Nahum Overview + 1

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Editor's Note

We’re also going to take a brief pause from our summer books (1 & 2 Chronicles) to read from some of the minor prophets that are either directly mentioned in 1 & 2 Chronicles or that lived and prophesied within the time frames of those books. 

These short prophetical books help us understand what God’s people would have been hearing (and feeling) as they lived through some tumultuous times and help add color to the historical books we’re reading over the next couple of months! 

Nahum Overview

There are 17 prophetic books in the Old Testament—five major prophets and twelve minor prophets. These twelve minor prophet books are no less important than the major prophets (like Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.), they are merely shorter and their scope is more focused. Nahum is one of those short, more focused books. 

Scholars place Nahum’s prophecy between 663 and 654 B.C. Nahum was a prophet who, like Jonah about a century before him, had a message for Nineveh. While we know from Jonah 4 that there had been repentance from the Ninevites, a hundred years had passed and they had returned to their evil ways. Not only that, but now on the throne was King Manesseh, one of the most evil and depraved kings to ever rule over Judah. 

While King Manasseh eventually repented a few years before his death, the years prior to that were some of the darkest and most wicked in Judah’s history. It was in that era that God (in His kindness) appointed Nahum, whose name means “comfort”, to speak on His behalf. His message was simple: God was going to judge the people of Nineveh for their sin and wickedness. While this message was dark for the Ninevites, it was hopeful for the faithful remnant who had been holding on to the truth (even in the midst of chaos all around them). 

Pastor and former seminary professor Chuck Swindoll says this about how we can apply Nahum’s message in our own lives today:

“No doubt we all have felt overwhelmed by the darkness both within ourselves and in our world. Nahum lived in a dark time, a time in which the faithful few must have wondered how long they would have to resist cultural and spiritual compromise…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.”

As we read this short book over the coming days, let’s collectively ask God to show us how we can live faithfully, even in the midst of increasing idolatry and chaos around us. 

Read Nahum 1

A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

The Lord’s Anger Against Nineveh

The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
    the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance on his foes
    and vents his wrath against his enemies.
The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;
    the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
    and clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
    he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
    and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
The mountains quake before him
    and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
    the world and all who live in it.
Who can withstand his indignation?
    Who can endure his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
    the rocks are shattered before him.

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 the realm of darkness.

Whatever they plot against the Lord
    he will bring to an end;
    trouble will not come a second time.
10 They will be entangled among thorns
    and drunk from their wine;
    they will be consumed like dry stubble.
11 From you, Nineveh, has one come forth
    who plots evil against the Lord
    and devises wicked plans.

12 This is what the Lord says:

“Although they have allies and are numerous,

    they will be destroyed and pass away.

Although I have afflicted you, Judah,

    I will afflict you no more.
13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck
    and tear your shackles away.”

14 The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh:
    “You will have no descendants to bear your name.
I will destroy the images and idols
    that are in the temple of your gods.
I will prepare your grave,
    for you are vile.”

15 Look, there on the mountains,
    the feet of one who brings good news,
    who proclaims peace!
Celebrate your festivals, Judah,
    and fulfill your vows.
No more will the wicked invade you;
    they will be completely destroyed.

Go Deeper

The vision of Nahum in this opening chapter displays a God who is willing to protect the people that He has made a covenant with–the people that trust in Him. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, is a people who have been oppressing the Israelites. This is paralleled to the Egyptians, who oppressed the Israelites centuries earlier. In Nahum’s vision, we hear a parallel from the time of Exodus, “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are dust of his feet” (Exodus 34:6-7). God is not slow to directly handle the enemies of His people because He is incapable or distant. God is slow to anger, because He has a love that is hopeful for hearts to be softened and turned back towards Him.

We’re reminded of another aspect of the the powerful nature of God’s love in v. 7-8:

“The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.”

Even in the face of wickedness and judgment for the evildoers surrounding God’s people, there’s a reminder that He preserves and protects the faithful remaining remnant who trust in Him. A refuge is a safe place, where we find safety and security. In a confused and broken world, we are often tempted to seek refuge in possessions, substances, or anything else that might bring temporary relief. This truth that Nahum shared almost three thousand years ago is equally true and applicable to us today. 

Just like the picture of the running father in the story of the prodigal son, we have a credulous Father in heaven, who is ready to welcome home those that He has created. We are called to trust Him that He is protecting us from evil. We are called to hope in Him as we persevere through trials and tribulations. We are called to these things because we have seen the same God do that over and over again, with the Israelties in Egypt and Nineveh, and even with us today. He is the same God with the same love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.


  1. How has God protected you in the past from something difficult in your life?
  2. Do you remember that God is the same and faithful when He is just (like in this chapter) and when allows the wicked to prosper?
  3. Have you processed that God’s wrath for others does not mean He is evil? Instead, He is protecting those that He loves?

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2 thoughts on “Nahum Overview + 1”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    Nahum reminds us of the amazing attributes of God. He is jealous, avenging, and powerful while also being good, a refuge and caring. God, by his very nature cannot tolerate sin and must remove it to restore peace to the world. Although it may seem that way to us when we view the evil around us, God will not allow sin to go unchecked forever. I am grateful that God gives people time to turn to him, especially those I’ve been praying and pursuing for a long time to acknowledge him as Savior.

  2. Wiersbe stated ” Jealousy is a sin if it means being envious of what others have and wanting to possess it, but it’s a virtue if it means cherishing what we have and wanting to protect it. Since God made everything and owns everything, He is envious of no one, but since He is the only true God, He is jealous over His glory, His name, and the worship and honor that are due to Him alone. God does not want to share us, His people, with false gods or idols, any more than a husband would share his wife with another person. Nineveh gave way back to willful breaking of God’s laws. So God’s anger, which thankfully isn’t like mine, too quick, His is a righteous anger at the sin that is going on happens, God says I am going to punish them.
    I had come to view God in a box. I am learning everyday so much, that my God will not nor does not want to be put in “the box”. I am learning that God is HOLY HOLY HOLY!!!!! Back to not enough adjectives to describe all the amazing feels that come when I think, look and learn more about HIM!!

    God thank You for Your Holy Spirit so loving to help me learn. The omnipotence vastness of who You are, but more than that is how to worship, adore, and love You more everyday!! I am barley scratching the surface of comprehension of Your holiness but oh how I desire more!! God thank You for Your love and me sharing what You have done through Your Son for me in Jesus name amen

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