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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for the contents of this Bible study outline.

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December 26, 2021


SCRIPTURE: Nahum 1:1-15


KEY VERSE: God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. (Nahum 1:2)




INSIGHT: Today we are going to study the book of Nahum chapter 1 and summarize Nahum chapters 2 and 3. This should give us a better understanding of the book of Nahum, and will put it in context.


Jonah was sent to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, to give the people an opportunity to repent. But, one hundred and fifty years later, Nahum was called to announce that Nineveh’s judgment was imminent. The city fell to the Medes and Babylonians in 612 B.C. The prophet Zephaniah also prophesied the fall of Nineveh (Zeph. 2:13–14).


Nahum means “comfort,” and his message was certainly a comfort to the Jews who feared and hated the cruel Assyrians’ threats to their security. The book focuses on the holy character of God who cannot allow sin to go unpunished. In chapter 1, Nahum declares Nineveh’s fall; in chapter 2, he describes it; and in chapter 3, he defends it.


·        Imagine how happy the people of Judah were when they heard: “Nineveh has fallen! The Assyrian empire is no more!” (see Nahum 1:15) Assyria was a ruthless enemy that practiced brutality on men, women, and children. Their armies destroyed and looted; they buried their enemies alive and even skinned them alive; they impaled people on sharp poles and left them to burn in the sun. Assyria had been used of God to chasten the Northern Kingdom of Israel; that happened in 721 B.C. In 701 B.C., the Assyrians tried to conquer Judah, but God intervened and destroyed their army (Isa. 36-37). Still, Assyria was always the scourge of the nations; every nation feared her and tried to win her approval. Finally in 612 B.C., Nineveh was destroyed by the Medes and the Babylonians; and so complete was their conquest that the ruins of the city remained undiscovered until 1842.


·        It was concerning this future destruction of Nineveh that Nahum wrote. Nahum wrote this little book at a time when Assyria was at the very peak of her power. Nobody would have dreamed that mighty Nineveh would fall, but God knows the future and He gave His message to Nahum to deliver to the frightened people of Judah. This was not a message of warning to Nineveh; they had heard God’s warning from Jonah a century and a half before. No, there was no hope for Nineveh; God’s patience had run out and His judgment would fall. Rather, this was a message of hope for Judah, to encourage them to trust God at an hour of great danger. Each of the three chapters tells us something about God and also about the fall of the city.


I. GOD IS JEALOUS: Nineveh Will Fall. (Nahum 1:1-15)


INSIGHT: “The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite” (Nahum 1:1). This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh.


A. The word “jealous” when applied to God does not suggest envy or selfishness. (Nahum 1:2)


God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. (Nahum 1:2)


It carries the idea of being zealous for His glory and for His holiness. He burns with hatred against sin even though He loves the sinner. Just as a husband is jealous over his wife and therefore protects her, so God is jealous over His people and His law, and therefore must act in holiness and justice. He is slow to anger; in fact, He gave Nineveh 150 years of mercy. But they had gone too far in their brutality and violence, and God had to judge them.


B. Does God have the power to judge? Of course He does. (Nahum 1:3-7)


The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nahum 1:3-7)


Look at His power in nature (Nahum 1:3-6), in winds and storms, in rains and droughts, on land and sea. Who can stand before His power? Nations today seem to forget the power of Almighty God. They act as though there is no God. But you can be sure that the day of judgment will come, and in that day no nation will be able to escape.


C. Nahum describes the fall of the city with two pictures: a great flood of waters that sweeps everything away; and a fire of dry thorns that burns like stubble. (Nahum 1:8-13)


But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry. 11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord, a wicked counsellor. 12 Thus saith the Lord; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. 13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. (Nahum 1:8-13)


It is interesting to note that Nineveh did fall because of a flood of waters. The Medes and Babylonians besieged the city for many months and made little headway. Then the rainy season came and the two rivers next to Nineveh began to rise. One historian says that the Medes broke one of the dams on the river. But in any case, the swelling waters beat against the thick walls of Nineveh and broke them down. The city was literally destroyed by the flood; see also Nahum 2:6. God does not need armies; He can use tiny raindrops!


D. God makes two wonderful promises to His people in this chapter. (Nahum 1:14-15)


14 And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile. 15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off. (Nahum 1:14-15)


(1) In Nahum 1:7, God assures them of His goodness and tells them they will be safe so long as they trust in Him. (2) In Nahum 1:12, God assures them that He will not afflict them again with the Assyrian armies the way Israel had been afflicted before. No matter what the difficulties may be, we can trust God to care for us, and we can trust God to see us through.


