Resources: Commentaries, Sermons, Illustrations, Devotionals
|Character & Power
|Psalm of the Lord's Majesty||Dirge of Nineveh's Destruction|
|1. Judah to be
2. Nineveh to
|General Principles of
|Destruction of Nineveh
Deliverance of Judah
|Description of the Destruction of Nineveh
|The majestic character of our sovereign God
qualifies Him to be the Judge over all
|Nineveh's willful and heartless decline
justifies the judgment of God
Key Verses: Nah 1:3,7-8, Nah 3:1, 5-7
Key Words: "I am against you" (Nah 2:13, 3:5), "I will" (Nah 1:12, 13, 14, 2:13, 3:5, 6), Nineveh (Nah 1:1, 2:8, 3:7, not counting the synonyms referring to Nineveh) See related discussion - key words and marking key words
Christ in All the Scriptures (A M Hodgkin) - The destruction of Nineveh is the one burden of Nahum. The prophet’s name means Comfort, and his word of comfort is for Judah, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7). “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings and publisheth peace,” points forward to the proclamation of the good tidings of the Prince of Peace.
Nineveh. The rest of the prophecy is wholly concerned with Nineveh. The dwelling-place of the prophet is uncertain. It may have been Capernaum, “the city of Nahum.” The time in which he prophesied, from internal evidence, seems to have been between the fall of No-Amon (Thebes) in Upper Egypt, 663 B.C., and the fall of Nineveh, 606 B.C., for he speaks of the one as past (Nahum 3:8–10) and the other as future (Nahum 1:8, 14).
“The prophecy of Nahum is both the complement and the counterpart of the book of Jonah” (Dr. Pussy). God revealed His Name to Moses as showing His two-fold character. “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and forgiving iniquity, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” Jonah dwells on the first side of God’s character (Jonah 4:2), Nahum brings out the second. “A jealous God and Avenger is the Lord.... The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.” God had shown His long suffering to the great city. It had repented at the preaching of Jonah. But though multitudes of individuals were, no doubt, truly turned to the Lord, its repentance as a nation was short-lived, and we find it guilty again of the very sins from which it had repented, violence and insatiable cruelty (Nahum 2:11–12). But beyond all this, Nineveh seems to have been guilty of an open defiance of the living God, as shown in the blasphemous attitude of Sennacherib, and in the allusions of Nahum 1:9, 11.
The doom of the city was delayed two hundred years, but it fell at last, and Nahum’s prophecy was one of unconditional and final destruction. With an over-running flood would God make a full end of her; her name should be utterly cut off, and He would dig her grave. The mustering of the armies round Nineveh, the marshalling of the forces within the city, are described with graphic eloquence.
The destruction of Nineveh was complete. It occurred almost at the zenith of her power. According to Nahum’s prophecy, it came true that the Tigris assisted the attacking army of the Medes and Babylonians in its overthrow (Nahum 2:6), and it was partly destroyed by fire (Nahum 3:13, 15). So deep and so effectually did God dig its grave that every trace of its existence disappeared for ages, and its site was not known. But its excavations since 1841 have been confirming the truth of God’s Word.
The City of Thebes. Among other revelations, we have the actual fall of the city of Thebes, No-Amon, alluded to by Nahum, described on the monuments in the words of Assur-banipal, the Assyrian king, who was its conqueror. He tells us how completely he took the city, carrying off its gold and silver and precious stones, and two lofty obelisks, covered with beautiful sculptures, weighing 2500 talents (over 90 tons), which he raised from their place and transported to Assyria, with a great and countless booty. (Christ in All the Scripture)
|A BEAUTIFUL FORESHADOWING OF JESUS OUR PEACE...
Behold, on the mountains the feet of Him
Who announces peace!
(cf Isaiah 52:7)
(Quoted in Romans 10:15-note)
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S R Driver
A C Gaebelein
The Purpose of God in Dealing with the Assyrian Oppressor
The Overthrow, Plundering and Destruction of Nineveh
Nineveh's Guilt and Well-Deserved Judgment
James Rosscup writes "This 1858 work supplies much help on matters of the text, word meaning, resolving some problems, etc. Some have found it one of the most contributive sources in getting at what a text means." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)
H. A Ironside
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
Note: JFB is one of the more literal, conservative older commentaries (prior to 1900). Sample excerpt of eschatological (prophetic, apocalyptic) passage Zechariah 14:2 - "gather all nations, etc. — The prophecy seems literal (compare Joel 3:2). If Antichrist be the leader of the nations, it seems inconsistent with the statement that he will at this time be sitting in the temple as God at Jerusalem (2Thessalonians 2:4); thus Antichrist outside would be made to besiege Antichrist within the city. But difficulties do not set aside revelations: the event will clear up seeming difficulties (Ed: Interesting statement!). Compare the complicated movements, Daniel 11:1-45-note." Comment on Zech 14:11 - "no more utter destruction — (Jer 31:40). Literally, “no more curse” (Rev 22:3-note; compare Malachi 4:6-note), for there will be no more sin. Temporal blessings and spiritual prosperity shall go together in the millennium: long life (Isaiah 65:20-22), peace (Isaiah 2:4-note), honor (Isaiah 60:14-16), righteous government (Isaiah 54:14; Isaiah 60:18). (Zechariah 14 - Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible)
Hampton Keathley IV
Keil & Delitzsch
Rosscup - This is the best older, overall treatment of a critical nature on the Old Testament Hebrew text verse by verse and is a good standard work to buy. The student can buy parts or the whole of this series. Sometimes it is evangelical, at other times liberal ideas enter...In prophecy it is amillennial. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works).
J Vernon McGee
|Nahum 2 Intro
Nahum 2:1-2 Commentary
Nahum 2:3 Commentary
Nahum 2:4 Commentary
Nahum 2:5-6 Commentary
Nahum 2:7-10 Commentary
Nahum 2:11-13 Commentary
|Nahum 3:1-2 Commentary
Nahum 3:3-4 Commentary
Nahum 3:5-6 Commentary
Nahum 3:7 Commentary
Nahum 3:8 Commentary
Nahum 3:9-12 Commentary
Nahum 3:13-17 Commentary
Nahum 3:18-19 Commentary
F B Meyer
G Campbell Morgan
Commentaries, Sermons, Devotionals
The Theological Journal Library on galaxie.com
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BACKGROUND ON NAHUM
Nahum, Nineveh & Those Nasty Assyrians - Gordon Franz (Charles Savelle comments: Although this article is a few years old, Gordon Franz has a nice discussion on Nahum, Nineveh, and the Assyrians. This article provides helpful background not only on the book of Nahum, but also Jonah as well.) (Another source ) (Another source )
ESV Study Bible - $15 for lifetime online access or free with print version.
ESV MacArthur Study Bible - $20 for lifetime online access
Comment: This online resource allows one to view both the MacArthur Study Bible Notes & ESV Study Bible Notes at the same time & both synchronize with the Scripture! Very nice tool but note that purchase is required. Includes online ESV audio version.
Holman Christian Standard Bible -Study Bible (HCSB Study Bible) - Enter Scripture. Study notes synch with Scripture. Mouse over underlined words pops up the Greek or Hebrew word. Activate this feature by selecting the "Alpha & Omega" Icon on bar above the Scripture. The HCSB is a very well done, literal translation.
Hint: Be sure and check the brief (5-15') pithy, practical videos by Dr Gene Getz which present powerful principles for life application! Instructions: Click Holman Christian Study Bible LINK. Type in the Scripture and click Video Player Tool in right column for Dr Getz's practical points related to that Scripture.
|Holman Christian Standard Study Bible|
|Reformation Study Bible|
|Minor Prophets Study Guide - Questions/Lessons Learned||Don Anderson|
|The Prophets and the Promise - 433 Page Book||W J Beecher|
Walter Kaiser-Preacher's Commentary (Micah through Malachi) - conservative, literal, futuristic- excellent for preaching - Rosscup on Kaiser: A careful evangelical gives contemporary outlines usable to pastors. He has occasional illustrations and serious explanation of the text. He is premillennial, as on Zechariah 14, and packs in much expositional help, relating it strategically to life. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)
James Montgomery Boice - conservative, literal, futuristic - excellent for preaching Rosscup comments: The large, two-column pages contain much good material on the relevance of the words for then and for now, dealing with such topics as love, repentance, and sincerity (Hosea 6). A prolonged contemplation of these pages and an application of their principles will produce substantial Christian growth. The author could improve the work by being more definite sometimes in specifying in what framework God will bless Israel in the future (e.g., Hosea 14). Vagueness such as in Joel 2:1-11, where he says the invader is neither locusts nor a human army, is a drawback. Wordiness and wandering in his discussions is another shortcoming, as in using Joel 2:28 to take off into a long discussion of clericalism. He finds fulfillment of Joel 2:28 at Pentecost, yet it would help to point out some aspects that were (Rosscup)
Exploring the Minor Prophets John Phillips - Rosscup on John Phillips - A respected popular expositor on a number of biblical books here has two introductory chapters, then a chapter of about 20–30 pp. on each prophet (50 on Zech.). Several charts aid readers, and a detailed outline runs before each exposition. The exposition is in general surveys of sections, at times taking a view on a main problem. In Hosea 1:2, he feels that God had Hosea marry an immoral woman but Phillips offers no help on the moral issue. Phillips is premillennial, seeing Israel’s future kingdom blessings as in the Millennium after Christ’s Second Coming (Hosea 3:5; Joel 3:14ff; Amos 9:15; Zeph. 3:9ff; Zech 2:10–13; 14:1–21). In Mal. 2:15 he has “one” refer to God making husband and wife into one, and in Mal 4:5 he thinks the Elijah will be fulfilled in one of the two witnesses in Rev 11:3-13-note. The work helps on broad coverage, and is quite readable for preachers, church teachers, students and lay people wanting a general devotional sweep. (Ibid)
Zephaniah (Nahum, Habakkuk) Commentary - Richard Patterson - essentially verse by verse (free online!) - Recommended - Rosscup says "This is an outstanding conservative, detailed work backed by scholarly awareness and expertise. Comments reflect fine-tuned ability in the Hebrew text, philology, exegesis, history, and literature. Patterson has premillennial convictions in the final verses of Zephaniah. He shows the shaky reasoning of critical arguments against the unity of Nahum, and defends unity of Nahum and Habakkuk. In a long Excursus he defends New Testament uses of Habakkuk 2:4-note (pp. 21–23), But some will doubt that he captures the significance of the picture of a hind in Habakkuk 3:19-note when he sees only swiftness ascending and gracefully gliding (262–63). But in most details he is excellent, and the work is well worth the cost and time. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)
|Nahum- Assyria - Nice Map, etc
Nahum- Nineveh - Great Cities of the Old Testament
|Nahum-The Fall of Nineveh||Mark Copeland|
|Commentary on Nahum, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Psalms (Josiah Repents, Other Kings Choose Poorly)||David Colburn|
|The Commanding Importance of the Prophetic Scriptures||Charles Feinberg|
Dr Gene Getz gives brief (5-15') pithy, practical videos by which present powerful principles for life application! Instructions: Click Holman Christian Standard Bible Study Bible. Type in the Scripture and click Video Player Tool in right column for Dr Getz's practical points related to that Scripture. There are two videos on Nah 3...
