Nahum

NAHUM

 

Prophesied approximately 663-612 BC

 

Fall of Nineveh

 

Not much is known of Nahum himself. The prophet does not date himself except by the conditions expressed in his writing, and only calls himself Nahum the Elkoshite, most likely meaning that he came from a place named Elkosh.

There is conjecture that Capernaum was named for the prophet.

The Hebrew word which gives us the name Nahum means comfort, and it is fitting for his message since the destruction of Assyria would be a comfort to Israel. The phrase from which the name Capernaum is derived means village of comfort.

There is also a place called Alqosh in what is now northern Iraq which allegedly dates to Assyrian times, which is plausible, and for which there has been claimed a connection to the prophet for many centuries.

The context of the prophecy, especially in the first chapter, places the prophet in Jerusalem.

 

Historical background of Nahum's prophecy.

Some chronologies place the beginning of the rule of Hezekiah the king of Judah as early as 729 BC. Hezekiah ruled the kingdom of Judah for twenty-nine years. Others begin his reign as late as 715 BC. 2 Kings 18:10 states that Samaria was taken in the 6th year of the rule of Hezekiah, and that is generally accepted to have happened in 722 or 721 BC. So a starting date of 727 for the beginning of Hezekiah's rule is a fair estimate, counting the years inclusively, and 715 is far too late.

In 2 Kings 18:13 we read that Sennacherib the king of Assyria took 46 fenced cities of Judah in the 14th year of Hezekiah, which counting inclusively from 727 would be 714 BC.

The Bible records the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib most fully in 2 Kings chapters 18 and 19, which end with the annihilation of Sennacherib's army by apparently supernatural means: “32 Therefore thus saith Yahweh concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith Yahweh. 34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake. 35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of Yahweh went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.”

The period before “it came to pass”, as it says in 2 Kings 18:37, was actually quite a long time, since by the popular chronologies Esarhaddon ascended to the throne around 680 BC. While the Assyrian records are not clear about the circumstances of the death of Sennacherib, they are supportive of the Biblical account. Esarhaddon left inscriptions explaining that he was the youngest of his brothers and was the appointed successor of his father, which made his brothers jealous. Thereafter Esarhaddon attained the throne in the aftermath of a civil war against his brothers, whom he said “went out of their senses, doing everything that is wicked in (the eyes of) the gods and mankind, and (continued) their evil machinations” (ANET, p. 289).

When the Assyrians under Sennacherib had decimated Judah and had threatened Jerusalem, Hezekiah became “sick unto death”, as it is described in 2 Kings chapter 20, and he entered into prayer to Yahweh the God of Israel. He was at that time visited by the prophet Isaiah, who was nearing the end of his own ministry. Then Isaiah delivered the word of Yahweh to the king, as it is recorded in that same chapter: “5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of My people, Thus saith Yahweh, the God of David your father, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears: behold, I will heal you: on the third day you shalt go up unto the house of Yahweh. 6 And I will add unto your days fifteen years; and I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake.” From the chronology of Scripture, these last 15 years of the life of Hezekiah were apparently from just after 714 to about 699 BC.

 

The destruction of the Assyrian army is reported at the end of 2 Kings chapter 19, however the illness of Hezekiah happened “in those days”, as 2 Kings chapter 20 attests, and therefore the promise of 2 Kings 20:6 certainly preceded the records of 2 Kings 19:35-37. This matter confuses all of the so-called scholars who attempt a chronology, because they all perceive the fifteen years to follow the destruction of the Assyrian army, rather than to coincide with the siege. The Bible is not written as a perfectly linear narrative. Hezekiah's illness must have occurred near the beginning or not long before the siege of Jerusalem, as Yahweh promises him that “I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake.” Jerusalem must have been under siege for a good portion of these final 15 years of the life of Hezekiah, since the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem lasted for several years.

