Nahum 3:19, Two Views of Nineveh

Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?

//Sometime when you’re bored, pick up your Bible and read the books of Jonah and Nahum side-by-side. Both of these books concern the fate of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. One is a humanitarian plea to recognize God’s love even for a hated enemy, and the other is a gleeful telling of that enemy’s destruction.

In Jonah, the people of Nineveh believe in God, engage in acts of penance, and repent. God decides to spare the city, proving their repentance to be genuine, and serves as an example for us to love our enemies and recognize the universal nature of God’s own love.

Nahum, however, openly taunts Nineveh, celebrating God’s avenging wrath against them. Nineveh’s destruction is sung in psalm:


“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
    “I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness
   And the kingdoms your shame.
I will pelt you with filth,
    I will treat you with contempt
   And will make you a spectacle.
All who see you will flee from you and say,
   ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’”


Could any two books of the Bible be any more different? Is there any question about differing human motives and emotions in the Bible? This is the sort of stuff that makes the Bible alive to me … its very human fingerprints.

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