God says Assyria will fall
Don’t mess with God1Nahum, from Elkosh, had a vision about Nineveh. The message he received is recorded in this book.
2God expects loyalty.
He punishes people who make him angry.
The LORD is hard on his enemies.
He makes them pay.
3The LORD is slow to get angry.
But though he’s patient, he’s powerful, too.
He won’t give guilty people a pass.
He rides on winds of the storm.
He leaves clouds in his wake
As the dust from his feet.
4He scolds the sea and dries it.
He drains the rivers into walking trails.
He wilts the fields of Bashan and Carmel
And fades the flowers of Lebanon.
5Mountains tremble in front of him.
Hills collapse and fall.
The ground heaves in rolling quakes,
Shaking the earth and all upon it.
6Who could handle the heat of his anger?
Who could survive its fire?
He pours wrath like buckets of flame.
Rocks crumble into the dust.
God is our safehouse7The LORD is good.
He’s our safehouse in dangerous times.
He protects those who come to him.
8He’ll order a flood to wipe out the enemy.
He’ll send them running to darkness.
Trying to outsmart God9Why do they try to outsmart the LORD?
He’ll beat them every time.
Then when he’s done,
They’re done for good.
No second chance for them.
10He’ll leave them as staggering drunks,
Pitiful souls tangled in thorns,
Destroyed like straw in a blaze.
11The troublemaker is gone,
The evil one who tried and failed
To maneuver the LORD.
Your strong enemy will drop and die12Here’s what the LORD says:
Your enemy is strong,
And there are a lot of them.
But they’re going to drop and die.
I used them to punish you.
But I won’t do that anymore.
13Your enemy locked a yoke around your neck,
And drives you like an ox.
I’m removing the yoke
And setting you free.
14The LORD issued this order about the enemy:
Your families will die,
Carved idols disappear.
I’m preparing a grave for you now
Because you’re worth nothing
But a hole in the ground.
15Look there on the hills.
A messenger is coming.
He’s going to deliver good news.
Go ahead, Judah, celebrate your festivals.
Make your vows to the LORD.
Your enemy will never come back.
They are as good as dead and gone for good.
Location unknown. Three other prophets identified their hometowns: Amos of Tekoa, Micah of Moresheth, Jeremiah of Anathoth. Yet some scholars say they wonder if Elkosh ever existed. But according to some ancient Jewish scholars writing in the Targum, a collection of Jewish Bible commentaries, Elkosh might be a symbolic way of describing what God was going to do to Nineveh. Elkosh is a Hebrew wordplay that means “God is harsh.”
Bashan became home to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. They said they liked this land east of the Jordan River because it was good for grazing their livestock. So, Moses assigned it to them (Numbers 32:33).
Mount Carmel is a mountain range with fertile, sloping hillsides south of the sprawling Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. This is where the prophet Elijah took on Queen Jezebel’s prophets of Baal, a Canaanite god, in a battle of the gods. The LORD dominated Baal in a quick takedown (1 Kings 18:16-45).
This is a perplexing line. More literally, it reads: He’ll put an end to her place.” It’s unclear who the “her” is and what “her place” might be. One guess is that the woman refers to Assyria’s capital city of Nineveh and its preferred goddess, Ishtar. If so, “her place” is darkness because God is going to put her lights out. Babylon will flip the switch when it captures Nineveh.
Readers in Nahum’s day may have thought the troublemaker was the Assyrian king, Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-19:37).
God had a contract with the Jewish nation. The agreement says God will protect and prosper them when they obey but he’ll punish them when they reject his laws for living. Perhaps the harshest threat is that God will allow invaders to defeat them and then deport them (Deuteronomy 28:36). Assyrians did that. So did Babylonians after them.
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