Study 1 From the Book of Nahum is: Nahum 1
- What do we learn in this chapter about God (a) in relation to His own people, and (b) in relation to His enemies? Cf. Lk. 18:7, 8; 2 Thes. 1: 8; Nu. 14: 17, 18; Ps. 46:1.
- Nineveh’s boastful spirit is seen in Is. 36:18-20; 37:23-25; Zp. 2:15. But how does Nahum regard her in relation to God’s power? See verses 3b-6, 9-12a, 14; and cf. Ps. 37:35, 36
- Consider how verse 7 is illustrated in the story of 2 Ki. 18 and 19, which happened less than a century before Nahum’s time. Have you your own illustration to give out of your own experience?
- Verse 1. ‘an oracle concerning Nineveh’, or ‘The burden of Nineveh’: see Note on Je. 23:33-40. Where ‘Elkosh’ was is not known with certainty; it may be in Judah.
- Verse 2. ‘A jealous God’: behind this description lies the figure of the marriage relation used in Scripture of Israel’s relation to God. ‘Just as jealousy in husband or wife is the energetic assertion of an exclusive right, so God asserts and vindicates His claim on those who belong to Him alone.’ Or, in terms of kingship, it is His ‘passionate determination that His sovereignty be recognized among all men, to the benefit of the humble and loyal among his subjects and the confusion of the presumptuous.’ Cf. 34:14; 1 Cor. 10: 20-22.
- Verse 7. ‘Knows’: i.e., takes care of.
- Verses 8-10. The translation here is often difficult: see mg. The RSV too readily follows alternative readings. In verse 8 read with mg. ‘her place’ i.e., probably the sanctuary of Nineveh or its goddess Ishtar. Verse 10 has been rendered (cf. mg.): ‘Though tangled as thorns, and drenched as their drink, they shall yet be consumed as stubble fully dry’. (Eaton), i.e., however tricky an enemy (for men) to deal with, God’s flame will run through them like dry stubble.
- Verse 11. Possibly a reference to Sennacherib Cf. Is. 10:7-11.
- Verses 12, 13 and 15 are addressed to Judah, and verses 11 and 14 to Nineveh.
- Verse 12b. rv mg. reads: ‘So will I afflict thee, that I shall afflict thee no more’ (i.e., I shall not need to’). Cf. Verse 9. Then the verse is addressed to Nineveh.
- Verse 14. ‘vile’ here does not mean depraved, but rather abject, reduced to the meanest condition.
- Verse 15. The ‘good tidings’ is the news of Nineveh’s downfall.