This month our Bible reading plan takes us to the Minor Prophets. To help us assemble these books and understand their message, here are a number of resources to Nahum, the first book of The Twelve. You can find more information about the Minor Prophets here.
Nahum is another Minor Prophet who lacks an historical introduction. Nevertheless, we can piece its historical context together from a number of factors. First, it comes after Jonah, which records the repentance of Nineveh (circa 760 B.C.). Second, as it foretells the judgment of Nineveh, it approaches the historical downfall of that city (612 B.C.). Yet, the city is still prospering as Nahum writes (see Nahum 1:12; 2:11–13; 3:1, 4). Therefore The ESV Study Bible places it between 660–614 B.C. and states,
Nahum likely prophesied sometime between the zenith of Assyria’s power around 664 B.C. and the fall of Nineveh in 612. During this time the Assyrian Empire was in decline as Egypt, Judah, and Babylonia (with the help of the Medes) regained autonomy and eroded the power of Assyria. Nahum foretold of the fall of Nineveh, the capital of the mighty Assyrian Empire.
An Outline of Nahum
Nahum is a dark book, but one that demonstrates the holy justice of God. It is important to read with the other Minor Prophets, especially Jonah, as it unfolds the full character of God revealed in Exodus 34:6–7. Here are a few outlines of the book’s message.
- God Appears . . . (ch. 1)
- . . . to judge evil in the nations (1:1–8)
- . . . to separate the fate of the nations from God’s remnant (1:9–15)
- The Fall of Nineveh (ch. 2)
- Assyria’s Downfall (ch. 3)
The ESV Study Bible provides a very thorough outline of Nahum. Here’s a condensed version of that outline.
- Introduction (1:1)
- A Psalm Descriptively Praising the Lord (1:2–8)
- The Lord’s Coming Judgment on Nineveh and Deliverance of Judah (1:9–15)
- Focus on Nineveh: The Lord’s Coming Judgment (2:1–13)
- Again, Focus on Nineveh: More concerning the Lord’s Coming Judgment (3:1–19)
Providing the most careful literary structure, Fuhr and Yates demonstrate two, two-fold sections in Nahum 1 and a chiastic structure in Nahum 2–3 (see pp. 207, 214)
1. Two-fold hymn of praise celebrating God’s judgment of the guilty and salvation of the innocent (1:2–8)
2. Two-fold address condemning the oppressor and comforting the oppressed (1:9–14)
3. Chiasm centering on Nahum’s woe (3:1–4)
A Call to celebrate (1:15)
B The Prophet’s Vision (2:1–10)
C The Prophet’s Taunt (2:11–12)
D The Declaration of Yahweh (2:13)
E Woe Oracle (3:1–4)
D’ The Declaration of Yahweh (3:5–7)
C’ The Prophet’s Taunt (3:8–13)
B’ The Prophet’s Vision (3:14–17)
A’ Call to celebrate (3:18–19)
Overview Sermons on Nahum
- Nahum by Richard Belcher
- Major Points for Nahum by John Blanchard
- Who’s in Charge? The Message of Nahum by Mark Dever
Sermon Series on Nahum
Nahum’s Whirlwind: The Good News of God’s Vengeance
A sermon series at Occoquan Bible Church.
- Getting Into Nahum, and Taking Refuge in the Lord of Wrath (Nahum 1:1–8)
- The Sword of the Lord: In Nineveh and Now (Jonah 1:9–2:13)
- Justice Served by Rod Fillinger (Jonah 3)
Via Emmaus Articles on Nahum
- Where Grace and Justice Meet: A Canonical Reading of Exodus 34:6–7
- The Good News of God’s Vengeance: Nahum’s History and Literary Style
- Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: Daniel Block’s Answer to a Feminist Reading of Nahum 3
Via Emmaus Articles on The Twelve
- Reading the Minor Prophets Together: Ten Observations from Paul House’s ‘The Unity of the Twelve’
- Finding Theological Unity in The Twelve: Reading the Minor Prophets with Richard Fuhr and Gary Yates
- The Theological Message of the Twelve
- Putting the Prophets in Their Place: An Introduction to the Historical Background of the Minor Prophets
Books on the Minor Prophets
- Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. and Gary E. Yates, The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets (Nashville: B & H Academic, 2016).
- Paul House, The Unity of the Twelve (New York: T & T Clark).
Books on the Prophets in General
- Peter J. Gentry, How to Read and Understand the Prophets (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).
- O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Prophets (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2004).
- Aaron Chalmers, Interpreting the Prophets: Reading, Understanding and Preaching from the Worlds of the Prophets (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015)
Soli Deo Gloria, ds