Reply To: Who was Nahum in the Bible

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Nahum was an old testament prophet who restricted himself to one subject: Nineveh, the infamous capital of the Assyrian Empire. Assyria had toppled the northern kingdom of Israel roughly a century before Nahum prophesied.

During the reign of Sennacherib, the Assyrians managed to subjugate Judah as well, forcing its king, Hezekiah, to pay tribute in the form of gold stripped from the temple (see 2 Kings 18:16).
Still, Nineveh’s supremacy was not the primary reason for God’s fierce judgment, as foretold by Nahum. Even Nahum acknowledged that God had used the Assyrian Empire to punish the wayward Israelites (see Nahum 1:12).

But Nineveh and its kings were renowned for their cruelty. It was, to quote Nahum, a “city of blood … never without victims” (Nahum 3:1). In the wake of conquest, the Assyrians always left a gruesome scene: “many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses” (Nahum 3:3).

Indeed, Nahum’s depiction of Nineveh’s bloodlust is confirmed by extra biblical sources. During the siege of one city, the king of Nineveh intimidated his enemies by forming a pyramid out of the severed heads of those he had already slain. Assyrian troops did not hesitate to skin their victims alive or brutalize them in other ways. It came as no surprise when Nahum predicted that all who learned of Nineveh’s downfall would greet the news with applause. Just as God had once used Nineveh as an instrument of judgment, now He would turn the tables and bring cruel Nineveh to its knees.eespite the harshness of his message, Nahum believed firmly in God’s compassion and mercy (see Nahum 1:7).

In fact, he saw the downfall of Nineveh as a form of deliverance for Judah—an opportunity for them to resume their religious festivities and fulfill their vows (Nahum 1:15). Nevertheless, Nahum’s words are a sobering reminder that a compassionate God cannot tolerate “endless cruelty” toward others (see Nahum 3:19).

  • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Bukola.