Nahum 2:1-2 (NIV) 1 An attacker advances against you, [Nineveh]. Guard the fortress, watch the road, brace yourselves, marshal all your strength! 2 The LORD will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste and have ruined their vines.
On verses 1-2: In these two verses, Nahum envisions two things going on. First, Nahum sees a siege attack against the powerful city of Nineveh, once known as the most powerful city in the world (v1). Second, Nahum sees God restoring “the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste” (v2).
What can we learn from this?
God can bring down one kingdom and raise up another. God is sovereign. As Psalm 75:7 says, “…it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.”
When Nahum says that God is restoring “the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel” (v2), what does that mean? Some scholars think that here “Jacob” refers to the southern kingdom of Judah and “Israel” refers to the northern kingdom of Israel. Another way to look at it is that Jacob is the old, not so glorious version of God’s people; Israel is the redeemed, powerful and glorious version of God’s people. God wants to restore His people to a greater, more powerful, redeemed version of themselves.
Nahum 2:3-10 (NIV) 3 The shields of his soldiers are red; the warriors are clad in scarlet. The metal on the chariots flashes on the day they are made ready; the spears of pine are brandished. 4 The chariots storm through the streets, rushing back and forth through the squares. They look like flaming torches; they dart about like lightning. 5 He summons his picked troops, yet they stumble on their way. They dash to the city wall; the protective shield is put in place. 6 The river gates are thrown open and the palace collapses. 7 It is decreed that [the city] be exiled and carried away. Its slave girls moan like doves and beat upon their breasts. 8 Nineveh is like a pool, and its water is draining away. “Stop! Stop!” they cry, but no one turns back. 9 Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold! The supply is endless, the wealth from all its treasures! 10 She is pillaged, plundered, stripped! Hearts melt, knees give way, bodies tremble, every face grows pale.
On verses 3-10: Nahum sees a picture of the group that will be attacking Nineveh. They appear to be clad in red and rushing through the city squares (v3-4). The leader of the Assyrian army summons his troops to try to protect the city (v5), but they are unable to defend it (v6). The people of Nineveh are carried off to exile (v7). Like a pool with its contents draining away, so Nineveh will be drained of its residents (v8) and plundered (v9-10).
Nahum’s prophecies about the destruction of Nineveh would be fulfilled in approximately 612 B.C., when an alliance of Chaldeans and Medes, wearing red, would attack the city of Nineveh and carry the Ninevites into exile. This would eventually lead to the fall of the entire Assyrian empire over the next three years. Nineveh would never be rebuilt again.
What can we learn from this? What God says will happen will indeed happen. You can count on God’s Word to come true. Just as God keeps His Word, may we keep our word too.
Nahum 2:11-13 (NIV) 11 Where now is the lions’ den, the place where they fed their young, where the lion and lioness went, and the cubs, with nothing to fear? 12 The lion killed enough for his cubs and strangled the prey for his mate, filling his lairs with the kill and his dens with the prey. 13 “I am against you,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots in smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will leave you no prey on the earth. The voices of your messengers will no longer be heard.”
On verses 11-13: In Assyrian culture, lions were an important symbol and were found in much of Assyrian art. Here Nahum describes Nineveh as a lions’ den for viscous lions who have done plenty of hunting and killing in their lifetime. Now it was time for those lions and their den to be devoured by Someone Greater (v12-13).
What can we learn from this? Jesus Himself is described as the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5) – powerful, brave, standing triumphant over everything else. No matter what kind of lion may be breathing down your neck, know that you have the greatest lion of all on your side – Jesus Christ. This lion of Judah is committed to protecting you and keeping you from harm.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Lion of Judah, my Restorer, the One who is completely faithful and true to Your Word. No one can compare to you. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!