Nahum was from Elkosh, probably in Judah. His name means "consolation" or "full of comfort" (HSN5151). He is mentioned nowhere else in Scripture, with the possible exception of Lk.3v25. He was a contemporary of Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. We know nothing of the prophet other than this.

Two bits of historical information with the book itself help fix the date. Nahum (Nah.3v8-10) refers to the capture of Thebes (No-Amon), which did fall to the Assyrians in 661 B.C. Throughout the book, the fall of Nineveh is still future. It was subsequently taken in 612 B.C. Considering these two events, most scholars place the date about 620 B.C.

Judah was crying out, "Has God forsaken Judah? Why do the Assyrians, so full of evil, prosper, while we are suffering? Are God's promises empty?" The powerful military state of Assyria, with its great wealth, continually oppressed Judah, almost enslaving her. National life was very precarious, spiritual life was diminishing, and the nation was continually endangered by marauding bands from Nineveh. Judah was desperately needing answers to these questions when Nahum thundered onto the scene, proclaiming, "Nineveh will fall! God will save His people!" In light of Assyria's great might, the message seemed incredible. Jonah, a century and a half earlier, had denounced Nineveh if it did not repent. The time of repentance was past. The voice of Nahum is harsh and vengeful--Nineveh will pay for ignoring God and oppressing the weak. The message is timeless: Those who arrogantly ignore and resist God will taste His wrath, but those who trust Him will be saved by His love.

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