Bible Query from
Q: In Nah 1:1, who is Nahum?
A: We know nothing of Nahum, except the he was an Elkoshite.
Q: In Nah 1:1, when was the book of Nahum written?
A: Nahum 3:8 mentions Thebes (also called No) as already being destroyed. Since Thebes was destroyed in 663 B.C. and rebuilt in 654 B.C., Nahum was very likely written between these two dates. For reference, Nineveh was destroyed in August 612/611 B.C. According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1209, this date is computed from the Babylonian Chronicle, which says that Nineveh fell in the 14th year of Nabopolassar.
Also in favor of a date between 663 and 654 B.C., The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1494,1496 says that descriptions of Nineveh in Nahum 1:13,15; 2:1,3 do not match Nineveh’s decline under Ashurbanipal’s sons Ashur-etil-ilani (626-623 B.C.) and Sin-shar-ishkumn (623-612 B.C.). Moreover, one might expect Nahum to mention the conquerors of Nineveh: the Medes and Babylonians, but Nahum does not. The Medes were not an independent nation until 645 B.C., and the Neo-Babylonian Empire did not begin until 626 B.C.
Q: In Nah 1:1, where was Elkosh, Nahum’s village?
A: The book of Nahum itself gives no clue where Nahum lived except for him being an Elkoshite. So was Nahum:
a) was born with the Israelites taken in captivity,
b) lived with the Israelites left in Israel, or
c) lived in the southern kingdom of Judah?
While there is no unanimous agreement, much study has been done to find out. There are a number of views of the location of Elkosh.
45 km northeast of Nineveh: The modern day Christian village of Alqush (Al-Qush/Al Qosh/Elkosh), Iraq, has a site of Nahum’s tomb, which is a simple plaster box. Al-Qush is on the east side of the Tigris River, north of Nineveh and northwest of Khorsabad. Why would an Israelite be living near Nineveh? The answer is that Nahum lived after the Assyrians deported the Israelites in 722 B.C., because Nahum mentions the past event of the destruction of Thebes in upper Egypt (663 B.C.). Nahum 16th century Jewish writers also affirmed Elkosh was here according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.522.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.2 p.476 claims the town of Al-Qush was of Medieval Turkish origin. However, this is not accurate, as Nestorius (c.431-451 A.D.) mentions the tomb of Nahum was here, and Nestorius lived almost 600 years before the Turks and Medieval times. Furthermore, Assyrian records mention Al-Qush. http://alqush.com/_wsn/page5.html says, "Indeed, the earliest mention of Alqush appears in Sinhareeb’s [Sennacherib’s] era 750 B.C. as evidenced by the mural inside Sinharib’s palace that was discovered in Tel Qwenjeq (Qwenjeq Hill) in Mosul. Behind this mural, the phrase "This rock was brought from Alqush’s Mountain" is carved; furthermore, a number of sites within Alqush still carry pure Assyrian names, for example, Sainna Neighborhood (which means the Moon Neighborhood) and Bee Siinnat which is a plain area south of Alqush. Within approximately three kilometers, to the west of Alqush, lies the well known ruin of Shayro Meliktha which is marked in the Iraqi ruins map as an Assyrian temple carrying a carving of Sinharib’s picture aiming an arrow from his bow.
Alqush’s stone dwellings are spread along its mountain’s slopes up to the tip of its plateau. They share similar decorations of all other Assyrian colonies within Nineveh plateau,..." See http://alqush.com for a detailed history of Al-Qush.
Northern Galilee near Ramah: Eusebius of Caesarea (flourished 325 A.D.) thought it was near Ramah. The beginning of Jerome’s commentary on Nahum (written 392 A.D.) said, "Elkosh was situated in Galilee, since there is to the present day a village in northern Galilee called Elcesi (or Elcesei/Hilkesei/Helkesaei/Elkoseh), a very small one indeed, and containing in its ruins hardly any traces of ancient buildings, but one which is well known to the Jews, and was also pointed out to me by my guide." He might be referring to modern el-Kauzah. Unger’s Bible Dictionary p.310 favors this view. However, The New International Bible Commentary p.939 mentions that when the Pharisees in John 7:52 asked "can anything good come from Galilee", they must have been unaware of any tradition of Nahum being from Galilee. See also http://www.ewtn.com/library/PATRISTC/PII6-17.TXT, the Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, and http://au.crossmap.com/bible/books/nahum.htm.
