The Message of Nahum: A Jealous and Avenging God

The Message of Nahum: A Jealous and Avenging GodText: Nahum 1:2

In this series, we are going to do an overview of the Minor Prophets. The goal is to (1) understand the overall theme of each book and (2) see what lessons there are for us. In this lesson, we are going to see what we can learn from the book of Nahum.

Historical Context

  • Called the “oracle of Nineveh” (1:1) – Jonah also prophesied about Nineveh around 785 BC; Nahum prophesied around 630 BC, approximately 150 years later
  • During the reign of Ashurbanipal – last great ruler of the empire; Assyria was at its peak
  • Some time after No-amon (Thebes) in Egypt was overthrown (3:8)
  • Nineveh would fall around 607 BC – the Babylonians would rise to power after them

Overall Theme: A Jealous and Avenging God

  • This is how the book opens (1:2) – prophesied of the destruction of Nineveh (2:8); God would be behind their overthrow (1:14; 2:13)
  • Very different theme from the book of Jonah – a gracious and compassionate God (Jonah 4:2); Jonah warned of Nineveh’s overthrow (Jonah 3:4); but Nineveh repented (Jonah 3:5-10); God did not punish them at that time
  • God did not change and His expectation of these people did not change – since their repentance was not enduring, He would bring about their destruction

Main Points

  • The Lord is slow to anger (1:3) – again, this was approximately 150 years after Jonah; several generations had passed (cf. Numbers 14:18)
  • Yet God does punish the wicked (1:2) – He is “great in power” and can do so (1:3-6); no one is able to withstand the Lord (1:9, 12); Nineveh would suffer a violent and bloody defeat (2:3; 3:3, 13) and would be put to shame (3:5-7)
  • They were guilty of violence and plundering the nations (3:1, 4) – not engaged (at least fully) in legitimate trade; they enriched themselves without regard for others
  • All who would hear of this would rejoice (3:19) – they would be plundered themselves (2:8-10); this was particularly important for God’s people (1:7) who would be restored (1:15; 2:2)

Lessons for Us

  • God is abundantly patient toward us (2 Peter 3:9; cf. 1 Peter 3:20) – sin deserves punishment (Romans 6:23); yet God does not mete out that punishment immediately
  • God’s patience is not an excuse for sin (Romans 2:4-6) – the day of the Lord will come and we must be ready (2 Peter 3:10-11, 14)
  • We are not as great as we often think we are (Romans 12:3) – we are not above others (Philippians 2:3-5) or above God’s standard (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12)


  • Nahum reminds us that while God is patient, He will eventually punish the wicked
  • We need to make sure we do not take His patience for granted – use the time we have now to repent

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