I will discover thy skirts upon thy face - It was an ancient, though not a laudable custom, to strip prostitutes naked, or throw their clothes over their heads, and expose them to public view, and public execration. This verse alludes to such a custom.
Behold I am against thee, saith the Lord of Hosts - Jerome: “I will not send an Angel, nor give thy destruction to others; I Myself will come to destroy thee.” Cyril: “She has not to do with man, or war with man: He who is angered with her is the Lord of hosts. But who would meet God Almighty, who hath power over all, if He would war against him?” In the Medes and Persians it was God who was against them. “Behold I am against thee,” literally, “toward thee.” It is a new thing which God was about to do. “Behold!” God in His long-suffering had seemed to overlook her. Now, He says, I am toward thee, looking at her with His all-searching eye, as her Judge. Violence is punished by suffering; deeds of shame by shame. All sin is a whited sepulchre, fair without, foul within. God will strip off the outward fairness, and lay bare the inward foulness. The deepest shame is to lay bare, what the sinner or the world veiled within. “I will discover thy skirts,” i. e., the long-flowing robes which were part of her pomp and dignity, but which were only the veil of her misdeeds. “Through the greatness of thine iniquity have thy skirts been discovered,” says Jeremiah in answer to the heart‘s question, “why have these things come upon me?” Upon thy face, where shame is felt. The conscience of thy foulness shall be laid bare before thy face, thy eyes, thy memory continually, so that thou shalt be forced to read therein, whatsoever thou hast done, said, thought. “I will show the nations thy nakedness,” that all may despise, avoid, take example by thee, and praise God for His righteous judgments upon thee. The Evangelist heard “much people in heaven saying Alleluia” to God that “He hath judged the whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornication” Revelation 19:1-2. And Isaiah saith, “They shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that hath trangsressed against Me” Isaiah 66:24.
“The Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.... Under his shadow dwelt all great nations. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.... All the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.” Ezekiel 31:3-9. PK 363.1
But the rulers of Assyria, instead of using their unusual blessings for the benefit of mankind, became the scourge of many lands. Merciless, with no thought of God or their fellow men, they pursued the fixed policy of causing all nations to acknowledge the supremacy of the gods of Nineveh, whom they exalted above the Most High. God had sent Jonah to them with a message of warning, and for a season they humbled themselves before the Lord of hosts and sought forgiveness. But soon they turned again to idol worship and to the conquest of the world. PK 363.2
The prophet Nahum, in his arraignment of the evildoers in Nineveh, exclaimed: PK 363.3Read in context »