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BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 36

Nahum - BibleProject

In this lesson, you explore the historical and literary context of the book of Nahum, delving into the prophet's time and place, and the fall of Nineveh. You examine the structure and content of the book, from the introduction describing the Lord's judgment, through the detailed depiction of Nineveh's destruction and the reasons behind it. The major themes and theological insights discussed include God's sovereignty and justice, His judgment on the wicked, and the righteousness of His vengeance. Finally, you will consider the relevance of Nahum for today, understanding God's judgment in a modern context and the importance of trusting in His justice.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 36
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Nahum - BibleProject

BP100-36: Nahum

I. Historical and Literary Context

A. Nahum's Time and Place

B. The Fall of Nineveh

II. Structure and Content of Nahum

A. Introduction: The Lord's Judgment

B. Description of Nineveh's Destruction

C. Reasons for Nineveh's Fall

III. Major Themes and Theological Insights

A. God's Sovereignty and Justice

B. God's Judgment on the Wicked

C. The Righteousness of God's Vengeance

IV. Relevance of Nahum for Today

A. Understanding God's Judgment in a Modern Context

B. The Importance of Trusting in God's Justice


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  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.
BP100-36 Nahum The book of the prophet Nahum. This short prophetic book is a collection of poems announcing the downfall of one of Israel's worst oppressors, the ancient empire of Assyria and its capital city Nineveh. The Assyrians arose as one of the world's first great empires. And their expansion into Israel resulted in the total destruction and exile of the northern kingdom and its tribes. The Assyrian armies were violent and destructive on a scale that the world had never seen before. And so Israel and its neighbors were awaiting the downfall of Assyria, which eventually came in the year 612 BC. The Babylonians rose up and began a rebellion that overtook Nineveh and brought down the Assyrian Empire. And so chapter 2 depicts the fall of Nineveh in vivid poetry. And chapter 3 then explores the downfall of the empire as a whole. But, this book isn't just an angry tirade against Israel's enemies. The introductory chapter shows us that there is way, way more going on here. The book opens with an incomplete alphabet poem that begin by describing a powerful appearance of God's glory. It's very similar to how the previous book, Micah, begin and how the next book, Habakkuk, is going to conclude. And it's God, the all-powerful Creator, coming to confront the nations and bring His justice on their evil. And the poem opens by quoting from the famous line of God's self-description after the golden calf incident, in the book of Exodus chapter 34, "The Lord is slow to anger, He's great in power, He won't leave evil unpunished." And so the rest of the poem goes back and forth, contrasting the fate of the arrogant violent nations with the fate of God's faithful remnant. When God brings down all the arrogant empires, He will provide refuge for those who humble themselves before Him. Now here's what's really interesting. Is that you thought this book was only about Assyria but Nahum actually nowhere mentions Nineveh or Assyria in chapter 1. And when he describes the downfall of the bad guys, he uses Isaiah's language about the fall of Babylon (which happened much later in history). And not only that, Nahum also describes the downfall of the bad guys as good news for the remnant of God's people. It's a direct allusion to Isaiah's good news about the downfall of Babylon. And so all these little details from Chapter 1, they come together to make a key point: for Nahum, the fall of Nineveh is being presented as an example. As an image of how God is at work in history in every age. How He won't allow the arrogant or violent empires of our world to endure forever. So the message of Nahum is actually very similar to that of Daniel. Assyria stands in a long line of violent empires throughout history. And Nineveh's fate is a memorial to God's commitment to bring down the violent and the arrogant in every age. With this perspective from the opening chapter, the book then returns to its focus on Assyria. And so chapter 2 describes the Battle of Nineveh and the overthrow of the city in progressive stages. So first, we see the front line of Babylonian soldiers. And then we read about the charge of the chariots. And then the chaos on the city walls as the city is breached. Then the slaughter of Nineveh's people. Then the plundering of the city. Chapter 3 goes on to describe the results of the city's downfall for the empire as a whole. So Nahum begins by announcing a woe upon the city whose kings built it with the blood of the innocent. It's an image of how injustice was built into the very system that made Assyria so successful. But their violence has sown the seeds of their own destruction, and so Assyria will fall before Babylon. The book concludes with a taunt against the fallen king of Assyria. He's stricken with a fatal wound. And from among all the nations, that he once oppressed, no one comes to help him. Rather they sing and celebrate his destruction. And that's how the book ends. Now this is a gloomy book. But it's important to see how Nahum's message addresses the tragic and perpetual cycles of human violence and oppression in every age. Human history is filled with tribes and nations elevating themselves and using violence to take what they want, resulting in the death of the innocent. And the book of Nahum uses Assyria and Babylon as examples to tell us that God is grieved. And that He cares about the death of the innocent. And that His goodness and His justice compel Him to orchestrate the downfall of oppressive nations. And God's judgment on evil is good news. Unless, of course, you happen to be Assyria. Which brings us all the way back to the conclusion of that opening poem in chapter 1. Which tells us that, "The Lord is good and a refuge in the day of distress. He cares for those who take refuge in Him." And so the little book of Nahum invites every reader to humble themselves before God's justice. And to trust that, in His time, He will bring down the oppressors of every time and place. And that's what the book of Nahum is all about.