 

The annals of Sennacherib have been preserved in several ancient inscriptions which have been discovered by archaeologists, including the Sennacherib Prism and the Taylor Prism. The king, according to the generally accepted chronologies, ruled Assyria from 704 to 681 BC. But if the generally accepted date for the rule of Sargon II and the fall of Samaria is accepted, then Sennacherib's rule must have started at least 10 years sooner, if the Scripture is correct. However it may be that Sennacherib, being the successor and son of Sargon II was considered king by the scribes of Judah before he actually took the throne, since he was crown prince and co-regent with his father. There are a multitude of problems when assessing ancient chronologies, however the archaeological records certainly attest to the historicity of the events themselves. The following translation from the Annals of Sennacherib concerns the siege of Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah (from Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, edited by James B. Pritchard and published by Princeton University Press in 1969, p. 288, translated by D. D. Luckenbill):

“As to Hezekiah, the Judahite, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) by means of well-stamped (earth-)ramps, and battering-rams brought (thus) near (to the walls) (combined with) the attack by foot soldiers, (using) mines, breeches as well as sapper work. I drove out (of them) 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, big and small cattle beyond counting, and considered (them) booty. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earthwork in order to molest those who were leaving his city's gate. His towns which I had plundered, I took away from his country and gave them (over) to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, Padi, king of Ekron, and Sillibel, king of Gaza. Thus I reduced his country, but I still increased the tribute and the katrû-presents (due) to me (as his) overlord which I imposed (later) upon him beyond the former tribute, to be delivered annually. Hezekiah himself, whom the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship had overwhelmed and whose irregular and elite troops which he had brought into Jerusalem, his royal residence, in order to strengthen (it), had deserted him, did send me, later, to Nineveh, my lordly city, together with 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones, antimony, large cuts of red stone, couches (inlaid) with ivory, nîmedu-chairs (inlaid) with ivory, elephant-hides, ebony-wood, boxwood (and) all kinds of valuable treasures, his (own) daughters, concubines, male and female musicians. In order to deliver the tribute and to do obeisance as a slave he sent his (personal) messenger.”

The Biblical account being accurate, the Annals of Sennacherib seem to be an early instance of political spin. There is no doubt that these annals were created as memorials boasting of the conquests of these kings. Therefore Sennacherib's claim to have left Hezekiah a prisoner “like a bird in a cage” is only to save face after the loss of so many thousands of his troops at the hand of Yahweh the God of Israel, and his subsequent withdrawal of the siege. The siege was clearly a defeat since it failed in its purpose to take the city and lead its people captive, recorded in the words of the Assyrian ambassador Rabshakeh in 2 Kings chapter 18. Ironically, while Sennacherib boasted that he had left Hezekiah “like a bird in a cage”. The prophet Isaiah had written (Isaiah 31:5) that “5 As birds flying, so will Yahweh of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it”, and Isaiah's words were a prophecy of the destruction of Sennacherib's army.

 

Some of the statements in Nahum's first chapter it seems that he is alluding to the events of the reign of Hezekiah, but from the third chapter of Nahum it is evident that he is not writing until after 663 BC. However since Nineveh fell around 612 BC, the prophet must be writing before that time. It is safe to place the date of Nahum's prophecy within that 50-year period.

 

Nahum is the sequel to the book of Jonah. It's theme is 'the burden of Nineveh'.

Nineveh is first mentioned in the book of Genesis as being founded by Asshur, a descendant of Shem.

In the book of Jonah we learn of it's wickedness, and reformation, as a result of the preaching of Jonah.

We now see that Nineveh's reformation was not maintained, and in the time of Nahum (some 50 years later) it's evil brought misery to the ancient world.

The Medes and the Neo-Babylonians invaded Assyria and reduced Nineveh to ashes.

So complete and utter was the ultimate destruction of Nineveh that the armies of Alexander the Great marched over the plains where it had once stood, unaware that it had ever been there.

Nahum's message was uttered when the Assyrian Empire, with it's chief city Nineveh, was at the height of it's prosperity and master of the ancient world.

The significance of this book is in it's two-fold message:

Apostasy is followed by certain judgment.

Prophecy is followed by certain fulfillment.

 

Nahum in the Hebrew is Nachum.

