Daily Bible Reading for October 17, 2014, with Commentary: Nahum
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Author: Nahum, a prophet of the Lord
Context: The book of Nahum foretells of the destruction of the Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Before reading today’s reading, remember the book of Jonah. Jonah went to the city of Nineveh and the whole city turned to the Lord and repented. Nahum shows that the city did not remain with the Lord, but returned to paganism. Nahum takes place approximately 100-150 years after Jonah went to the city. Nahum provides a description of the Lord God slow to anger but not leaving the guilty unpunished. Chapter 1 contains the public announcement of judgement that will come upon Nineveh. Chapter 2 describes what how that judgement will be carried out, and chapter 3 explains why the judgement will come to pass.
World History: At the time of Nahum’s prophecy, the Assyrian Empire dominated the Near East. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and one of the oldest cities in history. Scholars know next to nothing about Nahum beyond his name. In the first verse, Nahum is referred to as an Elkoshite, although the exact meaning of that term is unknown, although there are multiple theories. Nahum’s prophecy of Nineveh being destroyed by water came true when the gates controlling the flow of water were thrown open and the city was flooded, causing the collapse of the city’s defenses.