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Oracle of Judgment against the King of Nineveh

14 The Lord has issued a decree against you:[a]
“Your dynasty will come to an end.[b]
I will destroy the idols and images in the temples of your gods.
I will desecrate[c] your grave, because you are accursed!”[d]

Proclamation of the Deliverance of Judah

15 (2:1)[e] Look! A herald is running[f] on the mountains!
A messenger is proclaiming deliverance:[g]
“Celebrate your sacred festivals, O Judah!
Fulfill your sacred vows to praise God![h]
For never again[i] will the wicked[j] Assyrians[k] invade[l] you;
they[m] have been completely destroyed.”[n]

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  1. Nahum 1:14 tn Heb “has commanded concerning you.” The referent of the second person masculine singular suffix (“you”) probably refers to the Assyrian king (cf. 3:18-19) rather than to the personified city of Nineveh (so NIV). Elsewhere in the book of Nahum, the city of Nineveh is referred to by the feminine rather than masculine gender. Some modern English versions supply terms not in the Hebrew text to indicate the addressee more clearly: NIV “Nineveh”; NLT “the Assyrians in Nineveh.”
  2. Nahum 1:14 tn Heb “from your name there will no longer be sown.”
  3. Nahum 1:14 tn The MT reading אָשִׂים קִבְרֶךָ (ʾasim qivrekha, “I will make your grave”) is usually understood as a figure of speech (metonymy of effect) meaning that the Lord will destroy/execute the Assyrian king. On the other hand, the Targum and Syriac treat this as a double-accusative construction—the implied second object of אָשִׂים being מִבֵּית אֱלֹהֶיךָ (mibbet ʾelohekha, “the house [i.e., “temple”] of your gods”): “I will make it [the house (i.e., temple) of your gods] your grave.” Cathcart suggests revocalizing the MT אָשִׂים to a Hiphil imperfect אָשִׁיִם (ʾashiyim) from שָׁמֵם (shamem, “to devastate”): “I will devastate your grave.” Cathcart notes that the destruction of one’s grave, like the threat of no burial, was a common ancient Near Eastern treaty-curse: “Tombs, especially royal tombs, were often protected by curses directed against persons who might violate and desecrate them, and the very curse kings used to have inscribed on their tombs were precisely the curse of no progeny and no resting-place” (K. J. Cathcart, “Treaty-Curses and the Book of Nahum,” CBQ 35 [1973]: 180-81). This might reflect the background of the ancient Near Eastern kudurru curses which were made against those who might devastate a royal grave and which were put into effect by the gods of the king (see F. C. Fensham, “Common Trends in Curses of the Near Eastern Treaties and Kudurru-Inscriptions Compared with Maledictions of Amos and Isaiah,” ZAW 75 [1963]: 157-59). Despite the fact the king’s grave was allegedly protected by the Assyrian gods, the Lord would nevertheless successfully destroy it, and it would be the Assyrian king who would receive the curse. This approach respects the traditional consonantal text and only involves the revocalization of the MT’s שׂ (sin) to שׁ (shin).
  4. Nahum 1:14 tn The Hebrew verb קַלֹּוֹתָ (qallota) is usually rendered “you are despised” (e.g., Gen 16:4-5; 1 Sam 2:30). However, it is possible that the Hebrew root קָלַל (qalal) is related to the Assyrian term qalu “accursed” (W. von Soden, “Hebraische Wortforschung,” VTSup 16 [1967]: 295).
  5. Nahum 1:15 sn Beginning with 1:15, the verse numbers through 2:13 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 1:15 ET = 2:1 HT, 2:1 ET = 2:2 HT, etc., through 2:13 ET = 2:14 HT. Beginning with 3:1, the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.
  6. Nahum 1:15 tn Heb “the feet of a herald.”
  7. Nahum 1:15 tn Heb “a messenger of peace.” The Hebrew noun translated “peace” is sometimes used in reference to deliverance or freedom from enemy attack or destruction (e.g., Jer 4:10; 6:14; 8:11; 12:5; 28:9; 29:7).
  8. Nahum 1:15 sn The sacred vows to praise God were often made by Israelites as a pledge to proclaim the mercy of the Lord if he would be gracious to deliver (e.g., Gen 28:20; 31:13; Lev 7:16; Judg 11:30, 39; 1 Sam 1:11, 21; 2 Sam 15:7-8; Pss 22:25 [26]; 50:14; 56:12 [13]; 61:5 [6], 8 [9]; 65:1 [2]; 66:13; 116:14, 18; Eccl 5:4 [3]; Jonah 1:16; 2:9 [10]). The words “to praise God” are not in the Hebrew, but are added in the translation for clarification.
  9. Nahum 1:15 tc The LXX reflects the plural יוֹסִיפוּ (yosifu, “they shall [never]”). The MT reads the singular יוֹסִיף (yosif, “he shall [never]”) which is also found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (4QpNah). The subject of the verb is the singular noun בְּלִיַּעַל (beliyya’al, “the wicked one”) which is also misunderstood by the LXX (see below).
  10. Nahum 1:15 tc The MT reads בְּלִיַּעַל (beliyya’al, “the wicked one”; so ASV, NASB). The LXX reading εἰς παλαίωσιν (eis palaiōsin, “to old age”) mistakenly derived בְּלִיַּעַל from בָּלָה (balah, “to become worn”). There are several places in the book of Nahum where the LXX produced poor Heb “the wicked one.” This is a collective singular and has been translated as a plural.
  11. Nahum 1:15 tn The term “Assyrians” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied from context for clarity. If left unspecified, the prophetic statement could be understood to mean that the wicked [i.e., wicked conquerors in general] would never again invade Judah. Cf. NLT “your enemies from Nineveh.”
  12. Nahum 1:15 tn Or “pass through you” (NASB); or “march against you”; NCV “attack you.”
  13. Nahum 1:15 tn Heb “he.” This is in agreement with the singular “wicked one” in the previous line.
  14. Nahum 1:15 tn Heb “he is completely cut off.”