Nahum 1

The Word Made Fresh

1Here is an account of what the prophet Nahum of Elkosh has seen concerning Nineveh:

2The LORD God is a jealous God of vengeance and wrath,
enraged against God’s enemies.
3The LORD may be slow to anger, but is mighty in power,
and will by no means pardon the guilty.
The LORD is in the whirlwind and in the storm.
The clouds are but the dust from God’s feet.
4God speaks out against the sea and dries it up
along with all the rivers.
Bashan and Carmel shrink,
and the blossom which was Lebanon has faded.
5The mountains shake before the LORD.
The hills melt and the world is in turmoil
along with all who live in it.
6Who can stand before the indignation of the LORD?
Who can face the heat of God’s anger?
For God’s anger spreads like fire,
and breaks the rocks in pieces.
7But the LORD is good and protects those in danger;
those who depend on the LORD are sheltered.
8With a sweeping flood God will do away with every enemy,
pursuing them into the night.
9Why, then, do you make plans against the LORD?
The LORD will do away with you; no one will rise up twice.
10They will be enwrapped with briars;
they will be as drunk as drunkards.
They will be burned up like fresh straw.
11One of your own people has plotted against the LORD
and has encouraged wickedness on your part.
12So, the LORD says, “They may be strong and numerous,
but they will be swept away.
Yes, I have troubled you, but I will trouble you no more.
13And now the time has come when I will break the yoke they have on you,
and tear apart the ropes with which they have bound you.”
14The LORD has said this to Nineveh:
“Your name will not last much longer;
I will tear out the carved and cast images in your temples.
I will prepare your grave because you are garbage.”
15Now look!
The feet of the one who will bring good news is on the mountain,
and he will come to announce peace.
So, celebrate your festivals, Judah,
and complete the promises you made.
Never again will the wicked attack you.
They are completely defeated.


1: Nahum is thought to be a Judean prophet in the years preceding the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. The Assyrian empire had begun to collapse after the death of Ashurbanipal about 627 B.C., and the prophet gives a word from God during that time when the people of Judah must certainly have been anxious about what might happen. The location of Elkosh is unknown, but is thought to have been somewhere in southern Judah.

2-5: The beginning of the oracle characterizes God as the terrible and terrifying jealous ruler of creation before whose presence even the mountains shake and the ground heaves.

6-11: No one can stand before the wrath of God. Verse 7 is obviously spoken as a comfort to Nahum’s fellow citizens. The “you” in verse 9 is plural and most likely refers to Israel (as it clearly does in verses 12-13). Egypt was taken and sacked by the Assyrians under Ashurbanipal as a result of an attempt by the Egyptians to push the Assyrians out of their country. The individual mentioned in verse 11 is impossible to identify, but could easily be a reference to all or any of the rulers of Assyria who invaded Israel and Judah.

12-13: These verses are best understood as being addressed to Israel and/or Judah.

14: This verse, on the other hand, is clearly meant for Nineveh.

15: As the Assyrian empire crumbles, the prophet sees Judah receiving a messenger of good news that peace is near. The “wicked” (Assyria) will never again invade Judah. A celebration is called for.


During our most difficult days God will provide for our deliverance. Our part is to be patient and pray.