Capernaum could mean "village of Nahum (kepar/kephar Nahum), according to some speculations. The Believer’s Bible Commentary p.1137 mentions only this view, but adds that it is "not certainly known." This view is based on linguistic similarity only, because I am not aware of any early Christian or Jewish writer who made any connection between Capernaum and the prophet Nahum.
For an example of non-connection where there is a similarity of name, an Edomite idol named Qaush, and Edomite kings named after this idol, which linguistically could place this in southern Israel or Jordan. There is an Assyrian idol named Kosh, which linguistically could place this in Assyria. So linguistic evidence can support many theories.
There is also no other instance of a town being renamed after a prophet because it was his birthplace, so if this theory were true, Nahum would be unique.
Southern Judah, 58 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem in Simeonite territory. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1493 mentions different views but favors southern Judah. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.522 says a more defensible view is that it is in southern Judea near either Beth-Gabre or the modern Beit-Jibrin between Jerusalem and Gaza.
Near Begabar: De Vitis Prophetarum of Pseudo-Epiphanius (c.315-403 A.D.) 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. http://bible-history.com/isbe/E/ELKOSHITE/. "Pseudo-Epiphanius locates it near Begabar in Syria, the modern Beit Jibrin." according to the Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.2 p.476. Thus, this view is basically equivalent to the previous view.
Regardless, note that all this interest in Elkosh is because of the prophet Nahum, and there is a lesson to learn here. In your Christian walk, is your honor simply because of where you are from, or, like Nahum, do you bring honor to wherever you are from?
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.7 p.452, http://www.zianet.com/maxey/Proph10.htm, and http://www.bible.org under Nahum for more info on the different views.
Q: In Nah 1:2, why is the first thing out of Nahum’s mouth a declaration that God is jealous?
A: This is a very important attribute of God that they were overlooking. Zechariah 8:1-2 written close to the same time, also mentions that God is jealous. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.338-339 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In Nah 1:2, how can a loving God get angry?
A: While this might be contradictory to the view "love = God" that many people mistakenly have, this is not contradictory with the God of the Bible. Romans 11:22 says to consider both the kindness and sternness of God. See When Critics Ask p.313 for a different but complementary answer.
Q: In Nah 1:2 how is God jealous, vengeful, and is furious, when Isaiah 27:4 says that fury is not in God?
A: Sometimes a good parent is gentle, and sometimes a good parent gets angry, especially if someone were attacking his or her children. But that does not that mean the parent is contradictory. God has both great love and great fury. Romans 11:22a says, "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God". God has great wrath towards sin, but great love toward His children too.
Many times in reading the Bible you have to read not just the verse, but the verses before and after in the chapter too. In this case, Isaiah 27:1 says, "The LORD will punish" and Isaiah 27:8 speaks of God’s "fierce blast".
I would be somewhat surprised if you thought that it was just these two verses that show what one might call the "balance" between God being love and God having wrath. Actually these two concepts are very common all throughout scripture, with many books of the Bible showing both sides.
Here are a few verses that show the loving, tender side of God: Genesis 21:17-21; Exodus 14:29-31; Deuteronomy 2:7; Psalm 91:1-4; Isaiah 57:18-19; Jeremiah 29:11-15; Lamentations 3:31-33; Ezekiel 20:44; Zephaniah 3:17; Matthew 23:37; Mark 10:45; Luke 15:22-24; John 10:11; Romans 11:23; 2 Corinthians 1:3-9; Galatians 4:6-7; Ephesians 2:5-6; Philippians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 1 Timothy 1:12-14; Hebrews 4:15-16; James 2:13; 1 Peter 2:23-25; 2 Peter 1:3; 1 John 4:8-10; Revelation 21:4
Here are a few verses that show the wrathful, furious side of God: Genesis 19:1-29; Exodus 14:26-28; Deuteronomy 32:22-25; Psalm 76:7; Isaiah 57:17,20-21; Jeremiah 6:19; Lamentations 2:17; Ezekiel 8:18; Habakkuk 3:5-15; Nahum 1:6; Matthew 23:33; Mark 11:14,21; Luke 10:13-15; John 8:24; Romans 11:21; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Galatians 1:9; Ephesians 2:3b; Philippians 3:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:6,8-9; Hebrews 3:17; James 5:1-3; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:13; Jude 6-7; Revelation 2:22-23
Here is a third point that you might find paradoxical: sometimes God’s revealed will, actions, and feelings toward people might change when their will and actions change. Genesis 20:3-7; Deuteronomy 28:1-14 vs. 28:15-68; Ezekiel 33:12-20; Jonah 3.