II. GOD IS JUDGE: Nineveh’s Fall Is Great. (See Nahum 2:1-13)


·        In the Hebrew text, Nahum 1:15 is actually the beginning of the second chapter. It is the joyful announcement that Nineveh has fallen. See also Isa. 52:7 for a similar announcement about the fall of Babylon; and see Paul’s use of this for today in Romans 10:15. The person who brings a message of hope and victory is a person with beautiful feet. As Christians we all ought to have beautiful feet as we carry the message of the Gospel (God’s good news about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection) to the lost (see John 3:16).


·        Nahum Chapter 2 is a vivid picture of the invasion of the city and its ultimate fall. Assyria had destroyed Israel in 721; now God was going to restore His people by punishing the enemy (Nahum chapters 1 and 2). The Medes (Assyria’s enemy)  wore scarlet uniforms and used scarlet shields (Nahum 2 3). The armies with their spears and lances looked like a forest of fir trees.


INSIGHT:  Please do NOT make Nahum 2:4 a prophecy of the modern automobile. It only pictures the chariots in the streets of the city. Huzzab in Nahum 2:7 refers probably to the queen, being led away in great humiliation.


·        Notice the repeated reference to lions in Nahum 2: 11-13. The lion was the symbol of the Assyrian empire, as you can see from pictures in history or archaeology books. They built huge statues of lions with the heads of men. “Where are your lions now?” Nahum asks. “Where are your rulers, your champions?” “I am against you” (verse 13). God brought the Medes and Babylonians against Nineveh and permitted them to spoil the city and take its wealth. For 150 years God had waited for Assyria to turn, but she refused. God is Judge among the nations; God must act – and He does.


III. GOD IS JUST: Nineveh Deserves To Fall. (See Nahum 3:1-19)


INSIGHT: Here Nahum deals with the justice of this act. Some might say, “But God used Assyria to punish the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Why punish Nineveh when once He used her as His own tool?” Or they might argue, “Look at the kingdom of Judah. She is full of sin too. Why not punish her?” Well, God would punish Judah in a few years (606-586); He would permit the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and take the people captive. But His purpose for Judah would be different from His purpose for Nineveh. God would chasten Judah in love to teach her a lesson; God would judge Assyria in anger to destroy her for her sins.


·        In Nahum 3:1 we see the great sins of Assyria listed: murders, lies, and covetousness. The Assyrians had murdered thousands of innocent people; now their own people would be slain and their bodies stacked in the streets like lumber. Nineveh had carried on a profitable commerce with the other nations and had grown rich through lies and violence. But now all their wealth would vanish in the hands of the looters. This is the justice of God. And in that day of judgment, the Assyrian soldiers (usually so brave) would act like a frightened child. Every means of fortification would fail.


·        In verses. 15-17, Nahum compares the battle to a plague of locusts. Just as the worms eat up the crops, so the enemy would eat up the city. The Assyrian soldiers would be as strong as grasshoppers. Then in verse 18 Nahum sees the Assyrians as a slaughtered flock of sheep, their shepherds (rulers) sleeping in death.


INSIGHT: The word “bruit” in verse 19 of the King James version means “news, report.” When the nations got the report of the destruction of Assyria, they clapped their hands and shouted for joy. The Lord judges the sins of nations and the sins of individuals. It is tragic to reject God’s warnings and persist in sin. The Bible says, “Be sure your sins will find you out!”


The Severity Of God’s Judgment
Dr. Robert Jeffress


The word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty. (Hebrews 2:2)


·        The writer of Hebrews says we should respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ right now because of the severity of God’s judgment.


·        In Hebrews 2:2, he wrote, “The word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty.” He was saying to the ones who loved angels, “Remember what the angels did? It was the angels who gave the Law of God.” Psalm 68 and Acts 7 say it was not just Moses up there with God; it was also the angels who played a part in communicating God’s Law to Moses when he was on top of Mount Sinai. By the way, God’s Law is more than the Ten Commandments. The Old Testament Law had over 600 regulations about how to eat, how to dress, what to eat, and so forth. You were not allowed to obey only the parts of the Law you liked. Deuteronomy 27 said, in effect, “Cursed is everyone who does not obey all things written in God’s Law.” There was no changing God’s Law. God’s punishment was swift and certain.


·        The writer was saying: If God’s Law is that exacting and that severe, what hope do you have of surviving God’s judgment? What hope does America have for that matter? In the Old Testament, God gave three reasons for His harsh judgment against Israel: (1) unjudged murders (Numbers 35); (2) unnumbered adulteries (Jeremiah 3:8); and (3) unkept marriage vows (3:1). Because of those transgressions of the Law, God sent His judgment.


