This is the true prophetic cry. Cf. Am. 3 10 Is. 3" f - Mi. 
2 2. s. 9 y-3. 9. 10 Ez> 22 27-2 9i Here and fo jia. is Zephaniah shows 

* So Siev.. t So Marti, Siev., Now.*, Fag., Du., Kent 

I 8 - 197 

that he too, like his great predecessors, was sensitive to the mis 
eries and wrongs of the poor. For the justification of the trans 
position of v. 9b , v. i., 

Str. Ill devotes itself to the denunciation of certain practices of 
foreign origin, the adoption of which indicates disloyalty to the 
old, long-established customs and ideals. 9a. And I will punish 
every one who leaps over the threshold] The precise significance 
of this action is unknown. Many have been the interpretations 
placed upon it. < s rendering yields no sense. , with many 
successors, finds the meaning furnished by i S. 5 5 , where the wor 
shippers of Dagon are said to avoid stepping upon the threshold 
of his sanctuary, because of the fact that Dagon had fallen across 
that threshold and been broken to pieces in the presence of the 
ark; a similar custom has now come into vogue in the temple 
of Yahweh; cf. Is. 2 6 . Jerome also interprets the custom of the 
threshold of the temple, but finds the blame in the arrogance with 
which the worshippers tread the courts of Yahweh. Hitzig refers 
the custom to the threshold of the king s palace and cites the testi 
mony of travellers to the effect that the Persians crossed the king s 
threshold without touching it and with the right foot forward.* 
W. Robertson Smithf and Driver see here a reference to the foreign 
body-guard of the Jewish king, his Philistine janissaries (2 S. 
i5 18 2 K. i 38 ). Another series of interpretations refers the cus 
tom to the palaces of the rich, making Zephaniah condemn, for 
example, the eagerness with which the servants of the rich rush out 
of their palaces to seize the property of the less powerful; J or the 
guardians of the portals of the palaces of the great (2 S. i 9 13 1$* ff ), 
who abuse their position by extorting money from those who would 
seek their master s aid. Kimchi, on the other hand, finds the 
reference to the thresholds of the poor, the doors of whose houses 
are burst open by the rich in their search after the goods of their 
weaker neighbours.** It is unlikely, however, that Zephaniah 
would charge the great and powerful nobles with petty larceny. 
The threshold of the house has been regarded as a favourite abode 

* So in the time of della Valle and Olearius. 

t Old Testament and the Jewish Church 2 , 261 /.. 

* So, e. g., Hd.. 

So, e. g., van H.. ** So also de W., Ew., Ke.. 


of demons and spirits among practically all races.* It seems 
probable, therefore, that the prophet spoke of some superstitious 
practice (perhaps, though not necessarily, of foreign origin) which 
was now in vogue particularly among the rich. It is more likely 
to have been connected with private houses than with either the 
temple or the royal palace exclusively. The next line, at least, 
concerns itself with a custom primarily of social rather than re 
ligious significance. In that day] i. e., the day of Yahweh. This 
is a gloss added by some zealous hand;f it overburdens the line 
and adds no essential thought. And every one who clothes him 
self with foreign raiment] i. e., the fops of the day, who followed 
after the latest imported styles. The serious aspect of the prac 
tice was the evidence it afforded of the decay of the national spirit 
and pride. Furthermore, the nation and its god were inseparable, 
and to abandon or neglect distinctive national customs was to be 
disloyal to Yahweh. Imported garments were naturally expensive 
and could be obtained only by the wealthier classes (2 S. i3 18 
Mt. ii 8 ). The prohibition in the law (Dt. 22" Lv. ip 19 ) commonly 
cited in connection with this passage has no bearing whatever upon 
the question here, since it springs out of a different circle of ideas. 
Str. IV strikingly presents a picture of the distress that will 
overwhelm Jerusalem on Yahweh s day. The str. is introduced by 
a line of prose, probably of editorial origin .J 10. And it will come 
to pass in that day, it is the oracle of Yahweh} The introduction of 
this line blunts the edge of the cry that follows, which left in its 
original abruptness is startlingly vivid. Hark! a cry from the Fish- 
gate] This was one of the entrances to the city of Jerusalem on the 
north side, the exact location of which we cannot determine. It 
probably corresponded to the present Damascus Gate, opening 
upon the roadway along the bed of the Tyropceon Valley. Ac 
cording to Ne. 3 3 i2 39 , it stood between the "Old Gate" and the 
"Sheep Gate," near to the tower of Hananel. According to 2 Ch. 

* V. H. C. Trumbull, The Threshold Covenant (1896), 10 fl.; Baur, Mitlheilungen und 
Nachrichlen d. Deulschen Pal. Vereins, for 1899, p. 10. 

t So Marti, Now. K , Siev., Fag., Du., Kent. Gr. om. as dittog. from v. 10 , while Schw. tr. it 
to the beginning of v. 9 . 

t So Marti, Fag., Du., Kent. Siev. om. all but the opening mm. 

V. GASm., Jerusalem, I, 201 /.; Merrill, Ancient Jerusalem, 359; Paton, Jerusalem in 
Bible Times, iao/.. 

1 199 

33 14 > it was a part of the new wall built by Manasseh. It may 
have been identical with the "Middle Gate" of Je. 39 1 " 3 , standing 
in the middle of the line of the north wall. The name Fish-gate 
may be accounted for by the fact that Jerusalem depended largely 
upon the fishermen of Tyre for its fish supply (Ne. i3 16 ) ; and these 
probably entered the city by this gate as affording the nearest entry 
or giving f .hem easiest access to the fish-market.* The prophet in 
imagination places himself in the midst of the coming scene of 
desolation and listens to the sounds of grief and ruin that fill the 
air. And a wail from the New-Town] Lit., the second (town). A 
section of the city located probably near the Fish-gate. We have 
no precise information concerning the site of this part of the town; 
it is mentioned elsewhere only in 2 K. 22 14 (=2 Ch. 34 22 ) and 
possibly in Ne. n 9 . But it probably was that portion added to 
the city by the building of Manasseh s wall, constituting the oldest 
suburb on the north. Lying on lower ground than the older city 
and so more easy of access to an invader, it would naturally be the 
first to suffer at the hands of an enemy. As a matter of fact, the 
natural defences of Jerusalem rendered her impregnable on every 
side but the north and every siege of the city has been laid against 
that side. And a great crash from the hills} These are not the hills 
lying around Jerusalem, but those within the city itself; whether 
those in the south and south-west quarters occupied by the temple, 
the palace and the houses of the rich, or those in the higher por 
tions of the north end of the city, or the hills of the city as a whole, 
cannot be exactly ascertained. It is possible that some of the 
higher portions of the town were known as "the Hills" or "the 
Heights." The use of titles for the other quarters here named 
seems to point in that direction. The "crash" is probably that 
caused by the downfall of walls and buildings re-echoing from hill 
to hill. lla. And a wail from the Mortar} JH reads, "Wail, O 
inhabitants of the Mortar." But the parallelism seems to call for 
a fourth member constructed of a noun and a prepositional phrase 
as are the three preceding members. What part of the town was 
known as "the Mortar" is wholly uncertain, since the name is 
nowhere else employed. Jerome thought of the vale of Siloam; 

* Cj. GASm.. Jerusalem, I, 31-7 /.. 


of the valley of the Kidron; and Josephus (Wars, V, 4, i) connected- 
it with the Tyropceon Valley. Maurer, on the other hand, de 
clared it to be a figurative name for Jerusalem as a whole (cf. Je. 
2 1 13 ), which, surrounded by higher hills, was to serve as a mortar 
for the braying of her inhabitants. Most modern interpreters iden 
tify it with the upper part of the Tyropceon, partly because of the 
fitness of the title as applied to that region, partly because the con 
text seems to make the Mortar a centre of trade and industry and 
the Tyropceon furnishes an excellent site for a market,* and partly 
because both Fish-gate and Mishneh were on the north and the 
Maktesh probably lay in the same general region. The last con 
sideration, however, is not a legitimate one; the prophet may have 
been picturing the desolation and grief which were to overwhelm 
the entire city rather than some one special quarter therein. The 
Fish-gate and the Mishneh, it is true, probably lay on the north 
side; but "the Hills" and "the Mortar" are completely unknown. 
Hence, it is unsafe to confine the distress described by the prophet 
to the north side alone. The remainder of v. n seems to be a later 
interpolation, interrupting the flow of thought by the introduction 
of unnecessary detail and departing too widely from the metrical 
norm of the context to be brought into harmony with the form 
of the rest of the poem.f lib. For all the people of Canaan are 
destroyed] The speaker may mean Phoenician traders who were 
the merchants of the oriental world ; J or better still, the merchant 
class among the Jews themselves, which enriches itself by unjust 
measures and trickery of every sort. For the use of the term 
"Canaanite" as denoting the trader and merchant, cf. Ho. i2 8 
Is. 23 8 Ez. i6 29 i7 4 Pr. 3i 24 Jb. 4 i 6 and, perhaps, Zc. i 4 21 . The 
parallel line seems to show that a class of financiers is meant, 
whether of native or of foreign origin. lie. Cut off are all those 
who weigh out money] Not money-changers especially, but the 
whole merchant class in general. The weighing of the silver was 
necessitated by the fact that there was no Hebrew coinage prior to 
the Exile. Indeed, it is not certain that there was a fixed coinage 

* V. Merrill, Ancient Jerusalem, 291-307. 

t So Marti, Siev., Fag.. Cj. Du., who erects i 10 - n into an independent poem. 

J So, e. g., Dr.. So most interpreters. 

I" 201 

anywhere in the Semitic world piior to the time of the Persian 
empire. In Babylonia, as far back as the time of the first dy 
nasty (c. 2000 B.C.), stamped money was in use.* Later on, As 
syrian ingots stamped with the head of Ishtar served as recognised 
currency; while Sennacherib, in a recently discovered inscription, 
alludes to "casting half-shekel pieces," f which even if not coins 
in the technical sense evidently served the purpose of coins.J It 
is doubtful whether Zephaniah himself would have shared such 
a hostility to trade and commerce as is reflected in this verse, 
though it is true that the old prophetic spirit was opposed to the 
increasing complexity and luxury of life involved in the advance 
of civilisation and stood firmly for a return to primitive nomadic 

Str. V sets forth the thoroughness with which Yahweh will 
search for the wicked in order that he may visit their sins upon 
them. 12a. And it will be at that time, that I will search Jerusalem 
with a lamp] Like Diogenes, Yahweh will go up and down the 
streets of the city. The figure expresses the thought of the im 
possibility of escape from the avenging eye of Yahweh. Cf. Je. 5 l 
Ez. 22 30 Ps. I39 7 " 12 . The figure is probably borrowed from the cus 
tom of the night-watchman carrying his lamp and may involve also 
the thought of the diligent search of Jerusalem that will be made by 
her conquerors in their quest for spoil. Cf. Is. 45 3 Lk. i5 8 . The 
houses of the orient being small and dark, a thorough search re 
quired the aid of artificial illumination. 12b. And I will punish 
those who are at ease] M reads "the men " for " those at ease " ; but 
this would be poor Hebrew, unless men were to be distinguished 
from women and children, which can hardly be the prophet s 
thought. The epithet "at ease" is applied to the same class of 
people in Am. 6 1 Is. 32- u Zc. i 15 Ps. 123*. It denotes freedom 
from anxiety and a complete satisfaction with oneself. They are 
further characterised in the following suggestive figure. Who are 

* V. Meissner, BAS., II, 559 /.. Cj. Sayce, Contemporary Review, August, 1907, p. 259. 

t The new Sennacherib prism, No. 103,000, col. vii, 18; copied and translated by L. W. 
King, Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum, part xxvi (1009). 

t Cf. C. H. W. Johns, Did the Assyrians Coin Money? (Exp., 1809), pp. 389-400. Leh- 
mann-Haupt, Israel: seine Entwicklung im Rahmen der Weltgeschichte (1911), p. 162, claims 
that the coinage of money was invented by Alyattes, king of the Cimmerians, in the sixth 
century B.C.. 


thickening upon their lees] The metaphor is based upon the treat 
ment of wine in the process of its ripening. Cf. Is. 2$*. The 
usual treatment is well set forth in Je. 48" 12 . These men have 
been left undisturbed in their false security; they have not been 
"poured from vessel to vessel." Just as wine left too long in such 
a condition thickens and loses strength, so these men have sunk 
into weak self-indulgence, having lost all interest in and concern 
for the higher things of life and being solicitous only for their own 
bodily comfort and slothful ease. 

Str. VI further describes these indifferent citizens and pro 
nounces judgment upon them. 12c. Those who say in their 
hearts, "Yahweh does neither good nor bad"] The terms "good" 
and "bad" here are not used in an ethical sense, but in the sense 
of "favourable" and "unfavourable." In accordance with a well- 
known Hebrew idiom, the phrase in reality says that Yahweh does 
nothing at all; he is without influence upon human affairs and 
may be ignored by practical men. Similar phrases coupling to 
gether two terms of opposite meaning and subsuming everything 
under them in order to express the idea of totality are "the shut 
up and the freed" (Dt. 32 36 i K. i 4 10 2i 21 2 K. 9 8 i 4 26 ), "the moist 
with the dry" (Dt. 2Q 19 ), "the deceived and the deceiver" (Jb. 
I2 10 ).* The state of mind indicated by the prophet means practical 
atheism. While not proclaiming their thought upon the house 
tops, these men by their actions show that in their heart of hearts 
they deny God any part in the affairs of men. This has ever been 
the temptation of a cultured and commercial age. As man s 
place and power in the world increase, God decreases. Discerni 
ble only by the spiritual vision, he is ever in danger of being hid 
den from the eyes of the mass of men by the increasing bulk of 
their material interests. This same attitude of mind is attested 
by Je. 5 12 f- Mai. 2 17 Fs. io 4 I4 1 . The charge of powerlessness 
or non-participation in human affairs, here preferred against Yah 
weh, is one used with telling effect by the later prophets to dem 
onstrate the futility of idolatry (Je. io 5 Is. 4I 23 ). 13a. And their 
wealth will become a ruin and their houses a desolation] Those who 
have lived in careless disregard of God will be rudely awakened 

* V. Dr., Dl. (IC& ), 376, where the idiom is illustrated from the Arabic. 

I 203 

from their fatuous ease by being brought face to face with indis 
putable evidence of his power. The treasures they have accumu 
lated and the palaces they have reared will fall into the hands 
of an invading foe. That for which they have laboured and in 
which they have trusted will fail and forsake them in their day 
of need. The God whom they have ignored will force his un 
welcome presence upon them in avenging justice. The remainder 
of this verse is redundant, being due to a marginal citation of a 
passage very common in the prophetic writings which was sug 
gested by the language here.* 13b, c. And they will build houses 
and not inhabit them, and plant vineyards and not drink their wine] 
Cf. Am. 5 11 Mi. 6 15 Dt. 2 8 30 - 39 Ez. 2 8 26 Is. 6s 21 f -. The day of 
Yahweh as announced in i 7 14 would seem to have been too close 
at hand in the mind of Zephaniah for him to have contemplated 
the possibility of sufficient time elapsing for the building of houses 
and planting of vineyards. 

Str. VII starts a new section of the poem which is devoted to a 
description of the terrors of Yahweh s day. Its immediate prox 
imity is first re-emphasised. 14. Near at hand is Yahweh 1 s great 
day, near and speeding fast] What has already been said in v. 7 is 
here "amplified with increased energy of language." f The great 
ness of this day and its terror are standing features of the prophetic 
pictures of judgment. Cf. Jo. 2 11 - 31 Mai. 4 5 . Near at hand is 
Yahweh s bitter day, hastening faster than a warrior] For text, 
v. i.. Bitter" is an epithet not elsewhere applied to the day, but 
one thoroughly representative of its character. Cf. Am. 8 10 . The 
text of this line according to HI is very difficult and furnishes no 
close parallelism with the preceding line. The usual rendering is 
"Hark! (or "the voice of") the day of Yahweh! The mighty 
man crieth there (or "then") bitterly." For similar representa- 
tations, cf. Is. i3 7 - 8 Je. 3o 5 " 7 . Another rendering runs, "The 
sound of (or "Hark!") the day of Yahweh is bitter; the mighty 
man crieth there (or "then")." But such renderings fail to over 
come the difficulties, viz.: (i) the adverb "there" is without any 
antecedent to which it can easily be referred, while the meaning 
"then" for this particle is not well established; (2) the order of 

* So Schw., GASm., Now., Marti, Siev., Fag. t Du., Kent. t Ew.. 


words in the latter part of the line is wholly abnormal, and that 
without any corresponding gain in strength that is appreciable ; (3) 
the term " strong man" is undefined; (4) if "bitter" be taken with 
the first half of the line, it forms an unsuitable predicate to "sound," 
and when treated as predicate to "day," the resulting sentence 
"the day of Yahweh is bitter" furnishes an inappropriate contin 
uation of the particle "Hark"; if "bitter" be connected with the 
second half of the line, the rhythmical balance of the line is dis 
turbed. The emendation here proposed furnishes a line which 
is exactly parallel to the preceding line, reiterating its thought in 
stronger terms. The final clause may mean either that the on 
rush of the day of Yahweh is swifter than that of the warrior upon 
his foe, or that it will be too swift for the warrior to escape. 

Str. VIII piles up epithets descriptive of the terrors of Yahweh s 
day. 15. A day of wrath is that day] Dies irce dies ilia, It s trans 
lation of this sentence, forms the opening phrase of the great hymn 
on the Last Judgment, by Thomas of Celano (c. 1250 A. P.). 
For similar emphasis upon the divine anger in connection with the 
day of Yahweh, cf. v. 18 Is. 13 Ez. 7 19 Pr. n 4 Jb. 2i 30 . The ef 
fects of Yahweh s wrath are enumerated in the following clauses. 
A day of distress and straits] This and the following clause are 
examples of the paronomasia so common in prophetic literature. 
This kind of a day was exactly contrary to the old popular expec 
tation (Am. 5 18 ). A day of desolation and devastation] The same 
phrase recurs in Jb. 3o 3 38 27 . The primitive chaos will once more 
hold sway. The parallelism would be improved here by trans 
posing this clause to the beginning of v. 16 , as Marti suggests. 
A day of darkness and gloom] This and the following clause are 
found again in Jo. 2 2 . The terrors of darkness are a standing 
feature of the prophets day of Yahweh. Cf. Am. 5 18 - 20 Is. i3 10 
Ez. 34 12 . The figure was probably learned from observation of 
eclipses of the sun, though it may reflect the darkness that so fre 
quently precedes and accompanies a great storm. 

Str. IX continues the description, passing from the terrors of 
nature to those of war. 15e. A day of cloud and thunder-cloud] 
The same phenomenon is described in Ez. 34 12 , where the refer 
ence is to the fall of Jerusalem and the deportation which lay be- 

I 15 - 205 

hind the speaker. This is a characteristic frequently connected 
with theophanies in OT.; the word " cloud" occurs no less than 
fifty-eight times in such connections.* 16. A day of the trumpet 
and battle-cry] The prophet now turns to the horrors of war. The 
combination of the blowing of hornsf and shouting is found also 
in Am. i 15 2 2 Je. 4 19 Jos. 6 5 . Cf. Ju. ; 18 - "Against the fortified 
cities and against the lofty battlements] Cf. Is. 2 15 . The word 
rendered "battlements" is literally " corners," but here and in 3 
2 Ch. 26 15 BS. 5o 2 it probably denotes special fortifications con 
structed for the protection of the angles of the walls, t The char 
acter and strength of the walls and fortifications of ancient cities 
in Palestine may now be learned not only from an examination of 
the walls of Jerusalem, but also those of Jericho, Gezer, Lachish, 
Taanach, Megiddo, Tell-Zakariya, Tell-es-Safi and Samaria. 
The number and size of such fortresses may be inferred from the 
fact that Sennacherib in his report of the campaign against Heze- 
kiah claims to have captured " forty-six of his strong cities, for 
tresses and smaller towns without number." Not only so, but the 
great fortress of Jericho as revealed by the recent excavations was 
only about eleven hundred feet long and five hundred feet wide. 

Str. X leaves the fortresses and turns attention to their occu 
pants. 17. And I will press hard upon mankind and they shall 
walk like blind men] Men will be reduced to such straits by Yah- 
weh that their attempts to discover a way of escape will be like 
the uncertain and hopeless steps of the blind. Cf. Dt. 28 29 Na. 3" 
Is. 59 10 Jb. I2 25 . There is no causal connection in the prophet s 
mind between the darkness of v. 15 and the groping here predicted.** 
"Mankind" here does not comprise the human race as a whole, 
but rather sets human beings in contrast with city walls and forti 
fications. As a matter of fact, the citizens of Judah are in the fore- 

* So BDB.. t V. H. AH , 43 /- 

t Tacitus describes the walls of Jerusalem as. "per artem obliques et introrsum sinuatos ut 
latera oppugnantium ad ictus patescerent" (Hist., lib. V, cap. n, 5). 

For reports on Jericho, v. Millheilungen d. Deutschen Orient-Gesellschajt, Nos. 39 and 41. 
For Taanach, v. E. Sellin, Tell Ta anek. For Megiddo, v. G. Schumacher, Tell-el-Mutcsellim. 
For Lachish, v. F. J. Bliss, A Mound o] Many Cities. For Tell-es-Safi and Tell-Zakarlya, v. 
F. J. Bliss and R. A. S. Macalister, Excavations in Palestine, 1808-1900. Cf. Dr., Modern 
Research as Illustrating the Bible, 54 fi., 92. The work at Samaria is not yet finished, but pre 
liminary announcements appear from time to time in the Harvard Theological Review. 

** Contra Hi.. 


front of the prophet s thought, if they do not even exclude all 
others from consideration. Because they have sinned against me] 
This sin is practically rebellion against Yahweh; for a similar 
usage of the word sin as = rebellion, cf. 2 K. i8 14 and the reg 
ular sense of its Assyrian equivalent, htiu. This clause is omitted 
as a gloss by several interpreters* on the ground that the change to 
the third person (4K = against Yahweh) is too abrupt so soon after 
the occurrence of the first person and that it is superfluous met 
rically. The emendation of the text necessary to conform it to 
the first person is very slight (v. i.) and at the same time eases the 
metrical difficulty. And their blood shall be poured out like dust] 
Cf. Ps. yp 3 18 42 . Human life will be as worthless as the dust of the 
streets. For a radically different estimate of the value of the peo 
ple of God, cf. Ps. 72 14 . And their flesh like dung] Cf. Je. p 21 i6 4 
Ps. 83 10 Jb. 20*. The word " flesh" occurs only here and in Jb. 
20 23 , where the text and meaning are as uncertain as here. It has 
been variously rendered, e. g., viscera, f carcasses,J vigour, sap.** 
The rendering flesh ff rests upon <g (v. i.} and is supported also 
by the usage in Arabic. 

Str. XI brings the poem to a close with a representation of the 
completeness and inevitableness of the coming destruction. 18. 
Neither their silver nor their gold can deliver them] The things they 
have held most dear will be of no avail in the great day. Cf. Is. 
i3 17 , where the Medes, the agents of Yahweh, are said to care 
nothing for silver and gold. The Scythian invasion, according to 
Herodotus, was halted at the borders of Egypt by the receipt of a 
great sum of money as ransom. But Yahweh cannot be turned 
aside from his punitive purpose by such means; cf. Pr. n 4 . This 
line and the following clause occur also in Ez. 7 19 , where it is an 
interpolation and does not appear in (j&. In the day of the wrath 
of Yahweh and in the fire of his zeal, all the earth will be consumed] 
This line is made up of elements appearing also in i 15 3 8 . It is 
probably a later expansion, interrupting as it does the close con 
nection between the first and last lines of this verse and being 

* So, e. g., Marti, Now. K , Siev., Fag., Roth., Du., Kent 

t So, e. g., Mau.. Dl. 1 - >, BDB.. 

t So van H.. So We.. ** So Ew.. 

ft So, e. g. t Hd., Dav., GASm., Dr.. 

I 17 - 1 207 

identical in meaning with the latter.* The judgment here an 
nounced is probably universal, as in i 2 - 3 3 8 . Cf. Is. 28 22 . For a 
full destruction, yea, a fearful one, will Yahweh make of all the in 
habitants of the land] Cf. Is. io 23 Je. 5 18 4 6 28 Ez. n 13 2 o 17 . For the 
text, v. i.. M, may be rendered "altogether fearful" (cf. Dt. i6 15 
28 29 Is. i6 7 ) ; but the reading of the Vrss. is preferable. The use 
of the third person here furnishes insufficient warrant for treat 
ing the whole verse as a later addition, f or for changing it to the 
first person ;{ v. on v. 7 . The remaining considerations urged in 
favour of discarding the verse are of slight weight. The fact that 
the first line occurs also in Ez. y 19 proves nothing in itself as to the 
priority of either passage; but the structure of Ez. y 19 throws doubt 
upon the originality of that passage as it now stands. The custom 
of buying deliverance from an attack was so common (cf. 2 K. 
i5 16 - 20 16 7 - 9 i8 13 " 16 ) that it is hardly necessary to suppose that this 
must be an allusion to the manner in which Egypt escaped the 
scourge of the Scythian invasion. The claim that those who are 
represented as dead in v. 17 cannot be thought of in v. 18 as attempt 
ing to buy their deliverance makes no allowance for the agility of 
thought. The indefiniteness of our knowledge regarding the de 
velopment of Hebrew eschatology is no basis for saying that the 
idea of a universal destruction here presented demonstrates the 
late origin of the passage. It is by no means certain that the 
destruction here contemplated is thought of as universal. The 
thought in w. 12 - 16 concerns itself with Judah and Jerusalem and 
the language here does not forbid the same limitation of the 
judgment. But if, as seems probable, the thought of universality 
is present, such a conception is not at all out of keeping with the 
authorship of Zephaniah himself (v. Int., 4). 

A smooth, regular and uniform metre throughout this poem can be 
produced only by taking undue liberties with the text. The parallelism, 
fortunately, is very marked and thus indicates the poetic lines clearly. 
The metre of the first four strs. is prevailingly pentameter or qina. 

* So Marti (?). Schw. hesitates between 18b and 18c ; Fag. om. 18c ; Kent om. both; Du. om. 
all after "zeal." 

t So Marti, Now. K (?), Siev.. J So Now. K (?), Fag.. 

It was a frequent experience in the campaigns of such conquerors as Tiglath-pileser I, 
Shalmanezer II, Sargon and Ashurbanipal. 


Through the remainder of the poem, hexameter prevails. The move 
ment of thought from str. to str. is easily recognisable and the whole 
closes with a splendid climax of universal doom. 

The arrangement here presented involves few textual changes that 
are not called for on grounds wholly independent of the poetic form. 
From the reconstructed poem, the following materials found in iH are 
lacking, viz., i 8a ("and it shall be in the day of ^ s sacrifice") ("in 
that day"), 10 ("and it shall be in that day, it is the oracle of "), > 
13 b. e. is b. The g rs t two of these are simple prosaic introductions by 
some editor. The third is shown to be extraneous to the movement of 
thought by the interruption it occasions between n b and 12 , in both of 
which the speaker deals with Jerusalem; and also by its marked varia 
tion from the metrical movement of the context. The fourth addition 
(is b. e) i s betrayed by its hackneyed phraseology as well as its metrical 
variation. The last one ( I8 b ) is plainly identical in thought with 18 c ; but 
the latter makes a little closer connection with 18a than 18b does and, 
therefore, has the right of way. It is worthy of notice also that 18b is 
practically a duplicate of 3 8d . 

The rearrangement of w. 8 - 9 here accepted was first proposed by 
Schw. and followed by Now. and Fag. (cf. Siev. who rearranges thus: 
vv> c. s b. 9 b. s c. 9 a. lo). The reason for the transposition is found in the 
excellent sense thereby secured; in the fact that v. 8 a , as it stands in 4H, 
lacks the necessary balancing clause, stating the cause of the judgment 
it announces; and in the further fact that the two clauses dealing with 
foreign practices are thus brought together. 

7. on] &, fear. Gr. adds itt>a *?a as in Zc. 2 7 . na?] 05 = inar. 
onpn] & invited. 8. iSon ija Syi] E om. ^a] <& = rua; so We. (?), 
Gr., Dav., GASm., Oort Em -, Now., van H., Fag.. For the same inter 
change, cf. Gn. 45" Ex. i6 31 Jos. i; 17 i8 5 1 Ch. 2 Ne. 7 28 Je. i6 5 - " Ez. 
2 J Ho. i 7 . Cf. the use of no in v. 9 . D B>aSn] Rd. co 1 ??; so Schw., 
Now., Fag.; D is a dittog. from the foil, word; cf. jSnn. 9. jSnn Sa hy 
IDDDn-S?] <& NA Q & H , tirl irdvras ipQavus tiri ret irpbirvKa.. (& B om. Sa *?J7. 
S, tiri Trdvras TOI^S tTrifiaivovTas K.T.\.. H, super omnem qui arroganter 
ingreditur super limen. &, upon all extortioners and spoilers. , all 
those who walk in the laws of the Philistines. Wkl., A OF., Ill, 381 /., 
would render, "against all who mount the throne." This involves a 
new meaning for both words. jSn is connected by Wkl. with the 
Arabic drg and made to mean mount or climb. Cf. 2 S. 22 3 where 
scale furnishes an admirable meaning for the Pi el. But skip/ 
dance or leap is required by Is. 35" Ct. 2 8 BS. 36" and is suitable both 
here and in 2 S. 22 30 . Furthermore, the meaning mount or climb is 
doubtful for the Arabic drg, aside from some derived stems where it is 
used figuratively; the ordinary usage is walk slowly. pen is taken by 
Wkl. as designating primarily the pedestal upon which the image of the 

I" 1 209 

deity was placed (i S. 5 4 - 6 ), and secondarily, the king s throne. The 
phrase as a whole would thus point to the king s advisers, those who stood 
upon the steps of the throne. But though this meaning of D would yield 
good sense in i S. 5 4 - B Ez. 9 3 io 4 - 18 , it hardly suits in Ez. 46* and is im 
possible in Ez. 47 . Furthermore, neither on the numerous Babylonian 
and Assyrian seals nor in any known relief is a god represented as placed 
upon a pedestal, or a royal throne as raised upon a dais; the god and the 
king alike sit in a chair of state with a footstool attached. orpjiN] <$ 
$ = an-riSs IJIN. 0, their storerooms, an inner Syriac error of ? for i. 
Better treated as sg. than as pi.; Ges. * I24g . 10. D Jin] (g, 
= a^yi? (cf. 2 Ch. 33 14 ) or ovnn; so &. rwan] <g Tgf 
(^ate). 11. croon ^aieni V?^n] Rd. procn p n^i; so Marti, Fag. 
and Kent who retains oev. croon] <g, TTJV KaraKeKo^v^v. Tf , z7o. 
& transliterates as a proper name. 51, fry /Ae &r00& Kidron. A, S, TWI> 
&\(j.ui>. 0, ^v TV /3<0ei. ns-u] (S, 0)1*01667]. ^ % J3J 9, fj.era^6\(av. >Vv3j] 
<g, oZ eViyp/x^oi. S, gi exaltantur (in argento et aurd], H, involuti. 
The word is ATT. and is ordinarily treated as a passive formation = 
"weighed down" (cf. "P3S> , rviya , f ts; 1 ); but it is better taken as active 
(cf. -vps ,^xp p Dn); v. Earth, A^B.^ 125 . 12. pens] 05 Y , HP. 36, 51, 
97, 238, have a double rendering, viz., 7 w;z7/ search Jerusalem -with a 
lamp and I will visit Jerusalem with a lamp (and I will visit, etc.). Marti, 
Bterwi; so Siev., Now. K , Fag.. nnjn] Rd., with (& &, nj;; so Schw. (?); 
Marti (?), Fag., Roth., Kent. Eth., with a lamp of wisdom ww] 
Rd., with Now K , D^JNtyn; so Fag., Kent. D^Nopn] U, qui contemptores 
sunt. U, defixos. &, those despising. onnDB>] <&, T&. <pv\dyfia.Ta 
aurwv. HP. 86 mg. /S5eXi/7^aTa. 5J, ne custodiant mandata. U, in 
faecibus suis. 51, "Zf/io w tranquillity enjoy, r is always in the pi., v. 
Is. 25 Je. 48" Ps. 75 9 . The meaning is clear, but the root uncertain. 
HWB. 1& connects it with r, to keep; may it not, however, be better 
traced to Assy. Samdru, to rage, being so named as that which causes 
turmoil either in the process of fermentation or in the brain of the 
drinker? 13. no^nS] <g, eh Siapiray^v. U, in direptionem. ot^] <S & 
add in them. 14. nirn or] Marti suggests DV in both cases because 
of the ist pers. in v. ; so Fag.. nncY] <g, ^ai Taxa. Rd., with Schw., 
nnpov, so We., Now., Marti, Siev., Fag., Roth.. Bach., tryjn Din. fH 
was formerly treated as an inf., the impf. that ordinarily accompanies 
such a construction being understood (Ew. * 240e ; Hd.) ; but this is without 
analogy. For a similar case of a prtc. without initial D, v. JND (Ex. 7" 9* 
io 4 ) ; c/. Ges. * Ms . HW^B. 15 treats it here and in Is. 8 1 as a verbal adj. 
(so Or., GASm.) ; but it is better here to correct the text. Sip] Kenn. 
145, anp; so Marti, Now. K , Fag., Roth.. Siev. om.. no] Rd., with 
Marti, npn; so Now. K , Fag., Roth. (?), Du., Kent. <, TTIK/C<. DP mx 
ni3j] Rd. nuja it*n, dropping nx as dittog. of mx in foil. line. This 
yields a text in perfect conformity with the corresponding portion of " *. 


Cf. ion and Snan , vm and vice. Note the same juxtaposition of e>n 
and TI D in Is. 8 1 - 3 . For other cases of vertical dittography, cf. 2 2 Mi. 
j2 o. n > 2 is b cji b Ez. i 24 - 26 7 13 f . This correction is based upon the sug 
gestion of Muller, SK., LXXX, 309 /., who reads vaan tfn nx. <g, *aJ 
tr/c\77pd T^rctAcrcu SwvaTiJ (5 being joined with v. 15 ). Iff, tribulabitur, 
etc.. Gr. Km -, 11333 n-jx\ Marti, DJ (for oa>); so Now. K (?), Siev. (?) f 
Roth. (?). mx occurs again only in Is. 42 13 , but this with the Assy. 
sardhu, cry aloud, renders its meaning clear. ac>] Of the passages usu 
ally cited in support of a temporal sense (so here, e. #., Hi., Mau., We. .( ?), 
Now. ( ?), HWB.^, Du.) several are due to a corrupt text (viz., Ps. 66 Je. 
50" Jb. 23 7 ), while in others a local sense is equally good, if not better (e. g., 
Jb. 35 12 Ps. i4 5 36" 66 6 I32 17 1333 Pr. 8" Ho. io 9 Ju. 5"). 16. ci n-x] 
The same phrase occurs in Jb. i5 24 ; other formations from the same root 
are conjoined in Is. 3O 6 Je. ig 9 Dt. 28 53 - 65 - Pr. i". Such cases are 
due to the Hebrew liking for assonance. ci nxtJ ] Also in Jb. 3O 3 38" 
BS. 5 1 10 . In addition to the assonance, increased emphasis is secured by 
such junction of two slightly different formations from one root; e. g., 
npnm npi3, Na. 2"; HD^DI nDDtt, Ez. 33"; H^NI n^Nn, Is. 29*; i; pn 
jnpro, Ez. 6 14 . SBIJ?] Schw., on the analogy of Spn? and SN-IN (Is. 
33 7 ), regards "?n>? as the original form; cf. Syr. arpeld. Earth, NB. 
* 108 b ? treats it as a qutalib form; but it is better taken with Vol., ZA., 
XVII, 3io/., as a composite noun, with SN used as an intensifying epi 
thet; cf. Assy, erpu = cloud, and the various usages of the Ar. equiva 
lent which may be traced back to a primary meaning, cloud. On the 
divine name as giving superlative significance, v. Kelso, AJSL., XIX, 
152 f,; cf. i S. I4 15 . 17. nvrS] Rd. ^. -par] <&, KO.L ^xr, but in 
HP. 36, 51, 62, 86, 95, 97, 147, 185, 228a, <^xe; c f- ^> effundam. ccn 1 ^] 
Some mss. DDH^, but better without dag.; v. Baer and Ginsburg. The 
meaning is wholly uncertain. Dl. pro1 " 193 derives from onS, be close, 
firm (so BDB.), and renders Eingeweide, which fits better here than 
flesh, but is unsuitable in Jb. 20". No., ZDMG., XL (1886), 721, sug 
gests the meaning wrath, connecting it with Syriac Ihnt, to threaten ; 
this is fitting in Jb. 2O 33 , but wholly out of place here. The rendering 
flesh, against which both Dl. and No. urge weighty objections, suits 
fairly well here, but is inadmissible in Jb. 2O 33 . The text there is almost 
certainly corrupt (cf. 05, 6dvvas~) and the same difficulty may exist here. 
<g, rfaffdpKas avrdv. Schw. (?) inn 1 ? (from -/ r| n 1 ?), cf. adj. rh. Gr. Em -, 
oS^m (?). Bach., crn in^. Schw., crta; so Now., Marti, Roth., Du.; cf. 
j e> nis^ o>S t ?J3] U, sicut stercora; so &. <&, ws /36X/3iTa. 1C, sicut stercora 
bourn. Bach., D^na?. 18. inNjp . . . nin> nn^y] Fag. changes to ist 
pers., viz. inNjp . . . ^nnay,. IN] Rd. IN, with (&, ical and &; so Schw., 
Gr. Em -, We., G ASm., Now., Marti, Hal., Dr., Du., Kent. Cf. B, cum. 
nSnaj] (&, ffirovS-^v. Gr. Em - nSn-i; so Now. (?), Marti, Roth.. But this is 
unnecessary since the prtc. makes excellent sense and the same construction 

2 1 - 211 

occurs in Is. 10" 28" Dn. 9". PN rvyy- . . . nSn] The vb. takes two 
ace., or the first ace. is so closely welded to and identified with the vb. that 
the combined expression is treated as a vb. and takes an obj. in the 
ace.; so also Je. 5 18 (rd. a;?nN) 30" 462* Ez. n 13 2o 17 Ne. g zl . Now. K 
changes r\vy> to 


In a poem that has suffered many things at the hands of editors, 
the prophet foretells woe upon the Philistines. The reasons for 
the divine anger against Israel s ancient foe were apparently so 
well known to the prophet s audience that they did not need to be 
rehearsed here. The poem is composed of four strs. of two lines 
each. Str. I sounds the note of warning to Philistia in view of the 
near approach of her day of judgment (2*- 2a ). Str. II specifies 
four of the five great Philistine towns as doomed to destruction 
(2 4 ). Str. Ill announces the complete depopulation of the whole 
Philistine coast (2 5 ). Str. IV represents this former abode of 
men as given over to the pasturage of flocks (2 6> 7b ). 

ASSEMBLE yourselves, yea, assemble, O nation unabashed! 

Before ye become fine dust, like chaff which passes away. 
"pOR Gaza will be forsaken and Ashkelon a waste. 

As for Ashdod at noon they will drive her out; and Ekron will be uprooted. 
"YyOE to the inhabitants of the coast of the sea, the nation of the Cherethites; 

For I will make thee perish, without an inhabitant, O land of the Philistines. 
A ND thou wilt become pastures for shepherds and folds for flocks; 

By the sea will they feed; in the houses of Ashkelon at evening will they lie 

Str. I calls upon Philistia to brace herself for the shock that 
awaits her. 2 X . Assemble yourselves, yea, assemble] This rendering 
is somewhat uncertain, being directly supported only by ( & QF B 
(v. i.). The verb does not occur elsewhere in the forms here used, 
but in another stem it is used of the gathering of straw and sticks. 
Various renderings have been proposed for it here; e. g., end your 
selves, etc. ;* turn pale and be pale jf test yourselves, yea, 
test ; J crowd and crouch down ; gather yourselves firmly to- 

* E. g. t Mau., Hd., Ke f Ew.. t De W.. Or- 


gether and be firm ;* purify yourselves and then purge others ;f 
conform yourselves to law and be regular. J But none of these 
finds adequate support either in the Hebrew usage of this root, 
or in the related dialects, or in the Vrss.. Several scholars aban 
don as hopeless the attempt to interpret. The least objection 
able of the emendations proposed yields the meaning, get you 
shame and be ye ashamed ; but this is scarcely possible for two 
reasons: (i) it is difficult to see how so clear and easy a reading 
could have given way to so difficult a one as M now offers; (2) 
the thought of v. 2 presupposes in v. * either a call to flee from the 
wrath to come, or to repent and so escape, or an ironical summons 
to prepare for the coming conflict. Be ashamed seems too mild 
a term for this context. For the difficulty of the translation here 
given, v. i.. For similar calls to assemble in order to ward off in 
evitable destruction, cf. Jo. i 4 2 15 3" Je. 4 5 . O nation unabashed!] 
Here again we can attain no certainty as to the meaning. The obscu 
rity lies in the word rendered unabashed. ** Among many other 
renderings, we may cite undisciplined, ff unlovable, J{ that 
does not desire to be converted to the law, that never paled (sc. 
with terror),*** not desired (= hated), ttt that hath no long 
ing. ttt Here again the attempt to discover the sense is abandoned 
by some. The Hebrew usage of this word affords no basis for 
any other meaning than not longing for, not desirous of; cf. Ps. 
84 2 1 y 12 Jb. i4 15 Gn. 3 1 30 . But this is too vague and indefinite in the 
present passage.**** The idea of shame is associated with this 
root in Aramaic, in late Hebrew and in colloquial Arabic. This 
furnishes a good meaning in this place and, in default of anything 
better, may be adopted. The nation addressed is probably not 
the Jewish jfttt nor * s ^ ^ e pi us element within the Jewish na 
tion, ttt J f r Zephaniah would scarcely address a mere fragment of 

* SteL t Furst (Concordance). % Van H.. 

Schw., We., Dav., GASm., Stk., Roth.. 

** So many interpreters, e. g., Rosenm., Dav., Or., GASm., Dr., Fag.. 
tt. ttH. . 

*** Mau., Ew., Ke.. ttt Hd.. ttt RVm.. 

E. g., Schw., We., Now., Marti, Stk., Roth., Kent. 

**** Cf. B, which retains this sense here, but puts it in the passive, whereas elsewhere 
it is always active. 

tttt Contra Hd., Or., Schw., We. Dav. GASm., Marti, van H., a al.. 
tttt Contra Dr., Stk., et al.. 

2 1 - 2 2I 3 

the people as nation. It is rather the Philistines, against whom 
the bulk of this section is directed. This becomes much clearer after 
the secondary elements in vv. l ~ 3 are recognised. 2. Before ye be 
come fine dust] The Philistines are now addressed as individuals 
and warned to seek some way of escape before it is too late. The 
figure in itself might picture either the completeness of the coming 
destruction (Ps. i8 42 ), or the worthlessness of the vanquished (i 17 
Zc. 9 3 ), or the wide dispersion of the stricken people. In view of 
the added comparison to chaff, the latter is probably the real point 
of the simile; cf. Is. 2<f 4i 2 . For the text upon which this transla 
tion rests, v. i.. is open to objection on the ground of serious 
grammatical difficulty and the inappropriateness of the terms used. 
A literal rendering of $l yields, " before the bringing forth of a 
decree," which might mean either "before a decree brings forth" 
(cf. Pr. 27 1 ), or " before a decree is brought forth." It has been 
variously interpreted, e. g., " before the decree brings forth,"* i. e., 
before the events befall you that are decreed by God; "before 
the term is born,"f i. e., before the day fixed by God breaks 
forth from the dark womb of the future; "before the law bring 
forth, "{ i. e., the Mosaic law fulfilling the curse it pronounces in 
Dt. 3 1 17 . But these all leave too much to the imagination of the 
interpreter. Like chaff that passes away] Everywhere that refer 
ence is made to chaff, except possibly in Is. 4i 15 , it is as a simile of 
scattering (e. g., Is. zy 13 Ho. i3 3 Jb. 2i 18 Ps. i 4 ). The text of <g is 
here followed (v. i.} . M is very difficult, if not impossible. RV. 
renders, "before the day pass as the chaff," supplying the word 
before. RVm. offers as an alternative, "the day passeth as 
the chaff," a parenthetic statement. But the image of chaff fly 
ing away is always applied to things that depart, not to the rapid 
approach of things to come, whereas the day here mentioned is 
evidently the coming day of judgment. The only other available 
meaning, viz., tern pus fugit, is too commonplace for such exalted 
utterance as this and also places upon the word day an abstract 
interpretation which it will not bear. Before there come upon you 
the burning anger of Yahweh] Lit., "the burning of Yahweh s 

* So, e. g., Hi., Mau., Hd., RV.. f Ew.. J Kl.. 

So, e. g., Hi., Mau., Ew., Hd it 


anger," a phrase found no less than thirty-three times in the OT.. 
The line is best treated as a late gloss,* perhaps having originated 
after the preceding line had become unintelligible. Before there 
come upon you the day of the anger of Yahweh] Probably only a 
variant of the foregoing line, being identical with it except for one 
word.f 3. Seek Yahweh, all ye humble of the earth] Cf. Am. 5 
Is. 55. The address is to the pious community of Israelites the 
world over. The phraseology and the ideas of this verse, together 
with the fact that it interrupts the close connection between v. 2a 
and v. 4 and does not conform to the ^ma-rhythm of the context, 
show that we are dealing with a later interpolation.;); The phrase 
"humble of the earth" occurs also in Am. 8 4 Is. n 4 Jb. 24* Ps. 
76, while the adjective humble is a favourite epithet for the Is- 
raelitish community in the Psalter, e. g., 147 i49 4 ; for the opposite 
characterisation, cf. Ps. 75 9 . The term as used here is distinctively 
religious in its significance as is shown by the defining clause which 
follows. This usage is characteristic of the later literature, es 
pecially the Psalms. Who do his ordinance] Thereby differenti 
ating themselves from the pagan communities around them and 
also from large numbers of Israelites who deliberately abandoned 
their own unpopular faith and became zealous adherents of the 
faith of their conquerors. Seek righteousness] The content of the 
word righteousness underwent a process of change in the history 
of Israel, the determining factor in the process being the idea of 
God that lay behind it. The fact that the exhortation " seek right 
eousness" runs parallel to the one "seek Yahweh" shows that 
here the two are considered identical. That is to say, he who 
would secure Yahweh s favour will do so by following the path of 
righteousness, which has already been outlined as the doing of 
Yahweh s ordinance. Seek humility] This second route to the 
divine favour is clearly indicative of the late origin of the verse. 
The word humility occurs besides only in Psalms and Proverbs. 

* Om. by (gNc.b.Y f^ HP. 95, 185, 228 marg., 233, with 6 mss. of Kenn. and 8 of de R.; 
so also Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Now. K , Stk., Fag., Kent. 

t fr" has it under an asterisk. It is om. by Gr. Em -, Schw., We., Bu. (SK., 1893, p. 396), 
Now., Marti, Hal., Dr., Siev., van H., Fag., Roth., Du., Kent. 

t So Schw.. Sta.GVl, We.. Now., Grimm (Lit. A pp., 84-86), Marti, BDB., Siev., Beer, 
Fag., Du., Kent. 

2 3 - 4 215 

It expresses the state of mind to which pious Israelites were re 
duced by the terrible calamities that befell them in and after the 
Exile. Smitten to their knees by the wrath of God, they incul 
cated constantly the necessity of "a broken and a contrite heart"; 
cf. Ps. 5 1 17 34 18 Is. 57 15 66 2 . Perchance ye may be hidden in the day 
of Yahweh s anger] Cf. Am. 5 15 and v. H. AH , ad loc.. The figure 
is that of a storm or an invasion sweeping over the land; cf. 
Is. 26 20 Jb. i4 13 . The destruction will be so comprehensive and 
terrible that escape from it is almost inconceivable. The writer 
does not dare to promise certain deliverance even to the pious. 
Repentance and right living cannot always be depended upon to 
guarantee freedom from the buffetings of fortune, or the chastise 
ments of God which seek the enrichment of character. 

Str. II resumes the story of Philistia s coming destruction. 
4. For Gaza will be forsaken] A threat of depopulation. Cf. Is. 
6 12 7 16 . On Gaza and the Philistines, v. H. AH - 23 - * f -.* The He 
brew words Gaza and forsaken furnish an assonance that can 
not be carried over into English. Such a play upon words was 
not inconsistent with the most solemn utterance; cf. Mi. i loff - 
Ez. 25 16 . And Ashkelon a waste] The city, after acknowledging 
many masters in the long course of her history, was finally de 
stroyed in 1270 A.D.f Ashdod at noon they will drive her out] 
The phrase "at noon" is susceptible of two interpretations. The 
first is based upon the fact that the heat of mid-day causes a sus 
pension of all business in the orient; hence an attack at that time 
would come unexpectedly and find the city unprepared (cf. Je. 
6 4 i5 8 2 S. 4 5 i K. 20 16 )4 The second is preferable, which finds 
the phrase to designate the shortness of the siege; it will be all 
over in half a day. A parallel statement occurs in an inscrip 
tion of Esarhaddon, found at Sinjirli, in which he says, " Memphi, 
his royal city, in a half day I besieged, I captured, I destroyed, I 
burned with fire."** The Moabite Stone likewise says, "I fought 
against it from the break of day until noon, and I took it" (11. 
15, 16); cf. Jb. 4 20 Is. 38 12 . If this latter view be correct, there is 

* V. also M. A. Meyer, History of the City of Gaza (1907). 

t V. GASm. Historical Geog. 189-93. 

J So, e. g., Mau., Hd., Schw., Now., Dr., Kent. So Dav., GASm., Marti. 

** V. Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli, I, 40 /.. 


probably an allusion here by way of contrast to the siege of Ashdod 
by Psamtik I, which is said to have lasted twenty-nine years 
(640-611 B.C.) and, if so, was in progress when these words were 

Hdt. is the only source of information concerning this siege of Ash 
dod. The length of it seems almost incredible. But the narrative of 
Hdt. for this period is very detailed and on the whole accurate so far as 
it can be tested. Not only so, but other cities are known to have under 
gone protracted sieges; e. g. y Tyre withstood Nebuchadrezzar for thir 
teen years, and the Hyksos defended Avaris against three or four suc 
cessive rulers of Thebes. The so-called siege of Ashdod may have been 
a long series of intermittent hostilities, involving a more or less com 
plete blockade of the trade routes both by land and sea. 

And Ekron will be uprooted] Paronomasia is here again em 
ployed. Judgment has now been declared on four of the five great 
cities of Philistia. Gath is passed over in silence, by reason of 
the fact that it no longer existed in Zephaniah s time; v. H. AH on 
Am. 6 2 . The only later allusion to it, viz., Mi. i 10 , is probably of 
a proverbial character and does not imply the actual existence of 
Gath at that time. 

Str. Ill passes from the individual towns to Philistia as a whole. 
5. Woe to the inhabitants of the border of the sea] A fitting desig 
nation of Philistia, which lay along the Maritime Plain ; cf. Is. 9* 
Je. 47 7 Ez. 25 16 . The nation of the Cherethites] The Philistines 
are thus named also in i S. 30" Ez. 25 16 . In Am. g 7 Je. 47* and 
Dt. 2 23 they are said to have come to Philistia from Caphtor, 
which is probably the Hebrew equivalent of the old Egyptian 
Keftiu, i. e., Crete. 

According to Hdt. (I, 173), the Philistines were the descendants of the 
barbarians formerly occupying Crete. Marcus Diaconus (c. 430 A.D.) 
and Stephen of Byzantium (c. 600 A.D.) relate that Zeus Cretagenes was 
worshipped in Gaza and that the city was originally called Minoa, after 
Minos, king of Crete, who had led an expedition to the mainland and 
given this city his name. Recent discovery of Cretan pottery at Gaza 
at least establishes the fact of intercourse between Crete and the Phil 
istines; though, of course, the presence of ancient Cretan settlements at 
Gaza is not proved thereby. The dominance of Minoan civilisation 
around the Mediterranean littoral and the indisputable evidence of 

2* 217 

steady contact between the dwellers on the Nile and the inhabitants of 
the northern islands from very early times combine with the foregoing 
facts to make it in the highest degree probable that the Philistines were 
immigrants into western Asia from Crete and the neighbouring isles 
(Cf. Evans, Cretan Pictographs, 100 ff.\ J. H. Breasted, History oj 
Egypt, 261, 338, 477 /.; G. F. Moore, EB. 3715/5 W. Max Miiller, 
Asien und Europa, 337, 387 /.; Schw. ZwTh. XXXIV, 103 /., 255.) 
This probability is converted into practical certainty by the recent dis 
covery of the so-called Phaestos Disk in Crete. Upon it there appears 
as one of the common signs the familiar and characteristic Philistine 
head-dress as known to us already from the Egyptian monuments. The 
exact place of the origin of the disk is uncertain, whether in Crete itself, 
or in some neighbouring isle, or on the adjacent coast lands of Asia 
Minor. But, in any case, it reveals the influence of the Cretan civil 
isation and may with confidence be assigned to some region in the 
vicinity of Crete where the Philistines were residents. While the exact 
period to which it belongs is uncertain, it is quite clear that it antedates 
the emigration of the Philistines to Palestine. V. L. Pernier, in A usonia, 
Rivista d. societa Ital. di archeolagia e Storia dell arte, III (1909), 255_/f.; 
Ed. Meyer, in Sitzungsberichte der Konigl. Preuss. Akademie der Wis- 
senschaf ten (Phil. -hist. Classe), XLI (1909), 1022 ff.\ von Lichtenberg, 
Einflusse der dgdischen Kultur aufAegypten und Paldstina (1911), 18-22, 
66/.; and especially, Evans, Scripta Minoa, I (1909), 22-28, 273-293. 
An unsuccessful attempt has recently been made by George Hempl to 
interpret it as a Greek ins.; v. Harper s Magazine, January, 1911. 

David s body-guard was composed of Cherethites and Pele- 
thites (2 S. 8 18 is 18 2o 7 - 23 i K. i 38 - i Ch. i8 17 ), terms probably 
reflecting a twofold source of the Philistine nation. The word of 
Yahweh against you] This is best treated as a marginal note by 
some editor or reader.* Its presence mars the metrical form. O 
Canaan] A further gloss,f going with the following "land of the 
Philistines," rather than with the immediately preceding phrase. 
In the Egyptian inscriptions, the name Canaan is applied to any 
part of the land of Palestine; but nowhere else in the OT. does it 
denote Philistia alone; cf., however, Jos. 13 Nu. i3 29 Ju. 3 3 . Here 
it may have been used as an opprobrious epithet, stigmatising the 
Philistines as rascally traders. For I will bring about thy ruin, so 
that there will be no inhabitant, O land of the Philistines] This in- 

* So Marti, Siev., Fag.. 

t So We., Preuschen (ZAW. XV, 32), GASm. (?), Now., Wkl. (AOF. Ill, 332 /.), Marti, 
Siev., Fag., Stk., Du., Kent 


volves a transposition* of the last clause, "O land, etc.," from the 
place it holds in 4H, which is immediately before "I will bring, 
etc.." This is made necessary by the structure of the qina-line, 
which calls for the shorter part after the caesura. The phrase 
"without an inhabitant" is a favourite one in Je., e. g., 4* 29 9" 
26 9 33 10 34 22 46 19 48 5i 29 . That it is not to be taken too literally 
is shown by Je. 44 22 . 

The fourth and last str. adds picturesqueness of detail to the 
announcement of Philistia s devastation. 6. And thou wilt be 
come pastures for shepherds] RV. renders, "and the sea-coast shall 
be pastures, with cottages for shepherds." But this involves the 
difficulty of treating sea-coast as a feminine noun, while it is 
masculine everywhere else, even in v. 7 . It is better to treat it as 
a case of vertical dittography from v. 7 . The word pastures too 
is in an almost impossible construction in 4ft. RV. s cottages* 
are without solid foundation; a better rendering for the word is 
cisterns or wells, or even caves, as in RVm.. But a simpler 
way out of the difficulty is to regard the word, which occurs only 
here, as a corrupt dittograph of the immediately preceding word, 
which it so closely resembles. Another treatment of the word is 
suggested by <g, which interprets it as Crete ; this in itself is quite 
possible; but, if adopted, the words Crete and pastures must 
exchange places, the former becoming the subject of the verb, viz., 
"And Crete, the border of the sea, will become pastures." f With 
the omission of "border of the sea" suggested above, this latter 
interpretation becomes very attractive ;{ but it is hardly convincing 
because it is not likely that Philistia was known as Crete in 
Zephaniah s time and was yet so named only once in the OT.. 
The line is smoother with the word omitted as in H. For "pas 
tures for shepherds," cf. Am. i 2 Ps. 83 13 . And folds for flocks] A 
picture of complete depopulation, crowded towns and villages 
giving place to pastoral solitudes. At this point a later editor, 

* So Now., Marti, van H., Fag.. Wkl. (1. c.) om. as a gloss. Du. orn. "I destroy you that 
there will be no inhabitant." 

t So Wkl. (AOF. Ill, 232), van H.. Wkl. sets w. apart as a separate oracle, directed not 
against the Philistines, but the islanders of Crete itself. The occurrence of the forms mD and 
DTIID is too slight a basis for so novel an hypothesis. 

t So We., GASm., Now., Dr. (?). Cj. Or. s rendering, "shall become pastures for shep 
herds, and the land of Crete sheepfolds. 

2- 219 

zealous for the pre-eminence of Judah, has inserted a line safe 
guarding the interests of his people. 7a. And the border of the sea 
will belong to the remnant of the house of Judah] The late origin* 
of this line is shown by the way in which it breaks the close con 
nection between v. 6 and v. 7b ; the they of 7b goes back for its 
antecedent, not to the remnant of 7a , but to the flocks of v. 6 . 
Then, too, the use of the word remnant presupposes at least the 
first deportation as having occurred. The same hatred of the 
nations in general and of the Philistines in particular is manifested 
here as in 2 e Ob. 19 f - Zc. 9 5ff - Am. g 12 Is. n 14 Je. 49", all of which 
are of exilic or postexilic origin. 7b. By the sea will they feed; in 
the houses of Ashkelon at evening they will lie down] The original 
poem is here resumed and finished. The closing scene shows the 
former marts of trade and busy hives of men given over to the un 
disturbed possession of well-fed sheep, going in and out of the 
vacant houses at will, "with none to make them afraid." The 
qina-rhythm would be restored by the transposition of the first 
clause by the sea, etc., to the end of the line;f but the order of 
thought is more natural as in UJ. The first clause in |H reads, 
"upon them will they feed"; the antecedent of them can only 
be the pastures of v. 6 ; but this is to make a masculine suffix re 
fer to a feminine antecedent. Hence, in part, the general adop 
tion of the reading "by the sea," which involves only a very slight 
change of HJ. Those holding to the integrity of the verse as a 
whole have felt compelled to make the verbs feed and lie down 
find their subjects in the Jews themselves (cf. 3 13 Is. i4 30 Ez. 34" 
Jb. ii 19 ), rather than in the flocks or the nomad shepherds of these 
flocks. But this is a forced exegesis which, with the removal of 
v. 7a now keeping 7b and 6 so far apart, becomes unnecessary. As 
between the shepherds and the flocks, the latter furnishes the more 
natural subject for the verbs. The objection usually urged, viz., 
that the prophet would not represent flocks as occupying the 
vacant houses, is not well taken ; in no more effective way than this 
could he have represented the desolate and deserted state of the 
once populous region. The various attempts to emend the latter 

* So We., Wkl. (/. c.), Marti, Siev., Beer, van H., Fag., Stk., Du., Kent. 
t So Now., Marti, Kent. Du. treats it as a part of the interpolated matter. 


part of this line (v. i.) seem wholly unnecessary.* For Yahweh, 
their God, will visit them and turn their captivity] This line belongs 
with v. 7a and completes the editorial addition. f It clearly refers 
to the remnant of Judah and presupposes the exile. The refer 
ence to Judah here introduces a foreign element into a context 
which is concerned entirely with the Philistines. Visit, frequently 
used of Yahweh s punitive activity, here denotes the exercise of 
his forgiveness and mercy. The promise of return from exile 
hardly accords with the view presented by the writer of v. 3 , who 
contemplates the possibility of Judah s pious ones escaping from 
the approaching calamity. For the phrase turn their captivity/ 
v. H. AH - 199 f - 292 . The alternative rendering turn their fortune 
is less definite and forceful here.J 

The opening str. of this oracle is in tetrameter; the remaining three 
take on the qina-rhythm. The alien elements betray their character by 
their failure to conform to either of these measures. 