|The Book of Nahum - Authorship, Date, Style, Nice Teaching Outline||Greg Herrick|
|Nahum - An Overview||Grace Institute|
|The Minor Prophets - Very Nice Overview/Summary of Nahum||J. Hampton Keathley, III|
Excerpt: Historical and Theological Themes - Nahum forms a sequel to the book of Jonah, who prophesied over a century earlier. Jonah recounts the remission of God’s promised judgment toward Nineveh (Nineveh - Wikipedia), while Nahum depicts the later execution of God’s judgment. Nineveh was proud of her invulnerable city, with her walls reaching 100 ft. high and with a moat 150 ft. wide and 60 ft. deep; but Nahum established the fact that the sovereign God (Nah 1:2–5) would bring vengeance upon those who violated His law (Nah 1:8,14; 3:5–7). The same God had a retributive judgment against evil which is also redemptive, bestowing His loving kindnesses upon the faithful (cf. Nah 1:7,12,13,15; 2:2). The prophecy brought comfort to Judah and all who feared the cruel Assyrians. Nahum said Nineveh would end “with an overflowing flood” (Nah 1:8); and it happened when the Tigris River overflowed to destroy enough of the walls to let the Babylonians through. Nahum also predicted that the city would be hidden (Nah 3:11). After its destruction in 612 B.C., the site was not rediscovered until 1842 A.D.
Jonah and Nahum: English Bible - Comment: This is a 96 page treatise replete with extensive bibliography, diagrams, and commentary notes - check it out!
|Thomas McCabe, Th.D.|
|Nahum 1:10 - Ninevite Conviviality
Nahum 2:3 - Assyrian Warriors
Nahum 3:14 - Tempering clay
|Manners and Customs by
|Minor Prophets - Book Introduction
Nahum and Habakkuk - Introductory Notes, Outlines
|J Vernon McGee|
G Campbell Morgan's devotional/practical thoughts make good fodder for sermon preparation! Nahum - Living Messages
THE LIVING MESSAGE
I. Concerning God
i. To believe in Love is to be sure of His Wrath.
ii. His Wrath must be interpreted by His Love.
II. Concerning Man
i. The Sins against which the Wrath of God proceeds.
ii. The Conditions of Safety, = "Them that put their Trust in Him.”
|G Campbell Morgan|
|Nahum - Outline Studies of the Books of the Old Testament
Except: Nineveh was to be despoiled of its idols, Nah 1:14; and of its silver and gold, Nah 2:9. This prediction likewise was amply fulfilled. The images of Nineveh (Wikipedia) were swept away, either destroyed or carried off by the conquerors. Enormous amounts of gold and silver were conveyed to Ecbatana by the victorious Medes. Very little of the precious metals have been found in the excavations of recent times. The city was spoiled of all its treasures. The captivity of the inhabitants and their removal to distant provinces were announced, Nah 1:2, 7; 3:18. The place was depopulated and the proud city sank into a mass of ruins and rubbish. It was to disappear and become a perpetual desolation, Nah 1:14; 3:19. For centuries its site has been an arid waste of yellow sand. Every trace of its existence disappeared for ages. Two hundred years after its capture Xenophon, in the retreat of the ten thousand, passed near it, saw the ruins, but knew not what they were, and did not so much as learn the name of Nineveh. Even “garrulous Herodotus,” who visited the spot, had no more to say of it than this: “The Tigris was the river upon which Nineveh formerly stood.” For centuries the only sound heard in its vicinity was the lonely cry of the jackal, and hoarse growl of the hyena. God had said by the mouth of His servant the prophet, “I will make thy grave.” He did. Wide and deep He did dig it; low and deep He buried Nineveh, never more to rise again, save to be gazed at with curious eyes amid dim torchlight by the archaeologist, whose pick and spade have confirmed the Lord’s predictions.
Date - In 3:8–10 the author speaks of the fall of Thebes, which happened in 663BC, as already past. In all three chapters Nahum prophesied Nineveh’s fall, which was fulfilled in 612BC. Nahum therefore uttered this oracle between 663 and 612BC, perhaps near the end of this period since he represents the fall of Nineveh as imminent (Nah 2:1; 3:14,19). This would place him during the reign of Josiah and make him a contemporary of Zephaniah and the young Jeremiah.
|NIV Study Bible|
Excerpt: OUTSTANDING TEACHINGS:
While God's people had sinned, and GOD in faithfulness had to punish them, still the nations which He used came to know His wrath also, and this was the case with the Assyrian Empire. The collapse of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire came suddenly. The Medes and Babylonians had besieged the capital for two years when a sudden flood of the Tigris river carried away part of the protecting wall and opened the way for the attacking army to enter and conquer. This was pre-written by Nahum 100 years before. There is a possible reference to the disastrous defeat of Sennacherib as he confronted Jerusalem (2Kings 19:35), in 1:10-13. The untimely end of the king himself is outlined in the following
5. INTERESTING FEATURES:
Ezekiel (Ezek 31:3-14) and Zephaniah (Zeph 2:13-15) besides Jonah concern themselves with Nineveh's fate. The city's walls were 100 feet high and broad enough to drive four spans of chariot horses abreast; there were 1500 watch towers, for defenses. There was never a prophecy more unlikely!
6. KEY TO UNDERSTANDING:
Who but GOD could predict minutely events of such magnitude and infinitude hundreds of years before they came to pass? This is true comfort to those who study prophecy today relating to tomorrow. GOD is faithful.
|Preface to Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah||Richard D. Patterson|
Excerpt: Theme: The book of Nahum has but one outstanding theme; namely, the destruction of Nineveh. It is a sequel to the message of the prophet Jonah, by whose ministry, the Ninevites were lead to repentance and saved from impending doom. It is evident that they repented of their former repentance, and so gave themselves to idolatry, cruelty, and oppression, that one hundred and twenty years later, Nahum pronounced against them the judgment of GOD in the form of utter destruction. "Nahum's object was to inspire his countrymen, the Jews, with the assurance that, however alarming their position might seem, exposed to the attacks of the mighty Assyrian, who had already carried away the Ten Tribes, yet that not only should the Assyrian fail in his attack on Jerusalem (Isaiah Chs. 36, 37), but Nineveh his own capital would be taken and his empire overthrown; and this not by arbitrary exercise of the Lord's power, but for the iniquities of the city and its people."
|Micah; Nahum; Habakkuk - Understanding the Anger of God - download lesson 1 free||Precept Ministry|
|Nahum: The Book of God's Wrath||Ross Rainey|
Nahum: Overview - nice chart comparing the two prophets to Nineveh - Jonah and Nahum
Excerpt: Message: The judgment of Nineveh and the comfort of Judah both reveal the sovereignty, righteousness, and grace of Yahweh.
Purpose: The purpose of Nahum appears to be twofold. First, the book was written to show that God will judge the unrighteous nations. Second, the book was written to comfort God’s people (Judah) by showing them that He will destroy their enemies. As Chisholm notes, “The sovereign Lord, who is the most powerful of all warriors, would avenge the harm done to His covenant people by appropriately and thoroughly judging their Assyrian oppressors.”
Contribution: The major contribution of the Book of Nahum is that it provides clear insight into God’s sovereign right to judge all nations. One might add that Nahum shows how divine judgment can be the source of encouragement.
Excerpt: Why is Nahum so important? Nahum’s singular focus on the impending judgment of Nineveh offers a continuation of the story that began in Jonah. Sometime around 760 BC, God sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach repentance and hope to the Assyrian people, a message they heard and adopted—at least for a time. One hundred years later, during the time of Nahum, the Assyrians had returned to their bullish ways, conquering the northern kingdom of Israel and lording their power over Judah in the south (2Ki 17:1–6; 18:13–19:37). Jonah failed to realize what Nahum reminded the people of Judah: God’s justice is always right and always sure. Should He choose to grant mercy for a time, that good gift will not compromise the Lord’s ultimate sense of justice for all in the end.
