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Nahum

In Bible versions:

Nahum: NET AVS NIV NRSV NASB TEV
Elkosh: AVS NRSV TEV
Elkoshite: NIV NASB
a town whose location is unknown
a son of Esli; the father of Amos; an ancestor of Jesus; a Hebrew prophet.
a minor prophet from "Elkosh"

a man of Elkeshai
comforter; penitent ( --> same as Naum)
Arts:
Arts Topics: Nahum; Portraits of Nahum

Greek

Strongs #3486: Naoum Naoum

Naum = "consolation"

1) son of Esli and father of Amos, in the genealogy of Christ

3486 Naoum nah-oom'

of Hebrew origin (5151); Naum (i.e. Nachum), an Israelite:-Naum.
see HEBREW for 05151

Hebrew

Strongs #0512: yvqla 'Elqoshiy

Elkoshite = "God the ensnarer"

1) a native and/or descendant of Elkosh (location unknown)

512 'Elqoshiy el-ko-shee'

patrial from a name of uncertain derivation; an Elkoshite or
native of Elkosh:-Elkoshite.

Strongs #05151: Mwxn Nachuwm

Nahum = "comfort"

1) the Elkoshite, prophet who predicted the fall and destruction of
Nineveh; writer of the book by his name; personal history and
situation unknown

5151 Nachuwm nakh-oom'

from 5162; comfortable; Nachum, an Israelite
prophet:-Nahum.
see HEBREW for 05162

Elkosh [EBD]

God my bow, the birth-place of Nahum the prophet (Nah. 1:1). It was probably situated in Galilee, but nothing definite is known of it.

Nahum [EBD]

consolation, the seventh of the so-called minor prophets, an Elkoshite. All we know of him is recorded in the book of his prophecies. He was probably a native of Galilee, and after the deportation of the ten tribes took up his residence in Jerusalem. Others think that Elkosh was the name of a place on the east bank of the Tigris, and that Nahum dwelt there.

Elkoshite [NAVE]

ELKOSHITE
Nah. 1:1

Nahum [NAVE]

NAHUM, one of the minor prophets. Prophesies against the Assyrians; declares the majesty of God and his care for his people, Nah. 1.
Foretells the destruction of Nineveh, Nah. 2, 3.

ELKOSH [SMITH]

(God my bow), the birthplace of the prophet Nahum, hence called "the Elkoshite." (Nahum 1:1) This place is located at the modern Alkush , a village on the east bank of the Tigris, about two miles north of Mosul. Some think a small village in Galilee is intended.

NAHUM [SMITH]

(consolation). Nahum, called "the Elkoshite," is the seventh in order of the minor prophets. His personal history is quite unknown. The site of Elkosh, his native place, is disputed, some placing it in Galilee, others in Assyria. Those who maintain the latter view assume that the prophet?s parents were carried into captivity by Tiglath-pileser and that the prophet was born at the village of Alkush, on the east bank of the Tigris, two miles north of Mosul. On the other hand, the imagery of his prophecy is such lie would be natural to an inhabitant of Palestine, (Nahum 1:4) to whom the rich pastures of Bashan the vineyards of Carmel and the blossoms of Lebanon were emblems of all that was luxuriant and fertile. The language employed in ch. (Nahum 1:15; 2:2) is appropriate to one who wrote for his countrymen in their native land. (McClintock and Strong come to the conclusion that Nahum was a native of Galilee that at the captivity of the ten tribes he escaped into Judah, and prophesied in the reign of Hezekiah, 726-698.--ED.) Prophecy of Nahum . --The date of Nahum a prophecy can be determined with as little precision as his birthplace. It is, however, certain that the prophecy was written before the final downfall of Nineveh and its capture by the Medes and Chaldeans, cir. B.C. 625. The allusions to the Assyrian power imply that it was still unbroken. ch. (Nahum 1:12; 2:8,13; 3:16-17) It is most probable that Nahum flourished in the latter half of the return of Hezekiah, and wrote his prophecy either in Jerusalem or its neighborhood. The subject of the prophecy is, in accordance with the superscription, "the burden of Nineveh," the destruction of which he predicts. As a poet Nahum occupies a high place in the first rank of Hebrew literature. His style is clear and uninvolved, though pregnant and forcible; his diction sonorous and rhythmical, the words re-echoing to the sense. Comp. (Nahum 2:4; 3:3)

