Get the CD Now!


Discuss this text or ask a question on the official Early Writings forum. Anyone can post.

Online Text for Nahum

Online Resources for Nahum

Offline Resources for Nahum

Information on Nahum

Ralph L. Smith writes: "One may divide the book into three almost equal parts. Chap. 1 is about the nature of God. Because Yahweh is a jealous God he will judge the enemies of his people and he will give refuge to those who trust in him because he is good (v 7). Chap. 2 is a vivid description of the battle for Nineveh along with a taunt song against Nineveh. Chap. 3 is an oracle on the fate of Nineveh. A more detailed outline of the book will show that 1:9-2:2 contains alternating judgment oracles against Assyria and salvation oracles for Judah based on the contrast in the psalm between the enemy and those who seek Yahweh's protection. The psalm is not a typical hymn of praise because it lacks the imperatives which are usual in the call to thanksgiving in Israel. The thematic relation of the judgment oracle against Assyria to the psalm is marked in 1:8-9 by the idea of 'making an end'. The salvation oracle promises deliverance for Judah in that day. Then the King of Assyria is told of his ultimate annihilation. The oracles of judgment and salvation are expansions of the themes introduced in the hymn fragment. In vivid contrapuntal manner the oracles introduce the reader, filled with the knowledge of a zealous God, to the descriptive passages about Nineveh and Thebes, the final destruction of the Assyrian king, and the joy of those who must no longer endure his tyrrany." (Micah-Malachi, p. 67)

J. Alberto Soggin writes: "The text is particularly fine in chs. 2-3, but falls off in quality and, as we have seen, is interrupted in ch. 1, where the style is also very varied. This is a disconcerting phenomenon in such a short work, and various explanations of it have been given, but none of them commands general approval. Until recently, many scholars challenged the authenticity of the acrostic and in some cases even went as far as dating it in the second century BC (e.g. R. H. Pfieffer in his Introduction). It is possible that the first part was composed before the fall of Nineveh and the second after it. The Scandinavian school has again tried to see the book in terms of an epic and mythical struggle between Yahweh and Tammuz (of course ending in the victory of the former) represented in the cult and constructed on the basis of formulae taken from the liturgy of the two deities. However, an interpretation of this kind, while not excluded by the historical background mentioned above, is not justified given the present state of the sources." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 276)

Richard T. A. Murphy writes: "Nahum (lit., 'Yahweh consoles') lived in the turbulent 7th cent. BC, an era of violence. He prophesied between the spectacular fall of Thebes (663; cf. 3:6) and that of Nineveh (612), probably ca. 612. The exultant hopes raised by the fall of proud Nineveh on the Tigris were short lived, for Josaih was soon to be cut down at Megiddo (609), Nebuchadnezzar was to become lord of the west at Carchemish (605), soon after which he would invest and take Jerusalem (587)." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 293)

Jay G. Williams writes: "The little book of Nahum is undated, but it clearly comes from about 612 B.C., for it speaks of the fall of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, which took place at that time. Nahum is said to come from Elkosh, but that town has never been certainly located. Some identify it with Capernaum (which means 'the village of Nahum'), while others place it variously in the territory of Simeon, in Galilee at el-Kauzeh, or even in Assyria itself. Since Nahum itself gives some indications that the author lived in Judah (1:15), a southern location is probably most likely." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 250)

Duane L. Christensen writes: "No book in the Bible has been maligned as much as this one. It is frequently described as a vengeful, nationalistic expression of glee over the destruction of a bitter enemy that some would want to remove from the canon of sacred Scripture altogether. Nahum has been described as ethically and theologically deficient, even the work of a false prophet. As a result, the book has been virtually ignored in both the modern church and synagogue. Much of this fate, however, is not deserved. Nahum is primarily a book about God's justice, not about human vengeance, hatred, and military conquest. It is best read as a complement to the book of Jonah. Whereas Nahum focuses on the 'dark side' of God, Jonah portrays God's mercy and compassion toward the same wicked city. Both aspects are essential for an understanding of the divine nature. It should be noted that, though the positive side of God is muted in Nahum, it is by no means absent (see 1:3, 7)." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 736)

Please buy the CD to support the site, view it without ads, and get bonus stuff!

Early Jewish Writings is copyright © 2001-2013 Peter Kirby <E-Mail>.

Get the CD Now!

Kirby, Peter. Early Jewish Writings. <>.