The book of Nahum begins with a somber tone — “the burden of Nineveh” — which suggests that a pronouncement of judgment is imminent. The name “Nineveh,” of course, brings memories of the book of Jonah. Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria. This great metropolis is first mentioned in Genesis 10:11,12; it was founded by the mighty hunter, Nimrod.
Jonah was commissioned to proclaim judgment upon Nineveh: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4).
It should be recognized, of course, that this prophecy was conditional, i.e., dependent upon the response of the Ninevites. Happily, they repented and the city was spared. Jehovah lifted the curse of doom for 150 years.
Sadly, though, Nineveh eventually slipped into degradation once more, and it became the responsibility of Nahum the prophet to declare the city’s “full end” (1:8,9).
The destruction of Nineveh was announced by several prophets (see Isaiah 10:12-19; Ezekiel 32:22,23; Zephaniah 2:13-15; Zechariah 10:11). The city of Nineveh fell to the Babylonians, Medes, and Scythians in August of 612 B.C.
Make a few introductory notes near 1:1 to help you appreciate the background of this book.