THE BOOK OF NAHUM
Very little is known of Nahum the writer except that he was a native of Elkosh, which probably was a village in Galilee. It is thought that he prophesied in the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and that he was a contemporary of Isaiah and Micah.
The message of Nahum is one of judgment directed against Ninevah. As a Gentile city, it had turned to God at the preaching of Jonah, but some one hundred and fifty years afterwards has so apostatized that Nahum spoke only of its coming destruction. The destruction took place about one hundred years later, and exactly as predicted.
The book is one continuous train of thought and does not lend itself to any natural divisions.
In Ch. 1, reference is made to the jealousy of God, v.2. He had done much for Ninevah in the day of her former impending judgment, but in return had been treated with great indifference.
The prophet’s message was not another call to repentance but an unrelieved warning of judgment, v.9. When the people are guilty of apostasy there is no remedy that can be offered. In all such circumstances in the Word, there is always an ending judgment, and a new beginning on a better foundation. In v.15, the future evangelistic ministry is briefly stated and a call is given to Judah to be true to the Lord.
Chapter 2 is sometimes quoted by present day preachers a meaning the jostling of automobiles on our highways. Strictly speaking, it refers to the overthrow of Ninevah, and the many chariots, which tore through her streets at that time, vs.4,8,13. For the great wickedness which Ninevah had practiced, she was not to be spared, Ch.3:1, 5-7, but would be laid waste even as other cities which had suffered a similar overthrow.
The great ethical lesson, which we learn from Nahum, is that God is not only “slow to anger”, and “a stronghold to them that trust Him”, but also One who “will not acquit the wicked”, Ch.1:3. When once a person responds to God’s call and receives His gracious pardon he is altogether to blame for falling away, and will surely have to bear the consequences.