The date of Nahum’s prophesy is unknown, but was probably around 650 B.C. That date would follow Jonah’s earlier prophesy against Nineveh by about a hundred years. Nineveh, known as the bloody city was the capitol of Assyria, a ruthless and dominating world power who had controlled much of the area for hundreds of years. God had used them to administer His wrath against Israel several years earlier. However, that did not mean that He was pleased with the Assyrian people. He was not! It was Nahum’s commission to warn the Assyrians of their impending destruction.
Nahum received his message through a vision from God. He began by relating the immense power of God to the Assyrians. His power is shown by His wrath against those who are evil and through His goodness to those who are obedient to Him. He then began to describe in specific terms how God would deal with them. “The gates of the rivers are opened…” Those words were comforting to Judah as Assyria had been a threat to their security. Archaeological studies relate that the Tigris River overflowed and destroyed a large portion of the city’s wall and left it open for attack.
“Woe to the bloody city!” The prophet listed some of the vile attributes of Nineveh as he warned them of their doom. “‘Behold, I am against you,’ says the Lord of hosts…” As Nineveh had done to those around her, the same fate would befall that great city. “You also will seek refuge from the enemy.” In the end, “All who hear news of you Will clap their hands over you…” God will have destroyed one of His tools, but there would be others.