ELKOSHITE [ISBE]

ELKOSHITE - el'-kosh-it (ha-'elqoshi; Septuagint Elkesaiou, Elkaiseou, Elkeseou): Used with the article "the Elkoshite" (Nah 1:1). Probably a gentilic adjective giving the home of the prophet; not definitely identified. Three traditions may be noted: (1) The Nestorians venerate the supposed tomb of the prophet in the village of Alqush not far from the east bank of the Tigris, about two days' journey almost directly north of Mosul. (2) Jerome states in the prologue to his commentary on Nah that the village of Helkesei in Galilee was pointed out to him as Elkosh. This Helkesei is probably El-Kauzeh between Ramieh and Bint Jebeil. (3) The treatise De Vitis Prophetarum of the Pseudo-Epiphanius says that Nahum came from "Elkesei beyond Jordan towards Begabor and was of the tribe of Simeon." Nestle has shown that the words "beyond Jordan" are probably a gloss, and that for Begabor should be read Betogabra, the modern Beit Jibrin in Southern Palestine. In favor of this identification may be urged the following facts: (a) that parallels to the name Elkosh, such as Eltekeh and Eltekon, are found in the southern country; (b) that the word probably contains the name of the Edomite god Qaush, whose name appears in the names of Edomite kings in the Assyrian inscriptions of the 8th and 7th centuries BC, such as Qaush-malaka and the like, and (c) that the internal evidence of the prophecy makes the Judean origin of the prophet almost certain.

LITERATURE.

Davidson, "Nah," "Hab," "Zeph," in Cambridge Bible, 9-13; G. A. Smith, "Book of the Twelve," in Expositor's Bible, Commentary on Nah; Billerbeck and Jeremias, Beitraege zur Assyriologie, III, 91 ff; Peiser, ZATW, 1897, 349; Nestle, PEFS, 1879, 136.

Walter R. Betteridge

NAHUM [ISBE]

NAHUM - na'-hum (Naoum; the King James Version Naum): An ancestor of Jesus in Luke's genealogy, the 9th before Joseph, the husband of Mary (Lk 3:25).

NAHUM; THE BOOK OF [ISBE]

NAHUM; THE BOOK OF - na'-hum:

I. AUTHORSHIP AND DATE

1. The Name

2. Life and Home of Nahum

The Four Traditions

3. Date, as Related to Assyrian History

(1) The Revolt of Shamash-shumukin

(2) The Invasion of 625 BC

(3) The Final Attack

(4) Probable Date

II. THE BOOK

1. Contents (Nahum 1 through 3)

2. Style

3. Integrity

III. TEACHING

1. The Character of Yahweh

2. Nahum's Glee over the Ruin of Nineveh

3. Universality of Yahweh's Rule

4. The Messianic Outlook

LITERATURE

I. Authorship and Date.

1. The Name:

The name Nahum (nachum; Septuagint and New Testament Naoum; Josephus, Naoumos) occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament; in the New Testament it is found in Lk 3:25. It is not uncommon in the Mishna, and it has been discovered in Phoenician inscriptions. It means "consolation," or "consoler," and is therefore, in a sense, symbolical of the message of the book, which is intended to comfort the oppressed and afflicted people of Judah.

2. Life and Home of Nahum:

Of the personal life of Nahum, practically nothing is known. In Nah 1:1 he is called "the Elkoshite," that is, an inhabitant of Elkosh. Unfortunately, the location of this place is not known.

The Four Traditions

One tradition, which cannot be traced beyond the 16th century AD, identifies the home of Nahum with a modern village Elkush, or Alkosh, not far from the left bank of the Tigris, two days' journey North of the site of ancient Nineveh. A second tradition, which is at least as old as the days of Jerome, the latter part of the 4th century, locates Elkosh in Galilee, at a place identified by many with the modern El-Kauze, near Ramieh. Others identify the home of the prophet with Capernaum, the name of which means "Village of Nahum." A fourth tradition, which is first found in a collection of traditions entitled "Lives of the Prophets," says "Nahum was from Elkosh, beyond Bet Gabre, of the tribe of Simeon." A place in the South is more in harmony with the interest the prophet takes in the Southern Kingdom, so that the last-mentioned tradition seems to have much in its favor, but absolute certainty is not attainable.

