April 17, 2011

Minor Prophets LXIX: Taunting The Taunter

Nahum speaks on behalf of God and gets the last poke in at the Assyrian captives. He taunts them comparing their current situation to their previous glory. This group of tormented individuals includes the leaders and citizens alike of Assyria, a notoriously brutal and cruel regime that was represented by a lion motif. Assyrians, like lions stalked and devoured/destroyed their prey. Before eating their prey felines often torment and torture it. Sick but true. Assyria did the same with their captives.

So in a reversal of rolls Nahum returns the favor by taunting and asking the captives, “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?” Nahum is effectively asking the equivalent of “Where’s your city now?” as it is being destroyed and pillaged. Their home or “den” has been destroyed. He also mentions how lions, “killed enough for his cubs and strangled the prey for his mate, filling his lairs with the kill and his dens with the prey.” By comparison the Assyrian “lion” had amassed so much wealth it was beyond counting…far more than they needed to survive. Perhaps this is what eventually led to their downfall. Arrogant pride and striving for more eventually overreaching their capabilities until they stuck their neck out so far…it got chopped off.

Now, ironically, they have nothing. Jonah had come to warn them over a 100 years before but they had quickly slipped back into old patterns that cost them their kingdom to the upstart Babylonians. Assyria would have no weapons, no riches and no home. God had become fed up and smacked them silly making them a footnote in history as He had done to other nations and would do to still more in the future.

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