What's the big idea? After allowing approximately two hundred years of powerful Assyrian kings and rulers, God announced through Nahum His plans to judge the city of Nineveh. While the book as a whole clearly shows God’s concern over sin, His willingness to punish those guilty of wickedness, and His power to carry out His desire for judgment, it also contains rays of hope shining through the darkness. Most significant, the people of Judah would have immediately taken hope in the idea that Nineveh, their primary oppressor for generations, would soon come under judgment from God. Also, a small but faithful remnant in an increasingly idolatrous Judah would have been comforted by declarations of God’s slowness to anger (Nahum 1:3), His goodness and strength (Nah 1:7), and His restorative power (Nah 2:2).
How do I apply this? 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. Have you ever found your will to do what’s right weakening as you became discouraged with what you saw in your life and in the world around you? 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.
|Charles R Swindoll|
|James Van Dine|
Excerpt: The book of Nahum is God's message of the impending destruction of Nineveh. The prophet's name means ''comfort'' or ''consolation.'' He reminds us of Noah, whose name also means ''rest'' or ''comfort.'' Nahum is the seventh chronologically of the minor prophets, and he ministered during the reign of Hezekiah. About 150 years earlier, God had sent Jonah to deliver His warning to Nineveh. When the city repented, God held back His hand of judgment. Now ''the burden of Nineveh'' was laid upon Nahum's heart by God, and his prophecy graphically foretells the complete desolation of that people who oppressed the Jews. The destruction came 100 years later, when God, in His holiness, dealt harshly with the sin of Nineveh. The great truths of the book of Nahum, for believers today, are its descriptions of God's character and power, for they depict the character and power of Jesus Christ. Few Old Testament books give us as much information on this subject as Nahum. The key verse of the prophecy is, ''The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked'' (Nahum 1:3)...Like all of the prophets, Nahum looks forward to the time when Christ will come to reign in righteousness and justice. As in every other portion of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Lord's Anointed is visible upon the horizon. In Nahum, we see both His character and His power, and we anticipate His glorious coming.
|Paul Van Gorder|
|Nahum - Survey Notes
Nahum - Bible Survey Notes
|Valley Bible Church|
|The West as Nineveh: How Does Nahum's Message of Judgment Apply to Today?||J Woods|
COMMENTARIES ON NAHUM
|Nahum - When God is Your Enemy - 37 Page Commentary||Paul Apple|
|Nahum Commentary: The Fall of Nineveh - From Nabonidus||Cambridge Commentary|
|Nahum Commentary||J G Bellett|
|Be a Berean - Not always a literal interpretation. Caveat Emptor!
Nahum 1 Commentary for English Readers
Nahum 2 Commentary for English Readers
Nahum 3 Commentary for English Readers
|C J Ellicott|
|Nahum Commentary||Explore the Bible|
|Concise Bible Commentary on Nahum||James Gray|
|Nahum 1-3 Commentary||Keil and Delitzsch|
|Nahum Commentary||William Kelly|
|Nahum: Commentary on Entire Book||Hampton Keathley IV|
|Nahum: Verse by Verse Commentary - Recommended||Richard D. Patterson|
|Nahum Commentary - 58 page verse by verse commentary - scroll down to page 106 (may take a while to load and print is relatively small! - it appears to be relatively conservative)||Edward B Pusey (1800-1882)|
|The Prophet Nahum Commentary||Arend Remmers|
|Nahum Commentary||John Schultz|
SERMONS ON NAHUM
|Nahum - The Justice and Mercy of God||Rich Cathers|
|The Message of Nahum - Who’s In Charge? - Mp3 Only (Alternate Source)||Mark Dever|
|Nahum: Understanding God's Judgment||Rick Ezell|
|Nahum 1-3 Ruin of Nineveh||John Kitto|
|Nahum: When a Nation Forgets God
Nahum 1:1-8 The Ignored Attribute of God
|Nahum Sermon Notes||Joe Guglielmo|
|Nahum Sermons and Illustrations||Logos.com|
|Amos, Micah and Nahum - Well Done||John Stevenson|
NAHUM BY CHAPTER & VERSE
|Nahum 1:2-7 Who is God? Recommended||John MacArthur|
|Nahum 1:2 The Vengeance of God||G Campbell Morgan|
|Nahum 1:3 Troubles||C H Spurgeon|
|Nahum 1:6-7 The Anger and the Goodness (from book BIBLE THOUGHTS)||Horatius Bonar|
|Nahum 1:6 is alluded to in Rev 6:17
Nahum 1:15 is alluded to in Ro 10:15
|Nahum in the NT|
|Nahum 1:7 The Lord is...||Richard D. Patterson|
|Nahum 1:7 The Lord is Good||Jeffery Richards|
|Nahum 1:1-15 "Our Refuge"||Robert Leroe|
|Nahum 1:8 Darkness Pursuing the Sinner||Horatius Bonar|
|Nahum 1:10 - Ninevite Conviviality||Manners and Customs by
|Nahum 2:3 - Assyrian Warriors
Nahum 3:14 - Tempering clay
|Manners and Customs by
|Nahum 1 Commentary
Nahum 2 Commentary
Nahum 3 Commentary
Recommended: NETBible notes are in the right panel. You can also select the tab for "Constable's Notes." As you scroll the Bible text in the left panel, the notes are synchronized and will scroll to the same passage. Also has a nice parallel Bible feature (see Tab = "Parallel"). Select a different Bible translation (see Tab = "Bible"). Open Greek/Hebrew tab. Mouse over shows corresponding English word and has short definition at bottom of right panel.
James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
Rosscup has this comment on Patterson's work in the Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary: This is an outstanding conservative, detailed work backed by scholarly awareness and expertise. Comments reflect fine-tuned ability in the Hebrew text, philology, exegesis, history, and literature. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An annotated bibliography of selected works. Kress Christian Publications)
People's Bible Commentary
Peter Pett Commentary
Matthew Poole English Annotations
Preacher's Homiletical Commentary
Nahum 1 Critical Notes - Scroll Down for Topics Below
Nahum 1:1 The Servant's Burden
Nahum 1:2-5 Jehovah A Jealous God
Nahum 1:6,7 God's Goodness and Anger
Nahum 1:7 The Triumph of Faith
Nahum 1:9-11 Resistance to God Powerless
Nahum 1:12-15 The Destruction of the Enemy and the Redemption of God's People
Nahum 1 Illustrations to Chapter 1
Nahum 2 Critical Notes - Scroll Down for Topics Below
Nahum 2:1 The Cause and Preparations of War
Nahum 2:3-7 The Great Siege and the Vain Defense
Nahum 2:8-10 The Flight of the Inhabitants and the Plunder of the City
Nahum 2:11-13 Nineveh Effaced
Nahum 2 Illustrations to Chapter 2
Nahum 3 Critical Notes - Scroll Down for Topics Below
Nahum 3:1 Great Wickedness
Nahum 3:2-4 Great Judgments and Great Sins
Nahum 3:5-7 Retributive Punishment
Nahum 3:8-10 The Destruction of Some A Warning to Others
Nahum 3:10-13 The Fate of Some Worse than that of Others
Nahum 3:14-18 The Last Hope Destroyed
Nahum 3:18 Slumbering Shepherds and Scattered Flocks
Nahum 3:19 Irretrievable Ruin
Nahum 3 Illustrations to Chapter 3
Nahum 1:1 A Vision and a Burden
Nahum 1:1 The Messenger of Judgment
Nahum 1:1, 2 Great Sins Bringing Great Ruin
Nahum 1:2-6 The Wrath of God - A Warning
Nahum 1:2-6 The Divine Vengeance
Nahum 1:3 The Patience of God
Nahum 1:3-6 God's Power
Nahum 1:7 The Divine Goodness
Nahum 1:7 God Our Stronghold
Nahum 1:7 The Divine Regard for Trusting Hearts
Nahum 1:7,8 Consolation in God
Nahum 1:7,8 Opposite Types of Human Character and Opposite Lines of Divine Procedure
Nahum 1:8 Pursued By/Into Darkness
Nahum 1:8-15 Antagonism to God and His Rule
Nahum 1:8-15 Spiritual Redemption Symbolized
Nahum 1:9,10 Sin
Nahum 1:9,14 A Wicked Counselor
Nahum 1:11-14 Corrupt Kings
Nahum 1:15 Glad Tidings for God's People
Nahum 1:15 Three Things Worthy of Note
Nahum 2:1-10 A Predicted Invasion
Nahum 2:1,2 God the Vindicator of the Oppressed
Nahum 2:1-3:19 Wicked Nations - They are allowed to exist
Nahum 2:1-3:19 Wicked Nations - However long they exist, they will be utterly destroyed
Nahum 2:1-3:19 Wicked Nations - Providence often employs one wicked nation to inflict ruin on another
Nahum 2:3-13 The Downfall of Nineveh
Nahum 2:11-13 The Parable of the Lion's Den
Nahum 2:13 Man Incurring the Divine Displeasure
Nahum 2:13 The Messengers of Nineveh and the Messengers of Zion
Nahum 3:1-7 Woe to Nineveh
Nahum 3:1-7 The Guilt and Ruin of Nineveh
Nahum 3:8-13 The Story of No-Amon
Nahum 3:8-13 No-Amon, A Sign
Nahum 3:14-15 Human Efforts Directed Against the Divine Purpose
Nahum 3:14-19 The Fall of Nineveh
Nahum 3:16-18 The Instability of Material Greatness
Nahum 3:19 Hopelessness
Nahum 3:19 The Overthrow of Evil-Doers A Source of Thankful Joy
Edward B Pusey
James Rosscup writes "This work originally appeared in 1860. The present publication is set up in two columns to the page with the text of the Authorized Version reproduced at the top. Scripture references, Hebrew words, and other citations are relegated to the bottom of the page. The work is detailed and analytical in nature. Introduction, background and explanation of the Hebrew are quite helpful. Pusey holds to the grammatical-historical type of interpretation until he gets into sections dealing with the future of Israel, and here Israel becomes the church in the amillennial vein." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)
C I Scofield
Outline & References
Today in the Word
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Comment: This Reference Tool will aid you in using Scripture to interpret Scripture. John MacArthur says that the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is "The one book, aside from the Bible itself, that I value most in my studies." Donald Grey Barnhouse testified to the value of using Scripture as a commentary on itself, remarking that "You very rarely have to go outside the Bible to explain anything in the Bible." See discussion of Comparing Scripture with Scripture.
|Nahum 1:1 – Today in the Word
Marian Anderson was a renowned African American contralto. Looking for a concert venue in Washington, D.C., her agent discovered that Constitution Hall, owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), was available only to white artists. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who was on the DAR board, resigned in protest and helped arrange for the concert to be held instead on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. On Easter Sunday, 1939, a record audience gathered there, with millions more listening on the radio. Anderson opened by singing, “My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.” Later she would sing at the inaugurations of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, among many other achievements and awards.
