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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Nahum 1

Verses 1-14

CHART

NAHUM--PROPHESIES JUDGMENT ON NINEVEH

Chapter I

I. His Prophecy of Inevitable Judgment:

a) The Character of the Judge, v. 1-7.

b) The Verdict Pronounced on Nineveh, v. 8-14.

c) Deliverance Proclaimed for Judah, v. 15.

Chapter 11

II. The Execution of Judgment on Nineveh:

a) Nineveh First Warned, v. 1-7.

b) Nineveh Captured, v. 8-12. c) Nineveh Totally Destroyed, v. 13.

Chapter III

III. The Vindication of Judgment:

a) Three indictments Against Nineveh, v. 1-16.. b) The Permanent Nature of Her Destruction, v. 17-19.

WHO SPEAKS?

Nahum, the prophet, is the writer of this book. Of his person little is known. In Nahum 1:1, he is called the Elkoshite, which indicates that he was a native of Elkosh, believed to be in the country known later as Galilee; and Capernaum may have been named for him. The name "Nahum" means "consolation." It is believed that he was born in Galilee later moved to Judea.

TO WHOM?

The burden of Nahum’s message is addressed to, and concerned the city of Nineveh, for more than one hundred years a famous city and capitol of the Assyrian Empire; and it also concerns the soon destruction and fall of the Empire.

ABOUT WHAT?

The theme and burden of content of Nahum’s prophecy concerned the irrevocable decree of God to destroy Nineveh and eventually the Assyrian Empire. Some one hundred and fifty years earlier He had spared Nineveh because of her repentance, at the preaching of Jonah; But her more adamant pursuit of idolatry and moral and ethical decay had now caused God to decree her destruction forever, as also foretold Zephaniah 2:13-15; Jonah 3:10; Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:32. When Nineveh repented at Jonah’s preaching God spared her in mercy. But her moral and religious violence had become so great this time that God gave her no place for repentance, but to judgment doom, much as Esau found no place for repentance, Hebrews 12:16-17. This book is a counterpart of the Book of Jonah. No call is herein given to repentance, Nahum 1:9.

The book has three parts: 1) First, the introduction and proclamation of inevitable judgment upon Nineveh, 2) Second, the calamity that is come upon Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire, and 3) Third, a summary of why these judgments are coming and of the permanent nature of them.

WHEN?

The book was written about 630 B.C., soon after Isaiah and Micah, after the captivity of the 10 northern tribes of Isarel 721 B.C., and after the destruction of the army of Sennacherib, at the walls of Jerusalem, 712 B.C.

WHAT WAS THE OCCASION?

The book was written and prophecy recorded not only to show the holiness, mercy, and justice of God but also to offer assurance to Israel in captivity, that God’s covenant with their people was irrevocable, and they would have eventual redemption. That peace and redemption would again come to Israel was held out to them in captivity, along with the destruction sign of Nineveh and Assyria, Nahum 1:9; Nahum 1:15.

Nineveh, founded by Nimrod shortly after the flood, had, from her beginning, been a rival of Babylon, down the Euphrates valley to the south, about 300 miles, Genesis 10:11-12. Nahum compares her with a den of ravenous lions, feeding on the blood of nations, ch. Nahum 2:11-13. The city had walls 100 feet high, that extended 8 miles in length, around the heart of the city. The walls were wide enough for 4 chariots of horses to race abreast, at the top of the walls. The city fell about 607 to 612 B.C.

NAHUM - CHAPTER 1

THE HOLINESS OF JEHOVAH-GOD

Verses 1-14:

The Character And Nature Of Jehovah-God, v. 1-14

Verse 1 begins, "the burden of Nineveh," which may be considered as the theme of the book, it was a heavy burden of prophecy, laid on Nahum, by the Spirit to announce judgment doom to this capital city of Assyria and her entire Empire. A report of judgment or chastening is never relished by the receiver. Therefore it was a heavy load for Nahum to deliver and heavier still for Nineveh and Assyria to receive. It is declared to be a vision (Divinely given) to Nahum. For God did speak to His prophets in ancient times through visions and in varied ways, Hebrews 1:1; 2 Peter 1:21; Isaiah 6:1-8.

Verse 2 describes the character of God as burning against those who hate Him, or take His Holiness lightly, in a fickle way, Deuteronomy 6:15. Nahum asserts that the holiness of God’s nature requires that He execute judgment upon those who willfully, impudently disregard His laws. The idea is that men and nations can not sin without punishment, Numbers 32:23; Psalms 103:9; Jeremiah 3:5; Jeremiah 3:12; Micah 7:18.

Verse 3 asserts that God is slow (not impulsive) to anger, and mighty in power, and will under no circumstance acquit or overlook, (let go free) the guilty without punishment, Exodus 20:7; Exodus 34:6-7; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 103:8-9; Jonah 4:2. His power is expressed as His having His way in (control over) even the whirlwind and the storm, while the clouds are as dust of His feet, as He walks about upon the clouds, Psalms 18:7; Psalms 97:2; Habakkuk 3:5; Habakkuk 3:11-12. See also Proverbs 10:25. He is Lord of even the clouds.

Verse 4 ascribes to the omnipotent God, the power of drying up the bottom of the sea by a rebuke (the word of His mouth), as well as all the rivers, and by His own will, Exodus 14:21-22; Exodus 14:29; Exodus 15:19; Matthew 8:26; 1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 17:7. God’s judgment on Israel had already been evident in His drying up the brooks and rivers of Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon, so that life of plants, beasts, and people already languished or had suffered in each of the places, Joel 1:10; Hosea 14:7; Isaiah 33:9. Like Jesus He is Master of the sea, Matthew 8:26.

