1 The oracle concerning Nineveh—
the scroll of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite:
Half-Acrostic: Yahweh Takes Vengeance against His Enemies
2 Yahweh is a jealous God and avenging;
Yahweh is avenging and full of wrath.
Yahweh takes vengeance against his enemies;
he rages against his adversaries.
3 Yahweh is slow to anger but great in power;
and Yahweh will certainly not allow the guilty to go unpunished.
He marches in storm wind and in gale;
storm clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and he dries up the rivers;
he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither;
the blossom of Lebanon languishes.
5 Mountains quake before him;
the hills shake apart.
The earth heaves before him—
the world and all her inhabitants.
6 His indignation—who can stand before it?
Who can endure his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
rocks are shattered before him.
7 Yahweh is good—a refuge in the day of distress;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
8 But with a rushing torrent he will bring Nineveh to an end;
he will chase his enemies into darkness.
Yahweh Will Destroy Nineveh
9 What do you plot against Yahweh?
He will completely destroy it;
trouble will not rise up a second time!
10 For like entangled thorns,
and like their drink which is drunk,
they will be consumed like fully dry chaff.
11 From you goes out one who plots evil against Yahweh,
one who plans wickedness.
Yahweh Will Deliver Judah and Destroy Nineveh
12 Yahweh says this:
“Even though they are powerful and likewise many,
even so they will be cut off and pass away.
Though I have afflicted you,
I will afflict you no longer.
13 And now, I will break his yoke from upon you;
I will snap your bonds.”
14 Yahweh has commanded concerning you:
“Your name will no longer be sown.
I will cut off the idols and images from the temple of your gods;
I will send you to the grave because you are worthless.”
15 Look! On the mountains!
The feet of the one who brings good tidings,
the one who proclaims peace!
“Celebrate your festivals, O Judah,
Fulfill your vows!
For he will not invade you again;
the wicked one is cut off completely!”
The Divine Warrior Will Attack Nineveh
2 One who shatters has come up against you!
Guard the fortification!
Watch the road!
Gird your loins!
Muster all your strength!
2 For Yahweh will restore the majesty of Jacob
like the majesty of Israel;
for ravagers have ravaged them
and ruined their branches.
The Enemy Army Conquers the City of Nineveh
3 The shields of his warriors are dyed red;
The powerful men are dressed in scarlet.
The metal of the chariots shines like fire on the day of battle,
and their spears quiver.
4 The chariots race madly through the streets;
they rush back and forth in the public squares.
Their appearance like lightning bolts,
they dart about like flashes of lightning.
5 He calls his officers;
they stumble as they march;
they rush to her wall;
they set the covering in place.
6 The gates of the river are opened;
the palace trembles.
7 Her goddess is taken out and taken into exile;
her maidservants moan like doves;
they beat on their breasts.
8 Nineveh is like a pool of water without its water.
As they flee, she cries, “Stop! Stop!”
But there is no one who turns back.
9 Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold!
There is no end to the spoils,
an abundance of everything one could want!
10 Emptiness and plundering and devastation!
Their hearts faint and their knees tremble,
All their loins shake and all their faces turn pale.
The Divine Warrior Will Hunt down the Mighty Lions
11 Where now is the den of the lions
and the cave of the fierce lions?
There the lioness, the cub, and the lion once prowled,
and no one disturbed them.
12 The lion tore apart enough prey for his cubs,
he strangled prey for his lioness;
he filled his lair with prey
and his den with mangled carcass.
13 “Look! I am against you!” declares Yahweh of hosts.
“I will burn her chariots with fire;
the sword will devour fierce lions.
I will cut off your prey from the earth;
the voice of your messengers will no longer be heard.”
The Doom of the Wicked City is Certain
3 Woe to the city that has shed much blood!
She is a deceiver,
She is filled with plunder,
She has hoarded her spoils of war.
2 The crack of the whip!
The rumbling of the chariot wheel!
The galloping of the horse!
The racing of the chariot!
3 Chariots charge!
Many corpses are piled high!
There is no end to the slain!
They stumble over their dead!
Harlot Nineveh Will Get What She Deserves
4 “Because of the many idolatries of the prostitute,
the beautiful charm of a mistress of witchcraft,
she who enslaves nations by her harlotries,
and peoples by her sorceries,
5 “Look! I am against you!” declares Yahweh of hosts.
“I will strip up your skirts over your face;
I will let nations look at your nakedness, and kingdoms your shame.
6 “I will throw filth upon you,
I will treat you with contempt,
I will make you a spectacle.
7 “And it will be that everyone who sees you will flee from you,
And they will say, ‘Nineveh is destroyed!’
Who will mourn for her?
From whence shall I seek comforters for you?”
Nineveh Will Suffer the Same Fate She Inflicted on Thebes
8 Are you better than Thebes?
She who sits at the Nile, surrounded by her waters,
her rampart was the sea and water was her wall.
9 Cush was her strength, Egypt without end;
Put and Libya were among your allies.
10 Yet she went into captivity as an exile;
her children were dashed to pieces at the head of all the streets.
They cast lots for her nobles;
all of her dignitaries were bound with chains.
11 You also will behave like a drunkard;
You also will hide yourself;
You also will seek refuge from the enemy.
Nineveh’s Defenses Will Fail
12 All of your fortifications are like fig trees with ripe firstfruits—
if they are shaken, they will fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Look! Your troops are like women in your midst.
The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies;
fire will consume the bars of your gates.
14 Draw water for a siege!
Strengthen your fortifications!
Go to the mud pit!
Trample the clay!
