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Nothing is known of the personal history of this prophet: he is called 'the Elkoshite,' which is supposed to refer to a place named Elkosh in Galilee. There is no reference to dates in the prophecy, but it is generally placed at about B.C. 714, when Sennacherib invaded Judaea. 2 Kings 18:13 . The prophecy is against Nineveh, and foretells its destruction, though, like other prophecies, it has an application to the future, when 'Assyria' will again be the open enemy of Israel.

The prophecy opens with the character of Jehovah in government. He is slow to anger, but He is jealous, and His revenge is furious. He is good, and a safe refuge in the day of trouble for those that trust in Him; but, as to His enemies, with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of their place. Not only is the destruction of Nineveh foretold, but the Assyrian nation also should come to a full end.

One who had come out to oppress Israel, was a wicked counsellor, who imagined evil, not only against Judah, but against Jehovah: he should be cut off. Compare the insulting language of Rab-shakeh, the general of the king of Assyria: at first he said that Jehovah had sent him, and then treated the God of Israel as no better than the heathen gods, who had not been able to protect their worshippers. 2 Kings 18:25,32,33 . But there was good news for Judah; God would break the yoke of Assyria off their necks. They might keep their solemn feasts. The enemy should no more pass through. What took place in Hezekiah's day was but a type of the latter-day fulfilment of this chapter: cf. Nahum 1:10 and 2 Kings 19:35; and in this way we see the scope of prophecy and not simply the immediate events that gave rise to it.

Nahum 2 concerns the city of Nineveh directly. God had allowed Jacob to be disciplined and 'emptied out;' but now Nineveh must be dealt with. It is exhorted to make good its defence, yet the gates of the rivers should be opened, and the palace should be dissolved. Here it is not the 'gates of the city,' as when Babylon was taken, but 'the gates of the rivers.' This may refer to the Tigris and the canals that watered the city. The overflowing river, it is said, caused a breach in the sun-dried brick walls.

"Huzzab shall be led away captive." Nahum 2:7 . This name is supposed by some to be symbolical of Nineveh, the one 'established,' or 'held to be impregnable,' as in the margin; others, however, believe it refers to the reigning queen, who should be led captive with her maids. The spoil which had been taken in many wars was great, but should now enrich others. The reference to the lions, and the strangling, and the filling the dens with ravin, possibly applied to the cruelties which the Assyrians inflicted on their prisoners, and which are depicted by themselves on their monuments. Truly, as said in Nahum 3 , it was a 'bloody city.' The following verses, as also Nahum 2:3,4 , show that it was a warlike nation, ever seeking to enrich itself by the spoil of other nations, among which were Israel and Judah. It should not only be brought down, but should be made vile and a gazing-stock. Nahum 3:8-10 show that as 'populous No' (the renowned Thebes, with its hundred gates), had been brought to nought (probably by Sargon, king of Assyria), so should Nineveh fall. The gates of the land should be left open for their enemies, and as the cankerworm, the locust, and the grasshopper destroy vegetation, so should be their desolation. Fire is spoken of several times, and the explorations that have been made at the ruins of Nineveh abundantly prove that fire did its destructive work. The denunciations close with, "There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?" The ruins show how complete and lasting was God's judgement on the guilty city. See NINEVEH.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Nahum'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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