Vv. 2b - 3 - 7 j- are omitted from the reconstructed poem as later 
accretions. Vv. 2b - c are variants of a gloss explaining the figurative 
language of 2 . It is impossible to say which line presents the gloss in its 
original form. The late origin of v. 3 is shown by its conception of re 
ligion and by the fact that it evidently addresses itself to the Israelites, 
whereas the context is concerned with the Philistines. The same ob 
jection applies to v. 7 c . Indeed, on the strength of w. 8 - 7 , this whole 
section is denied to Zephaniah by Schw., while Sta. GVI , 645, athetizes 
vv. - and Bu. (SK. 1893, pp. 394^., and Gesch. 89), w. <- 7 (so also 
Kent). The argument against vv. 4 - 7 is that whereas in the genuine 
material Israel is represented as having done wrong and is therefore 
threatened with punishment, here Israel has been wronged by the na 
tions and it is they that are to be punished. This, however, is not true 
of vv. <- 7 , for not a word occurs in them charging Philistia with having 
injured Judah. The same kind of argument would also eliminate 
Am. i 8 - 6 - - 8 - 13 - 16 2 1 - 3 , which are quite generally accepted as genuine. 
Just as Amos believed that Philistia would suffer in the general destruc 
tion about to be wrought either by the people of Urartu or by the As 
syrians, so Zephaniah includes her in the universal devastation he an 
ticipates. The prophets were men of broad vision, not limited in their 
range of interest and observation by a provincial horizon. They saw 

* There is no good reason for including this line with the rest of the verse as a late addition, 
as is done by Wkl., Marti, van H.. 

t So We., Preuschen, Now., Wkl., Marti, Dr., Siev., van H., Fag.. Stk., Du., Kent. 
J On the origin and meaning of the phrase, v. Preuschen, ZAW. XV, 1-74. 

2 221 

the history of their own people against the background of world-history. 
Not one of them looked upon his nation as a thing apart from the world s 
life. Amos, Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Ezekiel and others proph 
esied the downfall of nations other than Israel. Zephaniah cannot be 
denied prophecies of the same sort, unless there be other evidence against 
them than the simple fact that they are directed against non-Israelites. 
What the relations between Philistia and Judah were in the days of Josiah 
we do not know, nor does Zephaniah tell us anything upon that subject, 
unless i 9 be an allusion to Philistine influence. But if Zephaniah looked 
for disaster to overwhelm the whole of western Asia, no special cause 
would be needed for a threat hurled against the Philistines. 

The argument for treating w. l - 3 as the conclusion of ch. i is uncon 
vincing (contra Hi., GASm., Bu., et a/.). The first chapter is complete 
as it stands. Moreover, the o of 2 4 needs some antecedent material as 
a basis and this is supplied by 2 1 f . The chief reason for combining 
w. | - with the preceding rather than the following context lies in the ex 
traneous material incorporated in this section which makes close con 
nection with vv. 4 ff - difficult. The treatment of this material as late 
removes this difficulty. 

1. IBMp) WltMpnn] <g, ffwdx^re Kal ffwd^dijTe; so &. < Nc - HP. 
62, 86, 95, 147, 185 have the variant, (rvvder/dijTe. S, (rv\\tyi)Te (revere 
(probably an error for trimre). 3J, convenite congregamini. Many mss. 
have itypj, without i, which is the normal writing of this form; v. Baer. 
Che. (Proph. of Is. on Is. 2Q 9 ; but abandoned inCB.), v^nna a onn; so 
Gr., Bu. (SK. LXVI, 396), BDB., Now. K , Dr., Fag., Bew. (JBL. 
XXVII, 165), Kent. Hal. -ii^m iB cnNnn. Siev. irtripnm wip. An 
other suggestion is itrp r -ii?Kppnn SN, deriving n from ;/ wwp be hard and 
p from \/ nt?p. Van H. -iippi lete pnn (or -ii5"p.]). Both of the forms in 
4R are cbr . For similar combinations of Qal and Hithpo., v. Is. 29 
Hb. i 5 . The derivation of the vb. remains doubtful. Some would make 
it a denominative from t?p_, stubble, meaning to gather stubble, sticks, 
etc. ; but when so used the obj. ep ,pn or wsy always accompanies it, 
a fact which seems to point to the vb. itself as having only the simple 
meaning collect, gather. In any case, the vb. cannot be here used 
denominatively. Van H. s reading connects it with -j/ BMP or B"p, corre 
sponding to the Arabic (j*Ls = mensuravit ; but the resulting sense 
is hardly satisfactory enough to warrant the necessary change in point 
ing involved. Mau. attaches it to enp (= Arabic (j*3) and renders 
bend yourselves ; but no such vb. occurs in Heb. and the Arabic vb., 
as Dav. points out, is a denominative, meaning not bend but be bow- 
shaped or be curved in the back. Stei. suggests -j/ irrp, connected 
with ntfp, be hard. Ew. proposes the Aram, i/ wp = be old, with a 
supposed primary meaning be withered, and renders turn pale. But 


none of these is more than a barren conjecture, providing no suitable 
meaning. ^DDJ sS] (8 rb a-n-aidevTov, so &. H non amabilis. Van H., 
foil. <&, IDIJ S. Schw. n.DD3 sS. Bew. (/. c.), n?J S (/ r| D3 ). The 
most plausible explanation of M is suggested by GASm., viz. Ara 
bic ksfin classical speech = cut a thread or eclipse the sun ; but in 
the colloquial, to rebuff/ disappoint, put to shame ; in forms IV 
and VIII it means be disappointed, 7 shy, or timid (v. Spiro s Arabic- 
English Vocabulary}. This meaning as possible for the Heb. is sup 
ported by the Aram, i/ which means lose colour, be ashamed (v. 
Jerusalem Targum on Nu. 12" Ps. 35* 6g 7 ). Barth, Etymologische 
Sludien, 61, derives it less easily from an Arabic ksf = be oppressed, 
afflicted. 2. pn mS] Rd. pnS vnn, tr. the letters nn (with a slight 
change in the second) to precede tS. For similar transpositions, cf. 
Am. 3 12 , S-o for naS; Ho. 5", ^xi for pNi; 7" innfc" for in^D^; io 9 , niSj; 
for n*?i>; 131 14 , ^HN for n>x. This reading accounts for all the ele 
ments in fH, does away with the rare usage of an inf. cstr. with DIB (found 
besides only in Hg. 2 15 ), finds an exact parallel in Is. 2g 6 (cf. 40"), is pos 
sibly supported in part by (& & (v. i.}, and yields a line of the right 

ih P y 

length and structure. <& rov yevfoeai u^as; similarly & ^cocul P^ 

Gr. (Monatsschrift, 1887, p. 506), mnn N 1 -. Schw. ts lJn. We. V 
vnn; so GASm., Oort Em -, Or., CB., Now., Marti, Hal., Dr., Siev. (add 
ing ts^p), Fag. (om. xS), Roth., Du., Kent. But (i) this involves the 
introduction into classical Heb. of the usage sS Dnau, not found other 
wise except in the late gloss upon this passage, which immediately fol 
lows; (2) it does not satisfactorily account for either the n or the p of 4H; 
(3) it yields a line shorter than the measure set by the context; and (4) it 
is by no means certain that it represents the text that lay before <&, for 
the inf. construction of <$ suggests fH in its present form in that yevfodai 
might easily be the rendering of mV in such a difficult context. The 
corruption may easily antedate <B. Bew. (/. c.), pn mSp = (before) 
the appointed time is at an end. Bu. (SK., 1893, p. 396), DDpn nsSa 
(using first letters of r^o). ui rioa] <& ws &v6os = n? or V??. 
Bew. (/. c.), Di* 1 "U}> yso ^. The only possible rendering of M in this 
context is, "like chaff a day has passed away"; but this is altogether 
pointless. -oy] <& = ->3V; so& K H ; also Gr., We., GASm., Oort Em -, 
Or., CB., Now., Marti, Dr., Siev., Fag., Roth., Du.. Bu. -njn. Van H 
n-oy. Hal. (using foil, ov) onaj;. or] ffi (g B - N - A -Q HP. 48, 233 om.; 
so schw., Gr., We., Oort Em -, CB., Now., Marti, Dr., Siev., van H., Du.. 
H has it under asterisk. Ht is supported by 0S Y HP. 22, 36, 40, 42, 51, 
62, 68, 86, 87, 91, 95, 97, 114, i47> I 53, *%S> 228 2 3 8 240 N"? onea] 
Explicable only as a strengthened negative, Ges. ^ 162 y; nowhere else in 
the list of fifty-one occurrences of to is a second negative employed with 
it. The accumulation of particles is characteristic of late Heb.. inn 

2 Z " 223 

*1N] (6 dpVTjv, apparently om. f|N; so &. Fag. substitutes ov of the 
preceding clause of iH for n. IN ov] HP. 86, 147, 228 = IN |nn or. 

3. >u>] Kenn. 139, 251 "cy; c/. Eh-r., !?>:; so Fag.. -WN] <jg om. and 
renders a as imv.; so &; but this is scarcely in accord with the position 
of D. iSys] Gr., -i^mn. laotrc] (& Kpipa.. S adds avrov under as 
terisk. pi* Vtfpa] <S Y *al Si/caiocri/i Tjj irpaor. . . . HP. 36, 97, 228 
marg. om.. mjp wpa] <S /cai diroKplve(r6e avrd = nij^- HP. 22, 
51, 62, 86, 95, 147, 185, 240 support 4H. CN] Marti IBN, om. ^; so 
Siev.. 4. nav>] (& SitjpTraa^vr]. HP. 62, 147 Steer iraffn^vri; 86, 95, 185 
SLffTrapfj.fVTj. Aq. 2 ^yKaraXeXei/x^. mcn,p] <$ eKpi^fferai = 
tf-un; so Schw.. Kenn. 30, 89 nsnjp. Gr. n-vnirj. Bacher (ZAW. XI, 
185/0, foil. Abulwalid Merwan ibn Ganah/rw-A. Schw. (Z4W. XI, 
26o/.), n-WT: ! \ 5. Van] Wkl. ylOF. Ill, 232 /.. Sap; c/. Assy, ina 
kabal tamtim. Only here and in v. 6 is n used with D^; elsewhere it is 
D n p|n, e. g. Dt. i 7 Je. 47 7 . iij] (S irdpoiKot = -ni. Siev. ^in. DTTO] 
<S KPTJTWV. Aq. S E H all treat it as a common noun and connect 
it with i/ ma, cut, e. ^. destroyers, destruction, etc.. Ed. Meyer, 
Die Israeliten und ihre Nachbarstdmnte, 221, suggests the possibility of 
this and na being survivals of the name Zakkari borne by allies and 
kinsmen of the Philistines in the twelfth century B.C.; so also Che. EB. 
699 /.. But the total loss of an initial consonant from a form with a 
doubled middle radical is very improbable and without parallel. 
Da^S;] Schw. ^S;?; so We., Preuschen (ZAW. XV, 32), GASm., Now., 
Stk., Kent. But the address is in reality to the Philistines as a people 
rather than to the land. J>-JD] Bew. (/. c.), njvj >s, for will be afflicted. 
PN] & = p-\Ni. TmaNni] (g = D.? ; but, as Schw. has shown, 
i IKD always foil, a local designation, never a personal one; hence M is 
preferable. Siev. om. ). Now. "IIONHV Bew. rvmaNm (?). psc] 
An intensified negative in a circumstantial clause expressing result. 

6. nmrn] Rd. rurn; so Sta. (in SS.), Marti, Now. K , Fag., Roth., Du^ 
Kent. Oort Em - n^ni. Siev. ^nnani. Bach, would derive from Aram. 
nnN and make it = nxai; but this conjecture has no redeeming fea 
tures, n might be retained as referring, with a change of person, to 
the foregoing D p; but the change of text is simpler. a-ri San] Om. 
as a correction of n in v. 7 ; so <8> and Schw., We., Sta., Preuschen (/. c.), 
Dav., GASm., Now., Marti, Siev., van H., Dr., Fag., Stk., Roth., Du., 
Kent. Aq. rb (rxotvLv/jM TTJS w/)at6TTjTos. S. T& irepl^erpov [^] rb 
irapd\tov. Bach, njvn a^n. n^j] (& vow. B requies. Now. nj3. Dr. 
nij; so Fag.. As here written, the form is &ir.; elsewhere mxj. If 
4ft is correct, the form furnishes a significant hint as to the force of i 
in pronunciation (Schw.). An analogous exchange between N and ^ is 
well known in Aram.; cf. e. g. fnn and jnn (Dn. 2 28 ) and aNa for a>3 
in Elephantine Papyri, C, 2 (Sayce and Cowley). The syntax here, with 
j as the first of two cstrs. both defined directly by o^jn is difficult, j 


is not a simple predicate (there being no case in OT. of a plural pred. 
connected with a sg. subj. by the copula), but an ace. after a vb. of be 
coming, rpn here being equivalent to S ,T<n (Schw.). n~o] Om. with 
V as a variant of nu; so Bohme (ZAW. VII, 212), Schw., SS., Gr., 
Dav., Oort Em -, Marti, Siev., Dr. (?), Now. K , Fag., Roth., Du., Kent. 
< Kp-^rtj; so &. Bach. rharn (for a :). Ew. derives 3 from Ar., wkr, 
going over into ;&n, whence fp. = nest ; hence 2 = huts, cots (so 
GASm., Kent). But every step of this process is at fault. To take 
only the last p has no connection with wakana, but comes from pp, 
which in Assy. = coil, curl up (v. Johnston, JAOS. XXIX, 224 ff.). 
The usual derivation of a is from rna dig ; but since vb. is common 
(15 occurrences), it would be strange that this should be the only oc 
currence of the noun. Hi., foil, by Hal., traces it to na = pasture (cf. 
Assy, kirti = grove ), but the pi. of -o is ana (Ps. 37*). 7. San] Rd. 
o>r San, as in v. , with (& ; so We, Preuschen (ZAW. XV, 32), 
Wkl. (AOF. Ill, 2327.), Now., Marti, Dr., van H., Roth., Fag., Du.. 
H supplies on under asterisk. Gr. S-iaJ (?). Oort Em - om.. Schw. 
suggests om. and reading nmni for rp,-n. The absence of the art. points 
to the cstr. with D-n om. by error. M can only be rendered, "and it shall 
be a portion for the remnant, etc.," the subj. being the n of v. 6 , there 
treated as fern., but here as masc.. amSj?] Rd. D*n S> ; so We., Preu 
schen, GASm., Oort Em -, Now., Marti, Dr., Siev., Or., Stk., Roth., 
Kent. Bach. o >l ?jj?. Van H. an vSjj. Now. and Marti tr. * ovi hy 
and un >naa. -i> anya fiSp^x ^naa] (& adds dirk irpoo-uirov vi&v IovSa; 
so ft H but with lovSa under asterisk. <S A has the added phrase, but under 
an obelus; HP. 133, om. all of it. GASm. supposes (8 to represent a 
remnant of a lost line. For anya, Schw. suggests jnpya; Gr. B"y;?a.a(?); 
CB., 3-523. Marti om. pSptrx as a later addition and reads, manru 
ui T.^ or ^IW^ina; so Now. K . Siev. om. N >naa and adds ^n-iy after 
n>. Fag. om. andreadso^nja. oniatf] Qr. = on- air; so the standard 
text in Nu. 2i 29 and perhaps Ez. i6 B3 ; elsewhere \ is offered as Kt. in 
eleven passages (with -i as Qr.) and as Qr. in three passages (w th i as 
Kt.). The frequency of the ace. cog. in Heb. favours a derivation 
from av^ rather than natt>; but an ace. of similar sound may be chosen 
for the sake of assonance where there can be no thought of an ace. cog. ; 
e. g. Ps. 107", n_DK -nnn; Nu. 24 18 , vno> iwi; Is. 2 19 - . jn.Nn yh^; Ez. 


AMMON (2 8 - 11 ). 

In a single str. of six lines, the attitude of Moab and Ammon 
toward Judah in her calamity is recalled and the dire destruction 
of both people is foretold (vv. 8 - 9 ). Later hands have expanded 
the oracle and made it foretell the world-wide dominion of Yah- 
weh (vv. 10 " n ). The entire section belongs to the postexilic age. 

J HAVE heard the reproach of Moab and the revilings of the children of Ammon, 
Wherewith they have cast reproach upon my people and vaunted themselves 

against their border. 

Therefore, as I live it is the oracle of Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel 
Surely, Moab shall become like Sodom and the children of Ammon like Go 

A land overrun by weeds and salt-pits and a desolation for ever. 
The remnant of my people shall prey upon them and the remainder of my na 
tion shall take possession of them. 

The oracle against Moab finds parallels in Am. 2 1 " 3 Is. 15, 16 
Je. 48 Ez. 25 8ff - and that against Ammon in Am. i ir " : " J Jc. 49 1 8 
Ez. 25 1 " 7 ; but they are coupled together as partners in sin only 
here. 8. / have heard} Yahweh speaks. Perhaps the language 
here was suggested by Is. i6 6 (cf. 37 4 ); but there is not the slight 
est ground for supposing the whole oracle to have been borrowed 
from Isaiah and Amos.* The reproach of Moab and the revilings 
of the Ammonites] The taunts meant are probably those resented 
in Ez. 25 3 - 6 - 8 Je. 4 8 26 - 30 . The fall of Jerusalem furnished occa 
sion for all the foes of Judah to exult over her and apparently they 
did not fail to improve the opportunity to the full; cf. Ez. 35" 
Ob. 12 . The conduct of Moab toward Israel had been character 
ised by insolence and arrogance on at least one occasion in the 
early history (2 S. io 4 , cf. Is. 25"). Tradition and history doubt 
less treasured many other recollections of indignities and hostil 
ities endured by Israel at the hands of her neighbours on the east; 
& Ju. 3 12 - 30 ii 4 - 9 3 - 36 is 1 " 3 i S. n, i 4 47 2 S. 8 1 - 2 - 12 10-12, 2 K. 
3 1 ff i3 20 24 2 Am. i 13 - 15 2 1 - 3 2 Ch. 20 1 2 6 8 27* Je. 49 1 ff . But it is 
absurd to attribute the prophet s anger here to the offences re- 

* Contra de W., Ew.. 


corded in Nu. 22-25.* The prophets were too vitally concerned 
with the problems of their own age to be harbouring resentment 
or threatening chastisement upon foreigners for crimes that had 
been outlawed for centuries. Wherewith they have reproached my 
people and vaunted themselves against their border] This spirit of 
revenge for injuries done to Judah is in marked contrast with the 
broad, humanitarian feeling of Amos, whose denunciations of for 
eign nations were based primarily upon their excessive cruelty in 
the violation of great human laws and customs, rather than upon 
the mere fact that they had injured the prophet s own people (cf. 
Am. i 3 - e - 13 2 1 ). The latter half of this line is somewhat ambigu 
ous and has been subjected to various interpretations. A com 
mon view has seen in it a charge that these foes have sought to en 
large their own territory at the expense of Israel and Judahf (cf. 
Am. i 13 Is. i5 4ff> and the Mesa stone). The verb is better taken, 
however, in the sense enlarge the mouth, i. e. boast, taunt (cf. 
Ez. 35" Ob. 12 Is. 37 23 ) at the expense of Judah.f This is the 
meaning called for by the parallelism, by the interpretative gloss 
in v. 10 and by the use of the same idiom elsewhere, viz. Jb. iQ 5 
Ps. 35 26 38 16 55 12 . The fact that elsewhere the idiom is always 
connected with persons is not sufficient reason for doubting the 
suitability of border as an object here, for the number of its oc 
currences is too small to afford a basis for a general rule. Mai. 
i 5 shows that the idiom is susceptible of wider usage. 

9. Therefore, as I live it is the oracle of Yahweh of hosts, God 
of Israel] " Since he could swear by none greater, he sware by him 
self" (Heb. 6 13 ) . The doom of Moab and Ammon is announced in 
the most solemnly impressive terms. Surely, Moab shall become 
like Sodom and the Ammonites like Gomorrah] A simile suggesting 
at the same time the depth of their depravity and a sudden, awful 
and total destruction through the outpouring of Yahweh s wrath. 
The fate of these cities is constantly referred to in both OT. and 
NT. as furnishing a fearful example, e. g. Dt. 2Q 23 Is. i 9 13 19 Je. 23" 
4 9 18 so 40 Lam. 4 6 Am. 4 n Mt. io 15 Lk. io 12 Rom. 9 29 2 Pet. 2 6 . 
A land abounding in weeds] These two Hebrew words are obscure 

* Contra van H.. t So Hi., Mau., Or., Dav., Now., Dr.. 

J So Schw., GASm., Marti. Contra We.. 

2* 227 

in meaning (v. f). The first one is found nowhere else in He 
brew, nor is any light thrown upon it by the Vrss. or the cognate 
languages. The second is found in Pr. 24 31 Jb. 3o 7 ; from the first 
reference it is clear that weeds in general or of some special vari 
ety are meant, while the second requires some kind of a shrub or 
bush or a species of weed tall and thick enough to furnish conceal 
ment for a man. With that for a starting-point, we can conjecture 
the meaning of the first word as a place overgrown or something 
of the kind. And sail-pits] This picture of desolation is suggested 
by the region about the Dead Sea, where the ground is covered 
with incrustations of salt; cf. Ez. 47". Salt is frequently employed 
in OT. as a symbol of sterility and ruin (Dt. 29* Je. 17 Jb. 39 Ps. 
io7 34 ). The Hebrew word is in the singular number here and, 
unless used collectively, would mean that the entire land is to be 
come a salt-pit. The reference may be either to pits into which the 
waters of the Dead Sea are admitted in order that they may evap 
orate, leaving their deposit of salt, or to salt-mines such as are 
found along the south-western shore of the Sea, where the Jebel 
Usdum, the base of which is a ridge of rock-salt, c. 200 feet in 
height, extends for five miles. Cf. Lynch s description of the 
north-western shore. "The scene was one of unmixed desolation. 
. . . Except the cane-brakes, clustering along the marshy stream 
which disfigured, while it sustained them, there was no vegetation 
whatever; barren mountains, fragments of rock, blackened by sul 
phureous deposit, and an unnatural sea, with low, dead trees upon 
its margin, all within the scope of our vision bore a sad and sombre 
aspect. We had never before beheld such desolate hills, such 
calcined barrenness."* And a desolation for ever} This adds the 
finishing touch the ruin is for all time. The remnant of my peo 
ple shall spoil them and the remainder of my nation shall take pos 
session of them} This step is not conceived of as following the de 
structive scene just portrayed, but rather as simultaneous with 
and supplementary to it. The reference now is to the peoples 
themselves rather than their land. Judah, so long a sufferer at 
their hands, will in the great day to come strip them of all they pos- 

* Narrative of the United States Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea 
(1849), 275. 


sess and reduce them to servitude; cf. Is. i4 2 6i 5 .* This seems a 
more natural interpretation than that which makes the suffix refer 
to the lands in question and explains the apparent inconsistency 
of plundering and possessing a wasted wilderness as due to the 
idealistic character of the prophetic utterance.f 

10. This will be their lot in return for their arrogance, because 
they cast reproach and vaunted themselves against the people of 
Yahweh of hosts] This is a supplementary gloss.J It is an appli 
cation of the lex talionis on a large scale; cf. Ob. 15 f -. The height 
of the offence of these nations is that they have dared to set them 
selves against Israel s God; cf. Je. 4 8 26 - 42 i S. iy 26 - 36 - 45 . The 
pride of Moab was evidently a prominent national characteristic; 
cf. Is. i6 6 Je. 48 29 . 11. Yahweh will be terrible against them] For 
a similar conception of Yahweh s awe-inspiring might, cf. Ps. 
66 5 89 7 96 4 Mai. i 14 . In its present position, the suffix must refer 
to the two nations denounced in vv. 8> 9 . Some interpreters con 
sider the verse out of its place, but it is better handled as a later 
addition to this context.** The preposition may be rendered 
either "over them," i. e. in judgment, or "against them," i. e. in 
attack. < s reading, "Yahweh will appear over them," is at 
tractive, but not sufficiently so to displace HI. For he will make 
lean all the gods of the earth] Here the poor connection with the 
oracle on Moab and Ammon is revealed. The terror exercised 
over those two nations hardly finds a satisfactory origin in the fact 
that Yahweh destroys the gods of other peoples. The language 
used does not necessarily imply the writer s belief in the reality of 
the heathen gods; this may easily have been his highly figurative 
way of describing the coming downfall of idolatry the world over. 
Similarly realistic terms are used in the denunciation of idols by 
writers who certainly looked upon them as mere nonentities, e. g. 
Is. iQ 1 46* 2 Ps. i35 5 ; cf. Ez. 3o 13 . The verb used is in itself unam- 

* So Hi., Marti, Dr.. t E. g. Dav., van H.. 

t Its late origin is defended by all those cited as assigning vv. 8 - 9 to a late date. But in 
favour of the separation of this as a gloss upon the foregoing oracle may be cited: Marti, Siev., 
van H., Fag., Stk.. 

So Hal. who places it after 2, while Buhl (ZAW. V, 182) places it with 3 . 

** So Sta. GVI -, 644, Now., GASm., Marti, Dr., Siev., van H.; others treat vv. 8 - 11 as a unit 
all of which is equally late, so e. g. Oort (Godgel. Bijd. 186), Schw., We., Bu. (SK. 1893, pp. 
394 ft.), Fag., Stk., Du., Kent. 

2 10 229 

biguous (cf. Is. io 16 17 4 Mi. 6 10 Ez. 24 20 ) ; but its appropriateness as 
applied to gods is doubtful. If the text is correct, the point of the 
figure lies either in the thought that by destroying the nations Yah- 
weh will enfeeble their gods, whose existence is bound up with that 
of the nations worshipping them;* or in the fact that in earlier 
times, sacrificial offerings were looked upon as the " food of the 
gods" (cf. Ez. 44 7 ); hence, by causing the offerings to cease, Yah- 
weh will deprive the gods of their means of support. And there 
shall bow down to him, each from his place, all the shores of the 
nations] This vision of the world-wide acceptance of Yahweh as 
God of the nations far transcends the reach of faith in Zephaniah s 
time and indelibly stamps the verse as later; cf. Mi. 4 1 " 4 Mai. i 11 
Zc. 14. This representation of the heathen as worshipping Yah 
weh is in sharp contrast to the announcement of their destruction 
which follows immediately in vv. 12ff> . It is unnecessary to sup 
pose that the writer conceives of the various peoples as undertak 
ing pilgrimages to Jerusalem ;f the preposition from means only 
from the stand-point of, i. e. in or at his own place; cf. Ps. 68 29 4 
Each applies not to individuals, but to the various nations or 
lands constituting the inhabited world. For the idea of the lands 
as worshipping Yahweh, cf. Ps. 66 4 . Place in itself might mean 
sanctuary like the Ar. maqdm;** but, the reference being to 
each nation, it is hardly likely that the writer would think of them 
all as having concentrated their worship at one sanctuary in each 
land, like the Jews. 

This oracle offers a distinct change in the metre from the qina of the 
previous section. The movement is clearly hexameter and is fairly 
smooth and regular. It is adhered to even in some material (v. ") later 
subjoined to the original poem. 

That w. 10 - n form no part of the original oracle is shown as regards 
v. I0 by the fact that it merely repeats what has already been better said 
in v. 8 and that it descends to plain prose. V. n reveals its alien origin in 
the character of its contents and in the fact that it breaks away from 
the consideration of Moab and Ammon into a prediction of universal 

* So e. g. Hi.. Ke., Now.. t Contra Rosenm., de W., Ke., Kl., We.. 

J So Hi., Mau., Hd., Schw., Or., Dav., Dr.. Contra Ew., Hi., Dav., van H.. 
** So GASm.. 


The oracle against Moab and Aramon even cannot be assigned to 
Zephaniah, but must be held to have come from a later day; so Oort, 
Codgeleerde Bijdragen, 1865, pp. 812 /.; Schw.; We.; Bu. SK. LXVI, 
393 /; Cor -5 Sm -> 2 44; Now.; GASm.; Baud., Einl.\ Marti; CB. , 
Siev.; Beer; Fag.; Stk.; Du.; Kent. The considerations which have 
brought so many interpreters to this view may be summarised, (i) The 
marked difference in rhythm from the context on both sides indicates 
diversity of authorship. (2) The oracle against Philistia in vv. 4 - 7 is 
more naturally followed by one against Egypt (v. 12 ), the immediate 
neighbour of Philistia, than by one against Moab and Ammon on the 
eastern border of Judah. Moreover, if Zephaniah had in mind a 
devastation to be wrought by the Scythians, as seems probable, it is 
hardly likely that he would switch the line of march of their invading 
host suddenly away from the sea-coast to the opposite side of the Jordan. 
As a matter of fact, the Scythians seem to have confined their operations 
in Palestine to the coast. (3) The conduct of Moab and Ammon here 
denounced was that in which they indulged when emboldened by the 
disasters that befell Judah at the time of the Babylonian captivity; cf. 
Ob. w. 1(M4 . No such feeling as this is manifested by the prophets 
against Moab and Ammon in any earlier period. (4) The expressions, 
remnant of my people and remainder of my nation are used in such 
a way as to presuppose the exile as an existing fact at the time when 
this oracle was written. 

8. noin] <& pi.; so Schw.; but iH is preferable even though the co 
ordinate noun here is pi.; for out of a total of more than seventy oc 
currences of n, the pi. is used only three times in all, twice in the abs. 
and once in cstr.. For other cases of sg. and pi. conjoined, v. Is. 5i 7 Je. 
2 19 Pr. 26 23 . pop "OS] So always; never simply > ; while it is always 
3Nio, never D ^:a (so also mx). On the other hand, either SNT^ or 
ja ,onx or s ^a. Similar peculiarities appear in Ar. (We.). iSn.p] 
CB. wy^. oSiaj] <& & H = Suj; so Schw., Now., Marti (?), Hal., 
Fag.. But the change is unnecessary since the collective antecedent ^DJ? 
furnishes sufficient basis fora pi. sf.. 9. ptyrr] (8 Kal A&/J.O.O-KOS, wholly 
uncalled for in this context. H siccitas, which affords no light. & and 
was destroyed, perhaps conjectured from the context. Gr. BMop or 
owpp; so Now.. Marti Bh;n (Is. i4 23 ); so Roth.. Van H. Btepo, 
place of weeds, a denominative from CMDp. s, a OTT., is usually ren 
dered possession, place of possession, which is traced to PPD (Gn. 
15*); but the latter word is as doubtful as this (cf. <& Mcure/c). Reliable 
witness to the meaning of D is entirely lacking; we can but conjecture. 
Snn] <5 tK\e\i/j,fjLtvri = nS-\n (Schw.). H spinarum. ^raSn. n 
was probably some rank kind of weed, growing profusely on wild and 
neglected ground. The Syr. equivalent (hurld) means a kind of horse- 
fodder, some species of vetches. mom] (& ws difj-uvid; clearly a guess; 

2 8 - 1 231 

cf. B et acerui. Ehr. n-npi; so Fag.. Another HIT., but evidently 
from i/ n-u, dig ; whether it denotes natural or artificial caves and pits, 
or may be used of both kinds is uncertain. nVc] < fiXwi/os, probably an 
inner-Greek error for d\6s (so Aq. 2 0) under the influence of 0i/xumc. 
Now. ri^c, salt- wort or mallow (Jb. 3O 4 ); so Marti, Roth. (?); this 
goes well as a parallel to weeds or vetches, but is wholly out of place 
with n-oD, if pit or cave be the true sense of the latter. On basis of <&, 
Hal. reads the whole phrase, "Damascus shall be a ptfDD of thorns and 
Edom a pit of salt, etc.." Schw. questions D DI Snn as a possible cor 
ruption of nn^Di nrvj; c/. Je. i; 6 . aitai] Gr. DW3<(?). ^u] Rd. "/u, 
with all the Vrss., 25 mss. of Kenn. and de R., and practically all inter 
preters. 10. To om. iSnjpi] and nuns] solely mtr. cs. (so Now. K ; cf. 
Siev.), when there is no evidence that this verse was ever in metrical 
form is an arbitrary method of procedure. It is noteworthy that s oc 
curs in Zephaniah only here and in v. 9 . D;] C&B-N-A.Q A & H and HP. 
48, 153, 233 om.. nisox] &> adds, against Israel, an explanatory gloss. 

11. N-nj] < B tiri(f>avT?iffTa.i.\ so &. ( s * tiri(f>av/}s tffrai. Hence Buhl 
(ZAW. V, 182), riN-y. $ horribilis (similarly ). nn o] Rd. ^ 
no;, with Schw. (or nn); so Dr., Roth. (?). (& Kal ^oXe^ei5<rct; so 
^. H el disperdet. B e^ attenuabit. Gr. rnr; so Fag.. CB. nn. 
Now. nn^r ( ?). Marti, Tpn or nip\ An impf. is better than a prophetic 
pf. here; and the Pi el is necessary since the Niph. and the Ar. equiv 
alent seem to point to the Qal as an intransitive. We. says, " ~\ is 
impossible and nn> scarcely right." But all attempts to substitute 
another vb. thus far have involved too radical a departure from 4H. 

^N] (& rovs Oeobs ruv t9vui>; so g H . om. r&v td . & = oSc; so 
Gr.. jc] For the sense from the stand-point of, in,at, c/.n^p ,S-iDp ,rpi?, 
o?.i?3 /Jsp, etc.. ^x] Originally coasts, islands ; but later designating 
countries as a whole (e. g. Is. 41 - 6 ), pars pro toto. D>un] & = the seas, 
but probably an inner Syr. error of f^^^ for 


In another single str. of six lines, Zephaniah marks the southern 
limit of the Scythian invasion; then, returning to the opposite ex 
treme of the world-empire of his day, announces the downfall of 
Assyria and describes in detail the desolation of Nineveh. 

, too, O Ethiopians, are the slain of my sword. 

And he will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria; 
And will make Nineveh a desolation, a drought like the desert. 
And herds will lie down in the midst of her, every beast of the field. 
Both pelican and porcupine will lodge in her capitals. 
The owl will hoot in the window, the raven on the threshold. 


This str., now standing alone, perhaps once formed the close 
of the poem beginning in 2 7 . 12. You, too, O Ethiopians] The 
Ethiopians, dwelling south of the first cataract of the Nile are 
threatened with punishment, in all probability because the fact 
that they had ruled Egypt from about 720 to 654 B.C. was still 
fresh in Zephaniah s mind. A native Egyptian dynasty had se 
cured possession of the throne once more only about twenty-five 
years before the time of Zephaniah. As a distant and powerful 
people in the extreme south (3 10 Is. n 11 iS 1 f - Ez. 38 5 ), the Ethi 
opians are contrasted with the Assyrians in the far north. It may 
be, of course, that Zephaniah sarcastically addresses the Egyp 
tians themselves by this name, because of their long subjection to 
Ethiopia. Are the slain of my sword] Cf. Ju. f Is. 27* 34 5 66 16 
Je. 2S 33 Ez. 2i 9 - 13ff -. Zephaniah probably thought of the Scyth 
ians as destined to bring destruction upon those southern peoples. 
The representation of the Scythians as the sword of Yahweh (cf. 
Is. io 5 ) recalls the later designation of Attila the Hun as "the 
scourge of God." The prophet s expectation failed of fulfilment, 
for the Scythians were turned back at the border of Egypt. Egypt 
suffered no serious setback till Necho was defeated at Carche- 
mish in 605 B.C. by Nebuchadrezzar. Her complete overthrow 
was not accomplished until the reign of Cambyses, the Persian, 
in 525 B.C., about a century after the time of Zephaniah. The 
prophet is almost certainly announcing a future calamity rather 
than recording Egypt s actual condition when he spoke, and his 
oracle is probably incomplete; v. i.. 13. And he will stretch out 
his hand against the north and destroy Assyria] Cf. Is. 5^ g 12 - 17> 21 
io 4 i4 26 -. As the greatest political power of the time, Assyria is 
fittingly reserved to the last, as a climax to the series of judgments. 
Her sins were too well known to Zephaniah s audience for them 
to need recapitulation here. And will make Nineveh a desolation, 
a drought like the desert] From the days of Sennacherib on down to 
Zephaniah s time Nineveh had been the capital of the Assyrian 
empire and the queen city of the world. Her reputation was world 
wide and grew with the passing years; cf. Jon. i 2 f f 4". To pre 
dict her speedy downfall was an exercise of undaunted faith. The 
devastation with which Zephaniah threatened her was even more 

terrible than that announced as impending over the Philistine 
cities, for Nineveh was to be swallowed up wholly by the desert. 
Such a condition as is here described would involve the drying up 
of the Tigris, which ran along the south-west side of the city, and 
also of the Khusur which skirted the north-west side. An exten 
sive system of canals conveyed a plentiful supply of water within 
the walls. Gardens and orchards accordingly flourished. But 
prophecy knew no limits to the power of Yahweh. 

14. And herds will He down in the midst of her] On the face of 
things, it seems a bit incongruous for herds to be feeding in a region 
dry as the desert ; but the foregoing figure pictured the complete 
destruction of the city, while this adds to that picture the detail 
of the place s total desertion by man (cf. 2 7 ). Every beast of the 
field] i. e. every kind of animal. For the text, v. i.. M literally 
says, "every beast of a nation." A common interpretation of 
this is as an abbreviated form of every beast of every kind ;* but 
there is no clear case of such an abbreviation, nor is there any evi 
dence that nation may mean kind or sort. Others interpret 
it of beasts that form groups, i. e. gregarious animals ;f still others, 
"all beasts in crowds" ;J and Davidson, "Nineveh shall be a com 
mon pasture for every tribe of people." But these all force the 
Hebrew beyond the straining-point. Hence, We. emends to "a 
motley medley of mixed people," which does not satisfy the con 
text at all, while others would change to "every beast of the 
swamp," forgetting apparently the violent conflict thus occa 
sioned with the preceding statement regarding the drought of 
the region. Both pelican and porcupine will lodge in her capitals] 
The carved heads of Nineveh s many columns will, for the most 
part, be lying broken upon the ground and defiled by being made 
to serve as perches and nests for unclean birds and vermin. The 
exact meaning of the two words rendered pelican and porcu 
pine is in doubt. The first is rendered chameleon by <$ and 
cormorant by Tf. In Lv. n 18 Dt. 14", it is classed among the 
unclean birds; in Ps. 102 6 , it is parallel to owl and is made an in 
habitant of the wilderness; in Is. 34", it is included among birds 

* So e. g. Hi., t So e. g. Roscnm, de W.. 

J Mau., Ew., Ke., RVm.. 5 Hal., van H., Dr. (?). 


and is represented as frequenting desolate regions. It is evidently, 
therefore, some kind of wild bird found in solitary wastes. The 
only objection to pelican is that as a consumer of fish, it would 
scarcely be found in a region dry as the desert ; perhaps, poetic 
license is equal to this. The porcupine is, in Is. i4 23 , associated 
with marshy ground and, in 34", with desolate regions as here. 
We do not look for porcupines in marshes; nor are they addicted 
exclusively to desolate places; nor should we expect them to be 
associated with birds as in Is. 34" and here. But, on the other 
hand, the meaning, porcupine or hedgehog is assured for this 
word in Syr., Ar. and Eth.. The alternative rendering bittern/ 
which finds many followers, has no support in the Vrss. nor 
in the cognate tongues. The owl will hoot in the window, the 
raven on the threshold] Owls and ravens are fit occupants of 
desolation; cf. Is. 34" Ps. i02 6 . In the picture of the raven at 
the door, Zephaniah anticipated Poe s Raven, 4$ as usually 
rendered is, "their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation (or 
drought) shall be in the thresholds." But the second half of the 
sentence presents a strange collocation of circumstances; and the 
first half introduces a pronoun, necessary to the sense, which is 
not present in M- The translation here adopted has the support 
of < For cedar-work has been laid bare] This fragment, which 
has no relation to the immediate context, is probably either due 
to corrupt dittog. from the following line,* or is a misplaced 
gloss on famish in 2 n .f 15. This is the exultant city that dwelt 
in security] In the regular elegiac rhythm, a stanza of triumph 
over Nineveh now fallen was here appended to the original oracle 
by some pious reader. The phraseology of this verse is of com 
mon occurrence; v. Is. 22 2 23 7 32 13 4y 8 - 10 . Saying in her heart, 
11 1 am and there is none, else"] Nineveh had long dwelt supreme. 
Not till within the quarter-century preceding Zephaniah s ap 
pearance had Assyria received any serious check in her career of 
world-conquest. Judah itself had been vassal for a half-century. 
The book of Nahum reflects the relief and satisfaction of the Jews 
when the tyrant s fall became inevitable. How has she become a 

* So Buhl (ZAW. V, 182), Schw. (?), Now. (?), Siev., Fag., Roth., Du., Kent (?). 
t So Marti. 

2 12 235 

ruin, a lair for the wild beast] Cf. Je. 50 23 5 1 41 . Her destruction was 
complete. Xenophon, passing the site in B.C. 401, was able to 
learn only that a great city had once occupied the spot and had 
been destroyed because Zeus had deprived its inhabitants of their 
wits.* Every one who passes by her hisses and shakes his fist} 
Indicative of openly expressed scorn and fearless rage. The 
gesture is not elsewhere mentioned; cf. i K. 9* Je. 19* 49" 50" 
Ez. 27 36 Jb. 27 23 La. 2 15 Ps. 22 7 . 

The qina-rhyihm is resumed in this str., and this fact lends force to the 
view that in reality this section is only a continuation of 4, which is 
composed in the same measure. Moreover, the course of the Scythian 
invasion led through Philistia on to Egypt and the writer would natu 
rally follow that course in his description of the destruction wrought by 
them. It is then, at least, not improbable that 2 1 - 7 was once continued by 
2 12 *; so Now., Marti, Siev., Fag., Stk., Du., Kent. 

The foregoing considerations also support the view that this section 
is from the hand of Zephaniah himself; so Schw., Now., GASm., Marti, 
Dr., Siev., Fag., Stk., Du., Kent. It evidently anticipates the destruc 
tion of Nineveh and was, consequently, written prior to that event. The 
historical situation thus indicated seems to accord with the opinion that 
Zephaniah wrote this section. The argument of Bu. (SK. 1893, pp. 
394/.; so also Theiner, and Eich., Einl. 4 , IV, 417) for the later origin of 
this oracle is by no means conclusive. His first objection to the early 
date is that Assy, is here treated without any reference to her relation to 
Israel and thus the oracle lacks any inner connection with the situation 
and differs widely from Is. 10. But surely the prophets were not mere 
copyists or venders of second-hand goods. Nor was it essential that 
they should always furnish an invoice of the injuries inflicted upon 
Israel by a foe; cf. Am. 2 1 - 3 . Knowledge of these on the part of the audi 
ence might sometimes be taken for granted. The second consideration, 
viz. that the phraseology is late, concerns chiefly v. ", the late origin of 
which must be granted; v. i.. 

The fact that Nineveh still stands furnishes a terminus ad quern not 
only for this oracle, but also for the work of Zephaniah as a whole. The 
actual fall of Nineveh at the hands of the Medes occurred in 607-606 
B.C.. At what particular stage of the long struggle that preceded her 
overthrow Zephaniah pronounced this sentence upon her, we cannot tell 
with certainty. But if, as seems probable, these verses constitute a part 
of the prophecy beginning in 2 1 , we shall have to place it in connection 
with the movements of the Scythians, about 627-626 B.C.. 

* Anabasis, bk. Ill, ch. IV, xo-ia. 


The oracle as found in H is apparently not in its original form* It is 
more than likely that v. n is only the beginning of what was once a more 
or less extended judgment upon Egypt; so Schw., Now., Marti, Siev., 
van H., Roth.. It is scarcely probable that Zephaniah would devote rel 
atively so much more space to the Philistines than to the Egyptians, 
when the latter people were second only to the Assyrians in influence 
and power among the nations of western Asia. It may be that the 
course of the Scythians in accepting ransom and tribute and possibly 
repulse from Egypt and in returning from her border without doing her 
any serious injury ran so diametrically counter to the prophet s expecta 
tions that the remainder of the original prophecy was in glaring contra 
diction to the facts and was therefore dropped. In compensation for 
this loss, an editor has added v. 15 . Its later origin is revealed by its al 
most hackneyed phraseology and by the fact that it looks upon the de 
struction of Nineveh as a, fait accompli; so Now., Marti, Siev., Beer, Fag., 
Roth., Du.. 

12. DHN-DJ] Gr. joins with v. ". a^ens] Gr. 33. Siev. adds -iSjon. 
>3in] om. sf.; so 3 mss. of Kenn. and 2 of de R.. Schw. > 3->n; so 
GASm., Du.. We. mn; so Oort Em -, Now., Roth., Kent. non] Om. 
with one ms. of Kenn.; so Marti, Now. K , Siev., Fag., Stk.. The Vrss. 
do not definitely recognise its presence, though they all take the sentence 
as declarative rather than vocative. The usage as in M is without close 
analogy in OT., since when the pronoun is used as here to strengthen a 
pronominal subj. it always follows that subj. immediately; e. g. 2 S. y 24 
Is. 37 16 Ps. 44 B . The same usage is common in Syr. (No. Syr. Gram 
mar, 221) and in Bibl. Aramaic (Ezr. 5 11 ). The position given n here 
is that customary with nominal subjects; e. g. Gn. 34 21 42 u Mai. i lj . 
13. w BM] Rd. IT rny.; so We., van H.. (gNe.b.A.Q.r. ^ an( j jjP. 
23, 26, 40, 42, 49, 62, 68, 86, 87, 91, 97, 106, 147, 153, 198, 228, 233, 
310 = ^ nt3Ni; so 3, Marti, Siev., Fag., Stk.. The foregoing sources 
for the most part retain ist pers. all through verse. Ew. en. M calls 
for the rendering, "and may he stretch forth"; but this gives a dif 
ficult connection with v. I4 . As the text stands, we should expect the 
pf. with waw consec. in v. I3 as in v. u , but the received text is hard to 
account for on the supposition that that was the original text. Another 
possibility would be to treat them as impf. with waw consec. continuing a 
prophetic pf . in the portion of the text now missing (so Ew.) ; but that is 
rendered difficult by ix:ni in v. u . The simplest procedure is to point 
the forms as impf. with simple waw; cf. Ges. * 109k . It is unnecessary 
to attempt to secure adherence to the same person throughout this 
oracle, for the probability of a hiatus after v. I2 allows room for the in 
troduction of a natural change of person in the material now lost. 
-mn3] H = B?. 14. O -nj;] We. D^m;, Arabs. Stk. om.. S3] (g 5 
V = Ssi. MJ] Om. as corrupt dittog. of the foil. DJ and insert nfr 

2 12 - 237 

with <S QT and de R. 20; so Now.. Others prefer n*?7 to nc*; so Gr., 
Marti, Siev., Roth., Stk., Kent. <& om. j and adds T^S 7775; so 21, 
with N-O = field. Oort Em - om. j and changes preceding word to 
abs. DM. Bach. DJN, swamp. Hal. N-O, valley ; so van H., but 
with the meaning swamp ; cf. Dr.. The use of j in M is abnormal. 
The phrase MJ So mSs So (2 Ch. 32 15 ; c/. Ez. i; 23 44 30 ) is no real analogy 
for the proposed correction MJ So n So, where j = sort or kind ; 
for in 2 Ch. 32 15 j retains its original sense, nation or people and 
though it is perfectly natural to speak of the gods of the nations, it is 
not so apparent why the animals should be conceived of as classified 
along national lines. We. s proposal to resolve the problem by giving 

rrn the sense of group or family, as perhaps in 2 S. 23 n - ls Ps. 

68" 74 1 (cf. Ar. -^) is untenable, since the resulting sense does not 

accord with the preceding r y vmi; it also calls for j in the pi.. nnnoM] 
& in its houses. (& tv rot? <j>a.Tt>u/j.a(Tii>. pSro "nie" Sip] Rd. 2 " DO; 
so We., Now., GASm., Marti, Dr., Siev., Fag., Roth., Du., Kent, <& Kal 
Bijpla <t>uv/i<rci iv rots Siopfy/jLaffit CLVTTJS. JH vox cantantis in fenestra. 
Kenn. 112 (?), 245, TIVJ; 4, mi3>\ Schw. suggests that nnw^ represents 
the name of a bird, e. g. -iir.} or iic r ; the latter is adopted by Now., Hal., 
Dr. (?), being joined to the preceding word by i. Bach, a 1,7.1 r p. 
1D3 3in] Rd. OTJ;, with (& icbpaKes tv rots irvK&ffiv afa-Tjs; so Ew., Schw., 
Gr., We., Bach., GASm., Oort Em -, Now., Marti, Hal., Dr., Siev., Fag., 
Roth., Du., Kent. C5 N * HP. 228 om.. H corvus. Aq. 2 = an_n. 
niy nriN >D] <J5 5i6ri /c^5/>os r6 dvcio-TijjLta (<S Q *, (ivrtiXXaY/ia) aur^y. 
B quoniam attenuabo robor ejus (= nj^). because its root is laid 
bare, perhaps an inner Syr. error of oij^i, for oiiPj^ (Seb.). Bach. 
n^lL n ]^. 3 <jfor one has laid bare shame. Oort Em - substitutes IIDNI 
for the whole clause. Ew. treats DTIN as vb. in 3d pers. Hiph. |/ 
nn; so Hi., We. (?). The &ir. nn might be pointed nnsi. If M is 
correct, m^ is best taken with indefinite subj. as equivalent to the 
passive. 16. ( connects this verse with ch. 3. DNT] H om.. Gr. 
riKtn; so Roth.. ntiSpn] & fortified; similarly 21. --DflN] So Is. 478- 10 . 
Best treated as analogous to ^n and inSu (cf. GesJ 90land ), with 
so-called paragogic 11 ; for N elsewhere takes no sf., nor does it have 
the meaning besides, which the addition of the sf. requires. nic] (ft 
von-/). pir"] & and Kenn. 145 = p-*-" 1 Dir\ Bab. Cod. cc" originally, 
but corrected to ,vc"; so de R. 1092. n>] (g = v;\ adds at end 
of verse, IDJ. 



An incomplete prophecy of which only two full strs. and part 
of a third remain. Str. I charges Jerusalem with disobedience 
and faithlessness to Yahweh (vv. * 2 ). Str. II arraigns the offi 
cials responsible for the political, judicial and religious welfare 
of the city (vv. 3 - 4 ). Str. Ill sets in contrast with the foregoing 
the justice and faithfulness of Yahweh (v. 5 ). To this fragment 
are loosely attached two other fragments (vv. 6 - 7 ), having no inti 
mate connection with that which precedes them. 

A LAS, O defiant and defiled one, the oppressing city! 

She has listened to no voice, she has accepted no correction. 

In Yahweh she has not trusted; to her God she has not drawn near. 
J-JER princes within her are roaring lions. 

Her judges are evening wolves; they have left nothing till the morning. 

Her prophets are reckless, men of treachery. 

Her priests have profaned the holy; they have done violence to instruction. 
VAHWEH is righteous within her; he will not do wrong. 

Morning by morning he establishes his justice; light fails not. 

Str. I contains three lines addressed to Jerusalem and charging 
her with rebellion against Yahweh. 1. Alas, O defiant and defiled 
one, the oppressing city!} That Jerusalem is the one thus character 
ised is shown by v. 2 . The grounds for the charge are given in 
w. 2 " 4 ; cf. Is. i 21 . The city s attitude toward Yahweh is here in 
dicated, together with her standing in his sight and her attitude 
toward the weak. 2. She has listened to no voice; she has accepted 
no correction] This charge is repeated almost verbatim in Je. y 28 . 
Jerusalem has turned a deaf ear to the voice of God as it has 
spoken through the prophets. This is a frequent accusation; cf. 
Je. 7 23 f - ii 4 - 7 f - 22 21 Zc. 7 8 - 12 . The correction referred to is the 
chastening afflictions sent upon the city of Yahweh, which failed 
to turn the stubborn and rebellious people from the errors of their 
ways. Cf. Am. 4 6 " 11 . In Yahweh she has not trusted; to her God 
she has not drawn near] The implication is that Jerusalem has 
had recourse to everything and everybody but Yahweh. Horses 
and chariots, foreign powers and foreign gods have been her re- 

3 1 " 4 239 

liance rather than Yahweh, who alone can help her. Unwavering 
faith in Yahweh was always demanded of Israel by the prophets; 
cf. i K. i8 21 Is. y 9 Ho. 4 12 5 7 Jos. 2 4 15 . This lack of faith was the 
inevitable result of Jerusalem s refusal to hearken to the instruc 
tion of the prophets, her religious teachers. 

Str. II characterises the four leading classes in Jerusalem s 
civic and religious life and furnishes specific illustrations of the 
general proposition laid down in Str. I. 3. Her princes within 
her are roaring lions] Those who should shepherd the people are 
themselves devouring them; cf. i 8ff - Mi. 2 2 Zc. n 4 - 5 Pr. 28 15 . 
Her judges are evening wolves] (& has wolves of Arabia ; others 
suggest, wolves of the Arabah (cf. Je. 5 26 ) ; but HI is better, since 
evening is brought into contrast with morning of the following 
phrase; cf. Hb. i 8 . Wolves are in the habit of prowling by night 
in search of prey. Judges are set for the defence of the rights of 
the weak; but with wolfish greed, these seek their substance; cf. 
Mi. 3 11 Is. i 23 Ez. 22 27 . They have left nothing till the morning] A 
characteristic of the rapacity of wolves which fittingly illustrates 
the temper of these dishonest officials. This translation is adopted 
from (g and B, but is without other support, save that it suits the 
context well. The meaning of the verb elsewhere is gnaw or 
crunch bones ; but the negative here makes that meaning alto 
gether inappropriate. The phrase may be descriptive of either 
the wolves or the judges; but in the present uncertainty as to its 
meaning, it is impossible to decide between them. The same un 
certainty renders it unwise to omit the phrase as a gloss as some 
have done.* 4. Her prophets are reckless, men of treachery] This 
is the first and only accusation brought against the prophets by 
Zephaniah. The epithets used imply a wanton disregard of Yah 
weh and his moral requirements. The prophets of past genera 
tions inculcated faith and loyalty; these are faithless men; cf. 
Mi. 2" 3 5ff< ". The prophets of Israel s higher life always found 
themselves in conflict with another class of prophets whose vision 
was immeasurably inferior; v. note on Mi. 3 5 . Her priests have 
profaned that which is holy] One of the priestly functions, accord 
ing to Lv. io 10 , was "to make a distinction between the holy and 

* So e. g. We., Marti, Fag.. 


the common and between the unclean and the clean." There is 
no reason to suppose that this function was not one of the earliest 
assumed by or assigned to the priests. Zephaniah probably re 
fers here to ritualistic irregularities which reflected a criminal care 
lessness of the requirements of Yahweh on the part of the priests. 
They have done violence to instruction] An important priestly 
function was that of delivering the judgment of Yahweh in cases 
of doubt and dispute; cf. Dt. iy 8 12 2i 5 . This was called torah, i. e. 
teaching or oracle, and constituted a decision by the court of 
last resort. The priests evidently sold the decision to the highest 
bidder and so brought the priesthood of Yahweh into disgrace in 
the eyes of all right-minded men. They prostituted their highest 
and most sacred powers to the accomplishment of selfish and base 
ends. The sensuousness and materialism of the priesthood al 
ways constituted a most serious obstacle in the path of the true 
prophets; cf. Ho. 4 6 9 5* 6 9 Am. 7 loff - Mi. 3" Is. 28 . Jeremiah s 
estimate of the priesthood accords with that of Zephaniah; cf. 
Je. 2 8 s 31 6 13 i 4 18 . 

Str. Ill passes over to a consideration of the character of Yah 
weh as it is manifested not only in his dealings with his people, 
but even in the regularity of the course of nature. 5. Yahweh is 
righteous within her] The content of the term righteous here is 
at least partly indicated in the immediately following sentences. 
He is upright and reliable; there is no swerving in his course of 
action. The use of this word as applied to Yahweh is not neces 
sarily an evidence of the late origin of this passage. It is true that 
the thought of Yahweh as righteous comes into prominence first 
in Is. 40 ff. (e. g. 4i 10 42 21 45 19 - 21 ). But it is quite improbable that 
the idea burst forth suddenly into full bloom; there naturally 
would be preliminary stages of development. Yahweh s demand 
for righteousness on the part of his people, which is so strongly 
insisted upon by Amos, presupposes righteousness in Yahweh him 
self. He is indeed described as righteous already in a J passage, 
viz. Ex. Q 27 , and the same epithet is employed with reference to 
him in Dt. 32* Je. I2 1 , the first of which passages is probably from 
about the same time as Zephaniah. He will not do wrong] This 
is the negative side of the preceding positive affirmation. Un- 

3 6 - 241 

righteousness or injustice on Yahweh s part is unthinkable. 
Morning by morning he establishes his justice; light fails not] This 
is a concrete illustration taken from the invariable order of nature, 
which was recognised by the prophets as the order of God, of the 
absolute and unwavering righteousness of Yahweh. Just as he 
acts with unfailing regularity in the order of the physical universe 
so likewise does he in the moral order; cf. Ho. 6 5 . For morning as 
the time of dispensing justice, cf. Je. 2i 12 . 4H, as rendered in 
RV., reads, "every morning (or, morning by morning) doth he 
bring his justice to light; he faileth not." This has been variously 
interpreted, e. g. Yahweh daily manifests his justice (i) through 
the protection he affords the prophet,* or (2) through the revela 
tion of the rectitude of his character effected by the temple-ritual 
and the teachings of the prophets,f or (3) by the fact that he re 
wards virtue and punishes vice.J But the Hebrew of M cannot 
be rendered bring to light, which is un-Hebraic; it can only be 
translated, he establishes his justice as light. Yet the idiom 
establish justice as light, lit. give his justice for light, is obscure 
in meaning. Moreover, the division of the line as required by 4JH 
brings the caesura into the wrong place. Hence the slight change 
of text here adopted. But the unjust knows not shame] This is a 
gloss as is shown by its superfluity in the parallelism and by the 
fact that the context is not contrasting Yahweh with the unjust as 
a class, but with the officials in particular and the people as a whole. 
Marti s attempt to save the line by an emendation, reading error 
is unknown, does not aid the parallelism and involves the elision 
of shame as a gloss. 

Vv. e - 7 have no relation either with the preceding or folio wing- 
con text, or with one another. They are isolated fragments; v. i.. 
6. I have cut off nations; their battlements are destroyed] The 
perfect tense here may have been used in a prophetic sense, "I 
will cut off," etc.. The context affords no aid in the resolution of 
that doubt. There were many occasions in Israel s history when 
such a statement might have been made as historical fact; e. g. 
after the Scythian invasion, or after the victorious career of Cyrus. 
There were even more occasions when prophets longed for and 

* Hal.. t Ke., Hd.. J Hi., Mau., Dr., ct al.. 5 So Schw., Du., et at.. 


predicted such victories on Yahweh s part, e. g. Je. 28 3 - 4 - 10 - ". 
Statements concerning the nations are wholly alien to this context, 
which is concerned solely with the relations between Yahweh and 
Judah. The nexus usually made is that just as Yahweh s ac 
tivities in the course of nature have failed to influence his people, 
so likewise his chastisements of foreign nations for their sins have 
produced no effect upon Israel. But even if this were possible 
without an explicit statement to that effect in the text, yet the diffi 
culty of the sudden change to the first person and the drop to the 
tetrameter line would remain. 7 have made their streets desolate 
with no passer-by] Schw. s proposal to render open country* 
(as in Jb. 5 10 i8 7 Pr. 8 26 Ps. 144") instead of streets, because 
streets would hardly be mentioned before the towns themselves, 
is unreasonable. The prophets were not fettered by logical strait- 
jackets. Their cities have been laid waste, so that there is no man, 
no inhabitant] For similar pictures, cf. 2 5 Is. 5 9 6 11 Je. Q 10 - 12 32* 
33 10 - 12 Ez. i4 13 . The phrase "no man" is probably a variant of 
"no inhabitant," since the one renders the other unnecessary and 
the metre becomes regular when one is omitted.* 7. 7 thought, 
"Surely, she will fear me, she will accept correction"] Yahweh 
is evidently recalling his former thoughts regarding Jerusalem. 
His expectations for her had met with disappointment; cf. 3*. 
HI and the Vrss. have, "thou wilt fear, etc."; but in view of the 
immediately following use of the third person in the same sentence, 
the slight change necessary to produce the third person here should 
probably be made. "And there will not be cut of from her sight 
anything that I have laid upon her"] i. e. Yahweh had hoped that 
his injunctions had been so deeply engraved upon Jerusalem s 
mind and heart that the memory of them would never fade away. 
For this sense for ty Tp3, cf. Jb. 36 23 2 Ch. 36 23 = Ezr. i 2 . For 
text, v. i.. 4E reads " her dwelling" in place of "her eyes"; but 
this yields a wellnigh impossible sense. The usual rendering, as 
in RV., "so her dwelling should not be cut off, according to all that 
I have appointed concerning her," really requires a change of text, 
since it involves too great an ellipsis; for the italicised words are 
not present in 4K. Schw. would cut the Gordian knot by drop- 

* So Schw., Bach., Marti., Hal., Now K, Siev., Fag., Roth., Stk.. 

