In 612 BC the Assyrian Empire was nearing collapse. Its capital Nineveh was about to fall before a combined invasion of Babylonian, Medean and Scythian forces. But those living in the nations that Assyria had cruelly oppressed felt little pity. In their view, the Assyrians were simply getting a long-overdue taste of their own medicine. The prophet Nahum echoes these thoughts on behalf of the people of Judah. He situates this event within the context of God’s rule over all kingdoms on earth. God will judge the Assyrians, even though he had used them as his own instrument, because they were excessively destructive and proud.
Nahum’s oracle describes God’s character and power, announcing God’s purpose to judge Assyria. Words of comfort to Judah alternate with words of doom to Nineveh. The defense of the Assyrian capital will prove futile and the city will be plundered, confirming God’s judgment.