Nahum's name means "comfort". Nahum prophesied the destruction of Assyria one hundred years after Jonah had preached to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Although the Ninevites had repented after hearing Jonah's warning from God, the generations that followed did not serve God. They were powerful, proud, arrogant, ruthless and brutal.
Assyria had defeated the Northern Kingdom of Israel and had carried its people into exile. The message of Assyria's judgment would be of comfort to the people of Judah, who were also suffering under Assyria's cruelty.
Nineveh 's wall, which was almost eight miles long and had fifteen gates, was surrounded by a moat that was 150 feet wide. However, God is more powerful than any fortified city and if He wants it to fall, it will! "The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies" (1:2).
In chapter 1 we read of the Lord's goodness to those who trust Him and of His righteous anger against Nineveh. "The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished" (1:3). "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 darkness" (1:7-8).
In verses 12-13 He comforts the people of Judah. "'Although I have afflicted you, O Judah, I will afflict you no more. Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.'"
The Lord says that Nineveh will have no descendants to bear its name (1:14). But He promises Judah, "No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed" (1:15).
In chapter 2 the Lord promises to restore the splendor of Jacob (2:2). But He states that He will destroy Assyria. "'I will burn up your chariots in smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will leave you no prey on the earth'" (2:13). Nineveh contained numerous lion sculptures.
Chapter 3 begins, "Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!" (3:1). "'I am against you,' declares the Lord Almighty" (3:5).
Nahum concludes, "Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?" (3:19).
The Babylonians, Medes and Scythians overthrew Nineveh in 612 b.c.
Fill in the blanks on the worksheet and on the "Go to the Word" sheet, and may God bless you as you study His Word.
NIV Archaeological Study Bible ( Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 15.