3 - 243 

ping "all that I have appointed concerning her" as a gloss.* 
But they zealously made all their doings corrupt] They deliber 
ately, and apparently with enthusiasm, set about doing the exact 
opposite of that which Yahweh required. The literal rendering 
is "they rose up early and corrupted all their doings"; this figure 
is found elsewhere only in Jeremiah (eleven times, viz. 7 13 - K u 7 
2 4 4 2 5 3 - 4 2 6 5 2 9 19 32 s3 35 14 44 4 ) and in 2 Ch. s6 15 . 

The measure of this poem is irregular, conforming to no single stand 
ard. The parallelism, however, is very regular; hence the length of the 
lines is in each case clearly indicated. The giwa-rhythm is found in 
w. i. sb. 4b. 5; w hile vv. 2 - 3a - 4a have lines of four beats each. Str. II 
is brought into conformity with Str. I by Marti through the elision of 
npaS icnj sS (v. 3 ) and m-UD -C js (v. <); so also Fag. (cf. Siev.). But 
this is unnecessary from any other point of view than that of poetic 
form, and it likewise involves placing two classes of offenders in one 
line, while a full line is devoted to each of the other classes. Further 
more, vv. 3b - 4a , as they stand in UK, have the same general form as 4b . 

That the oracle, as it is in M, is only a torso is practically certain. It 
is shown not only by the incomplete character of Str. Ill, but also by its 
failure to round out the thought. Strs. I and II denounce Jerusalem 
and its leaders for sin and Str. Ill depicts the character of the righteous 
God in contrast to his wicked city; but the indispensable conclusion, 
viz. a threat of punishment upon the city, is wholly lacking. In its 
place, v. opens up a new theme, the destruction of the heathen nations. 
For this reason, Bu. (SK. 1893) would place v. after v. *. This, how 
ever, is not satisfactory, for it forces an unwelcome intruder between vv. 8 
and 9 , which are intimately interrelated, and the resulting connection be 
tween w. 8 and 7 is little better than that between vv. B and 6 . For in 
v 8 , the prophet speaks of Yahweh s righteousness and uses the third 
person, while in v. 7 Yahweh himself speaks and the subject is the city s 
wickedness which was under discussion in v. ! . Vv. e - 7 are not only 
out of place where they are located in M, but they also lack any mutual 
connection of their own. They can only be treated as two separate 
fragments, explicable either as glosses, or as torn out of other contexts 
wherein they originally stood, or as remnants of oracles now lost to us; 
cf. GASm. on v. . 

Some interpreters deny 3 1 - 8 to Zephaniah and place it somewhere in 
the exilic or postexilic age; so Sta. GVI , 644; Schw.; We.; Marti; Siev.; 
Beer(?); Fag.; Du.. But the evidence cited in behalf of this view is 
hardly convincing. It is of three kinds, (i) linguistic, (2) late parallels, 
(3) a different conception of Israel s sin from that presented in i 2 ff . The 

* Similarly Siev.. 


linguistic argument is based upon mj , SNJ , nj> , rnxm , pnx and hy npo. 
But with our present sources of information regarding the history of 
Heb. words as meagre as they are, no confidence can be placed in con 
clusions based upon the number of occurrences or the character of the 
usage of such words as these. The argument from parallel passages is 
to the effect that this oracle reflects the same social and religious back 
ground as Mi. 7 1 - 6 Is. 560 ff - Ez. 22. The date of Mi. y 1 -*, however, is 
by no means certain (v. ad loc.), and the lapse of time between Zephaniah 
on the one hand and Ezekiel and Is. 56 on the other is too slight to war 
rant the conclusion that Zephaniah could not have held such sentiments 
as are here expressed, even though Ezekiel and the author of Is. 56 ff. 
shared them at a later period. Nor were the religious and social con 
ditions so radically different in Zephaniah s time as necessarily to render 
his utterances widely different in character from those of his immediate 
successors. The third argument, that the charges against Jerusalem are 
different here from those in ch. i, is certainly true. But surely no prophet 
is to be restricted to the constant reiteration of what he has once said. 
The charges are exactly such as might be expected of Zephaniah, and 
indeed they do breathe forth the same moral indignation as that which 
characterises ch. i. Hence, it seems the part of caution to continue to 
attribute this oracle to Zephaniah until more convincing testimony to 
the contrary is forthcoming; so e. g. Dav., Now., GASm., Bu., Dr., 
van H., Roth., Stk., Kent. 

1. ntoic] An Vroot treated as a N" 1 ?; GesJ 7Brr . (& TJ iiruf>avfy; cf. 
0, the -well-known. 6 TJ ddeTov<ra; cf. H provocatrix. (ft N^E" 1 ,! 
hasty. Bab. Cod. without i; so many mss. of Kenn. and de R.. Fag. 
n-yc. Bach. N-VDH DV nSxjj ] = n^jji, as in Is. 59 and often. 
This is perhaps the oldest known occurrence of this weaker form of the 
I/; cf. Mai. i 7 . The anarthrous form of this and the preceding prtc. is 
not sufficient reason for making them predicates (Schw.), rather than 
vocatives; cf. Ges. * 126f . It may indicate that they were regarded al 
most as appellative proper names (cf. Marti). <g ical airo\f\vTpwfj^v^. 
Schw. nSjjp. Bach. nS^rn. -ivn] Gr. del. n. & treats y as voca 
tive, placing it at beginning of the verse and repeating it at the close as in 
IH. njvn] (& T] irepiffrepd. 2 -fj avbrjTo^ & of Jonah. 3. nviNj 
<g ws X ; so Iff $ 2L ai;] <g r^s A/>a0/a5. H vespere; so 5 . S 
t<nrcpii>oL. Bach. TV?, as in Hb. i 8 . ID-U S] The use of the pf. does 
not justify the treatment of this clause as a gloss (contra We., Marti); 
all the vbs. of the context are in the pf .. The pf . here is used as a gnomic 
aorist; cf. Ges. $ I06k . In Nu. 248, 3 is clearly a denominative from ana, 
meaning gnaw or crunch ; in Ez. 23^ a similar sense fits poorly and 
the text is uncertain. In both Ar. and Syr. the \/ = cut off and the 
meaning leave over* found in the Vrss. is not far removed from that. 
B non relinquebant. <$ o&x vire\ltrovTo. IE ^3110 wS. Schw. and 

3 1 7 2 45 

Du. om. N 1 ?. Bach, -ipjS -icton vh. Hal. -ID-U N 1 ?. Roth. ID-U> nV. 
Several interpreters abandon .> as hopeless; so Now., GASm., Marti, 
Fag., Stk.. 4. rvN>3j] Gr. :T>N^J. annc] This y in its various 
forms always denotes a human characteristic, viz. Ju. 9* Gn. 49* and in 
Je. 23" where it is applied to the prophets as here. (& irvev/MTo<p6poi. 
Aq. 6a/j.peuTal. B vesani. nnJ3 ^JN] We should expect either a v ^JN 
onj3 or nn VPJK. The ending m apparently has an abstract force 
here = to ni; cf. rviSK and Assy, abuiu. Marti and Fag. om. phrase 
as gloss. Siev. om. ^JN and reads ru3 with 3 as subj., all the re 
mainder of v. 4 being dropped. IDDH] Gr. -IDNC. 6. NV] <S = sSi. 
3 npsa] For the same idiom, with distributive force, v. Is. 50* Ex. 16" 
2 S. 13"; cf. Ges * 123C . <& irpwi 7i7>a>{. $ wan mane. & = 33-1 33. 
Roth. om. one 22. "n^S] Schw. makes *? distributive as in Am. 4* 
(q. v.); but IIN is never used as a synonym of 0". Rd. "HN, with S om. 
as dittog. from foil. xS; so Marti, Siev., Fag., Du., Kent. (& e/s 0wi. 
B tn lucent. & H om., but puts it in marg.. Some om. as dittog. or 
gloss; e. g. We., Roth., Stk.. Bach. JIN^. Van H. -visS. -npj vh] 
(& Kal oiiK &ircKp68r). )| et non abscondetur. & and will not delay. 
& H om., but puts it in marg.. Bach. isy> ^S. Roth, j N 1 ?!. Van H. adds 
mjS. 3 hiy jni> S] <S B has a double rendering, viz. otic $yvv dduclap 
tv diraiT-^ffei (=nNfe 3) Kal OVK e/s yZicos dSiKlav tv dia(f>dop!f. (= nir3). <8 A 
HP. 23 om. /cai otic aireKpvfir] . . . dTrair^crei. <SQ HP. 26, 49, 106, 
I 3> J 53> 2 33> 3 11 om - e ^ s < # >< ^ s "r<u T J J<m. HP. 95, 185 om. Kal 
OVK aireKptpi) . . . aomlav. HP. 198 om. els 0ws ical OVK awcKptpij. 
HP. 239 and Comp. om. lv dTratr^cret to end of verse. HP. 238 
has e/s <ws to end of verse under asterisk. But these variants are 
of no critical value, being due largely to copyists errors. V nesciit 
autern iniquus confusionem. & H PO^ l^loj p^ PO; but it foil. fH in 
marg.. Marti, Sis? ynjj nSi; so Siev., Fag., Kent. Roth. Si^pY.KSi. 
Van H. Sijj jni> N 1 ?!. nco] Om. as a gloss by Marti, Siev., Fag., van 
H., Roth., and Kent. Marti, however, suggests the possibility of its 
being a remnant of an original oni3C nK 3-v k r3. 

6. D^J] <$ virepi)<pdvovs = D- NJ (Schw.); so van H.. omjo] <& ywvlat 

O 9 

avruv. & 1^09, miseries, probably an inner-Syr, error for |&*o] 


as in i (Seb.). "nxj] air., but common in Aram.. It occurs also in 
Assy., viz. ufaddi = "I destroyed" (III R. 9, No. i, 8), if the reading 
be correct; cf. D1. HWB , 563^ Muss-Arnolt, Assy. Diet. 870 a; also 
in $u-di-e annfiti tu-sa-ad-di-Su-nu-ti (IV R. 55, 3ob, where the con 
text is too fragmentary to render exact assignment and interpreta 
tion of the vb. possible); v. Meissner, Supplement zu den Assy. Worter- 
buchern, Sob. In view of these Assy, possibilities, the common state 
ment that r j must be of Aram, origin and therefore a sign of late age 
is somewhat hazardous. The fact that there was an Aram, speaking 


colony of Jews in Elephantine in Egypt at least as early as shortly after 
600 B.C. also makes arguments from the use of Aramaicisms of uncertain 
value. Gr. reads -ixru; so Bach.. 7. T-ICN] = I thought/ as often, 
e. g. Gn. 2o 11 26 9 . HN] <g ir\-f)v. -npn . . . *tn>n] Rd. in 3d pers. 
*o;n and np.n; so We., GASm., Or., Oort Em -, Now., Marti, Siev., Fag., 
Roth., Du.. n-o>] <g B ^oKoBpeve^re. <&** ito\c8pcv6i)Tai. <& AO - r 
o\fepev6f]Te. (gNo.b. HP. 68, 87, 91, 97, 228, 310 loXo0/>6i?0i?. Gr. 
"T^. (?) Siev, rnsji. njiyc] Rd. HTJJD, with ( g>; so Gr., We., 
GASm., Or., Oort Em -, Now., BDB., Marti, Dr., van H., Fag., Roth., 
Du., Kent. Bach. nrj?p. "KPN- 1 ?}] Hal. N hn. ic*oc>n pN % ] <& troi- 
fj.dov 6p6pi(Tov; so #. inTityn] <j ((pdaprac. & and destroy. M has 
two vbs. in asyndeton, the first of which is logically subordinate to the 
second; Ges. ^ I2 s. oniS^y] (& <?7rt0iAXis avruv. U cogitationes suas. 

8. JERUSALEM DELIVERED (3 8 - 13 ). 

In three strs. of four lines each, Jerusalem is assured that the 
nations will perish, while she herself after her purification will be 
restored to the favour of Yahweh. Str. I bids Jerusalem look 
forward to the day when Yahweh s judgment will overtake the 
nations of the earth (v. 8 ). Str. II informs her that a work of 
cleansing and elimination must take place among her own peo 
ple (vv. n - 12 ). Str. Ill states the characteristics of the purified 
remnant and predicts for it a happy and peaceful life. 

"THEREFORE, wait for me, it is the oracle of Yahweh, for the day when I arise 

as a witness. 

For it is my decision to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, 
That I may pour out upon them my wrath, all the heat of mine anger. 
For in the fire of my zeal all the earth will be consumed. 
TN that day thou wilt not be shamed by any of thy deeds wherein thou hast 

rebelled against me. 

For then I shall remove from the midst of thee thy proudly exulting ones; 
And thou wilt no more be haughty in my holy mountain. 
But I shall leave in the midst of thee a people humble and poor. 
A ND the remnant of Israel will seek refuge in the name of Yahweh. 
They will do no wickedness nor will they speak lies; 
Nor will there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. 
For they will feed and lie down with none to disturb them. 

Str. I adjures Israel to live in hope of seeing Yahweh s ven 
geance upon the nations in general. 8. Therefore, wait for me, it is 
the oracle of Yahweh] If therefore is based upon the immediately 
preceding context, its only meaning can be something like in view 

3 8 1 247 

of these facts. The word wait usually implies hope and confi 
dence (e. g. Is. 8 17 Hb. 2 3 Ps. 33 20 ), but not always so (e. g. 2 K, 
7 fl Q 3 Jb. 32 4 ). Its significance here, therefore, must be deter 
mined from the context. To whom is the exhortation addressed ? 
Evidently not to the nations, for they are at once spoken of in the 
third person. Consequently, some interpreters say that the prophet 
addresses the people of Judah as a whole, ironically bidding them 
await the day of universal judgment, when they themselves will 
share with the nations in the destruction decreed by Yahweh.* 
Others, with better right, look upon the community of the pious 
in Judah as the party addressed, and find here a word of comfort 
for them,f viz. "wait confidently for the coming day of judgment, 
when you will be vindicated and all the wicked destroyed"; cf. 
v. u . For the day when I shall arise as a witness] This defines 
more explicitly the "for me" of the previous clause. HI reads 
"rise up to the prey"; <g $ read "rise up as a witness." After 
the verb, rise up, something expressive of aggressive action is 
expected, but to the prey hardly satisfies the expectation. Ew. 
attempts to meet it by rendering "to the attack"; but this is wholly 
unsupported by the usage of the Hebrew word. Most of the re 
cent interpreters follow <. For the thought of Yahweh appear 
ing as a witness, cf. Mi. i 2 Mai. 3 5 Je. 29^. Yahweh s testimony 
will be given not against Jerusalem, J but against the nations or 
against the wicked wherever they may be, whether inside or out 
side of Israel. For it is my decision to gather nations, to assemble 
kingdoms] There is not a word here about gathering them to or 
against Jerusalem (cf. Zc. 14* ff - Jo. 3 11 " 16 Ez. 38, 39); nor is it 
necessary to suppose that such a thought was in the writer s mind. 
"The gathering merely expresses the idea that they shall be uni 
versally and simultaneously judged";** cf. Je. 2^ Is. 66 16 . The 
decision or decree is the purpose formed in Yahweh s own 
mind. That I may pour out upon them my wrath, all the heat of 
mine anger] This is a very common figure; cf. Ho. 5 1 Je. io 25 Is. 
42 25 Ps. 69 25 79 6 and fifteen times in Ezekiel. The only natural 
reference of the pronoun them is to the aforesaid nations and 

* So Hi., Mau., Now., GASm.. t So Hd., Or., Dr., Marti, 

t Contra Now.. Contra Schw., Marti. ** Dav.. 


kingdoms. For in the fire of my zeal all the earth will be con 
sumed] Cf. i 18 . The judgment is to be world-wide and all-em 
bracing. In this fiery furnace all the dross will be consumed; 
nothing but pure metal will survive the ordeal. This sentence 
is evidently original here; it forms the necessary climax to the 
description of punishment.* 

At this point, an editor, actuated by more kindly and generous 
feelings toward the nations than are reflected by the foregoing 
threats, has inserted a section expressing his own sentiments; v. i.. 
9. For then I shall turn unto the peoples a purified speech] An 
elliptical expression meaning that Yahweh will turn the speech of 
the nations that is now impure into a speech that will be pure; cf. 
Is. 6 5 . The impurity, of course, consisted in the fact that they 
prayed to and swore by other gods than Yahweh. The purifica 
tion will consist in their being brought to abandon the worship of 
any and every god save Yahweh; cf. Ho. 2 12 Ps. i6 4 . Contact with 
other gods was, from the point of view of Yahweh-worship, fraught 
with uncleanness and impurity of the most pronounced type. 
So that all of them may call upon the name of Yahweh and serve 
him with one consent] The result of the purification is here specifi 
cally stated. Yahweh alone will be the object of the world s wor 
ship. The same expectation of the conversion of the nations as 
a whole to the worship of Yahweh is found in Mi. 4 2 Zc. i4 18 fl - 
Is. ii 9 ip 235 -. The idiom call upon the name of Yahweh prob 
ably had its origin in the cultus and dates from the time when the 
mere utterance of the divine name per se was believed to exercise 
a kind of coercion upon the deity himself. To possess the name of 
the deity was to hold a certain power over him and thus, within 
certain clearly defined limits, to make him subservient to the wor 
shipper s will.f Such primitive conceptions were far from the 
thought of the writer of this passage; but this idiom is a survi 
val. "With one consent," lit. "with one shoulder"; <g "with one 
yoke," rightly interpreting the figure which does not occur else 
where in Hebrew, though familiar in Syriac. It probably rests 
upon the fact that oxen were joined together by one yoke in their 

* Contra Siev.. 

t C\. Giesebrecht, Die alllestamentlichc Schdlzung des Gollesnamens (1901), 94 fl.. 


labour. The idea of unanimity is pictured in i K. 22 18 by the phrase 
"with one mouth." The essential thought finds utterance in plain 
prose in Je. 32 39 Ez. n 19 - 20 , though there predicated of Israel in 
the Messianic age, rather than of the nations as here. There is 
no necessity to change Yahweh and him to the first personal 
pronoun; in speeches placed upon Yahweh s lips the prophetic 
writers frequently lapse into the third person. 10. Beyond the 
rivers of Cush] Cush was the name of the Nile valley, south of 
the Egyptian border. It corresponds in general to the Greek 
Ethiopia. The rivers referred to are the branches of the Nile 
that traverse the most southern portion of the region ; viz. the At- 
bara, the Astasobas, the Astapus or Blue Nile, and the Bahr-el- 
Abjadh or White Nile; cf. Is. iS 1 7 . The exact force of the prepo 
sition, whether in the regions beyond or from the regions be 
yond, is in doubt. The former sense is much the more common 
(e. g. Is. iS 1 Dt. 3o 13 i K. 4 12 ), but the latter is also clearly estab 
lished (e. g. Jb. i 19 2 Ch. 2o 2 ). In view of Is. i9 19r , the prefer 
ence here may be given to the first rendering.^ The princes( ?) of 
the daughter of Put(?)] For he-goats as a figurative appellation 
of chiefs or leaders, cf. Is. i4 9 Ez. 34". Put is commonly named 
alongside of Cush and seems to have been a neighbouring state. 
As located by this verse, it would lie south of Cush and thus be 
representative to the Hebrew mind of the most distant lands. The 
foregoing translation rests upon a wholly conjectural correction 
of the text; but it is the most attractive correction thus far offered. 
|U is quite generally considered unintelligible.* Some seek to 
solve the problem by omitting these words wholly as a gloss.f But 
this does not make them any more intelligible, on the one hand; 
and, on the other, it renders the line of which they are a part some 
what short. RV. renders "my suppliants, even the daughter of 
my dispersed," which is made the subject of the following verb.f 
RVm. renders in the same way, but makes the phrase the ob 
ject of the following verb. Another rendering which takes it 
as subject is, "the suppliants of the daughter of my dispersed,"** 

* So e. g. Ew., Schw., We., Oort, Now., Marti, Hal., Dr., van H., Fag., Roth., Du.. 
t So Schw., Wkl. Unt -, 149 /., van H., Fag.. Cf. Or. who suggests that >sio r D may be a 
gloss on nnj?. t So also B, Lu., Roscnm., Hi., Hd.. 

So also Ke.; c). Is. 66 ** GASm.. 


i. e. the heathen neighbours of the exiled Jews, who now seek the 
favour of those they once oppressed and despised. For the diffi 
culties confronting these renderings, v. i.. Hommel finds in the 
words ordinarily rendered " daughter of my dispersed" the name 
of a South Arabian species of incense, which the nations are rep 
resented as bringing to Yahweh. Will lead along my offerings] 
i. e. bear offerings to Yahweh in processions, a common custom in 
the worship of Semitic gods.* There is no need to consider the 
princes as bringing offerings to Jerusalem; they are rather to 
bring gifts to Yahweh s altars wherever they may be, whether at 
Jerusalem or in Ethiopia itself; cf. Is. ig 18 ff - and the fact that there 
was a temple of Yahu in Elephantine. The offerings will testify 
to the recognition of Yahweh s kingship over the nations; cf. i S. 
io 27 2 S. 8 2 . With the verse as a whole, cf. 2 11 Is. 45" 66 20 Zc. S 23 
Ps. 7 2 10 f -. 

The original oracle is now resumed in Str. II which predicts a 
work of cleansing among Yahweh s people. 11. In that day, thou 
wilt not be shamed by any of thy deeds wherein thou hast trans 
gressed against me] Cf. Ez. 3Q 26 . The pious community in Jerusa 
lem is addressed. The day spoken of is that announced in v. 8 , 
the day upon which the heathen are to be judged. The word 
shame is used in Hebrew in two senses, a subjective and an 
objective one. Those who find here the subjective sense feel 
shame explain the statement in various ways; e. g. (i) Jerusalem 
will no more be ashamed of her past sins, the very memory of them 
having been obliterated ;f (2) such crimes as Jerusalem now com 
mits she will not then do, and thus will have no cause for shame. J 
Against (i) may be adduced the fact that the memory of sin and 
failure is a most effective agency in producing the humility de 
siderated in the latter part of the verse, and the query, why did not 
the prophet say "thou wilt no longer remember," if that was what 
he meant? As to (2), it was hardly necessary for the prophet to 
make such a self-evident statement as is involved in this interpre 
tation. It is better to interpret it objectively, viz. Jerusalem will 

* V. e. g. Naville, Deir el-Bahari (Egypt Exploration Fund), where are reproduced the 
scenes from the temple wall showing the products of the ezpedition to Punt being presented to 
the god Amon. t Ew., Dav.. % Mau., Ke., Or.. 

3" 25i 

not be put to shame in the coming age, because the conditions that 
have occasioned such public humiliation in the past will have given 
place to new and wholesome ones; the wicked will have been 
removed.* Disaster and suffering were interpreted as signs of 
Yahweh s anger against sin, hence such afflictions were as brand- 
marks of shame, known and read of all men. Cf. Is. 54 4 65 18 . The 
removal of the relative clause as a gloss is unwarranted, since 
it takes away the necessary definition of the deeds mentioned; 
metrical necessities cannot outweigh the requirements of the 
thought.f For then I will take away thy proudly exulting ones 
from the midst ofthee] In Is. i3 3 , this designation is applied to the 
Medes as the warriors of Yahweh; here it denotes the officials, 
viz. priests, prophets, judges, etc., who jauntily ignore the re 
quirements of Yahweh and rejoice in their own self-sufficiency. 
A process of sifting will be resolutely carried through. And thou 
wilt no more be haughty in my holy mountain] Haughtiness, arro 
gance and pride were always offensive to the prophets who without 
exception were the friends and champions of the poor and lowly. 
The mountain in question is, of course, Mt. Zion, made holy by the 
presence of Yahweh in his temple. 12a. And I will leave in the 
midst ofthee a people humble and poor] It is safe to say that weak 
ness and poverty do not exhaust the content of these adjectives, 
even if they form a large part of it. It is not so much Israel s 
standing on battle-fields, in markets, and at courts that is meant, 
as a state of mind and heart, an attitude toward God; cf. Mi. 6 8 
Is. 66 2 Mt. 5 3 - 5 . This conception of the ideal religious life came 
late in Israel s history; v. on 2 3 . 

Str. Ill describes the Israel that is to be as the exact opposite 
of the Israel that now is. Schw. felt the need of supplementing 
v. 12b in some way; hence supposed that something had been lost 
at the end of the verse. This supposition becomes unnecessary, 
if v. 12b be read with v. 13a , a proceeding which secures excellent 
sense and at the same time gives lines i and 2 of Str. Ill their 
proper length. J 12b, 13. The remnant of Israel will take refuge in 
the name of Yahweh] They will recognise Yahweh as their only 

* Hd.. Stei., Now., Marti. t Contra Fag.. 

J So Marti, Now.*, Fag., Roth., Du.. 


but all-sufficient source of strength. The Israelites of the past 
have at times scouted Yahweh s aid and when shaken out of their 
own self-sufficiency by the shock of great calamities have turned to 
the gods of the nations for help rather than to their own God; cf. 
i 5 - 6< 12 . As a consequence of this positive confidence in Yahweh, 
the Israel of the days to come will not be guilty of offences such as 
have characterised its past. They will not do wickedness, nor will 
they speak lies] An abiding faith in Yahweh will keep them from 
the perverse and devious ways of the ungodly. Sure of themselves 
and their God, they will have no need to take refuge in lies. This 
writer evidently sees a vital connection between morality and re 
ligion. Nor will there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue] 
The emphasis laid here upon this vice is a reflection of the fact 
that lying and cheating have always been most prevalent practices 
among Semites and are, even at the present day. For they will 
feed and lie down with none to disturb them] A common figure in 
prophecy; cf. Is. i 4 30 if Ez. 3 4 25 - 28 Mi. 4 4 ; 14 Jb. n 19 . Lying and 
kindred sins are largely due to fear and need. In the coming age, 
such incentives to vice will be lacking, for all will enjoy abundance 
and none will be left who could or would do injury to any. 

The strophical divisions of this poem are clearly indicated by the log 
ical analysis of the progress of the thought. The poetic lines are just 
as clearly shown by the movement of the parallelism. The rhythm is 
prevailingly hexameter, with a few descents to pentameter. 

Vv. 10 constitute a disturbing element within this oracle. They seem 
to be foreign to, if not also later than, their present context; so Now., 
GASm., BDB., Grimm (Li. App. 87 ff.), Dr., Cor., Bu. Gesch -, Marti, 
Siev., Beer, Fag.. The main ground for this opinion is the fact that they 
manifest a totally different attitude toward the nations from that of v. . 
In the latter, the nations are destined to be destroyed; here they are to 
be converted. Moreover, the for of v. B is without any significance in 
the present context; the purification of the nations is surely no reason for 
their destruction; nor can it justify the wait of v. 8 unless the purifica 
tion is to involve the punishment of the wicked within Israel as well as 
that of those without. But this is not stated and is too important a state 
ment to have been taken for granted. Still further, the elimination of 
w. I0 leaves a good connection between w. 8 and . 

The date of w. 8 - 13 is open to discussion. Some scholars regard them, 
with or without w. lo , as the work of Zephaniah; so e. g. Dav., Now.. 

3 J 253 

GASm., Or., Hal., Dr., Cor., Bu. Gesch -, van H., Stk.. Others assign 
them to a later age; so e. g. Sta. GVI , 6447., Schw., We., Marti, Siev., 
Beer, Fag., Roth., Du., Kent. The argument for their genuineness rests 
largely upon what seems an impossible exegesis of v. 8 ; viz. that it is 
the logical continuation of v. 7 and is addressed to the pious in Judah, 
who are bidden to wait until Yahweh shall have gathered the nations and 
by means of them inflicted punishment upon the ungodly oppressors 
within Judah itself. But this involves passing over DMJ and nioS^D, 
the nearest and the most natural antecedents of the pronoun in DmSy 
and seeking its antecedent in the distant irnntrn iD nttTi of v. 7 . Nat 
urally interpreted, v. 8 becomes a promise to Judah that the nations who 
have oppressed her will be destroyed. Judah, on the other hand, is to 
be cleansed and saved (w. " 12 ). This sharp discrimination between 
the heathen and Judah does not appear in Zephaniah s picture of the 
day of doom in ch. i. Likewise, the characterisation of Judah as hum 
ble and poor (v. ") holds up an ideal of religion which belongs to Is 
rael s last days (cf, 2 3 ). The frank recognition of the doctrine of the rem 
nant also belongs in the later period of Israelitish life. The abrupt man 
ner in which the trend of thought is changed in v. * is a further indication 
that the present consecution of thought is not the original one. After 
V. 7 , we expect an announcement of dire disaster upon the wicked Is 
raelites; but instead we get such an announcement against the nations. 
Not improbably, the original conclusion of this oracle, expressing some 
unfavourable judgment upon Judah, was deliberately dropped and the 
present passage put in its place; cf. Grimm, Lt. App. 87 ff.. 

8. According to the Mas., this is the only verse in the OT. which con 
tains all the letters of the Heb. alphabet, including the final forms, ir, 
however, does not appear here. ion] <BH = ^n; so Marti, Now. K , 
Siev., Fag., Roth.. ip_S] Rd. -igS, with <& & ; so Hi., Schv., Gr., We., 
GASm., Now., Marti, Or., van H., Roth., Fag., Du.. "H infuturum. 
Hal. rpj. rpsS] (6 ffvvaywyds. >xapS] Rd. y afiS, with (g rov el<r8t- 
faffdai and & 3J; so Schw., We., Now., Marti, Dr., Siev., van H., Fag.. 
Gr. ra^S. maSoD] <g /3a<n\e?5. ^jn] (S BA Q r HP. 48, 153, 233 om.; 
so GASm.. 9. SN ions] = h -|on, i S. io 9 , *. e. bestow upon by way 
of exchange. O>DJ? SN] Gr. ^cj? SN. Schw. o^ojjS. Bach. O>DJ? Sa. 
nc^ ] Bach. nnoPD. mna] < efr yevebv en/ri;s = rnna. Aq. 6 
U-eiXeyntvov; cf. H electum; so &. D^D] < irdvras. II ontnes. 
> 0^2] Marti, ppa; so Fag., Roth.. nayS] Marti, ^aj?S; so Fag.. Roth. 
nayS. DO^] < & = yoke. 10. ^10 na nnj?] Rd. o na nny; so Hal.. 
CJ B HP. 48, rpoffS^ofiai iv dieffiraptdvois fMV. (*- Q HP. 26, 49, 
106, 130, 153, 198, 233, 239, 311 and & om.; & H has it in marg.; HP. 
22, 97, 238 have it under asterisk. (6* c - a (vid -> (postea ras) irpo<rS^onai 
(HP. 62, 86, 147, irpoffS^x ^ 1 ) T0 ^ s Ixtrebovrfa fie (95, 185, fierA.) rdv 
(36, 51, 132, 228, 240, Sieffirapntvuv). S iKerebovrt. fj* 


T&V dieffKopTTifffdvuv UTT tfwv. U in dc supplices mei, filii disper^ 
sorum meorunt. Gr. ui <I T^ : - Schw. won -\nx. Bach. a -ipn^i 
xn. Oort Em -, WBja ^ nnj>\ Ew. 0-13 for ^10; so Gr., Dav. (?), 
Hal., Dr. (?). Roth, ^rar njv. Ew. connects nny with inj^Ez. 8 n ), 
which seems to mean odour, and renders my perfumes, which serves 
as the obj. of the vb. with D in apposition. But the textual basis of 
Ez. 8 11 is too uncertain to permit its use as a guide to interpretation here. 
The usual rendering my suppliants derives it from inj? to pray, a well- 
known vb.. But the ambiguity as to the persons so designated and the 
fact that this form occurs nowhere else make it more probable that the 
text is here at fault. The usual rendering of ^10 ra, viz. daughter of 
my dispersed ones, is met by three difficulties; (i) ra in such titles is 
regularly connected only with proper names, e. g. oSiPW ra , oniw ra 
D Sj ra , ]vx ra; the notable exception, i$y_ ra, frequent in Jeremiah, 
is not closely analogous to this case where the governing noun is in the 
pi.; (2) the pass, prtc., v-is, nowhere else occurs; (3) the uncertainty as to 
whether D ra is subj. or obj. of the vb. The reading to-is involves an 
error in only one letter and dittog. of the initial * of the foil. vb.. ra here 
may be taken as daughter (cf. d. of the Chaldeans ) or as = rra, cf. 
pp no , POP no, bit Yakin, etc.; no and ra are at times confused (cf. 
Qr. and Kt. in Is. io 32 ). Hommel s interpretation of 3 a (v. s.) rests 
upon three contentions; (i) that Cush is not Ethiopia, but a region in 
S. Arabia; (2) that D a follows the analogy of other Semitic plant- 
names (e. g. bint el inab = wine ; bandt en-ndr = nettle ), is to be 
connected with the S. Ar. nSflN (found in Glaser, No. 1083, 1. 4, between 
the names of two kinds of incense), and is the name of some special 
variety of incense; and (3) that the / ~\r\y originally meant to offer 
incense. On this basis, the rendering would be, my incense-bearers 
will bring a costly kind of incense as my offering. But the identifica 
tion of Cush with S. Arabia finds little favour because of insufficient 
evidence (so Ko., Filnf neue arab. Landschaftsnamen [1902] and Ed. 
Meyer, Die Israelites, und ihre Nachbarstamme [1906], 315-317; contra 
Glaser, Skizze d. Gesch. u. Geogr. Ar aliens, II, 33. Hommel, Aufsdtze 
und Abhandlungen, No. VIII; Che. art. Cush, EB.; Wkl. KAT.*, 137, 
144); the use of ra with a plant-name is without analogy in Heb.; and 
the connection of nnj? with incense has no support in Heb. outside of the 
dubious passage, Ez. 3*. >nmo] Rd. n rup, with (8; so Ew., Schw.. 
11 . n ova] joins to v. 10 and takes first clause as a question, " wilt 
thou not blush, etc.?" N 1 ?] Stei., Hal. vh. nnajS] An inf. cstr. in n__; 
cf. Ges.* d . 12. iDm] Gr. Dm; so We., Oort Em -, Now.. * 020] 
Roth. v?t?a. 13. nnNB>] (6 joins with v. " as subj. of ion. ty N 1 ?] 

3 14 - 20 

ISRAEL ( 3 14 - 20 ). 

In two strs. of unequal length, a late writer contrasts the Israel 
of the coming Golden Age with the Israel as known in his own time. 
Str. I bids the people of Yahweh rejoice because Yahweh is 
about to repulse all their foes and to favour his own people with 
his gracious presence henceforth (vv. " 15 - 17 ). Str. II declares 
that Yahweh is to destroy all Israel s oppressors, rescue her af 
flicted ones and make his people the object of the world s praise 
(vv. 18 - 10 ). 

aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! 

Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 
Yahweh has taken away thine opponents, he has turned aside thine enemies. 
The king of Israel is in the midst of thee; thou wilt no more see calamity. 
Yahweh, thy God, is in the midst of thee, a warrior who delivers. 
He will rejoice over thee with gladness; he will renew thee in his love. 
T WILL take away those smiting thee, and those bringing reproach upon thee. 
Behold, I will deal with all thine oppressors at that time; 
And I will deliver the halt, and the outcast I will gather. 
And I will make them a praise and renown in all the earth. 

Str. I exhorts the community of the pious to rejoice enthusi 
astically in the evidences of the return of Yahweh s favour. 14. 
Cry aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel] The context shows 
that joyous exclamations are called for. Israel is used as the 
name of the chosen people of Yahweh, a common usage long after 
Israel proper had ceased to exist. It is quite unnecessary to change 
with <g to daughter of Jerusalem ;* cf. Mi. 2 12 Je. iy 13 so 17ff - 
Ez. 4 3 - 13 6 2 f> . Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter 
of Jerusalem] Cf. Zc. 9 Is. 54 1 . In daughter the people in gen 
eral are personified. The smaller towns, villages and hamlets 
surrounding a large city were known as its daughters ; e. g. Nu. 
2 1 25 - M i Ch. 2 M ; hence it was an easy step to the thought of the 
inhabitants of these smaller places as the daughter of the mother 
city (cf. 2 S. 2 19 ). As Jerusalem came to occupy more and more 
the central place in Hebrew thought, and as the territory dwindled 
to smaller and smaller proportions, it became perfectly natural to 

* Contra Now.. 


represent the capital as the mother of the entire community. The 
same usage obtained, however, with regard to Egypt (Je. 46 11 - 24 ), 
Babylon (Is. 47*), Edom (La. 4 1 ), Sidon (Is. 23 12 ) and Tarshish 
(Is. 23 10 ). 15. Yahweh has removed thine opponents ; he has put 
thine enemies out of the way] The prophet transports himself in 
imagination to the future for which he so ardently longs and pro 
ceeds to describe it as though it were actually realised. This 
contemplated repulse of the foe is the ground of the rejoicing called 
for in v. 14 . The afflicted and distressed condition of Judah at the 
time of the actual writing of this passage is thus taken for granted. 
IB has "thy judgments" for "thine opponents," i. e. the calami 
ties that have come upon thee as penalties for thy sins. But the 
parallelism calls for a word denoting persons. The king of Israel 
is in the midst of thee] The name "Yahweh" inserted in M after 
"Israel" is a correct interpretation of the phrase "king of Israel" 
(cf. v. 17 ), but is due to a glossator, as is shown by the awkwardness 
of the syntax and the undue length of the line. The representa 
tion of Yahweh as Israel s king is a familiar OT. view; cf. Is. 6 5 
4i 21 44 6 Ps. go 15 Ob. 21 . Similar conceptions among other Semitic 
peoples are attested by the names Melek, Moloch, Milcom and the 
like, bestowed upon their gods; v. note on i 5 . Yahweh s presence 
in Israel is a guarantee of security and prosperity for his people. 
Thou wilt no more see disaster} The Hebrew text here wavers 
between see and fear ; ($> and j$ agree upon the former; H 
follows the latter; while compromises by incorporating both read 
ings in its rendering. Either reading furnishes admirable sense, 
the essential meaning being the same in either case. To see here 
means to realise as a personal experience; cf. Je. 5 12 Is. 44 16 . 16. 
At this point an editorial addition appears, which does not con 
form to the metrical norm of the context and does introduce a 
foreign element between w. 15 and 17 which naturally go together.* 
In that day, it will be said to Jerusalem, "Fear not, O Zion; let 
not thy hands drop"] The language calls up the picture of a man 
at work upon a hard task suddenly letting go of his work in despair; 
cf. 2 S. 4 1 Is. i3 7 Je. 6 24 Heb. i2 12 . 17. Here the original oracle is 
resumed. Yahweh, thy God, is in the midst of thee, a warrior who 

* So Marti, Fag.; cf. Roth, who drops only the introductory words in the third person. 

3 16 - 257 

delivers] This line is chiefly an elaboration of the last line of v. 15 . 
For similar descriptions of Yahweh as a warrior bringing deliv 
erance, cf. Is. 9 42 13 Je. 14 2O 11 . The primitive conception of 
Yahweh as he who fights in behalf of his own people has been 
transformed into the thought of him who fights in behalf of the 
righteous, not because they are, it is true, his people, but because 
of their righteousness. He will rejoice over thee with gladness] The 
imaginary stand-point is here abandoned and the writer frankly 
looks to the future. He will renew thee in his love] 4K reads, 
"he will be silent in his love." This has been interpreted in 
widely different ways. Some explain as, he will because of his 
love keep silent regarding his people s sins ;* others, God s love 
will be so strong and deep as to hush motion or speech; it will be 
silent ecstasy ;f while one explains the silence as due to Yah- 
weh s meditative planning of good deeds toward Israel. { But the 
thought of silence seems wholly out of keeping with the spirit of 
the context and is definitely in conflict with the shout or ring 
ing cry of the next line, though the latter is probably a later ac 
cretion. Hence recent interpreters, for the most part, have ques 
tioned the Correctness of the text. Many have followed <g, but 
with differing interpretations; e. g. he will do new things (cf. Is. 
43 19 ) the like of which have not heretofore been known ; or, he 
renews his love ;** or, he renews himself in his love ;ff or, with the 
rendering given above, %% through the manifestations of favour in 
spired by his love for thee, he will restore thee to pristine vigour 
and glory, giving thee newness of life. This is a thought, not ex 
actly parallel to that of the other half of the line as we should ex 
pect, but at least not wholly foreign to the context, and it is based 
upon a text from which M might easily have arisen. To drop 
the phrase, as some do, on the ground that it records the lament of 
a reader, does not adequately explain it, while it complicates the 
textual and metrical situation. Where it stands, it exactly con 
forms to the measure of the line. He will exult over thee with 
shouting as in the days of a festival] This line, which incorporates 

* So Mau., Hd.. t So Dav., Or.. t Hal.. 

Hi.. ** Buhl, ZAW. V, 183; GASm.; Du.. tt Ew.. 

Jt Gr., Now.. So Bach., Marti, Siev., Now. K , Fag.. 


the first two words of v. 18 as reproduced by 0, seems to be an 
editorial expansion suggested by the shout of v. 14 . It adds little 
or nothing to the thought of the foregoing line and it reflects the 
late priestly point of view in its reference to the days of festal as 
sembly. 4ft, which opens v. 18 with the last two words of this 
line, presents a very difficult, if not wholly unintelligible text. RV. 
renders, them that sorrow for the solemn assembly ; AV., * sor 
rowful for the feast ; and others, those grieved afar from the as 
sembly, * or them that are removed from the solemn assembly. f 
But in addition to this ambiguity, the difficulties presented by the 
phrase as it stands are insuperable. It cannot be satisfactorily 
accounted for as a part of v. 18 , for no suitable logical connection 
between it and the remainder of the verse can be discovered. Nor 
is there any apparent reason why the phrase should hold so em 
phatic a position at the head of the sentence. Nor can the text 
of (& and & be derived from |ft. Consequently, some have aban 
doned the phrase, and indeed the whole of v. 18 , as hopeless ;{ 
while others exercise great ingenuity in attempts to discover a 
satisfactory substitute, (j& s rendering seems to indicate the way 
of escape for this phrase, at least. The joyous shout on the festal 
occasion is, of course, that of the worshippers, and to this the joy 
of Yahweh is likened. This affords an interesting side-light upon 
the spirit and attitude of the devotees of the later priestly law. 

Str. II represents Yahweh himself as telling how he will con 
vert Judah s present disastrous state into one of security and glory. 
18. I will remove those smiting thee and those bringing reproach 
upon thee] On the basis of 4ft > the verb must be taken as govern 
ing the two words which have here been connected with v. 17 . 
The remainder of the verse, however, is unintelligible. RV. 
reads, who were of thee; to whom the burden upon her was a 
reproach. " But of thee is literally from thee, a wholly 
un-Hebraic idiom for the expression of the idea of belonging 
to. Furthermore, the ellipsis of the words to whom is too violent 
and the meaning burden is nowhere else applicable to 

* Hi., Mau., Dav., Dr. (?), Or.. t Dr. (?); similarly GASm.. 

t So e. g. Schw., Roth.. 

Similarly AV., with the variation, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 

3" " 2 59 

RVm. is even less satisfactory, viz. they have been sorrowful 
for the solemn assembly which I took away from thee, for the lift 
ing up of reproach against her. This involves a difficult ellipsis of 
which,* an almost impossible syntax in they have been sorrow 
ful, and the insertion of the preposition for before the lifting 
up. Still another attempt t6 make sense is,* sorrowful for the 
feast which I broke off are certain of thee, thou land over which 
reproach is raised. But broke off is an unauthenticated trans 
lation of the verb, certain of thee is an unparalleled Hebrew 
idiom and constitutes an impossible subject of the sentence, and 
is raised is a very free rendering of lifting up. Several scholars 
follow <g more or less closely and render, thy smitten ones I will 
gather; woe, whosoever lifts up reproach upon her. But this is 
at best a rather disjointed utterance. A smoother text with an 
appropriate meaning is furnished in, I will take away from thee 
shame and will lift reproach from upon thee. f But the word 
shame is too far removed from any resemblance to HU. The 
translation here suggested rests partly upon (& and partly upon 
and presupposes a text from which j$i might have been de 
rived with relative ease. As thus read, the line promises the over 
throw of Israel s foes who have afflicted her and made her an 
occasion for the taunts of all the surrounding peoples. It is un 
necessary to drop any part of the line or to transfer it to another 
con text, t 19. Behold, I will deal with all thine oppressors at that 
time] A statement all the more terrible for its indefinite and gen 
eral character. It leaves available all the terrors of divine might 
for the execution of wrathful judgment upon tyranny and iniquity. 
For a similarly indefinite use of the idiom deal with, cf. Ez. 22" 
23 25 - 29 Je. 2i 2 Ps. io9 21 . The time referred to is, of course, the 
great day of Yahweh, upon which all of Israel s wrongs are to be 
made right. And I will rescue the halt and the outcast I will 
gather] Cf. Mi. 4 6 - 7 Ez. 34" Zc. n 16 . The terms halt and out 
cast are applied to the dispersion as a whole. They suggest the 
homeless and crippled condition of the Hebrew people scattered 
among the nations, like a flock of sheep without a shepherd. 

* Ew.. t Marti. 

% Contra Fag. who om. -|CD >HDDN as a gloss; and Now. and van H. who tr. the same phrase 
to follow xinn ar J in v. ". 


And I will make them a praise and a name in all the earth} Those 
who have been an object of the scorn and contempt of the nations 
are now to become the object of envy and renown the world over. 
This is a fitting climax to a prophecy of restoration.* m adds 
at the end of this line the phrase, their shame] This has always 
caused difficulty to translators and interpreters. <g treated it as 
a verb, and they will be ashamed ; but this calls for a different 
text and, even at that, is very poorly suited to this context. H 
considered it as in the construct relation with the preceding word, 
land of their shame ; but this involves an anomaly in Hebrew 
grammar. Others render, whose shame was in all the earth ;f 
and this is the easiest disposition of the phrase, if it must be re 
tained. But even this would naturally call for a different order of 
words in f!H and places an unnatural emphasis upon the preceding 
them, viz. I will make them a praise whose shame, etc. . Hence 
it is, on the whole, better to omit the phrase either as a gloss or as 
a corrupt dittog. of wn QtP fiK OltSO in v. 20 . 20. This verse 
is generally recognised as being only a weak variant or repetitious 
expansion of v. 19 ,J which adds nothing to the thought already ex 
pressed. In the time when I do good to you and in the time when 
1 gather you] Originally, this was probably the continuation and 
close of the previous line. With a change to direct address, the 
fact is clearly indicated that the glorification of Israel is to be 
simultaneous with the return of the exiles now scattered through 
out the known world. For I will make you a name and a praise 
among all the peoples of the earth] A repetition of v. 19c , with a 
slightly different order of words and a change of person. It is 
likewise continued and completed by the addition of a temporal 
clause, viz. When I turn your captivity before your eyes, saith 
Yahweh] For the phrase turn your captivity, v. note on 2 7 . Be 
fore your eyes, i. e. in your own lifetime; cf. Is. 52*. 

The measure of this section is pentameter, which is on the whole well 
sustained, the only irregularity being in cases where the text is in doubt. 
The second str. has suffered textually more than the first. Its four lines 

* Du. s proposition to close the poem with v. 18 , making this a later prose supplement, seems 
to have little basis beyond the somewhat prosaic character of v. 19 . But v. 18 also is open to 
that criticism. 

t So Ew., R.V.; cf. AV., "every land where they have been put to shame." 

J So e. g. Schw., We., Now., GASm., Marti, Siev.. Fag., Du.. 

might be increased to six by the incorporation of v. 20a - c ; but this is un 
attractive, if for no other reason than that it results in two somewhat 
heavy temporal clauses, in apposition one with the other, following the 
main clause. 

The unity of the section has been disturbed; w. 16 - 17 - 20 are later ad 
ditions (v. s.}. Not only so, but it is by no means certain that Str. II 
really belongs with Str. I. The change of person in v. 18 might point to 
a new departure in the thought; and the variation in the length of the 
two strs. suggests different origins for them; so e. g., Roth.; cf. Dr.. But, 
on the whole, it is simpler to treat the second as complementary to the 
first, especially since the basis for the appearance of Yahweh speaking 
in his own person is laid in v. 17 . 

The passage as a whole (vv. I4 - 20 ) is quite generally assigned to an ex 
ilic or postexilic date by modern interpreters; the defenders of Zepha- 
niah s authorship are now few, viz. Ko. Einl.; WRS., art. Zephaniah, 
EB.; Dr. (?); Or., and Stk.. On the side of late origin may be cited, 
Oort, Godgeleerde Bijdragen, 1865, pp. 812 /.; Sta. GVI , 644; Kue. 
Einl. 78; We.; Schw.; Bu. SK. 1893, pp. 393 /. and Gesch. 89; Cor.; 
Wildeboer, Litt. d. AT.; Dav.; Now.; GASm.; Grimm, Lt. A pp. g$/.; 
Baudissin, Einl.; Strack, Einl. 9 ; Beer; Roth.; Du.; Kent. The consid 
erations in favour of the late date are convincing. Threats of punish 
ment give way here wholly to promises of peace and pardon. The ces 
sation of Israel s affliction is decreed; the restoration of the favour of 
is assured. The exile and dispersion are taken for granted as well- 
known facts. The return of exiles is predicted. The whole spirit and 
tone of the section is that of Zc. 14 and the so-called Deutero-Isaiah. 
The total severance of the fulfilment of the promises here made from all 
historical agencies is characteristic of Messianic and eschatological utter 
ances of later times. 

1. ly-in] This use of the pi. as over against the sg. in m and Tictr is 
due to the fact that SNT^ was not so keenly felt to be an individual and 
personal epithet as were jvx ra and aVa>rp ra; the collective idea was 
more in evidence. Stn3"] < = D^W ra; so Now.. 15. -piODr::] Rd. 
Tsofrp, with $; so We., Oort Em , Now., Marti, Siev., Fag., Roth.. 
Hal. *l39Ute. The objection that a forensic term like b D is a hardly 
suitable designation of Israel s enemies is not weighty in view of Jb. 9" 
and the bitterness and wrath that Job attributes to his opponent who is 
none less than * himself, the source of all Job s sufferings. HJD] ($ Xe- 
Xi/rpwraJ <re; hence Schw. p "pa. Schw. objects to M on the ground 
that in its seven other occurrences DJD always means make clear, pre 
pare, a meaning not suitable here. But & 01 H approve the meaning 
remove, take away ; this is a legitimate and natural development of 
the primary meaning, turn ; and it is not so certain that this is not the 
meaning required in Ps. 8o 10 . I^N] Rd. !]on, with many mss. of Kenn. 


and de R., 05 B Of. iSo] <">. b. A.Y HP. 22, 26, 36, 42, 51, 
62, 86, 95, 106, 185, 228, 238, 240, 311, a<rt\ei5<r = rjSjp; so Marti, Siev., 
Fag., Roth.. SNT^] Marti, Fag., Roth. om.. Siev. tr. to foil. ianpa. 
Nin] <g of>K tyy = 4IH; so &. B won timebis = iN-vn; so Bab. Cod., 38 
mss. of Kenn. and 31 of de R. and the Baer and Ginsburg Bibles. 
thou shall not be alarmed at the sight of evil. 16. nnjo] (g ^pet in/pios. 
K-vn SN] <& positively, 0<p<r. 17 . j?w] Adjectival impf. = a rela 
tive clause. <& <rc6<ret <re. treats as prtc . co T 1 ^ BMJ^] (g <f7rci 
f{xj>po<r6vr)v. pnrp] Rd. Bnrn, with <g /caiviet (re and &; so Buhl 
. V, 183), GASm., Dr., Roth., Du.. B silebit. Houb. tfnm; so 
New., Ew., Hi.. Gr. ^cnrn; so Now.. Bach. CN orn_\ Schw. mm (?); 
so Oort Em -. Miiller (SK. 1907, p. 310), vn~\\ = he roars, or Effer 
vesces, boils over (cf. Ps. 45 2 ); so van H.. inansa] Some del. a. The 
force of a in nnoa>2 and njna seems to call for the meaning with or 
in here also. This is supported by the fact that tsnn does not elsewhere 
take an obj. with a. \hy\ Fag. om.. 18. ipno iju] Rd. nyjo o^r? and 
join it to v. , with <S ws ^ ^p^ ^opr^s and 0; so Buhl (ZAW. 
V, 183), Schw. (?), Gr., Oort Em -, Now., Marti, van H., Fag., Du.. B 
nugas, qui a lege recesserant. Hal. r DD uic, Hoph. prtc. of |/ nj^; so 
Dr. (?). Bach. CD D^.ra [ n^.pVJ. Siev. DO T. ^ A ^ s WM ^ a ^ is an 
etymology suggested by the resemblance in sound, but without any basis 
in fact. The form in HI must be Niph. prtc. i/ n.r, with an obtusion of i 
to i; Ges.* Mt . The fern, nuu occurs in La. i<. The form might 
also be derived from another nj> which in Hiph.= push away ; but no 
Niph. form of this root occurs elsewhere, nor is the only known form of 
the Hiph. (2 S. 20") absolutely guaranteed textually. Cf. Ko. I, 582. 
TIDDN] 05 = NT; 9 mss. of HP. = Kal <rvvd%ei. & I will cause to pass 
away. Bach. D^DDN. IDC] Rd. *V???, with (5 TOI>S o-uvTerpt/i/x^j/ovs 
(+ <TOV (S A Q); so Schw. (?), Now., van H.. B. quia ex te. Hal. rjgjj. 
Buhl (/. c.), ^CND. The only other case cited for the prep, f D as = belong 
ing to or springing from is Is. 58 * and there the text is almost certainly 
corrupt as it is here. The SiOttD of Ezr. 2 59 is not quite analogous. 
vn] Rd. D^N^D~I; cf. those who were speaking. <& oi/al ris 
i = Ntij ^D --in. Aq. of; so $. B erant ut non ultra habeas. 
OS s m is adopted by Buhl, Schw., Oort Em -, Now., van H., Fag.. We. 
nNipp. Hal. "iriN^D; so Dr. (?). Buhl, Nb" >p; so Now., van H., Fag.. 
Marti, <i nNfrJ) "n 1 ??; so Now. K (?), Roth. (?). Siev. ^wfenp vn. The 
rendering of r y VD by "the burden upon her" is liable to three objec 
tions; (i) the anarthrous character of D; (2) the elision of the relative 
pronoun and the copula; (.3) the meaning burden is required nowhere 
else. The Hiph. prtc. here proposed is not elsewhere found; but the 
use of the Hiph. is assured by Lv. 22 18 , even if 2 S. ly 18 be unsafe. The 
literal rendering with this reading becomes, those who smote thee and 
those who caused (others) to lift up reproach against thee. n- Sj/] Rd. 

3"- 23 

T!?^> TOth Bab. Cod., and several mss. of Kenn. and de R.; so Oort Em -, 
Fag.. We. Dn^?>; so Hal.. 19. n;] U interficiam. Gr. adds n^r; 
so Now., Marti, Siev., Fag.. Van H. tr. Sa] to foil, y and reads it n^r. 
*VJJ?D SD PN] <& tv <rol ^c/cev <ro(5; hence GASm. ^tfrph Sims; simi 
larly Du.. <8 Y J-veKev ^tou (so 9 mss. of HP.). Roth. ^JD 1 ? T)nN. & 
<&ew a// Awmi/e n *&e rnwto o/ thee. N^nn nj?3] <&BANQY HP. 48, 228, 
add X^yei KJ//JIOJ. & H under asterisk. Marti om. as dittog. from v. 20 ; so 
Siev., Fag.. D>nDttn] <& NB om.. No. Gotting. gel. Anzeig. 1871, p. 897, 
del. D and makes foil, so obj.. a*^] (8 pi.. 001^3] <S /caTattrxui/^crovTat. 
& om.; so Schw., We., Dav., Now., GASm., Oort Em -, Dr. (?), Marti, 
Siev., Fag., Roth., Du.. Gr. inserts nnn before 2; so Hal., Dr. (?). As 
parallel cases for a cstr. with the art., there have been cited Jos. 3 17 8 11 
i S. 2 1J 2 K. 7 13 Je. 25"; but in every one of these instances there is good 
ground for suspecting corruption of the text. 20. NON NTin njn] Rd., 
with Buhl, o^n n^D (cf. (& tv ry Kcu/><J) ticelvy 8rav xaXws v/juv 7roiiJ<ra>) ; 
so also van H.. Cf. Schw. (?), 3>t^N N"nn ny:j; so Gr., GASm., Oort Em -, 
Du.. Slip n3l] Rd. p, with Buhl. (& xal lv ry /caipy &TO.V clvSt- 
fruai. Schw. T3p N^nn njni;. so We., Now., GASm. (?), Marti, Dr., 
Siev., Fag., Roth.. It is difficult to see how so easy and natural a read 
ing as this latter one could have given way to the rarer idiom suggested 
by IK, which bears the stamp of originality. If this be correct, there is a 
strong presupposition in favour of the similar reading here adopted for 
the first part of the line. D3\~n3- ] Rd. opnotp, with <& & ~& and 14 
Heb. mss.; so Schw., We., Now., GASm., BDB., Marti, Fag.. 




Its Contents. 

The first section of the book of Nahum as it now stands sets 
forth the avenging wrath of Yahweh (i 2 - 10 ). Though manifested 
with reluctance, yet its exhibition against the ungodly is inevitable. 
Its outpouring throws the physical universe into convulsions, but 
Yahweh furnishes shelter from his wrath to those that trust in him. 
Those that oppose him are irrevocably destroyed. The second 
section (i n -2 3 ) alternates between words of reproach or threaten 
ing against some unnamed foe (supposedly Nineveh) and promises 
of comfort and deliverance to Judah. 

The remainder of the book deals with one subject, viz. the 
approaching destruction of Nineveh. The material, however, 
divides itself into two sections, viz. 2 4 14 and 3 1 19 . The former of 
these begins so abruptly as to suggest that the original beginning of 
the section is either lost or else embodied in i u -2 3 . The section 
as a whole gives a vivid picture of the attack upon Nineveh, the 
capture, the weeping of the women, the flight of the defenders and 
the plunder of the city s treasures and closes with a taunt-song con 
trasting Nineveh s past tyranny and robbery with the waste and 
desolate state which awaits her. The closing section (3 1 " 9 ), ad 
dressed directly to the doomed city, first of all presents concretely 
the awful state in store for her. The reason for this is then as 
signed as lying in her treacherous treatment of other nations. 
Hence she is to be made the butt of the scorn of these nations. If 
she flatters herself that she is impregnable, let her recall the over 
throw of the invincible Thebes. Panic will seize her defenders 
and she will fall an easy prey. No matter how zealous she be in 


268 NAHUM 

strengthening her defences, fire and sword will destroy her, and 
her population will scatter like a brood of locusts, leaving behind 
no clue. Her destruction will be total and final and will call forth 
the plaudits of all peoples. 

Its Unity. 

No question was raised as to the unity of the book of Nahum 
until the appearance of Gunk. s article in ZAW. for 1893. Ber- 
thold had, indeed, in 1814* asserted that the three chapters were 
independent one of another and claimed that, though from one au 
thor, they were separated by slight intervals of time. Gunk., how 
ever, asserted not only the independence of ch. i, but also its origin 
from a different hand. Essentially this view has been followed by 
nearly all succeeding interpreters.f The considerations pointing 
to another and later origin for i 2 10 are as follows. The acrostic 
form in which the material is cast seems too mechanical and arti 
ficial for a poet of Nahum s vigour and freshness. The psalm-like 
character of the language, first noted by We., is in marked con 
trast with the language of prophecy. The theological and abstract 
nature of the thought of i 2 ff is strikingly different from that of the 
concrete and vivid tableaux of chs. 2 and 3. This is the language 
of reflection, not that of prophetic passion forged in the heat of cur 
rent controversy and hope. The descriptions here might be ap 
plied to almost any foe; they lack the specific detail of chs. 2 and 3. 
In i 4 f> , the wrath of Yahweh is let loose upon Bashan, Carmel 
and Lebanon; whereas, in chs. 2 and 3, Nineveh is the sole object 
of his anger. The indefinite and eschatological character of the 
acrostic distinguishes it sharply from genuine prophecy, such as is 
found in chs. 2 and 3. It is true, as is urged by GASm., that 
vagueness and eschatological tone are found in Zephaniah; but 
there the eschatological material leads naturally and smoothly 
to the announcement of the coming historical events which are to 

* Einl., cited by Hap.. 

t Exceptions are Dav., who refrains from a decision; GASm., who admits " many provocations 
to belief" in the late origin of ch. i, but does not regard it as proved, and therefore leaves the 
question open; and Or., who ascribes the acrostic to Nahum whom he believes to have used so 
much of an earlier poem of his own as seemed appropriate here. 

