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The name Nahum means 'consoler' This name is unique to the Old Testament ... 'Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and booty, no end to the plunder! ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nahum

  • Group 2
  • Gandhi, Houser, Hastings

Who was Nahum?
  • Nahumiah means Yahweh comforts
  • The name Nahum means consoler
  • This name is unique to the Old Testament
  • It was traditionally thought that both Nehemiah
    and St. Luke made references to Nahum, though
    these notions seem to be incorrect

Where was he from?
  • Nahum is said to be a man of Elkosh, and
  • There is some dispute as to the location of
  • Three possible locations
  • -Elcesi Galilee
  • -Al Qush Somwhere near modern Mosul in Iraq
    (Claims to a tomb of Nahum here)
  • -Beit Jibrin The outskirts of Jerusalem
  • Capernaum Naum and Nahum (Early Scholars)
  • Before Jerome, scholars regarded Elkosh as
  • The Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal

Dating of the Text
  • From date markers within the text, the text is
    believed to be dated between ca. 662 BC and ca.
    612 BC
  • In 661 Ashurbanipal of Assyria captured No-Amon,
    or modern-day Thebes
  • In 612, Nineveh fell to Cyaxeres of Medes, in
    league with Babylon and Scythia
  • The text speaks of the impending doom of Nineveh,
    so it may have been written during the campaign
  • Not likely after 609, as this was the date of the
    defeat and death of Josiah, King of Judah when
    Israel was defeated
  • This period is the twilight of the Assyrian Empire

So, where are we?
  • Currently under the mounds of Kuyunjik and Nebi
    Yunus in Mosul
  • Situated on the banks of the Tigris
  • Major City of the Late Assyrian Empire
  • Staging point for Assyrian attacks on Israel and
  • Nemesis to Babylon
  • Assyria ultimately destroyed in 609

Message of the Text
  • Message is of utter destruction of Nineveh
  • God who is faithful has not abandoned Judah
  • God will execute vengeance against Nineveh
  • Divine Justice

Message Continued
  • Similar to treatment of Egyptians in Exodus 1-15
  • Will bring joy and liberation to Gods people
    (Cf. Song of Miriam)
  • Symbolic meaning of Assyria?

Literary Characteristics
  • High level of literary skill
  • Exhibited in assonance, alliteration, repetition,
    metaphors, and an acrostic (Aleph-Kaph)
  • Notoriously Difficult Text (The Pindar of
  • Uncommon vocabulary, ill-preserved text, pronoun

Textual Redaction
  • Possibility of redaction regarded as dubious, and
    maintained most notably by O. Happel in the early
    20th Century
  • Happel Exilic or Post-Exilic Redaction
  • Chapters 2 and 3 exhibit similarities of
    authorship and period
  • Chapter 1 bears the possibility of having been
    edited at a later date
  • Incomplete acrostic
  • Text seems oddly arranged in the end of the
    Chapter 1
  • Wellhausen opposed Happels position, noting that
    what seemed to be two texts are actually one text
    in two parts, made distinct by the presence of
    the uncompleted acrostic
  • Happel is likewise opposed by Gunkel

Outline (Cf. NJBC)
  • I. Title - Superscription (11)
  • II. Theophany of the Divine Avenger (12-8)
  • III.Oracles of Hope (19-21) (RSV 19-15)
  • IV. The Fall of Nineveh (22-14) (RSV 21-13)
  • V. Final Destruction of Nineveh (31-19)

  • 11 An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of
    the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
  • Genre oracle (massaburden) against a foreign
  • This implies salvation for Israel
  • Only prophetic text explicitly identified as a
  • Like Isaiah, Amos, and Habbakuk, Nahum is
    introduced as a vision

Yahweh the Divine Avenger
  • 12-3a The LORD is a jealous God and avenging,
    the LORD is avenging and wrathful the LORD takes
    vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for
    his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and of
    great might, and the LORD will by no means clear
    the guilty.
  • Verses 2-8 describe Yahweh coming in judgment
  • Day of Yahweh genre
  • Yahweh is an avenging God repeated three times
  • Slow to anger but shows vengeance to enemies
  • Same paradox found in Ex. 346-7