 

H4853  mas-saw' (burden)

From H5375; a burden; specifically tribute, or (abstractly) porterage; figuratively an utterance, chiefly a doom, especially singing; mental, desire: - burden, carry away, prophecy, X they set, song, tribute.

 

Nahum 1:1  The burden (prophetic utterance) of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

The purpose of Nahum's entire prophecy is to foretell the vengeance which Yahweh will take against the Assyrians for their destruction of Israel and Judah.

 1:2  God is jealous, and Yahweh revengeth; Yahweh revengeth, and is (a) furious (Master); Yahweh will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His (hated) enemies.

 1:3  Yahweh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: Yahweh hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.

The references to the adversaries, the enemies, and the wicked are all references to the Assyrians. One place in Isaiah where the purpose of Yahweh in reference to Assyria is summarized is in Isaiah chapter 10: “5 O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation. 6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of My wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. [So we see that Assyria is the rod by which Yahweh would punish the children of Israel. The hypocritical nation is Israel.] 7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. 8 For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? 9 Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus? 10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; 11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? [The Assyrian is too proud of himself for the task assigned him by God.] 12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when Yahweh hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. 13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: 14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. [A lesson to those of us who are successful in our endeavors is that we should always be humble in our success, and give the credit for it to God.] 15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood. [The Assyrian was only a tool in the hand of God, and therefore should not have vaunted himself against that God.] 16 Therefore shall the Sovereign, Yahweh of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. 17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; [this is one strong indication that the children of Israel would participate in the destruction of Nineveh, and there are others later in the chapter] 18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth. 19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. [Little would be left of the Assyrians.]”

 1:4  He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.   (Is 33:9)

Perhaps the Word of God is using these once-glorious places in Israel as a proverb. For Isaiah had already mentioned these same places on several occasions, and in chapter 33 of his prophecy he wrote a similar oracle naming these same places in connection with the vengeance of Yahweh: “9 The land mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits. 10 Now will I rise, saith Yahweh; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up Myself.”

 1:5  The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth (land) is burned (lifted up) at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

Mountains and hills are analogies for nations large and small.

 1:6  Who can stand before His indignation (fury)? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury (rage) is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.

 1:7  Yahweh is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust (seek refuge) in Him.

 1:8  But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His (hated) enemies.

Nahum is referring to the children of Israel who are obedient to their God, indicating that they would be looked after by Him. He is a strong hold in a day of trouble, and therefore keeping His ways one may abide His anger. On the other hand, destruction is certain to those of His enemies.

 1:9  What do you imagine against Yahweh? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.

 1:10  For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.

2Samuel 23:6  But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:

 1:11  There is one come out of you, that imagineth evil against Yahweh, a wicked counsellor.

At verse 11 the Septuagint has the future tense of the verb: “Out of you shall proceed a device against Yahweh, counselling evil things hostile to Him.”

In 2 Kings chapters 18 and 19 there is the account of the Assyrian officer who blasphemed Yahweh the God of Israel, which is representative of Assyrian pride and insolence that is illustrated here in Nahum.

From 2Kings 18:17-34

17  And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field.

18  And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.

19  And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak you now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein you trustest?

20  Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost you trust, that you rebellest against me?

21  Now, behold, you trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.

22  But if you say unto me, We trust in Yahweh our God: is not that He, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?

The people worshiped other gods in the high places, but Hezekiah put a stop to that, apparently they worshiped Yahweh in those high places instead.

23  Now therefore, I pray you, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver you two thousand horses, if you be able on your part to set riders upon them.

Basically demanding a tribute of soldiers.

24  How then wilt you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

25  Am I now come up without Yahweh against this place to destroy it? Yahweh said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

26  Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray you, to your servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the language of Judah in the ears of the people that are on the wall.

27  But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to your master, and to you, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

28  Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the language of Judah, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:

29  Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:

30  Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in Yahweh, saying, Yahweh will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

31  Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat you every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink you every one the waters of his cistern:

32  Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that you may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, Yahweh will deliver us.