UNITY 269 

fulfil the expectations of the prophet. Here, the eschatological 
theophany is without practical issue and lacks connection of any 
kind with the final catastrophe, which is historically mediated. 

Various hypotheses have been formulated as to the way in which 
the acrostic became a part of the book of Nahum. It goes with 
out saying that the union was deliberate rather than accidental. 
But, was the acrostic as it now stands originally written as an intro 
duction to Nahum? Or was it, though written for this purpose, 
thoroughly revised at some later date?* Or again, is it a poem 
found ready at hand and forced into this service by some editor who 
failed to appreciate its acrostic form ? f These questions cannot 
be answered with any high degree of assurance; but the last 
mentioned hypothesis seems the more likely; for the introduction 
does not fit sufficiently well to have been made to order. 

From the remainder of ch. i, viz. w. n " 15 , a portion consisting 
of w. 12 - 13 - 15 is to be joined with chap. 2 and set aside as an inter 
polation, which balances the foregoing judgment upon the heathen 
with an announcement of deliverance for the people of God. The 
genuine Nahum first appears in i 11 - 14 2 1 - 3 . This, however, is 
scarcely to be accepted as the original opening of the prophecy. It 
is altogether too abrupt and broken. The probability is that the 
acrostic has displaced some material which formed the original 
beginning of the prophecy. 

The only other extraneous matter in the book is found at the 
very end, viz. 3 18 - 19 . These verses were suspected as later than 
the rest by We.; and the fact that they seem to reflect the fall of 
Nineveh, together with their variation from the str. norm of their 
context, makes it probable that We. suspected the truth. 

One other portion, viz. 2 14 ~3 7 , has been suspected of having been 
subjected to a thorough working over.J The grounds alleged for 
this suspicion were (i) the probability that the original metre was 
elegiac, (2) the theological colouring which was thought to recall 
the style of Ezekiel. But the only theological element in the pas 
sage is the statement that Nineveh s downfall is due to Yahweh s 
indignation against her sins. The fact that elsewhere Nahum 

* So We.. t So Now., Dr., van H., Kennedy. 

J Viz. by Bu. EB. (1002); but the passage remains unchallenged in his Gesch. (1906). 

270 NAHUM 

says nothing directly about Yahweh s part in the punishment 
surely does not prohibit him from speaking of it here, especially 
in view of the fact that the idea is one characteristic of all genu 
ine prophecy. 

Attempts to dissolve Nahum into its original elements and to 
reconstruct these in combinations wholly new and radically differ 
ent from that found in $& have been made by Hap. and Hpt.. 
The former regards ch. i as having been constituted of two differ 
ent sections, viz. i 2 - 10 and i 12b - 15 . These were worked over and 
cemented together by i 11 - 12a . Chs. 2 and 3 Hap. declares to be 
independent of ch. i and each independent of the other, the three 
chapters having been written by three different hands. This view 
finds no adequate support in the text and is cited merely as a curi 
osity of interpretation. 

Hpt. designates the book as a liturgical collection of four poems, 
the first two belonging to the Maccabaean age and the last two to 
the days immediately preceding the fall of Nineveh in 606 B.C.. 
The materials belonging to the four poems are: (i) i 2 10 ; (2) 3 1 " 7 

jll. 14 2 1 X 12. 15 2 2. ^ 3 8-15. ^ 3 2. 3 2 3a-5. 8b. 6-8a. 7. 9-l 2> J n support 

of this extraordinary bouleversement, not a shred of argument is 
proffered. Something more than a mere ipse dixit is needed to 
render such a proposal worthy of serious consideration. 

Its Poetic Form. 

For the last thirty years, the poetic form of ch. i has been the 
subject of repeated consideration. The remainder of the book 
has received relatively little attention. Bick. first presented a re 
construction of ch. i showing its acrostic character.* By an in 
genious but fanciful method, he found the acrostic completed 
within i 2 " 10 (v. following commentary). Gunk.f abandoned the 
attempt to discover the complete alphabet in the initial letters of 
the lines in w. ^ and, on the basis of We. s elimination of i 13 - 15 2 2 
as an interpolation, blazed a new path by carrying the acrostic on 
through ch. i and into the beginning of ch. 2, its constituent ele- 

* In ZDMG. XXXIV (1880), 559 ft.; similarly also in Carmina Veleris Tcstamcnli melrict 
(1882), and on vv. 7 - in Zeitschrifl }iir Kathol. Theologie for 1886, pp. 550 fl.. 
t In ZAW. XIII (1893). 


ments being i 2 - 10 - 1S - 14 2 1 - 3 . This new trail was followed by Bick. 
in his latest publication on the subject,* but with a somewhat dif 
ferent arrangement of the materials, w. 3a - 2c - d being placed be 
tween w. 9 and 10 and some new readings being proposed. Gunk, 
in turnf accepted some of Bick. s modifications and supplied the 
missing 3 and p lines of which he had despaired in 1893. Now. 
in his first edition (1897) accepted in essence the conclusions of 
Gunk, and Bick.J Dav. (1896) and Dr. both assumed a scepti 
cal attitude toward the existence of an acrostic; while GASm. 
(1898) recognised the traces of an alphabetical arrangement as far 
as i e , though questioning the success of the preceding efforts to 
restore it. We. (1898) granted the alphabetic structure of w. M , 
but denied any further trace of it.** Grayff admitted the exist 
ence of the acrostic throughout ch. i and on into ch. 2, but regarded 
attempts to restore it beyond i 9 as wholly conjectural.Jt Siev. 
likewise abandoned the effort to restore the acrostic beyond i 9 , but 
declared that the rhythm showed that the acrostic was not con 
tinued in ch. 2. Arn. (1901) presented the view that the pres 
ence of the acrostic is due to the work of a redactor, who cited it 
from memory but forgot the latter part of it together with its orig 
inal order and the fact that it was an acrostic; consequently it can 
be recovered only in w. 2 ~ 10 - 12b and there only by dint of much 
change of text and transposition of words and clauses. Marti 
(1904) too limits the acrostic to w. 2 " 10 and declares it to be a torso, 
the balance of which is irrecoverable.*** Van H. renews the at 
tempt to complete the acrostic within i 2 -2 3 , but the many violent 
emendations and transpositions involved in his reconstruction of 
the latter part mark his effort as only an academic exercise. 
In the following commentary, the acrostic is carried only through 

* Beitrage zur semil. Metrik (1894). 

t Schdpjung und Chaos (1895), pp. 102 /.. 

J So also Hap. Psalm Na. (1000) and Das Buck Na. (1002). 

In Expos. T. 1897. 

** So also Now.* (1003); Lohr, ZAW. XXV (1905), 174 f.. 

tt Exp. for 1898, pp. 207-220. 

JJ So also Kennedy in DB. art. Nahum (1900). Dr. (1906) follows Gray s reconstruction 
of w. *- , but questions the acrostic character of vv. 10 ff . 

Metrische Studien (1001). 

*** So also Hpt. JBL. XXVI (1907) and ZDMG. LXI (1007), 275-97; Stk. (1908); Du. 

272 NAHUM 

i 10 and the reconstruction is substantially that of Gunk, as emended 
by Bick., Marti, et al.. Hexameter rhythm prevails throughout 
this poem, with the caesura after the third beat, except in 1. i where 
it follows the fourth beat. The poem was perhaps organised orig 
inally into strs. of six lines each, but nothing certain can be gath 
ered from the fragment before us. 

The poetic form of chs. 2 and 3 remains to be considered. 
Greve (1793) was one of the first to treat the prophecy as poetry. 
Eich. (1816) arranged it in strs.. Poetical versions were offered 
also by Justi (1820), New. (1836), A. G. Hoelemannus (1842), Urn. 
(1844), Bretschneider (1861) and Ew. (1867). But none of these 
had any inkling of the nature of Heb. metre. In recent times, Bu. 
has pointed out the existence of elegiac rhythm in chs. 2 and 3.* 
Rub. contributed a study of the oracle in i 12 - 14 2 2 - 4 14 ,f concerning 
the poetic form of which he said, "the whole prophecy is written 
in lines or crTfyoi, every OTI/JOS consisting of two or three /etwXa." 
Accordingly he found twenty o-rfyot,, of which fourteen were com 
posed of two /ca>\a each, five of three /ecoXa each, and one of only 
one K)\OV. But the unevenness of the /ca)\a, which range from 
three beats to six in length, robs this arrangement of any real value. 
In 1901, Siev. arranged 2 1 " 5 in pentameters, following Bu. s hint. 
Hap. (1902) was the first in recent times to arrange the whole book 
as poetry. His str. arrangement in part coincides with that pre 
sented in this commentary; e. g. the number of strs. in chs. 2 and 
3 is the same in both arrangements and the first and second strs. of 
ch. 3 include the same materials in both. But Hap. s reconstruc 
tion is subject to serious criticism at several points; e. g. 2 9c can 
hardly be made to yield two lines, nor 2 10 four; nor can JJDt^ N^l 
"pfc^D Vlp TIJJ (2 14e ) be divided into two lines; nor is it easy to 
justify the presence of dimeter (3) and tetrameter (3) lines in 
the same str. in immediate juxtaposition (so also in 3 13 ). Marti 
(1904) finds one seven-line str. in elegiac rhythm in i 12 - 13 - 15 2 2 and 
organises i 11 - 14 2 1 * 3 ~3 19 into a series of four-line strs., which as a 
rule exhibit the same elegiac movement. But this adherence 
to the four-line str. is possible only at the cost of disregarding 

* First in ZAW. II (1882), 35; also in EB. 3262 and Cesch. p. 90. 
t PSBA. XX (1898), 173-85- 


logical continuity. The study by Hpt. (1907) is valuable not for 
its poetic analysis and arrangement which are arbitrary in the ex 
treme (v. p. 270), but for the many lexicographical and grammat 
ical hints it contains. Stk. (1908) attempts no str. analysis, but 
prints his text in metrical lines and indicates their metrical charac 
ter. In this task, he is under no compulsion to produce lines con 
forming to a uniform metrical standard; but, on the contrary, in 
3 1 19 , for example, permits the appearance of heptameter, dimeter, 
trimeter, hexameter, tetrameter and octameter lines. This is to 
disregard all known laws of poetic form and introduce chaos. 
Du. (1910) recognises the elegiac metre throughout chs. 2 and 
3 and, like Marti, applies the standard of the four-line str. con 
sistently throughout the prophecy. He, however, secures four 
four-line strs. from 2 4 " 7 where Marti finds only three, two from 
2 14 to Marti s one, and three from 3- 10 to Marti s two. His ar 
rangement also involves transposing 3 19a to follow 3 15a . 

In the reconstruction of the poetical form of i n ~3 19 presented in 
this commentary, the text is divided into three sections, viz. (i) 
i 12 - 13 - 15 2 2 , (2) i 11 - 14 2 1 - 3 - 13 , (3) 3 1 - 19 . The first is omposed of 
a single eight-line str. in almost perfect elegiac rhythm. The 
second comprises five strs., the first four having six lines each and 
the fifth one only three. Here elegiac rhythm reveals itself in 
i 11 2 2 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 12- 13 ; the variants from this are tetrameter and hex 
ameter lines. In the third section, six strs. are contained, hav 
ing lines each, though the final str. may be a later 
accretion (v. p. 269). Elegiac rhythm recurs here in 3 4b - 5< 6 - 8a - 
11. 12. 14. 15. is. 19. t h e remaining lines are chiefly tetrameters and 
hexameters as in ch. 2. To create elegiac rhythm consistently 
throughout chs. 2 and 3 involves a treatment of the text which 
does despite to all sound canons of textual criticism. 

Though the rhythm and metre of Nahum are not so smooth and 
regular as is the case with some Heb. prophets, yet in some re 
spects the poetry of Nahum is unsurpassed in the OT.. His excel 
lence is not in sublimity of thought, depth of feeling, purity of 
motive, or insight into truth and life. It is rather in his descrip 
tive powers. He has an unexcelled capacity to bring a situation 
vividly before the mind s eye. His constructive imagination lays 

274 NAHUM 

hold of the central elements of a scene and with realistic imagery 
and picturesque phraseology recreates it for his readers. Accurate 
and detailed observation assists in giving his pictures verisimilitude. 
Lowth rightly said,* "Ex omnibus minoribus prophetis nemo 
videtur aequare sublimitatem, ardorem et audaces spiritus Na- 
humi. . . . Apparatus ad excidium Ninivae ejusque excidii de- 
scriptio et amplificatio ardentissimis coloribus exprimitur et ad- 
mirabilem habet evidentiam et pondus." Through the whole scene 
there moves a mighty passion and a great joy which lift the nar 
rative out of the commonplace into the majestic and make of it 
great literature. 


The upper limit for the period of Nahum s activity is established 
by 3 8 . The fall of Thebes is there referred to as already past. But 
Thebes suffered more than once at the hands of Assyria. In 670 
B.C., Esarhaddon had conquered the whole of lower Egypt, in 
cluding Memphis, and had organised it into Assyrian dependencies. 
The list of the Egyptian princes who swore allegiance to him at 
this time includes the name of the Prince of Thebes; but Thebes 
was not then attacked by Esarhaddon. Again, about 667 B.C., 
Ashurbanipal forced Taharka to flee from Thebes and take up an 
intrenched position farther south ; but it is doubtful whether Thebes 
fell into the hands of Assyria at that time.f Finally, in 66 1 B.C., 
Ashurbanipal captured Thebes and carried off an enormous booty 
to Nineveh. This event was the beginning of the end for the great 
est city of Egypt and the ancient world. There can be little doubt 
but that Nahum s reference was to this occasion. So far as we now 
know, there was no other attack upon Thebes prior to the fall of 
Nineveh, which accords with the description of 3 8 . It is true that 
by 652 B.C., Piankhi I had regained Thebes; but she never recov 
ered her former greatness and the tradition of her impregnability 
had been irremediably shattered. 

The lower limit for the period of Nahum s prophetic work is fixed 
by the date of the fall of Nineveh, to which the prophet looks for- 

* De sacra poesi Hebraeorum 2 (1770), II, 434. 
t_V. Breasted, History oj Egypt (1905), 557. 


ward with exulting confidence. That we are not dealing with a 
vaticinium post eventum is clear: the hope of the prophet is too 
genuine and fresh; the details of the siege and conquest are too 
minute and would be somewhat superfluous, to say the least; and 
the total lack of any shadow cast by the knowledge, or even sus 
picion, that Babylon was a far more severe taskmaster than 
Nineveh had ever been would be inexplicable. The date of 
Nineveh s fall is determined by the statement of Nabonidus that 
he restored the temple of Sin at Harran fifty-four years after its 
destruction.* This destruction of Harran was at the same time as 
that of Nineveh, or at most not more than a year earlier. The 
restoration of the temple of Sin occurred in the third year of 
Nabonidus, f i. e. 553 B.C.. Hence the fall of Harran was about 
607 and that of Nineveh about 607 or 606 B.C.. 

The specific portion of the period between 66 1 B.C. and 606 
B.C. in which Nahum prophesied is more difficult to determine. 
On the one hand, it is urged that the memory of the fall of Thebes 
is so vivid that no long time can have elapsed since that event. 
On the other hand, it is evident that the fall of Nineveh is thought 
of as imminent and that the invasion of Assyria has already begun 
(3 13 ). Hence, some seeking to combine both of these elements in 
the picture would place Nahum in connection with the revolt of 
Babylon under Shamash-shum-ukin (u. p. i6o).J But that revolt 
spread among and included a great many peoples, while the proph 
ecy of Nahum seems to picture the fall of the city as due to the 
work of one great foe (2*). Furthermore, there is no suggestion of 
a schism in the realm of Assyria in Nahum s description; the at 
tack is rather from an outside foe. Nor, indeed, was the situation 
of Nineveh at any time during the revolt so precarious as to war 
rant such a confident expectation of her destruction as Nahum en 
tertains. Babylon in that revolt was not so intent upon destroying 
Nineveh and Assyria as upon gaining her own independence from 
or even domination over Assyria. Then, too, if Nahum had had 
this revolt in mind, he would hardly have anticipated the destruc- 

* Stele of Nabonidus, col. X. 

t Cylinder of Nabonidus from Abu-habba, col. I, 1. 28. 

t So e. g. Hi.; Wkl. D -, 124 /.; K6. Einl.; KL SK. 1910, pp. 501 #.. 

276 NAHUM 

tion of Nineveh so vividly. He would have been much more likely 
to have conceived of Nineveh as becoming the capital of the new 
Babylonian power and his threats of destruction would have been 
confined to the dynasty reigning in Nineveh. 

Another point of connection for the prophecy is found by some 
in the Scythian invasion of western Asia.* But it is by no means 
clear that those barbarians ever troubled Nineveh directly. In 
deed, they seem to have been her salvation from the Medes in 
625 B.C. (v. p. 163). Nor does Nahum s description of the 
attack upon Nineveh accord well with what is known of Scythian 
methods of warfare. The latter were scarcely adapted to the 
capture of mighty strongholds by direct assault. The Scyth 
ians hardly possessed the machinery requisite for such an under 

The first attack upon Nineveh by Cyaxares (525 B.C.) is favoured 
by several writers as furnishing the occasion for the hopes of 
Nahum ;f while the second attack, resulting in the destruction of 
the city, is preferred by the majority. The choice lies between 
these two. To both alike objection is made on the ground that 
the memory of the fall of Thebes would hardly have remained so 
long as vivid as is presupposed by the question in 3 8 . To this it 
may be replied that the fall of Thebes made a profound impression 
in Judah, since it dealt a mortal blow to the hope for deliverance 
through Egypt so long encouraged by the Egyptian party in Jeru 
salem. Then, too, the lapse of time made it all the easier for Na 
hum to ignore as he did the agency of Assyria in the downfall of 
Thebes. Examples of even longer memory are furnished by Zc. 
i4 5 Nu. i3 22 . Hence, it seems hardly necessary to suppose, with 
We., that Nahum referred to some destruction of Thebes in the 
latter part of the seventh century of which no other record has been 
discovered. With the elimination of ch. i as a later preface to the 
prophecy, there disappears the objection to a date near the final 
fall of Nineveh that arises from the fact that Nineveh s oppressive 
dominance over Judah is presupposed by i 13 . The statements of 
2 10 3 1 apply as well to the city of 626-608 B.C. as to that of any 

* So e.g. Jrm.. 

t So e. g. Kue. Onderzoea (1889); VViideboer, Letterkunde des Ouden Verbonds* (1903); van H.. 


earlier period. Nineveh did not change her character as her power 
diminished. The sufferings of Judah at the hands of Nineveh had 
lasted too long and been too humiliating and agonising to be for 
gotten the moment the hand of the oppressor was lifted. To a 
Semitic people, tenacious of revenge, the downfall of an ancient 
tyrant would be an occasion for joyous celebration long after re 
lease from the tyranny had been realised. 

There is little to choose between the first and the second siege 
of Cyaxares. The actual occurrence of the first has indeed been 
called in question;* but without sufficient reason. It is true the 
only testimony to its actuality is that of Hdt. But on the other 
hand, the only testimony cited against it is the statement of Aby- 
denus, quoted by Eusebius; viz. "Saracus certior factus quod ex- 
ercitus locustarum instar mari exiens impetum faceret, Busalos- 
sorum ducem confestim Babelonem misit." This is interpreted 
by We. as applying to an attack of the Scythians from the Black 
Sea upon Babylon at the very time when Nineveh, according to 
Hdt., was undergoing siege at the hands of the Medes, thus being 
hindered by her own necessities from sending aid to any other city. 
However, waiving the question as to the relative values of Hdt. 
and Abydenus as historians, it is far from certain that the citation 
from the latter has anything to do with the time about 625 B.C.. 
Saracus, generally identified with Sin-shar-ishkun, was not the im 
mediate successor of Ashurbanipal upon the throne of Assyria, 
as would be the case if he had been king in 625 B.C.. Babylon was 
independent of Nineveh and under its own king from 626 on; hence 
the interest of the king of Assyria in its defence is strange. More 
over, why should a king of Assyria send his army to defend Baby 
lon from a foe advancing from the north, thus leaving his own 
capital inviting attack from the same foe by the weakness of its 
defence? The datum concerning Saracus must be accounted for 
in some more satisfactory way. 

The certain fact is that at the time of Nahum s utterance, the 
prestige of Nineveh was wholly gone. She was threatened with 
immediate destruction. The enemy was already in the land and 
her downfall seemed certain. This interpretation might have been 

* E. g. by We. 

278 NAHUM 

placed by Nahum upon the situation as it was either in 625 B.C. 
or in 608-606 B.C.. But the degree of animosity toward Nineveh 
accords better, perhaps, with the post-Deuteronomic date, 608- 
606 B.C., than with the pre-Deuteronomic period.* The expecta 
tion of Nahum was certainly not fulfilled till about 606 B.C. and, 
if the prophet is to be credited with an adequate knowledge of the 
movements of his day, we shall be forced to interpret his utterance 
as applying to the final siege. On the whole, therefore, it is better 
to place him there than at the earlier date, until we have more def 
inite information as to the course of events in Assyria during her 
last days and as to the exactness of the information in possession 
of the Hebrews regarding the political movements of the time. In 
any case, the significance of the prophecy will remain the same, 
whichever of the two dates be chosen. 

The assignment of Nahum to the Maccabaean age, as proposed 
by Hap. and Hpt., is put practically out of the question by the testi 
mony of BS. 48 20 - 25 49 C - 8 - 10 as to the history of the Canon. The 
mention there of "the twelve prophets" shows that at that time the 
Book of the Twelve was already known and held in high esteem. 
It is, of course, not to be denied that the Book of the Twelve under 
went more or less modification after that date, viz. c. 180 B.C.. But 
it is scarcely to be conceived that a new name was added to the 
twelve already known and that one of the latter was dropped. Yet 
this is involved in the proposition to make Nahum a product of 
the Maccabaean period. f Nor are the positive arguments brought 
forward by Hap. at all convincing. The differences between 
Nahum and the rest of the pre-exilic prophets included in the 
Canon are certainly striking; but it does not follow that Nahum 
is necessarily postexilic or Maccabaean. The character of the 
differences is not such as to make them inconsistent with pre-exilic 
origin (v. p. 281). Nor is 3" satisfactorily explained by the failure 
of Antiochus Epiphanes to take Alexandria. That failure was 
not due to the strength of Alexandria, as would be required by 
3 8 , but to the intervention of the power of Rome. Nor is 3* ex- 

* V. Bertholet, Die Stellung der Israeliten zu den Fremden (1905), 105 /.. 
t C}. Francis Brown on The Decline of Prophecy, in Essays in Modern Theology and Related 
Subjects Gathered and Published *s a Testimonial to Chas. A. Briggs (1911), p. 67. 


plicable only on the basis of the religious intolerance and propa- 
gandism of Antiochus (v. note ad loc.}. 

If Nahum lived and prophesied in the days immediately pre 
ceding the downfall of Nineveh, his lot was cast in desperate times. 
The good King Josiah had but recently fallen in battle at Megiddo. 
His successor Jehoahaz had been taken prisoner to Egypt, after 
a reign of only three months, and Jehoiakim had been imposed 
upon Judah as a vassal of Pharaoh Necho. A heavy annual 
tribute was laid upon Judah and it was Jehoiakim s ungra 
cious task to collect and transmit it to Egypt. The practical 
freedom that had been enjoyed for some time under Josiah had 
given place to a galling servitude. The news of the approaching 
end of a former taskmaster was a ray of light amid Egyptian 

The Man. 

Beyond the slight information furnished by the book itself, noth 
ing is at hand from which to reconstruct the personality and the 
environment of Nahum. He must remain little more to us than a 
voice. For details regarding his name and residence, v. pp. 285^.. 
Some interpreters have sought to make him a resident of Assyria 
and an eye-witness of the scenes he describes. But his knowledge 
of Assyrian words, places and customs is only such as was easily 
within the reach of any intelligent Hebrew of his times. Assyrian 
matters had been of absorbing interest to the politicians of Judah 
for more than a century. Assyrian armies were no uncommon 
sight in Syria, however unwelcome they may have been. Travel 
and commerce between Jerusalem and Nineveh were constant 
and continuous. The main facts concerning the structure and 
defences of Nineveh were doubtless known to the leading men of 
Judah. Nor does the vividness of Nahum s picture of the move 
ments against Nineveh prove anything in favour of his residence 
in Assyria. The scenes of ch. i are just as vivid as anything in the 
book, yet the writer there was evidently drawing upon his imag- 

280 NAHUM 

ination. The whole spirit and background of the prophecy are 
Hebrew and the burden of proof rests upon him who would seek 
to account for its origin on foreign soil. 

Nahum was an enthusiastic, optimistic patriot. The oppres 
sion and humiliation endured by his people for generations had 
long rankled in his soul. He is a fair representative of the state 
of mind of the average man of his times, whose faith in Yahweh s 
goodness and power had been severely tried by the continuous 
spectacle of the sufferings of Israel. The prospect of the speedy 
overthrow of the ancient tyrant who had done the most to ren 
der life intolerable for the people of Yahweh brought with it a 
great revulsion of feeling to men like Nahum. Sorrow and dis 
couragement approximating despair gave way to exuberant joy 
and returning hope. Assyria was to receive the due reward of all 
her evil deeds; Yahweh was to vindicate himself by his righteous 
acts; and for Israel the dawn of a new day was discernible upon 
the horizon. 

The Message. 

The prophecy of Nahum is simple and unique. It concerns 
itself with only one theme Nineveh is on the brink of destruc 
tion ; there is no possibility of escape for her. In ecstatic contem 
plation of this consummation devoutly to be wished for, the 
prophet is wholly absorbed. He can, he will see nothing else. 

This it is that sets him apart from all preceding prophecy. His 
predecessors have been interested primarily, and almost exclu 
sively, in the sin of Israel. Their task had been that of calling their 
countrymen to repentance and of pointing out to them a much more 
excellent way to assure themselves of the favour of God than that 
along which they had been travelling. The future of Israel was 
precious indeed in the sight of God; but only a radical readjust 
ment of life in the present could make that future anything but 
disastrous. Of all this, Nahum has not a word. In place of it, 
there appears a certain fiery form of indignation against Judah s 
ancient foe, which exhibits a degree of animosity for which the 
great ethical prophets furnish no parallel. The pent-up feelings of 
generations of suffering patriots here burst forth into flame. 


whole prophecy is a paean of triumph over a prostrate foe and 
breathes out the spirit of exultant revenge. 

The contrast between the message of Nahum and that of Jere 
miah, his contemporary, is striking. To the prophet of larger 
vision and deeper insight, the event which rilled Nahum s entire 
range of vision was of relatively slight importance. The passing 
of the Assyrian dominion is not even mentioned by Jeremiah, nor 
does the name of Nineveh once appear in his utterances. The 
two men belonged to different religious and political parties. If 
Nahum was not in active opposition to Jeremiah, he was at least 
indifferent to his efforts. Instead of grieving over the sin of Judah 
and striving with might and main to warn her of the error of her 
ways that she herself might turn and live, Nahum was apparently 
content to lead her in a jubilant celebration of the approaching 
death of Assyria. Jeremiah was too overwhelmed by sorrow and 
alarm for his own people to obtain any solace from the misfortune 
of another, which could bring no relief to the desperate situation of 

In Nahum, a representative of the old, narrow and shallow 
prophetism finds its place in the Canon of Scripture. His point of 
view is essentially one with that of such men as Hananiah (Je. 28), 
the four hundred prophets in opposition to Micaiah ben Imlah 
(i K. 22), and the so-called "false prophets" in general. For 
such prophets, the relation between Yahweh and his nation Israel 
was indissoluble. Yahweh might become angered at his people 
and give them over temporarily into the power of the foe. But he 
could no more wholly abandon them than a mother could desert her 
child. The obligation upon Israel was to be loyal to Yahweh as he 
was loyal to her; to eschew all foreign cults; to perform the cultus 
of Yahweh with zealous adherence to all of its requirements; and 
to conform to the traditional customs and ethics of the community. 
The possibility that new occasions might teach new duties, that 
the advancing civilisation with its more complex life might render 
the old usages and laws inadequate, and that Yahweh might care 
more for full justice and overflowing mercy than for the blood of 
bulls and goats had not been realised by them. The teaching that 
for a lack of fundamental, ethical qualities Yahweh was intending 

282 NAHUM 

to bring destruction upon his nation was branded by them as 
treason both to Israel and to Yahweh. Patriotism and religion 
combined in requiring the belief that Yahweh was able and willing 
to deliver his people out of every danger. Never could he suffer 
the adherents of other gods to triumph permanently over his own 
people. Never could the land of Judah and the temple of Yahweh 
be desecrated by being abandoned to the possession of the heathen. 
Nor could insult and injury to Yahweh and his people be allowed 
by him to go unavenged. To men of such a way of thinking, the 
prospect of the downfall of Nineveh would bring a joy without 
alloy. The prophecy of Nahum is a faithful transcript of the 
thoughts and feelings of a prophet with such a point of view. The 
overthrow of Nineveh not only brought to Nahum and those of like 
mind satisfaction of the natural, human desire for vengeance, but 
it also enabled them to justify the ways of God to men. Such ob 
jective demonstration of the justice of Yahweh was essential to the 
validity of their theology. By such vindication of Yahweh and 
his people, faith in Yahweh was made possible for them. Hence, 
the joy of Nahum is not only and merely exultation over a fallen 
foe, it is also the glad cry of an assured faith in the God of the 



In addition to the commentaries on the Minor Prophets as a 
whole by Ewald (1867), Kleinert (1868), Hitzig-Steiner (1881), 
von Orelli (1888; 3d ed. 1908), Wellhausen (1892; 3d ed. 1898), 
Nowack (1897; 2d ed. 1903), G. A. Smith (1898), Marti (1903) 
and van Hoonacker (1908), special mention must be made of 
Strauss (1853), Davidson (i896),Kolmodin (i898),Happel (1902), 
Driver (1906), Haupt (1907), Kautzsch (1909) and Kent (1910). 


All the Introductions to the OT. as a whole contain sections 
summarising the main facts about Nahum as do also the introduc 
tions to most of the aforesaid commentaries. In addition to these, 


the following are worthy of special mention: Billerbeck und 
Jeremias, Der Untergang Nineveh s mid die Weissagungsschrift 
des Nahum von Elkosch, BAS. Ill (1898), 87-188. P. Kleinert, 
Nahum und der Fall Nineves, S%. LXXXIII (1910), 501-533. 
Thomas Friedrich, Nineve s Ende und die Ausgange des Assyr- 
ischen Reiches, in Festgaben zu Ehren Max Budinger s (1898), 13- 
52. Budde, art. Nahum, EB. Ill (1902). A. R. S. Kennedy, 
art. Nahum, DB. Ill (1900). Volck, art. Nahum, PRE? XIII 
(1903). W. Staerk, Das Assyrische Weltreich im Urteil der 
Propheten (1908), 174-181. 

Special studies on ch. i and on the poetic form of the book are 
cited in i (pp. 270^".). 


M. Adler, A Specimen of a Commentary and Collated Text of the 
Targum to the Prophet Nahum, JQR. VII (1895), 630-657. 
Reinke, Zur Kritik der alteren Versionen des Propheten Nahum 
(1867). A. W. Greenup, The Yalkut of Rabbi Machir Bar Abba 
Mari on Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum and Habakkuk 
[Edited for the first time from the unique ms. (Harley 5704) in the 
British Museum] (1910). Fr. Buhl, Einige textkritische Bemer- 
kungen zu den Kleinen Propheten, ZAW. V (1885), 79~&4. E. 
Mahler, Untersuchung einer in Buche Nahum auf den Untergang 
Ninives bezogenen Finsterniss (1886). B. Duhm, Anmerkungen 
zu den Zw dlf Propheten, V, Buck Nahum, ZAW. XXXI (1911), 



These inform us as to the name of the author, his clan, the 
nature of his book, and the subject of his preaching. In common 
with the superscriptions to Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Habakkuk and 
Malachi among the prophetic books, it refrains from any statement 
regarding the time of this prophet s activity. Nahum is the only 
book in the OT. carrying two superscriptions at its head and is 
also the only prophecy entitling itself a book. 

i. An oracle on Nineveh] Nahum is pre-eminently a book of one 
idea, viz. the doom of Nineveh. This title thus exactly fits the 
contents of the book. This type of superscription is common in 
Isaiah, viz. I3 1 I5 1 ly 1 19* 2I 1 - 11 22* 23 1 3o 6 . On the fall of Nine 
veh, v. pp. i63/.. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite] 
The use of the word book here carries no such special significance 
as some older commentators imagined; viz. that it shows that the 
prophecy of Nahum was never spoken but was originally prepared 
in written form.* The word vision expressly characterises the 
following message as a revelation. The prophecies of Isaiah (i 1 ) 
and Obadiah (v. *) are also so designated. The name Nahum 
occurs only here in the OT.. Everything alleged regarding 
Nahum, aside from the statement of the superscription, is of late 
origin and of little value. Other names from the same root and 
so of similar meaning are Nehemiah, Nehum (Ne. f\ but cf. 
Ezr. 2 2 =Rehum), Nahamani (Ne, y 7 ), Menahem and Tanhumeth 
(Je. 40 8 ). The name seems to be an appellation meaning com 
forting or comforter. Its appropriateness to the author of this 
prophecy, which brings the promise of such great comfort to Judah, 
raises the suspicion that the name is not a birth name but one be- 

* So Gebhardt, Tarnovius, Pu., Ke.. 

I 2 285 

stowed upon this prophet by a later editor because of the character 
of his message. The term Elkoshite seems to be a gentilic ad 
jective derived from a place-name. But no thoroughly reliable 
information is available as to the location of Elkosh (v. i.}. 

The essential accuracy of the superscriptions is generally acknowl 
edged. The first, stating the contents of the book, accords perfectly 
with the bulk of the subject-matter; while the second, being beyond the 
possibility of a satisfactory test, and being in no way derivable from the 
text of the book itself, must be given the benefit of every doubt and be 
held to rest upon sound tradition. Owing to the twofold character of 
the heading, however, suspicion has been cast upon its genuineness. 
Grimm (1791) was the first to see here the work of a later hand. He has 
had many followers, who have declared the superscription in whole or 
in part to be of late origin; so Eich. (Einl. Ill, 371), Ew., Hd., Or., Dav., 
Now., Arn., Hap., Bu. (EB.), Marti, Kau., Du., Kent. It is probable 
that the two portions of the legend come from different hands, as Ew., 
Or., Bu., et al. suggest; but it is unnecessary to regard each as having 
belonged originally to its own special portion of the book as Hpt. et al. 
maintain. If any part of the heading be from Nahum himself, it is 
probably only the last three words, "Vision of Nahum the Elkoshite." 
The ofder of the parts would have been exactly the reverse had they both 
been due to the prophet and the word "book" would surely not have ap 
peared. In view of the extent of the editorial labour upon the begin 
ning of this book, it is more likely that the older portion of the heading 
came from an editor than that it came from the prophet himself. The 
addition of superscriptions, as a matter of fact, seems to have been a 
favourite form of editorial exercise. The information furnished by this 
editor, however, probably goes back to a relatively early date, for no 
source whence it might have been obtained is now known. 

1. NE E] (& \TJfJifM. Aq. ApfJM. & m huthd = scourge or affliction, 
the only place where so renders the word (Seb.). D is here fol 
lowed by an objective gen.. The rendering burden* was favoured by 
early interpreters and explained by the fact that disaster was the prevail 
ing theme of prophecy, hence the term burden came to be applied to 
all prophecies. But oracle or utterance (cf. Sip N^J) is a better ren 
dering in superscriptions, where burden is sometimes wholly inappro 
priate, e. g. Zc. I2 1 . oiru] Of the same measure as S-IJJB bereaved, Dirn 
compassionate, ^N tame or chief, fun merciful, T1D2 pillar ; 
and with transitive force; cf. Earth, NB. 37, 132. An abstract sub 
stantive comfort is less suitable as a name and less in accord with the 
significance of other words of the formation; contra BDB.. The name 
occurs also in Lk. 3" 2 Esd. i 40 , Jos. Ant. IX, xi, 3, the Mishnah (Baba 
Bathra V 2, Shabb. II i, Nazir V 4, Peah II 6), on Jewish ossuaries 

286 NAHUM 

(Clermont-Ganneau, Revue Archeol. Ser. Ill, vol. I, No. 41) and in 
Phoenician (CIS. I, No. 123; Ges., Man. Phcen. Nos. 3, 7; Boeckh, Corp. 
Ins. Graze. II, 25, 26). It is likely that the name is a shortened form of 
warn or SNDHJ (Kennedy, DB. Ill, 473). Abar. explained it as con 
nected with nj (Gn. 5 29 ); cf. Sayce, Exp.T. XV, 514, who treats D as due 
to mimmation; but such usage is not well attested in Heb.. ^pSsn] 
>B>II"> JTOD. < B ToO E\/ce<rafou. <& N * E\Kcu<r&>t;. <S Ne - b EX/fetreou. Eus. 
Onom. EXKe<r Hesychius (vita proph.) E\Ke<re?v. U Elcesaei. Four 
sites lay claim to the honour of having been the home of Nahum. The 
first claimant is Al-Kush, a village about 25 miles N. of Mosul, where the 
natives with one consent regard a certain plaster box as the tomb of 
Nahum (Layard, Nineveh and Its Remains [1849], I, 233). But Asse- 
mani (Biblioth. Orient. [i-Jigf.], I, 525, III, 352) declares that the tradi 
tion dates no further back than the i6th century A.D.; the Ar. form of 
the name seems to reflect the Ar. period; the name of the place itself is 
first attested in the 8th century A.D. (cf. No. ZDMG. XXXI, 165); Ben 
jamin of Tudela in 1165 A.D. was shown another tomb of Nahum at 
Ain Japhata, S. of Babylon; and the tradition is worth no more than 
similar traditions as to the graves of Jonah, Obadiah, and Jepthah of 
Gilead. The acceptance of this site usually carries with it the conclu 
sion that Nahum was one of the exiles from Samaria or a descendant of 
them, who had been settled N. of Nineveh. But the whole tone of the 
prophecy points to a scion of Judah as its author. This last objection 
also holds against the next two applicants. Jerome in his commentary 
on Nahum says, " Quum Elcese usque hodie in Galilea viculus sit, par- 
vus quidem et vix ruinis veterum aedificiorum indicans vestigia, sed 
tamen notus Judaeis et mihi quoque a circumducente monstratus." 
This is generally supposed to have been the modern El Kauze, N.E. of 
Ramieh and about seven miles W. of Tibnin. But there is no indica 
tion of Nahum s Galilaean origin; on the contrary, his utter silence as 
to any hope for the northern kingdom and its exiles seems fatal to such 
a theory. His reference to the invasion of Sennacherib in i 11 likewise 
points to his primary interest in Judah and Jerusalem. Hi. identified 
Elkosh with Capernaum ((& Ka^apvao^/j.; & Kaphar Nahum = village 
of Nahum ) ; but it is by no means certain that Dim formed the latter part 
of this name, for Jos. writes Ke<f>apv6/j.Ti and Jerome on Mt. n 24 , Dipj ( 
of Mt. 4 18 ii 23 = Dim; so also Talmud) and the evidence is insufficient 
to outweigh the improbability of a Galilaean residence for Nahum. The 
least difficult tradition locates Elkosh in S. Judah. The de vitis proph- 
etarum, wrongly ascribed to Epiphanius (a native of Judah who was 
Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus in 367 A.D.), in some mss. says "He 
(Nahum) came from Elkesei beyond Jordan toward Begabar of the 
tribe of Simeon." But the tribe of Simeon was located in S.W. Judah 
and " beyond Jordan" is therefore unintelligible in this connection. The 

I s - 1 287 

difficulty is solved by two recensions of vitac proph. published by Tisch- 
endorf in 1855 and based upon older Greek mss., in one of which the 
passage runs, "Nahum, son of Elkesaios, was of Jesbe of the tribe of 
Simeon"; and the other reads. "Nahum was from Elkese beyond Isbe- 
gabarin of the tribe of Simeon." The phrase "beyond Jordan" is thus 
shown to be a gloss. This is also supported by the citations from the 
Vitae incorporated in the Syriac translation of the OT. by Paul of Telia 
(617 A.D.), where the reading is "Nahum was of Elkosh, beyond Beth- 
Gabre, of the tribe of Simeon" (v. Nestle, ZDPV. I, 122 /.= Pal. Ex- 
plor. Fund s Quarterly Statement for 1879, p. 136; Idem, Marginalien 
und Materialien [1893], 43/.)- Beth-Gabre is the modern Beit-jibrin, 
i. e. the ancient Eleutheropolis. About six miles E. of Beit-jibrin, at 
the upper end of the Wady es-Sur, there is an old well named Bir el- 
Kaus, which might be a survival of Elkosh. This is an altogether suit 
able region for the prophet s home and may be tentatively adopted in 
lieu of a better-accredited claimant. This would make Nahum come 
from the same district as his predecessor Micah. An ingenious hypoth 
esis is proposed by Hap., viz. that the following acrostic originally fell 
into two sections, the first including vv. 2 - . The opening word of this 
section was Sx, the closing one was cp. An editor attached as a de 
scriptive heading to this section the words, "vision of Nahum from S 
to yp." By later misunderstanding, the present text arose. Such a 
method of designating a portion of a text is not elsewhere used in the 
OT. and it is difficult to account for the loss of the connecting prep 


A fragment of an acrostic poem, the fifteen lines of which be 
gin with the successive letters of the Heb. alphabet in their natural 
order. Owing to the formal character of the poem, there is no 
clearly marked logical progress, nor organisation into strs.. The 
general thought concerns itself with the terrors of Yahweh s anger 
against his foes. In an ever-changing series of bold and striking 
metaphors, the poet seeks to create a vivid impression of this di 
vine wrath and thus to quicken the faith and hope of those who 
have trusted in and obeyed Yahweh. 

(K) A jealous and avenging God is Yahweh, and filled with wrath. 
C2) In storm and tempest is his way, and clouds are the dust of his feet. 
(3) He rebukes the sea and dries it up, and all the streams he makes dry. 
(1) Bashan and Carmel wither, and the bud of Lebanon languishes. 


(pi) The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt. 

(1) And the earth is laid waste before him, the world with all its inhabitants, 
(f ) His anger v/ho can stand fast before it? Who can stand in the heat of his 

(J"J) His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are burst asunder because of 


(fa) Yahweh is good to those waiting for him, a stronghold in the day of distress. 
( 1 ) Yahweh knows those that seek refuge in him, and with an overflowing 
flood. . . . 

(2) A full end will he make of his adversaries, and his enemies he will pursue 

into darkness. 

( ^ ) He will not take vengeance twice upon his foes, for unto complete destruc 
tion he is about to work. 

(D) What do you devise against Yahweh? 

( ^ ) Yahweh takes vengeance on his adversaries and lays up wrath for his foes. 

(Q) Thorns cut down and dried out they will be consumed like dry stubble. 

2. A jealous and avenging God is Yahweh, and full of wrath] 
"The truth that no historical crime can ever as a crime be forgot 
ten by Yahweh through the flight of time, but must in all cases, 
either sooner or later, be punished by the living and all-observing 
God, is brought forward briefly and with dignified repose at the 
very beginning."* For the attribute of jealousy as applied to 
Yahweh, cf. Jos. 2 4 19 Ex. 20* 34" Dt. 4 24 6 15 . Yahweh is here pre- 
sented as the originator and guardian of the law of righteousness, 
who regards every violation of that law as an offence against him 
self which must be fitly punished. The particular form of offence 
here resented is evidently the wrongs done to Israel by the great 
powers. The thought of Yahweh s vengeance upon his foes was 
a favourite one from the time of Jeremiah on to the end; e. g. 
Je. ii 20 51" Ez. 25"- 17 Dt. 32 s5 Is. 6i 2 63 Ps. 94 ; cf. Rom. i2 19 . 
In 4H there appear at this point two lines (w. 2b - 3a ) which are 
shown not to have been originally placed here by the fact that they 
break the continuity of the acrostic. The first of these lines in all 
probability originally followed v. 9 , where it belongs alphabetically. 
Its presence here may be accounted for as due to the fact that it 
expresses essentially the same thought as line i and begins with the 
word vengeful or * avenging that occurs also there. Some editor, 
not recognising the alphabetic structure, placed the line where it 
seemed to belong logically. The second added line (v. 3a ) reads, 


l" 289 

Yahweh is slow to anger and great in mercy, but Yahweh will by 
no means leave unpunished] This seems to be a gloss* intended to 
modify the absolute statement of line i by presenting another and 
complementary phase of the divine character. Not only does it 
depart from the alphabetic order, but it is an abnormally long line, 
unless with Bick. we drop the last clause as a later appendix to the 
line, in which case the line becomes too short. For the thought 
and phraseology of this line, cf. Nu. 14" f Ex. 34 f Jo. 2 13 . After 
the strong statement of Yahweh s wrath in v. 2a , the glossator felt 
the need of a reference to the patience and mercy of God, but was 
careful to add that even so, Yahweh was not one to let the wicked 
go scot-free. 4K has "great in strength," an idiom nowhere else 
occurring, which is here changed to " great in mercy" as in Ps. 
I45 8 ; cf. also Ex. 34 Nu. i 4 18 Ne. 9 17 Ps. io 3 8 Jo. 2 13 Jon. 4 2 - If 
4H be original, the strength spoken of must be moral strength, and 
the thought probably is that Yahweh s self-control is too great to 
permit him to act upon the impulse of sudden outbursts of wrath. 
3b. In storm and tempest is his way and clouds are the dust oj 
his feet] The acrostic structure is resumed here. The theophanies 
of the OT. are usually set to the accompaniment of convulsions of 
nature, particularly so when the deity is represented as manifest 
ing himself in wrath; cf. Mi. i 3 f - Ju. 5* f - Jb. 38 1 40 Zc. 9" Hb. 
3 s - 6 Is. 5o 2 f -. The storm clouds are by a beautiful figure repre 
sented as the fine dust stirred up by the feet of Yahweh as he passes 
along in his wrath. There is nothing gained, but much lost, by 
the emendation "clouds and dust are at his feet" (v. i.). Dav. 
well says, "the splendid words . . . like the others the earth is his 
footstool need to be conceived, not explained." 4. He rebukes 
the sea and dries it up, and all the streams he makes dry] Cf. Is. 
5o 2 5 1 10 Ps. 66 6 77 19 io6 9 . Yahweh is absolute lord of creation and 
does with it as he will. Under other conditions, Yahweh is repre 
sented as doing the exact opposite of what he does here (Is. 35*- 6 - 7 ). 
Bashan withers away and Carmel, and the bud of Lebanon lan 
guishes] Bashan was one of the most fertile of the regions east 

* So Gunk., We., Now., Gray, Or., Hap., Dr., van H.. Cf. Marti, Hpt, Stk. and Kent who 
excerpt the last clause and use it to complete the D line in v. 9 ; while Du. begins the poem 
with v. J and completes the D line with v. . 


of the Jordan and seems to have been famous for its flocks (Am. 
i 2 4 1 Mi. y 14 ) and trees. With it, the wooded heights of Carmel and 
the snow-clad summits of Lebanon are mentioned as representa 
tives of the regions least likely to show the effects of an ordinary 
drought. It is forcing the language to argue from the mention of 
these particular regions, as Hap. does, that the poem must have 
come from the period of the Syrian dominion and that destruction 
is threatened upon regions belonging to the Syrians, the foes of 
Yahweh. Against another view, viz. that these three regions repre 
sent three extreme points in east, west and north and so comprise 
the whole land, it is sufficient to say that nowhere else is the land 
as a whole so indicated. 5. Mountains quake before him and the 
hills melt] The very pillars of the earth, as the ancients considered 
the mountains (Jb. g 5 - 6 ), tremble and dissolve before the wrath of 
Yahweh. For similar representations, cf. Mi. i 4 Zc. i4 4 Ex. 19 
Dt. 4 11 Ju. 5 5 Jb. 28 9 Ps. ii4 4 Is. 64 3 Hb. 3. Earthquakes or 
volcanic disturbances were apparently familiar phenomena to 
the Hebrews and furnished the materials in large part for their 
descriptions of theophanies. And the earth is laid waste before 
him, the world with all those dwelling therein] 4JH is rendered by 
RV., "and the earth is upheaved, etc."; but this is a very doubtful 
rendering. Having taken up particular aspects of nature thus 
far, the writer here includes the whole world, animate and inani 
mate. The Hebrews, knowing practically nothing of natural law 
or secondary causes, conceived of both the physical and the moral 
universe as governed directly and immediately by Yahweh him 
self. There was for them but one world and that was God s 
world. Hence when disorder and disobedience were rife in the 
moral realm, it was inevitable that the physical realm should share 
in the shock occasioned by the divine visitation upon sin. 

With the seventh line, the writer takes a fresh start. Having 
devoted the last four lines to illustrations of the terrible wrath of 
Yahweh as manifested in the physical world, he now, as in line i, 
again brings the wrath itself to the forefront. 6. His anger who 
can stand fast before it ? Who can stand in the heat of his wrath ?] 
For text, v. i.. For similar formulations of the same thought, v. 
Am. f Mai. 3* Je. io 10 : cf. Ps. 24 3 . This is a direct and personal 

I 6 - 8 291 

application of the lesson taught by the preceding illustrations. 
Nc nation can stand before such a God, for he is a consuming fire 
(Dt. 4 24 ). His fury is poured out like fire] A favourite figure to 
express the divine anger (Je. y 20 4 2 18 44** 2 Ch. 12* 3 4 21 - 25 ). The 
destructive and purificatory effects of fire have always appealed 
to the religious imagination as a fit symbol of divine wrath and 
holiness. The Persian fire-worship is the notable illustration of 
this. A nd the rocks are burst asunder because of him] Cf. Mi. 
i 4 Je. 4 26 23 29 5 1 25 - 26 . Whether this effect is conceived of as due 
to the heat already mentioned, or to some other aspect of the di 
vine power, is not certain ; but in any case, it is the awful presence 
of God which produces such catastrophic results. 7. Yahweh is 
good to those who wait for him] Another side of the divine nature is 
now emphasised. The wrath of Yahweh is vented upon those who 
hate him ; but for those who put their trust in him he has loving- 
kindness (Dt. 5 f> ). The whole history of Israel from the As 
syrian period to the end was one long agony of waiting. The ful 
filment of her hopes was constantly deferred. The history of no 
other people can furnish a parallel to the strength and persistence 
of Israel s faith and hope. The odds were apparently all against 
her, but she refused to let go her faith in God. One of the exhor 
tations most frequently upon the lips of prophets and psalmists 
was the summons to patience and hope; e. g. Gn. 49 18 Is. 8 17 3O 18 
6 4 4 Hb. 2 3 Zp. 3 8 Ps. 25 5 - 21 27" 37 3 - 5 - 7 - 9 - M 39" 52 9 n8 8 - 9 La. 
3 25 . Disappointed in one expectation, Israel did but transform it 
into another and continue to "expect great things from God." 
A refuge in the day of distress] A place whither to flee from the 
storm; this is a common way of speaking of Yahweh; e. g. Je. i6 19 
Ps. 27 1 3i 3 - 5 37 39 52 Is. i7 10 25 32 2 Jo. 4 16 . Yahweh knows those 
that take refuge in him] Cf. Ps. i 6 . The knowledge here spoken 
of is inclusive of that tender interest and watchcare which inhere 
in a father s love (Am. 3 2 ). When they flee to him for aid, they 
will not be received as strangers, but with open arms as Yahweh s 
children; cf. Ps. 2 12 5" 46, I44 2 . 8. And with an overflowing 
flood . . .] This sentence is evidently incomplete. Most interpreters 
make it refer to the pious followers of Yahweh and so supply either 
"he will deliver them" or "he will guard them" (v. *.). But in 

29 2 NAHUM 

view of the fact that flood is always used in connection with de 
structive activities (Ps. 32 Pr. 27* Jb. 3S 25 Is. 54 8 Dn. p 26 n 22 ), it 
is not at all improbable that the sentence refers to the foes of Yah- 
weh and should therefore be completed after this fashion "he will 
destroy the wicked." Some have seen in the overflowing flood a 
definite allusion to the invading army that was to destroy Nineveh 
(cf. Is. 8 8 ) ;* but it is rather a general characterisation of the over 
whelming destruction which Yahweh will bring upon his foes when 
he asserts his divine majesty. Von Orelli, by omitting a conjunc 
tion, secures the following line, "he knows those who trust in him 
when the flood overflows." But such a line is too short for the 
metre and involves the use of the phrase in flood as the equivalent 
of a temporal clause. A full end will he make of his adversaries] 
M reads for the last phrase, "of her place"; this is usually sup 
posed to refer to Nineveh. But there has been no mention of 
Nineveh thus far in the poem; hence the suffix "her" is without 
any antecedent. Modern interpreters, therefore, prefer to follow 
the suggestion of <g Of. This is the first specific mention of the 
foes of Yahweh, though the previous lines have, of course, been 
spoken with reference to them. Here, Yahweh s treatment of 
them is brought into immediate and striking contrast with his at 
titude toward the pious. And his enemies he will pursue into dark 
ness] A figure suggestive of the hopelessness and desolation that 
will overtake the foes of Yahweh; there will be no way of escape 
for them. The syntax permits equally well the rendering, "dark 
ness will pursue his enemies," f and the sense is almost equally 
good. But in the parallel clauses, Yahweh is the subject and it is 
more natural that the overthrow of Yahweh s foes should be re 
ferred directly to him himself, rather than to one of his agencies. 
The change from pursue to thrust out (Jb. i8 18 ) seems un 
necessary (v. i.) ; cf. Pr. i3 21 . 9c. He will not take vengeance twice 
ui>on his adversaries] The exigiencies of the acrostic structure 
require the placing of this line here rather than where it is in HI. 
HI reads, "not twice will affliction arise." This is a less proba 
ble reading than that suggested by <g because (i) Yahweh is the 

* So e. g. Sanctius, Rosenm., Hi., Hd.. 

1 So e. g. <g "H &, Cal., Mau., Hd., Stci., New., Dav., Hap 

I 9 293 

subject of the action in the parallel clause, (2) no close analogy for 
fH s phrase is known, (3) iS s thought is too abstract and colour 
less for this context. The specific meaning of fS has been sought 
in two main directions. Some find a promise to Judah to the effect 
that Assyria shall not again afflict her as she did under Sennacherib 
or as she had done to Samaria.* Others take it as a threat against 
Nineveh to the effect that no second disaster will be needed to ac 
complish her overthrow. f This is essentially the same thought as 
that conveyed by the reading here followed, viz. no second stroke 
of chastisement will be necessary- (cf. i S. 3 12 26 8 2 S. 2o 10 ) ; Yahweh 
will punish once for all. None will dare to oppose him again. 
This meaning is strongly supported by the remainder of the line. 
9b. For unto complete destruction he is about to work] This is an 
exact parallel to v. 9c and fits here better than after 9a 4 It reaf 
firms the proposition made in 8b and clinches it. iJ{ has here "a 
full end he is about to make" (cf. Ez. n 13 ) ; this yields good sense, 
but lacks any formal connective with the preceding half of the line. 
By using the first two words of v. 10 here, we not only secure a 
smoother connection, but also account satisfactorily for the two 
words which at the beginning of v. 10 are unintelligible and have 
baffled all interpreters. For the idiom "unto complete destruc 
tion," cf. Dn. Q 27 Ez. i3 13 2 Ch. i2 12 ; and for the absolute use of the 
verb work (HITS?), cf. i K. S 32 - 39 Je. 14 Ez. 2 o 9 Ps. 22 31 3 y 5 52 
Mai. 3 17 Dn. p 19 . 9a. What are you devising against Yahweh?] 
Not "what are you thinking of Yahweh ? " The verb 2trn in the 
Pi el with b$ or by always means "to plot" or "plan against" 
(Ho. 7 15 Dn. ii 24 ). The writer here addresses himself directly to 
the foes of Yahweh and seeks by this pointed question to bring out 
the futility of all human devices aimed against the great God; cf. 
Ps. 33 10 . The answer to this question, or whatever else it may have 
been that formed the original conclusion of this line, is now lost. 
2b. Yahweh lakes vengeance on his adversaries and lays up wratu 

* So e. g. Jer., Sanctius, Hd., Pu., Or.. 

t So e. g. Theodoret., Ra., Ki., Rosenm., Hi., Urn., Ew. We., Hal.. 

J The order 9c - b - is that adopted by Bick., Gunk., Gray, Marti, Now.*, Hpt.Stk., Du., 

Contra Rosenm.. Ew., Strauss, Ke., We.. Dav., GASm., Now., Arn.. Hap , Marti, Kent 
"Against Yahweh" is adopted by & B &, Hi., Gray, Hal., Dr., Hpt., van H., Kau.. 

294 NAHUM 

for his foes] The right of this line to stand here is shown by its near 
ness in thought to the preceding line, by its fitting into the acrostic 
at this point, and by the fact that it is superfluous where it stands 
in 4H.* Others treat the line as a part of the gloss on v. 2a f in 
tended to limit the absolute statement there made by the additional 
suggestion that Yahweh s vengeance is reserved only for his ene 
mies. For the phrase lays up wrath, cf. Je. 3 5 - 12 Ps. 103, where 
Yahweh s attitude toward his own people is declared to be just 
the opposite of that which he is here credited with holding toward 
his foes. The prohibition of this state of mind which is laid upon 
Israel in Lv. igi 18 recognises the same difference between Israel 
ites and non-Israelites; cf. Am. i 11 . 10. Thorns cut down and 
dried out they will be devoured like dry stubble] As it stands in JK, 
this verse is wholly unintelligible. Modern interpreters have for 
the most part abandoned it as hopeless and many declare the re 
covery of the original text impossible. J A literal rendering of ifK 
would yield, "for unto thorns entangled and like their drink soaked, 
they will be devoured like dry stubble full," or possibly, " fully dry." 
This has usually been interpreted to mean that even though the 
foes of Yahweh be, like tangled thorns, difficult and dangerous to 
approach and be hard to destroy even as drenched thorns are hard 
to burn, yet before Yahweh s might they will be made to fall as 
easily as the fire consumes the stubble. Others have found in the 
second clause a slightly different thought, viz. like drunkards who 
fall into the flames as though desiring so to do, they will be con 
sumed, etc.. ** But no translation affording any connected sense 
is possible within the limits of ordinary grammatical interpreta 
tion. The translation here given rests upon a text which is con 
fessedly largely conjectural and, as with all guesses, the chances 
are against it. Recent interpreters have cut the Gordian knot by 
dropping the more difficult words as due to dittography (v. i.}, but 
this leaves the line with only five beats instead of the six that 
are required. The poet s imagination pictures the enemies of 

* So placed also by Bick., Now. , Or. (?), Am., Marti, Hpt., Stk., Kau., Kent; while Du. 
places the whole of v. 2 here. 

t So e. g. Gunk., We., Now. 2 , Gray, Hap., Dr., van H.. 

j So e. g. We., Dav., GASm., Dr., Kau.. 

So e. g. Ew., Hi., Hd., Or.. ** So e. g. Ki., Man . 

I~ 295 

Yahweh as a patch of thorns laid low by the sickle and ready for 
the fire. The same likening of Yahweh s foes to thorns and 
stubble appears in Is. 33" 12 ; cf. also 2 S. 23 Mi. f Is. io 17 27* 
Ez. 2 e EC. 7 6 . 