"Who is God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:18-19
By the way, calling this a two-sided "balance" is somewhat oversimplified. It is more accurately a "three-legged stool" with the third leg being God’s holiness.
Q: In Nah 1:3 and Rom 2:6, since God will not acquit the wicked, why does God forgive?
A: Regardless of why, I am glad God does forgive. Ezekiel 18 and 2 Peter 3:8-9 show that while God destroys the wicked, God does not delight in the death of the wicked. Rather, God delights if they turn from their wickedness and live.
Q: In Nah 1:4 (KJV), what does "languisheth" mean?
A: It means to become weak, or in this case dry up.
Q: In Nah 1:4, why does God rebuke the sea?
A: God can move the waves, as He did when Moses and Israelites crossed the Red Sea. This could refer to God drying up the Sea, too. Regardless, God will move Heaven and earth to accomplish His will.
Q: In Nah 1:5-6, when will this destruction occur?
A: This is the destruction referred to in the Book of Revelation. Like the book of Zephaniah, the book of Nahum initially starts out by referring to the great destruction during the tribulation, and then later talking about the destruction that is soon to come in Nahum’s time.
Q: In Nah 1:8, how does darkness pursue God’s enemies?
A: The destruction of Nineveh came about at night. In general, darkness of mind as well as physical darkness come upon God’s enemies.
Q: In Nah 1:14, since God will cut off idols, why were there still idols in Paul’s time, in 1 Cor 10:19-20?
A: Nahum 1:14 refers to Jews, not everyone. The idols in the Assyrian temples were gone, but like weeds, many idols popped up in other places. See the next question for more discussion.
Q: In Nah 1:14, when were the idol worshippers gone?
A: Idol worship basically ceased among the Jews after their return from captivity. God punished them severely, and then gave the survivors a choice to continue with Him or not. The Israelites who chose to continue with God were called the Jews.
Q: In Nah 1:15, how was it that no more would the wicked invade Judah?
A: While the Babylonians and Romans did invade Judah in later times, these wicked people, that is the Assyrians, would never trouble Judah again.
Q: In Nah 2, what do we know about the city of Nineveh?
A: Nineveh was built on the east bank of the Khosr River. Archaeologists have extensively excavated the city. Nineveh’s walls were so massive, that one person said that if Nineveh had been placed between France and Germany during World War I, it would have survived any attacks by either side. A map of the city of Nineveh is in New International Dictionary of the Bible p.710. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.376 and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1208-1210 for more info.
Q: In Nah 2, when we see people who wickedly violent, what should our attitude be?
A: Our instinct should not be fight, or fright, but love for them. Jesus died for lost people, and they need the gospel as bad as anyone. But it should be love mingled with fear, that is, fear for God’s avenging justice against them if they don’t repent.
Q: In Nah 2:1, what is munition?
A: Munitions are stockpiles of weapons, such as arrows. The NIV translates this as "fortress" and the NRSV translated this as "rampart".
Q: In Nah 2:1 why is God through Nahum advising the Ninevites to do something that will do them no good?
A: God is using irony here. The Assyrians forced conquered kings to worship their gods, and they were supremely confident in their own strength. The True God is basically saying, "Go ahead, give it your best shot, because I am coming after you. And by the way, good luck to your troops defending the city wall, when it gets crushed by a massive wall of water"
Q: In Nah 2:3, how were the shields scarlet-colored?
A: Assyrian soldiers were blue, so "his soldiers" are describing the attacking soldier in Nahum 2:1. There shields and clothes were most likely dyed red. Centuries later the historian Xenophon said the Persian soldiers being dressed in scarlet. (Cyropaedia 6.4.1). Babylonian soldiers were typically clothed in red, Medes in scarlet. (Later Romans were also red).
It is unlikely that they were red-colored from blood after being used in battle. The Septuagint and Syriac are most likely mistaken to translate this as "the horsemen rush to and fro". See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1500 for more info.