Anderson thought of herself as a musician, not a civil rights hero, but her story of achievement required perseverance, courage, and justice. The book of Nahum is also about courage and justice. It was risky for Nahum to prophesy judgment on Nineveh, because Assyria was a powerful empire known for its cruel treatment of defeated nations and leaders. This message of justice included God’s condemnation of Nineveh’s sin. More than a century after Jonah’s time, Nineveh was completely destroyed in 612 B.C. as an act of divine judgment.
As a prophet, Nahum is among those who constitute the foundation of our faith (Eph. 2:19–20). He ministered during the reign of Josiah, likely overlapping with a young Jeremiah. His name means “comfort” or “consolation” and his message of judgment on Assyria, which had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C., would certainly have been a word of comfort or consolation for Judah. Nothing is known about his hometown of Elkosh. The book of Nahum is not a narrative like Jonah, but rather resembles other prophetic books in that it is an “oracle” or a “vision,” meaning a prophetic message or sermon. Most oracles contain a message of blessing to balance the one of judgment, but that is not the case here.
Apply the Word
Each generation must take responsibility for its own moral and spiritual choices (Ezek. 18:20–24). In Jonah’s day, the people of Nineveh responded with repentant hearts to the word of the Lord. But the Ninevites of Nahum’s day made different choices and stood guilty before God. Their city would be permanently destroyed as a result of their wickedness. While past church leaders and revivals are a heritage from God, they cannot replace our responsibility to be faithful.
Apply the Word
God’s love cannot ignore or overlook sin. We should rejoice in divine justice and judgment because it represents the triumph of holiness. If these truths or the doctrine of hell are troubling you, consider doing additional Bible study on these topics. You might also read one of the books by C. S. Lewis mentioned above. The Screwtape Letters offer “advice” from a senior devil to a junior one, while The Great Divorce narrates a “bus tour” from hell to the edges of heaven.
C H Spurgeon
Morning and Evening
“God is jealous.” — Nahum 1:2
Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did he choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did he buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that he would not stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than you should perish, and he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and himself. He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon him, he is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend—worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, he is displeased, and will chasten us that he may bring us to himself. He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in him, and enjoy constant fellowship with himself; and many of the trials which he sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if he loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that he will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world!
In Thoughts for the Quiet Hour, C. H. Spurgeon wrote "The Bible is the writing of the living God." He explained that though "Moses was employed to write his histories with his fiery pen, God guided that pen. It may be that David touched his harp and let sweet psalms of melody drop from his fingers, but God moved his hands over the living strings of his golden harp. Solomon sang canticles of love and gave forth words of consummate wisdom, but God directed his lips and made the preacher eloquent. If I follow the thundering Nahum, when his horses plow the waters; or Habakkuk, when he sees the tents of Cushan in affliction; if I read Malachi, when the earth is burning like an oven; or the rugged chapters of Peter, who speaks of fire devouring God's enemies; if I turn aside to Jude, who launches forth anathemas on the foes of God—everywhere I find God speaking. It is God's voice, not man's." The Bible is the only book whose Author is always present when it is read.
September 21, 2006
The Good And The Bad
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble. —Nahum 1:7
Nineveh was in trouble with God. Big trouble! Despite the good work of the reluctant prophet Jonah, Nineveh had returned to its evil ways. The Ninevites had oppressed other countries, worshiped idols, and performed acts of cruelty.
God saw this evil, and through the words of Nahum He spoke of Nineveh’s coming destruction, using words such as wrath and vengeance. Nineveh was about to face judgment.
Why would God’s prophet tell the people of Judah about this? How could Nahum’s frightening words help those who lived in the Promised Land?
There is help for answering those questions in Nahum 1:7-8. His prophecy of the destruction of those who reject God stands in sharp contrast to God’s promise to those “who trust in Him.” The godly, rather than facing judgment, would be cared for. They would have a refuge in Him.
God is not one-sided. He provides refuge, help, and comfort for those who trust Him, and He also sends judgment against those who disobey His standards.
The message for us is the same as it was for Judah. Through trust and obedience, we can enjoy the comfort of God’s refuge—even in times of trouble. —Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe,
September 4, 2005
God Is Great, God Is Good
When we were children, my brother and I recited this prayer every night before supper: "God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for this food." For years I spoke the words of this prayer without stopping to consider what life would be like if it were not true—if God were not both great and good.
Without His greatness maintaining order in the universe, the galaxies would be a junkyard of banged-up stars and planets. And without His goodness saying "enough" to every evil despot, the earth would be a playground ruled by the biggest bully.
That simple childhood prayer celebrates two profound attributes of God: His transcendence and His immanence. Transcendence means that His greatness is beyond our comprehension. Immanence describes His nearness to us. The greatness of the almighty God sends us to our knees in humility. But the goodness of God lifts us back to our feet in grateful, jubilant praise. The One who is above everything humbled Himself and became one of us (Psalm 135:5; Philippians 2:8).
Thank God that He uses His greatness not to destroy us but to save us, and that He uses His goodness not as a reason to reject us but as a way to reach us. — Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
The first African ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Albert John Lutuli, a nephew of Zulu kings who himself was elected Chief. Born in modern–day Zimbabwe, he was in 1952 elected President of the African National Congress (ANC), which opposed the apartheid regime in South Africa. During Lutuli’s 15–year leadership of the ANC, their protests were mostly peaceful, including a bus boycott. One reason Lutuli fought for racial justice was his deeply held Christian faith. He said: “My own urge because I am a Christian, is to get into the thick of the struggle . . . taking my Christianity with me and praying that it may be used to influence for good the character of the resistance.”
As we see in today’s reading, justice was also one of the main concerns of the prophet Nahum. Chapter 1 is primarily a description of the character of God, as historically contextualized in His judgment on Nineveh. In the first part of the chapter, Nahum focused on the justice and power of the wrath of God, while in the second part he dealt more with God’s patience and holiness. In today’s reading, we find a poetic picture of a God who hates the worship of false idols, punishes sin, and feels righteous anger at evil (vv. 2–3a). He is slow to anger, great in power, and perfect in justice. We also find a poetic picture of God’s power, conveyed through natural imagery (vv. 3b–5). Like a whirlwind or fierce storm, God’s power is beyond human control. To say He can dry up seas and rivers and cause Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon (all fruitful places) to wither is to say He has control over even the elements of nature. It’s like saying He can wipe out the corn in Iowa or the oranges in Florida. This kind of absolute power inspires holy fear, as pictured in the mountains quaking and the hills melting.
To conclude, Nahum asks, “Who can withstand his indignation?” (v. 6). No one, of course. God’s wrath is like a consuming fire—it will destroy whatever He chooses. It made no difference that Assyria was a world superpower. This wicked nation would be utterly unable to stand against the righteous power of God.
Apply the Word
Some people want to ignore God’s wrath and judgment. They say there’s the “God of the Old Testament,” but the “God of the New Testament” is all about love. But there is only one God and He’s the God of the whole Bible. He’s merciful and loving in both testaments, and holy and righteous in both testaments. His holy wrath and judgment are found throughout Scripture. The fact that judgment is also a New Testament doctrine can be seen, for example, in Romans 2:1–10.
C H Spurgeon
“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power” (Nah. 1:3), but the greatness of His power brings us mercy. Dear reader, what is your state this day? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus and say, “My substitute, You are my rock, my trust”? Then, beloved, be not afraid of God’s power, for now that you are forgiven and accepted, now that by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice that He who is “great in power” is your Father and Friend.
C H Spurgeon
Morning and Evening
“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power.” — Nahum 1:3
Jehovah “is slow to anger.” When mercy cometh into the world she driveth winged steeds; the axles of her chariot-wheels are red hot with speed; but when wrath goeth forth, it toileth on with tardy footsteps, for God taketh no pleasure in the sinner’s death. God’s rod of mercy is ever in his hands outstretched; his sword of justice is in its scabbard, held down by that pierced hand of love which bled for the sins of men. “The Lord is slow to anger,” because he is great in power. He is truly great in power who hath power over himself. When God’s power doth restrain himself, then it is power indeed: the power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. A man who has a strong mind can bear to be insulted long, and only resents the wrong when a sense of right demands his action. The weak mind is irritated at a little: the strong mind bears it like a rock which moveth not, though a thousand breakers dash upon it, and cast their pitiful malice in spray upon its summit. God marketh his enemies, and yet he bestirs not himself, but holdeth in his anger. If he were less divine than he is, he would long ere this have sent forth the whole of his thunders, and emptied the magazines of heaven; he would long ere this have blasted the earth with the wondrous fires of its lower regions, and man would have been utterly destroyed; but the greatness of his power brings us mercy. Dear reader, what is your state this evening? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, “My substitute, thou art my rock, my trust”? Then, beloved, be not afraid of God’s power; for by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice that he who is “great in power” is your Father and Friend.
