"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Nahum - The Fall Of Nineveh (1:1-3:19)
INTRODUCTION 1. At the same time Jeremiah and Zephaniah were pronouncing judgment against Judah, another prophet was directing his attention at one of her enemies 2. The prophet was Nahum, whose name means "Consolation" a. The name "is in a sense symbolical of the message of the book, which was intended to comfort the oppressed and afflicted people of Judah" (Eiselen) b. Concerning the MAN 1) His home was Elkosh, of which little is known - Nah 1:1 2) Some think that Capernaum (lit., "village of Nahum") may have been his birthplace 3) He was contemporary with Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah b. Concerning his MESSAGE 1) His message is usually dated around 630-612 B.C. a) The northern kingdom of Israel was already in Assyrian captivity b) Assyria itself was still a world power, though in a state of decline 2) The theme of his message is simple: "The Fall Of Nineveh" a) This makes his work a complement to that of Jonah b) Though by this time no mercy would be shown, judgment would be final [The book of Nahum can easily be divided into three sections which coincide with the three chapters. In the first section we find...] I. NINEVEH'S DOOM DECLARED A. THE CHARACTER AND POWER OF THE LORD... 1. God's vengeance, even though He is slow to anger - Nah 1:1-3a 2. The fierceness of His anger described - Nah 1:3b-6 3. The goodness of the Lord, as a stronghold to the faithful - Nah 1:7 4. The pursuer of His enemies - Nah 1:8 B. THE COMPLETE OVERTHROW OF NINEVEH... 1. She will not afflict again, despite her plotting against the Lord - Nah 1:9-11 2. Judah will be delivered from Nineveh's affliction - Nah 1:12-13 3. Nineveh's destruction has been commanded by the Lord - Nah 1:14 4. There shall be good tidings in Judah, she can keep her feasts- Nah 1:15 [Having "declared" Nineveh's doom in the first section, we now find...] II. NINEVEH'S DOOM DESCRIBED A. THE SIEGE AND CAPTURE OF THE CITY... 1. Furious preparation for the battle is described - Nah 2:1-4 2. Resistance is futile, captivity has been decreed - Nah 2:5-7 a. Note verse 6: "The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved" b. "The Babylonian Chronicle tells that Nineveh fell because the flooding rivers made breaches in the city's defenses." (Believers' Study Bible) B. THE UTTER SACK OF THE CITY... 1. Her inhabitants flee, the city is plundered - Nah 2:8-10 2. Her destruction will be complete, Nineveh as a dwelling of devouring lions will be no more - Nah 2:11-13 [Thus far, Nineveh's doom has been "declared" and "described" by Nahum. In the third and final section, we find him saying...] III. NINEVEH'S DOOM DESERVED A. BECAUSE OF HER SINS... 1. Her woe will be due to her sins - Nah 3:1-4 2. The Lord will uncover her shame and make her a spectacle - Nah 3:5-7 B. SHE IS NO BETTER THAN NO-AMON... 1. Nineveh is no better than No-Amon (Thebes in Egypt) - Nah 3:8 2. Who despite her strength, was carried away into captivity - Nah 3:9-10 3. So it will be with Nineveh - Nah 3:11 C. HER STRENGTH AND WEALTH WILL NOT SAVE HER... 1. Her strongholds will fail - Nah 3:12-13 2. All her efforts, her wealth, her army, will be futile - Nah 3:14-17 D. HER END HAS COME... 1. Her leaders are dead, her people scattered - Nah 3:18-19a 2. Those who hear of her fall will rejoice - Nah 3:19b CONCLUSION 1. The message of Nahum for the people of God is one of consolation... a. That those who afflict God's people will be judged - Nah 1:2-3; cf. Lk 18:7-8 b. That God is a stronghold in time of trouble - Nah 1:7; cf. Ps 27:5 -- Are you trusting in God as your Stronghold? 2. The message of Nahum for those who do evil is one of warning... a. Don't rely on what mercy was shown to your ancestors (e.g., as in the days of Jonah) b. The Lord may be merciful and slow to anger, but the day of judgment does finally come! -- Are you trusting in what your parents or ancestors may have done, to escape the judgment of God? This message of Nahum is reminiscent of the words of Paul: "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." (Ro 11:22) Let us be sure to "continue in His goodness", lest we too experience the "severity of God"!