Nahum 1

God Is Awesome

1 The [a]1oracle of 2Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
2 A 3jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is 4avenging and [b]wrathful *. The LORD takes 5vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.
3 The LORD is 6slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In 7whirlwind and storm is His way, And 8clouds are the dust beneath His feet.
4 He 9rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. 10Bashan and Carmel wither; The blossoms of Lebanon wither.
5 Mountains 11quake because of Him And the hills 12dissolve; Indeed the earth is 13upheaved by His presence, The 14world and all the inhabitants in it.
6 15Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the 16burning of His anger? His 17wrath is poured out like fire And the 18rocks are broken up by Him.
7 The LORD is 19good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And 20He knows those who take refuge in Him.
8 But with an 21overflowing flood He will make a complete end of [c]its site, And will pursue His enemies into 22darkness.
9 Whatever you 23devise against the LORD, He will make a 24complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice.
10 Like tangled 25thorns, And like those who are 26drunken with their drink, They are 27consumed As stubble completely withered.
11 From you has gone forth One who 28plotted evil against the LORD, A [d]29wicked counselor.
12 Thus says the LORD, "Though they are at full strength and likewise many, Even so, they will be 30cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you 31no longer.
13 "So now, I will 32break his yoke bar from upon you, And I will tear off your shackles."
14 The LORD has issued a command concerning [e]you: "[f]Your name will 33no longer be perpetuated. I will cut off [g]34idol and [h]image From the house of your gods. I will prepare your 35grave, For you are contemptible."
15 [i]Behold, 36on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace! 37Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows. For 38never * again will the [j]wicked one pass through you; He is 39cut off completely.

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 39

  • 1. Isaiah 13:1; Isaiah 19:1; Jeremiah 23:33, 34; Habakkuk 1:1; Zechariah 9:1; Malachi 1:1
  • 2. 2 Kings 19:36; Jonah 1:2; Nahum 2:8; Zephaniah 2:13
  • 3. Exodus 20:5; Joshua 24:19
  • 4. Deuteronomy 32:35, 41
  • 5. Psalms 94:1
  • 6. Exodus 34:6, 7; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 103:8
  • 7. Exodus 19:16; Isaiah 29:6
  • 8. Psalms 104:3; Isaiah 19:1
  • 9. Joshua 3:15, 16; Psalms 106:9; Isaiah 50:2; Matthew 8:26
  • 10. Isaiah 33:9
  • 11. Exodus 19:18; 2 Samuel 22:8; Psalms 18:7
  • 12. Micah 1:4
  • 13. Isaiah 24:1, 20
  • 14. Psalms 98:7
  • 15. Jeremiah 10:10; Malachi 3:2
  • 16. Isaiah 13:13
  • 17. Isaiah 66:15
  • 18. 1 Kings 19:11
  • 19. Psalms 25:8; Psalms 37:39, 40; Jeremiah 33:11
  • 20. Psalms 1:6; John 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:19
  • 21. Isaiah 28:2, 17; Amos 8:8
  • 22. Isaiah 13:9, 10
  • 23. Psalms 2:1; Nahum 1:11
  • 24. Isaiah 28:22
  • 25. 2 Samuel 23:6; Micah 7:4
  • 26. Isaiah 56:12; Nahum 3:11
  • 27. Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 10:17; Malachi 4:1
  • 28. Isaiah 10:7-11; Nahum 1:9
  • 29. Ezekiel 11:2
  • 30. Is 10:16-19, 33, 34
  • 31. Lamentations 3:31, 32
  • 32. Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 10:27; Jeremiah 2:20
  • 33. Job 18:17; Psalms 109:13; Isaiah 14:22
  • 34. Isaiah 46:1, 2; Micah 5:13, 14
  • 35. Ezekiel 32:22, 23
  • 36. Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15
  • 37. Leviticus 23:2, 4
  • 38. Isaiah 52:1; Joel 3:17
  • 39. Isaiah 29:7, 8

Footnotes 10

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

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.