Book of Nahum
The Book of Nahum, often called simply, Nahum, is an ancient Jewish writing canonized into the Minor Prophets section of the Nevi'im. Christians place it in their Old Testament.
Authorship and Dating
In 1:1, the author identifies himself as Nahum the Elkoshite, which is a very ambiguous identification. Nahum (נַחוּם [Nachuwm]) is assumed to mean "comfort," and Elkoshite is assumed to be a descendant of Elkosh. Neither of these can be verified since both words exist only once in all of antiquity. Historians can't even say is Elkosh is a person, culture, region, or something else. There is an ancient city in Northern Iraq called Alqosh, which is near Nineveh (the subject of this book), which might be the reference.
The Book of Nahum mentions the sacking of Thebes (3:8-10) which historians date to 663 BCE and the fall of Nineveh which occurred around 612 BCE. Because of this, historians usually date the book to around 610 BCE. However, Jewish tradition states that this is a prophecy, not an account, which requires it to have been written before the events, so they date it about 100 years earlier. To my knowledge, there is no contemporary evidence to date it back that far, and no ancient manuscripts to carbon date.
The book is either a prophecy or historic account written in a poetic format which describes the destruction of the city of Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian empire, at the hands of Jehovah.
I have several translations of this book from various bibles, and have read the NIV translation.
- If the book is a prophecy, it's wrong. Historians demonstrate that it was the Israelites who sacked Nineveh, or even worshipers of Jehovah, but various armies of various other religions including Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Scythians, and Cimmerians.
- There are a couple passages which are just rather strange. For example, 3:12 says that the fortresses of Nineveh "are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater."
- The author doesn't like grasshoppers at all! 3:15 reads, "the sword will cut you down and, like grasshoppers, consume you. Multiply like grasshoppers, multiply like locusts!" 3:17 reads, "Your guards are like locusts, your officials like swarms of locusts that settle in the walls on a cold day—but when the sun appears they fly away, and no one knows where."
- From beginning to end, this text is just revenge porn. It is an extremely graphic account of the death of everyone in a city. The occupants of the city are described as being evil, but, that's not how cities work. Sure, corruption can exist in a city, and criminals can become wealthy, but the bulk of any city's occupants are average people. If Jehovah is all powerful, why can't he just punish the bad people, rather than raze the entire city?