POSTED 23 OCTOBER, 2017
Approximate date: mid 600s B.C.E. (Right, conservative-moderate, some Left); 400s-200s B.C.E. (some Left)
Time period: the impending fall of Nineveh at the hands of Babylon
Author(s): Nahum (Right, some conservative-moderate); Nahum and/or anonymous other(s) (some conservative moderate); Nahum and anonymous redactors (Left)
Location of prophet/author(s): somewhere in Judah (Right, conservative-moderate, Left)
Target audience and their location: Southern Kingdom Israelites and Ninevites
Theological Summary: The Book of Nahum (Heb. Nachum) is a text containing this prophet’s vision (1:1), and primarily concerns the fall of Nineveh which occurred in 612 B.C.E. The name of the prophet means “comfort” (3:7). Nahum appears seventh among the Twelve Prophets of the Tanach, but is listed after the Book of Jonah in the Greek LXX. We know little about Nahum himself, other than that he came from the (unknown) village of Elkosh (1:1), and there are various proposals offered as to where this place was located in antiquity.
Nahum is a brief, yet difficult book to consider, as its principal focus is God’s judgment upon Nineveh. It is a text rooted in Biblical history, as the author attests to the fall of the Egyptian city of Thebes or No Amon (3:8-10), something that occurred in 663 B.C.E. With Nahum prophesying the fall of Nineveh/Assyria, the period portrayed by the text thus falls somewhere between 663-612 B.C.E. Nahum was likely a contemporary of Zephaniah, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah.
One of the major reasons that today’s Messianic movement has grown in the past decade is a significant interest by Believers in the Torah and the Tanach. In too many cases, the Tanach Scriptures were not probed in that great a detail in a Jewish Believer’s traditional Synagogue upbringing—and perhaps more serious, a non-Jewish Believer’s Christian experience often witnessed the Old Testament taking a back seat to the New Testament in the Church. With many of the ethical and moral controversies the greater Judeo-Christian religious community is experiencing in our age, a need for God’s people to return to a foundational grounding in the Tanach Scriptures is absolutely imperative. The Old Testament cannot simply be disregarded any more.
Many have stayed away from consulting the Tanach not because of a lack of interest, but because few want to have to deal with the controversies it addresses. Unlike the Apostolic Scriptures, constrained to the First Century C.E., the period of the Tanach stretches back all the way to the beginning of the universe itself. Questions like: Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Did God actually condone the genocide of the Canaanites? and Am I the only one who thinks the Prophets are mentally disturbed? are debates that many people do not want to enter into. Even more significant is the effect of critical scholarship which has attempted to divide the Torah into non-Mosaic sources, question the inspiration and historical reliability of the text, and even regard much of the Tanach as Ancient Israel’s mythology. For a Messianic movement that claims to place a high value on the Tanach, it is time that we join in to these conversations.
A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic takes you through the Old Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. It presents a theologically conservative perspective of the books of the Tanach, but one that does not avoid some of the controversies that have existed in Biblical scholarship for over one hundred and fifty years. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Tanach, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the Old Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text. This workbook can be used for both personal and group study, and will be a valuable aid for any Messianic Believer wanting to study the whole Bible on a consistent basis.