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Chapter 1

Oracle[a] concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.

God’s Terrifying Appearance

[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;
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;
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]
The mountains quake before him,
    and the hills dissolve;
The earth is laid waste before him,
    the world and all who dwell in it.
[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.
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,
    when the flood rages;
He makes an end of his opponents,
    and pursues his enemies into darkness.

Nineveh’s Judgment and Judah’s Restoration

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. 1:1 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 1:2 A jealous…God: see note on Ex 20:5.
  4. 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).
  5. 1:4 Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon were famous for their mountainous terrain and lush forests.
  6. 1:6–7 When God comes in judgment those who oppose God will be destroyed, and those who trust in God will be saved.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 1:12–13 They: the enemies of Judah. You: Judah. His yoke: the dominion of the Assyrian king over Judah.
  10. 1:14 You: the king of Assyria.