December 23, 2002
READ: Nahum 1:1-8
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. —Nahum 1:3
If you ever read the book of Nahum, you're likely to say, "There's not much joy in that book!" That's because Nahum spoke of the destruction of Assyria and its capital city Nineveh.
Nahum revealed the angry side of God as He railed against Assyria (2:13; 3:5). Many years before, in mercy and for His own purposes, He had sent the reluctant prophet Jonah to preach to Nineveh. At that time the people repented, and the city was spared.
Few things are worse than repenting of repentance, but that's what happened to Assyria. A later generation returned to their forefathers' wicked ways. Assyria then attacked Israel, and God determined to punish her.
"The Lord is slow to anger" (1:3). But He is just and will not let sin go unpunished (1:3-6). Nineveh was about to find that out.
Maybe that's why I was so disturbed after talking with an old friend. For many years he had professed to be a believer, but then he turned his back on Christ. His defection raises the question of whether he is a wayward Christian, or perhaps one who never truly believed. In either case, he will find out that the Lord does not let sin go unpunished.
Lord Jesus, I plead with You to protect me from ever repenting of my repentance. Amen.—David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Our sinful ways can sap our joy
God's Moral Integrity
The Lord avenges and is furious....
The Lord is good,...
and He knows those who trust in Him.- Nahum 1:2,7
Bertrand Russell became an atheist after he read the words of Jesus about hell. He apparently wanted a God who would never become angry or punish anyone. Dr. Russell certainly wouldn't like today's scripture reading, which speaks of God
as one who "avenges and is furious."
Personally, I would have trouble believing in a god who never became angry and didn't punish sin. Such a good God would not be a good God. What would you think, for example, of a witness to a brutal murder who felt no emotion and remained indifferent toward punishing the wrongdoer? Would you consider such a person a good person? Hardly!
God gives us a freewill and usually doesn't stop us from carrying out our wrong choices. But He does hold us accountable, and he will judge us.
In Nahum's day, the Ninevites were a cruel people who committed unbelievable atrocities. But the prophet assured the Israelites that God saw the wickedness of those people, was angered by it, and would just plain punish them.
I'm thankful that God possesses that kind of moral integrity. It gives me reason to trust him to keep all his promises, and it assures me that he will right all the wrongs of history. - Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Sometimes it seems that sin's ignored
The Loan will take vengeance on His adversaries (Nahum 1:2).
Nahum means "consolation, full of comfort." And that's what Nahum's message of doom upon Nineveh and Assyria brought to the people of Judah. Mighty Assyria had made Judah a vassal state, extracting heavy taxes and inflicting harsh slavery on them. With their security constantly threatened by pillaging raiders from Nineveh, God's people were asking, "Has Jehovah forsaken us? Why does an evil nation pros-per while we suffer?" Against this background—Assyria's pride, cruelty, and seemingly invincible power in contrast to Judah's forlorn hopelessness—Nahum thunders his prophecy: "Nineveh will fall! God has not forsaken His people."
Translating the prophet's message into today's language, it might sound something like this: "Might does not make right. Countries with the most nuclear weapons and the biggest armies are not exempt from divine wrath. Any nation that thwarts justice and oppresses people will ultimately fall into ruin—whether it be Libya, Russia, China, Great Britain, Germany, or the United States."
The next time the evening news shows a dictator living in luxury while the people languish in poverty or innocent victims suffer under the cruelty of tyrants, recall the message of Nahum. The sovereign Ruler of this world will have His day. Justice will prevail. What a Nahum. What a consolation. —D J De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The highways of history are strewn
God is Jealous
C H Spurgeon
Believer, your Lord is jealous of your love. Did He choose you? Then He cannot bear that you would choose another. Did He buy you with His own blood? Then He cannot endure that you would think you are your own or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that He would sooner die than you should perish. He cannot endure anything standing between Him and your heart’s love.
He is jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jer. 2:13).
When we lean on Him, He is glad. But when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely on our own wisdom or that of a friend, or worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, then He is displeased, and He will chasten us to bring us back to Him.
He is also jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in Him alone is true love. To fellowship with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, is grievous to our jealous Lord. He wants us to abide in Him and enjoy His constant fellowship. Many of the trials He sends are to wean our hearts from the creature and fix them more closely on Him.
Let this jealousy, which should keep us near Christ, also comfort us. If He loves so much as to care about our love, we may be sure that nothing will harm us, for He will protect us from all enemies.
May we have grace today to keep our hearts in a sacred purity for our Beloved alone. May we with sacred jealousy shut our eyes to all the fascinations of the world.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Nahum 1:3 The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm.
GOD’S dealings are often terrible. — He rides on the whirlwind, and wraps Himself in the storm. But the child of God looks beneath the dress to the Father’s heart, which beats with as much love when attired thus as when arrayed in the smiles of a summer eve. The whirlwind serves a useful purpose in cleaning the trees of rotten boughs, and searching the corners of fetid courts; the storm, in deluging the galleys and drains; the clouds, in forming the fertilizing showers on the thirsty land. God is in it all. God is behind the tempests that sweep over and desolate your life: this is his way; and the clouds that overcast your sky are the pavement of his feet; on our side they seem dark and lowering; but on the other side they are like burnished gold, as He steps across them. Whenever clouds are above, remember that God is at hand. They are the dust of his feet.
God’s way is generally hidden. — The clouds as dust conceal Him; but we must not dwell with melancholy foreboding on the clouds, as if they were all. God is behind them, working for us, coming to our rescue, showing Himself strong on our behalf. Whenever the clouds gather over your life, say God cannot be far off—see, the dust He raises in his mighty progress betrays Him.
God counts our great things as very trifling. — A cloud is a great thing to us; it sometimes seems to equal the Alps in magnificence, in height, in girth; but to God it is only as a grain of dust to us. Our difficulties, perplexities, and anxieties, are very little things to Him. With one movement of his hand He could sweep them away, as you can move dust-motes from your table. Trust Him! Your tears are much to Him; your difficulties nothing.
A Funeral Sermon
"The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet."—Nahum 1:3
Massillon, one of the famous divines of France, was called to preach the funeral sermon of the departed king. The vast cathedral was crowded. The reigning king, the royal family, the flower of the French nobility, and the members of the chamber were there. The solemn service was intoned. The organ reverberated its awful and impressive sound. The incense pervaded the atmosphere. The priests retired to their seats. The preacher ascended the pulpit. Massillon arose and stood amid that vast assemblage rigid and pale as a statue. A deathlike silence reigned as he stood there saying naught. His gleaming eye alone indicated self-possession. Solemnly he surveyed them all. Now his eye rested on the emblazoned banners and drooping ensigns—now on the glittering coronets of the nobles—now on the royal family, then on the king, until at length he fixed his gaze upon the coffin. Minutes passed. Some thought he was struck dumb before that august assemblage. At last he slowly raised his hand and turned his glance upon the king, saying, with infinite solemnity, "There is nothing great but God."
Today in the Word
Amy Carmichael’s life seems to have been directed by a series of specific verses from the Bible. We can see how Scripture influenced her life since she had the habit of noting in her Bible the lesson learned and the date it occurred.
When her father died when she was 18, her mother frequently quoted Nahum 1:7: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” This strengthened Amy’s already deep faith
When Elena Desserich was just five years old, doctors diagnosed her with pediatric brain cancer. Her parents didn’t tell her the news, but somehow she must have come to understand what was happening in the nine months before she died. After her passing in 2007, her parents and little sister found hundreds of her notes written on scraps of paper tucked in random corners all over the house. Elena loved to draw, and many of her notes featured purple hearts and the words, “I love you.” She had hidden them everywhere for her family to find.
Such incredible love in the heart of a dying child inspires awe. God’s love, the source and fountain of all human love, is awe–inspiring as well. In today’s reading, Nahum’s description of God’s character continues, this time focusingon His lovingkindness. He is good, a caring refuge for those who trust in Him (v. 7). This doesn’t mean He’s a pushover. He is just in His condemnation of Nineveh’s sin (vv. 8–10). And He is powerful—there is no escape from His judgment. To be enemies of the Lord is to be doomed. They will be burned up like stubble in a dry field. There is no way to resist His will. No plot can possibly succeed against His sovereign decree. Those who try will be caught in their own traps or made drunk by their own wine—that is, people will reap what they sow. To be God’s enemy is synonymous with being wicked, leading to the opposite inference that to be God’s friend is to pursue love and righteousness.
The identity of the “one” in verse 11 is uncertain. Some commentators think it was Sennacherib (1 Kings 19), while others speculate it might have been Ashurbanipal, the last great emperor of Assyria. In any case, Assyria had chosen the wrong “refuge” or stronghold, trusting in its military power above all. The city of Nineveh was well–known for its strong walls (see September 8). These, however, were nothing compared to the strength and power of God. No refuge is perfectly secure except Him (cf. Pss. 9:9; 46:1; 59:16).
Apply the Word
Reaping what one sows is a general moral principle God has built into the structure of the universe (see Job 4:8). This principle is not absolute, or we would all reap the penalty of death for our sins (Rom. 6:23). God’s grace and mercy rescue and redeem us from normal processes of cause and effect, and getting what we deserve. Even so, we are not to presume upon His grace but rather we are to live as those who have been freed from slavery to sin (Rom. 6:1–6).
Nahum 1:7, Ps 46:1
Memorizing Verses - In our church's vacation Bible school, one of the four-year-old boys rushed jubilantly to his father at the close of the evening's activities and announced proudly that he had learned his Bible verse—Psalm 46:1 "That's great, Jacob! Say it for me," replied his father, Harry. Jacob beamed as he said, "God is our refuge and strength, and our President's in trouble."