33  Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

34  Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?

35  Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that Yahweh should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?

36  But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.

37  Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.

 

However the response of Hezekiah to this blasphemy of the Assyrians was humble, for he cared not for his own reproach, but that the Assyrians reproached his God, and rather than respond with his own words Hezekiah appealed to his God. This helps to clarify the account of 2 Kings chapter 20, that Hezekiah's illness and his repentance coincided with the events of Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem, rather than following it. (mainstream belief is that it follows the seige)

 

From  2Kings 19:1-7

1  And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of Yahweh.

2  And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.

3  And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.

4  It may be Yahweh your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which Yahweh your God hath heard: wherefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that are left.

5  So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

6  And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall you say to your master, Thus saith Yahweh, Be not afraid of the words which you hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.

7  Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

While this event with Rabshakeh and Hezekiah is from a somewhat earlier time than Nahum's, it nevertheless represents the pride of Assyria for which the Assyrians would be destroyed. It also seems to be the first affliction of Judah which Nahum infers in verse 9, which is also referred to in verse 12:

 1:12  Thus saith Yahweh; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.

 1:13  For now will I break his yoke from off you, and will burst your bonds in sunder.

Assyria would not take Jerusalem. Hezekiah's allegiance (faith) with Yahweh preserved them.

 1:14  And Yahweh hath given a commandment concerning you, that no more of your name be sown: out of the house of your gods will I cut off the graven image (idol) and the molten image: I will make your grave; for you art vile.

Verse 15 is chapter 2 in the Hebrew.

 1:15 (Nahum 2:1)  Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep your solemn feasts, perform your vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off.

The reference to the wicked who “shall no more pass through you” is not a reference to sinful people, although it may be prophetic of that if Judah had indeed repented and continued in the ways of Yahweh their God. But in the immediate context here it must be a reference to the Assyrians themselves, who in the opening of this prophecy were explicitly called the adversaries and enemies of Yahweh.

Nahum 2:1 (2:2)  He that dasheth in pieces is come up before your face: keep the munition, watch the way, make your loins strong, fortify your power mightily.

 2:2 (2:3)  For Yahweh hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches.

The emptiers are the Assyrians, and this is a reference to the earlier deportations of Israel. “He that dasheth in pieces is come up before your face” because the Assyrians had once again come to Jerusalem, apparently when Manasseh (Hezekiah's son) was taken captive.

 2:3 (2:4)  The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken.

 2:4 (2:5)  The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.

 2:5 (2:6)  He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared.

 2:6 (2:7)  The gates of the rivers (canals) shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved.

The following is from the Encyclopedia Britannica article on Nineveh: “From the ruins it has been established that the perimeter of the great Assyrian city wall was about 7.5 miles long and in places up to 148 feet wide; there was also a great unfinished outer rampart, protected by a moat, and the Khawṣar River flowed through the centre of the city to join the Tigris on the western side of it.” With this description, Nahum 2:6 may be better understood.

 2:7 (2:8)  And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.

 2:8 (2:9)  But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, shall they cry; but none shall look back.

The meaning seems to be that the people of Nineveh shall disappear as a pool of water is breached and cannot stay in its place.

 2:9 (2:10)  Take you the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

 2:10 (2:11)  She is empty, and void, and waste: and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and much pain is in all loins, and the faces of them all gather blackness (pa'rur- meaning unknown).

 2:11 (2:12)  Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid?

 2:12 (2:13)  The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravin (that which is torn).

 2:13 (2:14)  Behold, I am against you, saith Yahweh of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions: and I will cut off your prey from the earth (land), and the voice of your messengers shall no more be heard.

Again, from later in Isaiah chapter 10 where the destruction of Assyria was also prophesied: “24 Therefore thus saith Yahweh GOD of hosts, O My people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite you with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against you, after the manner of Egypt. 25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and Mine anger in their destruction. 26 And Yahweh of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt. 27 And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” This certainly indicates that the children of Israel would play a significant role in the destruction.

 

 

Nahum 3:1  Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;

 3:2  The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.

