7 Dec. Nahum 2:1-13

7 Dec. Nahum prophesies the destruction of Nineveh

“The destroyer is coming to attack you, Nineveh. Guard the defences, Watch the road. Get ready. Gather all your strength! Destroyers have destroyed God’s people, and ruined their vines, but the LORD will bring back Jacob’s greatness like Israel’s greatness."

“The shields of his soldiers are red; the army is dressed in red. The metal on the chariots flashes like fire when they are ready to attack; their horses are excited. The chariots race through the streets and rush back and forth through the city squares. They look like torches; they run like lightning.”

“He calls his officers, but they stumble on the way. They hurry to the city wall, and the shield is put into place. The river gates are thrown open, and the palace is destroyed. It has been announced that the people of Nineveh will be captured and carried away. The slave girls moan like doves and beat their breasts, because they are sad.”

“Nineveh is like a pool, and now its water is draining away. ‘Stop! Stop!’ the people yell, but no one turns back. Take the silver! Take the gold! There is no end to the treasure – piles of wealth of every kind. Nineveh is robbed, ruined and destroyed. The people lose their courage, and their knees knock. Stomachs ache, and everyone’s face grows pale...”

“’I am against you, Nineveh,’ says the LORD All-powerful. I will burn up your chariots in smoke, and the sword will kill your young lions. I will stop you from hunting down others on the earth, and your messengers’ voices will no longer be heard.’”

          (Nahum 2:1-13)
 

 

The Book of Nahum is a poem prophesying the downfall of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. The coming defeat of Assyria by the Babylonians was seen by Nahum as God’s judgement on a wicked and godless nation who had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel's capital city of Samaria in 722BC and had led ten of the twelve tribes of Israel back to Nineveh in slavery.

Nahum (whose name means ‘comfort’) came from Elkosh in the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah. He had a vision of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, where Jewish people from the northern kingdom of Israel had been living in slavery for over a hundred years.

In his vision, the LORD expressed his anger against the Assyrians: “The LORD is a jealous God who punishes; the LORD punishes and is filled with anger. The Lord punishes those who are against him, and he stays angry with his enemies." (Nahum 1:2)

Nahum prophesied the destruction of Nineveh: "You will not have descendants to carry on your name. I will destroy the idols and metal images that are in the temple of your gods. I will make a grave for you, because you are wicked." (Nahum 1:14)

He looked forward to victory over the Assyrians and the ensuing peace: “Look, there on the hills, someone is bringing good news! He is announcing peace!" (Nahum 1:15)

In today’s passage from Chapter 2, Nahum pictured Nineveh under attack and foresaw its fall: "The people lose their courage, and their knees knock. Stomachs ache, and everyone's face grows pale." (Nahum 2:10) War chariots raced through its streets and gold was plundered from the palace. "Many are dead; their bodies are piled up - too many to count. People stumble over the dead bodies." (Nahum 3:3)

Nineveh was then likened to a prostitute who was being punished. "I will pull your dress up over your face and show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame. I will throw filthy rubbish on you and make a fool of you." (Nahum 3:5-6)

Nineveh's downfall (which came in 612 BC) was compared with the destruction of Thebes (Luxor), the capital of Egypt, by the Assyrians themselves in 663BC: "Thebes was captured and went into captivity. Her small children were beaten to death at every street corner. Lots were thrown for her important men, and all of her leaders were put in chains." (Nahum 3:10)

Nahum concluded that all who heard of Nineveh’s destruction would clap their hands with joy "because everyone has felt your endless cruelty." (Nahum 3:19)

The photo shows the Assyrian King Sennacherib on his throne at Nineveh in a relief panel at the British Museum.

You can read more about the Book of Nahum @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/41-jonah-goes-to-nineveh-and-nahum-condemns-it/introduction-to-the-book-of-nahum/


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