Behold, on the mountains the feet of him
who brings good tidings,
who proclaims peace!
Nahum is, for many moderns, one of the less pleasant books to read. It is full of all sorts of language that sounds, to the modern ear, like gloating. It is written to celebrate the downfall of the great city of Nineveh, capital of Assyria. The last line of the book more or less captures its tenor: “There is no assuaging your hurt,/your wound is grievous./All who hear the news of you/clap their hands over you./For upon whom has not come/your unceasing evil?” Today we are taught to be polite at the downfall of our enemies, to not speak ill of people who have fallen on hard times, etc. But there is another side that is not so often emphasized and should be here. Everyone can understand the enormity of rejoicing in Times Square when World War II ended. Hitler was dead, the Nazi empire in ruins, the powers of evil had been defeated. It was time for tickertape, for prayer, for kissing the gal next to you in a great grand hoorah. Nahum is all those things, for the Assyrians were, like the Nazis, a regime skilled in cruelty and drenched in the blood of all its weak neighbors. When their downfall came, who could restrain his voice from singing? How much more then did heavenly powers rejoice when the ultimate tyrant, the devil, and his ultimate regime of sin and death were broken and ruined by the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ. Hallelujah! The Great War is over!