Survey of Nahum

Book Type: The seventh book of the Minor Prophets; the thirty-fourth book of the Old Testament; the thirty-fourth book of the Bible.

Author: Nahum, as noted in Nahum 1:1.

Audience: Unlike most of the Minor Prophets, who wrote to people living in Judah and Israel, Nahum was written to the Gentiles of Nineveh. This is the same people to whom God sent the prophet Jonah. This message comes approximately a century after Jonah's message, with a much different situation for the people of the city. Their repentance did not last long, as they are now condemned for their sinful ways.

Date: Between approximately 663 and 612 BC.

Overview: Nahum consists of just three chapters, with each chapter emphasizing a particular theme regarding Nineveh. In chapter 1, Nineveh's destruction is initially declared. God emphasizes His great power, showing Himself far superior to other gods (Nahum 1:2–11). He then outlines His punishment for the people of Nineveh due to their sin (Nahum 1:12–15).

Chapter 2 details the upcoming destruction of Nineveh. The city will come under attack from an army with shields and chariots (Nahum 2:3). The enemies will enter the city gates with their chariots and defeat the city, plundering the silver and gold (Nahum 2:9). The chariots of Nineveh will burn and their people will be destroyed (Nahum 2:13).

Chapter 3 provides detail on various aspects of Nineveh's sin, and its destruction. It is a bloody city, full of violence and prostitution (Nahum 3:1–4). The Lord will bring shame upon them (Nahum 3:5–7). Their people will become exiles, captives, with children and men dying (Nahum 3:10). Fire would destroy them in their places of safety (Nahum 3:15).

Unlike the positive results of Jonah's message, this chapter ends with only the negative aspects associated with God's judgment. Nineveh would certainly be destroyed, a prediction historically fulfilled shortly after this prophecy in 612 BC. The remains of the city would not be rediscovered until the nineteenth century.

Key Verses (ESV):

Nahum 1:7: "The LORD is good, \ a stronghold in the day of trouble; \ he knows those who take refuge in him."

Nahum 1:14: "The LORD has given commandment about you: \ 'No more shall your name be perpetuated; \ from the house of your gods I will cut off \ the carved image and the metal image. \ I will make your grave, \ for you are vile.'"

Nahum 1:15: "Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him \ who brings good news, \ who publishes peace! \ Keep your feasts, O Judah; \ fulfill your vows, \ for never again shall the worthless pass through you; \ he is utterly cut off."

Nahum 2:13: "Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard."

Nahum 3:19: "There is no easing your hurt; \ your wound is grievous. \ All who hear the news about you \ clap their hands over you. \ For upon whom has not come \ your unceasing evil?"