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The Book of Nahum

I will do the Nahum Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment, it is NOT Scripture.

NAHUM means "consolation" and "vengeance". It symbolizes the "consolation" in the book for God's people, and the "vengeance" that would come upon their enemies. In the first chapter, both consolation and vengeance are presented alternately. But as Nahum continues, vengeance on the capital of the Assyria takes over. Nahum is called "the Elkoshite" (Na. 1:1), from Elkosh, or Elkesi, a village in Galilee.

Capernaum, "village of Nahum," seems to have taken its name from Nahum having lived there, although he was born in Elkosh.

The time of his appearing in public is the key to the whole prophecy. It is certain that Nahum was a prophet in office while the kingdom of Assyria was not only standing, but while it was in its glory and power, while it was a great danger and terror to those around it.

Nahum prophesied before the destruction of Sennacherib's army, because he foretold the death of Sennacherib (Na. 1:14). He appeared after Hoshea and the ten tribes were carried captives by Shalmaneser. This was probably in the sixth year of Hezekiah (2Ki. 18:10), a few years before the death of Shalmaneser, whose son Sennacherib succeeded, and invaded Egypt and Judah in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, eight years after Samaria was taken and the ten tribes were taken captive.

Nahum is sent a prophet by God, to quiet, support and encourage Hezekiah and his subjects against all the threats and power of Assyria, who threatened to destroy Judah and Jerusalem. The prophet declared the final and utter ruin of the great Assyrian empire and its capital city Nineveh, as a just revenge for all their arrogant oppressions of their neighbors, but especially in revenge of their repeated violence against Israel and Judah.

Nahum's prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Nineveh and the rebellion of the Assyrian monarchy, and the Jews were no more plagued by the Assyrian though they were by the Babylonian kingdom.

Nahum's graphic description of Sennacherib and his army (Na. 1:9-12) seems to indicate that he was in or near Jerusalem at the time. Check out the number of Scriptures corresponding to those of Isaiah (compare Na. 1:8-9 with Isa. 8:8; 10:23; Na. 2:10 with Isa. 24:1; 21:3; Na. 1:15 with Isa. 52:7). The prophecy in Nahum 1:14 probably refers to the murder of Sennacherib twenty years after his return from Palestine (Isa. 37:38). The date of Nahum's prophecies seems to be in the former years of Hezekiah. He plainly writes while the Assyrian power was yet strong (Na. 1:12; 2:11-13; 3:15-17).

The Problem of Assyria

Assyria was a country to the north and east of Israel. For many years, it ruled most of the world. Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah lived at that time. In 722 B.C. the Assyrians destroyed Israel. Judah was a country to the south of Israel. It had two or three tribes in it: Judah, Benjamin and perhaps Simeon. Jerusalem was the capital of Judah.

The Assyrians destroyed Israel. The Assyrians took captive the people who lived in Israel away to Assyria. They did not take people away from Judah, but soon the Assyrians started to tell people in Judah what they must do. Sargon the Second and Sennacherib were kings of Assyria. They made people in Judah pay devastating taxes to Assyria. Judah's people were simply servants of Assyria.

The Assyrians were extremely cruel people. They threw away the dead bodies of soldiers. They burned the sons and daughters of their enemies. They burned their enemies’ cities. They murdered multitudes. The ground was red with blood. They put men on to sticks that had sharp points. They threw dead bodies on the mountains and into the rivers. The water in the rivers could not move because of all the dead bodies! They cut off the hands of kings, and nailed them to walls. They left their bodies for animals to eat. They did many other horrible things.

About 750 B.C. Nineveh became the capital of Assyria. It was on the east side of the River Tigris. There was a wall round it. The wall was nearly 100 kilometers long and nearly 40 meters high. It was very wide. Three horses and their chariots could drive together on it. 600,000 people lived in Nineveh. They grew food inside the walls of the city. It fed all the people. Nineveh had beautiful gardens. The gardens had rare plants and animals. Foreign slaves built it all. They built temples, palaces, libraries, etc. 1 kilometer = 0.621371192 miles . . . 1 meter = 3.2808399 feet

People thought that because Assyria was so strong, that no one could destroy it. They thought that no one would ever destroy Nineveh! In 626 B.C. one of their strongest kings died. After that, there were only weak kings. Two other countries became strong; the Scythians and the Babylonians. We do not know much about the Scythians, but the Babylonians destroyed Nineveh in 612 B.C.

The prophet Nahum predicted the destruction of Nineveh in the book that bears his name. The following was what Nahum said would happen, how that great city would be destroyed:

An "overrunning flood" would "make an utter end of its place" (Na.1:8).
Nineveh would be destroyed while her inhabitants were "drunken like drunkards" (Na.1:10).
Nineveh would be unprotected because "fire shall devour the bars of your gates" (Na.3:13).
Nineveh would never recover, for their "injury has no healing" (Na.3:19).
The downfall of Nineveh would come with remarkable ease, like ripe figs falling when the tree is shaken (Na.3:12).

Nahum was God's prophet! He spoke for God. Nineveh was destroyed, just as God, through Nahum, said it would be!

Book of Nahum

Ch1 . Ch2 . Ch3

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