Yahweh the Divine Avenger Continued
  • This opening section of the book is a Hebrew poem
    in acrostic style
  • Acrostic each line begins with successive
    letters of the Hebrew alphabet
  • This form is found in Psalm 119 (each section
    uses different letter)
  • Also found in the city laments in Lamentations
  • Since Nahum 12-8 only contains ten of the
    letters, most of the poem is probably lost.

Yahweh the Divine Avenger Continued
  • 13b-8 His way is in whirlwind and storm, and
    the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes
    the sea and makes it dry, he dries up all the
    rivers Bashan and Carmel wither, the bloom of
    Lebanon fades. The mountains quake before him,
    the hills melt the earth is laid waste before
    him, the world and all that dwell therein. Who
    can stand before his indignation? Who can endure
    the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out
    like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by
    him. The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of
    trouble he knows those who take refuge in him.
    But with an overflowing flood he will make a full
    end of his adversaries, and will pursue his
    enemies into darkness.
  • The desert wind is used to signify Yahweh in
  • Destruction of the cosmos seas dried up, Carmel
    withered, earthquake, rending of rocks
  • Characteristic of Day of Yahweh
  • This imagery is also found in Ugaritic Baal

Oracles of Hope
  • 19-15 What do you plot against the LORD? He
    will make a full end he will not take vengeance
    twice on his foes. Like entangled thorns they are
    consumed, like dry stubble. Did one not come out
    from you, who plotted evil against the LORD, and
    counseled villainy? Thus says the LORD, "Though
    they be strong and many, they will be cut off and
    pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will
    afflict you no more. And now I will break his
    yoke from off you and will burst your bonds
    asunder." The LORD has given commandment about
    you "No more shall your name be perpetuated
    from the house of your gods I will cut off the
    graven image and the molten image. I will make
    your grave, for you are vile." Behold, on the
    mountains the feet of him who brings good
    tidings, who proclaims peace! Keep your feasts, O
    Judah, fulfil your vows, for never again shall
    the wicked come against you, he is utterly cut
  • Dialogue form Yahweh addresses Nineveh and Judah
    in turn
  • Verses 9-11 rebukes the plotting of Nineveh
  • 112 uses the messenger formula to introduce a
    salvation oracle for Judah Assyrias yoke is
  • 114 pronounces judgment on Nineveh and its gods
  • 115 returns to salvation Celebrate feasts,
    because the wicked shall never come again

Oracles of Hope Continued
  • 111 Did one not come out from you, who plotted
    evil against the LORD, and counseled villainy?
  • The word for villainy is Belial
  • This probably is derived from bl to swallow
  • Death is seen as swallowing its victims
  • Here, the swallower is probably Sennacherib or
    another king of Assyria
  • In the New Testament, Belial will be one of the
    many names of Satan.

The Fall of Nineveh
  • 21 describes the approaching army and mockingly
    warns Nineveh to prepare
  • 22 speaks of the restoration of Israel
  • This seems out of place here, but the destruction
    of Nineveh is being celebrated as Israels
  • 23-5 gives vivid description of the battle, as
    the invaders assault the walls
  • 21-5 The shatterer has come up against you.
    Man the ramparts watch the road gird your
    loins collect all your strength. (For the LORD
    is restoring the majesty of Jacob as the majesty
    of Israel, for plunderers have stripped them and
    ruined their branches.) The shield of his mighty
    men is red, his soldiers are clothed in scarlet.
    The chariots flash like flame when mustered in
    array the chargers prance. The chariots rage in
    the streets, they rush to and fro through the
    squares they gleam like torches, they dart like
    lightning. The officers are summoned, they
    stumble as they go, they hasten to the wall, the
    mantelet is set up.

