New American Bible (Revised Edition)
1 Oracle[a] concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
God’s Terrifying Appearance
2 [b]A jealous and avenging God[c] is the Lord,
an avenger is the Lord, full of wrath;
The Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries,
and rages against his enemies;
3 The Lord is slow to anger, yet great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.(A)
In stormwind[d] and tempest he comes,
and clouds are the dust at his feet;
4 He roars at the sea and leaves it dry,
and all the rivers he dries up.
Laid low are Bashan and Carmel,
and the bloom of Lebanon withers;[e]
5 The mountains quake before him,
and the hills dissolve;
The earth is laid waste before him,
the world and all who dwell in it.
6 [f]Before his wrath, who can stand firm,
and who can face his blazing anger?(B)
His fury is poured out like fire,
and boulders break apart before him.
7 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
a refuge on the day of distress,
Taking care of those who look to him for protection,
8 when the flood rages;
He makes an end of his opponents,
and pursues his enemies into darkness.
Nineveh’s Judgment and Judah’s Restoration
9 What do you plot against the Lord,
the one about to bring total destruction?
No opponent rises a second time!
10 [g]Like a thorny thicket, they are tangled,
and like drunkards, they are drunk;
like dry stubble, they are utterly consumed.
11 From you has come
one plotting evil against the Lord,
one giving sinister counsel.[h]
12 Thus says the Lord:
though fully intact and so numerous,
they[i] shall be mown down and disappear.
Though I have humbled you,
I will humble you no more.
13 Now I will break his yoke off of you,
and tear off your bonds.(C)
14 The Lord has commanded regarding you:[j]
no descendant will again bear your name;
From the house of your gods I will abolish
the carved and the molten image;
I will make your grave a dung heap.
- 1:1 Oracle: (Heb. Massa’) a word used frequently to describe a prophetic statement against a foreign nation or occasionally Israel; it is used favorably for Israel in Zec 12:1 and Mal 1:1. Nahum of Elkosh: Nahum means “comfort.” Elkosh is a clan or village of unknown location, perhaps in southern Judah.
- 1:2–8 A poem written in the style of the alphabetic psalms (cf. Ps 9; 25; 111; 119) in which each verse unit begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The second half of the alphabet is not represented here.
- 1:2 A jealous…God: see note on Ex 20:5.
- 1:3–6 In stormwind: the power of God is often pictured by natural forces and cosmic disruption (Ex 19:9–25; Ps 18:8–16; 104:1–9).
- 1:4 Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon were famous for their mountainous terrain and lush forests.
- 1:6–7 When God comes in judgment those who oppose God will be destroyed, and those who trust in God will be saved.
- 1:10 Thorns (Is 34:13), drunkenness (Lam 4:21; Na 3:11), and burning stubble (Ob 18) are all images of the judgment of God’s enemies.
- 1:11 From you…giving sinister counsel: addressed to Nineveh, the capital city of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who besieged Jerusalem ca. 700 B.C.
- 1:12–13 They: the enemies of Judah. You: Judah. His yoke: the dominion of the Assyrian king over Judah.
- 1:14 You: the king of Assyria.