The Hebrew name “Nahum” means “comfort” or “consolation.” The theme of the prophecy is the fate and destruction of Nineveh, the one-time capital city of the mighty Assyrian empire, which had destroyed Israel and taken many inhabitants of the land captive. The message was proclaimed to Judah (Nahum 1:15) and not to the 10 tribes of Israel who were already in captivity. Nahum’s announcement was a “comfort” and a “consolation” to the inhabitants of Judah, as it predicted the down fall of Assyria a savage and cruel enemy of Israel and Judah.
The book of Jonah records Nineveh’s absolution, Nahum predicts its destruction. Assyriah was the adversary of Israel and Judah. It was used by God to punish the inhabitants of Israel who had turned to idol worship and other evil practices. Nahum shows that despite the unjust and lawless nature of a nation, God is slow to anger (1:3), but He will not always delay His intervention and punishment. God had judged Israel and Judah for their appalling wickedness, and now He was to judge the Assyrians. Assyria had reached the height of its power, and its downfall probably appeared impossible to many.
Nineveh, at the time Nahum predicted its downfall, was at the heart of a gigantic, powerful empire – the commercial center of the world. However, its wealth was not the result of trade alone, but also came through the practice of deceit and the ravaging of neighboring nations. As Nahum writes: “Woe to the bloody city it is all full of lies and robbery” (3:1). Nineveh’s revolting methods are compared to a pride of ravaging lions tearing apart their prey. As Nahum puts it, Nineveh was a lion who “filled his caves with prey, and his dens with flesh” (2:12). God made it clear that this was certainly not the way nations should gather wealth!
Within the space of about 20 years of Nahum’s prophecy, an army of Babylonians and Medes closed in on the city and ambush it. The prediction was that a sudden rise in the level of the Tigres River would cause a breach in the walls (2:6), and that the invading armies would sweep into the city, stealing and destroying it. Nahum, in vivid detail, describes the battle scenes and pursuing destruction (2:1-4; 3:1-7). Heaps of human bodies would be piled up in the streets (3:3), including children dashed to pieces (3:10). Survivors would be lead away into captivity (verse 10). This all came to pass exactly as Nahum had predicted.
Nahum further predicts that the city would not rise again to prominence (3:19), and apparently that it would be difficult to locate (3:11). Yes indeed, for many years the existence of Nineveh was uncertain, even regarded as a myth. Yet all along the city lay buried under layers of earth until the 1800s when archaeologists uncovered the ruins. Today archaeologists are able to confirm with certainty that Nineveh existed, proving the authenticity of the city Jonah and Nahum were told to prophesy against.
Most people are interested in the future. People in general want to know whether world leaders will find peace or if our modern weapons of mass destruction will wipe all life from the earth. Jesus Christ predicted that humanity would self-destruct in He did not intervene in the affairs of mankind (Matthew 24:22). Can we really be confident that the UN (United Nations) or some other power will have the capability to bring about world peace and prosperity? The Bible states that humanity does not know the way to peace and that without God’s help we can not succeed (Isaiah 59:8-10). Yet the Bible is a book of hope for the future when the “Prince of Peace” will achieve lasting peace among all peoples and nations (Isaiah 9: 6-7). Nahum also predicted a time of peace beyond this troubled world.
Here are a couple of scriptures in Nahum that refer to the end of time events:
12 Thus says the Lord, ‘Though they are at full strength and many, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.
This refers to a time when God says His people will no longer be afflicted, and enemies will not be allowed to pass through their land
Nahum 1: 15
15 Look! On the mountains the feet of one who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, fulfill your vows, for never again shall the wicked invade you; they are utterly cut off.
This verse is similar to Isaiah 52:7, which in context is pointing forward to the time when the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth.
Humanity does not fully understand God’s over whelming desire for all people to experience a glorious happiness, and hope for a prosperous, stable future. The Bible outlines a plan to bring about a time when mankind will want to live the way that leads to peace, happiness, abundance and joyful well-being.
Short outline on Nahum
A. God’s judgment on Nineveh – chapter 1
1. God’s authority and power – 1-7
2. Judgment pronounced – 8-15
B. Siege and capture of Nineveh – chapter 2
1. Siege and capture described – 1-8
2. The city plundered – 9-13
C. Utter ruin of the city – chapter 3
1. Her cruelty, harlotry and witchcraft (demonic worship) – 1-7
2. Perpetual desolation predicted – 8-19.
May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You