Category: Book of Nahum


The book of Nahum ends with a rhetorical question regarding the reason for Nineveh’s coming destruction: “Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?” The statement “Nothing can heal your wound” indicates that Nineveh’s sin was unforgivable. Does this principle apply to individuals? Is there a point at which we can no longer be forgiven?

The question in this verse highlights the atrocities that Nineveh was guilty of. When God says that their “injury is fatal,” He is stressing the certainty of their demise. Nineveh will reap what they have sown (Galatians 6:7).

However, it’s important to remember that God had previously shown mercy to Nineveh when its people repented. In 760 B.C., about a century before Nahum’s prophecy, Jonah preached that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days (Jonah 3:4). What happened? The people turned from their sin: “And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them” (Jonah 3:5). God spared the Nineveh of Jonah’s day, but the Nineveh of Nahum’s day rejected any opportunity they had to repent.

The Bible contains many examples of God’s compassion on those willing to trust Him and repent of their sin. Luke 15 offers three illustrations of God’s desire to redeem the lost: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In each case, the Lord rejoices over the one who comes to Him.

God offers forgiveness to all who will ask it of Him (Isaiah 1:18). First John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is those who claim to be sinless or who refuse to ask for forgiveness who miss out on God’s cleansing.

The night before Jesus died on the cross, He shared a meal with His followers. At that time, “He took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:27-28). God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the cross to provide forgiveness for our sins (John 3:16).

The only point at which it is too late to be forgiven is the point of death. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” At death, believers in Christ will spend eternity with Him. Unbelievers, who have rejected God’s offer of forgiveness, will have no more opportunities to change their minds. That is why 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Now is the day of salvation.”

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Author: The author of the Book of Nahum identifies himself as  Nahum (in the Hebrew “Consoler” or “Comforter”) the Elkoshite (1:1). There  are many theories as to where that city was though there is no conclusive  evidence.  One such theory is that it refers to the city later called Capernaum  (which literally means “the village of Nahum”) at the Sea of  Galilee.

Date of Writing: Given the limited amount of  information that we know about Nahum, the best we can do is narrow the timeframe  in which the Book of Nahum was written to between 663 and 612 B.C. Two events  are mentioned that help us to determine these dates. First, Nahum mentions  Thebes (No Amon) in Egypt falling to the Assyrians (663 B.C.) in the past tense,  so it had already happened. Second, the remainder of Nahum’s prophecies came  true in 612 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: Nahum did not write  this book as a warning or “call to repentance” for the people of Nineveh. God  had already sent them the prophet Jonah 150 years earlier with His promise of  what would happen if they continued in their evil ways. The people at that time  had repented but now lived just as bad if not worse than they did before. The  Assyrians had become absolutely brutal in their conquests (hanging the bodies of  their victims on poles and putting their skin on the walls of their tents among  other atrocities). Now Nahum was telling the people of Judah to not despair  because God had pronounced judgment and the Assyrians would soon be getting just  what they deserved.

Key Verses: Nahum 1:7, “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of  trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”

Nahum 1:14a. “The LORD has given a command concerning  you, Nineveh: ‘You will have no descendants to bear your name.’”

Nahum 1:15a, “Look, there on  the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace!” See  also Isaiah 52:7 and Romans  10:15.

Nahum 2:13a,  “’Behold I am against you,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Nahum 3:19, “Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is  fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for  who has not felt your endless cruelty?”

Brief Summary: Nineveh once had responded to the preaching of Jonah and turned from their evil  ways to serve the Lord God Jehovah. But 150 years later, Nineveh returned to  idolatry, violence and arrogance (Nahum  3:1-4). Once again God sends one of His prophets to Nineveh preaching  judgment in the destruction of the city and exhorting them to repentance. Sadly,  the Ninevites did not heed’s Nahum’s warning and the city was brought under the  dominion of Babylon.

Foreshadowings: Paul repeats Nahum 1:15 in Romans 10:15 in regard to  the Messiah and His ministry, as well as the apostles of Christ in His time. It  may also be understood of any minister of the Gospel whose business it is to  “preach the Gospel of peace.” God has made peace with sinners by the blood of  Christ, and has given to His people the peace that “transcends all  understanding” (Philippians  4:7). The preacher’s work is also to “bring glad tidings of good things”  (KJV), such as reconciliation, righteousness, pardon, life, and eternal  salvation by a crucified Christ. The preaching of such a Gospel, and bringing  such news, make their feet beautiful. The imagery here is of one who runs to  others, eager and joyful to proclaim the Good News.

Practical  Application: God is patient and slow to anger. He gives every country  time to proclaim Him as their Lord. But He is not mocked. Any time a country  turns away from Him to serve its own motives, He steps in with judgment. Almost  220 years ago, the United States was formed as a nation guided by principles  found in the Bible. In the last 50 years that has changed, and we are turning  daily in the opposite direction. As Christians it is our duty to stand up for  biblical principles and scriptural truth, for Truth is our country’s only  hope.