Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read the entire book. Orientation Nahum is book #34 of 39 in the Old Testament, and the 7th book of the Minor Prophets. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis This book is written by "Nahum the Elkoshite" and that is all that is known about him. He does not appear anywhere else in the Bible. Even the location of Elkosh is unknown today.
The Assyrian empire has been terrorizing the middle east for centuries. They have absorbed the northern Jewish nation of Israel. The southern nation, Judah, survives; but is completely surrounded by Assyria now. They are pretty much left alone as long as they pump enough tax revenue into Assyria.
Nahum 1: 2-8 shows the patience, power, and holiness of God. While slow to come to wrath, and issuing chance after chance; He does finally keep His promises and settle his accounts in full. Nahum's message has two points: the coming destruction of Assyria and its major city, Ninevah (2:10), and assurance for the remainder of the Jewish nation in Judah that Assyria's reign will soon end.
The book consists of three parts. What God will do (the destruction of Ninevah) in Ch. 1. How he will do it in Ch. 2, and why he will do it in Ch. 3.
Discussion points This book is the conclusion of a prophecy by Jonah 100 years earlier. We have seen again and again how God continually offers second chances, over sometime long periods, to his people. Does God offer us second chances ... and more ... today? Does God reach a point with us where he gives up?
What do we learn about the attributes of God in 1:2-8? What has Ninevah done to deserve this (see Jonah 1:2)? What images are used to show Ninevah's end?
How can we reconcile the God of love with the God of wrath shown in this book?
Connections This book describes the second chance for Ninevah - which it fails. Jonah had prophesied the fall of Ninevah about 100 years earlier, but at that time the people repented and were spared.
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 9 2014
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