 3:3  The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:

 3:4  Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Isaiah 47:9,12

9  But these two things shall come to you in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon you in their perfection for the multitude of your sorceries, and for the great abundance of your enchantments.

12  Stand now with your enchantments, and with the multitude of your sorceries, wherein you hast laboured from your youth; if so be you shalt be able to profit, if so be you mayest prevail.

This is after Jonah warned Nineveh. They returned to wickedness and was going to be destroyed.

 3:5  Behold, I am against you, saith Yahweh of hosts; and I will discover your skirts upon your face, and I will shew the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame.

The Hebrew word for wellfavoured does not indicate favor which comes from God. Rather, in order to make a comparison Nahum insinuates that Nineveh is, allegorically, an attractive whore.

 3:6  And I will cast abominable filth upon you, and make you vile, and will set you as a gazingstock.

Hebrews 10:33  Partly, whilst you were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst you became companions of them that were so used.

 3:7  And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon you shall flee from you, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for you?   (Rev 18:10)

The two great mounds where the ruins of Nineveh are found continue to attest to the perfection of the Word of Yahweh.

 3:8  Art you better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

The reference to No is a reference to the city in Egypt called Amon-No, which is also known as Thebes.

 3:9  Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were your helpers.

The reference is to No (Thebes) in verse 8 and not to Nineveh, which is being addressed. Therefore the rendering of the last clause as it is found in the NAS version is more accurate: “Put and Lubim were among her helpers.” Thebes stood against Assyria with the help of these surrounding nations, yet it was nevertheless destroyed by the Assyrians, and the prophet is using its example as a warning to the Assyrians themselves.

 3:10  Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.

Here Nahum continues to refer to No, or Thebes in Egypt, as a warning to Assyria.

 3:11  You also shalt be drunken: you shalt be hid, you also shalt seek strength (refuge) because of the (hated) enemy.

Rendering the final phrase “because of an enemy” would have been better in consideration of both context and grammar, because there is no definite article in the Hebrew. The Septuagint Greek has only “because of enemies”, where Brenton added a pronoun and wrote “because of your enemies.”

 3:12  All your strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.

 3:13  Behold, your people in the midst of you are women: the gates of your land shall be set wide open unto your (hated) enemies: the fire shall devour your bars.

Durogatory statement that the powerful men were as women.

 3:14  Draw you waters for the siege, fortify your strong holds: go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln.

 3:15  There shall the fire devour you; the sword shall cut you off, it shall eat you up like the cankerworm: make yourself many as the cankerworm, make yourself many as the locusts.

 3:16  You hast multiplied your merchants above the stars of heaven (the sky): the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away.

In the prophecies of Hosea and Amos, Yahweh chastised the children of Israel for the whoredom of international trade. Nineveh is portrayed here in that same manner, as is the whore of Babylon in the Revelation, chapter 18. The stars of heaven often refer to the people of God in scripture, and Nineveh certainly multiplied her merchants above the children of Israel. Ostensibly, all of history's great empires were built for the sake of the world's merchants.

Where it says that “the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away”, it is evident that once the damage is done, those who caused it would not be found. Nineveh was not taken over. Rather it was destroyed and those who destroyed it had left for good.

 3:17  Your crowned are as the locusts, and your captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

The references to insects here present a different analogy. The mighty warriors of Assyria will flee before their enemies like grasshoppers when the time comes that Nineveh falls.

 3:18  Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: your nobles shall dwell in the dust: your people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.

 3:19  There is no healing of your bruise; your wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of you shall clap the hands over you: for upon whom hath not your wickedness passed continually?

While after the fall of Nineveh there were scatterings of Assyrian people in diverse places, there were no longer any great Assyrian peoples, and the national identity was completely destroyed.

Micah 1:9  For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of My people, even to Jerusalem.

Zephaniah 2:15  This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.

 

 

 

NAHUM – CHURCH DOCTRINE VS. SCRIPTURE

Below are 3 sources of what the modern churches preach today about the book of Nahum.

