By Joseph Ametepe
The book of Nahum is the last of three books in the Bible that begins with the letter N. The first two are Numbers and Nehemiah. Actually, all the books in the Bible that begin with the letter N are in the Old Testament. The three-chapter book of Nahum consists of only 47 verses in our English translations. However, in the Hebrew Old Testament, Nahum consists of only two chapters which correspond to 1:1-14 and 1:15-3:19 in English translation. Nahum's name means "comfort or consolation." He is one of the most obscure prophets of God in the Bible. We know very little of him-his name and his birthplace Elkosh. But he was a courageous prophet of God. He was deeply committed to the proclamation of the word of God without fear or favor. Nahum minces no words in his confident prophetic declaration of the doom of the godless, greedy, and guilty nation of Assyria, the world's most powerful nation of his day. Although Nahum is a little book in the Bible, it carries much weight. R.K. Harrison writes: "In this small prophecy of doom the author demonstrated in vigorous and memorable language that the God of the nation whom the Assyrians had despised was in fact the artificer and controller of all human destiny. To His justice even the greatest world power must submit in humility and shame." William Macdonald also writes: "The little prophecy of Nahum, while it is written by a Hebrew against the capital of a Gentile world power (Nineveh), is not a nationalistic treatise, but a denunciation of rampant militarism and tyranny, especially as it affects God's people. Although God uses pagans to punish His people's apostasy and sin, the tool itself is also liable to punishment." Nahum's prophecy of the doom and demise of Nineveh was fulfilled in 612 B. C. Ninenveh was destroyed and is no more-reminding us that God always fulfills His word.
The message in Nahum is crucially relevant for our times. Just as Yahweh gave time to Nineveh to repent of her wickedness through the preaching of Jonah, over one hundred years before Nahum's prophecy, so also He is giving nations today, time to turn away from their godlessness, greed, and gross immorality. However, God's patience should not be misunderstood as weakness. He will settle His accounts in full in the time of His choosing. Just as God settled His accounts in full in His judgment of Nineveh in 612 B.C., so also He will do to nations in our day who continue in the path of rebellion and disobedience at the time of His choosing. The prominent doctrines presented in Nahum include: the person of God, the power of God, the punishment of God, the patience of God, the presence of God, the protection of God, the pursuit of God, the promise of God, the people of God, the prophecy of God, the preparation of God, and the peace of God.
Although Nahum is a little book in the Old Testament, it has several significant spiritual and practical lessons for God's people today. It is therefore my prayer that the Spirit of God will empower and enable us to pay very close attention to the truths revealed in it. And that in doing so, He will draw us closer to God's heart and elevate our worship of Him, enhance our walk with Him and energize our witness of Him in such a time as this. May the Lord who controls the destiny of all nations and our individual lives bless you as you listen to the verse by verse exposition of the profound and powerful prophetic book of Nahum!
Nahum's prophecy was received between 663 B.C. and 612 B.C. during the time Assyria was the world's most dominant power. However, soon Babylon would become the dominant world power. The map below illustrates that.