The Lord is good, a refuge on the day of distress;
The Lord takes care of those who have recourse to him,
When the flood rages.
Nahum 1:7

Nahum, which means “Yahweh comforts” in Hebrew, is the seventh book of the Minor Prophets. Written sometime between 615 and 610 B.C, the book is a battle curse against the nasty Assyrians, who forced residents of captive nations (not just Israel) into exile, and killed those who could not leave (infants, the disabled, and the elderly). No doubt, Nahum’s venomous words, which predict the fall of Nineveh, were comforting to the Israelites.

Unlike some of the other prophets, Nahum directs few words against the shortcomings of Israel. Rather he shakes his finger at the Assyrians and promises that Yahweh will deliver the Israelites from their suffering. In 612 B.C., Nahum’s prophecy— and God’s promise— are realized: Nineveh, the seat of the Assyrian empire, goes up in flames at the hands of the Babylonians, freeing all the Israelites from 100-plus years of Assyrian domination.

Nahum is a short, unified book, which suggests it was written or spoken on one occasion— at a festival in the temple, for instance. The prophet is a contemporary of Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah.