Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Nahum 1:13


And now, 1  I will break Assyria’s 2  yoke bar 3  from your neck; 4  I will tear apart the shackles 5  that are on you.” 6 


Ps 107:14; Isa 9:4; Isa 10:27; Isa 14:25; Jer 2:20; Jer 5:5; Mic 5:5,6

NET © Notes

tn The particle וְעַתָּה (vÿattah, “And now”) often introduces a transition in a prophetic oracle (HALOT 902 s.v. 3.a). It often draws a contrast between a past condition (as described in v. 12) and what will happen in the immediate future (as described in v. 13; see, e.g., Gen 11:6; 2 Sam 2:6; 2 Kgs 12:8). See H. A. Brongers, “Bemerkungen zum Gebrauch des adverbialen weattah im Alten Testament,” VT 15 (1965): 289-99.

tn Heb “his”; the referent (Assyria) has been supplied from context.

tc The BHS editors propose revocalizing the MT מֹטֵהוּ (motehu, “his yoke bar”) to מַטַּהַוּ (mattahu, “his scepter”). The threat of breaking an enemy’s scepter was a common ancient Near Eastern treaty curse (see D. Hillers, Treaty-Curses and the Old Testament Prophets [BibOr], 61). This proposed revocalization has no external support. The MT is supported by the use of the parallel word pair מוֹטָה/מוֹסֵר (motah, “scepter”/moser, “bonds”) elsewhere (Jer 27:2). The term מוֹטָה is never used in parallelism with מוֹסֵר elsewhere.

sn The terms yoke bar and shackles are figures of speech (hypocatastasis) for Assyrian subjugation of Judah. The imagery of the yoke bar draws an implied comparison between the yoking of a beast of burden to the subjugation of a nation under a foreign power, i.e., vassaldom (Lev 26:13; Jer 27:2; 28:14; Ezek 30:18; 34:27). This imagery also alludes to the Assyrian use of “yoke” imagery to describe their subjugation of foreign nations to the status of vassal. When describing their subjugation of nations, Assyrian rulers frequently spoke of causing them to “pull my yoke.” Sennacherib subjugated Judah to the Assyrian “yoke” in 701 b.c. when he invaded Judah and forced Hezekiah into a position of Assyrian vassal: “I laid waste the large district of Judah and put the straps of my yoke upon Hezekiah, its king” (“Sennacherib: The Siege of Jerusalem,” lines 13-15, in ANET 288).

tn Heb “from you”; the word “neck” is supplied in the translation as a clarification for the modern reader who may be less familiar with the imagery of a yoke around the neck of farm animals or draft animals.

sn The statement I will break Assyria’s yoke bar from your neck draws an implied comparison (hypocatastasis) between breaking a plowing yoke off the neck of a farming animal and freeing a vassal from the tyranny of an oppressive suzerain through military conquest (Lev 26:13; Isa 58:6; Jer 30:8; Ezek 30:18; 34:27).

sn The phrase the shackles that are on you draws an implied comparison between the chains and stocks of prisoners or slaves with the burden of international vassaldom to a tyrannical suzerain who demands absolute obedience and requires annual tributary offerings (e.g., Ps 2:3; Isa 52:2; Jer 27:2; 30:8). “Shackles” were the agent of covenantal discipline (e.g., Deut 28:48). Isaiah stated that the Assyrian “yoke” was the Lord’s instrument of discipline (Isa 28:22). The phrase I will tear apart the shackles that are on you draws an implied comparison (hypocatastasis) between removing the iron chains from a prisoner/slave and freeing a vassal from the oppression of a tyrannical suzerain through military conquest (Ps 2:3; Isa 52:2).

tn Heb “your shackles.”

TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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