Nahum: The Fall of Ninevah

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The Fall of Ninevah

Judgment Proclaimed, Accomplished, Explained.

Background: Nahum preached against Ninevah prior to its fall (612 BC)
Theme: God will judge the arrogance and cruelty of Assyria
Outline: Judgment Proclaimed, Accomplished, and Explained
Key Verse: "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of, he will pursue his foes into darkness." (Nahum 1:7-8, NIV)

Nahum Chapter Index


The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol I, Old Testament) is an excellent resource and is referred to as the BKC.


    Jonah had preached "Yet forty days and Ninevah shall be destroyed!" about 150 years earlier.  But Ninevah repented at Jonah's words and was spared.  In the intervening years, the LORD declared judgement on the Northern Kingdom of Israel because Israel abandoned the Lord and worshipped idols.  Assyria, of which Ninevah was a leading city (as New York City is a major city of the United States but not the capital), was used by the LORD to destroy the Northern Kingdom and oppress Judah.  However, Assyria went beyond the bounds of merely conquering.  She was cruel beyond compare to other nations.  Now Nahum gives a message that Assyria, and Ninevah, will be judged.  There is also a message of comfort and restoration for Israel, although the captivity of Judah is yet to occur before that restoration will come.

    We cannot leave the justice of God out of our description of our God.  Yes, God is loving, but God is also just.   He judged Ninevah, and will someday judge all nations.   

I. Title (1:1)

II. Certainty of God's Judgment on Ninevah (1:2-15)

1:3 "He will not leave the guilty unpunished ..." This is true of nations and individuals, and is as true today as it was 2600 years ago. Christians do not go unpunished ... the punishment for our sin fell on Jesus on the cross. In dealing with Christians the Lord will discipline, with an eye to helping us to change for the better. Punishment does not have reformation as its goal but justice. We know that God will deal justly with the nations of our world today. We would like to think that this perhaps would apply to China, or other remote and foreign places. Our own nation, however, has a large measure of guilt. Some aspects of that guilt are seen in the abortion rate, the lack of concern for the disadvantaged in our own country, the lack of concern for the extreme poverty in some other parts of the world, a lack of moral standards, and etc.

1:7-8 BKC 2 Since a flood was apparently a major contributing factor in the fall of Ninevah, I prefer to take this verse in its restricted meaning of a flood of the rivers that undermined the walls. However, before the occurrence of the fall, the original listeners would not necessarily distinguish this shade of meaning.

III. Description of God's Judgment on Ninevah (2)

IV. Reasons for God's Judgment on Ninevah (3)

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Updated March 2012

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