·        Just look at what is happening in America today. Every year our nation kills 1.4 million children in the womb through abortion. We not only tolerate it; there are many in this country who celebrate a person’s right to make her own choice–a choice to murder her children. God hates the murder of children. Or people think adultery is normal. They say we are not made to be monogamous; we have these desires. Our unkept marriage vows are celebrated on television all the time. Now the Bible says there are some biblical reasons for divorce, but many people in our country change marriage partners almost as often as they change their clothes. The Bible says God hates that. God does not hate divorced people, but He hates the process of divorce because of what it does inside of us and what it destroys about the object lesson about Jesus Christ. How in the world is our nation going to survive when we so willingly violate God’s laws?


·        It is so easy to read that and think, “That’s right. I know a person who did this and that.” We do not have to look at anybody else -- let’s look at our own transgressions. How many times do we violate God’s will in what we say or think or do? How are we going to survive the exacting judgment of God? Nahum 1:3 says, “The Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” -- Today’s devotion is excerpted from “So Great A Salvation” by Dr. Robert Jeffress (2013), Pathway To Victory devotional, May 16, 2019


CONCLUSION: In our lesson today, we learned that (1) in chapter 1, Nahum declares Nineveh’s fall; (2) in chapter 2, Nahum describes the fall; and (3) in chapter 3, Nahum defends the fall.


·        Here is what we learned in Nahum 1:


1. God is jealous (Nahum 1:1–2). This means God deserves total obedience and will not permit any rivals. It is the jealousy of the husband over his wife or the mother over her child. He is jealous over His people and for His glory; therefore, He must punish sin.


2. God is long-suffering (Nahum 1:3a). God does not have “temper tantrums.” He patiently waits for sinners to hear His Word and repent. (See Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18 and Romans 9:22.)


3. God is sovereign (Nahum 1:3b–6). He has His way because His way is best and He is totally in control. He commands the forces of nature, and no one can stand before His anger.


4. God is good (Nahum 1: 7–15). Nineveh will be destroyed by a flood (verse 8) and a fire (verse 10); but God’s people will be safe in their refuge, Jehovah God (Psalm 46). Judah had been afflicted by Assyria, but that would now end and the yoke would be taken off (Nahum 1:12–13). Judah would hear the good news from the courier that Nineveh had been destroyed! (See Isaiah 40:9; 52:7; Romans 10:15.)


·        Here is what we learned in Nahum 2:


1. What a dramatic picture of the invasion (Nahum 2:1–4), the battle (Nahum 2:5–7), the victory (Nahum 2:8–10), and the humiliation of Nineveh before the Lord and her enemies (Nahum 2:11–13)! It was not the Babylonians and the Medes who defeated Assyria; it was Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel (Isaiah 10:5–19).


2. The watchmen on the walls see the enemy army approaching (Nahum 2:1) with their scarlet uniforms and shields and their swift chariots (Nahum 2:3–4). The general puts his best troops on the wall, but they stumble over one another and cannot move fast enough (verse 5).


3. The invaders dam up a river and release the water, which destroys part of the city wall and the palace (Nahum 2:6; Nahum 1:8). The people start to flee, many are taken captive, and the city is looted (Nahum 2:7–10).


4. Assyria was identified with the lion, an image in many of their sculptures (Nahum 2:11–13). But the Assyrian lion would devour no longer, for it had been devoured! Assyria would roar no more and kill no more, but Judah would be restored and enjoy the blessing of God (verse 2).


·        Here is what we learned in Nahum 3:


1. The harlot (Nahum 3:1-7). This image frequently occurs in Scripture for those who abandon truth and give themselves wholly to sin to gain wealth and pleasure. The Assyrian goddess of sex and war was Ishtar, a harlot. God would expose Assyria’s shame and make her vile.


2.The drunkard (Nahum 3:8–11). How could drunken soldiers hope to win a war! The nation had to drink God’s cup of wrath (Jer. 25:15–29).


3. The fig tree (Nahum 3:12–13). Ripe figs will fall easily when the tree is shaken, and these figs would fall right into the farmer’s mouth! Nineveh’s defenses were inadequate, and the city would fall right into the enemy’s hands.


4. The locusts (Nahum 3:14–17). Assyria had swarmed on other nations and stripped them, but now an army would swarm on them and empty the city of people and wealth. The great Assyrian leaders would be like cold locusts in a stupor; but when the heat came, they would wake up and try to escape. The mighty nation was just a swarm of weak insects!


5. The flock (Nahum 3:18). The shepherds (leaders) were dead, and the sheep were scattered. Nobody would care for them or gather them.


6. The victims (Nahum 3:19). Wounded and sick, the nation was about to die; there was no way to bring healing. Jeremiah used the same image concerning God’s people, but he promised that God would heal them (Jer. 30:12–17). For Nineveh, there was no promise of hope.


INSIGHT: You can’t fight God. He always wins, and He always will win. He is the Lord our Creator! If you turn your back to Him, judgment will come!


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)


* * *


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.



E-mail: Ronald Purkey


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