Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire, is the subject of the book of Nahum. The news of its coming destruction was a relief for Judah, who was subject to Assyrian domination. No longer would Judah be forced to pay tribute as insurance against invasions. Judah was comforted to know that God was still in control. Nineveh is an example to all rulers and nations in the world today. God is sovereign over even those who are seemingly invincible. We can be confident that God’s power and justice will one day conquer all evil.
Writer of Nahum
This book was written by a prophet known as “Nahum the Elkoshite.” This brief identification tells us all we know about this spokesperson for the Lord. Even the location of his home, Elkosh, is uncertain.
Sometime during Nahum’s prophetic ministry (probably between 663 and 612 B. C.). The book probably was written about 612 B. C. shortly before Nineveh fell.
Historical Setting of Nahum
For more than 100 years before Nahum’s day, Assyria had been one of the dominant powers of the ancient world. The northern kingdom of Israel fell to Assyrian forces in 722 B. C. Some prophets taught that this pagan nation was used as an instrument of God’s judgment against His wayward people. But now it was Assyria’s turn to feel the forces of God’s wrath. The armies of Nabopolassar of Babylon stormed Nineveh in 612 B. C. The entire Assyrian Empire crumbled three years later under the relentless assault of this aggressive Babylonian ruler.
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This book of Nahum teaches the sure judgment of God against those who oppose His will and abuse His people. Although God sometimes uses a pagan nation as an instrument of His judgment, He will also judge that nation by His standards of righteousness and holiness.
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