The acrostic structure of this section was first noticed in modern 
times at least, by Pastor G. Frohnmeyer of Lienzingen in Wiirtemberg. 
His suggestion was called to the attention of scholars by De. in his com 
mentary on Ps. 9. The discovery was taken up by Bick. who sought 
to reconstruct w. - on this basis in ZDMG. XXXIV (1880), 559^". and 
later in his Carmina V. T. metrice (1882), 212 f.. Bick. s scheme was 
peculiar in that he sought the whole alphabet in the successive lines of 
vv. * 10 , by making the alphabetic arrangement apply not only to the 
initial letters, but also to the second and third letters of the lines. In 
his own words, "exquisito artificio alphabetico struitur hoc carmen. 
Unicuique disticho litera ex ordine alphabeti usque ad mem inclusive 
praemittitur, sed ea lege, ut Aleph iteretur, et prima ultimaque stropha 
unicam tantum literam initialem recipiant. Hoc modo in initio secundi 
distichi literae Nun locus reservatur. Ceterae literae a Samekh usque ad 
Tav (e quibus Pa, ut saepius, literae Ajin praemittitur) literas initiales 
Bet, Gimel, Dalet, He, Vav ita sequuntur, ut alternatim binae et singulae 
ponantur; ergo Samekh et Pa post Bet, Ajin post Gimel, fade et Qopk 
post Dalet, Reg post He, Sin et Tav post Vav." The artificiality of this 
hypothesis, which is wholly without analogy in Heb., and the violence to 
the text which is necessary to give it any shade of plausibility kept schol 
ars from adopting it; and Bick. (though he had presented the last str. 
in revised form [i 7 - 10 ] in Zeitschrift fur Kathol. Theologie for 1886), in 
his last publication on the subject, viz. Beitrdge z. sent. Metrik (1894) 
abandoned the scheme himself. The next contribution was from Gunk, 
in ZAW. XIII (1893), 223 ff. and also some further suggestions in Schop- 
fung und Chaos (1895), 102 /.. He, observing that elsewhere alphabetic 
poems are carried through the whole alphabet and that I 10 -2 I was of ap 
proximately the same length as i 2 - 9 , proceeded to reconstruct I 2 -2 1 so as 
to make it yield twenty-two lines, each opening in turn with the letters 
of the alphabet in their proper order. This involved radical emenda 
tions and several transpositions of lines or parts of lines, especially in 
I 10 -2 t . The first full statement of the case for English readers was 
furnished by Gray, Exp. 1898, pp. 207-220, who did not attempt to fol 
low Gunk, in the reconstruction of the latter half of the acrostic, con 
cerning which he rightly says, "any particular suggestion can be re 
garded as little more than a possibility"; but satisfied himself with mar 
shalling the evidence for the acrostic character of the piece as a whole 
and with contributing a textual suggestion or two of much value. Hap. 
(1900 and 1902) regards the acrostic form as original rather than as due 

296 NAHUM 

to an editor as some have suggested and carries it through a 1 , but con 
siders the poem in its present form to be in reality a composite of two 
poems (viz. i 2 - 10 and I 11 -2 l ), which have been independently wrought 
out of the original acrostic which he undertakes to restore. Arn. (1901) 
subjected the work of his predecessors to a keen criticism and main 
tained that only a fragment of the original acrostic had been incorpo 
rated in ch. i and that it is found in i 2 - 10 . In the restoration of this, he 
proffers some new textual readings and transpositions. Hpt. (1907) 
likewise makes no attempt to restore the acrostic beyond i 10 and adds 
but little on the acrostic form to the work of his predecessors. Du. 
(1910) begins the acrostic with i 3 , tr. i 2 to foil. i 9a , and combines i 12 
with i 10 to form the D and y lines with which he stops. 

The acrostic structure of i 2 - 10 is too clearly apparent to be a subject 
of reasonable doubt. Eight of the lines as they stand in M offer the 
desired initial letter, while four or five more are easily recovered by slight 
emendations and transpositions, some of which are necessary apart from 
all requirements of the acrostic. This fact is recognised and a reconstruc 
tion substantially identical with that given above (pp. 287 /.) is adopted 
by nearly all recent scholars; e. g. We., Now., Marti, Dr., Stk., van H., 
Kau., and Kent. The only doubters are Dav. and GASm.. The 
former entertains the possibility that the traces of an acrostic are due 
solely to unconscious and accidental causes; but the recurrence of so 
many successive letters at regular intervals seems to reduce the possibil 
ity of chance or accident to the vanishing-point. The latter scholar 
wonders how a poem originally clearly indicated as acrostic could have 
failed of recognition and have suffered mutilation to such an extent as to 
have lost the semblance of an acrostic. But the fact that Ps. 9 and 10 
underwent a somewhat similar transformation is sufficient answer to 
such an objection. 

In the section beginning with i 11 , not only are there no sure traces of 
the acrostic, but the character of the contents undergoes a change. The 
acrostic concerns itself primarily and almost exclusively with Yahweh and 
his doings; vv. n s are clearly addressed to a party of the second part who 
seems to have been guilty of a great crime against Yahweh and his peo 
ple. Hence, these two parts of ch. i must be treated separately. 

It is Gunk. s merit to have pointed out the distinction in style and tone 
between ch. i and chs. 2, 3. In the latter, the writer is dealing with a 
definite and concrete political situation; but in the former we have only 
theological abstractions. The language and ideas here are not those 
of the prophets, but those of the post-prophetic, eschatological psalm 
ists. The artificial acrostic form is also out of keeping with the vigor 
ous and vital style of Nahum. It points to later times, when such usage 
was common; e. g. Pr. 3110-31 p s> Q ? IO 2 ,^ 34, ^7, in, 112, 119, 145. 
La. 1-4. This section is, therefore, now generally held to be of late 

I* 297 

origin; so e. g. Bick., Gray, We., Now., Hap., Lohr (ThLZ. 1901, p. 37), 
Arn., Marti, Dr., Bu. Gesch -, Cor., Hpt., Kau., Du., Kent. The fact 
that the later addition comes at the beginning of the book rather than 
at the end, as is more customary, is not altogether without parallel; sim 
ilar introductions are Gn. I 1 -2 4a , Dt. 1-5; and some would place Mi. 
i 2 - 5 in the same category. 

2. Nijfi] Only Jos. 24 19 ; a variation from the more usual form Nif\ 
> opji] Marti om. ji; so Hpt., Stk., Kau., Kent. Du. om. both words. 
nw opj] Om. with (& as a dittog.; so Gunk., Hap., Now., Du.. 
Marti om. only *; so Hpt., Stk., Ka.. The threefold occurrence of j 
greatly exercised the older exegetes; Ra., e. g., saw in it a reflection of 
the threefold vengeance of % viz. in the beginning of Israel s history, 
in the prophet s own time, and in the days to come when Israel is to be 
deported to Babylon. Abar. interpreted it as occasioned by the fact that 
Assy, had invaded and devastated Israel three times; while Tarnovius, 
Mich., Geb. and Pu. referred it to the three persons of the Trinity. The 
om. of 7<i j here suggested is much simpler than the proposition to drop 
ji and the second \ even though it does bring the caesura after the 
fourth beat instead of the third; such variations in hexameter are not 
uncommon. ncn SysV] (& per a BV/JLOV om. i; so &; so also Gunk., Hap., 
Now.. On this usage of 3, cf. Pr. 22 24 29" and Ges. ^ 128 s - u ; so also 
Ar. dhu = possessor of, characterised by. TJUI] (& Kal talpwi> ) no- 
where else used to render :, but = Soj in Dn. ; 4 . H et irascens. For 
the same usage of j, with the object IN understood, i:. Je. 3 5 - 12 Ps. 103 
Lv. I9 18 ; Am. I 12 , in its original form, probably presented this vb. with 
IN expressed (v. H. AH , 32). Hpt. would assign j in all these passages 
to a J II = be embittered and = Assy, natdru, generally read naddru, 
and connected with Ar. mutirr (\/ TO) = bursting out (of wrath). 
New. traced it to an Ar. vb. = see and rendered it observeth with an 
angry eye ; cf. n-yoo = mark, target (i S. 2o 20 ). All who recognise 
the acrostic character of this passage concede vv. 2b - 3a to be out of place 
here; but opinions vary as to the best disposition of them; some treating 
both lines as glosses, others finding only 3a to be late and placing 2b after 
the D line, while others make both lines original, putting 3a - 2b , in reverse 
order, after the D line (Bick.), or 3a - 2b after the D line (Hpt.), or 3a after 
the 10 line (v. 7 ) and 2b after D (Arn.). Du., however, begins the acrostic 
with v. 3 , dropping the initial and placing v. 2 after v. 9a . Every at 
tempt to use 3a as a part of the acrostic involves serious difficulty. To 
make it supply the shortage in the D line, demands the arbitrary omission 
of more than half of 3a in order to bring the completed line within the 
compass of a hexameter. To place it after the to line, likewise calls for 
some pruning of 3a which is, as it stands, too long for a line, and it also 
involves the omission of x ova from v. 7 which has to be crowded into a 
single line. Du. s proposition involves an irregular order of words for 

298 NAHUM 

*, after the initial "> has been dropped for the purpose of the acrostic; the 
nominal sentence calls for its subject at the beginning rather than at the 
end. 3. ro] Rd. ion, with Gunk ; so Now., Kau. ; cf. Jo. 2" Jon. 4 2 Ex. 34* 
Ps. 1038 I45 8 . npj vh npji] (6 nal adyov oik Atoffoet. H et mundans 
nonfaciet innocentem. The phrase is found also in Ex. 34 7 Nu. I4 18 ; cf. 
Ex. 2o 7 Je. 30". Hpt. supplies an obj. pj;, in place of M s mm; but j 
requires a personal obj., not an abstraction. mm] <g treats as subj. of 
npr. Gunk., Hap., Marti, and Kau. om. as a gloss. neios] (81 iv <rvv- 
reXe^i. mytsoi] Jb. 9 17 . A dialectic variation from ^"^D, which Gunk, 
would substitute. The same alliterative conjunction of ncio and myo 
occurs in Is. 298 Ps. 83 16 . p?\j <& H pi.. vSn p3N] Gunk. vS:nS p3N>; 
so Bick., van H.. 4. n; % u] Some mss. of Kenn. ijn ; so We., Now., Hal.. 
The prtc. shows that the reference is not to any single act, but to the reg 
ular and continuous activity of > along these lines. As the continuation 
of the prtc. by the impf . shows, the prtc. here describes a permanent char 
acteristic of % one demonstrated by long-established experience. intsoM] 
Gunk. B ; 5i; so Stk.. We. in:pM; so Marti, Now. K , van H., Kau.. 
But this was probably a recognised and legitimate contraction of the 
full form, the weak ^ being elided just as is the n of Niph., Hiph. and 
Hoph. impfs.. For other cases, v. La. 3 33 - "; cf. Ges. * u . SScs] Rd. 
VSi, with Gray, Dr., Du.. The acrostic calls for an initial n here. M 
has N at both the beginning and the end of the line; but the Vrss. 
without exception seem to point to different vbs. in the two places; at 
least, they have different renderings. <8 has 6\iy66i] . . 
Tfr infirmatus est . . . elanguit; 31 n$ . . . nnj; & Aj^j . 
In accordance with not infrequent usage elsewhere, this might be 
explained as due to a desire for variation. But against such an ex 
planation here is (i) the fact that the translators here were not zeal 
ous for variety, for in i 6 Djtt and jnn are rendered by the same word 
by both (& (tpyfy and 0; (2) the variety exists in all the Vrss.; (3) 
the acrostic calls for i; (4) the use of words for N by (& which never 
occur elsewhere as its equivalents. Among the many Heb. originals of 
<S s frequent rendering licXeureti , the one that best suits this situation is 
S^T which is represented by this vb. in CS s rendering of Is. 38" and in 
the Niph. is rendered by the noun exXeti/ is in Is. ly 4 . This, however, 
gives us n at the end of the line instead of the beginning where it is 
needed. When the oldest Vrss. ((& 0) were made, it is quite clear that 
the opening word of the line was SSos, for the renderings of these two 
bear indisputable testimony to that fact. But, if a scribe depended 
largely upon his memory, not slavishly eyeing his copy, the resemblance 
in both form and meaning between * and T might easily have occasioned 
their interchange; cf. the similar transpositions in Mi. i 2 (& and Na. i 6 
&. That SSn might fittingly be applied to Bashan and Carmel, fertile 
regions, would appear from Is. 19" where it is parallel to i:nn and is used 

I 8 - 8 299 

of streams, Is. 17* where it is used of the glory of Jacob, and the later 
Heb. where it denotes the thinning out of vine-leaves. Cf. Gray s ex 
cellent statement of these facts. Bick.i pxx Buhl, Sax. Gunk. asi; 
so Bick. , We., Or., Hap., Now., Hpt., van H.. CB. SNDH-P Si.. Am. 
1*07. Kau. JNX fpa] pno; so 0. CB. ]yy\.&. onn] <S rA fyi;; 
so fe; hence Marti, onrn; so Now. K , Kent, Du.. But the art. is not 
necessary even though the parallel noun has it; the use of art. with one 
noun when a co-ordinate noun is anarthrous is not uncommon; cf. Mi. 
JH. 3* 41- K>. Further, the art. occurs only once in an acrostic as a 
member of the alphabetic series, viz. La. 4 5 . rnpajm] Gunk, jn Sai; so 
Gray, Kol., Now.. ni] Rd. Ntfrn, Niph. / nxir (c/. 21 nanm), which 
furnishes good sense and occurs in a similar context in Is. 6 U ; so also 
Capellus, Gunk., Gray, Or. (?), Marti, Now. K , Dr., HWB.", Hpt., 
Kau.; cf. Houb. nNB>m (so New.). (& ical ai>e<rrd\T). Aq. t<t>pii-c. 2. 
. "8 contremuit; so&. Bick. 1 nri. Bick. 2 NC : rn; so Now.. BDB. 
so van H.. Gr. e>yjm. Kau. wyi. Oort Em - NEW. Hap. 
Nt jni. Du. nirni (c/". Hb. 3 6 ). iK calls for an intransitive rendering of 
Ntn. Passages commonly cited in support of this are Ho. 13 Hb. i 
Ps. 24" 89 ; but Ho. I3 1 is corrupt (v. H. AH , ad loc.), Hb. i 3 probably so, 
Ps. 24 should be corrected after 24?, and in Ps. Sp 10 the intransitive sense 
is not necessary. We should also expect j, if intransitive, to be fol 
lowed by vnnnn rather than VJDD. <8 S. seem to have read the Niph. 
impf. of sirj; Aq., & IT perhaps gave a free rendering of the same form; 
but 01 connected it with risr, be waste. Sam] Om. 1 with (6 &; so 
We., Gunk., Gray, Hap., Now., Marti, Hal., Hpt., Kau.. For similar 
asyndetic construction, v. Je. 34 1 Ps. 24 98?. <35 TJ <r6fJLira(ra. r >joS 
DI > ^D] Rd. D vjoS > ^D icyt; so Bick., Gunk., We., Gray, Or., Hap., 
Now., Marti, Dr., Hpt., Stk., van H., Kent, Du.. The relation between 
this line and the n line is so close that it is evident that this line stood in 
immediate proximity to the latter. The key- word in the acrostic is 7 r; 
hence "? must be transposed. Arn. s objection to this transposition is not 
well taken, viz. that vjo 1 ? > ^D would mean " who can stand before him ?", 
thus leaving r unrelated. ? is grammatically masc. (Is. 10") ; hence the 
masc. sf. refers to it naturally. In any case, Arn. s substitution of *?>pj 
for IDJ?> is too violent a change. But Arn. s explanation of the position 
of JcS in 481 as due to the fact that the writer was quoting from memory 
here is probably correct; cf. the place of p:>j in Is. 2* with its place in the 
duplicate, Mi. 4 1 . "Di] The detachment of 1 to complete ^oS leaves >D 
as a proclitic to be pronounced with aip> and thus improves the metre. 
roru] (6 r^/cet. Aq. aw^-x.wve.iiQt]. 2 to-Ta&v. H fiuere facit. We., with 
0, tr. j and wnj, reading them nnxj and ianj; so Hal.. Kenn. 225 
reads inxj; so Mich., Gunk., Bick., Gray, Now., Marti, Hpt., Kau., 
HWB.". But We. s objection that HDPJ is not suitable before E>NS is 
ill-founded, in view of Je. 7" where the ideas of pouring and burning 

300 NAHUM 

are conjoined in reference to Yahweh s wrath; so also in Je. 44* 2 Ch. 
34 25 . Nor is the difficulty with r-j] serious; the vb. is commonly used 
of the breaking down of walls, doors, cities, towns, etc.; there is no in 
herent difficulty in applying it to rocks; it is surely as easy to think of the 
breaking down or pulling down of rocks as it is of the burning of 
them; indeed, there is no example of this latter idea in the OT.. For the 
idiom p pnj, cf. Je. 4 26 . pto] <g apx^ , so ft. Hence Gr. C>N-I. 
UDD] & = nap?; so Gunk., Bick., Now.(?). The reference of the sf. 
is ambiguous, for S>N occurs both as masc. and as fern.. 7. nyoS] Rd. 
nj?D ripS; cf. (& rots inro(iAvo\xriv avr6v; U et confortans; to Israel that they 
may stay themselves; & to strengthen. This insertion is supported by 
(i) <&, which has one of the more frequent equivalents of nip; (2) QT, 
which probably had pS as a basis for its Israel and D as the original 
of its stay themselves ; (3) the need of another beat in the line. 
This reading (or nS rip 1 ) is accepted by Bick., Gunk., We., Dav., 
GASm., Gray, Or., Now., Hal., Marti, Dr., Hpt., Stk., Kau., Kent. The 
phrase p 1 ? * aio occurs also in La. 3 25 ; cf. Ps. 253 370 69? 86 5 Is. 40" 
49 23 . Oort Em - substitutes vipS for n;;:S. Bick. (1894) inpna vyV; cf. 
Hap. nynS o v>-S ; but the idiom 12 v>* does not occur elsewhere. Van H. 
Nin nyn iV o^p.D 1 ?. Du. nyaV iJP_?S Hpt. would derive nya from r?y 
with the Massoretes, rather than from ny (cf. Ges. 8fi k ) ; but the lat 
ter root suits the usage of the noun better. This is the only example of a 
D formation from an V> root which retains a under the preformative 
when inflectional additions are made and also doubles the last radical, 
e - \ T >!?- The doubled radical, of course, does not necessarily presup 
pose an y"y root, since it may be only an equivalent for the naturally long 
vowel (e. g. rj.Sa and trjS>s). |H vacillates on this point; cf. \M>D, 
2 S. 22"; MIJ?D, Ps. 3i 5 43 2 ; inyc, Is. i7 9 Ps. 52^; oj-iyc, Ps. 37 39 ; Miyo, 
Dn. ii 11 - 19 . The a is just as abnormal in the one case as the other, fjn 
furnishing the only example of its retention in the case of an y"y noun. 
Cf. Brockelmann, Vergl. Gramm. pp. 103, 375; Earth, NB. 158 b; No. 
Syr. Gram. 126 G. mx DTO] Arn. om. as gloss. Du. -mi x 2. y-ri] 
Rd. nin> pj, with Bick., Gunk., We., Hap., Now., Marti, Hpt, Stk., 
van H., Kau., Kent. Gray, Or., Dr., Du., om. i, but do not add \ 
"Dn] (& roi)s ev\a^ovfj.^vovs. 8. "QJ7 f|B2Oi] (& Kal v KaTaK\v<Tfj.$ Tropelas. 
& apparently tr. y and the foil, n^yi; though this appearance is probably 
due to an inner Syr. corruption. Bick. originally (1880) added nVs; but 
later oinp.; so van H.. Hap. om. r y. Gunk, adds uvhw or o^v; so 
We., Gray, Now., Marti, Hpt., Kau., Kent. Du. changes r y to D-yaj^, 
noipc] Rd. vpfja; so Buhl (Z^4PT. V), Gunk., Oort, Or., Now., Hap., 
Marti, Dr., Hpt., Stk., van H., Kau., Kent. Du.. The sf. of M lacks 
any antecedent here. Parallels for a second ace. after nS:) r\vy are 
furnished by Je. 3O U Ne. Q 31 . But the similarity of vcpa to ncipD is very 
close; for other interchanges of a and E, c/". "pN~a for TIID in 2 K. so 12 ; 

I 7 - 1 301 

rues and njax in Qr. and Kt. of 2 K. 5 2 (cf. <& & 01); pen and pan 
Is. 15" (</. H), Jos 15" Ne. n i5 ; and the local pronunciation of Baalbek, 
which is scarcely distinguishable from Maalbek. Such confusion is also 
clearly attested by <&, e. g. Ho. io 6 a-v, (& lapel/*; 139 -a, <& & = ^D; Am. 
6 7 t^N-a, (g = tfNi::; Mi. 7 17 jopn, <& = JDca. C/". also Dl. Assy. 
Gram. 44; Ko. II, i, p. 459. For nSo nvy with 3, cf. Je. 30" = 46 28 <& 
TOI)S tTreyfipofjL^vovs; similarly 6. Aq. d?rd dvurTa.iJ.tvwv. E . a consurgen- 
tibus illi. & to to />/ace. -icpi tODD? SaS. ( Aq 0. E . and all 
treat it as a designation of persons rather than place or things. Gre. 
VDI^PD. Houb. voipa. New. vnnipa. Dathe, vc^nS; so Bauer, Br.. 
Jus. VDP T (so Hap.) or vooipno (so Gr., We.; cf. Hpt.). Hal. nirja. 
n ITV] Ace. of end of motion as in i S. 23". We. 1 n nr or rp\ 
Gunk. n iprp; so We. 3 , Gray, Now., Marti, Stk., van H., Kau., Du.; 
cf. Jb. i8 18 . Hpt. n Sx *I-I,T. 9. paamn] Gunk, adds njn; similarly 
Now. K . SN] <S <?TT/; so j U; hence Gunk. S;; so Hpt., Du.. But SN 
has the force of Sy in Ho. 7 1B Je. 4Q 20 50". nt^y Nin nSr] Rd. nSr n>: "3 
nyy Nin, the first two words of which are from v. 10 where they are unin 
telligible; so Marti, Or. (?), Now. K , Hpt., Stk. (all of whom also change o 
tonS:; c/. 2 K. i3 17 - 19 Ezr. 9 14 2Ch.3i BS. io 13 ),andDu.. Theattempt 
of Dav. to find the meaning even though for ny and so make iy o in 
telligible where it is in 4H rests upon Nu. 8 4 i S. 2 5 Hg. 2 19 Jb. 25 5 , all of 
which present a questionable text and in none is the meaning though 
satisfactory even if it were permissible. The change to nSr is quite un 
necessary, even though it makes excellent sense. Now. substitutes nc-jn 
for f y Nin, treating sin as due to dittog. of n in a and corruption of \ 
Dipn] Rd. DV , with (& &c5i/o^ei; so Gunk., Gray, Hap., Now., Marti, 
Dr. (?), Hpt, Stk., Kau., Kent. Van H. Dip;. S. oi>x di>9v7roffT^ffovTai 
TV {iravdffTaffiv. mx D^D^D] Rd. invri D; so Gunk., Gray, Now., Hap., 
Marti, Dr. (?), van H., Stk., Kau., Kent. Hpt. v-vfD. After the final 
c of D, the om. of the similarly sounding a was easy (v. on v. 8 ). 10. o 
ny] V. on. v. 9 . Gunk. tr. to foil. nt l y in 9 b ; so Bick., but reading 
1JN23 (accepted by Gunk, in Schopfung u. Chaos, 102). Arn. om. as 
gloss. aiNiao DNaoai Doao D^^D] Rd. D- NCXI o^nop on^o. M seems to 
be due to corruption and conflation. It embodies two efforts to restore 
a corrupt text. One interpreting on D as thorns restored D>3aD; the 
other, taking it as pots, restored Disaoi DNaoai, on the basis of Ho. 4 *. 
The reference later in the context to stubble and burning makes the 
interpretation thorns much the more probable. Starting with this 
we can restore OTtoa, on the basis of (&, the remnants of fH, and Is. 
33 12 ; so Gunk., Marti, Dr. (?), Stk. (though Marti, Stk., add oSr). 
The further correction D^NDXI presupposes a confusion of D and a (v. on 
v. 8 ) and of x and D (cf. pnir> and pn* 11 ), and drops DNaoa as due either 
to a gloss or to dittog. (for the om., cf. Gunk., Gr., Oort Em -, Hap., 

302 NAHUM 

Marti, Hpt., Kent), fcox is applied to land in Is. 44 s and to foliage in 
Dt. 2Q 18 , hence may be used appropriately of thorns. (& 6efj.\lov(-uv, 
HP. 228) ai>TOv(-C>v, <S Y ; -TJS, < N b. H) X ep<ra>6ty<reTcu(-o>Tcu, 
<& A HP 22, 36, 51, 62, 86, 95, 97, 147, 153, 185) Kai ws a/j.l\a^ irepiir\e- 
KOfMtvi] = ... 31 DT1D3 onD. S. bpjolus ffroifly <rv/j.Treir\eyfj.{v r] oCrwj 
xai r6 <rvfj.w6<nov aiJrwv ffvfj.iriv6vTOi)v dXXiJXots. U .sjcw^ spinae se invicem 
complectuntur sic convivium eorum pariter potantium. & = D-nniD onir 
D DN3D3i; similarly (5. Gr. DN3D31 DW3D Dnc\ Arn. om. on^D as 
a gloss and reads DW3D pi 0<l ^??- Oort Em - ^bs 0^330 on/D^. Hal. 
O N-ijp DWD3i on;nj72. Hpt. nDn ^ o^NUD D. Van H. D^;D:J DOOD. Du. 
iV TI O03p o>n>D, using the foil. iSus, and tr. 7 D DDT to the end of verse 
where it is to be read N^D owa 1 ? ^20 in. Hpt. takes omo as == pots 
here and treats o^aao as a gloss by one who misinterpreted it as thorns 
and DN3D3 as another gloss = even if they drink, the original text being 
owaD D^-VD = jars filled with wine. This is treated as a figurative 
characterisation of the drunkards Antiochus Epiphanes and his nephew, 
Demetrius I. But aside from the improbability of a Maccabaean date for 
this material and the inappropriateness of burning as a method of de 
stroying jars, the pi. of -VD pot is elsewhere nn>p. iSas] C/". Ex. i5 7 . 
<& /3pw0iJ<reTcu(-oiTcu, HP. 22, 36, 51, 95, 97, 153, 185). 2. ava\ud^a-- 
TCU. Gunk. -iSo\ Hap. s suggestion that the original text thus far was 
iSpw ^ab -\y_ >D, represented by <K ws ff/j.l\a^ K.T.X., and that . . . onD 
30 303 are variants or glosses, is beset by two serious difficulties; viz. 
(i) the use of ij; as a particle denoting comparison is without any paral 
lel in the OT., i Ch. 4" certainly not being such a case; (2) it seems 
rather reckless to eliminate the D line, leaving a blank, when onD 
presents itself at the right place in 4$. v^] Comp., ^pave^erai. 
Hap. iea\ Marti, B>N3; so Hpt., Stk.. N"?D] Rd. Sn and join with 
v. ; so We., GASm., Arn., Marti, Dr., Now. K , Hpt.(?). ^ = -IN^. 
Gr. SSo. Gunk. -iSaj (cf. Ps. 372). Hal. as an abbreviation of 

3. WORDS OF COMFORT TO JUDAH (i 12 - 13 a 1 - 3 ). 

An eight-line str. declaring that the yoke of Israel s oppressor 
is broken and the period of her affliction is complete. Deliver 
ance and restoration now await the people of God. This section 
constitutes a later addition to the prophecy of Nahum. 

Thus saith Yahweh: 

WERILY, the days of my contention are completed; yea, indeed, they are over 

and gone. 
I have afflicted thee, but I will afflict thee no more. 

I" 303 

\nd now I will break his rod from upon thee, and thy bonds I will burst asunder. 
Behold, upon the mountains the feet of a herald, of one proclaiming peace! 
Celebrate thy feasts, O Judah, fulfil thy vows; 

For not again will the destroyer pass through thee; he will be destroyed, cut off. 
For Yahweh will restore the vine of Jacob, likewise the vine of Israel; 
Though the despoilers have despoiled them, and their branches they have 

12. Thus saith Yahweh] This phrase is extraneous to the str. 
but is not on that account necessarily a later, editorial addition.* 
It furnishes the necessary antecedent of the pronouns in the first 
person which follow. Verily, the days of my contention are com 
pleted ; yea, indeed, they are over and gone] For text, v. i.. HI is 
very difficult, if not impossible. RV. renders, "though they be in 
full strength, and likewise many, even so shall they be cut down, 
and he shall pass away." The manifest defects of this are, (i) 
Q^tP = whole, perfect, sound, etc., and in full strength is 
somewhat forced; (2) pi can hardly be rendered "and likewise," 
which would be better expressed by D31; (3) the pronouns they 
and he are loosely related to the context, the former in particular 
finding no satisfactory antecedent. Most of the older interpreters 
found here an allusion to the invasion of Sennacherib, e. g. "if 
they (i. e. the Assyrians) were once intact and so many and yet 
were so mown down and he (i. e. Sennacherib) passed away."f 
But the allusions are too indefinite and the transition to Sennacherib 
too abrupt to render this plausible. Renderings involving textual 
changes are numerous, e. g. "may the great waters be ever so full, 
they will yet come to naught and pass away," J but D^ is nowhere 
else used of the overflowing of waters; "how high the tide was so 
ever, it has ebbed and subsided," but the OT. knows nothing of 
tides and as a matter of fact the tide on the coast of Palestine is 
insignificant; "they will be divided like the great waters,"** but this 
involves the arbitrary omission of several words and the violent 
transposition of others. The translation given here rests upon a 
text largely conjectural, but its departure from M is comparatively 
slight. For the figure of Yahweh s controversy with Israel, cf. 
Ho. 4 1 i2 2 Mi. 6 2 Je. 25 31 . The thought is that the period during 

* Contra Gunk., Hap., Now., Hpt.. 

t Ew.; similarly Mau., Ke., Hi., Hd., Or., GASm.. 

* We.. Hpt.. ** Hap.. 

304 NAHUM 

which Yahweh has constantly been under the necessity of punish 
ing Judah for its sins has now come to an end; a new dispensation 
may now be expected from him. An alternative rendering, resting 
upon a slightly different text, may be suggested, viz. "many days 
have been completed, they are come to an end and have passed 
away"; i. e. the long-drawn-out time of affliction, which seemed as 
though it would never end, is now finished. 1 have afflicted thee, 
but I will afflict thee no more] This is a plain prose statement of the 
meaning of the preceding, somewhat figurative words. The ad 
dress is to Judah,* if this translation be adopted. But as the text 
stands in 4E, the more natural rendering is, "and I will afflict thee 
so that I need not afflict thee again"; in which case the address is 
to Nineveh or Assyriaf and the meaning is that Yahweh is about to 
destroy Nineveh utterly, once for all. 13. And now I will break 
his rod from upon thee, and thy bonds I will burst asunder] m has 
yoke for rod, but the form is difficult. The figure is that of a 
taskmaster standing over the slave with uplifted stick, forcing him 
to work; cf. Is. 9* io 5 - 24 Ps. 2 9 Rev. 2 27 i2 5 ig 15 . The oppressor re 
ferred to is the power that happened to be in dominion over Judah 
at the time this was written; perhaps it was Persia. If the reading 
yoke be correct, the bonds will be the thongs holding the two 
sides of the yoke together; cf. Ps. 2 3 Je. 3o 8 Ez. 3o 18 34" Is. 28 22 . 
2 1 . Behold, upon the mountains the feet of a herald, one proclaiming 
peace] Cf. Is. 40 52 7 . In striking fashion, the prophet pictures 
deliverance and safety as at the very doors. The reference to the 
mountains probably finds its significance in the custom of signal 
ling tidings from one hill-top to another; cf. Is. 5 26 13 2 ff - 49 22 . The 
word rendered peace is a comprehensive term, including that 
which goes with peace, viz. prosperity and freedom from anxiety. 
Celebrate thy feasts, O Judah, fulfil thy vows] These are the 
words of the messenger. The joyous festal occasions thus far in 
termittently observed because of the inroads of the invader, may 
now be regularly resumed. The many vows that have been made 
in the effort to win the favour of God for the afflicted people are 
now due. It is characteristic that the religious duties of the nation 

* So e. g. Ki., Mau., Ke., Hd., Or., Gunk., Marti, Kent, el al.. 
t So e. g. Hi., We., GASm., Dr.. 

a 1 - 305 

are the first thought in the writer s mind. The deliverance will be 
wrought by God; the first obligation of the rescued people is to him. 
For not again will the destroyer pass through thee] Cf. Jo. 2 19 - 20 f - 
3 17 Zc. 9 8 . The abstract "ruin" is used in the text for the con 
crete "destroyer." The oppressive tyrant is thus represented as 
ruin incarnate. On the rendering "Belial," v. i.. He will be de 
stroyed, cut off] fH has " he will be wholly cut off." In either case, 
a complete destruction is intended. The oppressor is now him 
self to meet the fate that he has dealt out so freely to others. 3. 
For Yahweh will restore the vine of Jacob, likewise the vine of Israel] 
M. has "pride" in both instances for "vine"; but the following line 
demands the mention of a vine here as the antecedent of its thought. 
The words vine and pride in Hebrew vary only in one conso 
nant; hence confusion in copying was easy. For the same figure, 
cf. Gn. 49 22 Ho. lo 1 Is. 5 2 7 Je. 2 21 48 32 Ps. 8o 8 - 14 . Some would treat 
the references to Israel as a variant of the preceding Jacob; but the 
hope of the restoration of both branches of the people was vivid in 
postexilic Israel (e. g. Is. n 12ff - Zc. io off - Ob. 18ff -) and may well 
have found expression here. For Jacob = Judah, cf. Is. 43* 
44 1 46 3 Ob. 18 . The verb is better taken as a prophetic perfect re 
lating to the future than as a historical perfect stating what has al 
ready taken place.* If the reading "pride" be retained, it will be 
used in its good sense, viz. honour, self-respect, glory. Though 
devastators have devastated them and laid waste their branches] The 
pronouns refer to Jacob and Israel. The force of the opening con 
junction is dubious; it may be concessive, as here taken, and indi 
cate that the present desolate condition of Israel is no obstacle in 
the way of the exercise of Yahweh s favour; or it may be causal or 
explanatory, giving the reason for the necessity of the promised 
restoration. The calamities of the past are likened to the ruth 
less devastation of a luxuriant vine, as in Is. i6 7 - 8 . Efforts to in 
terpret the figure on all-fours have not been wanting, e. g. the 
branches designate the fair community;! or the vineyard is the land 
of Canaan, the vines are the families of Israel and the branches are 
the individual members of the various families.! 

* Contra GASm. who renders, "has turned the pride of Jacob like to the pride of Israel." 
t Ew.. t Hi.. 


The relation of these verses to their context has been thus stated by 
We.: "In the verses with even numbers, Assy, or Nineveh is addressed; 
in those with odd numbers, Judah or Zion. This change in the address 
verse by verse is intolerable. The connection which is represented by 
ji2. H 2 z. 4 a. i s interrupted by i 13 2 1 - 3 ; these verses have been inserted." 
This conclusion, first clearly drawn by We., though the interchange of 
the .parties addressed had long been recognised, has been accepted by 
nearly all succeeding interpreters; so e. g. Dav., Now., GASm., Rub., 
Arn., Marti, Lohr (ThLZ. 1901, p. 37), Hpt., van H., Ka., Kent. Some 
would include v. I2 in the interpolation, as is done above; a decision upon 
this point is dependent upon the text adopted for the verse (v. i.}. The 
incompatibility of this material with its context has been recognised also 
by Gunk, and Gray; while Stk. eliminates i 13 2 3 , Dr. concedes 2 3 as at 
least misplaced, and Hal. seeks to secure harmony by placing i 14 before 
i 13 and 2 3 before 2 2 . On the other hand, Du. finds the real beginning of 
the prophecy of Nahum in i 12 - 13 - 14 ( P art y> 2 - 3 . 

The unity of this group of verses is open to question. They all, in 
deed, reflect the same general tone and point of view. They are full of 
expectation and hope for Judah; they seem to presuppose the exile; and 
they concern themselves with the upbuilding of Zion, while Nahum s 
interest is in the fall of Nineveh. But though occupying this common 
ground, their inner connection is not as close as would be expected in a 
unified poem. The connection between i 13 and 2 1 , as also between 2 1 
and 2 3 , is loose. The possibility that this is a group of more or less inde 
pendent glosses added by one or more editors must be allowed. 

Gunk., Hap., et al. argue for the inclusion of this material in the fore 
going acrostic. But the tone of the verses as they stand is in sharp con 
trast to that of the acrostic. Not only so, but all attempts to incorpo 
rate them in the acrostic have involved such radical emendations and 
transpositions of text that doubt and discredit are thrown upon them and 
that Dav. s dictum regarding the acrostic as a whole, viz. "the attempt 
to restore it can never be more than an academic exercise/ has certainly 
been justified for i u -2 3 . 

The time when i 12 - I3 2 1 - 3 originated can be only vaguely conjectured. 
They look back upon a long period of suffering and forward to the dawn 
of a new era. They anticipate the immediate cessation of Judah s 
afflictions with the concomitant entrance of the Messianic era of peace 
and power. It is questionable whether any portion of the postexilic 
age was wholly devoid of such hopes. Suffering was the common lot of 
Israel all through this period. As the vassal of one or another of the 
great world-powers, her pride was continually humbled and she was as 
continually looking and longing for deliverance. At times, the Messianic 
hope burned brightly, e. g. in the days of Zerubbabel. These verses 
probably reflect some such period as that when the world-power of the 

I 12 3 2 1 3 307 

day seemed to be tottering to its fall and the hopes of faithful Israel were 
kindled to fresh vigour. The fall of Nineveh, to which Nahum con 
fidently looked forward, can hardly have occasioned such vivid and cer 
tain confidence of immediate relief for Israel as these verses reflect; for 
at that time Assy, power in Syria had long come to an end and Judah 
was under the heel of Egypt. 

I 12 . -> IDS ro] Van H. > DNJ, in order to obtain a J line. D^nS^-aN 
Don pi] Rd. -on w -iDVtf ^N, with Gunk. (= icStt^.) as modified by 
Marti; so Now. K , Kent. For a similar idiom, cf. Is. 6o 20 . With a slight 
variation, we might remain a little closer to fH, viz. DOT D^CJ ID^ *JN. In 
either case pi is to be om. as due to dittog. from the foil, pi; so (& & and 
Gr., Gunk., Rub. (PSBA. XX, 173/0, Hap., Marti, Hpt.. iH s CN is 
due to confusion of D and 3 (v. on v. 8 ). To om. ON (so Marti, Now. K , 
Kent), makes it difficult to explain its presence in the text. (& testifies 
to its presence in some form. ioSs> and the two foil. vbs. are in the pres 
ent pf.; cf. Ges. * 106 . (g Kar&pxuv vSdruv TroXXwv, which Schleus. would 
emend to /car a.px&v K.r.X.; cf. & concerning the heads (or tops) of the 
waters. Gr. ui DJ. We. 001 o?? v OK. Rub. DOT. D?p WTN, which he 
renders "I shall cause many waters to flow." Hap. D^D Wr. Van H. 
ono Sfc D, as an attribute of \ Hpt. D^D DID DN. Du., om. everything 
between v and j> i, reads rpig & cbv ON. ( j) pi] Rd. p.N, the as- 
severative particle. For N in the middle of a sentence, cf. Is. 4O 7 Je. 3"; 
and for the succession pN . . . IN, c/". Is. 45 U - 16 . For a somewhat an 
alogous confusion of pN and JD, c/. i K. n 2 <K. Rub. ]bi = quick 
ly, a word made to order on the basis of Ar. wakana, run quickly. 
Gunk, treats p as a noun and the subj. of the foil. vb.. nun] Rd. -in, 
H being due to dittog. of final } in pi; so Gr., Marti, Now. K , Kent. 
Many mss. of Kenn. and de R. ITJJ. <g 8ta<rTa\^<roinrai. 0. e>r^9, 
which carry off (taking it transitively as in Nu. n 31 )- New. Sn. 
Hap. nuj. Gunk. (Schopfung, 102) TUJ. We. ir-u^, or n?i) (so C5., 
Now.). Ifl s j is ATT., a Niph. of TTJ. For -VJ = pass away, c/". 
Ps. 90 ; it is better as pf. (prophetic pf., if necessary) than as impf. 
(We.). -ayi] Not improbably a gloss upon the rare word in. (6 om.; 
so Hap.. & pi.; so Buhl, Gr., We., Rub., Dav., Oort Em , Now., 
Or., GASm., Marti, Hal., Hpt., van H., Kau., Kent., Du.. If retained, 
it must be read as pi.. On waw conjunctive, v. Dr. * 1SI . S irup 
lij? "JJJ?N] Tr. 1 to precede sS. (& Kal d.Ko-fi<rov OVK ivaKovvd^fffrai $TI. H 
om. i; so Buhl, Oort, Or., Now., GASm., Gray, Arn., Marti, Hpt., Stk.. 
Rub. -ny npyn S iruyi = and the sound of thy name will no longer 
resound. Hap. "nj; DJJ?N N 1 ? onjy. Hal. inuj? = thine affliction I will 
bring upon thee now. Arn. seeks the B> line of the acrostic in this 
verse and secures it by om. DN. But while "Intact and ever so many" 
may be good English, it is poor Heb. ; and the idea of indefinite number 

308 NAHUM 

would not be expressed by n p\ Hap. secures the j line here, but only 
by the arbitrary om. of vv. " I2a in order that jj may be brought to the 
beginning of the line. 13. -ino c] Rd. -inssc, with (^tTjvpdftdov avrov; soH 
virgam ejus and some mss. of Kenn. and de R. ; so also Now., Or., Arn., 
Hap., Hpt, Kau., HWB. 15 . ill s pointing is a mixed form, combining 
i^D and -liTjsa. t^D, in the sense of yoke occurs nowhere else, the 
regular form being n^D, which with the sf. gives intpiD in sg. and vnbio in 
pi.. -inso suits the foil. "pSys.just as well as DIE does, is an appropriate 
object of na^s (cf. Zc. n 10 f ) and is nearer M than either of the normal 
forms of sb is. nnDis, which is frequently connected with nais to desig 
nate the thongs which hold the two bars of the yoke together, is not al 
ways so used (e. g. Jb. I2 18 Ps. u6 16 ); hence it constitutes no convincing 
argument for the presence of on or HBID here. We. XOID. Or. mEnD. 
Gunk. T. \-iiB3. Marti, vrna^D; so Kau. (?). Van H. TJBO. Stk. mob; 
so Du.. TSjjs] <g d-n-b <roO. "^ de torso tuo. Reinke, n,pp. Hpt. om.; 
so van H.. Stk. ^>y; so Du.. -^moi::] (& om. sf.. Hap. env__ 
This verse, with om. of initial i, is taken as the y line of the acrostic 
by Gunk., Hap., and van H.; while Hpt. confidently relegates it to the 
margin. 2 1 . run] Gunk. tr. to precede J^CPD; so Hap.. Oort Em - 
n:n, joining with i 14 . Van H. on, and tr. rrSy ojn to foil. DiSa>. 
nao::] Hpt. om. as "scribal expansion," while van H. om. yDPD. 
v;Vy] Gunk, adds oSttn> as subj.; so Hap.. ( Y om. *innj v. may 1 ?] 
g> = -oj?S, probably an inner-Syr, error (Seb.). Gunk. iayn. Hap. 
i^)7\ SpVa] Has here almost the force of a proper name, as in 2 S. 
23 Jb. 34 18 . & by dissimilation gets beli ar; so also in 2 Cor. 6 lfi . It is 
used as a proper name to designate Satan in Testimony of the Twelve 
Patriarchs, The Ascension of Isaiah, and Jubilees; and in Sybilline Ora 
cles, it is applied to Nero. If compounded of ^a and hy^ } it is the only 
case in Heb. of a compound common noun; such formations are frequent 
in proper names. Other explanations are, (a) = nSp ^Va = (from 
which) one comes not up, i. e. the underworld; (b) = the name of 
Belili, the Babylonian goddess of vegetation and of the underworld, the 
name having been given a popular etymology in Heb.. In favour of its 
connection with some proper name is the later tradition which so re 
garded it and the difficulty of classifying it as a common noun in any 
formation. The analogy of nan xS and possibly nn^Sa will not permit 
us to throw the theory of composite origin summarily out of court. In 
any case, it is probably a loan-word in Heb., the origin of which is no 
longer discoverable. < s rendering here, els ira\ai(i}<riv t is unique; its 
ordinary renderings are &v6(j.T)/jM, dvo/jiia, diroaraffla, \oifn6s, irapdvo/ws, 
d/iapra>X6s; it treats it as a proper name in Pr. 16" Ju. 2o 13 , as does 9 
in Ju. 19". Cf. Che. EB. 5257. ; KA T. 3 , 464; G. F. Moore on Ju. 19" in 
ICC. , H. P. Smith on i S. i 16 , in ICC.; Charles, A scension of Isaiah, pp. 

a 1 - 39 

lv-lvii, 6-7. n^j] Rd. nSa, with 05 ffwrerf^eo-rai , so We., Gunk., Hap., 
Now., Marti. Hpt. nSr. So with sf . usually foil, its vb. rather than pre 
cede it as here; hence the preference for 05. n~oj] <g tijpTai. Gunk, 
obtains the n, tt> and n lines of the acrostic from this verse the i line by 
transposing run, the aline by tr. the two halves of the second line and in 
serting Jerusalem as a subject, and the n line by ruthlessly inserting 
on before VDI> t<S. Hap. approves this, with the substitution of nnn for 
on. Bick., with greater arbitrariness, om. all of 2 except aj a Sa n *jn, 
before which he puts vn to form the n line. Van H. tr. j a V?a to the 
end of i 14 , begins the n line with ^Sjn, tr. n:n to precede nn *?> , and om. 
J^CB>D. By proceedings like these, any poem might be transformed into 
an acrostic. 3. ^ a:: ] (5 &ir<rrpGpv K^/HOS. & 7 aw about to turn. New., 
Gr. D-C". The Qal is used here with the force of a Hiph. as in the idiom 
mas> aiy, aside from which the usage is found only in Ps. 85* Jb. 39 * 
Nu. io 36 , where the text is extremely uncertain. Hpt. secures the usual 
intrans. force here by om. PN mm as a gloss (so Du.), leaving > JINJ as the 
subj.. The trans, rendering is supported by <& 8> (E. pNj] Rd. JQJ, with 
Gunk., Now., Marti, van H., Kau., Kent (8 C/Spts. JINJD] Rd. fJ3; so 
Marti, Kau., Kent. Hpt., Du. fgji. Van H. PNJI. Gunk. om. * ja 
as a variant of the preceding phrase; so Now., Dr.. D^ppaoippa] (& 
tKTivdffffovres ^erlva^av. & they will trample upon the tramplers. Gunk, 
om. mppa as a variant. Du. a n-ipjja. onncn] Gunk, nnor; so 
Du.. If there were any reason to suppose that the acrostic was to be 
found in these verses, the proposal of Bick. to secure the e> line here 
by om. ^D from before as> would be attractive; for o is not essential to the 
thought and it opens one of three successive lines beginning with o; 
hence, it might easily be accounted for as due to dittog.. But there is no 
warrant for the insertion by Bick. and van H. of nnn before pa ^ to 
form the n line. Gunk. om. ^ from before aa% but regards the resulting 
v line as a later addition to the acrostic, since he has already found a v 
in 2 1 . 

4. THE FALL OF NINEVEH (i 11 - 14 2 2 - "-"). 

A series of five strs. portraying the destruction of Assyria s capi 
tal. Str. I announces Yahweh s punitive purpose and ironically 
urges Nineveh to her own defence (i 11 - 14 2 2 ). Str. II presents a 
vivid picture of the attack upon Nineveh (2 4 ~ 6 ). Str. Ill describes 
the distress within the city (2 7 10 ). Str. IV sets forth the helpless 
ness of Assyria (2 11 13 ). Str. V in Yahweh s own words declares 
that the destruction will be thorough and complete (2 14 ). This is 
the first of the genuine oracles of Nahum. 

3 10 NAHUM 

J)ID not one come forth from thee devising evil against Yahweh, counselling 

wickedness ? 
Yahweh has commanded concerning thee, "There shall be sown of thy name 

no longer. 

From the house of thy gods, I will cut off the graven and the molten image. 
I will make thy grave a dishonour." 

A shatterer has come up against thee: keep the rampart; 
Watch the road; brace your loins; strengthen your might to the utmost. 

shield of his warriors is reddened; the mighty men are clothed in scarlet. 
They will prepare the chariots on that day; the chargers will tremble. 
In the fields, the chariots rage to and fro; they run about in the open places. 
Their appearance resembles torches; they dart about like lightning. 
He summons his nobles; they take command of their divisions (?); 
They hasten to the wall and the battering-ram ( ?) is set up. 
Y HE gates of the rivers are opened and the palace melts away. 
And . . ., and her maidens are moaning, 
Like the voice of doves, beating upon their breasts. 
And Nineveh like a pool of water are her defenders, and as they flee, 
"Stand fast, stand fast" (one cries), but no one turns back. 
"Plunder silver, plunder gold; for there is no end to the supplies." 
Y HERE is emptiness and void and waste, and a melting heart and staggering of 


And anguish is in all loins and the faces of all of them become livid. 
Where is the den of the lions and the cave of the young lions, 
Whither the lion went to enter, the lion s cub, with none to disturb; 
Where the lion tore prey sufficient for his cubs and rended for his lionesses, 
And filled his dens with prey and his lair with booty? 
gEHOLD, I am against thee; it is the oracle of Yahweh of hosts; 

And I will burn up chariots with smoke, and the sword will devour thy young 

And I will cut off thy booty from the land, and the voice of thy messengers will 

be heard no more. 

Str. I is addressed to Nineveh directly, announcing to her that 
the fate she once purposed for Jerusalem is now to overtake her 
herself. I 11 . Did not one come forth from thee who devised evil 
against Yahweh, who counselled wickedness ?] With a slight change 
of form, the last word of v. 10 is placed at the opening of v. n . This 
causes no essential change in the sense here, but relieves a serious 
difficulty in v. 10 . The reference is probably to Sennacherib s 
having gone forth from Nineveh to attack Jerusalem. When he 
fought against Israel, he was in reality fighting against Yahweh, 
thought Nahum. Yet Micah certainly, and Isaiah probably, 
thought of the Assyrians as Yahweh s agents or tools in the work 
of punishing sinful Israel. Some interpreters have seen here an 

I 14 311 

allusion rather to Sennacherib s departure from Jerusalem;* while 
others apply the statement to the whole series of Assyrian oppres 
sors, f But the allusion to Sennacherib is more telling, since it in 
evitably recalls the ill-starred fate of his expedition. The word 
evil here denotes primarily not moral evil, but positive injury, 
damage. 14. Yahweh has commanded regarding thee : there shall 
be sown of thy name no more] i. e. Yahweh has decreed the total ex 
tinction of Assyria. The prophet evidently conceives of Yahweh 
as God of gods and King of kings; the destiny of nations is in his 
hands. On the basis of the masculine suffix of HI, the older in 
terpreters sought to identify the person here addressed with an As 
syrian king, viz. Sennacherib J or Ashurbanipal, whose dynasty is 
to come to an end. But the passionate exultation of Nahum re 
quires more for its justification than the mere cessation of a dy 
nasty; nothing less than the fall of the nation suits the case. The 
figure of sowing here has-its natural sense, referring to the perpet 
uation and increase of the Assyrian people, as in Is. 4o 24 Je. 31" 
Ho. 2. For similar threats, cf. Is. i 4 20 Dt. f 4 2 9 20 1 S. 24". The 
commonly accepted change from sow to remember (v. i.) is 
gratuitous; the figure as in HI is much more suggestive and in keep 
ing with the poetic feeling of Nahum, while the grammatical usage 
involved in the phrase is not uncommon (v. i.). The proposal to 
make this verse a promise addressed to Judah, interpreting sow 
as meaning scatter as in Zc. io 9 , fails to take account of the fact 
that the latter half of this verse is evidently a threat and cannot be 
harmonised with a promise in the first half. From the house of 
thy gods, I will cut off graven image and molten image] House = 
temple or sanctuary, as in phrases like house of Yahweh, 
house of Rimmon (i K. y 12 Ju. 9 4 i S. 5 5 3i 10 2 K. 5 i8 ), and is 
used collectively here, including all the shrines of Assyria or, at 
least, of Nineveh. The destruction or deportation of images and 
the desecration of temples was the customary procedure of the 
Assyrians and Babylonians toward the gods of conquered peoples 
(2 K. i8 33ff - 25; cf. Taylor Cylinder of Sennacherib, col. V, 59; 
and the letter from the Jews of Elephantine to Bagoas, line 14, 

* So e. g. Struensee. t So New., Rosenm., Hi., Kl.. 

% So Pu. t Hd.. So Ra., Mich.. 


which testifies to similar conduct on the part of the Persians). 
This was the most convincing evidence of the powerlessness of 
the gods thus insulted. Assyria is now to suffer in her own per 
son the humiliation she has so often inflicted upon others. For an 
enumeration and description of the gods of Assyria, v. Morris 
Jastrow s Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, pp. 188-234.* 7 
mil make thy grave a dishonour] For "dishonour," M reads "thou 
art worthless"; but a charge of lightness, triviality or worthlessness 
seems hardly to do justice to the once mighty Assyria. Nor is 
the expression "make thy grave" used elsewhere as the equiva 
lent of "put to death" or "bury thee" (cf. Je. f 2 Ez. 32^ 39 11 - 16 ). 
As emended, the text marks the climax of misfortune for Assyria, 
in that instead of being held in honour after she has ceased to 
live, the memory of her is to become an occasion for insult and 
reproach (cf. Is. i4 19 - 20 )f . 2 2 . A shatterer comes up against thee; 
guard the rampart] For text, v. i.. HI has "a scatterer"; a slight 
change in the vowels yields this better word; cf. Je. 5i 20 . Nineveh 
is evidently addressed herej and called to defend herself against 
one who approaches to break down her mighty towers and walls. 
The prophet has some foe clearly in mind ; the identification of him 
has varied with different interpreters. It is unnecessary to sup 
pose that he had any individual leader specifically in mind; his 
language can easily be referred to the destroying army as a whole; 
nothing certain can be alleged beyond this as to his meaning. The 
probability, however, is that he spoke upon the verge of the final 
campaign of the Medes against Nineveh, if indeed it had not 
already been instituted; v. Introduction, pp. 277 f.. In that case, 
he may have intended to characterise Cyaxares as "the hammer," 

* Or better, in the revised and enlarged German edition, Vol. I, 201-243. 

t For an illustration of the sort of thing Nahum has in mind, c}. Annals of Ashurbanipal, 
VI, 70 /.: "The mausoleums of their kings, the earlier and later ones, who had not feared 
Ashur and Ishtar, my lords, but had been hostile to the kings my fathers, I destroyed and laid 
waste and exposed them to the sun. I took their bones to Assy.; I gave their shades no repose 
and deprived them of their food- and drink-offerings." 

J Many earlier interpreters make Judah the addressee; so AE., Ki., Ra., Abar., Sanctius, 
Dathe, Mich., Hd.. 

Nebuchadrezzar is the choice of Jer., AE., Cal., New., Bauer, Kl., Or.; Cyril prefers Cyrus. 
Hd. decides upon Sennacherib; while Arbaces is selected by Mich., Cyaxares by Ore. and Mau., 
Phraortes by Ew., and others are satisfied with the Medo-Chaldean army; e. g. Eich., Jus., 
Theiner, Struensee, Hi., and Br.. 

2" .313 

or "shatterer"; cf. the title Judas " Maccabaeus. " Watch the 
road; brace the loins; strengthen might to the utmost] Ironically, the 
prophet urges Nineveh to take every precaution and make the most 
thorough preparation for an effective resistance in the approaching 
siege. The call is not so much for outer preparations as for a key 
ing up of the spirits of the besieged to the highest pitch; they must 
exhibit both " bodily prowess and mental intrepidity";* cf. Am. 
2 14 Na. 2 11 , where a state of mind exactly the opposite of this is 

Str. II describes the foes impetuous attack upon the city. 2 4 . 
The shield of his warriors is reddened] The pronoun refers to the 
invading foe previously personified as "the shatterer," rather than 
to Yahwehf or the Assyrian king.J The language of the verse as a 
whole is much better suited to the actions of the besiegers than to 
those of the besieged. The redness of the shields has been vari 
ously accounted for; e. g. as due to the fact that the shields were 
made of gold, a fact which is only hypothesis, however, and ex 
tremely unlikely at that; or to the blood that dripped from them,** 
which would probably be described with more precision (cf. Is. g 5 
63 3 Rev. 9 17 ) ; or to the anointing or dying of the leather facings of 
the shields (Is. 2i 5 2 S. i 21 ) ;ff or, perhaps better, to the reflection of 
the sunshine from the reddish copper surface of the shields (i Mac. 
6 39 ; Jos. Ant.xui, 12, 5).J| The men of might are clothed in scarlet] 
This seems to have been the characteristic colour of the Babylonians 
(Ez. 23 i4 ) and Medes; that of the Assyrians was blue (Ez. 2$* 
2^23 f.^ p ur pi e an( } reddish garments were very costly; hence an 
objection to this interpretation of the word arises in that such gar 
ments would scarcely be worn by an entire army. Three ways of 
obviating this difficulty may be considered. The possibility of va 
rious cheaper grades of goods must be reckoned with ;*** the view 
that blood-stained garments are meanttff * s not consistent with the 
interpretation of the passage as describing the appearance of the foe 

* Dr.. f Hi.. J Contra Cyril, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Hap., el al.. 

KL ** Grotius, Abar., Jrm., Hal., Hpt.. tt Hd., Dav.. tt Hi., Or.. 

Pollux, Bk. I, 13, says: Sapa-yrjs, Mjjfiwi ^\. ^op-q^a, n6p<f>vpo<;, /jie<r6Avco9 \iru)v. Cf. 
the statement (cited by Dr.) from Xenophon s Cyropcedia, VI, iv, i, that the Persian army of 
the younger Cyrus "flashed with bronze and gleamed with crimson military cloaks," which 
they had obtained from the Medes. 

*** Van H.. ttt Grotius, Abar., Jrm., Hal., Hpt.. 

314 NAHUM 

before the battle; while there is no warrant for supposing the term 
"men of might" to designate only the leaders of the army as being 
arrayed in costly raiment* the terms " warriors" and " mighty 
men" seem both alike to be general in scope and equivalent to " sol 
diers" or " fighters." The correctness of the rendering "clothed 
with scarlet" seems established by the parallelism with "red 
dened," notwithstanding the difficulty it offers, the fact that it is the 
only occurrence of this verb and the variant reading of <& 0, which, 
however, hardly furnishes satisfactory sense here. Like the flame 
of torches] These words are apparently a gloss upon the rare and 
difficult word which precedes, viz. "clothed in scarlet. "f This is 
indicated both by the difficulty of connecting them naturally with 
the following words and by the fact that when they are removed, 
the line becomes of normal length. Of the various attempts to 
explain them in conjunction with the following words, none can 
meet with general approval. They are equally burdensome when 
joined with the preceding words. 4K is practically untranslata 
ble.:]: RV. "flash with steel" or "are with fire of steel" connects 
m^S with an Arabic and Syriac word = steel/ from a similar root. 
But it is doubtful if this is not a loan-word in Arabic from the Per 
sian ; and if of Persian origin, its currency in the Hebrew of Na- 
hum s time is unlikely. If the reading "steel " be correct, the easiest 
rendering is "like fire is the steel (of the chariot)." This is not, 
however, to be understood as implying scythed chariots,** for such 
are not represented anywhere on Assyrian monuments, nor cer 
tainly known till the time of Cyrus, the Younger. Armoured char 
iots would fit the description. The war-chariots of the Assyrian 
king and his nobles were covered with plates of highly polished 
metal,ft the flash of which in the sunlight might well be likened 
to fire. The chariots of the attacking Medes are, of course, referred 

* Ke.. el al.. t So Hap.. 

J It is given up as hopeless by We., Dav., GASm., Marti, Dr., Kau.. 

So Stei.; Lagarde, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 75; cj. No. ZDMG. XXX, 769; Now.. 

