The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 32 – Nahum
Copyright, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
* KEY VERSE–Na 1:3, First Clause
* KEY PHRASE–“GOD DEALING WITH THE SIN’S OF NINEVEH.”
Read this lesson and then the whole of Nahum as follows:
* Sunday–The Majesty of Jehovah,–Na 1:1-8.
* Monday–The Yoke of Nineveh Shall Be Broken,–Na 1:9-15.
* Tuesday–Approach of Enemy to Destroy Nineveh,–Na 2:1-10.
* Wednesday–The Nation Shall Fall Because God is against it,–Nahum 2:11-13.
* Thursday—Sins of the City Charged to it,–Na 3:1-7.
* Friday–Like Judgements Brought Upon Other Places,–Na 3:1-8.
* Saturday–Break Down of Things Depended Upon,–Na 3:12-19.
Writer–The name Nahum means “consolation,” and indeed he did console Israel with the promise of their own deliverance and the destruction of their enemies. He was born at Elkosh, a small town in the province of Galilee. He most likely prophesied about 640 B. C., in the reign of Josiah, king of Judah. He saw the Assyrians threatening Judah, but saw also that they would be overcome and destroyed.
PURPOSE–To foretell the destruction of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. “which held sway for centuries, and has been regarded as the most brutal of the ancient heathen nations.”
NOTE ON ASSYRIA–Assyria and Babylon were two great empires that grew up on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, northeast of Palestine. Babylon first became an empire about 2280 B. C. and was by turn strong and weak until about 1100 B. C., when the Assyrian empire arose, overpowering Babylon. The Assyrian empire lasted until 625 B. C., having taken the Ten Tribes captive about one hundred years before it fell. In 625 B. C. Babylon again rose to power, and it was they who took Judah, the southern kingdom, captive about 588 B. C.
The Assyrians boasted of unheard-of savagery. They flayed captive kings alive and dressed columns with their skins; others they walled-up alive. They burnt boys and girls in the fire, put out eyes, cut off hands, feet, noses, and ears. All this they professed to do at the commands of their god, Asshur. No wonder Nahum indignantly and gratefully prophesies the end of Nineveh, the capital of the wicked empire. The city was destroyed nearly a century, later, exactly as he predicted. They had thought themselves absolutely safe in their capital with its 1,200 towers, and their wall a hundred feet high and so broad that three chariots could drive on it abreast. But they were swept away, as this book declares they would be, and the nations shouted for joy.
1. The Decree.
Great Fact I. The Decree of Nineveh’s Fail
The prophet begins by laying down the principle that God, although slow to anger, must avenge all crimes. His power is seen in the storm and the earthquake, Na 1:1-6. The principle is next applied to Nineveh. God is a refuge to His faithful one, but He will destroy Nineveh with a sweeping flood. Although its drunken armies get together in close formation as corn-pact as a hedge of thorn, yet this will not save them, Na 1:6-12. Judah is promised deliverance from the yoke of Nineveh and is pictured as rejoicing at the news of its ruin, and celebrating her feasts in safety, Na 1:12-15. As a matter of fact, the immediate fall of Nineveh was caused by a great flood from the River Tigris.
LESSON–Nineveh stands for those nations that turn back from following God. About 150 years before this time, the city had repented under the preaching of Jonah. Now it has turned from the true and living God to serve idols. Those who were converted under Jonah were eternally saved, but a new generation has arisen who “Changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and beasts,” Ro 1:23. The chief god of Nineveh was the bull god, with the face of a man, and the wings of a bird. Because of this national falling away from the religion of Jehovah, Nahum does not call them again to repentance but threatens certain judgment. Antagonism to God can end only in disaster. A dying atheist appeared unhappy and frightened. Another atheist who stood at his bedside said to him, “Don’t be afraid, hold on, man; hold on to the last.” The dying man replied: “That is what I want to do, but tell me what to hold on to!”
Great Fact II. Attack Upon Nineveh
This chapter tells us very vividly of the siege and sack of the city. Outside the walls are gathered the Medes; their shields are brightly painted; their robes are of purple. Their terrible spears, and the knives on their chariot wheels glitter in the sunlight. Inside the city all is excitement as the /king tries to rally his drunken nobles to its defense, but it is too late. The flood, together with their enemies is upon them. Huzzab, the queen, is taken captive, while her maidens, like a flock of doves, moan around her. The Median soldiers cry one to another, “Rob Ye silver, rob ye gold, for there is no end of the precious treasures!” So the city is plundered while the knees of the people of the city smite together for fear. Nineveh shall terrify the nations no longer because God is against her.
LESSON–We often wonder why wicked nations are allowed to exist so long. The answer is found in 2Pe 3:9. However, at the right time, God will balance all accounts and render justice to all. So thorough was the destruction of Nineveh, that in 401 B. C. when Xenophon and his ten thousand passed over it, they knew not where they were, and when Napoleon encamped near its site he was not aware of it. So will all wicked nations be destroyed.
It is also a remarkable fact that Nineveh was destroyed by a people as wicked as themselves–the Medes and Babylonians. Thus God uses wicked men to punish wicked men, as in the Pit, fiends are the tormentors of fiends. If men will not knowingly further God’s holy purposes, then He will lead them to do so unknowingly!
Great Fact III. The Cause of Nineveh’s Fall
As Nineveh sowed, so must she reap. She deserved her doom because of her cruelties, immorality, idolatry, and greed. So she shall be stripped and scorned, and those who see her shall fly from her, astonished at her desolation, Na 3:2-7. Why should Nineveh expect a better fate than other nations who were likewise destroyed for their sins? Nahum 3:8-11. All its efforts and resources cannot stave off its just punishment, Na 3:12-19.
LESSON–In Mt 26:24 and Lu 6:24-26, Christ utters as great woes upon the nations in general as is here uttered against Nineveh, and the wicked can no more escape them than did this city escape. The resources of civilization are powerless against Heaven’s artillery. As we are no better than some who have already fallen, let us keep in holy fear of the judgments of God.
“Will my case be called today?” said an eager client to his lawyer. “Are you sure that nothing is left undone? If a judgment is given against me, I am a ruined man.” This set the lawyer earnestly thinking, “What if my case were to come on today, before the Eternal Judge, whose sentence there is no reversing! Am I prepared?”
Questions on the Lesson
1. What is the meaning of Nahum’s name?
2. Where was he born and when did he die?
3. What the purpose of the book?
4. Give the keyword and key verse.
5. Have you read the book?
6. Where was Assyria?
7. Tell of its savagery.
8. Tell of Nineveh’s fall.
9. What was the immediate cause of its fall?
10. Who had preached in Nineveh and with what results?
11. What had a new generation done?
12. What does Nahum now threaten?
13. Tell of the dying atheist.
14. Tell of the attack on the city.
15. Why are wicked nations allowed to exist?
16. Does God use wicked men?
17. What were the moral causes of Nineveh’s fall?
18. Can the wicked today escape God’s judgments?
19. Tell how the eager client wanted to be ready.
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. — Matthew 5:23-24 KJV