New American Bible Revised Edition

* [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.

* [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.

* [1:2] A jealous…God: see note on Ex 20:5.

* [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).

* [1:4] Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon were famous for their mountainous terrain and lush forests.

* [1:6–7] When God comes in judgment those who oppose God will be destroyed, and those who trust in God will be saved.

* [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.

* [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.

* [1:12–13] They: the enemies of Judah. You: Judah. His yoke: the dominion of the Assyrian king over Judah.

* [1:14] You: the king of Assyria.

* [2:1] For never again will destroyers invade you: prophets are not always absolutely accurate in the things they foresee. Nineveh was destroyed, as Nahum expected, but Judah was later invaded by the Babylonians and (much later) by the Romans. The prophets were convinced that Israel held a key place in God’s plan and looked for the people to survive all catastrophes, always blessed by the Lord, though the manner was not always as they expected; the “fallen hut of David” was not rebuilt as Am 9:11 suggests, except in the coming of Jesus, and in a way far different than the prophet expected. Often the prophet speaks in hyperbole, as when Second Isaiah speaks of the restored Jerusalem being built with precious stones (Is 54:12) as a way of indicating a glorious future.

* [2:2] One who scatters has come up against you: the enemy is about to crush Nineveh, dispersing and deporting its people (v. 8; 3:18).

* [2:3] This verse does not fit its context well; it may have been the conclusion for the preceding section and have once followed v. 1, or it may be a later scribal addition.

* [2:6] Their screen: that is, a mantelet, a movable military shelter protecting the besiegers.

* [2:7] River gates: a network of canals brought water into Nineveh from the Tigris and Khosr Rivers on which the city was located.

* [2:8] Mistress…and her maidservants: either the queen of Nineveh with the ladies of her court, or the city of Nineveh itself, pictured as a noblewoman (3:4).

* [2:12] The lion: the king of Assyria.

* [3:5–6] The punishment for adulterous women.

* [3:8] No-amon: “No” was the Egyptian name of the capital of Upper Egypt, called Thebes by the Greeks; its patron deity was Amon. This great city was destroyed by the Assyrians in 663 B.C.

* [3:9] Put: a North African people often associated with Egypt and Ethiopia (Jer 46:8–9).

* [3:12] Early figs: the refugees from Nineveh who escape to presumably secure fortresses.

* [3:14] An ironic exhortation to prepare the city for a futile defense. Go down…brick mold: make bricks for the city walls.

* [3:16] Traders: agents of the economic exploitation that sustained and enriched the Assyrian empire.

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Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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