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Old Testament Notes


Nahum - Nahum's ministry took place before the fall of Assyria, at a time when Assyria was invading and terrorizing the neighboring countries.
The date was probably around 620 BC - after the capture of the Egyptian town No-Amon (Thebes) by the Assyrians (Nahum 3:8) in 663 BC, but before the fall of Assyria to Babylon ca. 612 BC - this would place him somewhere around the time of King Josiah, and contemporary with young Jeremiah
An alternative date would be during the reign of King Hezekiah, when Sennacherib and the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem, but were struck by plague and retreated (II Kings 19:35-37)
Nahum was from the town of Elkosh, in the Galilee, near the place which later came to be called Capernaum (Village of Nahum) where Jesus stayed with Peter.
Nahum's message was to Nineveh : in spite of Jonah's earlier mission, and the repentance of the Ninevites at that time, the Assyrians had returned to their violent ways, and were laying waste to all the surrounding nations. A combination of pride and brutality brought about the sentence of destruction which Nahum pronounced upon them.
The capital of Assyria was Nineveh, on the banks of the Tigris, in Mesopotamia.
Nineveh was a great city, surrounded by five defensive walls and three canals. The main part of the city was about 30 miles long, and 10 miles wide. The walls were said to be 100 feet high, and wide enough at the top to allow 4 chariots to be driven abreast.
Nineveh was taken and burned by the Babylonians ca. 612 BC. It appears that either there was a flood of the River Tigris, or that the Babylonians diverted the river, and parts of the walls were undermined. Today all that is left of Nineveh is an archaeological excavation and a grassy mound called Tell Kuyunjik, "the mound of many sheep"

Nahum 1:8 - Nineveh was eventually taken by diverting the river Tigris which had protected it.
Nahum 1:11-14 may be a reference to Sennacherib, who beseiged Jerusalem and defied God, and who was killed in the temple of his gods by two of his sons

Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

Department of Religion
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated: April 9, 2008

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