Whilst Jeremiah and Zephaniah were preaching judgment against Judah, the prophet Nahum was preaching judgment against Nineveh who were one of Judah’s enemies.
The northern kingdom of Israel was already in Assyrian captivity and Assyria itself was still a world-dominating power. And so, Nahum preaches a very straightforward message which is, ‘the fall of Nineveh’.
Most commentators date his message to around 630-612 B.C, this is because in Nahum 3:8 he mentions Thebes which is in Egypt, and we know that Thebes was destroyed around 663 B.C. by Ashurbanipal.
You will notice that when Nahum speaks about Thebes, he writes about it in the past tense. In other words, it’s already been destroyed and so, he uses their example as a warning for the Assyrians.
We also know that Nineveh itself was destroyed in 612 B.C. and you will notice that Nahum writes about it in the future tense.
The name Nahum, means, ‘God consoles,’ or ‘comforter’ which in a sense is very appropriate, yes it was bad news for Assyria but his message was intended to bring comfort to all those who were oppressed and afflicted by them, the people of Judah.
We also know that he was a prophet from Elkosh, which is situated in Galilee, we know that he died at the age of forty-five and was buried in his native land. Other than that information, we know nothing else about the Nahum.
Back in Genesis 10:12-22 tells us about Assyria but during the time of writing, the Assyrians had become the world power of the day. Historians tell us that they were the cruellest and brutal, nation around at the time.
There have been many inscriptions found, that boast about a lot of kings who filled lands with the bodies of dead people and how they killed so many soldiers. In these inscriptions, you can clearly see that they tossed their enemies aside like lumps of clay. They had pyramids which were made from human heads.
The kings cut off people’s hands and nailed them to the wall, fed dead bodies to the wild dogs, and used human flesh to cover their walls. Historians tell us that Ashurbanipal enjoyed ripping off people’s lips. G. L. Robinson. The Minor Prophets.
As with most world powers, they got to the stage where they thought they were invincible, especially the capital city of Nineveh. The city was surrounded on three sides by water and was built on top of the Tigris River waterway.
The walls were 7 ½ miles in circumference and were thick enough for three chariots to go along side by side. It was professor Layard in 1845 who discovered the ancient ruins of Nineveh, now Iran.
We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that God actually cared for the Assyrians, God actually used the Assyrians to correct His own people, Isaiah 10:15. At one time they actually repented of their ways, Jonah 3, and slowly but surely, they had fallen back to their old ways.
The book itself is written like a poem or psalm and when we read through it, we see a great battleground between Assyria and God.
The message in the book is for and all about Assyria.
Nahum 1 speaks of God’s majesty.
Nahum 2 speaks of the city falling.
Nahum 3 speaks of the cause of its fall.
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