The purpose is to expose the apostasy and perversion of the scriptures, and to educate our people about the truth of our heritage. That we, the anglo-saxon race who are the descendants of ancient Israel, are the people of Abraham's seed and therefore the heirs of the promises of Yahweh. Not the Jews who distort and pervert the scriptures and teach the 'traditions of men'.

 

 

Biblehub.com

The book of Nahum is a Prophetic Oracle. The prophet Nahum wrote it approximately 663-612 B.C. just before the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. He was raised up to preach God’s judgment for a second time to Nineveh. Jonah was the first about 120 years earlier.

Its purpose is to pronounce the final warning and judgment upon Nineveh, and he also addresses the rest of the Assyrian empire. They returned to wickedness shortly after they repented back in Jonah’s day. They would neglect Nahum and his message.

Within fifty years, Nineveh would be completely decimated and utterly wiped from the face of the Earth.

•    In chapter 1, Nahum warns of Judgment, and describes the awesome power of God, “Mountains quake because of Him and the hills dissolve; indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world and all the inhabitants in it” (1:5). He then goes on to encourage a hope for the Southern Kingdom because of the coming judgment of Nineveh. “Thus says the LORD, "Though they are at full strength and likewise many, Even so, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer” (1:12).

•    Chapter 2-3, Nahum predicts the annihilation of Nineveh, “And it will come about that all who see you will shrink from you and say, 'Nineveh is devastated! Who will grieve for her?' Where will I seek comforters for you?” (3:7). It was damaged so severely that it was lost in time. It wouldn’t be until the 19th century that the remains of Nineveh would be identified.

 

 

Biblestudytools.com

Summary of the Book of Nahum

Author

The book contains the "vision of Nahum" (1:1), whose name means "comfort" and is related to the name Nehemiah, meaning "The Lord comforts" or "comfort of the Lord." (Nineveh's fall, which is Nahum's theme, would bring comfort to Judah.) Nothing is known about him except his hometown (Elkosh), and even its general location is uncertain.

Date

In 3:8-10 the author speaks of the fall of Thebes, which happened in 663 b.c., as already past. In all three chapters Nahum prophesied Nineveh's fall, which was fulfilled in 612. Nahum therefore uttered this oracle between 663 and 612, perhaps near the end of this period since he represents the fall of Nineveh as imminent (2:1; 3:14,19). This would place him during the reign of Josiah and make him a contemporary of Zephaniah and the young Jeremiah.

Background

Assyria (represented by Nineveh, 1:1) had already destroyed Samaria (722-721 b.c.), resulting in the captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel, and posed a present threat to Judah. The Assyrians were brutally cruel, their kings often being depicted as gloating over the gruesome punishments inflicted on conquered peoples. They conducted their wars with shocking ferocity, uprooted whole populations as state policy and deported them to other parts of their empire. The leaders of conquered cities were tortured and horribly mutilated before being executed (see note on 3:3). No wonder the dread of Assyria fell on all her neighbors!

About 700 b.c. King Sennacherib made Nineveh the capital of the Assyrian empire, and it remained the capital until it was destroyed in 612. Jonah had announced its destruction earlier (Jnh 3:4), but the people put on at least a show of repentance and the destruction was temporarily averted (see Jnh 3:10 ). Not long after that, however, Nineveh reverted to its extreme wickedness, cruelty and pride. The brutality reached its peak under Ashurbanipal (669-627), the last great ruler of the Assyrian empire. After his death, Assyria's influence and power waned rapidly until 612, when Nineveh was overthrown (see notes on 1:14; 2:1). (Further historical information is given in notes throughout the book.)

Recipients

Some words are addressed to Judah (1:12-13,15), but most are addressed to Nineveh (1:11,14; 2:1,13; 3:5-17,19) or its king (3:18). The book, however, was meant for Israelite readers living in Judah.

Theological Themes

The focal point of the entire book is the Lord's judgment on Nineveh for her oppression, cruelty, idolatry and wickedness. The book ends with the destruction of the city.