Q: In Nah 2:3-8, 3:13-15, what do open rivers and the destruction of the palace have to do with Nineveh?
A: Nineveh was destroyed in part when the heavy rains caused the Khosr River to flood and break down part of the city wall.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1495 lists many prophecies of Nahum concerning Nineveh’s destruction.
Nahum 1:8; 2:6,8 Nineveh would be destroyed by a flood. Diodorus Siculus (c.20 B.C.) wrote that in the third year of the siege heavy rains caused the Khosr River to flood and breach part of the wall.
Nahum 1:8 the Assyrians would be pursued into darkness. The final attack on Nineveh came at night. Many Assyrian soldiers escaped in the night.
Nahum 1:9,14 Nineveh would never be rebuilt. Many ancient cities were rebuilt, but not Nineveh.
Nahum 1:10; 2:13; 3:15 Nineveh would be destroyed by fire. The temple was burned, and archaeologists have found a two-inch layer of ash.
Nahum 1:10; 3:11 At the end, the Ninevites would be drunk. Diodorus Siculus wrote that the Assyrian king distributed food and wine, and that night, while the men were drunk, the attack was made.
Nahum 1:14 Nineveh’s carved images and cast idols would be destroyed. Archaeologists R. Campbell Thompson and R.W. Hutchinson said the statue of the goddess Ishtar lay headless.
Nahum 2:8 The Ninevites would try to escape. Diodorus says that the king sent his three sons and two daughters to Paphlagonia to escape. Also, after the fall of Nineveh, the surviving Assyrian army went west into Assyria, before finally being wiped out.
Nahum 2:9-10 There would be plundering and pillaging. The Babylonian Chronicle said that "great quantities of spoil from the city, beyond counting, they carried off."
Nahum 3:3 Many Assyrians would be killed. According to Diodorus, so many were killed that the River was red for a considerable distance.
Nahum 3:12 Outlying fortresses would be captured easily (Nahum 3:12). The Babylonian Chronicle says the fortresses began to fall in 614 B.C.
Nahum 3:13 The city gate would be destroyed. Olmstead says the main attack was directed from the northwest on the Hatamti gate. (History of Assyria)
Nahum 3:14 The Ninevites would prepare bricks and mortar for emergency repairs. A.T. Olmstead says that south of the gate the moat is still filled with stone and mud brick fragments.
Nahum 3:17 The Ninevite officers would weaken and flee. The Babylonian Chronicle says the Assyrian army ran away before the king.
Q: In Nah 2:8-9, how was their supply of silver and gold "endless"?
A: This is a hyperbole for the great quantities they had. As an example, the book TimeFrame 1500-600 BC (Time-Life Books) p.18 mentions that the Assyrians annually received 12,000 horses and 2,000 cattle from just one people, the Nairi.
Q: In Nah 2:10, how will the Assyrians’ heart melt?
A: When they had until recently trusted in their army, defenses, and wealth, suddenly their security is gone, their families, will be gone, and their lives will be gone. They knew they could expect all of the same degree of mercy that they gave to others. – uh oh!
Q: Why does Nah 2:11-13 speak of lions?
A: Almost every empire has a symbol by which it identifies itself, and the Assyrians thought of themselves as lions. Assyrian kings liked to hunt Middle eastern lions, which were often depicted in Assyrian art.
Q: In Nah 2:11-12, is it always wrong to be violent? What about policemen, or self-defense?
A: No. Policemen are violent when they need to be. Every single U.S. president since before World War II has ordered some military action. In the Bible, Barak, Gideon, Jehoshaphat, and others led armies into battle with no rebuke form God. As Winston Churchill said, "We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us."
Q: In Nah 3:1, how was Nineveh a bloody city?
A: In ancient times, one could compare the Assyrians with the more modern Nazis due to their torture, ruthlessness, and military tactics. The Empire was built on oppression, and they were constantly putting down rebellions. In contrast to this, the Persian Empire gave a measure of toleration to their subjects, and there were few rebellions in the Persian Empire (Greek cities and Egyptians excepted).
As to whether the Assyrians were really all that cruel, we will let King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859) speak in his own "defense".
