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Welcome to the book of Nahum!Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, was assassinated by two of his sons in 681 B. C. Another son (Esarhaddon) followed him to the throne. In 669 B. C. Esarhaddon is succeeded by Ashurbanipal, who takes the Assyrian army deep into Palestine and Egypt in 663 B. C. Assyria destroys the Egyptian city of Thebes during this time. In terms of the Biblical timeline, Isaiah was put to death before King Manasseh’s captivity (and later spiritual reforms). It was during the spiritual renewal under Manasseh that Nahum’s prophecies against Judah’s archenemy (Nineveh) and predicts her fall. Hearing Jonah 125 years earlier, the Ninevites had repented and God had spared their city. By Nahum’s time, Nineveh had returned to her evil ways.
Each of the three chapters in Nahum is a complete unit in itself. Chapter 1 is in the form of an acrostic poem in which Nahum declares the judgment that is to come.1. If your patience were likened to a keg of dynamite, would have a:
- short fuse?
- long fuse?
- no fuse?
- no powder?
- no keg?
2. What pet peeve gives you a “pain in the neck”? Why is this a particular irritation to you?
3. If, during this past week, your feet were dragging or you had a bounce in your step, what do you think was the reason?
4. What do we learn about the attributes and actions of the Lord in verses 2 – 8? What characteristic of God demonstrated here surprises you? Why?
5. What has Nineveh done to kindle the Lord’s wrath (verse 2; see also Jonah 1:2)? What images are used to depict Nineveh’s end?
6. Do you think verse 7 is part of Nahum’s vision or his own personal opinion? Why?
7. What words of comfort are meant only for Judah? What good news are they to take to the mountains and proclaim? Why are they now free to attend to their festivals and vows?
8. What is the point of contrasting the futures of Nineveh and Judah? Why is God treating the two nations so differently?
9. Does the fierce anger of God shock or distress you? In your opinion could God’s anger be best likened to . . .
- a keg of dynamite?
- Mount Saint Helen’s volcano?
- Old Faithful geyser?
10. How do you reconcile God’s wrath with God’s love? Is one primary and the other secondary? Are they flip sides of the same coin? Or is their no way to bring consistency out of these two natures of God?
11. Which of the Lord’s attributes and actions have you experienced in your life recently? If you could change one thing about God’s nature, what would it be? Why that one?
12. Who in your church displays a particular facet of God’s character highlighted by Nahum? Which facet does he or she bring to mind?
13. In what ways do you feel like Judah in your relationship with the Lord? In what ways like Nineveh?