The prophet Nahum’s prophecy focuses on the fate of the great Assyrian city of Nineveh.

God’s anger, as described by Nahum, was at the point of erupting. The fury of God, predicts Nahum, would be far worse than any natural disaster, for it would be vast. This ire would be directed at Nineveh and no show of strength or might would be able to save them.

“Thus says God: Though they be in full strength, and likewise many, even so shall they be cut down, and he shall pass away; and though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more. And now will I break his yoke from off you, and will burst your bonds asunder.” (1:12-13).

Having declared God’s judgment, Nahum gave a poetic and vivid description of the destruction of the city. According to his vision, Nineveh’s downfall was a boon to all other nations as Assyria had become like a lion’s den, out of which the great hunter (Assyria) came and preyed upon all that surrounded him. The Assyrians conquered, plundered, and banished whole populations.

Just as the Assyrians were obsessed with conquest and bloodshed elsewhere, so too would they witness it in their own home city. “Woe to the bloody city! … and it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon you shall flee from you and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste; who will bemoan her?’ … All that hear the report of you will clap hands over you; for who has not suffered from your constant malice?” (3:19).

Copyright © 2012 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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