"I slaughtered them; with their blood I dyed the mountain red like wool.... The heads of their warriors I cut off, and I formed them into a pillar over against their city; their young men and their maidens I burned in the fire. ... I destroyed, I demolished, I burned. I took their warriors prisoner and impaled them on stakes before their cities. ...flayed the nobles, as many as had rebelled, and spread their skins out on the piles [of dead corpses]... many of the captives I burned in a fire. Many I took alive; from some I cut off their hands to the wrist, from others I cut off their noses, ears and fingers; I put out the eyes of many of the soldiers." (taken from TimeFrame 1500-600 BC Time Life Books and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1494.) Other Assyrian leaders made similar boasts, but probably we do not need to go any further.
Q: In Nah 3:5, since God is pure, why does he allow nudity here?
A: God is speaking symbolically of stripping the city of Nineveh and exposing its shame.
Q: In Nah 3:8 and Ezek 30:15, where was the city of "No"?
A: "No Amon" was another name Thebes, a major city of Egypt. It was also nicknamed by the Egyptians as "The City". The Egyptian word for village was niwt, which the Hebrews changed to No. The full Hebrew name, No-Amon, meant town/village of Amon. It counted on help from Put and Lubim, but no help came, according to the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.1140. Nahum speaks of No as already being destroyed, and Thebes was destroyed in 663 B.C. The city of Thebes was rebuilt in 654 B.C. according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1496. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1211 for more info on Thebes/No.
Q: In Nah 3:13, why were the people compared to women?
A: Battles at that time involved great physical strength, and women were often considered to make weaker warriors.
Q: In Nah 3:16, how did Assyria multiply merchants?
A: It had many traders to buy goods with all the tribute Assyria continually received from its conquered subjects. As an example, the book TimeFrame 1500-600 BC (Time-Life Books) p.18 mentions that the Assyrians annually received 12,000 horses and 2,000 cattle from just one people, the Nairi.
Q: In Nah 3:16, was there anything wrong with Nineveh multiplying its merchants?
A: In general merchants are OK, but it was wrong in Nineveh’s case. The merchants traded in the excessive tribute they took from their conquered subjects. See the previous question for an example.
Q: In Nah 3:18, how did the Assyrian shepherds slumber?
A: This poetic phrase is fascinating. The mountainous region of Assyria was good sheep country. Undoubtedly many Assyrians in generations past were shepherds, before the time that most of the Assyrian, men became warriors. The shepherds were slumbering in the sense that they were not so interested in herding sheep any more. Also, as a sleeping shepherd is not watching the sheep, nobody is watching over Assyria to protect it from its doom.
Q: In Nah 3:19, why is God speaking of the Assyrians' cruelty, since most conquerors were cruel?
A: The Assyrians were especially cruel. There are preserved Assyrian sculptures of chained slaves with their eyes being pecked out by birds. They had rather different ideas of what was good art. Assyrians wrote with pride of mutilating, skinning and burning people alive. Shalmaneser III made a pyramid of heads. Overall Ashurbanipal’s reign (669-626 B.C.) was one of the cruelest. Among many other things, Ashurbanipal put a dog chain through a captured king’s jaw and made him live in a dog kennel. Subject peoples paid excessive tribute for the privilege of staying alive. For some strange reason, the Assyrians had many revolts. I suppose you might say that, in the end, God found them revolting too.
Q: In Nah 3:19, what is the difference between being mean and being cruel?
A: The difference is in the severity of what was done to someone. They can be thought of as different degrees of the same thing.
Q: In Nah 3:19, what are different types of meanness or cruelty?
A: There are at least four types.
Unintentional: either the person did not know, or the person recklessly did not try to know. A mother went out to her mailbox in her front yard on a busy street with her little daughter. Her daughter asked if she could cross the street now. Looking at the mail, without looking up, and without thinking, the mother said "sure". The daughter stepped out and got hit and killed. The mail was not that important to the mom, the mom was not thinking.
Unavoidable means to an end: The person did not want to be cruel, but it was unavoidable (and worth it in their eyes) to accomplish what they wanted. I have read that many prostitutes in Japan go visit Shinto temples with large stuffed animals. They want to leave a gift for the baby they had aborted and reasoned that in the afterlife somehow they might enjoy playing with the stuffed animal. Perhaps it is their way of trying to feel less guilty. When what you think is a good end involves a means that is dishonoring God, then you should not pursue that end, or at least not that way.
