The 7th Century prophets worked in the century between the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Thus there was little emphasis upon social reform as found in the 8th Century prophets. Instead, they are concerned with grand national matters of survival; their concerns were existential. Thus when the Assyrian Empire was threatened and then fell, those in the Southern Kingdom would have been relieved and saw the work of God in their preservation and safety.
Literary Structure of Nahum and Theme of this PAGE
In this short work, there are four divisions: the appearance of God, the judgement on Nineveh, the coming attack upon Nineveh and the inevitability of the Nineveh's destruction. Together, they show the concerns of the 7th Century prophet: namely the national survival of Judah among the political maneuvering of the superpowers surrounding them.
As some viewers (such as myself) may be uncomfortable with rejoicing over a destroyed city and empire, I used images from a contemporary mythos, Star Wars, to illustrate this PAGE. Like the circumstances of the Kingdom of Judah, Star Wars tells a story of a small force seeking peace and independence from an evil and much larger empire. Nahum's prophecy uses strong language and hyperbole to describe the Assyrians; they are entirely wicked. The closest parallel to the totality of their evil is the Sith-led Empire of Star Wars.
Episode I. God Appears (Na 1:2-8)
While "the Lord is slow to anger" (Na 1:3), this is a prophecy of a just God: the wicked are punished and the good are protected. Nahum tells us that God is "an avenger" (Na 1:2) and "great in power" (Na 1:3) and that even the mountains "quake before him" (Na 1:5). Even if they were to hide, God "pursues his enemies into darkness" (Na 1:7). Thus the wickedness of the Ninevites, no longer how long it may have been tolerated, could not go unpunished.
"...the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished..." (Na 1:3b)