According to Ro 11:22, God is not only kind but also stern. In Nahum, God is not only "slow to anger" (1:3) and "a refuge . . . for those who trust in him" (1:7), but also one who "will not leave the guilty unpunished" (1:3). God's righteous and just kingdom will ultimately triumph, for kingdoms built on wickedness and tyranny must eventually fall, as Assyria did.

In addition, Nahum declares the universal sovereignty of God. God is Lord of history and of all nations; as such, he controls their destinies.

 

 

Insight.org

Who wrote the book?

The only mention in Scripture of Nahum the Elkoshite occurs in the first verse of his own book. While scholars have proposed a number of theories about Nahum’s hometown, Elkosh, the best option identifies it with a city in southern Judah that later came to be known as Elcesi, near where the prophet Micah lived. Nahum’s prophecy against the city of Nineveh would have been significant for the people of Judah, who would have needed encouragement in the face of the terrifying power of the Assyrian Empire.

Where are we?

The book of Nahum mentions the recent fall of No-amon, or Thebes, which occurred in 663 BC (Nahum 3:8), as well as the coming destruction of Nineveh, which happened in 612 BC (1:1; 3:11–15). But when, during this more than fifty-year period, did Nahum preach? The Assyrian Empire, which had its capital at Nineveh, was at its most powerful in the first half of this period, having a stranglehold on Judah during King Manesseh’s reign (2 Chronicles 33:10–13). Also, while the book of Nahum mentions the destruction of Thebes, it does not mention its reconstruction, which took place in 654 BC. This leads us to date Nahum’s prophecy between the years of 663 and 654 BC.

Nahum preached during the reign of King Manesseh, one of the most evil kings in Judah’s long history, a man who needed the pain of his own experience to teach him the lessons of being a good king. Commentator J. Barton Payne suggests that Manasseh’s great conversion took place late in his reign, around 648 BC, a mere half-dozen years before his death.¹ That means Nahum preached during the darkest period in Judah’s history to that point, a time filled with idolatry of all kinds in a nation that had completely turned its back on God. The Lord’s willingness to send Nahum, whose name means “comfort,” into such a hopeless situation evidences His unrelenting and overwhelming grace.²

Why is Nahum so important?

Nahum’s singular focus on the impending judgment of Nineveh offers a continuation of the story that began in Jonah. Sometime around 760 BC, God sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach repentance and hope to the Assyrian people, a message they heard and adopted—at least for a time. One hundred years later, during the time of Nahum, the Assyrians had returned to their bullish ways, conquering the northern kingdom of Israel and lording their power over Judah in the south (2 Kings 17:1–6; 18:13–19:37). Jonah failed to realize what Nahum reminded the people of Judah: God’s justice is always right and always sure. Should He choose to grant mercy for a time, that good gift will not compromise the Lord’s ultimate sense of justice for all in the end.

What's the big idea?

After allowing approximately two hundred years of powerful Assyrian kings and rulers, God announced through Nahum His plans to judge the city of Nineveh. While the book as a whole clearly shows God’s concern over sin, His willingness to punish those guilty of wickedness, and His power to carry out His desire for judgment, it also contains rays of hope shining through the darkness. Most significant, the people of Judah would have immediately taken hope in the idea that Nineveh, their primary oppressor for generations, would soon come under judgment from God. Also, a small but faithful remnant in an increasingly idolatrous Judah would have been comforted by declarations of God’s slowness to anger (Nahum 1:3), His goodness and strength (1:7), and His restorative power (2:2).

How do I apply this?

No doubt we all have felt overwhelmed by the darkness both within ourselves and in our world. Nahum lived in a dark time, a time in which the faithful few must have wondered how long they would have to resist cultural and spiritual compromise.

Have you ever found your will to do what’s right weakening as you became discouraged with what you saw in your life and in the world around you? The prophet Nahum reminds us of God’s active hand, working even in the darkest of times to bring justice and hope throughout the world.

 

One lesson to learn from Nineveh, which was 'saved' once before, but destroyed, is that the “church” doctrine of “once saved, always saved” is not scriptural.