Verse 5 further describes natures response to His will, when His anger, fury, or revenge for sin is given, as mountains quake or tremble, hills melt, and the earth and all therein is singed or burned at the presence of His judgment wrath, Psalms 89:20; He is described as coming in "flaming fire to take vengeance on them who obey not the gospel," at the end of this age, when He comes to be glorified in His saints, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.

Verse 6 raises the question of just who can stand before His indignation wrath or who can reside (exist) under the fierceness of His anger. The answer is no one, except by His mercy, Malachi 3:2. Like liquid volcanoes that melt rocks, will be the heated anger of God upon His impenitent, obdurate, adamant, unbowing enemies, until each does bow, 1 Kings 17:11; Jeremiah 7:20; Jeremiah 23:29; Jeremiah 51:25-26.

Verse 7 asserts that the Lord is good, a strong hold, a fortress or source of strength in the day of trouble, on whom the obedient may lean and trust, Lamentations 3:25. It is further affirmed that He knows, is cognizant of, or recognizes those who trust in Him, Hosea 13:5; Psalms 1:6; Psalms 2:12; 2 Timothy 2:19; Proverbs 3:3-5.

Verse 8 both warns and affirms that God will, however make an overflowing, flooding, totally inundating and to the callously rebellious Ninevites, without further mercy, toward either them or their nation of Assyria, when invading armies shall sweep over their land, Isaiah 8:7-8; Habakkuk 3:10; Daniel 2:25; Daniel 9:27.

Verse 9 asks the Ninevites and Assyrians to answer just what kind of a defense they imagine they can raise to ward off the volcanic anger of Jehovah’s vengeful wrath, that they have contemptuously incited against themselves, through their immoral, irreligious, and heathen bent idolatrous conduct. God has vowed a second time to make a total end to Nineveh, the capitol of Assyria; and this time He vows not to turn away from executing that wrath to the destruction of both Nineveh and the nation of Assyria, Isaiah 37:23-29; Isaiah 51:17-23; 2 Samuel 20:10; Psalms 2:1.

Verse 10 describes these Ninevites as folded or entwined together, as a twisted braid of thorns, to be thrown into the lire; So closely were they in colleague of sins against God, as if to present a sharp threat against their foes, 1 Chronicles 4:27. But God made the thorn you see, as well as the fire, with which He could and was prepared to consume them, 2 Samuel 23:6-7. Even in their drunken stupor, as drunkards in their vain boasts of imagined wisdom and power, God threatened and affirmed that He would destroy them like stubble that is fully dry, or like drunkards, 2 Samuel 23:6-7. In just as certain a judgment and manner all the wicked who obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ shall one day be destroyed, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.

Verse 11 focuses attention on one who had come out from among the Ninevites, imagining wicked things against the Lord, even the wicked counselor, Sennacherib, whom the Lord had already utterly destroyed, as Nineveh and Assyria’s chief leader and warrior, 2 Kings 19:22-23. He had counseled them, with wicked council, to follow Belial, the worthless one, and overthrow the kingdom of God, from earth’s center at Jerusalem, but he had been there destroyed, Isaiah 36:14-20; 1 Samuel 25:25; 2 Corinthians 6:15.

Verse 12 then warns that though their marshaled, armed men, might be many and quiet or covert in their wicked designs, they too were just as certain for absolute defeat to be cut down as Sennaherib and his marauders against Jerusalem were destroyed, cut down like a razor cuts, Isaiah 7:20, in one night like stubble, v. 9-11. God then turns back to Judah and comforts her with hope that though He had once afflicted her with the Assyrian foes, He would do it no more.

Verse 13 pledges to Israel that God will break the Assyrian yoke of tribute and embondagement from her, never to permit her to be in bondage under Assyria again, Isaiah 10:27; Jeremiah 2:20. Never would Judah pay tribute to Assyria again, 2 Kings 18:14.

Verse 14 assures that the name and power of Assyria is to become extinct, and the name or dynasty of her race should no more be sown to perpetuate the houses and temples and religion of her idolatrous gods, 2 Kings 19:18; Isaiah 37:38; Job 31:6. God vowed to put the Assyrian nation and her vile molten image gods into their graves forever, Deuteronomy 27:15; Exodus 20:1-5; Exodus 20:23; Exodus 34:17; Leviticus 19:4; Leviticus 26:1; See also 2 Kings 19:37; Job 31:6; Daniel 5:27. All false gods are found wanting, Psalms 115:5-9.

Verse 15

Judah Liberation Proclaimed, v. 15

Verse 15:

Verse 15 is a part of chapter two, in the Hebrew text. The verse describes good tidings for Judah, by watchmen upon the mountains, as they brought the news, good tidings, of the defeat of Sennachrib and Assyria, from the battle at Jerusalem’s walls. They published peace again, Judah was now called upon obediently to resume her solemn feasts, and perform her ancient vows to Jehovah: For the wicked leader of Belial, v. 11, had now been cut off, This alludes to the gospel of liberation that Jesus brought, when He was raised with great power, effecting evidence of His power of salvation from death, the grave, and from Hell, quoted by Paul, Romans 10:15; See also Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 60:13-14; Psalms 22:16; Revelation 1:15.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Nahum 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/nahum-1.html. 1985.