3. Date, as Related to Assyrian History:

The Book of Nahum centers around the fall and destruction of Nineveh. Since the capture of the city is represented as still in the future, it seems evident that the prophecies were delivered some time before 607-606 BC, the year in which the city was destroyed. Thus the latest possible date of Nahum's activity is fixed. The earliest possible date also is indicated by internal evidence. In 3:8 ff the prophet speaks of the capture and destruction of No-amon, the Egyptian Thebes, as an accomplished fact. The expedition of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, against Egypt, which resulted in the fall of Thebes, occurred about 663 BC. Hence, the activity of Nahum must be placed somewhere between 663 and 607.

As to the exact period between the two dates there is disagreement among scholars. One thing is made quite clear by the prophecy itself, namely, that at the time the words were spoken or written, Nineveh was passing through some grave crisis. Now we know that during the second half of the 7th century BC Assyria was threatened three times:

(1) The Revolt of Shamash-shumukin:

The revolt of Shamash-shumukin of Babylon against his brother, the king of Assyria, 650-648 BC.

(2) The Invasion of 625 BC:

The invasion of Assyria and threatened attack upon Nineveh by some unknown foe, perhaps the Scythians, about 625 BC.

(3) The Final Attack:

The final attack, which resulted in the fall and destruction of Nineveh in 607-606 BC.

(4) Probable Date:

The first crisis does not offer a suitable occasion for Nahum's prophecy, because at that time the city of Nineveh was not in any danger. Little is known concerning the second crisis, and it is not possible either to prove or to disprove that it gave rise to the book. On the other hand, the years immediately preceding the downfall of Nineveh offer a most suitable occasion. The struggle continued for about 2 years. The united forces of the Chaldeans and Scythians met determined resistance; at last a breach was made in the northeast corner of the wall, the city was taken, pillaged and burned. Judah had suffered much from the proud Assyrian, and it is not difficult to understand how, with the doom of the cruel oppressor imminent, a prophet-patriot might burst into shouts of exultation and triumph over the distress of the cruel foe. "If," says A.B. Davidson, "the distress of Nineveh referred to were the final one, the descriptions of the prophecy would acquire a reality and naturalness which they otherwise want, and the general characteristics of Hebrew prophecy would be more truly conserved." There seems to be good reason, therefore, for assigning Nahum's activity to a date between 610 and 607 BC.

II. The Book.

1. Contents (Nahum 1 through 3):

Nahum is the prophet of Nineveh's doom. Nahum 1 (plus 2:2) contains the decree of Nineveh's destruction. Yahweh is a God of vengeance and of mercy (1:2,3); though He may at times appear slack in punishing iniquity, He will surely punish the sinner. No one can stand before Him in the day of judgment (1:4-6). Yahweh, faithful to those who rely upon Him (1:7), will be terrible toward His enemies and toward the enemies of His people (1:8). Judah need not fear: the present enemy is doomed (1:9-14), which will mean the exaltation of Judah (1:15; 2:2). The army appointed to execute the decree is approaching, ready for battle (2:1-4). All efforts to save the city are in vain; it falls (2:5,6), the queen and her attendants are captured (2:7), the inhabitants flee (2:8), the city is sacked and left a desolation (2:9-13). The destruction of the bloody city is imminent (3:1-3); the fate is well deserved and no one will bemoan her (3:4-7); natural strength and resources will avail nothing (3:8-11); the soldiers turn cowards and the city will be utterly cut off (3:12-18); the whole earth will rejoice over the downfall of the cruel oppressor (3:19).

2. Style:

Opinions concerning the religious significance of the Book of Nahum may differ, but from the stand-point of language and style all students assign to Nahum an exalted place among the prophet-poets of the ancient Hebrews; for all are impressed with the intense force and picturesqueness of his language and style. "Each prophet," says Kirkpatrick, "has his special gift for his particular work. Nahum bears the palm for poetic power. His short book is a Pindaric ode of triumph over the oppressor's fall." So also G.A. Smith: "His language is strong and brilliant; his rhythm rumbles and rolls, leaps and flashes, like the horsemen and chariots he describes."

3. Integrity:

Until recently no doubts were expressed concerning the integrity of the book, but within recent years scholars have, with growing unanimity, denied the originality of Nah 1:2 through 2:2 (Hebrew 2:3), with the exception of 2:1, which is considered the beginning of Nahum's utterances. This change of opinion is closely bound up with the alleged discovery of distorted remnants of an old alphabetic poem in Nahum 1 (HDB, article "Nahum"; The Expositor, 1898, 207 ff; ZATW, 1901, 225 ff; Eiselen, Minor Prophets, 422 ff). Now, it is true that in 1:2-7 traces of alphabetic arrangement may be found, but even here the artistic arrangement is not carried through consistently; in the rest of the chapter the evidence is slight.