** Contra Hi.. Jrm. (p. 167) calls attention to the fact that Xenophon in several passages 
of the Cyropcedia names Cyrus as the inventor of ap/xora (on-Aia/xti/a, but that the first ref 
erence to the actual use of scythe-bearing chariots is in connection with the battle of Cunaxa 
(401 B.C.) in Anabasis, I, 7, and I, 8. 

tt V. Kleinman s Assyrian Sculptures in the British Museum, Plates ci-cii, where a relief of 
Sennacherib shows a war-chariot with an embossed metal covering. Cj. Jrm., pp. 167 /.. 

a" 3i5 

to; but it is probable that they closely resembled those of the Assyr 
ians. They will make ready the chariots on that day] 4ft calls for the 
rendering, "the chariot on the day of its preparation," which must 
in some way be connected with the preceding phrase. But what 
ever may be said of the relationship of the two preceding words to 
this phrase as it is in 4ft, certainly "on the day of its preparation" 
is a rather lame conclusion for a sentence that starts out with so 
much vigour. Moreover, the infinitive construct of the Hiph il stem 
of J13 is nowhere else given the intransitive or passive force involved 
in the rendering "preparation," whether the suffix its refer to the 
word chariot or go further back to the * shatterer of v. 2 . Not only 
so, but if this infinitive construct be pointed as a pf., 3d pers. pi., it 
occupies the same place in its sentence and is in every other respect 
parallel to the verb of the co-ordinate clause. The difficulty in 
volved in rendering Di"3 by "in that day" exists also in Ju. i3 10 ; 
in both cases, either the article must be given the strong demon 
strative force which it sometimes has or, with less likelihood, Sin 
must be supposed to have dropped out of the text at a very early 
date.* And the chargers will tremble] i. e. the high-spirited war- 
horses will quiver with excitement, eager for th^ fray. This 
rendering is based upon (. ffl has "cypresses" in place of 
"chargers"; this is usually taken in a figurative sense as indicative 
of lances or spears, so called because of their wooden shafts, pars 
pro toto. f Against this are the lack of any parallel instance of such 
usage in Hebrew and the unlikelihood of a reference to spears in 
the midst of a sentence otherwise wholly concerned with chariots 
and their equipment. The Greeks and Romans employed this 
figure, J but it is unknown to Semitic literature. 6. The chariots 
will rage to and fro in the fields, they will rush hither and thither in 
the spacious places] Cf. Je. 46. The words here rendered " fields " 
and "spacious places" are frequently applied to the streets and 
squares within the walls of cities; but this is not always the case 
(cf. Jb. 5 10 i8 17 Pr. 9 26(?) 24"). Regions outside of the city seem 
required here by the context; the language of this verse itself more 
naturally characterises the conduct of those who are on the outside 

* C/. G. F. Moore on Ju. 13 in ICC.. t So Cal., Hi., Ste., Hd., et al.. 

J E. g. Iliad, XIX, 387-300; Mncid, XI, 667; Hesiod, Scut. Here. 188. 

316 NAHUM 

of the walls,* than that of those within. f The comparison with 
torches and lightning made in the following line is suggestive of 
anything rather than the terror of the defeated ; it must be intended 
to characterise the movements of the conquering army. Hence, 
it can hardly be said that while a contest before the walls of the city 
is here represented, yet the details of the description apply to the 
movements of the vanquished,:): rather than to those of the victors. 
Some interpreters would place the struggle in one of the suburbs 
of Nineveh, outside of the fortifications of the main city; but the 
" streets" and "squares" of a suburb are little better adapted to 
cavalry manoeuvres than are those of the city itself.** Their ap 
pearance is like that of torches; they dart about like lightning} The 
pronouns refer to the chariots of the previous verse, not to the fields 
and open places,ff notwithstanding the fact that the grammatical 
gender of the suffix in HI brings it into agreement with "open 
places"; v. i.. The armoured chariots dashing hither and thither 
in the blazing sunlight are suggestive of lightning flashes both by 
their speed and their brilliance. 6. He summons his nobles; they 
take command of their companies (?)] The course of thought seems 
to require that this verse be interpreted as applying to the invader 
and the forces he urges forward to the attack upon Nineveh. JJ 
Many scholars, however, have preferred to interpret it as descrip 
tive of the king of Assyria and his army; while others refer the 
first part of the verse to the Assyrians and the second to the in 
vaders.*** The cause of this uncertainty is twofold; (a) the lack of 
any subject for ^DP in the immediate context; (b) the meaning of 
1^>EO\ The objection to the Assyrian king as the subject is the 
fact that there has been no previous allusion to him here, and he 
could scarcely be brought upon the scene without being definitely 
pointed out in some way. On the other hand, the suffix of 
YH HK, his nobles, naturally goes back to the same antecedent as 
that of WOJ, his warriors (v. 4 ), viz. the "shatterer" of v. 2 . 

* So e. g. Hi., Hd., Or., We., Jrm., Dav., Now., Marti, Dr.. 

t E. g. Ew., Urn., Kl.. J So Hap.. So Struensee, Dav., Jrm.. 

** Cj. Billerbeck s description of the approaches to Nineveh in BAS. Ill, 127-131. 

tt Struensee. 1% So e. g. Os., Sanctius, We., Hpt, Kent 

So e. g. Jer., Cal., Mau., Urn., Ke., Ew., Rosenm., Hd., Or., Dav., Jrm., Kau.. 

*** So e. g. Marti, Hal., Dr., van H.. 

2 6 3 J 7 

The leader of the attacking army thus seems to be the subject of the 
action. The phrase X D I^BO 11 , however, presents difficulty. Its 
ordinary meaning, "they stumble in their going," is hardly appli 
cable to the movements of a body of men eagerly advancing to the 
overthrow of a city. It more naturally applies to the defenders, 
overwhelmed by weariness and fear. If the text be correct, it is 
probable that the stumbling must be accounted for by the haste and 
eagerness of the advancing host. But a slight change of text en 
ables us to render as above. The commanding officers after a 
council of war take charge, each of his own division of the army, 
and lead on the attack upon Nineveh. This rendering involves 
giving to Dro^n a shade of meaning not elsewhere found, viz. "com 
pany of soldiers "; but the closely allied meaning "caravan" oc 
curs in Jb. 6 19 and the verb ^H is used of the marching of soldiers 
in Ju. i 10 9 1 1 K. 22 6 - 15 They hasten to the wall and the protector( ?) 
is set up] The preliminary skirmishes are now over; the outposts 
have been driven in ; the attack upon the walls of the city itself now 
sets in. The siege-machines are brought up and set to work to 
batter down the walls. The precise character of the Tpb cannot 
be adequately determined, since the word occurs only here. The 
renderings of <g U point to some kind of a shelter employed by the 
besiegers in their assaults upon the walls. The corresponding 
verb means "intertwine," "weave," "protect," thus suggesting 
some sort of woven protection against the missiles of the defenders. 
The rendering testudo is in keeping with this general idea, but so 
far as we know such a military formation was as yet unknown. 
Perhaps, the covered rams used to batter down walls and gates, 
representations of which appear on the reliefs of Ashurnajirpal, 
Sargon, Sennacherib, and other Assyrian kings,* are here meant. 
Those who see in this verse an account of the movements of the 
defenders are divided in opinion regarding the ?|?b, some consid 
ering it as some sort of device to protect the defenders of the walls 
from the weapons of the foe, others believing it to have been some 
kind of destructive engine used by the besiegers which the defend 
ers discover already placed in position, when they rush to the walls 

* V. the reproductions in Layard, Nineveh and Its Remains (1849), II, 274, 283; Billerbeck 
und Jrm. BAS, III, 179-184. 

318 NAHUM 

to prepare to repel the foe of whose approach they have just heard. 
But it is scarcely probable that so abrupt a change as this latter 
view involves would lack every distinguishing mark of its exist 
ence as this does. <& s reading, which places the verb "set up" 
in an active plural form having the same subject as the preceding 
"hasten," is attractive and is preferred by some. 

Str. Ill describes the fall of the city, the rout of the defenders 
and the looting by the captors. 7. The gates of the rivers are 
opened and the palace melts away} There is no warrant for the inter 
pretation of this language as figurative, e. g. the rivers represent 
the streets of the town along which the streams of people flow,* or 
the rivers are the streams of the onrushing enemy.f But even so, 
the precise character and location of these literal gates are open to 
question. Are they gates located on the banks of the streams,! or 
the fortified bridges across the streams over which entrance is had 
to the city ("gates" being figurative, like the "doors" of Lebanon 
in Zc. n 1 )^ or "the points in the walls where the rivers or canals 
enter the city,"** or the dams that helped to control the flood- 
waters of the turbulent Khusur,ff or the sluice-gates of the moats 
that protected the city, or the breaches opened in the city walls by 
the swollen river-torrent which thus flooded the cityPJJ In this 
connection, attention has been called to the part played by the 
river in the fall of Nineveh according to Diodorus and the activity 
of Zeus according to Xenophon.*** This last view as to the char 
acter of the gates is improbable; for when Yahweh co-operates 
with his people against the enemy in storm and flood, as this view 
would involve, instead of leaving his part in- the victory to be in 
ferred, as would be the case if this interpretation were correct, the 
prophets always emphasise the fact of Yahweh s aid and give it a 
large place. Then, too, the verb are opened is hardly the one to 

* So Jer., Hi.. t Rosenm., Urn.. J Ra.. Ki., Ew., Ke., Stei., Now.. 

Hap.. ** Dav., Hpt.. tt C. H. W. Johns, EB. 3421. 

Jt So Kl., Or.. 

II, 26, 27: ty o"avr<j5 Adyiov jrapaSeSo/xeVof in irpoyovtav on ri}V fiivov oiiSei? eAei 

Kara Kparos say /AJJ irportpov 6 irora/ios rjj iroAei yevrjrai iroA>ios <rvveftr) TO/ Ev- 

4>pa.rt)v peyav yevon-tvov jearaKAuaat T /xp T^S woAecos *tai KarajSaAeiv TO Tfi\o<; eiri 
o-Tafiiov? tltcoa-iv. 

*** Anabasis, III, IV, 12: ravTTjv fi< TTJK woAiv irokiopitiuv 6 Tlepviav /BacrtAeu? OVK eSvvaro 
OUT* \povtf e\tlv ovrt io. Zeus fie /Bpovrjj /taTe wAijfe TOW? tvoiKovvras eai OWTWS eaAw. 

be expected if the act in question was the undermining and break 
ing down of the city walls by the violence of the waters. Still 
further, the excavations on the ancient site of Nineveh thus far 
have furnished no evidence that any portion of the walls was 
washed away by floods, though proof of the destructive activity of 
fire is abundant. It is impossible to decide with assurance upon 
any one of the remaining alternatives because the nature of Nine 
veh s location and defences* affords so many equally plausible ex 
planations of the terms. Nineveh lay on the east of the Tigris, 
for a distance of about two and a half miles, covering an area of 
about i, 800 acres, or two-thirds of the area of Rome inside of the 
Aurelian wall. The river strikes the city at its NW. corner and 
then makes a great curve away from Nineveh, so that the wall of 
the city forms the string of the bow made by the river. It is possi 
ble, according to Commander Jones, that the original course of the 
Tigris closely followed the line of the city wall. The Khusur, 
a torrent pouring down from the mountains on the NE., cut 
through the city at right angles to empty into the Tigris. f A sys 
tem of moats protected the city on the north and east. Water for 
these was furnished by the Khusur, the course of which was de 
flected at will by means of a great dam at its entrance into the city. 
Other dams, higher up on its course, aided in storing up its flood- 
waters against a time of need. The Tigris too was confined to its 
proper course by a series of dykes or dams. In addition to the 
great inner wall of the city with its moat and its outworks protect 
ing its gates, there were also two outer walls on the east side, each 
about fifty feet in height, between which was a moat about fifty-five 
yards wide. This complex of rivers, dams, dykes, moats, sluices, 
bridges, walls and gates offers a large field for conjecture as to the 
precise meaning of the phrase "gates of the rivers." The most 
accessible quarter from which to attack the city was in the NE., 
across the Khusur at low water. Here special precautions were 

*V. F.Jones, Topography 0} Nineveh, JRAS. 1855, pp. 297-397; Billerbeck, BAS. Ill, 
118 /.; C. H. W. Johns, EB. 3420 f}.. 

t Friederich (Ninive s Ende u.s.w., p. 31) seeks to prove that the Khusur in the days of 
Sennacherib flowed around the city and not through it, and that the final destruction of the city 
was hastened by the fact that the flood-water? of the rivers carried away large sections of the 
city walls and inundated the town. 

320 NAHUM 

taken for the city s defence, in the making of dams, moats and ca 
nals to store the flood-waters of the stream upon which the city was 
dependent not only for its defence, but also for its drinking-water, 
that of the Tigris being said to have been undrinkable. And the 
palace melts away] It is not necessary to suppose that this language 
is used literally and describes the result of the action of the rushing 
waters upon the foundations of the royal palace.* It is more in 
keeping with the usage of the word melt elsewhere (cf. Ex. i5 15 
Je. 49 s3 Ez. 2 1 20 [15 Heb - ] ) to take it as descriptive of the dismay and 
terror that befall the inmates of the palace. Whatever or wherever 
the "gates of the rivers" may have been, the opening of them be 
tokens the fall of the city. 8a. And . . .-she is . . .] The mean 
ing of this line is hopelessly obscured. The first word presents an 
apparently insoluble problem. Among the various attempts to 
derive sense from the text as it stands, only the following may be 
mentioned. RV. reads, " And it is decreed ;f she is uncovered, she 
is carried away." This leaves the real subject ambiguous, forces 
on the first verb a meaning decreed which it nowhere else has, 
and also creates a new meaning for the last verb. RVm. 
offers the alternative, "Huzzab is uncovered, etc."; but Huzzab is 
an entirely unknown person and, moreover, her name is not of a 
formation elsewhere found in feminine proper names. Many 
have made the first word some sort of a designation of the Assyrian 
Queen, { who is either carried into captivity or made to ascend the 
funeral pyre. Others regard the language as a figurative descrip 
tion of the state of the Assyrian kingdom or of Nineveh herself, 
Huzzab, perhaps, being a symbolic or cryptic name for the city, 
like Rahab for Egypt and Sheshach for Babylon. Still others con 
nect the first word with v. 7 , rendering either, "the palace is dis 
solved, though firmly established,"** or "the palace is dissolved and 
made to flow away. "ft Of the various emendations of the text 
(v. i.), the following are especially noteworthy; "and the queen is 
stripped naked, uncovered and made to ascend (the pyre)";Jt 

* Kl., Or., Hpt.. t Similarly Hi., Mau., Urn., Ke., Pu., Strauss, Kl., Or.. 

I E. g. Ki., Ra., Kalinsky, Ew., We.. 

Cal., Theodoret. Cyril. Jer.. Mich. Bauer, Pu., Kl., Or., Schegg, Ke.. 

** Hd.. tt So Ges. (Thesaurus ), connecting with Ar. 

it Che. JBL. 1806. 

"brought out, a captive, deported is the king s fair consort";* 
"the goddess (Zib) is uncovered and brought to the light, "f Zib 
being the name of the planet Venus with which Ishtar, goddess of 
Nineveh, was identified. The star of Ishtar, however, was Dilbat, 
while Zib was the constellation of the Fish.J Closely allied to this 
latter rendering in sense, though resting upon a quite different 
text (v. i.), is the last reading forthcoming, viz. "Belit (i. e. the 
consort of the god Ashur) is driven forth into captivity. " The 
probability that the goddess of Nineveh is referred to here** is cer 
tainly greater than that it is the queen. The latter plays no con 
spicuous part in Assyrian history, while the goddess occupied a 
very large place in the minds of the Assyrian monarchs.ft If such 
were the meaning of the passage, Nahum was announcing once 
more as Nineveh s own fate that which she had inflicted time and 
again upon vanquished peoples, whose gods she had delighted in 
carrying away; cf. also Is. 46* f \ And her maidens are moaning, 
like the sound of doves, beating upon their breasts] If the goddess of 
Nineveh is spoken of in the previous clause, the "maidens" are 
probably the female devotees of Ishtar, the women who gave them 
selves up wholly to her temple service and were given the name 
Kadishtu (i. e. holy women ) or Ishtaritum (i. e. dedicated to 
Ishtar ).Jt If the reference be to the queen, the maidens are, of 
course, her personal attendants and ladies in waiting/ Those in 
terpreting the reference as to Nineveh herself make the maidens 
to be either the outlying towns and villages dependent upon Nin 
eveh (cf. Ez. i6 46 ), or the inhabitants of the capital.*** But 
there is no parallel for the representation of citizens as maidens of 
a city; the common usage as to such figures of speech is the desig 
nation sons or daughters (cf. Ju. 2i 21 Ct. 2 7 Is. 3 18 5i 18 Je. 49* 
La. 4 2 ). The women beat their breasts as timbrels or cymbals (Ps. 
68 20 ), thereby giving physical outlet to their overwhelming grief; 
cf. Lk. i8 13 23 48 . The cooing plaint of the dove is used to suggest 

* Hpt.. t Van H.. 

J Kugler, Sternkunde, I, 30. Gry, RB. VIL 

** Abar. and Geb. endeavoured to secure this sense on the basis of fE. 

ft Cf. Jastrow, Religion o] Babylonia and Assyria, 202-206. 

It Cf. ibid., 660. 

So Jcr., Pu , Kl.. Or., et al.. *** Ke 

322 NAHUM 

the grief of mourning also in Is. 33" 59" Ez. y in .* 9. And Nine 
veh like a pool of water are her defenders] 4H is here untranslata 
ble. RV. renders, "But Nineveh hath been from of old (cf. 01) 
like a pool of water," offering as a marginal variant, " But Nine 
veh hath been, from the days that she hath been, like a pool of 
water."f But neither "from of old" nor "from the days that she 
hath been" could have been expressed by such Hebrew as M 
offers. Another rendering, which follows 0j> H, is "Nineveh is 
like a pool of water, her waters, etc.";J but this requires a change 
of text and robs the comparison of all force. On the basis of these 
and similar renderings, the point of the figure has been for the most 
part found in the fact that Nineveh was overflowing with popula 
tion even as a pool is filled with waters. Calvin, however, saw a 
reference here to Nineveh s state of quietness, unbroken for gen 
erations even as the calm surface of a pool; while others have de 
clared it to be an announcement of the inundation of Nineveh 
caused by the rising river and consequent bursting of the dams.** 
Another method of treatment for the difficult words of |H is to 
omit them as a corrupt repetition of the context ;ff but this leaves the 
line too short and deprives the following "they" of any antecedent, 
thus necessitating the hypothesis that a part of the original line has 
been lost at this point. JJ The emendation here proposed obviates 
these difficulties and furnishes a good sense for the line as a whole. 
For the use of the word "peoples" as equivalent to "defenders," 
cf. 3 12f * 18 Is. 36" Nu. 2o 20 2 1 23 . The point of the comparison, with 
this text, is found in the rapidity with which the defenders of Nin 
eveh disappear just at the time of greatest need. Just as the arti 
ficial ponds and moats, having so much to do with Nineveh s de 
fences, dry up when the dams are broken through and leave the 
city open to the invader, so the defenders on the inside fly at the ap 
proach of danger. And as they flee, (one cries) "Standfast, stand 
fasti" but none turns back] No efforts to rally the fugitives are suc 
cessful; they are panic-stricken and heed not the commands of 
their officers (Je. 46 5 48 39 ). 10. Make spoil of silver; make spoil of 

* Hpt. calls attentior .0 the use of the same figure in both Assy, and Ar.. 
t So Dav.. t So Hap. et al.. 

So e. g. Tarnovius, Hesselberg, Ew., Hd., Ke., Or.. ** So e. g. KJ.. 

H- So We. et a U So We., No.... 

2- 323 

gold] The prophet now rhetorically addresses the pursuing foe, 
who are hard on the heels of the fleeing Ninevites, and urges them 
on to their rich plunder. For there is no end to the stores} Literally, 
"to that which is prepared." The wealth of Nineveh is unlimited. 
She has heaped up ill-gotten gains, the product of the plunder of 
her victims (cf. 3*) ; now she herself must endure plunder. The 
allusions to the wealth of Nineveh in the Assyrian inscriptions are 
numerous. The rich booty acquired in the many campaigns, to 
gether with the enormous tribute levied upon the subject peoples 
which was constantly pouring into the treasury of the king, must 
have filled the capital city with riches to overflowing.* An abun 
dance of all sorts of precious articles] This is apparently a gloss 
explaining the preceding word Hj On, preparation/ The phrase 
is wholly unrelated grammatically to its context and superfluous 
also in the strophic form. Some attempt to create a connection 
by supplying some words, such as "and take ye" or "and spoil 
ye," at the beginning of the phrase.f For the word "abundance" 
or "riches" cf. Is. 22 24 6i 6 66 12 Ps. 49 16 . The rendering "articles" 
is better here than "vessels." It is a general term covering a 
wide range, like the English "things" (cf. Je. 46 19 Lv. 15* Dt. 22 5 ). 
The same phrase occurs in Ho. i3 15 . 

Str. IV emphasises the panic that befalls the inhabitants of the 
city that once preyed upon the entire world. 11. There is empti 
ness and void and waste} Cf. Is. 24*. The Hebrew yields an as 
sonance here that cannot be carried over into English. J For a 
similar use of paronomasia, cf. Zp. i 15 Is. 22 5 2Q 2 . Some would 
make the fact that each of the second and third Hebrew nouns 
increases a syllable in length over its predecessor signify a corre- 

* E. g. Tiglath-pileser I after a campaign in Asia Minor says, "Herds of fine chargers, swift 
mules and the cattle of their pastures, I brought home in countless numbers. ... I imposed 
on them as a tribute 1,200 horses and 2,000 head of cattle." Shalmaneser II says of the king 
of Patina, "3 talents of gold, 100 talents of silver, 300 talents of copper, 300 talents of iron, 
1,000 vessels of copper, 1,000 pieces of variegated cloth, linen, his daughter with her large dowry, 
20 talents of purple doth, 500 oxen, 5,000 sheep, I received from him. One talent of silver, 
two talents of purple doth, . . . hundred beams of cedar as tribute, I laid on him. Yearly in 
my city Asshur I received it." Ashurbanipal, in particular, gives long lists of the almost count 
less spoil of Thebes and Susa, with which he filled Nineveh (v. his Annals). 

t So Marti Now *. Hpt.. 

J It is fairly well represented by the German, Leerung und Enlleerung und Verheerung 

324 NAHUM 

spending increase in the intensity of the thought.* But this is 
somewhat fanciful. For a similar multiplication of synonyms, cf. 
Je. 48 43 Jo. 2 2 Jb. io 22 . Ruin and desolation have befallen the 
once proud mistress of the world. And a melting heart and trem 
bling knees] Cf. Jos. f Is. i^ 7 35 3 Jb. 4*. The description passes 
now from the general desolation throughout the city to the state of 
mind of the citizens themselves. A similar picture of the conster 
nation of Belshazzar occurs in Dn. 5. And anguish in all loins] 
The figure is derived from the agonies of women in child-birth; 
cf. Is. 2 1 3 . The loins are regarded as pre-eminently the seat of 
strength (Jb. 40" Pr. 3i 17 ), but the very citadel of strength is now 
assaulted by weakness and pain; cf. Ps. 6p 23 Dn. 5. And the faces 
of all of them become livid] Cf. Jo. 2 6 Je. 30. The literal meaning 
of the last two words is probably "gather redness." This has 
been taken as meaning " become flushed " f and, in view of Is. i3 8 , 
this may be the right view. But fear usually produces the con 
trary effect. Hence others, with more likelihood, conceive of the 
blood as all withdrawn from the face, thus leaving it of an ashy 
paleness; cf. Jo. 2 10 3 15 .J The Versions, with a slightly different 
reading, think of the blackening of the face. There is not the 
slightest ground for eliminating this clause as a misplaced gloss on 
"clothed in scarlet" in 2 4 ; it is needed here to complete the bal 
ance of thought and give the finishing touch to the picture of de 
spair. 12. Where is the den of the lions and the cave of the young 
lions] By this rhetorical question, the prophet makes it clear that 
he anticipates a destruction of Nineveh so complete that not even 
a vestige will remain to mark its site. To represent Nineveh as a 
lion s den does not imply that the prophet regarded her rulers as 
having degenerated to the level of ferocious wild beasts,** but rather 
suggests the supreme place of power to which Assyria had arisen in 
the oriental world. The lion was the favourite animal for artistic 
and decorative purposes in Assyria; henqe the figure is peculiarly 
fitting. Billerbeckft sees here an allusion to zoological gardens con 
nected with the royal palace. But, even if the royal parks were 

* So Tarnovius, Hd.. t So Hap., Marti, Kau., 

% So e. g. AE., Cal., Rosenm., Dav., Hal., Dr.. Contra r.pi.. 

** Cal.. tt BAS. III. 

2 12 325 

zoological gardens, which is very doubtful, this view yields a far 
less forceful sense. A figurative use of the terms is, in any case, 
much the more likely, because of the frequency with which enemies 
of Israel are represented as lions in the OT.; cf. Je. 4 7 49 5o 17 
Ez. iQ 2 Zp. 3 3 Ps. 35 17 . 4H offers a different text for the second 
half of the question, viz. "and a feeding-place is it for the young 
lions"; but the word "feeding-place" everywhere else means a 
"grazing-ground" and is thus wholly inappropriate as a name for 
a lion s feeding-place. This fact, together with the requirements 
of the parallelism, makes it advisable to transpose one letter, thus 
securing the word "cave"; v. i.. Whither the lion went to enter y 
the lion s cub, with none to terrify] 4E reads, "Whither the lion, the 
lioness went, the cub of the lion, with, etc.." The rough, asyndetic 
structure of this sentence, coupled with the doubt whether W^b = 
lioness or is only a variant of ITHK = lion, leads most interpre 
ters to follow (, as here. This is certainly an improvement upon 
jE; but yet. the suspicion arises that W3,h may be only a margi 
nal note that has crept into the text. The expression "went to 
enter" is rather weak and the first half of the line is too long by one 
beat as compared with the second half and with the other lines of 
the context. Dropping WZlb, the line reads smoothly, "Whither 
went the lion, the lion s cub, with, etc.." Another proposed reading 
(v. i.}, viz. " whither the lion went to bring in, the lion s cub, with, 
etc.," yields an awkward arrangement and an unsatisfactory sense. 
13. Where the lion tore prey sufficient for his cubs and r ended for 
his lionesses] The booty of war was brought back to Nineveh and 
apportioned among the palaces and the temples. The lion here 
represents the king of Assyria, and the cubs his nobles. And 
filled his lairs with prey and his dens with booty] The enormous 
spoils of many campaigns must have, rendered Nineveh one of the 
wealthiest cities in the world. Under this figure, the prophet has 
presented in vivid and effective fashion a picture of the ferocity 
and rapacity which characterised the Assyrian conqueror in his 
treatment of defeated peoples. The royal inscriptions abound 
with facts warranting the impression here produced. 

Str. V announces the fact that Yahweh has decreed the down 
fall of Nineveh and the complete destruction of all her wealth and 

326 NAHUM 

her munitions of war. 14. Behold, I am against thee, it is the 
oracle of Yahweh of hosts] A common way in Jeremiah and Eze- 
kiel of announcing a punishment from Yahweh; e. g. Je. 2i 13 23 30 ff - 
5o 31 5i 25 Ez. 5 8 13 8 - 20 2i 3 28 22 . The hosts of Assyria are powerless 
when confronted by the hosts of Yahweh. Certain and total ruin 
awaits her. And I shall burn up thy lair in smoke and the sword 
will devour thy young lions] Cf. Ps. 37 20 . Fire and sword are the 
agents chosen to execute Yahweh s will. M has "her chariot" 
for "thy lair"; but this does not suit the figure of the lion which 
continues here, as is clear from the latter part of the line; while 
(& & reflect a different text from HI and open the door for emen 
dations. And I shall cut off thy prey from the land] The prey 
referred to must be the booty already in Assyria s possession; a 
threat to destroy the weak and defenceless nations that have hith 
erto been her prey would be wholly out of keeping with the spirit 
of the passage. And the voice of thy messengers will be heard no 
more] The messengers are the emissaries sent forth from Nine 
veh to exact tribute or compel submission. It is not unlikely that 
the memory of the insulting demand of the Rabshakeh in Heze- 
kiah s time lies behind these words; cf. 2 K. i8 17 - 19 ig 9 - ^ Is. 33 18 . 

The metre of this section is rough and irregular. Hexameters are 
more frequent than any other measure; tetrameters are also common; 
while a few pentameters appear. Uniformity of metre in the successive 
lines can be attained only by taking unwarranted liberties with the text. 
The lines are easily grouped into five logical units, constituting strs. of 
six lines each, except in the case of the closing str., which is reduced to 
three lines. 

This section forms the first part of the genuine prophecy of Nahum as 
it has been transmitted. It is not probable, however, that this consti 
tuted the original beginning of the prophecy (contra Arn.). V. n is too 
abrupt to have been the opening of Nahum s discourse; some direct men 
tion of Assyria or Nineveh must have preceded it and furnished the ante 
cedent of the pronoun "thee." The preceding acrostic has probably 
displaced the original beginning; so Bu. EB. 3261; Dr.; Kau.; contra 
Or.. The first str. as organised above may contain fragments of this lost 
section of the prophecy; it seems hardly probable that these six lines 
originally belonged so closely together as to have fallen within the limits 
of a single str.. 

The section has received no important additions aside from the pre 
fixed acrostic already considered and the verses treated in 3. A few 

I 11 4 2 2 327 

slight glosses are discoverable, but these do not affect the close unity of 
the passage and the clear and logical progress of the thought. The style 
is elevated and vigorous. The imaginative and pictorial qualities of 
the description serve to bring the scene actually before our eyes. The 
participants in the struggle rush to and fro in our presence and we see 
the anguish written upon the faces of the vanquished. 

Of the various attempts made to incorporate i 11 - H 2* in the acrostic 
which forms the first part of ch. i, none can command assent. Gunk. 
(1893) obtained his o, x and P lines from i 14 , viz. 
nnuN iTiSx HOD T>Dtt>N room SDO 
nip iDeo IDP N 1 ? > -pSy nix 
[-IND nnno] Sp [ > ov] anp 

He also secured the D line in part from v. " by emendation and 
transposition, viz. 

.apse s Sy (iza) S>"Sa rn (nb) njn > ^y p3S>nn nr: (pa). 
T5ick accepted the x line, but proposed the following p line, made 
up from i 4c - d by emendation, transposition and omission; viz. 

Hap. agreed essentially with Bick., viz. 

my 3CIT3 "on sS ^ n^Sy nix 
nnoci SDD nnDN pSpa a^tt N anap 

Van H. uses v. n for the D line, w r hich others find in v. 9 , offers v. Mc - d 
in a new arrangement for the D line, and creates the p line out of a com 
bination of i 14 e and 2 1 ; viz. 

Sjr^a ^; v^i jn ah NX-" ^DD n 

N "p-ipD Soa 14 d - c 

Now., who in his first ed. sought to complete the acrostic, in the 2d. ed. 
(1903) abandoned the attempt to go further than the 3 line in v. 8 and 
rightly said of v. H that it offered insuperable difficulties to the suppo 
sition of an acrostic structure. The arbitrary character of the many 
changes involved in each of the efforts to use these verses for the com 
pletion of the acrostic makes it necessary to agree with the opinion of the 
majority of scholars that while these attempts do credit to the ingenuity 
of their authors, they cannot be regarded as demonstrating the presence 
of an acrostic structure in these verses; so e. g. Now., Marti, Dr., Hpt., 
Stk., Kau., Du.. 

1". -pc] Du. TIB;?. Gunk. (Schopfung, 102), -pn = thy appointed 
time. NX^] (6 B = N?:; so Gr.. 3^n] <g Xo7to-/x6s. nn] U mente per- 
tractans. Sj?>Sa] Gunk, adds a^pSc D Sg, based upon B> BN of i 12 . No 
certain derivation for 3 is yet known; v. on 2 . 14. Rd. all sf. in verse 
as fern, with 0; so Gr., Marti, Now. K , Stk., et o/..mxi] Om. conj. 

328 NAHUM 

with We., Gunk., Hap., Now., Dr., Du.. T^ ] Hap. orvSj?. ;\n 
IDIFD] c is the grammatical subj. of P, the prep, being used in the 
partitive sense. Gr. T^D^D rnr (?). Hap. DEBO I:>P. Now. oo> "15 P. 
Marti, rjctf nap; so Now. K , Kau., Stk., Kent. Du. D jnjv Hpt. 
poStf n-vp. "vriSN rvan] & joins with preceding vb. and seems to read 
D as 3. Marti, ^ri3D. Now. and Hap. om. as gloss. Du. "pas ac (?). 
a- tt N] & = wtPNi. Gr. "VDN. Gunk, and Hap. n^Dirs. Ourt Em - 
NZN. -pap] Gr. 7|3.Tj?i?; c/. Oort, qa-yc. Hap. oiap. mSp o] Rd. 
p^p T and om. >:> as due to dittog. of preceding a, with We.; so Marti, 
Dr., Now. K , Hpt., Stk., Kau.; cf. Hap. fSp T ?. This gives a^N two ace., 
a common usage with this vb. being thus exchanged for the difficult 
idiom of M. (& STI raxets; similarly g . Gr. flf!?^. Bick. mSpv, 
an Aram, word = dungheaps ; so Gunk. (Schopfung, 103). Rub. 
n^y ^a, to be tr. to beginning of a 2 . Arn. m^p? = crepitus ventris. 
Now.(?) and van H. pS^I?- Some would place ; ui D^N immediately 
after v. 14a (e. g. Marti, Hpt, Stk.) mtr. cs. and SpSa vyv of v. llb 
after Ni" 1 in v. lla . But transpositions of this sort in a context as 
broken as i n - 14 2 2 seem hardly worth while. Certainly, the sense 
is not improved by either change. 2 2 . re?:] Rd. v?", with Mich. (Or. 
Bibl.XX, 189); so We., Jrm., Dav., Now., Rub., GASm., Marti, Dr., 
Hpt., Stk., Kent, Kau., Du.. (g *i*4>v<ruv. & pj^pLo, corrected by 

P t> V 

Seb. to pjj^iiiO. Hap. nxbn = c the rescuer/ Sy] Gr. S^D. i^c] 

Ew. T.^?; so Hi., Buhl, Dav., Now., Du.. Perles, }MS. Rub. TIM:. 
<8 Y , HP. 22, 51, 95, 185, VJB. nnixD mxj] Inf. abs. as imv. Ges. 133 bb . 
0^ ifaipoAfiijevos ((g Y + <re) ^K 6\tyc*n = rnsn -ixj; so Hap.. (S does not 
necessarily indicate the lack of i in the original of mixc, for it also took 
no account of i in -nxj, which there is no reason to change. B qui 
custodial obsidionem. Some Heb. mss. mixj j; others, mixn j. Gr. 
xo nxi. Oort Em - n-jisa j. We. nnsD n xj; so Now., GASm.. Rub. 
rrxa nixj; so Marti, Now. K , Stk., Kau., Du.. Hpt. nnijfn j. But 
iSJ s nis a well-established word and there is nothing inherently in 
consistent in the idiom o nxj; words of similar sound but of different 
roots are not infrequently associated in Heb. for the sake of the asso 
nance. 4. pn] A smaller shield than the n which protected the 
whole body (cf. i K. io 16 - 17 ) Both types may be seen in BAS. Ill, 169, 
174-6, 185; cf. Benzinger, Heb. Archaologie,* 300. (& pi.. Rub. mr, 
they mocked. m^aa] Normally vyaa; c/". GesJ 911 . <g 5uva<rrefas 
. B fortium ejus. & onnuj; so Gr., Hap.. Stk. onva?. 
With __ for __, as in rvrwr, 3 ; C5 ^ &vdp&irwv = D^Nr; so Rub., 
Hap. (?). Iff Ignitus. Hap. onp. oV?nD] STT.; a denominative from 
JfVn, scarlet. (6 alSovras = o^^nn (c/. Ex. io 2 Nu. 22 29 Jd. 19" 
I K. 6" 3i< T Ch. io 4 Is. 3 4 66 4 ; v. Marg. 7.4 OS. XXX, 306); so , Rub.. 
(& has been derived less well from nj;*? (so Vol., We., Now., e/ a/.) 

2 329 

and a^ (Hpt.). Hap. a^np or V;MJ(?). ^Na] Rd., with some Heb. 
mss., IVHO; so Houb., Mich., Gr., We., Jrm., Or., Oort, Now., GASm., 
Hap., Marti, Gressmann (Esch. 177), Hpt., Kau.(?), Kent, Du.. Rub. 
ti - Na. .in 1 ??] Being in the abs., the only possible treatments of HJ are 
(i) the connection of D tt>Na with o^Snn as a modifier, which makes too 
long a line; (2) the disposal of it as the predicate of the foil, group of 
words, in which case the a is handled with great difficulty. The best 
solution is to read m-reS, with &; so Ra., Dru., Cal., New., Hap., Hal., 
Nestle (ZA W. XXIX, 154), Gressmann (/. c.), Kau.. Against this may be 
urged the fact that elsewhere /LI makes its pi. in o>__; but examples of nouns 
making the pi. in both ways are not wanting; e. g. nnxc, but n;>ND (Ez. 
32 8 ); 3 jtf and nuc 1 ; o sSs and moSs; D^N and DID^N; Ges. *"<!. <g al 
yvlai, the reins ; cf. If habenae, joining it with foil. amn. Gre. niaSfj, 
axles. Rub. nms, terror. Che. (EB. 2174), ns yn, metal plates 
(cf. Assy, halluptu, covering ). Hpt. rngS, a word not elsewhere found. 
Du. mnnp. o^a] Rd. aia; for demonstrative force of art., c/. Ges. 
$. irrnj Rd. -ir:n. Gr. Djon. D^nam] Rd. a^ieni = <g Kul <u 
ZTTTrets; so & and Mich., Gre., New., Gr., We., Dav.(?), Jrm., Rub., 
GASm., Now., Hap., Hal., Marti., Hpt., Dr., van H., Stk., Kau., 
Kent, Du.. 35 et agitatores. i*?;nn] &ir.. Nouns formed from this i/ 
are found in Is. 3 19 5i 17 - 22 Zc. i2 2 Ps. 6o 5 ; all exhibit some form of the 
idea quiver, tremble. Hpt. renders, "they are frenzied, i. e. they run 
amuck, run like mad," connecting it with Ar. rd ila, to be stupid, 
doltish ; but stupidity is scarcely a suitable predicate of horses rushing 
to the charge, and horses running amuck are more characteristic of a 
panic-stricken retreat. Furthermore, the noun-formations are more 
easily connected with the root-idea of trembling. Van H. notes that 
in Ar. ralat and rail = "a troop of horses"; but the usage of these 
words suggests nothing of trembling or prancing, since they indicate a 
group of horses (or, indeed, cows!) going in single file, or the leader of 
such a line, the root-idea seeming to be project or thrust. This latter 
sense would accord well with JH, if the interpretation of a as spears 
could be rendered probable. (& BopvprjOrjaotrai. 35 consopiti sunt. & 
pnSann. Rub. i^-r. Gr., Du. w^ri. 

Billerbeck and Jrm. insert 3 12 - 15 here; but the introduction of the 2d 
pers. here is abrupt, while it is wholly in place after 3"; and the interrup 
tion of the vivid description of the attack is unwelcome. Kl. also would 
make a sharp distinction between 2 4 and 2 s , by treating the latter as 
bringing the conduct of the besieged into sharp contrast with that of the 
besiegers described in v. 4 . But the language of v. B seems to require its 
application to the attacking party (v. s.) rather than to the attacked. 

6. iSSinm] 05 ical <rvyxvB^(rovrai. & they glory = Mnn *; so some Heb. 
mss.. ppippntt"] <& Kal <rvvTr\aK-f)ffovTai. & and they boast. manna] ft 
includes this in the rendering of mxina. Struensee, Dav. and Jrm. in- 


terpret f -\ as = vy mam (Gn. io n ), which in turn is to be identified with 
the Assy, ribit Nind. But neither of these propositions is proven and 
the term -\ alone seems altogether too indefinite as a designation of the 
ribit Nind. This latter phrase is used by Esarhaddon (I 53, 54) and 
Sargon (Cylinder, 44) with the general signification "precincts of Nine 
veh" and does not indicate a special outpost or fort. It is a general 
term and used also of other cities than Nineveh; e. g. Dur-ilu. Hence 
any attempt to locate it, either NE. (Dl. Paradies, 260 /.; Jrm.) or W. 
(Billerbeck) of Nineveh, or to identify it with any specific suburb of 
Nineveh, whether Mosul (Billerbeck) or Khorsabad (Johns, EB. 4029), 
seems fruitless. jrpx-r.] Rd. DI-PNIS, with Houb., Gre., Kre., New., 
We., Now., BDB., Marti, van H., Stk., Kau., Du.; the antecedent aan 
is masc. everywhere else. isxn- 1 ] far. in Polel. Hpt. rightly rejects the 
usual rendering run hither and thither in favour of run fast, which is 
a better interpretation of the intensive form. Gr. ixw. Hal. ixsu\ 
6. ~OP] The meaning summon, call for is found for this vb. only 
here and probably in Jb. i4 13 ; but some such sense seems demanded by 
this context. The lack of any indication as to the identity of the subj. 
adds to the difficulty and awakens a suspicion that the text is in error. 
To om. P with Marti as an insertion, or with Hpt. as a misplaced gloss 
on jnp (i 14 ), leaves the line too short. None of the emendations offered 
can be considered satisfactory. (& Kal fj-v-rja-d^crovTai. & are seized. Gr. 
Tipp.. Oort Em - nno\ Rub. ^7.")= and thy infantry (cf. Assy. 
zu-ku). Van II. TOP. Hap. 3*fa I?". Du. i-ny., as in 3*. m-nx] 
<g QT = 3 pi- sf.; so Rub., Hap.. "^ for Hum suorum = vrax. Van 
H. m-v-iN. ana^na iS- r] Rd. a iS^2\ For interchange of n and 3, 
v. note on Mi. i 2 . The Kt. arna^Si*i goes better with a than the sg. of 
Qr.. For the interpretation of this reading, z>. s.. (& Kal (pev^ovrai 
fjfitpas Kal d<rdev/j(rov(riv lv TTJ IT op la avruv. & H places Kal if under obe 
lus, but in marg. declares "this obelus was not present in the Hexapla." 
The plus of (g is probably due to a reader who sought to make it clear 
that the verse applied to the actions of the besieged. There is no reason 
for regarding it as representing an original element in the text; the line 
is complete without it. Reinke treats it as a variant rendering of nnc> 
nnrin. Gr. foil, <&, inserts ava IDJI; Rub. cva wir; and van H. noun 
DDV. Hap. n ova a-. Kent, na T^rt :. Du. na ntt s-.. nndn] Rd. 
nn^in, with some Heb. mss. > ul and Now., Hap., Du.. The lack of 
any specific antecedent for the sf. makes the n directive much more 
suitable. (& tirl ra reixf] avTijs. p^i] (& Kal eroiudo ovo ij ; so&; i. e. 
uoni; so Rub., Hap.; cf. Kent ir??. Hal. -izjrn. -"jaDi] (& rds irpo<f>v- 
Xa/cAs avruv. H umbraculum. Rub. D^cn; cf. Assy, sukke, used of the 
bed of a canal. 7. nnnjn n^i^] Sennacherib s Bavian Ins., 1. 30, says, 
bob ndri . . . u nar pasu ana ramanisu ippitima =" the river-gate . . . 
and the narpasu opened of itself." This bdb ndri is generally taken as a 

2 fl 8 331 

sluice-gate through which the river waters were let into a canal; v. Meiss- 
ner und Rost, Bauinschriften Sanheribs (1893), 84; Muss-Arnolt, Assy. 
Dictionary; BAS. Ill, 126. Possibly, as Hpt. suggests, the pi. rnnj 
is due to the influence of the preceding pi. nytp, and the only river 
in the speaker s mind was the Khusur. <& for j has rdjv Tr6\ewv, prob 
ably due to error; cf. (& N * T&V has of Judah; but ]?oov-o 
is probably an inner Syr. corruption of |> oiJ> (so Seb.). SUTI] Ordi 
narily = temple ; but here and in such contexts as i K. 21 Ps. 45 - 16 
evidently the exact equivalent of its Assy, prototype ekallu, the usual mean 
ing of which is palace. JIDJ] <& Sttireffev. U ad solum dirutum. 6> 
is shaken. 8. :i*ni] As Hoph. from 3sj, this would naturally mean, 
"is placed in position," "established"; cf. Gn. 28 12 . A somewhat sim 
ilar sense would attach to it if derived from 2X\ The only other vb. 
from which it might come, viz. 33X, is not known in Heb., nor does the 
Ar. v_ ^o, cleave to the ground/ or the Heb. noun sx, lizard/ sug 
gest any suitable sense. <& Kal rj vTrberaffLS. & and she raised up. U 
et miles. <5 and the queen who sat furthering the captivities went forth, 
which represents the first three words of HJ. Hi. a*n, the lizard. 
New. axoi, and the fortress/ to be joined to v. 7 . Gr. Na^ni. Vol. 
a?i? or n ?*?> foundation ; so Hap.. GASm. oxn, the beauty. 
Rub. (PSBA. XX, i74/.) makes 2* a name parallel to Sa>n ( v . ) and 
joins with v. 7 . Che. (JBL. 1896, p. 198) nsSn ~Difm, and the queen 
is stripped naked. Bu. (EB. 3262) adds SJIT, queen. Marti substi 
tutes Sjtfrn for asm. Hpt. nxxni; so Du.; cf. Gry (RB. VII, 398-403) 
riN*in. nnSj] & her horsemen. H capti-vus. Rub. derives from Assy. 
galatu and renders is frightened. Hpt. ^nSjri. Gry (/. c.) n-V-vn. 
Du. n-^j. nnSyn] (& Kal Q&TT) bvtBaivev. U abductus est. & and she 
went up. Hap. nnSi .-n. Gr. nnSy N^n. Hpt. nnS^n. Gry (/. c.) t 
n^gan. Rub. (T^e /IcaJew^, March, 1896; P6"S^. XX, 175), nVnym 
(so Du.); cf. Assy. e/e//u (fern, etellitu), great/ exalted and the Heb. 
queen Athaliah (mSny). This is attractive as furnishing a suitable 
epithet for the goddess or queen presumably indicated by the first word 
of the verse. nvjnjo] <& tfyovro; hence Gr. nionjc; so CB., Hal.. 
Hap. rmjnn nj. Marti adds, nun; so Now. K (?), Gry (/. c.). jc is 
&ir,, but well known in Syr. and Ar.; emendations seem gratuitous. 
niDDPD] #TT. in Po el; Qal act. prtc. in Ps. 68 26 and impf. in i S. 2i u (6. 
Probably a denominative from l n, cymbal. (8 (f>6eyy6fj^vai, perhaps = 
xp^c; so Sta., Now., Hap.. - Du. niaon, D being due to dittog.. 
After the analogy of Dsaa 1 ?, we should expect |naaS (so Hi., Sta. 
js3. j Hap., Marti, Now. K , Du.); yet this is the normal pi. form (de 
fectively written) before the grave sf. and the pi. is called for here by the 
pi. subj. (so K6. II, 78; Hpt.). The solitary occurrence of the pi. form 
rnaaS in i Ch. 28* is insufficient to require a change in the form here. 

33 2 NAHUM 

Gr.-frva 1 ?; so Gry (/. e.); but c/. fnaS, Ez. 13". 9. mj>ji] De R. 545, 

naxj), which Rub. believes to be a misplaced variant of axni (v. 8 ); cf. 
Ps. 45 10 . Rub. also adds nmn, foil. ( A ^v. N>n >D^D] Rd. rpgg, her de 
fenders (v. 5.). $& offers an unparalleled construction; one common 
rendering of it, "from of old," is regularly represented by oViyD; another 
"from the day that she was," would naturally be ^cvp; while "her 
waters" would be nn^c; cf. < TO, tidara avrijs. (g A retx n tidara CIVTT?? = 
rrrrc ncin. & and among waters is she. U ajwag ejus. is from days 
of old. Houb. nio.-p mc>c; so Hpt. who includes ncni of JH in the basis 
of this reading. Gr. om. ^D as dittog.; so We., Now., Dr., van H., 
Kau.. Hal. HTJ;. Bu. (EB. 3262) om. both words as a gloss. Or. 
ton DM?. Rub. HMOim, and her defenders, of which M nom ton MOMS and 
<& A = nmn are variants; nis connected with Ar. hmy = to defend. 
Hap. n^c, as subj. of O^DJ, nnni being a corrupt variant; so Marti, 
Now. K , Stk., Kent, Du.. But this last proposal ignores the fact that the 
foil, y could scarcely be addressed to waters; it must be a cry to the flee 
ing soldiers and so bold a figure as the identification of the soldiers with 
waters is improbable. Friedrich (Ninive s Ende u. s. w. p. 34), MOM? 
ion rvn, since the days of disaster. Kl. (SK. 1910, p. 521), nsn npMp, 
the waters of the river (*. e. the Tigris). D^DJ nom] Probably a de 
scriptive circumstantial clause preceding the main clause; Ges. * 141e . 
I-IDJ; nay] On -nbg, Ges. ^ 46e . <& OVK fcrr-rjcrav, om. one word. & B 2f = 
JH. Bu. (EB. 3262) adds noso; so Marti, Du.. Hpt. adds ipn\ 
10. ira . ... in] ^> B Si-rip-jrao-av . . . SnfaTrafbi ; so & and Gr.. Hpt. 
im . . . x Du. -in. njionS] For meaning storage, cf. ttnaSn |>3\ 
Jb. 27 16 . C5 TOU /c6cr/iou aur^s; so &. Some Heb. mss. njianV. Gr. 
njwnS. Du. ur^ x\ 12 3] Rd. -op, with We., Now., (g pepdpvvrai. 
B aggravata est. consume ye. & = amm; so Hap., who om. it 
as a gloss. Marti and Now. K (?) insert D^S inp before o. Hpt. reads 
133 and inserts before it, ^v iS^i. Du. "i^n. SDD] Rd. ^3, with 
We., Now.. The sense must be, "a glory (or abundance) consisting in 
(or of) all, etc.," not "an abundance out of"; hence D is dittog. of the 
foil. D. On force of So, v. Ges. * 127b . <g B <?7ri Trd^To; so HP. 48, 86, 233. 
(gs-AQY fatp K.; HP. 22, Trepi TT.. Hap. SoS; c/". Migne s note on Je 
rome, "Reginae ms. cum Palatinis : pro omnibus vasis." Du. Voa. >Sn] 
06 & B 01 = pi.. nicn] (g ra tiri.dvwTb. avrijs = ninn or nrncn (so 
&); but six cursives om. ai)r^s. 11. npnni npia] Two synonyms no 
where else occurring; but evidently related to ppa, pour out/ empty. 
05 tKTivayfjj&s KCLI dvarivay/jAs. & dishta washifta. Hpt. nppiam npipa. 
npSan] Only here and Is. 24 ; but Assy, balaku, destroy, gives clear 
indication of the meaning. The fern. prtc. has here the force of an ab 
stract noun; it is not unlikely that the pointing is influenced by a desire 
for assonance with the two preceding nouns. DCJ] <g 0pav(Tfji6s. & 
broken. Hpt. and HWB. 1 * would connect DDO with HDD and render 

2*" 333 

here, "his heart becomes watery," i. e. his courage fails; cf. Ar. masfis, 
water (either pure or impure); and note :aS HN VDDH, Jos. 14*. p e] 
&r.; but vb. is used of the tottering of an idol (Je. io 4 ) and the staggering 
of a drunkard (Is. 28 7 ). -H-IND ixap] o = nnyq, Earth, .ZVB. * M< ; c/". 
rnnjrp , D^BIDNJ , ywjpi; perhaps UK s pointing, like the readings of (& 
& If (H, was due to confusion with ins, pot ; so HWB. 16 . (& ws 
rrp6a-Kav/j.a x^/jcts. 7 blacken like the soot of the pot. 31 w covered with 
black like a pot. H JJCM/ nigredo ollae. Hap. e wap "iyaa, supposing 
IH to have lost nya:) which < retained though losing ixap, the two 
words being similar in their initial syllables. 12. njnci] Rd. rnj?a, 
with We.; so Or., Rub., Now., Hal., Marti, Dr., Hpt., van H., Stk., 
Kau., Kent; cf. Du. rnjja. xin] Standing where it does in &L, n con 
verts the whole series of succeeding clauses into prosaic statements of 
fact. It is much better either to place it after :VN (with Hpt.; cf. Nin <c) 
or to om. it (with Marti, Kau., Du.). onsaS] Du. om. S, but such rigid 
conformity to -\N pj?a is not necessary. N "|Sn T^N] Du. om. as variant 
of foil, clause x nu DS>[N]. K^aS] Rd. ioa^, with <g TOU ti<re\6civ; so0U 
and We., Or., Rub., Now., GASm., Marti, Dr.(?), Hpt., Stk., Kau., 
Kent, Du.. Gr. toanS. Hal. JoaSi. Arn. noS = to bring (c/. 01); 
so (6 B and Hap., van H.. 13. na] Hpt. ^p. vn-\j] Du. v^w. pjna] 
In 2 S. ly 23 = strangle ; so possibly the noun in Jb. 7"; Assy, hanaku 
has the same sense; but is strangling the method of slaughter character 
istic of lions? nc-o . . . *p-j] Different forms either for the sake of 
variety or rhythm; hardly in order to indicate different kinds of prey (Hd). 
inn] <& vofffflav avrov. 14. Many scholars would place all the sfs. of 
this verse in the 2d pers. masc. sg.; so e. g. Buhl, We., Dav., Now., Hap., 
Du.; but the thought of the city underlies the whole verse and comes to 
clear expression in the last word; hence the fern. sf. is suitable throughout. 
^mjnni] Hal. rnav. Du. H SjTrn. ja^a] Some Heb. mss. |Bpa. 
CB. Brwa; so Marti (?), Now. K (?). naan] Rd. ~\-s:r\, with Gr.; so 
Dav.(?)i Hal., Marti, Now. K (?), Hpt., Stk., Kau., Kent. # w\ij06s 
ffov = -|3n or n:i3n; so & and Buhl, Arn., Hap.. !U quadrigas tuas; 
so OT. Houb. ^33-iD; so Dathe. Gr. (Psalmen I, 136) ^aai. Sm. 
nasao; so We. (?), Now.. Oort -\}-\. Rub. naanx, thy den. Bu. 
(EB. 3262), rj-fa. Du. ^ap. -jn^Di] New. ^no?, thy villages. Du. 
ovypsn. Sawn] Du. nSosn. ^o^] Arn. ^o-vs. Hal. ^oib. n^DNS^] 
Om. n as dittog. from MH in 3 and point sf. as fern, sg., ^r?xSi: : so 
Gr., Marti, Ges.*" 1 , Stk. et al.. Some Heb. mss. n^So; so We. et 
a*.. (6 ret fpya ffov = ^vnDNSn; so 0. H nunciorum tuorum. Mich, 
naa nSo; so Jus.. Dathe n^bsSp; so New.. Van H. "VpHSa. Hap. 
^nDN^D; c/". C@ &. Du. TvnaoSp. Marti and Now. K would om. Uc as 
a gloss; but the *pa of the foil, phrase shows that the figure of the lion is 
still in mind there and the clause fits well into the structure of the str.. 

334 NAHUM 


In six strophes addressed to Nineveh, Nahum once more exults 
over her approaching ruin. Str. I characterises the city, gives a 
glimpse of the coming attack upon her and states the reason for 
her fall; w. 1 - 4 . Str. II represents the fallen city as exposed to the 
taunts of the nations; vv. 5 7 . Str. Ill reminds Nineveh of the 
fate of her ancient rival Thebes, the queen of the Nile; vv. 8 10 . 
Str. IV declares that a similar fate awaits Nineveh, notwithstand 
ing her strength ; vv. n " 13 . Str. V ironically urges the city to put 
forth every effort on her own behalf, assuring her, however, that 
her forces will fail her in her time of need ; vv. 14 17 . Str. VI, in 
dirge measure, states the hopelessness of Nineveh s case and the 
universal joy that will greet the tidings of her fall; vv. 18 " 19 . 

()H city, bloody throughout, full of lies and booty! 

Prey ceases not . . . 

The crack of the whip and the noise of the rumbling wheel and the galloping 

And the jolting chariot and the rearing horseman; 

And the flash of the sword and the glitter of the spear, and a multitude of slain; 

And a mass of bodies, and no end to the carcasses; 

Because of the many harlotries of a harlot of goodly favour and possessing 

Who sells nations by her harlotry and clans by her charms. 
gEHOLD, I am against thee, it is the oracle of Yahweh of hosts, and I will un 
cover thy skirts upon thy face. 

And I will let nations see thy nakedness and kingdoms thy shame. 

And I will hurl loathsome things upon thee and treat thee with contempt and 
make thee a gazing-stock, 

So that every one who sees thee will flee from thee and say, 

"Nineveh is destroyed; who will mourn for her? 

Whence can I seek comforters for her?" 

thou better than No-Amon, that sat by the great Nile, 

Whose rampart was the sea, whose wall was water? 

Ethiopia was her strength; Put and the Libyans were her help. 

Yet even she was for exile and went into captivity. 

Even her children were dashed in pieces at the head of every street; 

And upon her honoured ones did they cast lots, and all her great ones were 
bound in fetters, 
too shalt be drunken, thou shalt be faint; 

Thou shalt seek refuge from the enemy. 

All thy forts are fig trees; thy defenders are first-ripe figs; 

3 1 - 1 335 

If they be shaken, then they fall into the mouth of the eater. 

Behold, women are in the midst of thee; fire has devoured thy bars; 

To thine enemies the gates of thy land are opened wide. 
)RAW thee waters for the siege; strengthen thy forts. 

Enter into the mire and trample the clay; lay hold of the brick-mould. 

There fire will devour thee; the sword will cut thee off. 

Multiply thyself like the locust; multiply thyself like the locust-swarm. 

Increase thy merchants more than the stars of heaven; 

Thy sacred officials ( ?) like the locust-swarm, and thy scribes ( ?) like the locusts, 

That encamp in the walls in the cool of the day; 

The sun arises and they flee; their place is not known. 
J-JOW thy shepherds slumber, thy nobles sleep! 

Thy people are scattered upon the mountains with none to gather them. 

There is no healing for thy wound; thy hurt is incurable. 

Every one who hears the report of thee claps his hands. 

Str. I first describes Nineveh as she has been, then visualises 
the attack to be made upon her and closes with the reason for her 
cruel fate. 1. Oh city, wholly bloody, filled with lies and booty] 
This chapter marks the opening of a new section of the prophecy, 
as appears from the direct address with which it begins, from the 
fact that in the main it repeats the thought of ch. 2, and from the 
difference in poetical form which it exhibits. There can be no 
question but that Nineveh is addressed here and throughout the 
chapter. Similar charges are made against her in 2 10 - 12> 13 . The 
lies are doubtless promises freely made to the weaker nations 
which were as freely broken when national aggrandisement so re 
quired. The charge of excessive cruelty implied in the use of the 
term bloody is undoubtedly justifiable from the modern point of 
view; but it is doubtful whether the cruelty of Nineveh exceeded 
that of other oriental peoples who had like power and opportunity. 
It is hardly fair to charge the Assyrians with having been "the most 
ruthless people of antiquity."* The Hebrews themselves were 
none too merciful; cf. Ju. 8 15 21 g 45 - 49 i8 27 i S. is 7 9 2 S. 8 2 . In 
deed, the prophets use almost identical language regarding Judah 
and Jerusalem; cf. Ez. 22 2 - 29 24 4 5 9 Je. 6 7 Ho. n 12 . The kind of 
procedure which furnished the basis for such charges against As 
syria, may be discovered in abundance by reference to her own 

* Dav.. But Hdt. (Ill, 159) reports, e. g., that when Darius took Babylon, he impaled 3,000 
prisoners and that the Scythians (IV, 64) scalped and flayed their prisoners and used the skins 
for horse-trappings. 

33 6 NAHUM 

records.* Prey ceases not] Cf. Je. 17. This statement was almost 
literally true; the whole of the later history of Assyria is a story of 
practically continuous warfare and rapine. Conformity to the po 
etical measure here requires the addition of a phrase in parallelism 
with this clause. Marti suggests, " and there is no end to the booty." 
Unless something be supplied, it seems necessary to treat this 
clause as a gloss.f 2. The crack of the whip and the noise of the 
rumbling wheel and the rushing steed] The prophet suddenly trans 
ports himself in imagination to the scene of the final attack upon 
Nineveh, which he awaits with so much eagerness and confidence. 
As an imaginary spectator, he calls attention to the outstanding 
features of the scene one by one. His method of description pro 
duces a lively effect, bringing the dash and clash of the situation 
vividly before us.J And the jolting chariot (3) and the rearing 
horseman] The meaning of the last two words is somewhat un 
certain. Other renderings of them are: "the horseman making 
his horse to ascend, i. e. urging him on"; "the horse is brought 
up";** "a horseman carrying himself erect ";ff "a horseman going 
up";Jt "assaulting horsemen "; "a horseman bringing to the 
flame, etc."***; "he shall bring up cavalry";ttt "horses which 
foam," literally "bringing up (saliva)." JJJ But some of these 
yieid too tame an element for so stirring a picture; others are with 
out any support in the use of these words or in the context; and 
those employing the idiom "bring up" of the movements of cav- 

* E. g. Shalmaneser Monolith, I, 16 ft.: "A pyramid of heads in front of his city I erected. 
Their young men and women I burned in a bonfire " ; and 11,53 /., "Pyramids of heads in front 
of his city gate I erected. Some in the midst of the pyramids I enclosed; others round about 
the pyramids I impaled on stakes." Or, the Taylor Cylinder of Sennacherib, I, 70-77, "I 
besieged and captured their large walled cities. I brought forth from the midst of them people, 
horses, mules, asses, cattle and sheep, and reckoned them as spoil; and their smaller cities, 
which were without number, I destroyed, devastated and reduced to plough-land. The 
tents, their dwelling-places, I burned with fire, and let them go up in flames." Cj. also Taylor 
Cylinder, III, 11-41; Annals of Ashurbanipal (Rassam Cylinder), V, 130- VI, 26. See Rogers, 
History o] Babylonia and Assyria, II, 268. The method of impalement is shown on a bas-relief 
from the central palace at Nimroud; v. La yard, Nineveh and Its Remains (New York, 1849), p. 
283; Guthe, Kurzes Bibelworterbuch, p. 79. 

t Cf. Hpt., Du.. 

t Jer. says of this passage: * Tam pulchra juxta Hebraicum et pictura similis ad proelium 
se praeparantis exercitus descriptio est. ut omnis meus sermo sit vilior." Hd. says, " The pas 
sage is unrivalled by any other, either in sacred or profane literature." 