The Fall of Nineveh Continued
  • 26-10 The river gates are opened, the palace is
    in dismay its mistress is stripped, she is
    carried off, her maidens lamenting, moaning like
    doves, and beating their breasts. Nin'eveh is
    like a pool whose waters run away. "Halt! Halt!"
    they cry but none turns back. Plunder the
    silver, plunder the gold! There is no end of
    treasure, or wealth of every precious thing.
    Desolate! Desolation and ruin! Hearts faint and
    knees tremble, anguish is on all loins, all faces
    grow pale!
  • Describes the situation inside the city as the
    invaders flood in and the palace is shaken.
  • 27 is obscure in Hebrew
  • Mistress could be queen of Nineveh, but more
    likely the goddess Ishtar being carried off
  • 29 describes plundering of citys wealth
  • 210-Buqah umebuqah umebullaqah mounting
    chorus of woes
  • One can hear the prophet spitting as he curses

The Fall of Nineveh Continued
  • Ishtar was a Sumero-Babylonian goddess of love
    and fertility
  • Usually portrayed as an evil, heartless woman who
    destroys her lovers
  • She went into the underworld to retrieve her
    lover Tammuz, but returned unsuccessful

The Fall of Nineveh Continued
  • 211-13 Where is the lions' den, the cave of the
    young lions, where the lion brought his prey,
    where his cubs were, with none to disturb? The
    lion tore enough for his whelps and strangled
    prey for his lionesses he filled his caves with
    prey and his dens with torn flesh. Behold, I am
    against you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will
    burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall
    devour your young lions I will cut off your prey
    from the earth, and the voice of your messengers
    shall no more be heard.
  • Lions den extended metaphor for the Assyrian
    royal house
  • Lion was a common Assyrian symbol, often
    associated with Ishtar
  • Ashurbanipal was proud of his reputation as a
    lion hunter
  • Assyria, the lion, plunders nations as his prey
  • 213 pronounces judgment the lion hunter is now
    the hunted lion

The Final Destruction of Nineveh
  • -Two Primary Divisions
  • -Woe Oracle 3 1-7
  • -Taunt Song 3 8-19

Woe Oracle
  • -Accusative speech venting anger
  • -Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and
    booty, no end to the plunder!
  • - Hebrew word for plunder here Tarep
    literally means to tear, referring to the way
    wild animals kill their prey. This is an
    allusion to the lion imagery of Ch. 211-12.
  • 31 Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and
    booty--no end to the plunder! The crack of the
    whip, and rumble of wheel, galloping horse and
    bounding chariot!

Woe to the Bloody City
  • -The Assyrians were especially known among the
    nations for their cruelty.
  • -Excerpt from the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal II
    describing his atrocities, listed on a monument
    commemorating the first 18 years of his reign
  • -3,000 of their the people in the city of Tela
    warriors I put to the sword.Many captives from
    among them I burned with fire. From some I cut
    off their hands and fingers, and from others I
    cut off their noses, their ears, and their
    fingers, of many I put out the eyes. I made one
    pillar of the living, and another of heads, and I
    bound their heads to posts round about the city.
    Their young men and maidens I burned in the fire,
    the city I destroyed.

Sound and Imagery
  • Nahum is known for his impressive, vivid use of
    sound and imagery to convey the downfall of
    Nineveh. Here we see a staccato style depiction
    of the siege.
  • The rumble of the wheel the word used for
    rumbling is the same used for earthquake.
  • 3 2-3 The crack of the whip, and the rumble of
    the wheel, galloping horse and bounding chariot!
    Horsemen charging, flashing sword and glittering
    spear, hosts of slain, heaps of corpses, dead
    bodies without end they stumble over dead

Indictment against Nineveh
  • 34 And all for the countless harlotries of the
    harlot, graceful and of deadly charms, who
    betrays nations with her harlotries, and peoples
    with her charms.
  • This speaks of the seductiveness of Ninevehs
    alliances and the treachery by which she goes
    about conducting them who betrays (enslaves)
    nations with her harlotries, and peoples with her
    charm (witchcraft).
  • 2 Kings 1831 Do not listen to Hezekiah for
    thus says the king of Assyria Make your peace
    with me and come out to me then every one of you
    will eat of his own vine, and every one of his
    own fig tree, and every one of you will drink the
    water of his own cistern.