Callousness: The were aware of the harm it would cause the other person, but they did not care about the people. Many husbands and wives were separated permanently by southern slaveholders. They slaveholders were not trying to be mean; they were not trying to be nice either. They just did not care.
Malicious enjoyment: They derived enjoyment at the harm of the other one. There was a tribe of people who would cut off the heads of the men they conquered, rape or marry their wives, but force the woman to wear her murdered husband’s head around her neck. This tribe was known as "British people in Australia".
Q: In Nah 3:19, in this cold, cruel world, what are some things we can do to be lights of kindness and grace?
A: First of all, do not participate in being part of the problem, whether directly or economically. Second, speak up and say that it is wrong. Third, help victims after they have been afflicted. Fourth, defend the oppressed, and help people from being victimized or being victimized even more.
Q: In Nah 3:19, what should we do when we see someone saying or doing mean things to others?
A: First of all, pray to God for the situation, and ask what God would have you do.
If it is verbal meanness, you can stand up for the person. Sometimes humor might be a good way, and sometimes strong rebuke might be a good way.
If you can stop a physical situation then do so. I read about a professional football player who came upon a man raping an unconscious woman outside. He stopped the man, immediately and forcibly.
But in some situations you cannot stop it. But you can try to use persuasion, or tell the police, or someone else.
Sometimes you can do things after the fact, to keep it from happening again, such as publicizing it on the internet, or agreeing to testify in court.
In all cases you can comfort or materially help the victim.
Q: In Nah, as we do not know who Nahum was, for certain when it was written, why should it be in our Bible?
A: Among other reasons, because Jesus authenticated the entire Old Testament. He accepted without question the Old Testament of the Jews in Palestine as shown by Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Luke 16:16,29,31; 18:31; 24:27.
The early church accepted Nahum as scripture. See the question after the next for which writers.
Q: In Nah, what are some of the earliest manuscripts that still exist today?
A: Dead Sea scrolls: (c.1 B.C.) There is 1 copy of Nahum among the Dead Sea scrolls, called 4Q82 (=4QXIIg). (The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated p.479) There is also a commentary on Nahum called 4Q169 (=4QpNah) from the late first century B.C. (ibid p.485). You can see a picture of part of this scroll (Nahum 3:1-6) in the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.689.
4Q82 of the Dead Sea scrolls contains Nahum 1:7-9; 2:9-1; 3:1-3,17.
The Commentary 4Q169 (=4QpNah) contains 1:3,4,5-6; 2:11-3:12
Nahal Hever is a cave near Engedi, that has a fragment of the Twelve prophets in Greek (8 Hev XIIgr). According to Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.34, is it thought to be written between 50 B.C. and 50 A.D.. It was hidden during the Bar Kokhba revolt against Rome. It is a revision of the Septuagint, made in Judea, and is almost identical to the Masoretic text. It contains Nahum 1:13-14; 2:5-10,13; 3:3,16-17.
The wadi Murabb'at scroll (MurXII) is from c.132 A.D. It contains Nahum 1:1-14; 2:1-14; 3:1-19. Wadi Murabb'at also contains some writings of Bar Kokhba himself in 132 A.D.
Overall, preserved in the Dead Sea scrolls, Nahal Hever, and wadi Murabb’at are following verses from Nahum: 1:2,3,4,5-6,7-9,13-14; 2:5-10,11-13; 3:1-12,16-17. See The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for more details.
Christian Bible manuscripts, from about 350 A.D., contain the Old Testament, including Nahum. Two of these are Vaticanus (325-250 A.D.) and Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.), where the books of the twelve minor prophets were placed before Isaiah. Nahum is complete in both Vaticanus and Alexandrinus.
Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) also has the entire book of Nahum. It starts on the same page as Jonah ends. It ends on the same page as Habakkuk starts.
Q: Which early writers referred to Nahum?
