Nahum 3:15-17 – Cankerworms, Locusts and Grasshoppers


In verses 15 through 17, of chapter 3, the prophet Nahum brings the word of the Lord God using the imagery of insects – specifically the cankerworm, locusts and the grasshoppers. Nahum 3:15-17 reads “15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts. 16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away. 17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

The Biblical cankerworm is a reference to the larval stages of a locust, which like its adult form, has a voracious appetite, feeding and spoiling all vegetation, in the fields they invade. Verses 15 and 16 speaks of the invading Medo-Babylonian army as cankerworms and locusts that shall devour the vile Assyrian rulers and people. Even if the Assyrians made themselves as many cankerworms and as many locusts, the invading army of the Medo-Babylonians shall still prevail. They shall spoil (plunder) and flee with (take away) the uncountable merchandise (wealth) of the Assyrians, who had multiplied as merchants greater in number than the stars of heaven (Genesis 15:5). The Medo-Babylonian army shall invade Assyria just like a plague of locusts (Exodus 10:1-20), devastating all that they will come across.

Interestingly now, God through his prophet Nahum, in verse 17, uses the same species of insects to describe the Assyrians as he did of the Medo-Babylonians army. The crowned (royal princes of Assyria) are compared to locusts and their captains to great grasshoppers. Locusts have been observed to have their flight impeded when the temperature falls below a certain range but when the sun rises, they fly away. The nobles and the rulers of the land of Nineveh, are like these locusts that are immobile during the night and when the  sun rises, they fly away leaving and not looking back at their city and/or its people (Nahum 2:8).

Points to ponder:
One of the many plagues, ,that the Lord God sends to show his people, and the Egyptian Pharoah and the Egyptians, that he was the Lord, and that he would deliver his people from slavery (Exodus 7:3-5, Exodus 10:2), was the plague of locusts. God sends the Medo-Babylonian army as cankerworms and locusts, to comfort his people ,by affirming that the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and he knows those who trust in him (Nahum 1:7). God likens the vile Assyrian rulers and captains to locusts and grasshoppers to demonstrate that when it is dark and cold, even the great rulers are immobilized and lifeless before the living God and when the light shines, they are no where to be found.

Are you a spiritual slave in bondage to sin? Are you being oppressed seeking the Lord as your stronghold? Do your oppressors seem like they can take your life out of you? If so, take comfort and remember that the Lord is a good God who delivers. He is a stronghold in the tempestuous and trying situations of life and he can immobilize the forces that are against you, if you trust in him, for he knows you – and guess what, he may even use cankerworms, locusts and grasshoppers to prove himself to you.

Nahum 3:15-17 (KJV)
15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.
16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away.
17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

Nahum 1:7 – The Good Lord is a strong hold and he knows


Nahum 1:7 reads, “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Many times, in Psalm 136, we are counseled to give thanks to the LORD for he is good (Psalm 136:1-26). Jesus said, that he is the good Shepherd and he knows his sheep (John 10:14). Sheep trust their Shepherd to keep them safe, secure and satisfied for the good Shepherd leads his sheep by still (peaceful) waters and green (productive) pastures. Sheep that wander away are lost but the good Shepherd comes seeking for the lost (Luke 15:4-7). Many a times, like sheep, we wander away from the presence of God and get lost, but because the Lord is good, and he knows who are his (2 Timothy 2:19), he instructs sinners (us) in his ways (Psalm 25:8). Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness (2 Timothy 2:19).

God is a strong hold – he is a strong foundation and his solid foundation stands firm (2 Timothy 2:19). He holds on strongly to those who trust in him amidst the tempestuous storms of troubles, that buffet against their lives. Because God is the stronghold in the times of troubles, the Lord is the Salvation to the righteous (Psalm 37:39), who trust in him and who believe in his name. When the shepherd boy David faced the giant Goliath, he went forth holding on to the name of the Lord (1 Samuel 17:45) and God held on to him as he faced the giant, giving him victory, which in human minds seemed implausible and impossible.

Points to ponder:
Jesus is the good Shepherd coming in search of you and me. Only in him, can we be safe, secure and satisfied. We who confess his name, must turn away from wickedness and hold on strongly to him. He will never leave us nor forsake us and he will hold on to us strongly, and is therefore our Salvation, no matter how gigantic our troubles may be.
O taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), bless is the man who trusteth in God, for God knows them that trust in him. Does God know you?

Nahum 1:7 (KJV)
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

2 Timothy 2:19 (KJV)
19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.

Psalm 34:8 (KJV)
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.