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The Elements of Salvation Oracle in the Book of Nahum

Dong-Young Yoon 1

1대전신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The book of Nahum has been denigrated as the representative of optimistic prophecy with strong nationalism, because it announces judgment against Nineveh, while keeping silent with sins and immorality of Judah. However, the negative tone against Nineveh can be regarded as the good news for Judah, since the destruction of Nineveh would set Judah free again. In this regard, the prophecy of Nahum can be categorized as the salvation oracle which announces divine promise of deliverance from enemies and crises. From the perspective of literary form, the salvation oracle consists of the divine self-introduction, historical retrospect, encouragement, and the promise of divine guidance and protection. The book of Nahum begins with the various descriptions of divine characteristics such as ‘jealous’, ‘vengeful’, and ‘wrathful’. Though this description does not contain the direct constitutes of the salvation oracle, it functions as the introduction of the main salvation oracles in v 9 and vv 12-15. God announces that he will soon intervene in the human history to punish Nineveh and to save his people from the enslavement(v 9). God will destroy Nineveh and break off the yoke that binds Judah (v 13). The fame of Nineveh, along with their gods will be forgotten. Nineveh will never be able to invade Judah again, because God will annihilate it. Judah will celebrate festivals again and fulfill their vows they once made(v 15). God will initiate the salvation(2:1-2). The divine initiative means the inactivity from the human side. The divine initiative is the crucial element of the salvation oracle. As regards the content and form, the prophecy of Nahum is compared to the Neo-Assyrian salvation oracles for the king, i.e, ‘royal oracle’. As the royal oracle encouraged the king who was depressed in the military and political crises, the prophecy of Nahum purports to persuade his listeners that salvation is coming and that Assyria is on the way to downfall.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.