The prophecy of Nahum 1
The book Nahum spoke of the coming fate of Nineveh the capital of Assyria. Because of this, the prophecy of Nahum harmonized with the message of Jonah, who preached repentance to Nineveh. And because Nineveh’s people repented, the city was saved.
However, Assyria again fell into sin, and it was Nahum’s burden to predict the divine sentence of its ruin. Nineveh’s cup of iniquity was great and their idolatry had reached its fullness. The kings of Assyria defied the God of heaven and His power, placing the Creator of the universe on par with their idols (2 Kings 18:33–35; 19:8–22).
Nahum the prophet prophesied about the soon destruction of the city of Nineveh. The prophet viewed the fall of Nineveh as still future (Nahum 3:7), and thus a date for his prophecy could be around 640 B.C.
Nineveh was Judah’s enemy. In 722 B.C., the Assyrians had overcome the northern kingdom of Israel, destroying Samaria, its capital. And in 701 B.C., the Assyrians almost overcame Jerusalem, the capital of Judah.
So, Nahum wrote of God’s anger against Nineveh saying: “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies” (Nahum 1:2).
Then, the prophet predicted a future time of peace for Judah after God’s judgement would fall on that city saying:
“Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off”.Nahum 1:15
After God’s judgment was passed on Nineveh and with the restoration of peace, it would once more be possible for the people of Judah to celebrate the great religious festivals (Exodus 23:14–17; Leviticus 23:2; Deuteronomy 16:16). Nahum called his people to enter fully into the spirit of these sacred events in order that God might bless and prosper the nation. In gratitude for their deliverance, the Israelites were to redeem the vows they had made in times of distress and affliction.
As God predicted, the destruction of Nineveh took place in 612 B.C. by the Medes. At that time, Judah was delivered from its most deadly enemy. And the report of this news brought relief to everyone in Judah.
Although the prophecy of Nahum 1 specifically points to the fall of Assyria, the prophet’s words may also be taken as descriptive of the final end of all the evildoers in the world, of whom Assyria is a type. The revelation of God’s power in Nahum 1 will be seen in a much greater presentation at the time of the second coming of Christ.
At that time, the wicked will be eventually eradicated from the earth in the Great Judgment. And they will never live again (Psalm 37:6–11, 38; Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3:10–13; Revelation 20:12 to 21:5). Then, it will be true that the “affliction” of sin will never “rise up a second time” to distress God’s universe (Nahum 1:9).
In His service,