THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET NAHUM.
Concerning Nahum ("consolation," or "the consoler") we have only so much authentic information that we know he was a native of Elkosh, probably a village of Galilee. The period in which he prophesied may only approximately be fixed by the fact that he was active before the destruction of Nineveh in the year 606 B. C., but after the dissolution of the northern kingdom through the Assyrian hosts and after some serious visitation which struck the southern kingdom. The time of his activity may thus be placed either at the very end of the eighth century or in the first half of the seventh century before Christ. He seems to have been at that time a citizen of Judah, residing in Jerusalem. The object of Nahum's book was to bring his nation, representative of the spiritual Israel, comfort and strength over against the Assyrian world-power, which at that time had subdued Israel and assumed the sovereignty over Judah. The gist of the book is the Lord's announcement of Nineveh's total destruction, in accordance with which its conquest took place in the year 606 B. C.
The Book of Nahum evidently forms a well-ordered unit, which may be divided in agreement with its chapters. It sets forth the vengeance decided upon by the mighty and jealous God, the conquest and destruction of Nineveh as determined upon by the Lord, and the reason for the Lord's judgment, namely, the guilt and wickedness of the city and its inhabitants. The form of presentation is vivid and powerful, the style rhythmical, the language of classic beauty, with passages breathing a true fire of divine enthusiasm and power. The Messianic element is not entirely wanting, and the entire book supports the plan of God of preserving His people over against the oppression of the world-power. 1)