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Nahum 1

1 A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

The LORD’s Anger Against Nineveh

2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
5 The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.
6 Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him.
7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
8 but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.
9 Whatever they plot against the LORDhe will bring[a] to an end; trouble will not come a second time.
10 They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble.[b]
11 From you, Nineveh, has one come forth who plots evil against the LORDand devises wicked plans.
12 This is what the LORD says: “Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be destroyed and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, Judah, I will afflict you no more.
13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.”
14 The LORD has given a command concerning you, Nineveh: “You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the images and idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile.”
15 Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.[c]

Nahum 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

This prophet denounces the certain and approaching destruction of the Assyrian empire, particularly of Nineveh, which is described very minutely. Together with this is consolation for his countrymen, encouraging them to trust in God.

The justice and power of the Lord. (1-8) The overthrow of the Assyrians. (9-15)

Verses 1-8 About a hundred years before, at Jonah's preaching, the Ninevites repented, and were spared, yet, soon after, they became worse than ever. Nineveh knows not that God who contends with her, but is told what a God he is. It is good for all to mix faith with what is here said concerning Him, which speaks great terror to the wicked, and comfort to believers. Let each take his portion from it: let sinners read it and tremble; and let saints read it and triumph. The anger of the Lord is contrasted with his goodness to his people. Perhaps they are obscure and little regarded in the world, but the Lord knows them. The Scripture character of Jehovah agrees not with the views of proud reasoners. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is slow to wrath and ready to forgive, but he will by no means acquit the wicked; and there is tribulation and anguish for every soul that doeth evil: but who duly regards the power of his wrath?

Verses 9-15 There is a great deal plotted against the Lord by the gates of hell, and against his kingdom in the world; but it will prove in vain. With some sinners God makes quick despatch; and one way or other, he will make an utter end of all his enemies. Though they are quiet, and many very secure, and not in fear, they shall be cut down as grass and corn, when the destroying angel passes through. God would hereby work great deliverance for his own people. But those who make themselves vile by scandalous sins, God will make vile by shameful punishments. The tidings of this great deliverance shall be welcomed with abundant joy. These words are applied to the great redemption wrought out by our Lord Jesus and the everlasting gospel, Ro. 10:15 . Christ's ministers are messengers of good tidings, that preach peace by Jesus Christ. How welcome to those who see their misery and danger by sin! And the promise they made in the day of trouble must be made good. Let us be thankful for God's ordinances, and gladly attend them. Let us look forward with cheerful hope to a world where the wicked never can enter, and sin and temptation will no more be known.

Cross References 43

  • 1. S Isaiah 13:1; Isaiah 19:1; Jeremiah 23:33-34
  • 2. S Genesis 10:11; S Jeremiah 50:18; John 1:2; Nahum 2:8; Nahum 3:7; Zephaniah 2:13
  • 3. S Isaiah 1:1
  • 4. S Exodus 20:5
  • 5. S Genesis 4:24; S Deuteronomy 32:41; Psalms 94:1
  • 6. S Deuteronomy 7:10
  • 7. S Nehemiah 9:17
  • 8. S Exodus 34:7
  • 9. S Exodus 14:21; S 2 Kings 2:1
  • 10. S Psalms 50:3
  • 11. S 2 Samuel 22:10; S Psalms 104:3
  • 12. S 2 Samuel 22:16
  • 13. S Exodus 14:22
  • 14. S Isaiah 33:9
  • 15. S Exodus 19:18; S Job 9:6
  • 16. S Micah 1:4
  • 17. S Joel 2:10
  • 18. S Ezekiel 38:20
  • 19. S Psalms 130:3
  • 20. S Ezekiel 22:14; Malachi 3:2
  • 21. S Psalms 76:7
  • 22. S Isaiah 5:24-25; S Isaiah 42:25; S Jeremiah 10:10
  • 23. 1 Kings 19:11
  • 24. S Jeremiah 33:11
  • 25. S Jeremiah 17:17
  • 26. S Psalms 1:6
  • 27. S Psalms 22:9
  • 28. S Isaiah 8:7; S Daniel 9:26
  • 29. S Hosea 7:15
  • 30. S 2 Samuel 23:6
  • 31. S Isaiah 49:26
  • 32. S Isaiah 5:24; Malachi 4:1
  • 33. S Isaiah 10:34
  • 34. Isaiah 54:6-8; S Lamentations 3:31-32
  • 35. S Isaiah 9:4
  • 36. S Job 12:18; S Psalms 107:14
  • 37. S Isaiah 14:22
  • 38. Micah 5:13
  • 39. S Jeremiah 28:8; Ezekiel 32:22-23
  • 40. Isaiah 40:9; Romans 10:15
  • 41. S Isaiah 52:7; Acts 10:36
  • 42. Leviticus 23:2-4
  • 43. S Isaiah 52:1

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "What do you foes plot against the " Lord"?" / "He will bring it"
  • [b]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.
  • [c]. In Hebrew texts this verse (1:15) is numbered 2:1.

