How ironic that Nahum’s final oracle would begin with advice on how to prepare for the onslaught. It’s like warning the enemy because what’s coming is just that horrible. I think of the countless flyers the United States dumped from the air over Japan before sending the deadly bombs that ended World War II.
Do you think Nahum intended to give them another chance to redeem themselves? He was certainly making a personal effort to protect them, even though there was no chance for survival. Nahum must have had some difficulty in proclaiming such a message. Bricks would not save them!
Continue reading “Nahum 3:14-19 – Getting Personal”
The city of Thebes was the center of the Egyptian Empire for nearly 1400 years! They fell at the hands of the Assyrians in 663 B.C. Yet Nahum boldly asks Nineveh, “Are you any better than the city of Thebes, situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water?” Of course, arrogant Nineveh would answer, “Yes! We defeated them, didn’t we?” Yet Nahum taunts them just the same using yet another metaphor.
Nahum’s provocation is not meant to compare the relative strengths of the two empires, but to announce that human might is nothing compared to God’s power. This oracle is directed at Nineveh’s false sense of security. They apparently thought they were immune to the wrath of God. We probably know plenty of people even today that have that same false sense of security.
Continue reading “Nahum 3:8-13 – False Sense of Security”
I just learned that this part of Nahum’s prophecy is referred to as a “woe oracle.” As such, it has two parts, and woe oracles are directed to those doomed by God, including the judgment pronounced on foreign nations, like Nineveh. We understand the word “woe” to be the state of distress and extreme grief. The two sections of this type of oracle are (1) accusation and (2) announcement.
The “accusation” states what evil has been done. What wrongs do we see highlighted here? “Nineveh, the beautiful and faithless city, mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty. She taught them all her magic, enchanting people everywhere.” The results of their evil schemes are also given.
Continue reading “Nahum 3:1-7 – Woe is Me”
Read Nahum 2:1-13
It’s not easy to read about the destruction of human life, even when those humans had been oppressive enemies of God’s people. They had their triumphs in this world, but their time was done. Completely done.
Justice. The Assyrians who had been ruthless to Israel and Judah would now be silent. God allowed and orchestrated their demise at the hands of the Babylonians, the same empire who trampled on Judah. Such an interesting time in history with profound messages from our Creator.
Continue reading “Nahum 2:1-13 – Nineveh’s Demise”
Our last reading set the theological context for what Nahum’s message is all about. In this reading, we see clearly two messages, one to Nineveh and one to God’s people, Israel. The same message was heard differently, depending on the perspective. God’s promise of hope and doom were wrapped up in this communication.
Despite the viewpoint, God’s prophecy must have sounded unbelievable. The might of the Assyrian empire was seemingly invincible. The people would see this prophecy play out and realize that God was not only true to his word, but that he was truly invincible. That’s the picture I have of God and I don’t need to witness the crumbling of a mighty nation to understand. The oracle pronouncing this judgment on Assyria would bring peace, freedom, and restoration from the oppression God’s people had endured.
Continue reading “Nahum 1:12-15 – Hope & Doom”