Just You and God
Our Daily Bread
My friend Ron wasn’t having a good week. His new job had thrust him in the midst of some people who were foul-mouthed, rude, and obnoxious. Ron is one tough guy, but after 2 months of working in that environment, he wasn’t sure he could tolerate any more ungodly, uncouth behavior.
Ron is by no means alone. Perhaps you too are in an environment that is not friendly to godliness—either at work, at home, or elsewhere. If so, what can you do? Here are some suggestions that may help you survive and even thrive:
Concentrate on God’s goodness and depend on it. Our circumstances do not change the truth that the Lord is good all the time (Nahum 1:7).
Stay true to your convictions. Daniel refused to give in when he was surrounded by the ungodly (Daniel 1).
Immerse yourself in the Bible. Listen to God in His Word. It will encourage you (Psalm 119:49-50).
Do good for those who oppose you. Return good for evil (Matthew 5:44).
Trust God to be your companion. He will never leave you. And He won’t forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
When it’s just you and God, that’s enough.
When we are weak and in despair,
Our mighty God is near;
He'll give us strength and joy and hope,
And calm our inner fear. —Sper
With God behind you and His arms beneath you, you can face whatever is before you.
Two Tails of One City
The book of Jonah has the makings of a great movie plot. It contains a runaway prophet, a terrible storm at sea, the prophet swallowed by a great fish, God sparing the prophet’s life, and the repentance of a pagan city.
But Jonah’s sequel—the book of Nahum—might not be so popular. Nahum ministered in Nineveh just as Jonah had, but about 100 years later. This time, the Ninevites had no interest in repentance. Because of this, Nahum condemns Nineveh and proclaims judgment on the people.
To unrepentant Nineveh, the prophet preached: “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked” (Nah. 1:3). But Nahum also had a message of mercy. To comfort the people of Judah, he proclaimed: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him” (v.7).
We see in the stories of Jonah and Nahum that with every new generation comes the necessity of an individual response to God. No one’s spiritual life can be handed off to another; we must each choose to serve the Lord from our own heart. God’s message is as fresh today as it was hundreds of years ago: judgment for the unrepentant but mercy for the repentant. How will you respond? - Dennis Fisher, Our Daily Bread
Your mercy, Lord, how great it is
Safest Place In A Storm
READ: Psalm 46:1-11
The safest place in South Florida during the hurricane season may be the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The $5 million structure boasts 10-inch concrete walls designed to withstand the force of 130 mph winds. Because the fierce storms come every year, the Center is there to provide a safe working environment for the people who monitor the weather and issue the warnings. When other residents leave, they must stay.
Just like hurricanes, the storms of our lives arrive with unnerving regularity. Often they strike without warning and linger without welcome, testing the limits of our faith and endurance. But God has given us a place of safety in the midst of our circumstances.
The prophet Nahum wrote,
And the psalmist confidently stated, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed" (Ps. 46:1-2).
God Himself is our center of safety. It is not our strength but His that shields us from the whirling winds of circumstance and change. — David C. McCasland
Give me a spirit of peace, dear Lord,
C H Spurgeon
Better Farther On
“Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee nomore.” —Nahum 1:12
THERE is a limit to affliction. God sends it and God removes it. Do you sigh, and say “when will the end be?” Remember that our griefs will surely and finally end when this poor earthly life is over. Let us quietly wait, and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He cometh.
Meanwhile, our Father in heaven takes away the rod when His design in using it is fully served. When He has whipped away our folly, there will be no more strokes. Or, if the affliction is sent for testing us, that our graces may glorify God, it will end when the Lord has made us bear witness to His praise. We would not wish the affliction to depart till God has gotten out of us all the honor which we can possibly yield Him.
There may today be “a great calm.” Who knows how soon those raging billows will give place to a sea of glass, and the sea birds sit on the gentle waves? After long tribulation the flail is hung up, and the wheat rests in the garner. We may, before many hours are past, be just as happy as now we are sorrowful. It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer. It is better on before. Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation.
Earlier this year, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) built the world’s most precise clock. It is an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom, and according to NIST measurements it won’t alter as much as one second in 3.7 billion years. By comparison, the current national clock for civilians, kept by a NIST–F1 cesium fountain clock, can keep to within one second for “only” 100 million years. The NIST physicists call their latest effort a “quantum logic clock.”
By any measure, Nineveh’s time had run out. God had been patient, but He is holy and will not tolerate evil forever. Though Israel was God’s chosen people, this hadn’t exempted them from His judgment on their sins. And though Assyria had been God’s instrument of judgment on the northern kingdom, this wouldn’t protect them from His judgment on their sins as well. Assyria’s military strength and numerous allies wouldn’t matter (v. 12). God’s judgment was a sure thing. This judgment would be more than a military defeat, though that was part of it. It would also be a spiritual defeat, in which false idols were destroyed and God’s supremacy vindicated. The prophecy included a cultural shocker—no descendants and a “vile” or “worthless” grave (v. 14). A family line or people group dying out was the worst fate imaginable.
Nahum spoke of Nineveh’s destruction as an accomplished fact (v. 15). From his point of view, the messenger was already arriving in Judah with the good news of peace—the good news that an antagonist had been defeated. For God’s people, it would be as though a yoke had been broken or chains removed (v. 13). The former conqueror, Assyria, would itself be overthrown and the nation would again be free to celebrate holy days and keep vows, that is, to pursue covenant faithfulness and worship the Lord. How complete would Nineveh’s destruction be? Centuries later, during a battle involving Alexander the Great, he would not even realize that it took place near the site of the former imperial capital.
Apply the Word
Nahum’s picture of the “one who brings good news” (v. 15) reminds us of a picture of a person who spreads the gospel. In the words of Isaiah: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim . . . salvation” (52:7; cf. Rom. 10:13–15). Having “beautiful feet” and actively sharing the good news of the gospel is the calling of every follower of Christ. Are we being faithful to bring life–giving news to others and glory to God?
C H Spurgeon
“For now will I break his yoke from off thee,and will burst thy bonds in sunder.”—Nahum 1:13
THE Assyrian was allowed for a season to oppress the Lord’s people, but there came a time for his power to be broken. Just so, many a heart is held in bondage by Satan and frets sorely under the yoke. Oh, that to such prisoners of hope the word of the Lord may come at once, according to the text: “Now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder!”
See! the Lord promises a present deliverance: “Now will I break his yoke from off thee.” Believe for immediate freedom; and, according to thy faith, so shall it be unto thee at this very hour. When God saith “now,” let no man say tomorrow.
See how complete the rescue is to be; for the yoke is not to be removed, but broken; and the bonds are not to be untied, but burst asunder. Here is a display of divine force which guarantees that the oppressor shall not return. His yoke is broken, we cannot again be bowed down by its weight. His bonds are burst asunder, they can no longer hold us. Oh, to believe in Jesus for complete and everlasting emancipation! “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Come, Lord, and set free thy captives, according to thy word.
Peace On Earth
"Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!"—Nahum 1:15
"At the close of the last war with Great Britain," says an American writer, "the prospects of our nation were shrouded in gloom. Our harbours were blockaded. Communication coastwise between our ports was cut off. Our immense annual products were mouldering in our warehouses. Our currency was reduced to irredeemable paper. Differences of political opinion were embittering the peace of many households. No one could predict when the contest would terminate, or discover the means by which it could much longer be protracted. It happened that one afternoon in February a ship was discovered in the offing, which was supposed to be a cartel, bringing home our commissioners at Ghent from their unsuccessful mission. The sun had set gloomily before any intelligence from the vessel had reached the city. Expectation became painfully intense as the hours of darkness drew on. At length a boat reached the wharf, announcing the fact that a treaty of peace had been signed, and was waiting for nothing but the action of our Government to become a law. The men on whose ears these words first fell rushed in breathless haste into the city to repeat them to their friends, shouting as they ran through the streets, 'Peace! Peace! Peace!' Every one who heard the sound repeated it From house to house, from street to street, the news spread with electric rapidity. The whole city was in commotion. Men bearing lighted torches were flying to and fro, shouting, 'Peace! Peace! Peace!' When the rapture had partially subsided, one idea occupied every mind. But few men slept that night. In groups they were gathered in the streets, and by the fireside, beguiling the hours of midnight by reminding each other that the agony of war was over, and that a worn-out and distracted country was about to enter again upon its wonted career of prosperity. Thus, every one becoming a herald, the news soon reached every man, woman, and child in the city, and filled their hearts with joy."
G Campbell Morgan
I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.—Nahum 1.14
This is the prophecy which sets forth, more clearly than any other, the truth concerning the wrath of God, in its national application. Its burden is that of vengeance. It contains three messages. The first is a statement of the verdict of vengeance (1); the second gives us the vision of that vengeance (2); the third is an argument in vindication of that vengeance (3). It was concerned with Nineveh, and was delivered almost certainly when she was at the height of her power. One hundred years before, Jonah had preached in her streets, and she had repented, and been spared. In the interval she had repented of her repentance, had continued her oppressions and cruelties. Her spirit had become incarnate in one who defied Jehovah (see Nah 1:11, the reference being to Sennacherib) ; therefore, the time of the "full end" had come. In these words we have sentence and verdict. The sentence was that this great and arrogant and brutal power should be buried, the verdict against her being that she was vile. Thus the Divine vengeance is revealed as to its principle of action and its completeness of execution. The whole message is remarkable for the care with which the prophet insisted upon the goodness of God, thus emphasizing the righteousness of His vengeance, in that it proceeds only against those who have finally resisted His mercy. But when that is done, then His wrath makes a full end; it is irresistible, complete, final. All this is good tidings. That pride and cruelty and vice are doomed, because God reigns, is certain, and the certainty is comfort indeed.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Nahum 2:2 The Lord bringeth again the excellency of Jacob.