The artificial character of acrostic poetry is generally supposed to point to a late date. Hence, those who believe that Nahum 1 was originally an alphabetic poem consider it an exilic or post-exilic production, which was at a still later date prefixed to the genuine prophecies of Nahum. In support of this view it is pointed out further that the prophecy in Nahum 1 is vague, while the utterances in Nahum 2 and 3 are definite and to the point. Some derive support for a late date also from the language and style of the poem.

That difficulties exist in Nahum 1, that in some respects it differs from Nahum 2 and 3, even the students of the English text can see; and that the Hebrew text has suffered in transmission is very probable. On the other hand, the presence of an acrostic poem in Nahum 1 is not beyond doubt. The apparent vagueness is removed, if Nahum 1 is interpreted as a general introduction to the more specific denunciation in Nahum 2 and 3. And a detailed examination shows that in this, as in other cases, the linguistic and stylistic data are indecisive. In view of these facts it may safely be asserted that no convincing argument has been presented against the genuineness of 1:2 through 2:2. "Therefore," says G.A. Smith, "while it is possible that a later poem has been prefixed to the genuine prophecies of Nahum, and the first chapter supplies many provocations to belief in such a theory, this has not been proved, and the able essays of proof have much against them. The question is open."

III. Teaching.

1. The Character of Yahweh:

The utterances of Nahum center around a single theme, the destruction of Nineveh. His purpose is to point out the hand of God in the impending fall of the city, and the significance of this catastrophe for the oppressed Hebrews. As a result they contain little direct religious teaching; and what there is of it is confined very largely to the opening verses of Nahum 1. These verses emphasize the twofold manifestation of the Divine holiness, the Divine vengeance and the Divine mercy (1:2,3). The manifestation of the one results in the destruction of the wicked (1:2), the other in the salvation of the oppressed (1:15; 2:2). Faith in Yahweh will secure the Divine favor and protection (1:7).

2. Nahum's Glee over the Ruin of Nineveh:

The fierceness of Nahum, and his glee at the thought of Nineveh's ruin, may not be in accord with the injunction, "Love thine enemy"; but it should be borne in mind that it is not personal hatred that prompts the prophet; he is stirred by a righteous indignation over the outrages committed by Assyria. He considers the sin and overthrow of Nineveh, not merely in their bearing upon the fortunes of Judah, but in their relation to the moral government of the whole world; hence, his voice gives utterance to the outraged conscience of humanity.

3. Universality of Yahweh's Rule:

While Nahum's message, in its direct teaching, appears to be less spiritual and ethical than that of his predecessors, it sets in a clear light Yahweh's sway over the whole universe, and emphasizes the duty of nations as well as of individuals to own His sway and obey His will. This attitude alone will assure permanent peace and prosperity; on the other hand, disobedience to His purpose and disregard of His rule will surely bring calamity and distress. The emphasis of these ethical principles gives to the message of Nahum a unique significance for the present day and generation. "Assyria in his hands," says Kennedy, "becomes an object-lesson to the empires of the modern world, teaching, as an eternal principle of the Divine government of the world, the absolute necessity, for a nation's continued vitality, of that righteousness, personal, civic, and national, which alone exalteth a nation."

4. The Messianic Outlook:

In a broad sense, Nah 1:15 is of Messianic import. The downfall of Nineveh and Assyria prepares the way for the permanent redemption and exaltation of Zion: "the wicked one shall no more pass through thee."

LITERATURE.

Comms. on the Minor Prophets by Ewald, Pusey, Keil, Orelli; G.A. Smith (Expositor's Bible); Driver (New Century); B.A. Davidson, commentary on "Nahum," "Habakkuk," "Zephaniah" (Cambridge Bible); A.F. Kirkpatrick, Doctrine of the Prophets; Eiselen, Prophecy and the Prophets; F.W. Farrar, Minor Prophets ("Men of the Bible" series); Driver, Introduction to the Lit. of the Old Testament; HDB, article "Nahum"; EB, article "Nahum."

F. C. Eiselen


Also see definition of "Nahum" in Word Study


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