Nahum [Nā'hum]—compassionate, comforter or full of comfort.
1. The prophet who was born at Elkosh in Galilee, and who prophesied against Nineveh (Nah. 1:1).
Nothing is known of this Minor Prophet outside of what we find in the opening of his small yet strong book. He was born at Elkosh, a village of Palestine. But although Nahum is among the notable unknown of the Bible, he was a student of the history of his time and was raised up to comfort God’s people. He prophesied against Nineveh about 150 years after Jonah’s revival there. At that time the city was still at the height of its glory (Nah. 3:16, 17). The empire was extremely cruel. The people gloated that “space failed for corpses of their enemies.” They made “pyramids of human heads.” Pillars were covered with the flayed skins of their rivals.
Nahum’s mission was to declare the terrible doom of Nineveh and one hundred years later it fell. So great was the destruction of the city of the most ferocious, sensual, diabolically atrocious race of men that ever lived, that Alexander the Great marched by and did not know that a great city was under his feet. Lucian wrote, “Nineveh is perished and there is no trace left where once it was.” Nahum, convinced that God was slow to anger but would yet take vengeance on His adversaries, “focusses the light of God’s moral government upon wicked Nineveh and chants the death and dirge of the world’s greatest oppressor.”
The leading lessons to be gleaned from the Book of Nahum are encouraging to faith:
I. The goodness and unchangeableness of Jehovah.
II. The limits of divine forbearance.
III. Right prevails in the end.
IV. Darkness comes before the dawn.
V. The universality of God’s government, its gracious purpose: its retributive character.
VI. Man’s extremity is faith’s hour and God’s opportunity.
2. Another Nahum. In the A. V. Naum is mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:25).