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Nahum 1:14

Oracle of Judgment against the King of Nineveh

1:14 The Lord has issued a decree against you: 1 

“Your dynasty will come to an end. 2 

I will destroy the idols and images in the temples of your gods.

I will desecrate 3  your grave – because you are accursed!” 4 

Nahum 3:19


3:19 Your destruction is like an incurable wound; 5 

your demise is like a fatal injury! 6 

All who hear what has happened to you 7  will clap their hands for joy, 8 

for no one ever escaped your endless cruelty! 9 

1 tn Heb “has commanded concerning you.” The referent of the 2nd person masculine singular suffix (“you”) probably refers to the Assyrian king (cf. 3:18-19) rather than to the personified city of Nineveh (so NIV). Elsewhere in the book of Nahum, the city of Nineveh is referred to by the feminine rather than masculine gender. Some modern English versions supply terms not in the Hebrew text to indicate the addressee more clearly: NIV “Nineveh”; NLT “the Assyrians in Nineveh.”

2 tn Heb “from your name there will no longer be sown.”

3 tn The MT reading אָשִׂים קִבְרֶךָ (’asim qivrekha, “I will make your grave”) is usually understood as a figure of speech (metonymy of effect) meaning that the Lord will destroy/execute the Assyrian king. On the other hand, the Targum and Syriac treat this as a double-accusative construction – the implied second object of אָשִׂים being מִבֵּית אֱלֹהֶיךָ (mibbetelohekha, “the house [i.e., “temple”] of your gods”): “I will make it [the house (i.e., temple) of your gods] your grave.” Cathcart suggests revocalizing the MT אָשִׂים to a Hiphil imperfect אָשִׁיִם (’ashiyim) from שָׁמֵם (shamem, “to devastate”): “I will devastate your grave.” Cathcart notes that the destruction of one’s grave, like the threat of no burial, was a common ancient Near Eastern treaty-curse: “Tombs, especially royal tombs, were often protected by curses directed against persons who might violate and desecrate them, and the very curse kings used to have inscribed on their tombs were precisely the curse of no progeny and no resting-place” (K. J. Cathcart, “Treaty-Curses and the Book of Nahum,” CBQ 35 [1973]: 180-81). This might reflect the background of the ancient Near Eastern kudurru curses which were made against those who might devastate a royal grave and which were put into effect by the gods of the king (see F. C. Fensham, “Common Trends in Curses of the Near Eastern Treaties and Kudurru-Inscriptions Compared with Maledictions of Amos and Isaiah,” ZAW 75 [1963]: 157-59). Despite the fact the king’s grave was allegedly protected by the Assyrian gods, the Lord would nevertheless successfully destroy it, and it would be the Assyrian king who would receive the curse. This approach respects the traditional consonantal text and only involves the revocalization of the MT’s שׂ (sin) to שׁ (shin).

4 tn The Hebrew verb קַלֹּוֹתָ (qallota) is usually rendered “you are despised” (e.g., Gen 16:4-5; 1 Sam 2:30). However, it is possible that the Hebrew root קָלַל (qalal) is related to the Assyrian term qalu “accursed” (W. von Soden, “Hebraische Wortforschung,” VTSup 16 [1967]: 295).

5 tc The MT reads the hapax legomenon כֵּהָה (kehah, “relief, alleviation”). On the other hand, the LXX reads ἴασις (iasi", “healing”) which seems to reflect a reading of גֵּהָה (gehah, “cure, healing”). In the light of the LXX, the BHS editors suggest emending the MT to גֵּהָה (gehah) – which occurs only once elsewhere (Prov 17:22) – on the basis of orthographic and phonological confusion between Hebrew כ (kaf) and ג (gimel). This emendation would produce the common ancient Near Eastern treaty-curse: “there is no cure for your wound” (e.g., Hos 5:13); see HALOT 461 s.v. כֵּהָה; K. J. Cathcart, “Treaty-Curses and the Book of Nahum,” CBQ 35 (1973): 186; D. Hillers, Treaty-Curses and the Old Testament Prophets, 64-66.

tn Heb “There is no relief of your fracture.”

6 tn Heb “your injury is fatal.”

7 tn Heb “the report of you.”

8 tn Heb “will clap their hands over you.”

9 tn Heb “For who ever escaped…?”

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