Reading 0,07 - 3 Chapters - 47 verses - 1,285 words



Vital Statistics

 Purpose: To pronounce God's judgment on Assyria and to comfort Judah with this truth  
 Author:  Nahum
 Original audience:  The people of Nineveh and of Judah (the southern kingdom)
 Date written:  Sometime during Nahum's prophetic ministry (probably between 663 and 612 B.C.) 
 Setting:  This particular prophecy took place  after the fall of Thebes in 663 B.C. (3:8-10)
 Key verses:  The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness. Whatever they plot against the Lord he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time. (1:7-9)
 Key place:  Nineveh 


 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.


 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.


 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 repented and the destruction was temporarily averted. Not long after that, however, Nineveh reverted to its extreme wickedness, brutality 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.)


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

Literary Style

 The contents are primarily judicial (judgment oracles), with appropriate descriptions and vocabulary, as well as intense moods, sights and sounds. The language is poetic, with frequent use of metaphors and similes, vivid word pictures, repetition and many short--often staccato--phrases (see, e.g., 3:2-3). Rhetorical questions punctuate the flow of thought, which has a marked stress on moral indignation toward injustice.

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.

The Rulers and Prophets of Nahum's Time 



Kings of Assyria


669  Ashurbanipal  633








           Fall of Nineveh    

Kings of Babylon



626    605


605                                            562


Kings of Judah(Southern Kingdom)

697           Manasseh           642

 640    Josiah     609


609   597

Zedekiah    597  586



642 640

   Jehoahaz 3 months 
        Jehoiachin 3 months 

Book of the law discovered in 622 B.C.


Judah taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar


Nahum and His Contemporary Prophets   (Southern Kingdom)


650       NAHUM         620


593       Ezekiel        559


605             Daniel           536


627                   Jeremiah                  574


636 Zephaniah 623


621  Habakkuk   609




Nahum Interpretive Challenges

Apart from the uncertain identity of Elkosh, the prophecy presents no real interpretive difficulties. The book is a straightforward prophetic announcement of judgment against Assyria and her capital Nineveh for cruel atrocities and idolatrous practices.  

Nahum Horizontal

1:1 Vision of Nahum

1:3b - Mountains quake before him




1:6 - His indignation

Majesty of the

Of Wrath


1:12 - Afflict you no more




1:14 - Make your grave



1:15 - Keep your feasts Judah

2:1 - Shatterer has come

2:2 - Restoring majesty of Jacob

Siege and fall


2:3 - Chariots flash like flame

of Nineveh

Of Nineveh

2:10 - Desolation and ruin!



2:13 - I am against you

3:1 - Woe to bloody city


3:5 - Make you a gazingstock


3:8 - You better than Thebes?


From Pride


3:10 - You will seek refuge


To Shame

3:14- The fire devour you

Of Nineveh


3:15b - Multiply like the grasshoppers



3:18 - No assuaging your hurt


I. Title (1:1)

II. Nineveh Judge (1:2-15)

A. The Lord’s Kindness and Sternness (1:2-8)

B. Nineveh’s Overthrow and Judah’s Joy (1:9-15)

III. Nineveh’s Judgment (ch.2)

A. Nineveh Besieged (2:1-10)

B. Nineveh’s Desolation COntrasted with Her Former Glory (2:11-13)

IV. Nineveh’s Total Destruction (ch.3)

A. Nineveh's Sins (3:1-4)

B. Nineveh’s Doom (3:5-19)

God's character in Nehum

  1. God is good - 1:7
  2. God is jealous - 1:2
  3. God is powerful - 1:3
  4. GOd is provident - 1:4
  5. God is sovereign - 1:2-5
  6. God is wrathful - 1:2, 3, 6

Christ in Nahum

    Nahum's portrayal of God's attributes also describes the person of Christ in His future coming. Christ first came to earth as the promised Messiah drawing the faithful unto Himself. Nahum depicts God's protection of the faithful revealing, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble" (1:7). However, the second coming of Christ will bring judgment as Christ takes "vengeance on His adversaries" (1:2)