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Nahum (nāˈəm, –həm) [key], 7th of the books of the Minor Prophets of the Bible. It contains oracles of doom against Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire, delivered by one Nahum of Elkosh, who is otherwise unknown. The book can be divided into two sections: an acrostic announcing the coming of divine vengeance on Nineveh; and a vivid description of the city's destruction. Nineveh fell in 612 B.C., and scholars differ as to whether the book was written before the event or after it. It engages in satire and mockery and is unashamedly exultant at Nineveh's downfall, which is viewed as divine intervention. Nineveh is likened to a prostitute alluring the nations, an image applied to Rome in the Book of Revelation.

For bibliography, see Old Testament. See also E. Achtemeier, Nahum–Malachi (1986); J. J. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (1990).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Old Testament

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