The book of Nahum is a book of contrast: depicts the powerful imperialism of a despotic pagan nation and declares the ultimate and certain triumph of God’s justice and sovereignty.
The immediate occasion of the prophecy was the pressing question of God justice and of His faithfulness to His promises. A powerful nation of military might and economic wealth, Assyria had domination on the destinies of her neighbouring nations including Judah. Extracting oppressive tribute and inflicting grievous slavery, she had made Judah almost a vassal state. To protect herself, Judah had entered into alliance with other nations, forsaking God’s promise to sustain and protect His people.
The national life of Judah was therefore, tenuous, her spiritual life was waning and her safety was constantly imperiled by pillaging hordes from Nineveh. The question arose has God forsaken Judah. Why does evil Assyria prosper, while we suffer, are God’s promises empty? Judah lacked a sure answer to these questions and great despair prevailed in the land. Suddenly the voice of Nahum thundered, “Nineveh will fall, God will preserve His people” His prophecy seemed incredible to those with limited spiritual understanding. Its purpose was twofold: to foretell Nineveh’s destruction because of sin, and to assuage Judah’s forlorn hopelessness by reassurance that God’s promises are true.
The prophecy has but one theme “Nineveh will fall, Judah will be vindicated’. In literary style, it is both poetic and prophetic combining lively pictorial imagery with the blunt directness of prophetic utterance. Chapter 1 is primarily psalm while Chapters 2 and 3 are prophetic. The message of Nahum opens with a bold declaration of God’s nature, the premise on which the prophecy is based. God is jealous, and the LORD revenged and is furious: the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries and he reserved wrath for His enemies-see Chapter 1:2.
This theme pervades the book. Because Assyria has sinned in ignoring God, she will be utterly destroyed. Judah has been unfaithful in distrusting God and making alliances. She should be warned by the doom of Nineveh. The message of Nahum is pertinent to all ages.
Those who arrogantly resist God and do not humbly trust Him for provision and care will inevitably feel His wrath: those who put their faith in Him will be preserved in His love.
THE OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF NAHUM THE PRELUDE-CHAPTER 1:1-10
His character in the Administration of Justice-Chapter 1:2-3
His character illustrated in Nature-Chapter 1;4-6
God’s Administration of Justice-Chapter 1:7-10
The Refuge for the faithful -Chapter 1:7.
The Vengeance for the Evil- Chapter 1:8-10
NINEVEH’S DESTRUCTION ANNOUNCED AS PART OF GOD’S PLAN CHAPTER 1;11-2:2
Deliverance of Judah-Chapter 1;12,13, 15 and Chapter 2;2
Judgment against Assyria-Chapter 1:11 and 14
NINEVEH’S DESTRUCTION TO BE COMPLETE CHAPTER 2:1-3:13
The successful seige -Chapter 2;1,3-9
The despair of the people-Chapter 2;10-13
The desolation before judgment-Chapter 2:10-12
The judgment against people as a Nation-Chapter 2;13
NINEVEH’S DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY SIN-CHAPTER 3:1-18
The Inevitability of Judgment-Chapter 3;1-444
The National Annihilation-Chapter 3:5-18