Nahum’s Vivid Description of the End of Nineveh

This meditation is based on a passage for October 29, 2010 in the Daily Lectionary Year 2 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: Nahum 2:13-3:7

Reflection and Question: Nahum, like Jonah, speaks about Nineveh, the great Assyrian city in modern day Iraq. While God’s treatment of Nineveh in these Minor Prophets could not be more different — mercy in Jonah, humiliation in Nahum — the power of Israel’s God over all the nations is the primary point in both passages. Nahum probably writes after the exile and in the shadow of the prophets who saw Assyria as an agent of God’s judgment of Judah and Israel. For Nahum, the defeat of Nineveh at God’s hand is sweet revenge. How do you feel about the brutal images here as acts of God?

Prayer: Have mercy on us, O God. Have mercy. May You never find us to be a city where flashing sword and glittering spear lead to piles of dead and heaps of corpses. May none say of us, “Nineveh is devastated; who shall bemoan her?” Spare us. Amen.