A: Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in Nahum are:
Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) (Implied) mentions the "Old Testament" and lists the books. He does not list the twelve minor prophets individually, but calls them The Twelve. Fragment 4 from the Book of Extracts vol.8 p.759
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) "Jeremiah and Ambacum [Habakkuk] were still prophesying in the time of Zedekiah. In the fifth year of his reign Ezekiel prophesied at Babylon; after him Nahum, then Daniel. After him, again, Haggai and Zechariah prophesied in the time of Darius the First for two years; and then the angel among the twelve." Stromata book 1 ch.21 p.328
Tertullian (207/208 A.D.) "For it was He who used to speak in the prophets-the Word, the Creator’s Son. ‘I am present, while it is the hour, upon the mountains, as one that brings glad tidings of peace, as one that publishes good tidings of good.’ So one of the twelve (minor prophets), Nahum: ‘For behold upon the mountain the swift feet of Him that brings glad tidings of peace.’" Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.13 p.364
Origen (225-254 A.D.) "It is written in the prophet: ‘In judgment he does not punish twice for the same thing’" (Nahum 1:9) Commentary on Ezekiel Homily 1 ch.2.4 p.28
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes from Nahum 1:5-7 as by "Nahum" in Treatise 12 the third book ch.20 p.541.
Athanasius of Alexandria (367 A.D.) (Implied because mentions the twelve prophets) "There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; ... then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book...." Athanasius Easter Letter 39 ch.4 p.552.
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.) alludes to Nahum 1:9. Letter 188 ch.3 p.225
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) quotes Nahum 2:1 as scripture in Lecture 17 ch.12 p.127
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Gregory Nanzianzus (330-391 A.D.)
Didymus the blind (398 A.D.) quotes Nahum 3:10 as by "Nahum, seventh of the twelve prophets" Commentary on Zechariah 11 p.257
Jerome (373-420 A.D.) discusses the books of the Old Testament. He specifically discusses Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch, Job, Jesus son of Nave [Joshua], Judges, Ruth, Samuel Kings (2 books), twelve prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Letter 53 ch.7-8 p.99-101.
Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) mentions Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk in The City of God book 17 ch.31 p.377
The semi-Pelagian John Cassian (419-430 A.D.)
Among heretics and spurious books
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.) wrote an entire commentary on Nahum.
Q: In Nah, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint?
A: Focusing on chapter 1, the first alternative is the Masoretic text, the second is the Septuagint, unless otherwise noted.
Nah 1:2 "Jehovah is avenging and Jehovah a possessor of wrath" vs. "the lord avenges with wrath"
Nah 1:2 "keeps [wrath]" vs. "cuts off"
Nah 1:3 "does not acquit the guilty" vs. "will not hold any guiltless"
Nah 1:4 "rebukes the sea" vs. "threatens the sea"
Nah 1:4 "dries up" vs. "exhausts all"
Nah 1:5 "hills are shaken" vs. "hills melt"
Nah 1:7 "trust in him" vs. "reverence him"
Nah 1:8 "His enemies" vs. "rise up against [him] and his enemies"
Nah 1:10 "For as thorns are woven together, and as their drunkards are drunken, they shall be devoured like fully dried straw" vs. "For [the enemy] shall be laid bare even to the foundation, and shall be devoured as twisted yew, and as stubble fully dry."
Nah 1:11 "counseling worthlessness" vs. "counseling evil things hostile to him."
Nah 1:12 "Though secure, and so many, yet they will be cut off, and will vanish." vs. "who rules over many waters, Even thus shall they be sent away, and the report of thee shall not be heard any more."
Nah 1:14 "I will cut off the carved image and the molten image out of the house of your gods; I will appoint your grave, for you are despised." vs. "I will utterly destroy the graven images out of the house of thy god, and the molten images: I will make thy grave; for they are swift."
Nah 1:15 "for the worthless will not continue to pass through among you; he is completely cut off." vs. "for they shall no more pass through thee to they decay. It is all over with him, he has been removed, one who has been delivered from affliction has come up panting into they presence."
Nah 2:3 "cypresses are shaken/made to quiver" (Masoretic, Green's literal translation) or "spears of pine are brandished" (Masoretic) vs. "horsemen rush to and fro" (Septuagint, NIV translation) vs. "drivers are stupefied" (Vulgate)
Nah 2:10 "drained of color" vs. "gather blackness" (Septuagint, Targum, Vulgate)
Nah 3:8 1QpNah added the feminine pronoun suffix -h to rampart. The Dead Sea Scrolls & Modern Translations of the Old Testament p.136 says this might have been added to make the sentence read smoother.
Nah 3:8 "[city of] No [Thebes]" vs. "populous Alexandria" (Targum, Vulgate)
Nah 3:9 "were your helpers" vs. "were her helpers" (Septuagint)
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Green’s Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton’s translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositor's Bible Commentary and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles also were used.
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