Scripture reading – Nahum 1

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Continuing our chronological study of the Scriptures, we come to the Book of Nahum. Only three chapters in length, it is a book easily overlooked, yet it is a remarkable prophetic book. The superscription to the book identified both the subject and the author: “The burden [judgment] of Nineveh. The book of the vision [prophecy] of Nahum the Elkoshite [Nahum was a citizen of Elkosh] (Nahum 1:1).

Nahum is considered a minor prophet, indicating the book that bears his name is brief but no less inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). While little is known of the man, much is known concerning the subject of his prophecy: Nineveh, the ancient capital city of the Assyrian empire (Nahum 1:1). Understanding the prophetic subject of the book was the destruction of Nineveh (Nahum 1:1), we can place the date of Nahum’s ministry in the 7th century B.C.

If you have followed, you might remember that the LORD sent the prophet Jonah to Nineveh nearly a century before Nahum (Jonah 1:2). Jonah, a reluctant prophet, understood not only the wickedness of Nineveh but the threat Assyria posed to Israel and Judah. He longed to see Nineveh judged and destroyed by God. Yet, in grace and mercy, the LORD spared Nineveh when its king and people repented of their sins (Jonah 3:4-10).

A century later, Nineveh would not be spared God’s judgment. Nahum’s calling was to declare the imminent destruction of Nineveh and the overthrow of the Assyrian empire by a coalition of the Medes and Babylon.

The Nature and Sovereignty of God

The Nature and Sovereignty of God (Nahum 1:2-8)


Preaching with the authority of a man whose confidence was in the LORD, Nahum proclaimed God’s divine nature: “God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; The Lord revengeth, and is furious; The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, And he reserveth wrath for his enemies” (Nahum 1:2).

3The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power [Almighty], And will not at all acquit the wicked [Just]: The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm [symbols of judgment], And the clouds are the dust of his feet. [He walks and rides upon the clouds; Psalm 68:4; Isaiah 19:1] 4He [rules] rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, And drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, And the flower of Lebanon languisheth [Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon were known for their fertile soils]. 5The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, And the earth is burned at his presence, Yea, the world, and all that dwell therein” (Nahum 1:3-5).


The LORD is Just and Good (Nahum 1:6-7)

No man “can stand before [God’s] indignation [fury; anger]” (Nahum 1:6). “The Lord is good [altogether good; right], a strong hold [fortress; place of safety] in the day of trouble; and he knoweth [cares and understands] them that trust in him” (Nahum 1:7). Having proclaimed the LORD’s benevolent and just nature, Nahum turned his focus to the subject of his prophecy—Nineveh.


Prophecy of Nineveh’s Destruction (Nahum 1:8-11)

Nahum declared Nineveh’s destruction would come like “an overrunning flood” (Nahum 1:8). History confirms Nahum’s prophecy was fulfilled literally and figuratively. Sitting upon the banks of the Tigris River, Nineveh was destroyed when the river overflowed its banks. The walls and foundations of the city were eroded, and Babylon’s army flowed into the city like a flood and leveled it.

As prophesied, it was the “utter end” of Nineveh, for the city was never rebuilt (Nahum 1:8-9). The LORD had not forgotten King Sennacherib’s ill-treatment of Israel and Assyria’s attack on Jerusalem. He remembered the slanders and curses of the king and how he “imagineth evil against the LORD” (Nahum 1:11). Therefore, the leaders of Assyria would be “devoured [i.e., by fire] as stubble fully dry” (Nahum 1:10).

Prophecy of Nineveh’s Destruction

Prophecy Concerning Judah (Nahum 1:12-13)

The LORD had used Assyria to afflict Israel and Judah for their disobedience. Yet, Nahum prophesied that the nation would “be cut down” (Nahum 1:12) and would no longer afflict God’s people. The LORD declared, “For now will I break his [Assyria’s] yoke from off thee [Judah], And will burst thy bonds [chains] in sunder” (Nahum 1:13). 

By God’s command, Assyria was to be destroyed (Nahum 1:14). There would be no heirs to revive the nation, and their idols would not be spared.


Closing thoughts –  

The first chapter of Nahum concluded with a promise that a day would come when Judah would suddenly receive “good tidings, that publisheth peace!” (Nahum 1:15a). Judah would be at peace. Assyria would be no more (Nahum 1:15b). Once again, God’s people would enjoy their feast days and worship the LORD. “The wicked [would] no more pass through thee; He [Assyria] is utterly cut off” (Nahum 1:15c). 

More than 2700 years later, the ruins of Nineveh are a testament to the judgment of the LORD. A modern survey of the boundaries of ancient Nineveh reveals the vastness of that fallen city. It is believed to have been some 30 miles long and 10 miles deep. Its remains serve as a ghostly reminder:

No nation or people are too big to fail.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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