Nahum (Overview)

Who was Nahum?
The Biblical book of Nahum was recorded by the prophet Nahum, whom the book refers to as an Elkoshite (1:1).

Where was Nahum from?
No one is certain as to the whereabouts of Elkosh. One theory suggests that this city, where Nahum was from, during the times of Jesus, came to be known as Capernaum, alongside the sea of Galilee for Capernaum means the village of Nahum.

When was the book of Nahum written?
It is a hypothesis that the book of Nahum was written sometime between 663 B.C. and 612 B.C. for Nahum refers to the fall of No Amon (or Thebes) in ancient Egypt (3:8) which happened in 663 B.C. while at the same time predicted the fall of Nineveh (Capital city of Assyria), which happened in 612 B.C., when the Babylonians overthrew Assyria.

Why was the book of Nahum written?
In 722 B.C., the Assyrians had taken the Northern kingdom of Israel captive and were pursuing to take over the land of Judah during the reign of king Hezekiah (701 B.C.). Once when the Assyrians had attempted to take Judah captive, God intervened miraculously and 185 thousand Assyrians in their camp were defeated by the angel of the Lord (Isaiah 37:36) and the evil king of Assyria, Sennacherib, returned to Nineveh. Now Assyria continued to pursue and oppress Judah. Not only did they afflict Judah, the Assyrians afflicted several other nations  and countries, as the book ends with the question as to “over whom has not the wickedness of the Assyrians passed over continually?” (3:19; Isaiah 37:18).

One one hand, while the book of Nahum may seem like it was written as a warning to the evil Assyrian kingdom, this book is more of a message of comfort of the Lord to the people of Judah. Jonah, the prophet had already brought the message of warning to the people of Nineveh, which they heeded and repented, a little over a century before Nahum. But the people of Assyria had returned to their violent, idolatrous, and evil ways and were oppressors of the people of God, when Nahum sees the vision of their utter destruction, a message that would bring comfort and solace to those who were being oppressed (such as Judah).  Nahum means “comfort (of Yahweh)” or “compassion” and the main theme in this book is that God is compassionate (slow to anger – 1:3) who will not afflict his people anymore for their own sins (1:12) by subjecting them longer under the hands of the oppressors (Assyria), but God will be the comfort of his people, as he takes revenge on those who have oppressed them (1:2).

What can we learn from it?
Chapter 1 portrays a JEALOUS God, while
chapter 2 and 3 portrays a JUDGING and JUST God.

There are a few key verses in this book and two of note are “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” (Nahum 1:15) and “For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.” (Nahum 1:13).

The first (Nahum 1:15) is a messianic prophecy that was fulfilled in Jesus, who brought good news to the earth, for the angels sang at his birth, “Peace on earth and goodwill to all men.” (Luke 2:14) and his feet walked the way to calvary’s mountain, who by his death on the Cross published a peace (Luke 1:17) that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), completely destroying the wicked one (the devil) and utterly cutting him off i.e., destroying the devil and his works (1 John 3;8). Jesus brings freedom to all those who are spiritually in bondage in sin, by breaking the yoke from them and bursting their bonds in sunder. The Holy Spirit of Jesus is the comfort of God who is now sent unto us, when we believe in Jesus (John 14;16).

Points to ponder:
Do you have peace, that only Jesus can bring? Are you in comfort i.e., do you have the Comforter in you? Trust in the Lord and believe in Jesus Christ so that you may be comforted by his Holy Spirit and have the peace that passeth all understanding.

Nahum 1:13, 15 (KJV)
13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.

15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

Jesus in the OT :: Nahum

The book of Nahum gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the Old Testament (O.T).

The Hebrew word Nahum which means “Comfort” or  “Consolation” is a shortened form of Nehemiah which means “Comfort of Yahweh”.  Nineveh is a great city in Assyria which is the sister state of Babylon. Assyria was a military state, while Babylon was the merchant state. Nineveh is the city to which Jonah was commissioned to preach, and when he did, the entire nation (starting with the then king) repented and God relented from executing his judgment on them. But now a hundred years later, Nineveh had returned to its wicked ways and are violent, idolatrous and arrogant in their ways, elevating themselves to be as God where they declare of themselves “I AM and there is no other” (Zechariah 2:15), oppressing God’s people, so much so that God’s judgment falls to the comfort of Judah and Nineveh is destroyed with no trace whatsoever (no longer on the face of the map).

Not only is this book about physical freedom, but it also talks about Christ and His mission as the one who frees us all from Spiritual bondage. Jesus said I have come to set the captives (those in bonds) free (Luke 4:18) and that His yoke is light (Matthew 11:30). He is the GREAT I AM, the Comfort of Yahweh. 

In Nahum, Jesus is God’s consolation, the Comfort of Yahweh, The Yoke breaker and bearer, the one who sets those in bondage free.

Luke 4:18 (KJV)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.