34: Nahum: The Book of Chastisement

Through Jonah’s ministry a century earlier (780 B.C.), the Assyrian capital of Nineveh had repented. However, since that time Assyria had returned to idolatry, immorality, and brutality. Nahum, a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, writes concerning the impending judgment upon Nineveh. As a tool of God’s wrath, Assyria had decimated the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C. But because of her own sins, Assyria must now be punished by another nation. Nahum declares God’s judgment upon Nineveh shortly before the city was captured by Babylon in 612 B.C.

In vibrant, graphic language Nahum describes the coming judgment of Assyria. The book divides itself into three divisions of one chapter each. The first chapter decrees Nineveh’s destruction, the second chapter describes the event, and the final chapter tells why the nation deserves such chastisement. 

The book of Nahum teaches that Jehovah is fair on an international scale. Although God is characterized by patience and grace, He is also impartial. Every nation on earth must pay for their sins. None can escape His divine justice. 

Essay Questions

1. As part of God’s covenantal promise to Israel, what had He sworn to do to Israel’s enemies (Genesis 12:3)?

2. Using Biblical resources, describe the legendary barbarity and savage cruelty of the Assyrians.

3. What do Nahum’s prophecies teach about His impartiality regarding the judgment of all nations?

4. What do passages such as Jonah 4:2, Joel 2:13, and Micah 7:18 teach regarding God’s mercy and fair treatment of people?

5. From chapter one, describe the characteristics of God.

6. From chapter two, list specific prophetic details regarding Nineveh’s destruction.

7. As described in chapter three, describe Nineveh’s moral failure, the hopelessness of her condition, and why she deserves to be destroyed. Summarize God’s reasons for protecting Judah and decreeing Nineveh’s demise.

8. God is concerned that every nation on earth line up to His standards of holiness. With this in mind, what national changes need to be made? 


Maxim of the Moment

Love’s wounds can only be healed by the one who caused them.