|Nineveh: "Though they are at full strength and many, |
they will be cut off and pass away." Nahum 1:12
These three prophets we are studying in class now, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah, continue in a similar way the work of those of the 8th century we have already seen (Amos, Hosea and Micah). During the political turmoil of the late 7th and early 6th centuries, these men were ready to pass judgment and warn Judah that solely on YHWH and his Law should they look for confidence; otherwise the consequences would be more than severe…
Nahum is the seventh book of the Minor Prophets. Although we don’t have any details about the prophet or the date of the book's composition, it is very plausible to claim that the book was written after the fall of Nineveh which Nahum announces so forcefully (612 BCE). The book condemns Nineveh, Judah’s former ally, but now turned into an enemy. Nahum’s prophecy then belongs to the “oracle against the nations” category, a judgment pronounced by YHWH to peoples other than Israel of Judah (Isa 13-35; Jer 46-51; Ezek 25-32, etc). This oracle therefore is aimed to provide hope for the Judahites oppressed by the Assyrians; thus the meaning of the prophet's name: "comfort".
Scholars divide Nahum in at least three major sections. The first part (Nah 1:2-11) presents the LORD as a warrior seeking for vengeance against the Assyrians (Nineveh is also personified as the adversary). Then, Nah 1:12-15 is considered a hopeful oracle that Judah’s oppression is coming to an end and should await for the good news. Finally, Nah 2:1-3:19 portrays the invasion of Nineveh. Here the prophet seems to be the watchman that witnesses the enemy’s downfall, which is personified this time as a prostitute who after being violated is shown to be a spectacle to all.
|"Devastation, desolation and destruction. Hearts faint and knees tremble,|
all loins quake, all faces grow pale." Nahum 2:10