Grasp the brick mold!
15 There fire will consume you;
the sword will cut you off.
It will consume you like the locust.
Nineveh’s Defenders Will Flee
Multiply yourself like the locust!
Multiply yourself like the grasshopper!
16 You have increased your merchants more than the stars of heaven;
like the locust they will shed their skin and fly away.
17 Your officials are like locusts;
your commanders are like a swarm of locusts.
They encamp on the walls on a cold day;
when the sun rises, they fly away—
no one knows where they have gone.
Nineveh Will Come to an End
18 Your shepherds are sleeping, O king of Assyria!
Your nobles slumber.
Your people are scattered on the mountains;
no one can gather them.
19 There is no healing for your wound;
your injury is fatal.
All who hear the report of you will clap their hands for joy concerning you,
For who has not suffered at the hands of your endless cruelty?
Paul’s Vision of a Man of Macedonia
6 And they traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message in Asia. 7 And when they came to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them. 8 So going through Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul during the night: a certain Macedonian man was standing there and imploring him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 And when he had seen the vision, we wanted at once to go away to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
The Conversion of Lydia at Philippi
11 So putting out to sea from Troas, we sailed a straight course to Samothrace, and on the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia, a Roman colony. And we were staying in this city for some days. 13 And on the day of the Sabbath, we went outside the city gate beside the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women assembled there. 14 And a certain woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira, a merchant dealing in purple cloth who showed reverence for God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was being said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household, she urged us, saying, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
16 And it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a certain female slave who had a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing a large profit to her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us and was crying out, saying, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” 18 And she was doing this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed and turning around, said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out immediately.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, 21 and are proclaiming customs that are not permitted for us to accept or to practice, because we are Romans!” 22 And the crowd joined in attacking them, and the chief magistrates tore off their clothing and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And after they had inflicted many blows on them, they threw them into prison, giving orders to the jailer to guard them securely. 24 Having received such an order, he put them in the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
The Conversion of the Philippian Jailer
25 Now about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and all the bonds were unfastened. 27 And after the jailer was awake and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying, “Do no harm to yourself, for we are all here!” 29 And demanding lights, he rushed in and, beginning to tremble, fell down at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do so that I can be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household!” 32 And they spoke the message of the Lord to him, together with all those in his house. 33 And he took them at that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and he himself was baptized at once, and all those of his household. 34 And he brought them up into his house and set a meal before them, and rejoiced greatly that he had believed in God with his whole household.
Paul and Silas Receive an Official Apology
35 And when it was day, the chief magistrates sent the police officers, saying, “Release those men.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul: “The chief magistrates have sent an order that you should be released. So come out now and go in peace!” 37 But Paul said to them, “They beat us in public without due process—men who are Roman citizens—and threw us into prison, and now they are wanting to release us secretly? Certainly not! Rather let them come themselves and bring us out!” 38 So the police officers reported these words to the chief magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 And they came and apologized to them, and after they brought them out they asked them to depart from the city. 40 And when they came out of the prison, they went to Lydia and when they saw them, they encouraged the brothers and departed.
12 From the city people groan,
and the throat of the wounded cries for help;
yet God does not regard it as unseemly.
13 “Those are among the ones rebelling against the light;
they do not recognize his ways,
and they do not stay in his paths.
14 At dusk the murderer rises;
he kills the needy and the poor,
and in the night he is like a thief.
15 And the eye of the adulterer waits for dusk,
saying, ‘No eye will see me,’
and he places a covering on his face.
16 He digs through houses in the darkness;
by day they shut themselves in—
they do not know the light
17 because morning likewise is to them deep darkness;
indeed, they know about the terrors of deep darkness.
18 “He himself is swift on the water’s surface;
their portion is cursed in the land.
No one turns toward the path of their vineyards.
19 Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters,
like Sheol snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets him.
The maggot feasts on him until he is no longer remembered,
and wickedness is broken like a tree.
21 He feeds on the barren, who does not have a child,
and does no good to the widow.
22 Yet he carries off the tyrants by his strength;
if he rises up, then he cannot be certain of life.
23 He gives security to him, and he is supported,
but his eyes are upon their ways.
24 They are exalted a little while, then they are gone.
And they are brought low; they are cut off like all others,
and like the heads of grain they wither away.
25 “And if it is not so, then who can prove me a liar
and reduce my word to nothing?”
What do we risk when we know of God’s forgiveness and then become complacent and return to our sinful ways? What happens when we turn our back on God—treating Him like an insurance agent rather than a savior?
The short, shocking book of Nahum shows what happens to those who disregard God. Where the book of Jonah displays God’s mercy and Nineveh’s repentance, Nahum proclaims God’s judgment on the same Assyrian city. The city’s deeds catch up with it, and the judgment is harsh—unrelenting.
“There is no healing for your wound; your injury is fatal. All who hear the report of you will clap their hands for joy concerning you. For who has not suffered at the hands of your endless cruelty?” (Nah 3:19). The empire responsible for conquering cities, displacing and enslaving people, and looting wealth would eventually meet its end—defeated by Babylon.
Jonah shows us that God will eagerly dispense mercy, but the book of Nahum—wholly dedicated to God’s judgment of Nineveh—reminds us that His mercy cannot be taken for granted. It’s a sobering but necessary reminder to respond to God’s mercy with faith and trust. It’s also a reminder to recognize God’s full character: He delights in steadfast faithfulness, but He is also a burning fire. Don’t tread on His mercy. Respond to it.
How does the idea of a God who sets all things right bring you both awe and comfort?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.