Chapter Summary


This book is called, in the Vulgate Latin version, "the Prophecy of Nahum"; and in the Syriac and Arabic versions, "the Prophecy of the Prophet Nahum"; and in Na 1:1; it is called "the Book of the Vision of Nahum"; which is very singular; and from whence we learn of what place this prophet was; but of this more will be said on that verse. His name signifies "consolation": and though the subject of his prophecy chiefly relates to the destruction of the Assyrian empire, and of Nineveh, the chief city of it; yet this was a comfort to the people of the Jews, that an enemy so powerful, and who was so troublesome to them, and whom they dreaded, should one day be destroyed. In what age Nahum lived is not said; and writers very much disagree about it. Some make him to be the most ancient of all the prophets; who suppose him to prophesy of the destruction of Nineveh, before the reigns of Joash king of Judah, and Jehu king of Israel, as Huetius {a} observes; and others bring him down as low, placing him after Ezekiel, in the times of Zedekiah, Clemens of Alexandria {b}; neither of which is likely. The Jewish chronologers {c} generally make him to live in the times of Manasseh, and so Abarbinel; but Josephus {d}, with more probability, puts him in the times of Jotham; though perhaps what the greater number of interpreters give into may be most correct; as that he lived in the times of Hezekiah, and was contemporary with Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah; and that this prophecy was delivered out after the ten tribes were carried captive by the king of Assyria, which was in the sixth year of Hezekiah, and before Sennacherib's invasion of Judea, and siege of Jerusalem, which was in the fourteenth year of his reign; and which is thought to be referred to in the "first" chapter of this prophecy. Mr. Whiston {e} places him in the year of the world A. M. 3278, or 726 B.C.; and says that he foretold the destruction of Nineveh an hundred fifteen years before it came to pass, so says Josephus {f}. How long this prophet lived, and where he died, and was buried, is uncertain. Pseudo-Epiphanius {g} says he died and was buried in Begabar. Isidore {h} says it was in Bethafarim; both which are to be corrected by Dorotheus, who calls the place Bethabara, as Huetius {i} observes; the same where John was baptizing, Joh 1:28; but Benjamin of Tudela {k} says his grave was to be seen in a place called Einsiphla, in the land of Chaldea; and speaks of a synagogue of this prophet in the province of Assyria {l}; but on these things we cannot depend. Of the authority of this prophecy there need be no doubt, as appears from the inscription of the book, the sublimity and majesty of the style, and its agreement with other prophets; see Na 1:15; compared with Isa 52:7; and the accomplishment of the prophecies contained in it, which respect the ruin of the Assyrian empire, and particularly Nineveh, the metropolis of it; the cause of which were their sins and transgressions, the inhabitants thereof were guilty of, and are pointed at in it.

{a} Demonstr. Evangel. prop. 4. p. 298. {b} Strom. l. 1. p. 329. {c} Seder Olam Rabbi, c. 10. p. 55. &. Zuta, p. 105. Juchasin, fol. 12. 2. Tzemach David, fol. 15. 1. Shalshelet Hakabala, fol. 12. 1. {d} Antiqu. l. 9. c, 11. sect. 3. {e} Chronological Tables, cent. 8. {f} Antiqu. l. 9. c. 11. sect. 3. {g} De Proph. Vit. & Inter. c. 17. {h} De Vit. & Mort. Sanct. c. 46. {i} Ut supra. (Demonstr. Evangel. prop. 4. p. 298.) {k} Itinerarium, p. 30. {l} Ibid. p. 62.


This chapter begins with the title of the book, showing the subject matter of it; and describing the penman of it by his name and country, Na 1:1; which is followed with a preface to the whole book; setting forth the majesty of a jealous and revenging God; the power of his wrath and fury; of which instances are given in exciting tempests; drying up the sea and the rivers; making the most fruitful mountains barren, which tremble before him; yea, even the whole world, and the inhabitants thereof, his indignation being intolerable; and yet he is slow to anger, good to them that trust in him, whom he knows, and whose protection he is in a time of trouble, Na 1:2-7. Next the destruction of the Assyrian empire, and of the city of Nineveh, is prophesied of; and is represented as an utter and an entire destruction, and which would come upon them suddenly and unawares, while they were in their cups, Na 1:8-10. A particular person among them is spoken of, described as a designing wicked man, an enemy to the Lord and his people, thought to be Sennacherib king of Assyria, Na 1:11; from whose evil designs, yoke and bondage, the Jews should be delivered; and he and his posterity be cut off, because of his vileness, Na 1:12-14; and the chapter is concluded with tidings of joy to Judah, who are exhorted to keep their feasts and perform their vows on this occasion, Na 1:15.

Nahum 1 Commentaries