Introduction to Nahum

The name of Nahum means “comfort,” and his very name must have given comfort to the nation of Judah as he predicted the imminent destruction of her inveterate enemy, the unspeakable Assyrians, with their mighty capital, ancient Nineveh. Nahum is called an “Elkoshite,” but the location of Elkosh is unknown. Many think Elkosh was later renamed Kaphar Nahum (“the Village of Nahum”) in his honor. This city was known as Capernaum, in Galilee, in New Testament times. If so, Nahum was a native of the northern kingdom of Israel, but moved to Judah after the Assyrian invasion and destruction of Israel.

His entire prophecy is an indictment of Nineveh and a prophecy of its soon-coming judgment. Although it is not mentioned by Nahum, it had been about 150 years since Nineveh’s king and people had all repented of their wickedness and turned to the Lord at the preaching of Jonah. Since that generation, however, Nineveh and the Assyrians had descended into greater depths of cruelty and evil than ever, and God’s could no longer tolerate such sinfulness. He used Assyria to punish Israel, but now Assyria’s time had come, and Nahum’s prophecy announced it in no uncertain terms.

Although some have suggested Nahum prophesied during the reign of Hezekiah in Judah, the evidence seems to fit better the closing days of Josiah’s rule. In any case, Nahum’s prophecies against Nineveh were completely fulfilled.

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