III. Structure And Theological Themes
Apart from the prosaic superscription (1:1), the text of Nahum is in a poetic form equal to any produced by other poets in the OT.
The overall structure is a judicial trial, and the overall components of the book correspond to the various legal aspects of the trial.
The central theme of the book, God's sovereign power and his righteous wrath tempered by goodness to his own people, dominates the prophet's vision from beginning to end.
The prophet was overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the divine presence, and mighty Nineveh reeled like a drunk man toward oblivion.
The holy, almighty God had decided to bring justice upon an utterly brutal empire, and the accused could not escape the death sentence that the Judge pronounced against it. God's wrath toward sin was balanced by his goodness to his own people.
In concert with the other Hebrew prophets, Nahum proclaimed without apology that God exercises power as Judge and Savior in the context of human affairs. The evidence of God's activity is not limited to his spoken word. His acted word was involved in the rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire. The destruction of its opulent capital was predicted, and it happened.
Theologically, the heinous nature of national and international sins was taken seriously. A nation cannot endure if it lacks a spiritual and eternal foundation, and neither Nineveh nor the empire had such a foundation. The empire was an immoral monster that trampled and devoured whomever it could.