Cal., Br.. ** Kre.. tt Mau.. Jt Hi.. 

Ew.. *** KL ftt Os.. ttt HaL 

3 2 4 337 

airy are carrying over into Hebrew a modern phrase; in Hebrew 
" bring up" always retains a large measure of its original sense. 
This same verb is used in Je. 46 9 to describe the rearing of horses, 
and probably also in Je. 51" and 2 K. 9^.* And the flash of the 
sword and the glitter of the spear and a multitude of slain} The strug 
gle is hardly begun until it is all over; the defenders of Nineveh fall 
before the blows of the invading army like grain before the sickle. 
And a mass of bodies, with no end to the carcasses} A fearful 
carnage is thus plainly foretold; evidently, the wish was father to 
the thought. No account of the actual fall of Nineveh has as yet 
been discovered. Hence, it is impossible to say whether or not 
Nahum s anticipations were realised. But, judging from the 
character of the enemy s dealings throughout the country as a 
whole, it is probable that the capital city received the full measure 
of its deserts.f They stumble over the carcasses} It is probable that 
these words are a marginal note which has found its way into the 
text; they may have been intended as a cross-reference to 2, or 
they may be only a variant of the preceding clause. J That they 
do not belong here appears not only from the fact that they are 
superfluous in the poetic form, but also from the additional fact 
that they introduce a verb for the first and only time into a series 
of phrases thrown off in ejaculatory fashion one after the other, 
like a series of stereopticon views. 4. Because of the many har 
lotries of a harlot of goodly grace and mistress of enchantments} This 
is the reason for the terrible catastrophe that has just been de 
scribed. Just as the harlot entices men to ruin, so Assyria has 
lured many nations to destruction. Using all of her manifold and 
multiform attractions, she has succeeded in bringing nations into 
subjection, only to use them for the furtherance of her own selfish 
ends. It is not necessary to interpret this figure on all fours/ 
seeking to make harlotries and charms specific references to 
Assyria s lying and treachery. The words simply fill out the pic- 

* In 2 K. o DH VNI should probably be changed to S^l Dn. 

t The Stele of Nabuna id, says of the downfall of Assyria: "Above and below, right and left, 
like a cyclone he laid waste; he avenged Babylon; he multiplied vengeance. The king of the 
Ummanmanda, the fearless one, ruined all the temples of the gods of Assyria, and he ruined the 
cities on the border of Akkad, which were hostile to the king of Akkad and had not come to his 
help, and he did not leave one of their sanctuaries. He laid waste their cities above measure, 
like a cyclone." J So Stk.. 

338 NAHUM 

ture of a harlot and her equipment. Enchantments as part of a 
harlot s wiles must have been something after the fashion of love- 
charms, love-filters, spells, and the like, which were believed to be 
very effective upon the hearts of men; cf. 2 K. g 22 . She that be 
trays nations by her harlotries and clans by her enchantments] The 
figure of the harlot is now expressly applied to Assyria, whose al 
most unlimited resources led the smaller nations to rely upon her 
as Ahaz had caused Judah to do in the time of the Syro-Ephraimite 
invasion. While harlotries and enchantments are commonly 
designations of idolatrous practices, there is evidently nothing of 
that kind in Nahum s use of the terms here. Assyria, so far as is 
known, made no attempt to force her religion upon subject peo 
ples. The word clans is used, as in Am. 3 1 Mi. 2 3 Je. i 15 , in the 
sense of peoples and is equivalent therefore to nations. The 
word betray elsewhere always means sell and it has usually been 
so rendered here. But it is difficult to interpret sell with refer 
ence to Assyria s relations to the weaker nations. Assyria s actions 
were more like buying than selling, for the result was the getting 
of the nations into her own power, rather than the delivery of them 
into the power of a third nation. The explanations of sell as 
equivalent to rob them of their freedom, * or sell into bondage, 
i. e. deliver over to destruction, f do not obviate this difficulty. 
Nor does the view that the peoples were sold to idols, i. e. the gods 
of Assyria, J commend itself; for the prophet is not concerned, 
apparently, about this phase of Assyrian influence. In any case, 
the nations as a whole were already idolatrous from Israel s point 
of view, before coming under the influence of Assyria. It is better 
to give the word here the meaning deceive, cheat, which it 
carries in Arabic. Selling and cheating were somewhat closely 
related and may easily have been denoted by the same root. 

Str. II introduces Yahweh as addressing Nineveh and passing 
sentence upon her. 5. Behold, I am against thee, it is the oracle 
of Yahweh of hosts] Cf. i 14 . And I will uncover thy skirts upon 
thy face] This seems to have been a part of the punishment for 
fornication and adultery; cf. Je. i3 22 - 26 f Ez. i6 36 f - Ho. 2 3 - 9 . Ac- 

* Or.. t Dav, Dr.. 

t Hap.. So Hi, We., Now., Hpt., van H, HWB", Du.. 

3- 339 

cording to Billerbeck and Jeremias, it was also an Assyrian method 
of treating female captives; since the scenes depicted upon the 
bronze gates of Balawat, now in the British Museum, show women 
captives after the battle of Karkar as holding their skirts high 
above their knees, while their male companions are without any 
clothing (but v. *.)*; cf. Is. 20 2 " 4 $f- 3 . This literal interpretation 
seems preferable to the commonly accepted rendering of the last 
phrase, viz. "in thy sight," f a statement which seems superfluous 
when applied to such an action as is being described. The same 
difficulty inheres in "to thy face," * . e. as an insult, as in Jb. i 11 
Is. 65 3 .J And I will let nations see thy nakedness and kingdoms 
thy shame] Those who have been betrayed by Assyria will thus be 
compensated and avenged by seeing her undergo the humiliation 
she has so ruthlessly inflicted upon others. 6. And I will throw 
loathsome things at thee and treat thee with contempt and make thee a 
sight] The figure of the harlot is still maintained. This is prob 
ably the way in which such unfortunate women were treated by 
the bystanders. Yahweh speaks as though he himself were in 
tending to participate in heaping insult and disgrace upon the of 
fender. This is but the prophet s vivid way of representing Yah 
weh as the one responsible for the bringing of this retribution upon 
Nineveh. The view that loathsome things means idols and 
that the sense is, " I will bury thee under thy idols," ** seems forced. 
The word is, indeed, frequently used to indicate idols, but were 
this the usage here we should at least expect to find the suffix thy 
attached to the word. As it stands, the primary sense is much 
more fitting. Nineveh is a captive woman exposed to shame, 
pelted with filth and made a spectacle for all beholders. For this 

* V. Birch and Pinches, The Bronze Ornaments of the Palace Gates from Balawat, C 2 and 3, 
J 6. Billerbeck und Delitzsch, Die Palasttore Salmanassars II von Balawat [BAS. VI, i; Scenes 
D 6, 1, 3]. The action of these women, however, is more likely to have been for the purpose of 
facilitating their own movements in walking, for the elevation of the clothing is not extreme and 
unseemly as Nahum s words would imply. It is characteristic of only a few of the women cap 
tives and a similar conventional exposure of the limbs is seen on many seals in the case of men 
who are certainly not captives, when represented as stepping over some obstacle. V. the many 
reproductions of Assyrian and Babylonian seals in W. H. Ward s Seal Cylinders o] Western Asia 
(IQIO) and note the representation of nude male captives in the seal reproduced on pp. 58 and 
157 of that work. 

t So We., Now., Marti, Dr., Kau., Du.. % Hpt.. 

{ Contra Now.. ** So Kl.; c). Hap.. 

340 NAHUM 

latter thought, cf. Ez. 28 17 Ob. 12f - and especially line 12 of the in 
scription of Mesha, king of Moab, where he says of an Israelite 
town, "I fought against the town and took it and slew all the town, 
as a spectacle for Chemosh and for Moab." 7. So that every one 
that sees thee will flee from thee and say] The sight of fallen Nine 
veh will be so ghastly that passers-by will hasten away in fright, 
deeming the spot accursed. Nineveh is destroyed. Who will 
mourn for her?] A rhetorical question implying that there are none 
left who would regret the ruin of the oppressive city; she is abso 
lutely friendless, Whence can I seek comforters for her?] Cf. Je. 
if Is. 5i 19 . Wildeboer* objects to this translation on the ground 
that comforters could not be of any service to the dead. In its 
place he proposes, "Whence can I seek those who will provide the 
funeral-offerings for her?" But the word comforter is used in 
connection with living persons in Jb. 2 11 Is. 66 13 , etc., where the 
idea of a funeral sacrifice is out of the question. The existence of 
such a practice in Israel is not at all improbable, but neither this 
passage nor Je. i6 7 is sufficient to establish it as one of the meanings 
of Cill The prophet is here reverting to the scenes attending the 
last days of Nineveh and pictures her as passing through the final 
struggle without any attendant sympathisers and supporters. As 
a matter of fact, the term applied to Nineveh s overthrow (fiTTty) 
does not necessarily imply death ; but only ruin and desolation (cf. 
Mi. 2 4 ). 

Str. Ill reminds the reader that even so great a city and fortress 
as Thebes, the rival of Nineveh, had been unable to defy destruc 
tion and that Nineveh is no stronger than Thebes. 8. Art thou 
better than No-Amon, thai sitteth by the great Nile?] No-Amon has 
at various times been identified with Alexandria,! with some city of 
the Delta, t and with Thebes. Even greater uncertainty has pre 
vailed regarding the time of the fall of the city, some holding it to 
have been under Sargon ;** others under Sennacherib,ft or Esar- 

* ZAW. XXII, 318 /.; cf. Schw. ZAW. XI, 253 ft.. 

t So B QJ, Ra., Cal., Hap. el al.. 

J So Kalinsky, Kre., Brugsch (Diet. Geogr. 291), Spiegelberg (Mgypt. Randglossen zum A. 
T. 31 #.) 

So Bochart {Geogr. sacra, 1681, vol. I, i, 6 #.), Dathe, Mich., Eich., Rosenm., Mau., Hi, 
Ew., Or., and practically all recent interpreters. 

** Hi, Urn., Pu., Ke. a al . tt Gre., Kre.. 

3- 34i 

haddon,* or Ashurbanipal,f or Nebuchadrezzar,! or in the time of 
the Scythian invasion. Some of the earliest commentators in 
terpret the allusion to the fall of Thebes as a prediction of that 
event,** rather than a record of its actual occurrence. The ob 
jection that is made to the identification with Thebes of Upper 
Egypt lies in the content of the following description, Whose ram 
part was a sea, whose wall was water] This is further explained by 
the gloss, ft Waters were around her] Spiegelberg (/. c.) says, "One 
can scarcely imagine a more perverted picture of ancient Thebes 
than is here presented. Whoever familiarises himself with the to 
pography of Thebes as represented by the Karnak and Luxor of 
our own day must acknowledge that Nahum s description is in 
no way fitting. The famous capital lay on the Nile, like all great 
Egyptian towns, but it is simply unthinkable that it could have been 
strategically protected either by the river or by canals. Spiegel- 
berg, therefore, applies Nahum s description to a Thebes in the 
Delta. In reply to this, it must be said that Nahum would scarcely 
have compared Nineveh with any but the most powerful city of 
Egypt and that the Thebes of lower Egypt was by no means such 
a city. It played no conspicuous part in the long history of Egypt. 
Nor is the application to Thebes proper so unthinkable as is 
maintained. When the Nile rises, it overflows the site of Thebes, 
the waters ascending several feet on the walls of the Temple at 
Karnak. At such times, the city might well have been described 
as protected by a sea, or surrounded by waters. An illustration of 
such a situation is furnished in the capture of Memphis by Piankhi 
(c. 721 B.C.). Though Memphis lay more than a mile from the 
river, the inundation had raised the level of the river until it was 
almost to the top of the eastern wall of the city. Trusting to the 
water for protection on that side, the defenders had neglected to 
strengthen their fortifications there. Piankhi, taking advantage of 
that fact, brought his fleet right up to the city wall and landed his 
soldiers upon the top of it, thus mastering the town.JJ Then, too, 

* Kalinsky, Br.. f Or.. 

t Bochart. Ges.. 

** Jer., Theodoret, Cyril. 

ft So also Bu. (EB. 3262), Marti, Hpt., Now. K , Kau.. 

tt F. Breasted, Ancient Records o} Egypt, IV 411 /., 434 /., and History o] Egypt ( 1905), 543. 

342 NAHUM 

there may have been great moats about the city which were filled 
by the flood-waters and remained as a permanent defence when 
the river subsided.* If so, the defences of Thebes must have been 
remarkably similar to those of Nineveh herself and the prophet s 
comparison of the two would be very forceful. The existence of 
moats at Thebes is rendered more than probable by the fact that 
as early as the nineteenth century B.C. the Egyptians were employ 
ing this means of defence. The city fortress of Semneh in lower 
Nubia, situated on the west bank of the Nile about forty miles 
above Halfeh, was so protected.! Furthermore, allowance must 
be made for the fact that Nahum had almost certainly never seen 
Thebes and consequently was dependent for his information upon 
the reports of merchants and travellers. Under such conditions, 
a certain degree of exaggeration in the description is excusable and 
to be expected, finding a parallel in the exaggeration of Nineveh s 
own size as given in Jon. 3 3 . For other instances of the word sea 
as applied to a river, cf. Is. ig 5 i8 2 (?) Jb. 14", in which the Nile 
is so designated, and Je. 5i 36 where it denotes the Euphrates.! 
The fame of Thebes was spread throughout the ancient world. 
It was the first great city of the orient and even to-day the remnants 
of its greatness are described as "the mightiest ruins of ancient 
civilisation to be found anywhere in the world."** It came into 
prominence about 2100 B.C. and from that time to its fall held a 
leading place in Egypt, though with varying fortunes, attaining 
its greatest glory under the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties 
(1580-1205 B.C.) and entering upon its decline with the twenty- 
first dynasty (1090-945 B.C.) whose rulers removed the seat of gov 
ernment to the Delta. Its location was about 440 miles south of 
Memphis and 140 miles north of the first cataract of the Nile, 
where the river comes closest to the Red Sea and its narrow val- 

* Cf. W. M. Muller, EB. 3427. 

t A vast moat, constructed of stone, appears distinctly upon photograph 1024 of this site 
taken by the Egyptian Expedition of the University of Chicago (1905-1007) under the direc 
tion of Professor J. H. Breasted, who kindly called my attention to this fact. 

J The Ar. bahr is used in the same way; while, conversely, in Assy, the term river is applied 
to the sea; e. g. ndru marralu = the bitter river," viz. the Persian Gulf. 

C/. eKoiTO/LiTruAoi 0>}/3ai (Iliad, IX, 381-383). 

** Breasted, A History oj Egypt (1905), 149, where a full story of the rise and fall of Thebes 
may be found. 

3 343 

ley opens out into a wide and fertile plain. Here the river is about 
a half-mile wide, but is divided into smaller streams by three islands 
which He opposite the city. Thebes proper lay on the east bank of 
the Nile, the west bank being given over almost wholly to the ne 
cropolis and the mortuary temples. The old Egyptian names of 
Thebes were "the city," "the southern city," and "the city of 
Amon" as here. Amon was the patron god of the city and the 
temple of Karnak was erected for his worship. For the date of the 
overthrow of Thebes and its bearing upon the question of the date 
of Nahum s prophecy, v. Introduction, pp. 2747.. 9. Ethiopia was 
her strength; Put and the Libyans were her help] At the time when 
Thebes fell, the land of Egypt was under the dominion of the Ethi 
opian, or twenty-fifth dynasty (712-663 B.C.). All the resources 
of Nubia, therefore, were joined to those of Egypt proper. Added 
to these helpers from the south were the Libyans, neighbours of 
Egypt on the west. The precise location of Put is uncertain. It 
seems here to be thought of as closely associated with Libya. In 
Ez. 27 10 , it is mentioned with Lud and Persia as among the allies of 
Tyre; in 3o 5 and Je. 46, it is coupled with Ethiopia and Lud as an 
ally of Egypt; in Ez. 38 5 , it is among the forces of Gog; while in Is. 
66 19 , where Pul is probably an error for Put (cf. <g), it is again as 
sociated with Lud and also Tarshish as one of the lands far re 
moved from Israel. It is commonly identified with the Punt of the 
Egyptian inscriptions, which is the present Somali coast of the Red 
Sea. This may be correct; but, as Dillmann pointed out with ref 
erence to Gn. io 8 , there is no evidence that Egypt ever made use of 
mercenaries or allies from Punt. It was known to Egypt chiefly as 
a source of trade in rare products. It may be of significance, in 
this connection, that the abstract help is used here by Nahum 
rather than the concrete helper ; the former might, of course, in 
clude all kinds of resources. But whatever may be thought of 
Punt as likely to have aided Thebes, it is almost inconceivable that 
Tyre should have drawn aid from so distant a point (Ez. 27 10 ). 
<g sometimes renders Put as Libya or Libyans,* but the fact that 
the Lydians are listed here with Put seems to preclude that identi 
fication. Winckler would equate Put with the Assyrian Putu- 

* So also Josephus. 

344 NAHUM 

Yamen,* the name of the isle of Samos or some part of the coast 
of Asia Minor, such as Caria near Samos.f It seems unnecessary 
to look so far away as either Asia Minor or the Somali coast for 
Put, for the other allies named are immediate neighbours of Egypt; 
but its exact localisation must await further discoveries. Unfor 
tunately Ashurbanipal s account of the campaigns against Egypt 
and of the capture of Thebes does not enumerate the foreign 
auxiliaries in the army of Taharka, king of Ethiopia and Egypt. 
4JI reads here, "Ethiopia was her strength and Egypt, and there 
was no end; Put, etc." But the inclusion of Egypt among the re 
sources of Thebes, the capital of Egypt, seems gratuitous and the 
list seems designed to give the external helpers who co-operated 
with Egypt. In any case, if Egypt were originally in the text, 
we should have expected some word parallel to strength as its 
predicate.J It seems safe to omit "and Egypt " as well as "and 
there was no end"** as due to a glossator. 10. Yet she was for 
exile; she went into captivity] In Ashurbanipal s account of the 
capture of Thebes, he says, "that entire city, under the protection 
of Ashur and Ishtar, my hands captured silver, gold, precious 
stones, the contents of his palace, all that there was: parti-coloured 
raiment, cloth, horses, and people, male and female. Two tall 
obelisks ... I removed from their place and took to Assyria. 
Heavy spoils without number I carried off from Thebes." This 
does not imply a general deportation of the populace of Thebes; 
but it furnishes sufficient basis for Nahum s statement, especially 
if made after the lapse of approximately half a century, when the 
recollection of the precise course of events had become hazy and 
imagination had done its work. Even her infants were dashed in 
pieces at the head of every street] Such barbaric cruelty seems to 
have been commonly practised in Semitic warfare; cf. 2 K. 8 12 Is. 
i3 16 - 18 Ho. io 14 I4 1 . Israelites themselves were capable of such 
atrocities (2 K. i5 16 ), though there were not wanting those who 
protested against such doings (Am. i 13 ). And upon her honoured 
ones, they cast lots and all her great ones were bound in fetters] In 

* A OF. I, 511 /.. t So Che. EB. art. Put. 

t So Rub. JQR. XI, 459. So Marti, Hpt.. 

* So Hpt., Stk.. 

3 345 

the record of the activities immediately preceding Ashurbanipal s 
second campaign, of which the capture of Thebes was the crown 
ing triumph, it is stated that the petty kings who had conspired 
with Tirhaka to resist the Assyrian advance were taken captive 
to Nineveh, where mercy was shown to none but Necho, king of 
Sais, the fate of the rest being left to be inferred. Details are not 
furnished by this narrative of the conqueror, but the custom of 
putting noble prisoners in bonds is well attested elsewhere in As 
syrian inscriptions and reliefs (cf. Je. 40* 4 2 K. 25* Ju. i6 21 Ps. 
i49 8 ) and the distribution of prominent captives by lot among the 
princes and captains of Assyria is likely to have been a not unusual 
proceeding (cf. Jo. 3 3 Ob. n ).* 

Str. IV declares that Nineveh will in turn suffer the fate which 
she herself executed upon Thebes. 11. Thou, too, wilt be drunken; 
thou wilt become faint] The figure of drunkenness as representative 
of the helplessness of those who have drunk of the cup of Yahweh s 
wrath is a common one in the Old Testament; cf. Hb. 2 16 Je. 2$ IM1 
Ob. ie Ez. 2S 33 f - Is. 5 1 17 23 Ps. 6o 3 La. 4 21 . The precise meaning of 
the second verb here is somewhat uncertain. The root regularly 
means cover/ conceal. The meaning faint, be powerless for 
this passagef rests upon two facts; (i) Arabic has exactly the same 
idiom, using be covered as = be powerless ; (2) the verb tl^JJ, with 
a similar primary meaning, J is used in this same way in Is. 5i 20 Jon. 
4 8 Am. 8 13 Ez. 3i 15 . The blackness before the eyes that accom 
panies fainting may have furnished the connecting link between 
covering and fainting. Another interpretation of the word is, 

* For representations of prisoners, v. the reliefs from Kouyunjik and Khorsabad in Bottaet 
Flandin, Monuments de Ninive (1849), vol. II, plates 100, 119; c}. Layard, Nineveh and Us 
Remains, II, 261; and Assyrian Sculptures in the British Museum (published by Kleinman 
& Co., London), plate 93. Ashurbanipal, in his Annals, speaking of his fifth campaign, says, 
"Dunanu and Samgunu (allies of Elam), who had obstructed the exercise of my sovereignty, 
I bound hand and foot in bonds, iron fetters and iron manacles." So also in his ninth cam 
paign, against Arabian princes, of whom he say? " On their hands and feet I put iron chains 
and along with the spoil of their land, I took them to Assyria." Similarly Sennacherib, in 
the Taylor Pnsm, after his sixth campaign. Tiglath-pileser III also, in the Nimrud Ins. says, 
"I captured him (a hostile king) together with his great men, put iron chains on them and took 
them to Assyria." 

t So e. g. Stei., We., Or., Dav., Now, Hpt.. 

J rpj = to cover and r\vy = be weak are also probably one and the same. 

In Ez. 3i 18 n^V should be read. 

346 NAHUM 

wilt hide thyself from fear, * which anticipates the thought of the 
following line. In any case, as Nowack reminds us, drunkards as 
a rule do not hide themselves. The Versions offer will be de 
spised, which is supported by some scholarsf on the basis of 
Jb. 42 3 ; but there the ordinary meaning covers, i. e. obscures 
counsel, satisfies the context and renders unnecessary so unsup 
ported an interpretation. Thou, too, wilt seek refuge from the foe] 
The pursuer will become the pursued, an unaccustomed role for 
Assyrian armies. 12. All thy fortresses are fig trees; thy defenders 
are first-ripe figs] HI reads, "are fig trees with first-ripe figs." 
Against this is the fact that it is lacking in parallelism and that it 
yields too short a line. The corrected text presupposes an error 
in iH which is of common occurrence in the copying of texts. The 
fortresses referred to are probably those strengthening and pro 
tecting the walls of Nineveh itself, J as is evidently the case in v. 14 ; 
but, in view of v. 13 , it is also possible that forts on the frontier and 
others intended to block progress toward the capital are meant. 
For the use of the word people as the equivalent of defenders/ 
cf. note on 2. If they be shaken, they fall into the mouth of the 
eater] To urge that first-ripe figs do not fall more easily than 
later figs and that, therefore, the point of the comparison is in the 
speed and eagerness with which first-ripe figs are plucked,** rather 
than in the ease and certainty of the capture of Nineveh, is to lay 
too much stress upon the use of this particular word. Both ideas 
are probably present in the figure; Nineveh is as eagerly pounced 
upon and falls with as little resistance as does the first-ripe fig; cf. 
Mi. y 1 Is. 28 4 Je. 24 2 . Haupt would transfer vv. 12 - 13 to follow 
v. 15a , while Staerk places v. 12 after v. 14a . But nothing is gained 
by either of these changes. 13a. Behold, women are in the midst 
of thee!] Such terror will lay hold upon the defenders of Nineveh 
that they will be unable to act the part of men. Courage will ut 
terly fail them; cf. Is. i 9 16 Je. 49" so 87 5i 30 -tt As a matter of fact, 

* Hal.. t Hap., van H.. 

t So e. g. We., Now., Hap., Marti, Kau.. 

So e. g. Dav., van H.. ** Hap.. 

ft Similar language is used by Ashur-nirari, king of Assyria, in a wish he utters with refer 
ence to a certain Mali ilu of Harran, viz. "may he become a hierodule; may his warriors be 
come women, etc."; v. E. T. Harper, BAS. II, 434. 

3- 347 

the defence of Nineveh was prolonged and heroic. Thus it would 
seem clear that Nahum prophesied before the siege had actually 
begun. This is no vaticinium post eventum. iH reads, "Behold, 
thy defenders are women in the midst of thee." The sense is the 
same in both readings; but the order of words is easier in the 
emended text and the phrase "in the midst of thee" in iH is some 
what superfluous. 13c. Fire has devoured thy bars] The bars are 
either the forts which obstruct the advance of an invader into the 
country, or the literal bars which fasten the gates of such fortresses; 
cf. Am. i 5 . They can hardly be the fastenings of the gates of Nin 
eveh itself, for this would leave the city at the mercy of the enemy 
and the following instructions to prepare for a siege would be ab 
surd. The use of fire in attacks upon fortresses seems implied 
here.* In any case, one of the constantly recurring statements in 
the accounts of the capture of cities by Assyrian kings is, "I de 
stroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire."f This clause more fit 
tingly follows v. 13a than v. 13b as in 4ft. It would be unnecessary to 
burn the bars after the gates were opened. Moreover, the metre is 
much improved by this arrangement. 13b. The gates of thy land 
are opened wide to thine enemies] i. c. the forts protecting the passes 
and defiles affording entrance into the country are surrendered 
without a struggle by their cowardly garrisons. Driver aptly calls 
attention to the parallel usage of the word gates in such titles 
as the "Caucasian Gates," the "Caspian Gates," the "Cilician 
Gates," etc.. It may be that Nahum was writing at a time when 
these strongholds had already fallen, so that it only remained to 
conquer Nineveh. J But it is just as probable that with prophetic 
certainty he represents as already accomplished that which he sees 
to be inevitable. 

Str. V ironically urges Nineveh to put forth her most strenuous 
efforts in self-defence, assuring her in one and the same breath 
that complete destruction awaits her. 14. Waters for the siege 
draw for thyself] This ironical advice may refer either to the filling 
of Nineveh s moats for the purpose of better defence,** or to the 

* C/. Billerbeck, BAS. Ill, 161. t Soc. g. in Ashurbanipal s ,4afr. 

J So e. g. We., Now., Kau., el al.. So e. K - Hap., van H.. 

** Hpt s categorical rejection of this interpretation proves nothing. 

348 NAHUM 

procuring of a water supply for its inhabitants before the presence 
of the enemy renders it impossible.* Cf. the steps taken by Ahaz 
to secure the water supply of Jerusalem at the time of the Syro- 
Ephraimite invasion (Is. f). A copious water supply had been 
provided for Nineveh by Sennacherib. In the Bavian Inscrip 
tion^ he relates how he had conveyed the water of eighteen moun 
tain torrents into the city by an aqueduct, thus furnishing it with 
an abundant supply. Not only so, but he also constructed a sys 
tem of water-works by which the storage and distribution could be 
controlled and a plentiful supply guaranteed in time of siege. 
Nahum probably refers to the perfecting and protecting of this 
system. Apart from it, according to Sennacherib, the city was 
dependent solely upon the rainfall.J Strengthen thy fortresses] 
Reference is made probably to the defences of Nineveh proper, 
the towers and turrets upon her walls and the outlying bulwarks 
designed to protect her gates. The same verb is used in 2 K. i2 8 " 14 
of the repairing of the breaches in the walls of the temple. Con 
stant repairs upon the walls of the city and its forts would be needed 
during the progress of the siege, because of the damage wrought by 
the rams of the besiegers; lacking such repairs, the walls must 
soon fall.. Enter into the mire and trample the clay] i. e. so as to 
prepare the clay for the moulding of the bricks. An enormous 
supply of bricks would be requisite to keep up repairs upon the 
huge walls of Nineveh during a siege.** Their height was estimated 
at one hundred feet by Diodorus and their width, as revealed by the 

* A bas-relief from the NW. palace at Nimroud shows a warrior outside the walls of a 
city cutting a bucket from a rope passed through a pulley, which was apparently used by the be 
sieged to obtain water from a well outside the walls of the fort; v. Layard, Nineveh and Its Re 
mains, II, 31 /.. Billerbeck suggests that Nahum refers to boiling water which is to be poured 
upon the besiegers. 

t Bezold s translation in KB. II, 117. 

t Testimony varies regarding the waters of the Khusur and Tigris. Layard (Nineveh and 
Its Remains, II, 96) states that the water of the Khusur was considered heavy and undrinka- 
ble, while that of the Tigris was constantly used. Commander Jones (JRAS, 1855, p. 310) 
evidently considered the waters of both streams usable; while Friedrich (Ninive s Ende), ap 
parently without having been on the spot, declares the water of the Khusur to be good and that 
of the Tigris undrinkable; so Billerbeck, BAS. Ill, 120. Sennacherib also seems to have con 
sidered the Khusur available for a water supply, for he used it as a part of his system of water 
works (Bavian Ins., 1. n). 

Cf. Billerbeck, BAS. Ill, 161, where an excellent account of the defences of Nineveh may 
be found; v. also idem, Der Festungsbau im Alien Orient (ad ed. 1003). 

** Xenophon, Anabasis, III, 4, xi, mentions the irMvOwov reixos of Nineveh. 

3" 349 

excavations, was about fifty feet, except alongside of the gates where 
it was over one hundred feet. Sennacherib himself says* that he 
made the wall and the rampart of Nineveh "mountain high." 
But limestone also was used in the construction of the walls and 
earth in the erection of ramparts. Lay hold of the brick-mould] 
Sun-dried and burnt brick was the chief building material of As 
syria and Babylonia. This picture shows the population of Nine 
veh engaged in the most wearisome drudgery and all in vain. 
15. There fire will devour thee; the sword will cut thee off] "There" 
probably indicates in a general way the scenes of labour just men 
tioned. Even in the midst of their toil, destruction will come upon 
them. Fire and sword are commonly combined in the destruction 
of towns; cf. Dt. 2 8 22 Ju. i 8 - * 20 37 48 i S. 30 - 14 i K. 9 10 Is. i 7 Je. 
34 2 Am. i 4 ff Ho. 8 14 . According to one form of the Babylonian 
tradition preserved by Berossus, the last king of Assyria upon learn 
ing of the advance of the enemy set fire to his own capital and per 
ished in the flames. According to another form, the king resisted 
the besiegers for three years and committed himself to the flames 
only after the Tigris had washed away a portion of the city s walls. 
The excavations at Kouyunjik have revealed the fact that most of 
the buildings there had suffered from fire. // will devour thee like 
the young locust] These words are best treated as a gloss or as due 
to dittography.f The error was an easy one. The words are 
hard to understand in |ft. Most naturally, the subject of the verb 
would be the sword just mentioned;! but locusts are not destroyed 
by the sword. If the comparison with the locust applies to the 
subject, i. e. "the sword will devour thee as the locust devours," 
the figure is a weak one. Moreover, in the following clause, the 
locust is applied figuratively to Nineveh, the devoured. If the 
thought be, "will devour thee though thou art numerous like the 
locust,** it anticipates and renders forceless the following phrase. 
If the words be original here, they must go back for a subject to the 
preceding fire, viz. "fire will devour thee like the locust"; this was 

* V. Bavian Inscription. 

t So e. g. We., Rub. (JQR. XI, 450), Oort Effi , Now., GASm., Hap., Marti, Dr. (?), Now.*, 
Hpt., Stk., Kent. % Hi.. 

The Vrss., Strauss, Knabenbauer, Dr. (?), and most earlier commentators. 
** Or., Dav.. 

350 NAHUM 

one of the means of exterminating this pest.* One interpreter seeks 
to save the phrase by making it mean, "fire and sword shall rage 
against thee as furiously as they are made to destroy the baneful 
flood of locusts. "f But this is to crowd too much into two words. 
Another, by emendation, reads, "the battle-axe will destroy thee." 
But this, in turn, introduces a new word into the Hebrew lexicon, 
adds a superfluous detail since sword naturally represents all 
weapons of warfare, and fails to reckon with the fact that these words 
render this line unduly long. Multiply thyself like the young locust; 
multiply thyself like the locust-swarm} The prophet now turns from 
the forts and walls toward the almost innumerable mass of the pop 
ulation within Nineveh, bidding the city increase its defenders be 
yond measure only to find them as futile as the broken-down walls. 
16. Increase thy traders more than the stars of the heavens} The 
merchants of Nineveh were an important source of her wealth ; and, 
in her case, commerce regularly "followed the flag." It may be that 
the merchandise alluded to here is of the same sort as that men 
tioned in 3 4 ; J but this does not appear on the face of the statement 
and the additional classes mentioned in v. 17 render such a meaning 
somewhat improbable. The young locust strips and flies away} This 
probably refers to the final emergence of the locust from the pupa- 
stage, at which time it casts off the membraneous sheaths which 
have thus far confined its wings, rises into the air and flies away. 
Another possible rendering is, "the young locust plunders and flies 
away." But it is hardly legitimate to apply this to the departure 
of the enemy from Nineveh after her destruction;** since in vv. 15< 17 
the locusts evidently represent the Assyrians themselves. An 
other interpretationff gives the first verb the meaning go forth or 
set themselves in motion, and cites Ju. p 33 - " in support of this. 
But so weak and colourless a meaning is not to be expected of 
this verb, nor is it made necessary by Ju. p 33 - 44 , where the rendering 
"make a raid" is more suitable. Still another interpretation is 
"the locusts deposit their larvae, etc.";tt but this meaning must be 

* V. Thomson, The Land and the Book, II (1886), 297; and the "excursus on locusts" in 
Dr. Joel and Amos, 82-91. t Van H.. 

J So Hap.; cf. Is. 23" . So Dr. Joel and Amos, 85 ; Shipley, EB. 2808. 

** So Strauss, Kl., Ke., Knabenbauer ; cf. Marti, Hal.. ft Hap.. 

Van H.. 

3- 35i 

forced upon the verb and even then furnishes no suitable tertium 
comparationis. The point of the comparison evidently is that the 
crowds of Nineveh will disappear as quickly and completely as 
locust-swarms when their time comes. But the phrase anticipates 
the thought of v. 17 , has no close connection with v. 1Ca and is super 
fluous in the poetical structure. It is best handled as a marginal 
note either on v. 15 or on v. 17 .* 17. Thy sacred officials ( ?) like the 
locust-swarm] These words may be taken either as an independent 
sentence, "thy sacred officials are like, etc.," or as dependent upon 
the imperative of v. 16 , "increase thy sacred officials, etc.." The 
latter seems preferable, since the merchants with the other two 
orders mentioned are apparently correlated as representing three 
leading classes in Nineveh. The word here rendered "sacred 
officials ( ?) " occurs nowhere else and is of uncertain meaning. It 
has been interpreted in many ways; e. g. thy princes, or crowned 
ones;f thy consecrated ones, i. e. those set aside to war (</. YiJ"D) ;t 
thy mercenaries ; thy bastards, allusion being made to the large 
admixture of foreign blood in Nineveh;** thy tax-collectors ;ff thy 
exorcists, or conjurers;JJ thy watchmen, or guards. Refer 
ence can hardly be made to any high officials, since at any given 
time these were relatively few and the comparison with locusts 
would thus be unsuitable.*** Some class including large numbers 
is apparently intended, perhaps the priests and attendant ministers 
at the many shrines. The term is probably an Assyrian loan-word, 
the meaning of which we can only conjecture. Thy scribes ( ?) like 
the locusts] Another word of uncertain significance appears here. 
The earlier commentators conjectured such meanings as cap 
tains, fft marshals,:^ princes or leaders. The same word, 
with a slight variation in vocalisation, occurs in Je. 51"; but that pas 
sage sheds little light upon its meaning, beyond showing that it is a 
designation of some kind of an official. The Assyrian duplarru or 
iuplarru is almost certainly the original of this Hebrew form. In 

* So Marti, Hpt., Stk., Kent. t Ra., Ki., Hd., Or., AV. el al. 

t Kc.. Ew.. ** Hi., We., 

tt Du.. Jt Hpt.; cf. Rub. (JQR. XI, 460), Bu. (EB.). 

So Jensen (ThLZ. 1905, p. 507), Zimmern (KAT. 3 , 651), Knabenbauer, Hal., Kent. 
*** So Mau., We.. ttt AV., Ew., Or.. t RV.. 

AE., Ki.. 

35 2 NAHUM 

Assyrian, the ordinary meaning is " tablet-writer" or "scribe," 
but the scribe served also at times as an official of the government. 
The Hebrew *lb, scribe or secretary is also used to designate 
a military officer (Ju. 5" 2 Ch. 26" 2 K. 25; cf. i Mac. 5 42 ). 
A similar development is exhibited by the root "ittty. In view of 
these facts, it is probable that "IDSID too had both meanings, viz. 
scribe and officer. The objection that this is too special a 
meaning for this place,* is of force, if we must think of either as 
constituting a very small class. But scribes, at least, were abun 
dant, especially in and after the literary age of Ashuibanipal.f The 
suggestion^ that Nahum is deriding Nineveh by implying that the 
stalwart warriors of her days of power have given place to mer 
chants, scribes, and the like, may be near the mark, being wholly in 
keeping with the spirit and tone of this prophecy. That encamp 
in the walls in cold weather] A well-known characteristic of locusts. 
So Nineveh is crammed with a huddled mass of population. But 
the sun shines forth and they flee and their place is not known] The 
similarity between the people of Nineveh and the locusts is in the 
speed with which they both alike depart and are lost to sight.** 
The details of the figure evidently must not be applied to the peo 
ple of Nineveh. For the closing words, cf. Ps. io3 16 Is. 17" Jb. 
7 10 Rev. i8 21 ; but the thought here is that none knows whither the 
locust has gone, not where he has been. iH adds a word here, 
making the phrase read, "their place is not known where they are." 
This is a correct interpretation of Nahum s words, but it is gener 
ally recognised as weak and tautological and as not belonging 
here.ft It is better placed, with a slight change, at the beginning 
of v. 18 . 

* Now.. 

t They were highly regarded by that king, who himself acquired their art (Annals, I, 32 /.) 
and employed many of them in copying ancient tablets and collecting his great library. In the 
Tel-el-Arnarna period, the dufsarru at the Egyptian court was credited with great influence , 
v. Knudtzon s El-Amarna Tajeln, Nos. 286, 1. 61; 287, 11. 64 /.; 289, 1. 47, where Abdibiba, 
king of Jerusalem, entreats the favour of his influence with the Pharaoh. 

t Van H.. 

V. Jer. ad loc.\ Thomson, The Land and the Book, II (1886), 299. 

** V. Thomson, op. cit. p. 297: "thousands upon thousands, with most fatal industry, deposit 
their innumerable eggs in the field, the plain, and the desert. This done, they vanish like 
morning mist." 

ft So Am., Hap., Marti, Hpt., Stk., Kent, Du.. 

3 18 - 353 

Str. VI which closes this oracle and the book does not carry the 
thought of the preceding str. any further, but takes up a dirge over 
the city, fallen to rise no more, and tells of the joy with which the 
whole world receives the tidings. 18. How thy shepherds slumber, 
thy nobles sleep!] The so-called dirge rhythm appears here and con 
tinues to the end of the str.. $& inserts here O King of Assyria] 
which not only spoils the dirge rhythm, but also introduces a new 
personality at the very end of the prophecy. It is probably a 
gloss.* "Thy shepherds" is a phrase much more naturally ad 
dressed to a city than to a king, who is himself the shepherd of his 
people. The title " shepherd" was a favourite one with Semitic 
rulers; cf. Je. 3 15 Ez. 37 24 .f The slumber and sleep are not pic 
tures of the slothfulness and weakness of Assyria s rulers. | The 
vigour and obstinacy of the city s defence, which withstood the 
attacks of the foe for at least two long years, protects the memory 
of her defenders against such a charge. Sleep is here rather a eu 
phemism for death (cf. Is. i 4 18 Je. si 39 " Ps. 13 76*- 6 ), and the 
prophet is describing the situation after the fall of the capital. JH 
has "settle down" or "dwell" for the second verb; if correct, this 
must be understood as meaning "are at ease" or "secure," which 
would be a very free rendering. But a closer parallelism with 
"slumber" is expected and (g points to a different text. Thy peo 
ple are scattered upon the mountains with none to gather them] The 
"people" are the defenders of the city, as in v. 13 . They have for 
saken her and are like sheep without a shepherd; cf.iK.22 17 Ez. 34 
Zc. i3 7 Nu. 27 17 . 19. There is no healing for thy wound; thy hurt is 
incurable] For similar language, cf. Je. io 19 i4 17 3O 12 46". Amos 
threatened Israel with the same fate (5 2 ). The word wound is 
commonly applied to the crash of states (e. g. Am. 6 6 Is. 3o 26 Je. 
8 21 ), though it is occasionally used of individuals (e. g. Pr. i6 18 1; 19 
i8 12 ). All who hear the report of thee clap their hands] For this 
action as expressive of joy, cf. Is. 55" Ez. 25 Ps. 47 2 98". The 

* So Arn., Marti, Hap., Now.*, Hpt., Stk., Kau., Kent; Du. om. only the word "king" and 
leaves "Assyria" as the one addressed. 

tSoe. g. Tiglath-pileserl (Prism Ins. I, x8), Sennacherib (Taylor Cyl. I, 3) and Shamash- 

% Contra many commentators; e. g. Mich., Kre., We., van H.. 

So Or., Dav., GASm., Jrm., Hap., Marti, Hal., Dr.. 

354 NAHUM 

prophet here states even more positively what he has already sug 
gested in 3 7 . He is conscious that he expresses the feelings not 
only of his own nation, but of all the peoples who have suffered at 
the hands of the world-oppressing tyrant. iH adds here, at thee] 
But this is unnecessary to the sense and constitutes a blemish upon 
the otherwise perfect elegiac rhythm. It is probably the work of a 
glossator.* For upon whom has evil from thee not passed over con 
tinually?] This, too, is best considered as a gloss.f It fails to con 
form to the metre of this closing str. and it weakens the prophet s 
climax. It is an attempt to justify the universal joy of the previous 
statement, which needed no such prosaic apology in the days of 
Nahum. The oppression of Nineveh was notorious enough to 
be taken for granted everywhere. "Evil" here is equivalent to 
"calamity," "disaster" or "wrong." 

The logical divisions of this piece are so clearly marked as to have 
produced practical unanimity among its interpreters regarding its analy 
sis. Organising strs. on the basis of this logical grouping alone, and 
trusting to the parallelism for guidance as to the length of lines, we secure 
six strs., having 8, 6, 6, 6, 8 and 4 lines respectively. This involves a 
few changes from HI. In v. 2 , one-half of the second line is missing. 
In v. 3 , two words, Oa V?c>3\ must be om. as a gloss. Other glosses are, 
nS aoD D^D (v. 8 ), IDJ; (v. 13 ), pSo iSnxn (v. 1B ), ijn et^fl pS> (v. 16 ), 
nw -|Sc (v. 18 ), and probably nxp pN) onxn (v. 9 ) and xS ID Sp 13 -\^y 
von injn ma? (v. 19 ). In addition to these omissions, the phrase 
a &>N nSjs (v. 13 ) is tr. to foil. ia-pa in the same verse. This strophic 
arrangement gives a sharper point to We. s question as to whether 
vv. 18 - 19 constitute an original element in the poem or not. Strophic 
symmetry demands the closing of the poem with v. 17 , where an eight- 
line str. ends, thus balancing the eight-line str. with which the poem be 
gan. These verses also seem to look back upon the overthrow of Nineveh 
as an accomplished fact; whereas all that precedes has looked forward 
to the fall of the city as a thing hoped for and confidently expected at no 
distant date. It cannot be said with certainty, of course, that Nahum is 
not here in imagination placing himself at some point in the future, 
whence he looks back upon Nineveh s ruin. This is a common enough 
method of procedure with the prophets. Hence, the question of the date 
of vv. 18 - 19 must remain open, with the probability upon the side of the 
later origin. 

The metres of this piece, like all the rest of the book of Nahum, are 
very uneven ; lines of four, five, six and seven beats are all found here, but 
* So Bu. (EB.\ Marti, Now. K . t So Marti, Hpt., Kent. 

3 1 " 6 355 

with a preference for the line of six beats. The jjno-rhythm appears 
here and there throughout the poem, but is consistently adhered to only 
in w. 18 - IB , where it is the natural measure for the sentiment. 

1. in] V. H. AH - "; cf. Dr.. Du. adds mrj. orp-j] Tr. _ to nSa 
mtr. cs.. nSj] (6 H ignore sf.. 8>na] Du. nisTis. pie] fiir. in this 
sense; cf. Ob. 14 . (& ddudas; similarly &. Aq. {avxew<r/wv. S dTro- 
Tontas or fjL6\oKOTrLas. H dilaceratione. 21 Nia, booty. Gr. "ip.#. Rub. 
(7(XK. XI, 458) proffers no, lies, as the original of this and also of IP-IB 
in v. 8 , which with nSyn he considers a misplaced marginal note on pno. 
But vfl in meaning lies is &ir. in Heb. (cf. Assy.) and thus possesses no 
advantage over ("no. Du. P?j?\ HN^D] For inverted position within 
the phrase, cf. Is. 22 . ttD\j Intrans. as in Jos. i 8 Ex. 13" Ps. 55" Zc. 
I4 4 . <8 \f/T)\a<j>T}6 /i<rTai; similarly 0. 2 (#TTOU) dSidXeurroj. n"O] Prob 
ably here the act of plunder rather than the plunder itself. The corre 
sponding nominal form in Ar. is regularly used for the inf.. Gr. lib. 
Hal. adds narnp; cf. Ps. 55". Rub. (/. c. ) adds na^p. Marti sug 
gests the addition ncntpS nxfrfw; so Now. K . 2. BIB] <$ pi.. Sipi] 
The metre would be improved by the om. of p as a dittog.. jn] Though 
used for earthquake, it is difficult to refer it here to the trembling of the 
ground as the chariots dash by (BDB.) ; it is rather the noise made by the 
wheels themselves. nm] HIT.; but cf. nnm, Ju. 5". Earth (Wurzelun- 
tersuchungeri) and Hpt. connect with Ar. hdr by metathesis and render 
neighing. Cf. snorting; V frementis. (6 Sicfoovroj. mp-ic] (& 
dvappdo-ffovros. 3. nSyo] Qal is used of the steed in Je. 46* 2 K. 9 SJ ( f >; 
Hiph. of the rider causing his horse to rear as here in Je. 51". <& &va.- 
fiaivovTos, treating it as Qal; so Iff. Gr. SSnnc. Oort Em - nS y. Rub., 
v. on v. . rmj 1 ?] <g rots fdveaiv CII/TTJS. Du. nMjS. iStyo>] Rd. in impf. 
with Kt. (so & ), byy. This is better than the Qr. iSieb) (so <K, 
many Heb. mss., B), for this vb. contributes only a slight detail, not a 
new element in the scene. OHMJJ] Rd. r^jo, with Marti, Now. K , Stk., 
Kau., Kent. D is dittog. from foil. word. Oort Em - nnMja. Hal. 
03^3 (cf. Ho. i4 2 ). Du. om. as a variant of jS. 4. r ann] (6 joins 
to v. 3 . njir] Du. om. as due to dittog.. jri navj] (& Ka\*i Kal tirtxapfr. 
B speciosae et gratae. nSj?a] In cstr. with foil, noun to denote a char 
acteristic; cf. i 2 Is. 41"; Ges. * 1J8 s - u . (& faovntv-ri. macn] Cf. Fraenkel, 
Aram. Fremdworter, 127. a never means, "get control over," but always 
"sell " or " deliver over to another " ; Est. 7* Is. 50* 52* are no exceptions 
to the regular usage. & who nourishes. Bu. (on Ct. i 4 ), rna^zpn; sc 
Marti, Now. K ( ?), Stk., Kau., Kent. 6. niNax ] <g inserts ^nS. Du. 
om. *as due to influence of 2 14 . -n>Sji] ^ and I will throw back. 
ySw] (& rd dirlffu <rov. }ff pudenda tua; so 0. ^JD Sj 1 ] Du. om. as 
gloss derived from Je. 13".^- TPC] Syn. with nnp. Apocopated from 
; c/". |^D, from nj>-c. 6. o^ptf] (& *J sg.. Hap. om. as gloss upon 
icard rds d/ca^a/xrfaj crou; hence Du. loSa;, which he 

356 NAHUM 

treats as a variant of the foregoing "p>D. Cf. Hpt. who om. as gloss. 
Hap. ^nSjj, thy carcasses. ^N-O] Om. o as dittog. of preceding D; 
cf. (& eis TrapddeiyfM (so & Iff). Cf. Mesa Ins., 1. 12, nn = nno (c/. nu 
for mNj); c/. man, Ez. 28". Praetorius (ZDMG. LX, 402) would correct 
MeSa s nn to nnpa, explaining the loss of pa as due to the preceding 
word npnn and translating, "I destroyed all the people from the city, in 
Qeryyoth, for Chemosh and for Moab." But Qeryyoth is out of place 
here, the idiom h :nn is harsh, and the ordinary interpretation is easy 
and natural. For the same thought, v. Sachau s Assuan Papyri, I, I5/.. 
7. TNI] Note assonance with in. ivrj On form, GesJ 87co . <K 
Kara^fferai. S &vaxup^ffi. }ff resiliet. ^y^] For rn IIP; cf. D lSD, 2 4 . 
Ges. 4 q. <g SetXata. nS] & Iff ft = iS; so many Heb. mss. and Gr.. 
D^omc] <& irapdK\i]<Tiv. Iff consolatorem ; so 0. C/. Jb. 2 11 Is. 5i 19 for 
a similar parallelism with -nj\ i 1 ?] Rd. nS, with (8 cuJrf/; so Rub. 
C/Q.R. XI, 459), Oort Em -, Marti, Now. k , Stk., Kau., Du.. 8. o^nn 
|isx NJD] A confusion in the vb. of Qal and Hiph. forms; best pointed 
as Qal, at^nn (cf. Ges. * 70 ). DX NJ is abbreviated to NJ in Ez. 3o 14 - 18 , 
and apparently transposed in Je. 46 2S , NJD JIDN ((5 r6v A^cbv T6i> uZ6i> 
o^r^s). (g in Ez. 3<D 14 - 18 identifies NO as Thebes, viz. Ai6<r7roXis. The 
Assy, reproduces it as al Ni i (cf. Dl. Paradies, 318^".) ; this and the Heb. 
NJ represent the Egyptian nt (with the t elided as is common) = town, 
which was probably vocalised as ne(t}. Hence, the name means "the 
town of Amon." In contemporary Egyptian records, Thebes was com 
monly designated as "the town," par excellence; v. Steindorff, BAS. I, 
597; W. Max M tiller, EB. 3427. Other cases where Assy. *e or *i* cor 
responds to Heb. o are listed by Hpt., viz. twn = reSu; jnrnDN = 
Aur-aha-iddina; |N2f = senu; Sos^ = ekul; PJID = Sarru-kenu. The 
Vrss. vary. <& erof/xao-ai neplSa, tLpfjuxrai xP^ v , tTolfJiaffai fjieplSa A/x/xt&p; 
a composite rendering combining two variants, in which the vb. is read 
as a Hiph. imv. and NJD as ^D = nja. Some mss. of <J5 dpfuxrai (or 
&pfjuo(Tov) xopS^v /ie/sis A/i/xc6j>. Art thou better than Javan of A ntmon ? 
U numquid es melior Alexandria populorum ; so. Aq. S 6 = N ID; so 
Hap.. onN>] P/. majest., like nnnj, Ps. 137 (so Hpt.); this is better 
than "Nile-streams" as ordinarily taken. T^N] Du. om., as also o;. 
S>n] Rd. nS>n; so We., Or., Now.. Rub. (I. c.), Bu. (EB. 3262), Hal., 
Hap., Marti, van H., Stk.-, Kau., Kent. Du. n^n. D;CJ] Rd. o^p-i, 
with <& Kal tSwp; so ^ B, some Heb. mss., and We., Gr., Rub. (/. c.), 
Oort Em -, Or., Dav., Now., Bu., Hal., Hap., Marti, Hpt., Dr., Stk., 
Kau., Du.. nnnin] <g = n>nD^n. 9. Ehs] (g /cal KWioirla. nnx?] Rd. 
FICX?, with (g fox^s a^s; so jj Iff 01 and Stei., Or., Rub. (/. c.), Oort Em -, 
Now., Hal., Marti, van H., Kau., Stk., Kent. Bis] 05 TTJS ^irpjj = ? 
(Schleus.) or toSo (Reinke, Stek.). Iff Africa. Marti, aS, connecting 
it with p |>N as in (36. Hap. rrj>SoS, om. nxp as a later correction. 
Du. oiD\ o>3iS] One ms. of de R., omS. imrpa] Rd. nnnr^.-j, with 

3 - 357 

so and Stei., Gr., We., Oort E "-, Or., Now., 
Marti, Dr., Hpt., van H., Stk., Kau., Kent, Du.. 3 is Beth essentiae as 
in Ex. i8 4 Dt. 33", where it is likewise used with ry. 10. x^n] Du. n^n. 
oao] <8 a/xM^w- & om.. IOOT] (& ^5a0ioi/<rii ; cf. Ho. 10". Gr. 
icfen; so We., Now., Marti, Hpt., van H., Stk., Du.. But the change is 
unnecessary; a vivid impf. lends variety to the description. rnxm] 0$ 
adds rr_; so &. nnaaj Sjn] (6 = Vya-Sjn; so Stk., Du.. On d. f. 
in n cf. Ges. * PP. YI J Also Ob. " Jo. 4*. Pf., / IT, a by-form of m\ 
Accent probably due to rhythm. Gr. -n;. jrSaVj Marti om. So; so 
Hpt.. Du. suggests the insertion of ox ipm] Only in Qr. of EC. 12 , 
where text is doubtful. Noun-forms occur in i K. 6 21 Ez. 7" Is. 40", 
but afford little help, partly because of textual corruption. The foil, 
word here points clearly to the desired meaning. a^r] Connected with 
Assy, sinku from sanaku, bind fast (Zimmern, KAT.*, 650). t is, per 
haps, due to influence of J in a^jr = D^T, like pr, time* = Assy. 
sintdnu (Hpt.). 11. a/] Twice in this verse, apparently to balance the 
double occurrence in v. 10 . nae>n] & ,_-.o?Z ( unhappy ), proba 
bly an error for r -+o : >^ ( be drunken ). Du. natfri. Tin] An inex 
plicable jussive; cf. Dr. * 17 a . There is scarcely any basis for the render 
ing "mayest thou be" (BDB. s. v. aS>). For the use of the impf. plus 
the prtc. to express a continuing condition, v. Dr. ^ 135 - 6 . noSyj] An 
exact parallel of this idiom is cited from Ar. by Hpt., viz. gutiya alayhi, 
lit. "a cover was put upon him," *. e. he swooned. <S virepewpa^yTj-, 
so & H. Gr. noSgj (so Dr. (?), Du.) or noSynn. nyc] May be de 
rived either from ny or ny; taken by the Massoretes from the latter, 
e. g. M^D, except in 2 S. 22", M-iyn. Probably M confuses two words 
from these two roots; cf. Sta. * 269e and Brockelmann, Vergl. Gram. 195. 
Here and in I T , it is better connected with ny, seek refuge ; contra Hpt.. 
<g ffrdffiv. B auxilium. Gr. DUD (?). a^ND] <& pi.. & Q = ia>ND. 
12. O^NO] & = ro. oyj Rd. rjoy_, following Bu. s suggestion of aoy. 
(on Ct. 4 13 ); so Marti, Now. K , Hpt., Kent, a being very close ton 
in form was dropped by haplography; v. on Mi. i 2 . onoa] (6 <r/co7roi5j; 
some mss. icapirofa. B cwm grossis suis. 13. isy] Om., with Marti, 
as a misplaced correction of ay. in v. "; so Now. K (?). a"yj] (6 & = 
ja; so Hap.. Hpt. ID^:, they will destroy. mno] Du. om. as a cor 
rupt variant of D:. IXIN] x may be applied to the region under the 
control of a single town (cf. i S. 9*- 6 ) as Hap. maintains here; but even so 
the whole land might well be spoken of as belonging to Nineveh, the cap 
ital. Tnna] Mich. T.rHa, thy fugitives. 14. o^oa ^a] Cf.Assy.fUa 
er&u (Hpt.), an exact equivalent in meaning. Gr. "pu; so Now., van H., 
Stk.; cf. Zc. io . -\DI-O] (g ^ dxfyots. pSn] Only in 2 S. 12" (Qr.); in 
Je. 43 , if text is correct, D has a wholly different sense. Hoffmann, 
ZAW. II, 53-72 (cf. Dr. Heb. Text of Books of Samuel, 226 ff.), has made 
the meaning brick-mould almost certain, showing (i) that in post-Bib. 