Too long Nineveh had exerted her malign influence upon the fortunes of the chosen people;that, to use the expressive simile of Nahum 2:11, it had resembled a den of lions, whence ravenous beasts prowl forth to devour the villagers. The Assyrians, pouring forth from their mighty metropolis, had devastated the excellency of Jacob, the cry of the land had gone up to Jehovah; and He here declares his determination to quell the enemy and avenger, and to bring again the excellency of the people whom He loved.
It may be that you, too, have been carried into captivity, or devastated by strongly besetting sins; though you pray and yearn for emancipation, still you are kept low by the depredations of the power of evil. But be of good cheer; God is moving to your help. He is against those who are against you; He will bring again your excellency. He resembles the mother, whose child is smitten with small-pox. Does she love it less? Nay, but comes nearer, that they may fight the disease together.
You shall excel in faith when the hindrance is removed. The faith that once characterized you shall arouse with its former vigor, and make an open pathway down which heavens beat blessings may enter your life. At its summons the unseen will become more real than the seen, and God will be all in all. You shall excel also in hope. This is the realizing faculty, accepting the assurances of faith, following them as the beacon-lights that guide weary sailors; for hope is more than faith, as the artist is more than the preparer of colors. You shall also excel in love. When self-will looses its hold upon the soul, love springs spontaneously from its soil.
G Campbell Morgan
She is empty and void and waste, and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and anguish is in all loins, and the faces of them all are waxed pale. Nahum 2.10
These words describe the effect of the Divine vengeance, as manifested in the city and the people. The condition of the former is set forth with graphic force in three words, "empty, void, waste." There is the utmost of finality in this collocation of words. Nothing remains to be said. The proud city, of splendid architecture, of accumulated treasure, of the utmost luxury, is seen as a dreary, degraded desolation. The literal fulfilment of this Divine sentence is a matter of history. The condition of the people as the result of the vengeance is described with equal force. When the Divinely appointed scourge fell in hammer blows upon the vile nation, the heart melted, that is, in-ward courage failed; therefore, the knees smote' together, that is, outward courage failed; anguish was in all loins, that is, the vital forces were filled with agony; and the faces of all waxed pale, that is they paled in death. What a commentary this prediction, and its historic fulfilment,are on the exclamation of the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." These aspects of the Divine government abide. He is still "slow to anger," but when men or nations persist in wickedness in spite of His patience, then still "with an overrunning flood, He will make a full end." And again we say, this certainly gives the trusting heart comfort and courage. However proudly evil rear its head and vaunt itself, it is doomed.
After finishing dead last among the 32 teams in the 1998 World Cup, no one expected much from the U.S. men’s national soccer team in 2002. Their first opponent, Portugal, was widely considered a dark horse favorite to win the tournament. So when the Americans scored three goals in the first half against the overconfident Portuguese and went on to win the game 3–2, the sports world was stunned! The U.S. team made it to the quarterfinals that year in their best modern World Cup showing ever.
The phrase “how the mighty have fallen” describes the Portuguese defeat in that memorable soccer match, as well as the conquest of Nineveh in today’s reading. Though God’s righteous judgment of Nineveh was clear in chapter 1, Nahum wasn’t ready to leave the topic just yet. Chapter 2 gives us a vivid narrative of the city’s downfall. We might imagine that the messenger of Nahum 1:15 has arrived and is delivering this news or telling this story to a highly appreciative audience. First, there is an announcement, a mocking warning to Nineveh to brace for an attack (v. 1). The narrative then mentions the big picture of national Jewish restoration (v. 2) before picturing the arrival of an impressive enemy army at the gates of Nineveh (v. 3). The battle is soon over in the city’s outer section, as the invaders’ chariots roam freely through the streets (v. 4). Behind the inner walls, things aren’t going well either. Elite Assyrian troops stumble on the way to their defensive positions (v. 5).
Nineveh’s final defeat is pictured in terms of water, as if the city was being swept away by a flood (v. 6). The palace collapses, the battle is lost, the city is plundered, and the people are exiled (vv. 7, 9–10). In fact, many historians believe the Babylonians used the Assyrians’ own dams against them to damage their fortifications. By opening floodgates on the Khoser River, they may have won a swift victory. In a powerful final image that is then true both literally and figuratively, Nineveh spirals down the drain (v. 8).
Apply the Word
Biblical prophets often spoke of the future they were predicting as if it had already happened. They knew they were speaking the absolutely true and unbreakable word of the Lord. Speaking of prophecies as accomplished involved no risk whatsoever. That’s how sure God’s promises are! As Joshua told the Israelites: “Not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed” (Josh. 23:14). What good promise of God do you need to believe today?
Lions were a symbol of the Assyrian Empire in Bible times. A pair of enormous stone lions, for example, stood on either side of the entrance to a temple dedicated to Ishtar, Assyrian goddess of fertility and warfare. The lions measured eight–and–a–half feet high and more than seven feet across. Their mouths were open, as if they were roaring, and their expressions communicated power and ferocity. Written on one lion was a prayer to Ishtar as well as a record of a particular king’s achievements. The temple was excavated in 1849 in northern Iraq, and today that lion can be seen in the British Museum in London.
Knowing that lions symbolized the Assyrian Empire shows today’s reading to be highly ironic. Like a marauding lion, Assyria had been on the prowl, hunting and conquering other nations. In Nahum’s prophecy the tables are turned and the hunter becomes the hunted; the fearless become the fearful. “Where now is the lions’ den?” (v. 11) is a taunting question. To American ears this might sound like something we would describe as unsportsmanlike trash talk, but culturally and literarily it was an appropriate way to highlight the meaning of this significant event. The overthrow of Nineveh meant that God’s words were true and His sovereignty absolute. To look at this in terms of the overall biblical storyline, the supreme lion is the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ (Rev. 5:5).
Assyria would experience a complete reversal of fortune (v. 12). What a contrast with the Nineveh of Jonah’s day—from hearts open to God’s tender mercies to hearts determined to set themselves up against God Himself. Once powerful, Nineveh would become helpless. Once rich, it would be plundered. Once in pursuit of fresh prey, it would become the prey of others. Once a place of security and stability, it would soon see war refugees fleeing for their lives. How would all this happen? Why would chariots go up in smoke? Why would the army be defeated? Why would the empire’s political power vanish? The reason was God’s fearsome statement, “I am against you” (v. 13).
Apply the Word
The results of opposing God are always disastrous. To reject His Word and His gospel is to make oneself His enemy. “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). One might expect to lose when pitting human knowledge against God’s wisdom and human power against His might. So why do people do it? They are irrational and prideful—sins that can characterize whole societies (like Nineveh) as well as individuals (like Jonah).
In 1839, the Amistad sailed for Cuba with a shipload of African slaves. The captives, led by a man known as Cinque, escaped from their chains and took over the ship. As seen in an award–winning movie, also called Amistad, they then attempted to return to Africa but were captured by the U.S. Navy and imprisoned while the case was investigated. Spain tried to pressure President Martin Van Buren into extraditing the group so they could be tried for piracy and murder, but abolitionists succeeded in having the case tried in the United States. Two years after the original mutiny, the Supreme Court finally ruled that they had been taken captive illegally and were thus free to go. Justice had been done!
In vivid and intense language, Nahum 3 reiterates the justice of God’s judgment on Nineveh and poetically addresses the reasons for it—which is, in short, their sins. This “city of blood” (v. 1) was guilty of cruelty, pride, idolatry, deceit, and witchcraft, and one gets the feeling that Nahum’s list is a sampler, not a complete record. The Lord’s justice would be poetic: Sins done in private would be made public. Shamelessness would be shamed. “I will pelt you with filth,” said God, “I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle” (v. 6). This may sound extreme, but the literary device of hyperbole (exaggeration for effect) reflects the true heinousness of Nineveh’s sins.
Assyria was not just a superpower, but a sadistic and evil one. History testifies to their bloody cruelties. They are alleged to have cut off enemies’ hands, feet, and noses; gouged out their eyes; flayed or skinned them alive; ripped open pregnant women; beheaded and then burned the bodies in huge piles; and carried out many massacres. Their lust for power is comparable to a lust for sex—the “harlot” (v. 4) is probably Ishtar, goddess of both fertility and war. Given all this, it’s no surprise that no one will mourn the destruction of Nineveh, no one will offer words of comfort. Instead, Assyria’s former victims will rejoice in their liberation (v. 7).
Apply the Word
Justice is often about reaping what we sow. Sowing the wind, the Assyrians were bound to reap the whirlwind (Hos. 8:7). We need to remember, though, that God can and does break this pattern with His mercy and grace. He can make it so that “those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy” (Ps. 126:5). In Christ, He has made it so that those condemned to death can receive eternal life (John 3:16).
G Campbell Morgan
Whence shall I seek comforters for thee?.—Nahum 3.7
The final message of Nahum was concerned with the righteousness of the wrath of God, and is a vindication of the activity of His vengeance. It alternates between descriptions of Nineveh's vice, and Jehovah's judgment. To study it, is to be convinced that the vice demanded the vengeance. In the presence of corruption so complete, of cruelties so brutal, of depravity so profound, any other method than that of a vengeance so complete as to blot out the plague, would have been injustice. In this question there is revealed a principle often insisted upon by these Hebrew prophets. The idea is that in the overthrow of Nineveh, all nations would agree. None would bemoan her. None would pity her. None would be found to comfort her. The principle is that in the underlying conscience of man the sense of justice is never destroyed; and that means that the beauty of righteousness is recognized, and the repulsiveness of evil is admitted. This is ever so. Men and nations go in evil ways, and persist therein; but they do so, knowing the wrong of it. For some fancied temporary advantage, they sin against this deep conviction; but it is still there, and it surges to the surface when the wrath of God proceeds in vengeance; and it always agrees with the rightness' of His action. When the full process of the Divine government has completed its work, the whole universe will agree with its righteousness and its judgment. That which then is doomed, will .be so, not by God only, but by the consent of the whole creation.