Indictment Continued
  • Harlot is another possible reference to the
    fertility goddess Ishtar
  • Metaphor of the prostitute commonly applied to
    pagan, immoral cities Isaiah 47 against the
    Babylonians and Chaldeans, Revelation 17-18 on
    the whore of Babylon.

Future Humiliation of Nineveh
  • 35-7 Behold, I am against you, says the LORD
    of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your
    face and I will let nations look on your
    nakedness and kingdoms on your shame. I will
    throw filth at you and treat you with contempt,
    and make you a gazingstock. And all who look on
    you will shrink from you and say, Wasted is
    Nineveh who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek
    comforters for her?
  • First Person used Yahweh directly announces
    Ninevehs punishment, guaranteeing the certainty
    of its fulfillment

Humiliation Continued
  • This section starts off a series of sufferings
    that Nineveh will endure, sufferings which she
    has inflicted on many countless nations. The
    humiliation that the harlot suffers by being
    stripped naked is a possible allusion to the way
    captives of war were made to endure the
    humiliation of being paraded naked in Nineveh.
  • 37 contains a rhetorical question, a pattern
    seen continued at the beginning of 38 and
    concluding at the end of the book at the end of
    319. The answers are obviously no and none.
  • 37-9 And all who look on you will shrink from
    you and say, Wasted is Nin'eveh who will bemoan
    her? whence shall I seek comforters for her? Are
    you better than Thebes that sat by the Nile, with
    water around her, her rampart a sea, and water
    her wall? Ethiopia was her strength, Egypt too,
    and that without limit Put and the Libyans were
    her helpers.

Taunt Song
  • Are you better than Thebes? Again we are
    reminded of the sufferings that Assyria has
    inflicted on other nations. The records of
    Ashurbanipal describe the campaign against
    Thebes, including boasts of flaying alive those
    who would not acknowledge his dominion.
  • The murder of the infants described in 310 was
    common practice among conquering nations done to
    exterminate the future population of their
  • 310 Yet she was carried away, she went into
    captivity her little ones were dashed in pieces
    at the head of every street for her honored men
    lots were cast, and all her great men were bound
    in chains.

Insults Against Nineveh
  • Series of pejorative insults/comparisons 12-13,
  • Series of taunts implying the futility of
    resisting Yahwehs judgment in 14-15.
  • 12 All your fortresses are like fig trees with
    first-ripe figs -- if shaken they fall into the
    mouth of the eater. 13 Behold, your troops are
    women in your midst. The gates of your land are
    wide open to your foes fire has devoured your
    bars. 14 Draw water for the siege, strengthen
    your forts go into the clay, tread the mortar,
    take hold of the brick mold! 15 There will the
    fire devour you, the sword will cut you off. It
    will devour you like the locust. Multiply
    yourselves like the locust, multiply like the

Aftermath in Nineveh
  • 318 Your shepherds are asleep, O king of
    Assyria your nobles slumber. Your people are
    scattered on the mountains with none to gather
  • Ninevehs merchants and officials abandon her,
    she is without a shepherd (318). The people of
    Nineveh are scattered, and everyone who has
    suffered at her hands rejoices at her defeat.

The Burning Question
  • Nahum appears
  • in Year II
  • in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time
  • on Friday.
  • ?

  • Nahum deals with Yahweh as the Divine Judge and
  • Nahum is a unique book in terms of its message,
    style, and content
  • Unlike other books in the Old Testament, Nahum is
    properly concerned not with the Hebrews, but with
    the wrath of God against Nineveh and all who
    oppose Yahweh

The End
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