Nahum 1: 1-5…..To be interpreted in its genre!

An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD is avenging and wrathful;
the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and makes it dry;
he dries up all the rivers;
Bashan and Carmel wither;
the bloom of Lebanon withers.
The mountains quake before him;
the hills melt;
the earth heaves before him,
the world and all who dwell in it

Comment: The first line tells us the writer’s name and the people to whom Nahum was writing. After that it is written as a poem and must be read as that. Poetry uses illusions, exaggerations, inferences and is not to be read as a scientific paper or a lecture at University.

In the prophetic poem we discover the following….

  • God is not to be seen as a gentle, un-involved watcher of people and nations. He is slow to anger but will release His wrath eventually in a torrent.
  • The wrath is shown by weather changes and physical catastrophes to both the population and the geographical area, changes which are sometimes horrific.
  • While addressed to Nineveh a wider area across the northern and upper Western part of Israel is included in the destruction foretold.
  • Although the verbs (takes and keeps) are in the present tense it does not indicate if the actions are to be immediate or delayed, that is in the future. Historically, Nahum’s prophecy is dated a bit before the destruction of Nineveh.

Prayer: Oh Lord, may my understanding of You, never make You smaller and less significant than You are.

One thought on “Nahum 1: 1-5…..To be interpreted in its genre!

  1. Thank you Barry for your comments on this passage. Nahum is clearly painting a picture of God. A God who is jealous for His own. A God who is vengeful for His own. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay says the Lord.” A God who uses the weather to send a message to His people on the earth. “God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” He doesn’t change, He is still the same. God bless you.


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