The survey discussed earlier on September 9 suggested that Americans are mixing and matching their religious beliefs for personal reasons. Another recent survey focused on American “millennials”—the generation born about 1980 that came of age at the turn of the millennium—sees a similar decline in orthodox Christian beliefs: Twenty–six percent of this generation are not affiliated with any church or faith tradition, even though 41 percent pray daily and 53 percent are “certain God exists.” Only 18 percent attend any worship service weekly. Among all Americans, more than half say they combine their religion with New Age and Eastern beliefs such as astrology and reincarnation.
Although these numbers show a thirst for spirituality, God will not bless those who make up their own truth. They will reap what they sow, just as in today’s reading. This passage is another reminder that God’s judgment is certain because His power is absolute. If the Ninevites doubted, all they needed to do was remember
Thebes (vv. 8–10). Thebes, located about 400 miles south of Cairo on the eastern bank of the Nile River, was the capital of Upper Egypt. Defended by many moats and canals and with strong allies, Thebes was nonetheless destroyed by Assyria in 663 B.C. Assyrian records contain many details of this great victory, such as the exile of the city’s people, the enslavement of its nobles, and the slaughter of its infants. Jeremiah (46:25) and Ezekiel (30:14–16) both prophesied about this.
Nahum’s point was that Nineveh would suffer the same horrifying, humbling fate (vv. 11–13). Though now on top of the world, they would soon be running and hiding like refugees or like women (given that war was a “manly” pursuit in that day and age). Their defenses would fall like ripe figs—a startling simile, like comparing nuclear missiles to dandelion seeds blown away by the wind. Furthermore, the figs do not merely drop and spoil, rather, they are hungrily and effortlessly devoured, just as Nineveh would be by the armies of Babylon.
Apply the Word
In the face of temptation, let us pray our defenses do not drop like ripe figs! When under spiritual attack we must “put on the full armor of God.” We are to “stand firm” with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and other spiritual truths pictured as pieces of military equipment. Behind the shield of faith, we are safe from the “flaming arrows of the evil one,” and with the “sword of the Spirit” we can disarm him (Eph. 6:10–18).
How can a loving God judge and destroy? This question applies not only to the city of Nineveh in today’s passage but also to the doctrine of hell. Writer and apologist C. S. Lewis explored this issue in his books The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce. He argues that those condemned to hell get not only what they deserve but also what they have chosen. In The Great Divorce he wrote: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self–choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”
One of the challenges of faith is to come to terms with truths that at first glance seem appalling. Judgment and hell are among these. Today’s final reading in the book of Nahum again describes the defeat of Nineveh (vv. 14–15). Though Assyria was a commercial empire and center of world trade, it would be devoured by locusts, as it were. Merchants would take what they could and run (v. 16). Political leaders would disappear during the crisis (vv. 17–18). While a king named Ashur–uballit would try for several years to keep the empire going from another city, Nineveh’s defeat would essentially be the death blow (v. 19). No one would grieve, for “who has not felt your endless cruelty?” The book ends with one of the many rhetorical questions, an effective literary technique in this prophecy.
How are we to respond to the fact that Nineveh was completely wiped out? It was never rebuilt, though archaeologists discovered its ruins in 1842. Was this overkill on God’s part? Not at all. The wonder is that He waits so patiently and offers so much mercy in the face of human wickedness! If we had a true sense of His holiness and our own sin, we would, like Isaiah, fall to the ground in reverence for Him and in horror with ourselves: “Woe to me!” (Isa. 6:5).
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Nahum 3:19 There is no assuaging of thy hurt; thy wound is grievous. (r.v.)
This is one of the greatest chapters in Old Testament prophecy. Nahum the Elkoshite was a man of uncommon power of imagination and force of eloquence. His denunciation of Nineveh is remarkably forcible and eloquent. You can almost hear the crack of the whip, the rattling of wheels, and see the heap of corpses that block the passages. Every traveller, from Layard downwards, has attested the literal fulfillment of these predictions. For Nineveh, from the time of her fall to the present, has been utterly waste. Her hurt has never been assuaged. A scar upon the earth’s surface alone marks her site.
From such a spectacle we may well turn to our beloved country, and seriously question whether we are doing all that we can to stay a similar fate. There are many signs that she is being swept along in the same stream as has borne many mighty nations down to ruin. The growing luxury of the rich; the abject poverty of the poor (a child was burned in Whitechapel the other day through the mother having to sell the fire-guard to buy bread); the gross impurity and immorality of our streets; the increasing desecration of the Rest Day; and the overwhelming bill for drink—these things cannot be unpunished. May we not indeed fear that God will soon rise against us? Let us use our influence as citizens, and our prayer as saints, to avert a fate which if it comes will be irretrievable.
Ah, reader, is this thy case? Hast thou an inward hurt, of which no balm or medicine has brought assuagement? Hast thou a wound, so grievous that no art has sufficed to heal it? Take it to the Living Savior. Each of his miracles, in the days of his flesh, has a spiritual counterpart
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.— Nahum 1:7
HERE we come upon an island in Nahum's stormy lake. All is calm in this verse, though the whole context is tossed with tempest.
The text is full of God, and brims over with his praise.
I. GOD HIMSELF "Jehovah is good."
1. Good in himself essentially and independently.
2. Good eternally and unchangeable.
3. Good in each person: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
4. Good in all his acts of grace.
5. Good in all former acts of providence.
6. Good in his present act, be it what it may.
7. Good for a stronghold: to be trusted in trouble.
8. Good to his own people, who find their goodness in him.
Let us praise him as good in the most emphatic and unlimited sense.
Whoever else may or may not be good, we know that the Lord is good. Yea, "there is none good but one, that is, God" (Matt. 19:17).
II. GOD TO US. "A strong hold in the day of trouble."
1. Under special circumstances our resort.
The day of trouble, when trial is special and vehement.
The day of trouble: temporary, but yet long enough to last through our life unless the Lord prevent.
The day of trouble: when within, without, around, there seem to be only care, and fear, and want, and grief.
2. Securing our safety at all times: for a stronghold is always strong, even when there is no immediate war.
3. Maintaining our peace. Within the walls of a castle men walk at ease, for they are shut in from enemies.
4. Defying our foes, who dare not attack such a fortress.
5. Abiding for ever the same: always a sure refuge for the needy.
Let us run to him, as the poor people of the open country fly to the walled towns in the time of war.
III. GOD WITH US. "He knoweth them that trust in him."
The term "he knoweth them" includes—
1. His intimate acquaintance with their persons, conditions, etc.
2. His tender care to supply all their necessities.
3. His divine approval of them. To others he says, "l know you not" (Luke 13:25).
4. His loving communion with them, which is the best proof that they are known to him, and are his beloved friends.
5. His open acknowledgment: he owns them now, and will confess them before assembled worlds (Rev. 3:5).
Let us believe in the goodness of the Lord even when we cannot discern it with the eye of sense.
Let us fly to his protection when storms of trouble fall.
Let us confide in his loving care when hunted by our enemies.
Let us take care that we rely upon him, in Christ Jesus, for salvation.
The only place of safety in this world is the one in which we are sure to meet God, and to be "under the shadow of his wing." The Bible sets forth, in grand metaphor, this idea, by speaking of a "fortress into which the righteous runneth, and is safe"; and of a strong tower;' and of the shadow of a great rock." When we were in the Yosemite Valley, lately, our driver told us of a series of terrific earthquakes, which visited the valley several years ago. The few inhabitants who dwelt there were thrown out of their beds in the night. Frail cottages were overturned. Loose rocks were hurled down from the precipices into the valley. These shocks were repeated for several days until the people were panic-stricken and ready to despair. "What did you do?" we inquired. The driver (pointing to the mighty and immovable rock, El Capitan, which rises for three thousand feet on the south side of the valley, and has a base of three solid miles) replied: "We determined to go and camp under old Capitan; for if that ever moved we knew the world would be coming to an end." — Dr. Cuyler
Tamar may disguise herself, and walk in an unaccustomed path, so that Judah may not know her; Isaac, through the dimness of his sight, may bless Jacob, and pass over Esau; want of time may make Joseph forget, or be forgotten of, his brethren; Solomon may doubt to whom of right the child belongeth; and Christ may come to his own, and not be received: but the Lord knoweth them that are his, and his eye is always over them. Time, place, speech, or apparel cannot obscure or darken his eye or ear. He can discern Daniel in the den; and Job, though never so much changed, on the dung-hill. Let Jonah be lodged in the whale's belly, Peter be put into a close prison, or Lazarus be wrapped in rags, or Abel rolled in blood, yet can he call them by name, and send his angels to comfort them. Ignorance and forgetfulness may cause love and knowledge to be estranged in the creature, but the Lord is not incident to either, for his eye, as his essence, is everywhere; he knoweth all things. — Spencer's "Things New and Old"
A safe stronghold our God is still,
Many talk of trusting God when indeed they know nothing of real faith. How are we to know who is, and who is not, a believer? This question is hard to answer in times of prosperity, but not in the day of trouble: then the true truster is calm and quiet in his God, and the mere pretender is at his wits' end. Our text seems to hint as much. Everybody can find a bird's nest in winter when the trees are bare, but the green leaves hide them; so are believers discovered by adversity. One thing, however, should*never be forgotten: whether we know believers or not, God knows them. He does not include one hypocrite in the number, nor exclude one sincere truster, even though he be of little faith. He knows infallibly, and universally. Does he know me, even me, as one of those who trust in him? The Lord knoweth them that are his, and they know him as their stronghold. Have I such knowledge?