Nahum, Obscure Prophet

Bible References: Book of Nahum, 3 chapters

Heart of Story: Nahum’s theme is the fall of Nineveh, chief city of the Assyrian Empire. Some words are addressed to Judah; but, most are addressed to Nineveh. The book was meant to give comfort to Israelite readers living in Judah.

Back Story: The book contains the “vision of Nahum.” Nahum’s name means “comfort.” Nahum’s home was Elkosh, a city in southern Judah near where the prophet Micah lived.

Most of us know about the prophet Jonah who went to Nineveh in an effort to get the city to repent. The Nineveh’s did so for a short time; however, after about 50 years they reverted to their harsh ways. It was Assyria who captured and expelled the 10 northern Israelite tribes. Most likely Nahum’s prophesied between 663 – 654 BC, after the Northern Kingdom was destroyed and while Assyria threatened Jerusalem and Judah.

Story Line: Nahum preached during the reign of King Manasseh, one of Judah’s evilest kings. This was the darkest period in Judah’s history. Judah and Jerusalem were filled with idolatry and completely turned their back on God.

Nahum shows God’s concern over sin, His willingness to punish those guilty of wickedness, and His power to carry out His desire for judgment.

At the same time Nahum offered hope to Judah. The small but faithful remnant in an idolatrous Judah were comforted by Nahum’s words that God is slow to anger, His goodness and strength are timeless, and His restorative power is endless. The people of Judah would have hope that Nineveh, their primary oppressor for generations, would soon come under judgment from God.

Nahum’s tomb

Pondering Relationships: In Nahum, God is not only slow to anger and a refuge . . . for those who trust in him; but also a God who will not leave the guilty unpunished. God’s righteous and just kingdom will ultimately triumph. 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 Lord’s willingness to send Nahum into such a hopeless situation as King Manasseh’s reign evidences His overwhelming grace.

Reflection: In his commentary on Nahum, Chuck Swindoll tells readers how to apply words of Nahum’s vision.  Here are Swindoll’s words:  “No doubt we all have felt overwhelmed by the darkness both within ourselves and in our world. Have you ever found your will to do what’s right weakening as you became discouraged with what you saw in your life and in the world around you? The prophet Nahum reminds us of God’s active hand, working even in the darkest of times to bring justice and hope throughout the world” (

Copyright May 20, 2019; Carolyn A. Roth

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