Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The No Non-Sense of Nahum 1:1-2


Nahum 1:1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

A burden, a message of impending judgmental doom is never pleasant for a righteous prophet to deliver, even to ones enemies.

Prov. 24:17-18 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

“When Nahum wrote the phrase “burden of Nineveh,” he was referring to his prophecy concerning Assyria’s destruction and the removal of their oppressive hand on the people of Judah. The word “burden” (in Hebrew) actually describes the military advancement that Assyrians were making against Judah.” – The Key Word Study Bible (Parenthesis mine)

The book of the vision; book is “sefer” in Hebrew and can mean a book as we know it or a document or scroll as Nahum would know it. “Chazon” is the Hebrew word for vision and it does mean vision but also can mean mental sight, a dream, prophecy, revelation and or oracle.

In our introduction we have discussed that Elkosh was a village and so an Elkoshite was an inhabitant or native of that village. Elkosh was the residence and perhaps birth place of the prophet Nahum according to Nelson’s Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible.

Could you imagine, Nahum, another Jewish prophet that shows up 100 years later from Jonah’s visit? I wonder if the Ninevites even remembered Jonah, if he was passed down in their oral folklore, seen as a factual historical figure or was he even remembered at all; just as Joseph was forgotten when the Pharaoh who persecuted the Hebrews during the Exodus took over?

2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies

Every translation I have referenced regarding the words of this verse says “jealous,” but this jealousy comes in the context of zeal. Like someone “jealously guarded” or “jealously defended” something. Jealous as in the sense of protective zeal of ADONAI.

Deut. 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Deut. 5:9a Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.

It’s a zealousness in the same vein in which Yeshua shown righteous indignation in cleansing the Temple of the money changers.

John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

But let us not get the wrong idea that our God is a hothead. Recall it has been over 100 years that ADONAI has let Nineveh’s rebellion slide. Remember how God said He is compassionate and merciful?

Exd. 34:6-7 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

Even verse three here tells of us Yah is merciful and slow to anger. Not just with Israel but with pagan nations such as this one, Assyria, God leaves more than enough ample time and room to repent. How long did ADONAI have Noah preach repentance and build the Ark? The Bible does not specifically say how long it took Noah to build the ark. When Noah is first mentioned in Genesis 5:32, he was 500 years old. When Noah entered the ark, he was 600 years old. The time it took to build the ark would depend on how much time had passed between Genesis 5:32 and the time that God commanded Noah to build the ark (Genesis 6:14-21). At the absolute most, it took 100 years. However, some place the total time at around 120 years, based on an interpretation of Genesis 6:1. This verse could also mean that this was the expected average lifespan of mankind after the flood. ADONAI waited till the various pagan peoples were ripe for judgment when He allowed them to be conquered by Joshua and Israel. They had generations of time and warning before judgment fell upon their unrepentant societies. Ironically God’s mercy in fact is the reason sometimes people accuse God of not being fair or just because it appears so many wicked people go about unpunished for their sins and crimes.

II Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Could it be we are seeing a case of God giving such people ample time and room to repent? ADONAI is not the “blood thirsty” or “Wrathful” God the skeptics, cynics and liberal irreligious make Him out to be.

It’s like a child who pokes and aggravates a pet and finds that it has a limit to its tolerance and will eventually bite back, but beforehand growls here and there and baring its teeth to give the child agitator ample warning to “back off” and when it has had enough and lashes out, it does so with unrestrained fury. “Furious” in this verse means Hebraically, justifiable hot indignation.

God’s fury is not a divine temper tantrum but like a tea kettle that reaches a certain threshold before it rattles and lets off steam with a siren like whistle.

The root meaning of the word vengeance here means to breathe forcibly, again, like a tea kettle that has had enough and blows off steam before it explodes. So the punishment that comes from vengeance is fierce, yet is calculated and released with a controlled steady force. It’s not just a blind release of fury, but a premeditated, “If they do this, then I will have to do that,” type of thinking.