The Minor Prophets
Nahum – A Major City Disappears
Nahum wrote his prophecies in the time frame around 640 B.C. The dominant Kingdom and power in the world at that time was Assyria. The capital of Assyria was Nineveh. This was the same city that God sent the prophet Jonah to preach a message of repentance to around 760 B.C. At that time, the people there had repented, but the next generation returned to their wicked ways. In 722 B.C., Assyria conquered Samaria and the northern parts of Israel. Around 701 B.C., Assyria had taken every city in Israel and Judah except Jerusalem, which God had protected (see Isaiah 37:33-38). For many years the very violent and ruthless armies of Nineveh had threatened and exacted tribute money from Jerusalem, but now about 640 God revealed through His servant Nahum that Nineveh would soon fall and receive justice for its evil. This would have been a timely message since Jerusalem was beginning a great revival and return to the Lord in the time of Nahum.
Read Nahum 1
- In chapter 1:2-3, what are the attributes of God that will require Him to bring judgment upon Nineveh? Compare verse 2 of Nahum to the first of the Ten Commandments in Ex 20:3-5.
- What is God’s relationship to the creation (Nahum 1:4-8)? Contrast God’s relationship to believers in 1:7 with God’s relationship to unbelievers in 1:8.
- What is the prophecy of doom against Nineveh in Nahum 1:9-11, 14? What is the promise to Jerusalem in 1:12-13, 15?
- In Nahum chapter 2, we are given a prediction of the siege and assault upon Nineveh that actually happened in 612 B.C. What do the enemies of Nineveh look and sound like (Nahum 2:3)? What will be going on in the city (2:4-10)? What is God’s message to Nineveh (2:13)?
- History records that one of the largest stockpiles of gold and silver in history was taken from Nineveh in 612 B.C. What became of the massive wealth Nineveh had stolen from her victims (2:9-10)?
- The Greek historian Diodorus wrote that the impregnable wall of Nineveh was broken down by a great flood of the Tigris River. What did Nahum say in 1:8, 2:6?
- Archeological excavations at Nineveh have revealed charred wood, charcoal, and ashes. Also, the Temple shows signs of having been burned down. What did Nahum say 20-30 years before it happened (Na 2:13; 3:13, 15)?
- Nahum 3 provides us with the causes for Nineveh’s destruction. What does God say about their violence, deceit, unfaithfulness, sorcery, and idolatry (Na 3:1-7)? How does he describe the carnage of Nineveh in 3:3?
- Nineveh was confident and dependent on her natural defenses of two rivers surrounding her and a great wall to keep out the attackers; so God reminded her of the Assyrian attack of No-amon, their name for Thebes, the capital of Egypt (Nahum 3:8-10). What happened to Thebes (3:10)? What is the implication?
- Nahum 3:14-18 ridicules Nineveh’s attempt to avoid the coming judgment of God. Does it sound like God’s righteous judgment is a sure thing? Since it happened to Nineveh, can we be assured of the final judgment of God (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2Peter 3:7)?