Heb. it designates primarily a brick-mould and then things of the 
same rectangular shape, e. g. door-frames; (2) that the same twofold 
usage characterises the Ar. and Syr. milban. The secondary meaning 
applies in Je. 430. The rendering brick-kiln of the earlier transla 
tors is out of the question. Hap. suggests brick wall/ which is pos 
sible in Je. 43 (though less suitable than court or square ), but is 
usable here only if the Hiph. of n be changed to a Pi el, yielding repair 
the wall. <& virtp ir\lv6ov = nja jo. 21 thy building. B laterem. & 
|ln\nSn ( promise ), probably an error for jlnNv ( brick-mould ); 
so Seb., foil. Bernstein. Hap. njaSa. 16. oty] Against temporal sense, 
v. note on Zp. i u . Hpt. DJ or DJI. pSo jSaNn] Gre. om. o and tr. 
nanjo to take its place. Du. and Kent om. o and connect n with pre 
ceding ann as subj.. Riedel (SK. 1903, pp. 166 /.), nsS^ ^San (cf. 
Assy, kattaplu, battle-axe ); so Now. 2 , Kau.(?). Hal. rta NP. 
naann] Rd. naann, with some mss. of Kenn.; so We., Now. 2 , Oort Fm -, 
Marti, van H., Stk.. (& Kal papvvOfaei; <S AN Q -07^;. & focattfe //tow fcatf 
increased. Gre. naanm. Gr. nnapnn; so Hap.. Riedel (/. c.), 133.1. 
Now. 1 napn. Rub. (./(XR. XI > 459) om - a s variant. Van H. nasrn. 
Hpt ^ainn. naann] (& om. this and foil, word (so Now., Hal.); but 
HP. 23, 62, 87, 91, 147, 310, & H and 3 have Tr\r]d6vd rjT tws /Jpouxos. 
and /tas* become numerous. Gre. om. as variant. Gr. m:nn. Rub. 
(/. c.) nasnn. Hap. m^nn. Du. na^rn. na-w] To be taken, with 
DI.HWB. i M) f rom a -, x (^ Assy, dribu, eribu, eribu, a swarm of locusts ) 
with nominal affix, rather than from nai, with N prosthetic. Du. joins r N3 
with first word of v. 18 . 16. ruain] Rd. ^a-jn, with We., Now., GASm., 
Marti, Hal., Dr., Stk., Kau.; cf. New. TN <a-jn. Some mss. of Kenn. 
>n>ann. Du. niann. I Sai] (S rAs tiuropla.* <rou. H negotiationes tuas. 
Kre. "n:^"), thy mercenaries. Du. rjap^. t^n oawo] Du. nccn uup. 
pS ] Gr. p^a. Ges. (Thesaurus ) et al. connect with ppS, to lap, 
lick ; but Hpt. s proposal to ally it with Ar. walaqa, which denotes a 
leaping gait of the camel, seems better; i thus becomes the leaper. 
uvo] (g &pM<rev. Rub. (JQR. XI, 459), ti&a, anointer. Gr. fro, fly 
ing. qy s ] (5 ^eTrcTdo-^. Rub. (/. c.), l^;i, and conjurer. Van H. 
r\v\ 17. ^yvio] D. f. dirimens; Ges. ^ 20h . We. connects with ITCD, 
bastard, as a by-form; but there is no basis in the parallel terms Sri 
and -\DD2 for supposing any contemptuous epithet here. Nor is there any 
analogy in Heb. for the interchange of D and f, even though Eth. does 
yield manzer. Hpt. explains it as prtc. Pi el of Assy, nazdru, to curse, 
execrate, viz. TP.U p thy exorcists. Zimmern connects it with Assy. 
massaru = manzaru, guard ; but we should not expect such a Baby 
lonian spelling in Nahum. The rendering given above makes no at 
tempt to be specific, but is based upon the general sense of the Heb. 
>TJ and upon the well-known predominance of the temple hierarchies 
in Assy.. H custodes tui. & thy Nazirites (or consecrated ones). <8 s 

3 15 - 359 

^Xoro seems to be a second rendering of ijw (v. 16 ), D being passed over 
in silence as unknown (Stek.). Rub. (L c.) T^ll? 1 ?* thy measuring- 
clerks (an Assy, loan-word, otherwise unknown). Gr. yjj n, thy 
princes/ Hap. laiyn nnj, thy mixed multitude starts up in terror. 
Ko. II, i, 90 y.l T T 3E; so Dr.(?). *| no 0.21] The pointing op in Je. 51" 
is only a dialectal variation; the more normal pointing, if related to 
Assy. dupSarru, would be oa. No. ZDMG. XL, 732, declares the rela 
tion to duptarru suitable here, but wholly unsuited to Je. 51". This latter 
view is certainly justifiable, if the word must be confined to the narrow 
sense of scribe ; but this is unnecessary in view of the Heb. analogies 
and of the influential position of the duplarru in the Tel-el-Amarna let 
ters (v. s.) ; cf. Dl. Hebrew Language, 13. For the interchange of d and 
t , cf. the Sabaean *\o, tablet, in Glaser, 1053 (v. Hommel, Aufsatze 
und Abhandlungen, 141 ; Zimmern, KA 7\ 3 , 400). (& 6 (rv/<i/u/tT6s o-ou, per 
haps, like H s et paruuli tui, based upon the first syllable p, the re 
mainder being unknown. & and those that strive for thee. Hap. om. 
as gloss. Hpt. TV^DD^I. ou DUD] Rd. ^aua, om. au as dittog. with 
<g, ws ditpls; so and Gre., New., We., Dav.(?), Rub., Now., Hap., 
Marti, Hal., Dr., van H., Stk., Kau.. Hpt. om. -out. Gr. oua au. 
au is &TT.; taken by the earlier comm. as an intensive genitive, meaning 
the great locust ; so Or.. On root-meaning of ou, v. H. AH - 182 ; cf. 
Earth, NB.^ b . Brockelmann, Vergl. Gram. I, p. 412, derives it from 
the related root au, with the nominal affix >_.. a^jinn] <g firifte^KvTa. 
Gr. n^nn; so Du.. nip ova] We. o^n npa(?); so Hpt. But this change 
is unnecessary; the phrase recurs in Pr. 25 20 . It means not merely 
in the cool of the day, but on a cold day or in cold weather. 
n-nja] & sg.. Si -nui] Now. sS nyji; so Hap., Marti, van H., Stk., 
Kau.; cf. We.. Hpt. om. as gloss. The form is Po. pf. active; cf. Sta. 
I&6.. T ne change to pi. is unnecessary; the sg. of pS> , naiN , ou, the 
collective nouns, prevails over the pi. prtc. which is not in close proximity. 
;nu] (6 tyvw. iDipc] Now. CC\ID; so Hap. et al.. D N] Rd. rj N, 
with Du., and tr. to beginning of v. I8 . For confusion of o and D, v. on 
Mi. 2 . For -ps with the pf., v. 2 S. i 19 Je. 2 2 9"; cf. HD>N, La. i 1 2 4 - . 
<& otal a^rots. Arn. om. as gloss; so Hap., Hpt. Gr. -inN; so Hal.. 
Marti, -|S >IN; so Now. K , Stk., Kent. 18. -cj] < Mffrafav. CB. wj. 
Ti i] Rd. this and the foil, suffixes in the fern., since the address thus far 
has been to the city of Nineveh; so Arn., Marti, Hap., Now. K , Hpt., Stk., 
Kau., Kent iw] Rd. -iar;; so We., Oort, GASm., Hal.. Dr. : Hpt, 
Stk., Kent, Du.. <g ticoliu<rcv, with king of Assy. as its sub j.. (g is 
so awkward here that Hap. shrewdly surmises that king of Assy. was 
inserted later into its text, the original rendering having been something 
like fKoifjL^ffijffav ol Svvdffrat <rov. Koi^/fw is usually the equivalent of 
some form of ao^, which is also rendered much more frequently by the 
related vb. icotfuiw. In Ju. 16", however, Kot/wdfiw represents the Pi el of 

360 NAHUM 

]v and Koindu renders the same vb. several times. On the whole, pref 
erence here must be given to ja. The impf. ODC" between the two pfs. is 
in any case unusual. T~ P " K1 ^ thy neighbours. VPDI] Rd. IXDJ; soGr., 
BDB., Hal., Dr., Now. K , Hpt, Stk., Kau.. (&&iri)pv. Jflatilavit. icDjis 
&ir.; connection with one, skip about, is possible, but hardly suitable in 
this context. Syr. and Aram, enc, remain behind, is little better. Cf. 
i K. 22". 19. nna] Rd. nrn, with <g, fatrts; so We., Dr., Now. K . 
Hpt., Kau.. & one who grieves ; so 21. H obscura. o is &r.; the only 
meanings obtainable from this root are dimness* and quenching, nei 
ther of which is applicable to a wound (contra van H.). For j, v. Pr. 
ly^and, as a vb., Ho. 5 18 . nSru] (& tyMy/Mvev. n^on] (K 8i& iravr6s. 
Attempts have been made to improve upon the order of w. "- 19 ; e g. 
Hpt., >. i5*. is. u. is. i9j stk. " " " b - " " " "- 19 ; while Du. 
would place 19m between 16m and IBb and drop "* as a gloss. The im 
provement is hard to discover. For example, " follows " no better than 
12 does, while the fact that both mention inxao is a very insufficient 
reason for bringing and " into juxtaposition, iffi s position for I8 
could not well be improved, constituting as it does a proper climax. 



D>rm, 88. 
IJPK, 4c. 

SpSa, 308. 
o-u, 244. 
m, 208. 

Sinn, 230. 
-D3, 35 2 359- 

D^, 222. 

vnn % , 39. 

3 and D confused, 34, 115, 139, 
192, 262, 330, 357, 359. 

033, 156. 

one?, 192. 

1D3, 222. 

onS, 210. 

D and 3 confused, 300 /. 
n?>D, 31. 
P^D, 357 /. 


anoo, 351, 3587. 
IHDD, 208 /. 
aipo, 40. 

aim, 2857. 
-itw, 297. 

HDD, 51 

, 51. 
SDJ?, 96. 
Sc-ip, 210. 
-iny, 254. 

314, 329. 

""T?, 69 
me*, 184. 

Ji?., 224. 
vvp, 221. 

niann, 329 /. 
Sn, 3 2 9- 

DPI, 51. 

nnz , 69, 112 
O er, 123. 

, 210. 





ACHZIB, 48. 

Acrostic, 295 /., 306, 309, 327. 

Adullam, 49. 

Apocalypse of Zephaniah, 166. 

Ashdcxi. 216. 

Asherim, 114 /. 

Ashurbanipal, iS9ff-> 344- 

Assonance, 113, 210, 215, 224, 298, 

328, 332. 
Assuan Papyri, 51, 68, 84, 86, 93, 

96, 189, 192, 245, 356. 
Assyria, 107, 108, 159 /., 277, 3377. 
Assyrian inscriptions, 115, 184, 192, 

201, 205, 215, 245, 312, 317, 323, 

330, 336, 339, 344 /-, 347, 349, 

35* / 
Atheism, 202. 

BAALISM, i86/. 

Babylon, 92. 

Babylonian inscriptions, 337. 

Baca, 45. 

Beth Ephrathah, 102. 

Bethlehem, 103. 

CAPTIVES, treatment of, 38, 339. 

Coinage, 2oo/. 

Crete, 2i6/. 

Criticism, of Micah, 9-16; of Nahum, 

268 ff.; of Zephaniah, 1727. 
Cruelty, 335 /. 
Cyaxares, 163, 170, 276. 

DAY of Yahweh, 24, 142, 169, 179, 

194 /. 

Diaspora, no, 150. 
Dirge, 41, 58, 64. 
Dittography, 5, 42, 43, 44, 51, 54, 55, 

65, 66, 67, 102, 119, 130, 149, 192, 

210, 218, 236, 254, 294, 307, 328, 

355, 356, 359- 

Ethiopia, 232, 343 /. 
Excavations, 205, 319, 348 /. 

FAITH, 68. 

GATES, of Jerusalem, 198 /.; of the 
land, 347; of the rivers, 3i8/., 
33 / 

Gath, 45, 50, 216. 

Genealogy, 182 /. 

Gilgal, 123. 

HAMMURABI, code of, 52, 143. 
Haplography, 5, 108, 357. 
Hendiadys, 63. 
Herodotus, 162 /., 170 /., 206, 216, 

277, 335- 

Holiness Code, 125. 
Huldah, 169. 
Human sacrifice, 126. 


Jericho, 205. 

Jerusalem, destruction of, 25. 

Josephus, 200, 313. 

Locust, 350, 352. 

MANASSEH, 124, 126, i6i/. 

Mareshah, 49, 52. 

Maroth, 46, 51. 

Masseboth, 114, 115. 

Messiah, 104, 108. 

Milcom, iSg/. 

Moab, 225/. 

Moabite Stone, 95, 96, 215, 356. 

Monotheism, i79/. 

Moresheth, 17, 48. 

Mourning customs, 100. 




Name, power of divine, 248. 

Necho, 165. 

Nimrod, 109. 

Nineveh, 1637., 274 /., 318 /. 

No-Amon, 340 /. 

OPHRAH, 50. 

PHAESTOS Disk, 217. 
Philistines, 2i6/. 

Poetic form, of Micah, 6 /.; of Na- 
hum, 270 jf.\ of Zephaniah, 

174 / 

Political parties, 21. 
Priestly Code, 125. 
Puns, 42. 
Put, 249, 343 /. 

Qtna, 53, 145, 151, 229, 235. 

Righteousness, 214. 

SALT-PITS, 227. 

Samaria, fall of, 20, 37, 39. 

Scythians, 162 /., 169 /., 178, 230, 

232, 276. 

Shamash-shum-ukin, i6o/., 275. 
Shaphir, 45. 
Shear Jashub, 105. 
Sinjirli, inscriptions of, 215. 
Sun-worship, 188. 
Superscriptions, 19, 3O/., 284 /. 

TAHARKA, 159. 

Thebes, I59/., 274, 276, 34O/., 356. 
Thomas of Celano, 204. 
Threshold, 197 /. 

Urartu, 194, 220. 

WATER supply of Nineveh, 348. 
Weights and measures, 133. 

XENOPHON, 165, 235, 348. 









History and tradition give us no reliable facts as to the person 
ality or age of Habakkuk, so that we are left entirely to internal 
evidence for our conclusions. Peiser, MVAG., viii, p. 5 sij con 
nects his name with Assyrian hambakuku, name of a garden plant, 
and finds in his use of words in 2 2 evidence that he was trained at 
Nineveh in Assyrian learning, perhaps a captive prince; but this 
is pure imagination. We only know that the book, substantially 
as we have it, was composed or compiled early enough to form a 
part of the second collection of sacred writings, called The 
Prophets, and that it antedated the editing of the Hagiographa. 
The third chapter is indicated by its title and its colophon, as well 
as by its character and by a passage duplicated in Ps. 77, to be a 
psalm, perhaps taken from a psalm-book, and does not appear to 
be genetically connected with the first two chapters, although as 
signed by the editor to the same author. The use of m^K in 
3 3 and of rWD for Israel in 3 13 , and the almost total loss of the 
article, are mentioned by Budde as proofs of a late origin. The 
chief difficulty in the study of Habakkuk is found in the question, 
Who are the "wrong-doers," the D HJ O against whom the proph 
ecy is directed? It is distinctly stated in i 5 " 11 that the Chalde 
ans will be summoned as Yahweh s ministers of correction. This 
puts the date of this passage at a time shortly before the capture of 
Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and in the reign of Jehoiakim. 
No other date can be given to these verses, unless i 2 " 11 be regarded 
as a dramatic representation of an earlier divine interposition for 
punishment. But just as plainly i 12 -2 20 was written after the cap 
ture of Jerusalem, while the Jews were under the yoke of a for 
eign oppressor. In i 5 the D HJ Q were to be punished by the 



coming of the Chaldeans; in i 13 they are the foreign and idola 
trous oppressors themselves. 

This inconsistency has led some scholars, as Giesebrecht and 
Wellhausen, to throw out i 5 11 as an earlier prophetic fragment 
which has been intruded here; while Budde puts it after 2 4 . Ewald 
regards the present order as correct and the text genuine up to 2 8 . 
Budde offers a curious explanation, supposing that Habakkuk s 
prophecy is directed against the Assyrians of Josiah s time, who 
are about to be punished by the Babylonians. 

The language of complaint in i 1 " 4 makes no mention of a 
foreign invader. There are people guilty of DDPI violence, Jltf 
wrong, ^Dp trouble, TO pillage, n H strife, and JVTD contention. 
As a result the mifi Law is paralysed and tDEttfD justice fails. 
It is in this way that native oppression and not a foreign invader 
would be described. Then follows in w. 5 ~ u a description of the 
Chaldeans whose invasion would be a punishment for such sins. 
The transition from the complaint of the prophet to Yahweh s 
answer is not unusually abrupt, although the latter has no such 
formal introduction as in 2 2 . Yahweh s answer is addressed to 
the D HJ Q (D^I^Q) who will not believe it, an expression natu 
rally applicable to those who have some faith in Yahweh. In 
v. 6 the Chaldeans are about to be raised up; but they are well 
known and well characterised. They have been in the habit of 
gathering captives (v. 9 ) and conquering cities (v. 10 ). There is 
no internal reason for separating w. 5 " n from w. 1 " 4 . The crimes 
of the wicked Jews (w. 2< 3 ) are to be punished by the impending 
attack of the Chaldeans (v. 6 ). The time is between the battle of 
Carchemish, 605 B.C., and the first Captivity, 597 B.C., and so 
about 600 B.C., or during the reign of Jehoiakim, unless (Kuenen) 
we take vv. 1-u as written after the event dramatically described 
as future. Thus far nothing implies a condition of captivity. 

In i 12 " 17 the condition changes. The oppressions of the wicked 
Jews are forgotten, and the complaint is against the invader, who 
gathers captives like fishes in a net. This must have been writ 
ten after the first Captivity. Were the last half of v. 12 genuine it 
would closely connect the second complaint with the preceding 
v. 11 ; but it is out of place, answering a question asked in the next 


verse. The Tlf?N my God of v. 12 , however, seems to refer back 
to the 1JT7K his god of v. 11 by way of contrast; and the bfcy 
wrong, ytfin wicked, p*TX righteous, and D HJ O evil-doers of v. 13 
seem an echo of corresponding words in w. 3 ~ 5 ; and the sacri 
fices of v. 16 seem to refer to the sacrifices which an emendation 
finds in v. u . But the wicked one of vv. 14 ~ 17 is a foreign invader, 
a different person from the wicked one of w. 1 " 4 . 

In the reply of Yahweh (2 2 ~ 8 ) a foreign foe is described, such as 
the Assyrian power, or the Babylonian kingdom of Nebuchad 
nezzar. A single clause, "All the rest of the peoples shall spoil 
thee," brings a slight support to Budde s theory that we have here 
a prophecy of the overthrow of the Assyrians, inasmuch as it was 
by such a league that the Assyrian power was destroyed. Vv. 2 - 3 
have not a poetic form; the vision written on a tablet, therefore, 
began with v. 4 and seems to continue through v. 8 , embracing the 
first malediction. The "parable" of v. 6 is found in the descrip 
tion (vv. 6 - 7 ) of the Babylonian power under the figure of a usurer; 
the "interpretation" HT^D, which was to be inexplicable to him, 
JT1TPI "a riddle," is found in v. 8 as a definite prophecy of ruin. 

The data given above strictly interpreted would make it appear 
that i 1 " 11 , containing the first complaint and Yahweh s answer, 
belongs to the period of Jehoiakim. With v. 11 begins a second 
complaint, with Yahweh s answer, modelled on or closely related 
to the earlier prophecy, and copying its expressions, but referring 
to a later period during the Captivity, while the Babylonian power 
was approaching its fall. There is thus no need of dislocating 
the order of the verses by dropping i 5 " 11 , and uniting the two com 
plaints into one. 

It is possible to escape the conclusion that we have here a 
composite by two authors of different dates, by assuming a dra 
matic form to these chapters. It is not impossible that the prophet, 
considering the evils of his own day, discovers the occasion for 
them in the divine retribution for the sins of the people. He 
thus defends the justice of God in bringing the Jews into captiv 
ity, because of the oppression and disregard of the Law by his an 
cestors; but now he appeals to Yahweh against the new oppres 
sors. This possible view gives us two scenes in the drama: the 


one (i 2 " 11 ) retrospective and introductory, while the other (i 12 -2 8 ) 
pleads against the continuance of the present distress. 

So long as the word Chaldean (v. 6 ) remains unchallenged we are 
compelled to refer this section to the period of the Captivity. It 
is by a very hazardous conjecture that Duhm makes the prophet 
refer to the coming invasion of Alexander. To do this he has 
changed D^BO Chaldeans to D^fO Greeks, and in i 9 he changes 
fiDJD to ^lEJD and translates, From Corner their direction is 
eastward, and finds thus an absolute proof that this was no 
Chaldean invasion. While Duhm may be right in assuming but 
one writer, his textual evidence is inconclusive as to date. 

The first of the five maledictions of ch. 2 is closely connected 
with Yahweh s preceding answer. The second malediction has 
no logical connection with the first, but is closely connected with 
the third, which contains the utterance of the ptf stone and the 
D^D brace (v. n ). But the third contains three quotations, two of 
them direct, from Mi. 8 10 Je. si 58 and Is. n 9 . This probably 
brings down the date of both the second and third maledictions 
nearly or quite to the Maccabean period; and to a similar date we 
may assign the fourth and fifth maledictions. 

The third chapter is a separate production, arranged for temple 
worship, and may or may not be by one of the authors to whom 
we owe i 12 -2 20 . It belongs to a troubled period following the 
Captivity but contains no definite indications of its age beyond its 
quotations. It takes v. 3 from Dt. 33 2 ; and v. 19 is based on 2 S. 
22 s4 (Ps. i8 33 ), which in turn is taken from Dt. 33 29 . Vv. 10 - " 15 
have a close relation with Ps. 77 17 " 20 ; but here the psalm is the 
later production. In Habakkuk these lines are in couplets; in 
Ps. 77 a third line has been added to each couplet, and the frag 
ment differs in this triple structure from the rest of the psalm. In 
Habakkuk they belong to a song of vengeance; in Ps. 77 to a song 
of reminiscent triumph. In Habakkuk there is no reference to 
past history; while in Ps. 77 these verses are inserted in the midst 
of an account of the victories of the Exodus. 

Logically 3 15 should follow v. ", precisely as in Ps. 77 v. 20 fol 
lows v. 19 . Either w. 12 ~ 14 are a later insertion, or v. 15 should pre 
cede them. 



The Oracle begins with the complaint of Israel personated by 
the prophet, occupying i 1 4 ; followed by the response of Yah weh, 
embracing w. 5 ~ 11 . In these eleven verses the wrong-doer is to 
be punished by the invasion of the Chaldeans, and therefore he 
is the wicked Jewish court and princes. This puts the date 
about 600 B.C., in the reign of Jehoiakim. With v. u begins a 
second complaint against the foreign heathen oppressor, here nec 
essarily the Babylonians themselves, concluding with 2 1 . This 
must be later than the time of Jehoiakim, as the Babylonians 
have now made their invasion. Yah weh s response begins with 
v. 2 ; and this and v. 3 announce the vision to be fulfilled at a later 
period. It is to be preserved legibly written on clay tablets of 
the Babylonian style, and consists of two parts, one about the 
preservation of the righteous, and the other the overthrow of the 
wicked oppressor. The prophet has not made it quite clear 
where the inscribed vision ends. Indeed he seems to have con 
tinued the last part, that about the wrong-doer, into the first 
malediction. The second and third maledictions are too closely 
connected together to be separated; but the third contains three 
quotations from as many other prophets, and must therefore be 
later than the first malediction; and the fourth and fifth also seem 
to belong to a period considerably later than the Babylonian 

The third chapter is intended for musical recitation in the 
temple worship, and may well be of the period of the last part of 
the second chapter. Being assigned to Habakkuk, we may pre 
sume that Habakkuk was the last compiler and editor of the first 
two chapters, and may have been the author of the last part of 
the second chapter. 

It is impossible in translation to reproduce the abounding allit 
erations of the original, or the prevailing poetic measure, consist 
ing of three principal words in a line. 



I 1 . The Oracle which Habakkuk the prophet did see. This 
verse is probably a later editorial title. 


. How long, Yahweh, must I call, and thou nearest not, 
Must I cry to thee, "Violence"! and thou savest not? 
. Why dost thou show me wretchedness and trouble? 
And pillage and violence are before me; 
And there is strife, and contention ariseth. 
*. Therefore the law is benumbed, 

And judgment goeth forth no more. 

[For the wicked circumventeth the righteous; therefore justice goeth forth 

2-4. The conditions in these verses are plainly not those of 
war, but of domestic oppression. The law in v. 4 is not the Torah, 
but the religious institutions, corresponding to justice in the next 
line. When coupled with ^ftj?, ptf means trouble. The latter part 
of v. 4 is not rhythmic, and is a marginal gloss. It is meant to 
elucidate the second member of the couplet, but it is a weak state 
ment that the perversion of justice consists in circumventing the 


. Look, ye wrong-doers, and behold, and be greatly amazed; for I am 
about to do a work in your days which ye will not believe though it be told 
you. 6 . For, 

Behold I raise up the Chaldeans, 
That violent and vehement nation, 
Which marcheth along the far regions of the earth 
To hold the homes that are not his. 
. Dreadful and terrible is he; 
From him judgment goeth forth. 


. And swifter than leopards are his horses, 

And fiercer than evening wolves. 

And his horsemen spread from afar; 

And they fly like an eagle eager for food. 
. All his host is bent on violence, 

[Untranslatable intrusion] 

And he gathereth his captives like sand. 
M . And he it is that scoffeth at kings, 

And rulers are his derision. 

He it is that deride th every fortress, 

And he heapeth up earth and taketh it. 
". Then his purpose changeth and he passeth along, 

And setteth up his altar to his god. 

5. This verse introduces the rhythmical response which fol 
lows. The corrupt A mong the nations is easily corrected to wrong 
doers as in v. 13 . Their amazement implies that the oppressive 
rulers in the time of Jehoiakim depended on Egypt to protect 
them against the Chaldeans. 7. By omitting the word dignity 
(RV.) we keep both the thought and the trimeter measure. The 
meaning is that they are a self-willed, ambitious people, who pay 
no respect to justice, rights ordinarily accepted, but do as they 
please. 8. The third member must be emended by eliminating 
the repeated horsemen, but even so the translation is not clear. 
9. The second member must be given up as untranslatable. It 
is a corrupt intrusion; or, possibly, represents the remnant of a 
member of a lost couplet. 10. The emphatic position of the 
pronoun in both couplets must be observed in translation. 

11. This verse has suffered much in transcription and was not 
understood by (&, and RV. gives the reader the choice of several 
translations. The clause "and is guilty" is weak and meaning 
less. If we transfer the Hebrew word to the second member, as 
we must, the present text of the first member must read, as in 
RV., Thus shall he sweep by as a wind and pass over, which gives a 
fair sense. But we had better follow a number of mss. which are 
of great value in ch. 3 and read his spirit in place of wind. We 
then have the statement that the Chaldean, having accomplished 
one siege, turns to a new purpose, as we were told in v. 7 that his 
judgment goeth forth from himself. Cf. Jb. 9" Ct. 2 11 for the simi 
lar use of the verb. The second member gives no suitable mean- 


ing and is probably past reconstruction. It is most probable that 
the original text contained the word for sacrifice or altar, in place 
of this his strength, which requires the change of 3 to 13. Of the 
two emendations suggested, the first retains Dttftf, with the sense 
he offers a propitiatory sacrifice to his god. We learn from Nu. 
3 1 19 - ** 50 that after a battle the soldiers were ceremonially un 
clean, through having touched the dead, and offered sacrifices 
for purification. The same custom is referred to in i S. is 15 - 21 
where Saul saves Amalekite cattle to sacrifice to Yahweh. In 
rabbinic times everything was ceremonially lawful to an army in 
war, and they could even break the Sabbath or eat swine s flesh, 
and the Talmud is puzzled over the need of purification in Nu. 
31. But it is preferable to change D*N to DE" and read he 
setteth up his altar to his god. The altar would not be built, but 
set up, as in war the king would use such a portable altar as is 
often figured on the monuments. The reading proposed assumes 
a second D after W, just as in the first member a second 1 is 
required for 1JTn. 

3. 18 t^an (& iiripMireiv ra.\a.nrupta.v t reading itPEon. So A and 
3 videre pr&dam. & seems to read BOX. The text of JH requires 
a Hiph. sense which the word never has. It is redundant, suggested 
perhaps by v. 1S ; cf. Nu. 23 21 . iK N" is superfluous, but was a neces 
sary addition when pin became |nn, <8 /cprnjs, followed by A and &. 
The third member in this verse suggests that a fourth has been lost. 4. 
JH mjS. The desired antithesis to SpyD in the early gloss which com 
pletes the verse has compelled Vrss. and com. to give nxj the impossible 
meaning of sincerity. So Ra., Ges., de W., Ew. Suggested emenda 
tions are roj 1 ? and rnjV. fR "vroc. (fa Karadvvaa-re^ei. We. suggests 
TDDD; but in Ju. 20" and Ps. 22 13 "iro has the sense of assailing, or en 
compassing with purpose to destroy, nnoo would be too strong a word, 
as these are domestic enemies. 

6. DMJ3 is to be corrected to D>-U:J; so <8 ft and critics generally, 
after v. 1S and 2 8 . HH innn innnni to be corrected after We., et al., 
to vnDnonm, cf. 2 s . 6. For -amo rd. VIVID, after Is. 8 9 . 7. M in 
serts inNtf i, which injures the measure and obscures the contrast with 
taoc D m: 1 ? NIP sSi, cf. v. 4 . The Copt, omits it, probably following an 
earlier <8. For inKBM racifD rd. nNCh BDB>D, destruction, cf. La. 3. 
8. JH inserts venm by dittog. before pimn, and then adds 1x3" after 
it to provide a predicate. (36 Ko-i tt-iirird<rovra.i ol lirireis Kal 


fjia.Kp66ev, probably omitting i*o\ Ew. and St. omit i*o> pimD vitnci as 
a gloss. Rd. TDNI for M 10^, <g KO.L irtraaO-fiaovTcu. So g>. 9. The 
clause inserted by M nnnp on>j> HDJD, interrupts the parallel, lacks 
fitness and is apparently an untranslatable intrusion. {& could not 
translate it, avdeaTyKbra.? Trpocrdjirois avT&v tvavTias. 11. H nn, better 
inn. Several important mss. (HP., 62,86, 147 and others) give irvev^a. 
avrov. M iro IT DCW yields no reasonable sense and is corrupt. It is 
to be corrected by some form of the |/ nor such as inSx 1 ? raj sew or 
in^N*? main oir;i, c/. v. 16 . 


12 . Art not thou, Yahweh, from of old? 
Thou, my God, my Holy One, diest not. 
[Yahweh, for judgment hast thou appointed him, 
And, O Rock, for reproof hast thou established him.] 

13 . Why dost thou look on the wrong-doers, 

Art silent when the wicked consumeth the righteous? 

14 . And thou makest men like the fish of the sea, 
Like swarms that have no ruler? 

15 . All of them he sweepeth into his net, 
And gathereth them into his seine; 
[Therefore he rejoiceth and is glad.] 

16 . Therefore he sacrificeth to his net, 
And burneth incense to his seine; 
For by them his portion is fat 
And his food is dainty. 

17 . Shall he therefore ever empty his net, 
And spare not to slay nations? 

12. The parallelism requires Thou diest not, in place of the 
irrelevant We shall not die, of HI. The second couplet is an in 
trusion quite out of place and anticipates the answer to the com 
plaint which it interrupts. It was added to explain God s prov 
idence. So We. 13. HJ has The wicked consumeth him who is 
more righteous than himself, instead of simply the righteous. It 
was an added gloss because it was not thought that one fully 
righteous could be swallowed up by the wicked. 14. The sense 
seems to be that God, who has a providence for men who serve 
him, appears to treat them no better than the lower animals to 
which he pays no attention, leaving them to the accidents and fates 
of nature. The thought is the reverse of that of Jesus, who de 
clared the sparrows to be under God s care. 15. This verse has 


an extra member, omitted in a class of mss. and not needed. The 
omission of lifteth with his hook not only corrects the metre but 
relieves the figure, as the Chaldean army could hardly be compared 
tc an angler with a hook. He catches them in swarms (v. 14 ) and 
sacrifices to his net and seine (v. 16 ). 16. It is not meant that the 
Chaldeans literally sacrificed and burnt incense to their net and 
seine. This simply carries on the figure. The sacrifice was to 
the gods of war such as Marduk and Adad and Ishtar. 


I will stand upon my post 

And station myself on a tower; 

And I will look out to see what he will say to me, 

And what answer he will return to my complaint. 

The response to the prophet s second complaint is more elab 
orate than that to the first complaint, and is more formally intro 
duced. The first complaint was against native oppression, and 
the response threatened their punishment by the Chaldean con 
quest. The second complaint is against these Chaldean conquer 
ors, and so is later, unless we may regard i 1 " 11 as a dramatic 
retrospect, explaining the subject condition of the Jewish people. 
One may prefer the reading rock to tower, following the Vrss., 
but the longer *Tl0 is probably genuine and more musically 
matches mDtPO by the latent paronomasia which the prophet 
much affects. 

12. 4H rnnj noted by Mas. as tikkun sopherim. 01 interprets as N 1 ? 
nion, so Ra., Ew., Kue., No., et al 13. M HDD omitted by (g&. For 
Jft imD^ (8> rd. imD 11 , Kal i-Tr\a<rv /*e TOV e\^7%eiv iraidelav durou, giving 
m* the Aram, sense of form, fashion. 14. Rd. nfryrn. 16. The irreg 
ular metre can be restored by the omission of nSj?n nona, which is in 
appropriate, as the Chaldean captures were wholesale, and there is 
no sacrifice to the hook. M SMM riDfc p hy is omitted in mss. men 
tioned in v. . 17. For iH p hyr\ Gie. and We. read oSiyn, but Ton 
belongs to this member. For inin they read uin, as does Copt, and 
one ms. of (& ; but it is more poetic to continue the figure. iU Torn 
Jin 1 ?. So <& 3, but divides the members after Ton, omitting the 
conj. This makes two equal members, and allows Vicrr S to denote 
continuance, parallel to TDD. We. changes 4R SIDPP to Sirp. 


2 1 . fSL -mo. <& irtrpav, so &, reading -nx. fR 3>c>N. But the par 
allel requires ant". IE would mean, What answer I shall return to 
those who sent me, cf. 2 S. 24 13 ; but there is no indication of the proph 
et s representative character. &, Brd., We., Oort, et al., rd. a^\ 


* s . And Yahweh answered me and said: "Write the vision and engrave 
it on tablets, that one may read it readily. For the vision is only for a set time, 
and is ripening toward its conclusion, and it will not fail. If it linger wait 
for it, for it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold:" 

2. The tablets were like those of Babylonia, of clay, not of wax, 
and were to be preserved during the years that should elapse 
before the overthrow of the Babylonian power. They were to 
be written distinctly for public knowledge and encouragement. 
The use of tablets implies that the prophecy was written in Baby 
lonia. It was a roll which Isaiah took in 8 1 . 3. This verse and 
v. 4 are directed to the encouragement of the captive Jews in their 
patient assurance of the divine faithfulness. Budde makes "O, 
for, the sign of direct discourse, as in Is. 9 18< 20 , and the oracle 
begin here. But this is not clear. 


*. The upright [shall rest] his soul in me; 

And the righteous shall live in my faithfulness. 
. And also: 

As with wine the wrong-doer vaunteth, 

He hath more than enough, but is not filled; 

Who enlargeth his desire like Sheol, 

And like Death he is not sated; 

But gathereth to him all the nations, 

And heapeth to him all the peoples. 

We have in these verses a double consolation. In v. 4 the faith 
ful righteous is told that he shall be preserved, because the God 
of Israel is faithful to his covenant; in v. 5 the thought turns to 
the oppressing nation which is to be visited with maledictions. 

4. This verse is one of two which Paul depended on for the 
doctrine of justification by faith, following the meaning of the pres 
et Hebrew text, which should probably be corrected after <&. 


The first member of the verse gives no sense, but must have given 
a. sense like that of the second member. 

6. And also is not part of the poetic measure. The three 
couplets explain the occasion for the maledictions that follow, in 
the greed of the Chaldean ambition. The corrupt first couplet 
must be restored conjecturally. The word wine, which must be 
retained, gives the key to the emendation, and the first two coup 
lets correspond to each other. The oppressor boasts like one 
filled with wine and still unsatisfied, and in the next couplet he 
is like Death who is ever greedy and never has food enough. 
There is here a partial quotation from Is. 5", Therefore Sheol en- 
largeth her desire. 

3. 48 mri, <& dwreXet, 3 apparebit. & appears to have read N3M 
f P i. Seb. emends to jpuv. Brd., We. and Oort read mo>i. Ehr. re 
tains JH no>i, but reads i for 1H my, and translates, The vision shall 
bear witness for time to come, and proclaim to the end; as "ijj? and ngp are 
thus connected in Ps. 27" Pr. 6 19 i2 17 14 ig 6 - 9 , although mispointed 
ivfiv in Pr. JW in> tth. <& J <$ A and 40 mss. collated by Kenn. 
and de R. read xSi. 4. The first member of this couplet is corrupt 
past safe reconstruction. (& tav viro<rTet\r]Tai O&K evSoKci ij tyvxfy (*ov 
iv ain$, reading t\hy> p and ^DJ. 3 Ecce qui incredulus est, non erit 
recta anima ejus in semetipso, guessing at the meaning nSfljj from 
in the corresponding member. read (or heard, Sebok) nVip for n 
Br. and Bu. emend t\hyw for nSoy njn, and suppose (& to have read 
*\^y ]n. We. emends Si^n for nSo>\ The emendation nSyjn is inap 
propriate, as it introduces a fainting, discouraged Jew, ready to apos 
tatise, neither pn* nor nji3, of whom nothing is said before or after. 
That is rather a NT. thought, and accordingly this passage is quoted 
in Heb. io 38 from (. The parallel demands a statement encouraging 
the faithful to expect deliverance. Probably -\& is concealed in mi?>, 
corresponding to pnx in the next member, and the original text had 
some such meaning as The upright shall stay his soul or shall deliver 
his soul (Am. 2 14 ); or, possibly, by transposition, 13 IPOJ 10" ^hyi N7. jft 
. (35 I* 7n<rrect>5 fwv fijo-erai, which gives the probably correct 
But fjiov omitted in mss. noted above, and in Gal. 3". 
6. By common consent of critics the first couplet of this verse is 
corrupt. (35 translates pn by Ka.Toiofj.tvOs, probably a mistake for 
KdToti/orf/zei oj. We must first correct M -"n^ to nn% so We. (5 Trepdvy, 
S evwpay^ffei or euTropiJerei, A probably wpcu0iJ<reTeu, as if from niNj; 
so 3 decor abitur. The corresponding yw N^I in next member certifies 


nw, and in turn requires p to be retained, as in all Vrss., although 
rejected by textual critics. Br., Gie. and Bu. conjecture p3 DDKI for 
pn ^3 f|N\ \Ve. suspects m concealed in pn; Houtsma and Oort 
suggest fjn. Less change is required, and a sense better parallel to the 
second member is secured if we read p 103 (old form nno) as with 
wine (Zech. 9" io 7 ) and vocalise 13 J. For the impossible i n> rd. 
Trv> (i*nv) or i>n\ The two couplets ending with nw and jne" thus 
become parallel, one making the uu insatiable in drinking and the 
other hi eating. 5. & yw> 161. <& omits conj., which is better. 


6*. Shall not they all of them take up a parable against him, its meaning a 
riddle to him, and say: 


b . Wo to him who taketh usury of what is not his; how long! 

And presseth heavily the yoke of his pledge! 
i. Shall not they arise suddenly that exact usury of thee, 

And they awake that shall oppress thee, 

And thou shalt be their prey? 
. For as thou had spoiled many nations, 

All the rest of the peoples shall spoil thee. 

[For the blood of men and the violence done to the land. 

The city and all that dwell therein.] 

6 a . RV. may be right in translating a taunting proverb instead 
of its interpretation a riddle. The meaning is not clear. As trans 
lated above it means that the Chaldeans could not believe such 
threats to be serious and dangerous. 6 b . This couplet (but not 
what follows) is put in the mouth of the oppressed nations. The 
figure is of one who oppresses with usury (literally increaseth, as in 
RV.). The oppression of this usurer is such that he requires 
usury on what he has not lent. Also in the second member & 
may be right, in which case the meaning will be, That maketh heavy 
on himself pledges; but it seems better to regard the burden of the 
yoke (for on himself) to be borne by the oppressed. 8 b . It is 
perfectly evident that this couplet is out of place and has in some 
way been inserted from 17b . 



. Wo to him that gaineth an evil gain to his house, 
To set his nest in a high place 

To escape from the hand of evil. 
1. Thou hast devised shame to thine own house; 
Thou hast cut off many peoples, 

And brought guilt on thine own self. 
11 . For the stone shall cry out of the wall, 

And the brace out of the timber shall answer it [and say] 

9-10. It is noticeable that these have three members, as in 
v. 7 . In each case the third member is essential to develop the 
thought. One might think from v. 9 that the wo was directed 
against Edom whose nest was in a high place, but v. 10 with its 
repetition of the multiplied conquests applies the malediction still 
to the Chaldeans. 11. The figure of a stone and a timber from 
the oppressor s house prophesying is a violent one, ana it does not 
come naturally from the preceding verse; and we may suspect 
that this verse, with the next malediction, is a later addition. 


. Wo to him that buildeth a city by blood, 

And foundeth a town by crime. 
M . Are not these the words of the Lord of hosts: 

And the people shall toil but for the fire, 
And the nations weary themselves for nothing. 

". For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, 
as the waters cover the sea. 

Here is a remarkable succession of quotations, definitely desig 
nated as such and depending on a previous collection of sacred 
books. We can hardly doubt that this malediction, with v. 11 
which introduces it, is the late addition of one who was not him 
self an original and authoritative prophet, but a scribe. 12. 
This passage from Mi. 3* was addressed to the oppressive Jewish 
rulers who were building Zion and Jerusalem by forced service, 
but is here applied to the Chaldean power under the figure of a 
house. 13. The first sentence in this verse is to be regarded as 
prose, to introduce a poetic quotation from Je. 5 58 . The quota- 


tion is not literal, but ad sensum, and arranged for the trimeter 
measure. In this case the quotation is apposite, as Jeremiah s 
prediction was against Babylon. 14. The quotation from Is. n 8 
is not metrical, nor has it any particular bearing on the subject, 
but is merely a pious reflection thrown in at hazard. 


18 . Wo to him that maketh his neighbour drunk from the cup of thy wrath. 

Even making them drunken, so as to look on nakedness. 
1B . [Thou art sated with shame for glory.] 

Drink thou too, and show thy uncircumcision. 

The cup of Yahweh s right hand shall come round to thee, 

And shame upon thy glory. 
17 . For the violence done to Lebanon shall cover thee, 

And the destruction of the cattle shall affright thee. 

The blood of men and the violence done to the land, 

The city and all who dwell therein. 

The irregularity of the metre in vv. 15 ~ 18 suggests that lines have 
been inflated, perhaps by the addition of the clauses from the cup 
of thy wrath, Even making them drunken and right hand. 15. 
The suffix in thy wrath disagrees with his neighbour, but the transi 
tion to 2 pers. sg. agrees with v. 16 . For a similar use of the figure 
of the shame of uncovered nakedness see Na. 3 5 . The story of 
Noah s drunkenness, and the care to keep his body covered, is 
one of many cases in OT. in which that sense of modesty is illus 
trated which Greek writers say characterised the Persians, and 
which also appears in Assyrian art, but is absent in Greek and 
Egyptian art. 16. The omission of the first clause is required, 
as it anticipates the cause of the shame in the next two members, 
and repeats the last member. Literally, be uncircumcised; a 
strong expression for show thyself uncircumcised, implying the 
double shame of personal exposure and also uncircumcision. 
17. We cannot be certain what particular invasion of an enemy 
is referred to. From the earliest times the conquerors cut the 
timber of Lebanon, killed its cattle and hunted its wild beasts, as is 
narrated by various kings both of Babylonia and Assyria. There 
is progress in the description of ravage from the ruin of the for 
ests to the slaughter of the cities. 



II. [What is the profit of a graven image, that its maker hath graven it, the 
molten image and the teacher of lies, that its framer trusted in it to make 
dumb idols.] 

>. Wo to him that saith to the wood, Awake, arouse thyself! 
To the dumb stone, It shall teach! 
Behold it is overlaid with gold and silver, 
And there is no breath at all within it. 
. But Yahweh is in his holy temple; 
Hush before him, all the earth 1 

The entire malediction probably comes from a later editor who 
wrote long after the time of the Captivity. It is general against 
idolatry and has no special pertinency as against the oppressors. 
Certainly the prosaic v. 18 must be expunged. It is crudely com 
posed, and appears to be such an outbreak as a scribe might have 
hastily jotted in the margin. 18. The expression, teacher of lies, 
applied to a molten image, seems to imply a certain residual belief 
in a real power of heathen gods. Literally, the framer of his frame 
trusteth in it, an inelegant redundancy. 19. Here <g gives us 
the true division. Both wood and stone are given as materials 
for idols, but it is the wood that is overlaid with gold or silver. 
Very small idols of gold have been found. The expressions are 
taken from Is. 44 sq. 20. The temple is represented as in full 
service. It is likely that from the last clause is drawn Zp. i 7 . 

6. JH -IDNM. <& & have pi. So We., who omits VID iy, but the vocal 
balance of the two members requires it, as roiD corresponds to IO^D, 
also V? S to V?p, and ^no ny to t^csy. 4H rSj?. < rbv K\oi6v airrov. 
Oort emends ty. 8. The last couplet in this verse is rejected by De 
Goeje, We., et al. It has been intruded from v. 17 , but is inappropriate 
here as confusing the thought of an usurer with that of slaughter. 

10. We. remarks that rmp and NCDIH must be made to correspond in 
form, for 4R. nwp <& has o-vveirtpavas, reading rnxf?. So 3 21. Ac 
cordingly wain must be corrected to nwan. 13. IK n^n. By consent of 
critics it should be pointed run, to introduce the following quotations. 
15. 4R ncDD. We. emends 109 after Zc. 12*. This makes better sense 
and a good parallelism. The n was intruded by dittog. Some Vrss. 
make D a prep., but fail to understand nee. A 


%6Xot;, ATTO x vff ^ a} * BV^JLOV <rou. Origan s E read ! 
TOV dvaTpoirrjs rrjs dpyrjs crov. The suffix of "jncn offers some difficulty, 
and is omitted by <& & A and 21. S reads tavrov. But sf. is original 
and represents rapid transition. iJS onmyD We. emends onngp after 
Na. 3 5 . This is suggested by OS s error (TTriJXcua afodv. 16. Either 
the first or last clause of this verse should be expunged, perhaps both. 
We. removes the first clause, and puts it in place of the last, chang 
ing njntt> to yivr\. It is better to retain the last clause (changing 
pSpN 3 to pSp, as ysty is hardly the word to follow DID in v. 16 and the 
words for drinking in v. 15 . For M h~\yr\ <& has Ka.1 SiacraXeiJfli/Tt, A 
Kaitidijrt. and 3 also probably read Snpm, as do many commenta 
tors; but the text of M makes better sense. 17. J0 jn>rp makes no 
sense. <g irToJjffci <re. So ^ and 21. Ew., Ols., We., Oort emend "[mm. 
& ^CID. The last couplet, to be dropped from v. 8 , seems required 
here, with omission of the prep, which the connection required in v. 
and was then intruded here. 18. This verse is not rhythmical and is 
an intruded gloss. St., We., et al., transpose w. 18 - 1B . 19. JH mj?. (6 
oi>al 6 \yu)v ry ^i/Xy eKvy^ov, t^eytpdTjTi, Kal r$ \LQ<f v\f/d)8riTi ) teal 
airrb t<rriv Qavraffla. This gives a division of the members preferable 
to that in JH, although (8 erroneously read ^nn for onn ; and ntoo 
(as it did in v. 18 ) for miv (niin in v. 18 ). (Read mij? for mj; to corre 
spond with nx pn.) By putting onn and mv in the same line we 
get a fine antithesis, and mv makes a paronomasia with nnij? in the 
previous line. 


For emendations of the text of chs. i and 2 we have had to de 
pend mainly on (g, but we have occasionally noted another small 
class of mss. For ch. 3 we fortunately have more help from this 
class of mss., chiefly 23, 62, 86 and 147 of HP. Two of these are 
among the more ancient mss., and one is an uncial. They agree 
in being based on a text quite variant from JJH and so of special 
value. Cornill says in his Ezekiel that 62, 147 are not Lucianic. 
So Vollers, ZATW., 1883, 4, p. 239, says that this group goes 
back to "sehr alte und ivertvolle Vorlagen" 

Ch. 3 is not a recounting of past triumphs, and contains only 
covert allusions to early Hebrew history. It simply considers the 
present distress, and seeks and receives a theophany of deliver 
ance. Yahweh comes in the guise of an armed warrior, with 
horses and chariot, bow and quiver, in storm and lightning, to 


overthrow the enemy. He starts from his Olympus in Mount 
Paran, moves northward to Palestine, and affrights land and sea 
with his thunder and tempest. It is to Palestine that Yahweh 
comes with help, but there is nothing by which we can decide 
what particular exigency required his aid. We are told of the 
possible or actual failure of the fruits of the earth, but whether 
by drought or by the ravages of war we are not told, but the aid 
of Yahweh implies the latter. Very likely this psalm belongs to 
the Maccabean period. 

1. The Prayer of Habakkuk the Prophet. On tlie Stringed 
Instruments. This is the title. Inasmuch as (g translates Shig- 
ionoth with the same word ??<? as it does Neginoth in v. 19 , 
we may make the correction. 

Introductory Prayer for a Theophany, V. . 

*. Yahweh, I hear the sound of thee; 
I see, Yahweh, thy work. 
In the midst of the years display it; 
In the midst of the years make it known; 
In wrath remember mercy. 

In the first part of this verse the psalmist anticipates the desired 
theophany, and in the last part prays that it may speedily develop. 
The change of I fear of HI to I see, gives a much more appropri 
ate sense as well as a perfect parallelism. He desires that the 
theophany be not long delayed, but that deliverance might come 
during the present years. 

Theophany in the Storm. Vv. -. 

8 . God cometh from Teman 

And the Holy One from Mount Paran. 

His glory covereth the heavens, 

And the earth is full of his praise. 
. Before him it is like the light; 

Rays he hath at his side, 

And he rejoiceth in the glory of his strength. 
. Before him goeth Pestilence, 

And Plague followeth behind him. 


. He standeth, and the earth trembleth; 
He looketh, and the nations melt away; 
And the mountains of old are scattered, 
The ancient hills bow down. 
. [Untranslatable, probably two lines.] 
The tents of Cushan tremble, 
The curtains of the land of Midian. 
. With the rivers art thou wroth, O Yahweh? 
[Is thy indignation against the rivers?] 
Is thine anger against the sea, 
That thou ridest upon thy horses, 
Thy chariot of salvation? 
B . Thou dost quite uncover thy bow, 
Thy quiver is filled with shafts. Selah. 
[With rivers thou cleavest the earth.] 
w. The waters see thee and they writhe; 
The clouds pour down their waters. 
The depth giveth forth his voice. 
The height lifteth his hands. 
U. The sun [is hidden in his chamber]. 
The moon standeth still in his dwelling. 
For light thine arrows go forth, 
For brightness the glittering of thy spear. 
". Thou treadest the sea with thy horses, 

The mighty waters foam up. 
l2 . In rage thou marchest over the earth, 
In wrath thou tramplest the nations. 
Thou goest forth for the salvation of thy people, 
To save thine anointed ones. 

". Thou crushest the head of the wicked. [Thou piercest with thy shafts 
the head of the oppressors; they stormed out to scatter me; their rejoicing 
was as to devour the poor secretly.] 

It is better to put this whole theophany in the present tense. 
That which the prophet has prayed for he sees now in vision as 
on the way. First Yahweh is described, then his companions 
are designated, and then follows the description of his march in 
lightning and storm. His home is in the Arabian mountains; 
his movement is recognised in thunder and rain; the lightnings 
are his arrows and spear, the thunder the rattling of his chariot 
and horses. There follows a deluge of rain, and the rivers over 
flow, and the sea dashes with foam. The storm-cloud hides the 
sun and moon, as he marches forth trampling Israel s foes. With 
his home on the mountains, his weapons of thunder, lightning, 
storm and war, he is such a god as the Syrian and Babylonian 


A dad. We now have, not a recounting of past triumphs, but only 
covert allusions to the events of Sinai and Canaan. The prophet 
simply considers the present distress, and seeks and receives a 
theophany of deliverance. 

3. The mountain home of Yahweh is based on the memory 
of Sinai. The first couplet is imitated from Dt. 33*. 4. The 
rays proceed from his side, not hand, as in RV. The older Baby 
lonian art often represented solar deities with rays proceeding 
from the body. And there is the hiding of his power, $H, is jejune 
and has to be conjecturally emended. While that here proposed 
is not assured, some such change is necessary. 5. Pestilence and 
plague are here personified as Yahweh s attendants, just as Homer 
gives to Ares the companions Fear and Terror (<l>o73o9 and 
Aet/wfc) when he goes forth to fight the Greeks. It is also in 
accordance with oriental ideas to represent pestilence or a de 
structive wind as a demon, or chimera, accompanying a god. 
Marduk was thus accompanied when he fought Tiamat. So an 
angel of pestilence appeared after David had numbered the 
people. 2 S. 22 16 - 17 . 

6-7. There is no intelligible meaning in iU, He stood and meas 
ured the earth. 0j indicates how the text must be corrected. The 
last clause of this verse with the beginning of v. 7 , is untranslatable, 
and we have not the material for reconstruction. The mss. al 
ready quoted had a Hebrew text which gave a full couplet, The 
roadways of old sJiall be changed; on his account the world shall be 
shaken. RV. has His goings were as of old, as if referring to 
Sinai. The margin has His ways are everlasting. Both are 
unsatisfactory, and 05 gives a more satisfactory translation, his 
eternal roadways, i. e., the mountains and hills. The last six 
words of v. 7 make a good couplet, leaving the first three words 
/ saw in affliction (RV.) as material for the couplet which begins 
with the last three words of v. 6 . The lands of Cushan and 
Midian first feel the terror of the theophany, as nearest to Mount 

8. Here the prophet turns from the thunder and wind which 
shook the hills to note the effect of the rain and storm on the rivers 
and sea. But he very naturally turns to view the God who ere- 


ates the commotion as he comes with horses and chariot. An ap 
parent infelicity in representing him as upon horses, and yet with 
a chariot, has led <g to translate chariot by tV-Tracr/a, while our 
special class of mss. put the chariots, dp para, in the first clause, 
and linraa-Ca in the second, which avoids the confusion of thought. 
9. It is only by a bold conjecture, following our special class 
of mss., that any intelligible meaning can be made out of this verse. 
The correction thus suggested makes a good parallelism, and the 
only difficulty is with the translation of filDD as shafts, i. e., arrows 
or javelins. Our mss., however, translate it by /3o\tSa9, unless they 
possibly read JYlXn for mtDD. The order of thought is then 
clear. The rivers and sea were affrighted as Yahweh approached 
with the thunder of his chariot and horses. They saw him with 
his bow uncovered, taken from the armoury where it was protected 
by a covering, and now ready to be drawn. From his quiver he 
takes his weapons and hurls his spear and arrows of lightning. 
They see, and the next verse tells us that they writhe in terror. 
Syrian and Hittite art frequently represents Adad-Ramman, god 
of storm, as armed with the same weapons, while the Babylonian 
art gave this western god the forked thunderbolt. The last, un 
balanced clause of this verse may be regarded as intruded. 

10. Fortunately we have in Ps. yy 17 - 20 the means for some emen 
dations of w. 10 12 - 15 . The Psalm is later, and adds a third mem 
ber after the couplets. It also has a different purpose, that of re 
calling the escape of Israel from Egypt, while Habakkuk makes 
no reference to Israelite history, but simply presents a theophany of 
judgment under the figure of a storm. The correction of moun 
tains to waters, follows the Ps. and makes a much better connec 
tion of thought with v. 8 . Equally the emendation in the second 
member of this couplet greatly strengthens the thought, for the 
passing of the tempest is no occasion for fear. 11. A couplet 
originally took the place of the single line of four beats which tells 
how the dark clouds hid the sun and moon. We must here fol 
low our class of mss. The dwelling, ^ST, has no relation to the 
rabbinic use of the word as one of the seven firmaments, but is 
used indefinitely as is tabernacle in Ps. 19*. The translation of 
the last couplet in RV. is jejune, at the light of thine arrows as they 


went. The meaning is that of Ps. 77, The lightnings enlightened 
the world. For the use of the preposition cf. Is. 6o 19 . There is 
no reference here to Joshua s miracle, but only the statement that 
the sun and moon retire behind the black clouds, and that their 
place is taken by flashes of lightning, represented as Yahweh s 

12-15. It is evident that v. 15 is out of place after vv. 12 ~ 14 . It 
belongs with vv. 10 - n , as it continues in order the series of expres 
sions found in Ps. 77 17 20 . It must therefore follow v. u . 16. 
This corresponds to Ps. 77 20 , the resemblance being much closer 
in the Hebrew than in an English translation. If placed before 
v. 8 the connection might seem better, but the parallelism with 
Ps. 77 fixes it after v. n . The trampling of the nations of v. 12 
also fitly follows the treading of th?. sea of v. 15 . 13. In a we have 
the purpose of all this theophany. Kuenen shows that the title 
of thine anointed applied to Israel is proof of a postexilic period, 
as Ps. 84 10 . But as it antedates Ps. 77 17 - 20 it does not belong to 
the later postexilic period, but might well belong to the 5th or 
4th century B.C. The sg. is probably correct, although the Jewish 
recensions of (& make anointed pi., as do the special mss. quoted. 
The latter part of the verse would require much change to make it 
intelligible, and the Vrss. give no real help. The house and the 
foundation have no pertinence, and they have no relation to the 
rock. 14. This verse is equally unintelligible, except as to the last 
clause, which is quite out of place, as it represents a personal and 
not a national calamity, in which the pious poor were the suf 
ferers. As the text stands it cannot be made metrical, and we 
have not the data for restoring it. Probably the whole is an in 


. I have heard, and my belly trembleth; 
My lips quiver at the sound. 
Rottenness entereth into my bones, 
And my steps tremble under me. 
I moan in view of the day of trouble, 
Of the coming up of the people that will assail me. 


17 . For though the fig-tree bear no fruit. 

And there be no vintage on the vines; 

Though the yield of the olive fail, 

And the fields produce no food; 

Though the flock be cut off from the fold, 

And there be no herd in the stall, 
. Yet I will exult "in Yahweh." 

I will rejoice "in the God of my salvation." 
. Yahweh, the Lord, is my strength, 

And he setteth "my feet like those of hinds 

And he maketh me" tread "on my high places." 
To the chorister on the stringed instruments. 

16. This verse requires correction to make the latter half in 
telligible. The correction of which to my steps is assured, but that 
of / moan in place of / rest is only suggested. The immediate 
effect of the theophany is not the faith and courage that might 
have been expected, but affright; and yet not fear of the terrible 
theophany, but of the approaching foe. It may be that the original 
text avoided this revulsion of fear, and anticipated rest after the 
invasion, just as the succeeding verses begin with the anticipation 
of evil, but end with trust and exultation. Cf. Dn. i2 13 . 17. The 
couplets in this verse may properly be translated as conditional, al 
though the text would allow them to describe the state of desola 
tion and famine following the invasion of an enemy. 18. This 
verse is based on Mi. 7 , but is not a close quotation. 19. This is 
taken almost directly from 2 S. 22 s4 which is identical with Ps. 
iS 34 , and indirectly from Dt. 32 13 33 29 . It denotes possession and 
rule of the land. The quotations in the two last verses, with those 
in 2 12 " 14 , indicate an authorship at a period later than the first 
standard collection of the Sacred Books. The writer was familiar 
with Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Micah, who 
is quoted twice. We have also the parallelism of 2 10> " 15 with 
Ps. 77 17 " 20 , in which we have preferred, but with reserve, to regard 
Habakkuk as the original source. The facility of quotation, es 
pecially from Micah, is an argument in favor of a common author 
ship of chs. 2 and 3. 

1. 4R nuvjty, <g /terd (5779, reading mrju as in v. 19 . 2. ift Tim*, 
which destroys both parallel and measure. Rd. TVN-I. The fear is 
not appropriate till after the theophany, and not to be expected before 


v. 16 . 4ft vi"n. <8 ftfwj/, as reading nvn. & read o"n. The parallel 
requires irvin, cf. Ps. 19 , corresponding to jnin. 3. In 4ft pnsn omit 
art. inserted by dittog. 4. n:m as if njj were fern. Rd. n -uj, the final 
n being 3 masc. sf ., as in niy, v. 4 . n-uj corresponds with WD, at his 
tide, in the next member. The f. n>nn is impersonal, Before him it 
is like light. 4ft jvan DBM. The text is corrupt, and was not understood 
by the Vrss. <& Kal e0ero dyd-irqa-iv, reading or, as do also A S. An 
important class of mss. given by HP. related to one of Origen s un 
named mss., and representing an independent version of part, at least, 
of this chapter, read ^/cet eTricmJpi/CTai 77 5i5j>a/xts 7-775 86i-ijs afrrov. The 
most probable emendation is my ptoa HCCM. For the use of pNj see 
Ez. 24" 3o 18 33 28 Mi. 5 Is. 2 - . Make o>jip pi. for M dual. 
6. 4ft -HDM (5 KaJ ^(TaXetffli? 77 777. We. suggests JUD^I, but that destroys 
the paronomasia. <& may have read "ij?Dm, but in bibl. use ~\yn is con 
fined to steps, feet or knees. Of the earth we would expect J!?ni. 4ft 
\rp). <& /ca2 SieTdKT] fdv-rj, as reading iDri^j. So also &. 7. jft 
>n^Ni ps nnn :iS. We. says: >er Vers wird uberfiilt durch 
The change of metre indicates either an insertion or corruption for 
v. 7 , probably the latter, as the sense is appropriate. According to 4ft 
rna^n means the mountain ranges which are Yahweh s roadway, but 
the word means caravans or processions, and should apply to the ter 
rified caravans of the desert. The valuable class of mss. referred to 
in v. 4 followed a very different text and verse division, reading, al &8ol 
al ^ d/3%7^5 (iAXotc;0?7VojTcu afrrov tvfKO. cretcr^rJo eTai 77 olKOV/j^vrj. 
KaTavev6rjKa rds tr^j is Al6i6TTb)v K. T. X., omitting V? and connecting 
DlD^Sn with a succeeding verb, and then adding a new parallel member. 
Possibly for pN nnn we should read pnnnn (the caravans were affrighted), 
but there is not material to make a probable reconstruction, and in 
deed it is not certain whether ^n^Nn niDiSn represents one member 
or two. The second appearance of oSip is suspicious, vSy? 8. 4ft 
JDN onrua ON, which is redundant, fo