You will find and introduction and outline here.

A prayer to use as you read:

 A prayer of John Calvin:
May the Lord grant that we may engage in the heavenly contemplation of the mysteries of God’s heavenly wisdom with ever increasing devotion to God’s glory and our edification. Amen.


An Outline of Nahum:  based on Machinist

1.1 Superscription: Nahum is the only prophetical book that is describes itself as a book. Notice that this book does not start as we might expect with “The word of the Lord that came to…”.

1:2-14 Description of God’s power and wrath Most of the lines in verses 2-8 begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, creating a partial acrostic. Before Nahum focuses on Nineveh, he spends time describing God. This description of God is frightening but verse 7 reassures the listener that God will protect those who seek refuge in him. One commentator defines “vengeance” as “the deities willingness and power to right wrongs”. (O’Brien,1317).

In verse 9, the language changes from being about God to addressing “you”.The “you” in verse 12 is Judah. God assures Judah of its deliverance. Verse 14 is an announcement of Nineveh’s end.

1:15-2:13 Destruction of Nineveh: In verse 15 a messenger brings good news to Judah. 2:1-13 are a description of Nineveh’s destruction. “You” is now referring to Nineveh. Verse 2 reminds the reader why Nineveh is being destroyed. “Jacob” refers to the Northern Kingdom.  In verse 5 “he” is likely the king of Assyria. Verse 11-13 are a taunt of the Assyrian king. Assyria was often symbolized as a lion.

3:1-19 Satirical Lament over Nineveh: “Ah” or “woe” is the beginning of a lament, although satirical, over Nineveh. The description of Nineveh as a woman and the violence described are distressing for modern readers but not an uncommon comparison in the ancient Near East. “Prostitute” can be used to describe someone who is paid for sex but it can also refer to unfaithfulness and promiscuity.

In verse 8, Thebes was an important city in Egypt that was conquered by Assyria in 663 BCE. The call for Nineveh to fortify itself in verses 14-17 is sarcastic, Nineveh’s fate is sealed. Notice the various ways the image of locusts is used here. Merchants, scribes and guards, all important parts of a city, each abandon Nineveh. Ruling officials were often referred to as shepherds. In verse 19, everyone is glad Nineveh has fallen.

Read More About It:

Here are several good sources to aid your reading of Nahum.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

Machinist, Peter “Nahum” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.

Garcia- Treto, Francisco O.,”Nahum” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Vol 7, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 2001.

O’Brien, Julia M., “Nahum” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.