Lessing, R. Reed & Andrew E. Steinmann. Prepare the Way of the Lord: An Introduction to the Old Testament. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2014. Chapter 34, “Nahum” pp. 507-516
The text of Nahum gives us very little information about the prophet. Lessing suggests the town of Elkosh may have been in southwest Judah, but he considers this merely a guess (Lessing 2014, 507). Nahum addresses the people of Nineveh. Unlike in the time of Jonah, they do not repent for Nahum.
A semi-acrostic poem in 1:3-7 has sparked debate about the correct location and role of the poem. This, according to Lessing, is the largest textual debate (Lessing 2014, 507). The prophecies are vivid and poetic (Lessing 2014, 50). Lessing sees the book as having logical divisions which correspond closely to the chapter breaks (Lessing 2014, 508). While the text does not have any major difficulties, lessing notes that the versification has some differences (Lessing 2014, 509).
Nahum is concerned with the role of Assyria, which is typically compared to a hungry lion (Lessing 2014, 509). Lessing summarizes some elements of Assyrian history. Nahum describes Nineveh and the Assyrians as a wicked and bloodthirsty culture (Lessing 2014, 510). God’s judgment falls on this very violent society. Lessing considers that the prophecy was probably written during the period 663-612, before Nineveh fell (Lessing 2014, 510).
Divine vengeance is a major theme in the book (Lessing 2014, 511). Lessing is clear that the biblical view of divine vengeance is a just retribution (Lessing 2014, 512). The goal of God’s actions is a gospel of restorative peace (Lessing 2014, 513).Christ is seen as the goodness of God in Nahum (Lessing 2014, 513). The sin of Nineveh leads to judgment. This, in turn, is followed by grace (Lessing 2014, 514).