The Book of Nahum Bible Study Chapter 3 Part 1

Our next reading is Nahum 3:1-10

G-d is faithful to punish evil doers – those who will not submit to His Word. 

v1: Woe: This is a word that warns us that something terrible is about to happen. G-d’s grace has run out, the time has run out and these people can expect G-d’s judgement to come upon them.

  • Bloody: Written in the plural which tells us that a LOT of blood was shed. The Assyrians did not think twice about shedding the blood of others. They ruled sternly and simply killed all who stood against them or opposed them. The measure that they used was measured back to them (Matt 7:2). 
  • It is all full of lies: A government wanting to hide truth comes against those who try to expose their lies, corruption and deceit.
  • Never departs: When there has been a disaster in a city/place  (earthquake etc.) the animals come into it to scavenge and eat what they can find. The destruction in Nineveh was going to be so great that the prey (wild beasts) would have plenty of food to devour.

v2: This is now giving us a description of the Babylonian empire. 

v3: The imagery here is one of such mass destruction that the invading army is going to stumble over the unburied corpses lying on the ground. G-d judges because He is holy and righteous. When we ignore that G-d is also an avenging/wrathful G-d we do not have a Biblical/Scriptural view of G-d. This can cause us to be careless in our relationship with Him. It can cause us to not take sin, or its consequences, seriously. As an outcome of this the nation becomes more immoral and unethical. Sin grows, because people no longer know the terror of the L-rd. (2 Cor 5:11) Understanding the wrath of G-d has a positive effect upon people. Removing the fear of G-d encourages sin to become rampant. We need to have the total picture of G-d (His love, His grace, His mercy and His wrath) We need to understand that G-d is a terrifying G-d (Heb 10:31). 

v4: G-d does not destroy them because they are not His covenant people and He does not like them. The Sovereignty of G-d does not cause Him to violate His attributes and character. G-d’s judgement rests solely on the behavior of the Ninevites. 

  • Multitude of harlotries: Often, prophetically and Scripturally, harlotry is not speaking about literal adultery but about idolatry. Under Jonah, the people had encountered the G-d of Israel, the Only True Living G-d. Instead of remaining faithful to Him they played the harlot. They were adulterers – spiritually speaking. G-d is a jealous G-d. Those who know Him but do not respond to Him according to His covenant truth will be held accountable.
  • Seductive: What the pagan leaders offered was exactly what the people wanted to hear. There was an occultic dimension to this empire. We need to be careful, today, to not follow leaders/Bible teachers who tell us what we want to hear, encourage us in our own pursuits rather than admonishing us to walk in the pursuits of G-d (2 Tim 4:3-4). G-d is not there to accomplish our will. We are here to accomplish His. 
  • Sells nations: Nineveh sold nations into slavery. They brought the nations with an allurement that came through their spiritual teachings. They used satan’s power to accomplish their own purposes. 

v5:I am against you: G-d was against them because of their inappropriate worship, they had turned away from what G-d had revealed to them (in the days of Jonah) and they followed untrue doctrines. 

  • The L-rd of Hosts: This is a name that refers to G-d as the G-d of the (heavenly) armies. It is a threatening term. Noone can stand against this army. It is supreme and all powerful. 
  • Lift your skirts over your face: One of the first aspects of G-d’s judgement is that He reveals shame. When we sin, we are good at concealing/hiding our shame. G-d is holy so, slowly but surely, the hidden things are exposed as they come into the light. We need to know the terror of G-d (2 Cor 5:11)so that we are wise enough to repent immediately, not waiting for His judgement to come and then only doing something about our sin. When we humble ourselves, and acknowledge our sin, G-d extends mercy, grace, forgiveness and loving kindness. He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our weaknesses, so that we can have the potential to walk with Him in righteous obedience.  

v6: Abominable: This is the same word found in Daniel 9:27 when it speaks of the abomination of desolation. It is a word related to idolatry; it is that which is an abomination to G-d. 

  • Vile: The word used for physical decay/rot (that which is vile) is the same as the one used to speak about the dead carcasses of animals. By using these two words, G-d told the Ninevites that He was going to place abomination (spiritual damnation) and filthy, rotten smelling carcasses upon them. G-d wants us to see that He is serious about how we live. Throughout the prophets we see the L-rd is faithful to punish wickedness. It is also through the prophets that we can learn to fear the L-rd and to be a people that G-d wants us to be. 

V7: Flee from you: The Ninevites were going to be avoided. 

  • Nineveh is laid waste: They are plundered, wretched, empty, stripped away of everything.
  • Who will bemoan (comfort) her: There was no place where Nineveh would find any consolation, any help, any friend, any comfort. All her allies had already been taken over by Babylon. 

v8: No Amon – probably a name related to a leader of some powerful naval (island) empire (Jer 46:25). Whoever they were, they were very powerful, had a great navy and made their island almost impregnable to attack from others. However, they too were defeated by the Babylonians. 

v9: Ethiopia (literally: Cush): Probably relates to both Ethiopia and Sudan of today – an Eastern African alliance. 

  • Put and Lubim: These names usually refer to Libya/modern day Libya – a North African Alliance. 

Note: All of Nineveh’s allies had already been defeated by Babylon. It was just a matter of time before Assyria, and her capital city Nineveh, were also defeated. G-d’s judgement may delay. It may be slow. The longer it tarries the more powerful it is going to be. Why? When G-d tarries He gives us an opportunity to repent. When we harden our hearts to the truth of G-d the intensity of G-d’s judgement increases. 

v10: This was the worst thing that could happen to an empire – to be taken into exile. Why? It reduced the citizens of the empire to slaves. Their nation and culture were destroyed. 

The Babylonians did not want to deal with the children, so they killed them there and then. The nobles, more valued and prized in the eyes of the Babylonians, were dealt with more carefully. The great ones were led, with chains, into servitude. 

This all happened because of G-d’s righteous judgement. If we don’t understand the wrath of G-d we will not be able to understand His mercy, grace and lovingkindness. If we don’t understand His wrath, we cannot understand the cross. 

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