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Literature / Book of Nahum

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One of the books of the Minor Prophets that make up the Old Testament. Not to be confused with the Book of Nehemiah.


Structure of the book:

  • Prelude (Nahum 1:1-10)
  • Nineveh's destruction as part of God's plan (Nahum 1:11-15)
  • Nineveh's destruction to be complete (Nahum chapter 2)
  • Nineveh's destruction the result of sin (Nahum 3:1-18)
  • Postlude (Nahum 3:19)


Tropes associated with this work:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Nahum 2:10 in the International Standard Version:
    Nineveh is devastated, deserted, and desolate.
    Her heart melts, her knees knock.
    Every stomach is upset,
    every face grows pale.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: In the last verse, the prophet says to the doomed city of Nineveh: "All who hear the news about you clap their hands over you. For who has not suffered from your constant malice?"
  • Corpse Land: From Nahum 3:3:
    Hosts of slain
    and heaps of corpses,
    dead bodies without numberó
    they stumble over bodies...
  • Doomed Hometown: The whole book is aimed squarely at Nineveh, the Assyrian city that Jonah the prophet was sent to by God to get them to repent. Apparently Nineveh has fallen back to their evil ways and has gone From Bad to Worse, and now God is going to bring judgment on them. (In the apocryphal Book of Tobit, this is the city where the titular character lived in, and at the end his son Tobias is told to flee the city before its destruction.)
  • God Is Good: In Nahum 1:7:
    The LORD is good to [those who hope in Him],
    a haven on a day of distress;
    He is mindful of those who seek refuge in Him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Nahum 1:2-8 sets up God as a powerful avenger that will bring disaster upon people He is angry with.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: The last verse of this book declares this to Nineveh:
    There is no healing of your injury,
    your wound is grievous.
    for upon whom has not your wickedness
    continually passed?
  • Shameful Strip: God to Nineveh in Nahum 3:5:
    I am going to deal with you ódeclares the LORD of Hosts.
    I will lift up your skirts over your face
    and display your nakedness to the nations
    and your shame to kingdoms.
  • Vice City: Nineveh, according to this book, which God in Nahum 3:1 calls "the bloody city", that it is "full of lies and plunder" and where "the prey never departs".

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