Chapter 1

1The harsh prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.   א מַשָּׂ֖א נִֽינְוֵ֑ה סֵ֧פֶר חֲז֛וֹן נַח֖וּם הָֽאֶלְקֹשִֽׁי:
The harsh prophecy concerning Nineveh: Heb. מַשָׂא. The burden of the cup of the curse [which was] to be given Nineveh to drink.  
The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite: חזון is vowelized with a “kamatz” (חָזוֹן) since it is not in the construct state, and it is unlike “ חֲזוֹן יִשַׁעְיָהוּ,” the vision of Isaiah, which is vowelized with a “hataf pattah.” This is its meaning: A book of vision has already been written concerning it [Nineveh], the prophecy of Jonah son of Amittai; and now, again, Nahum the Elkoshite prophesied this harsh prophecy over it. Elkosh is the name of his [Nahum’s] city. And so did Jonathan paraphrase: In early times, Jonah son of Amittai prophesied concerning it, and they repented of their sins, and when they continued to sin, Nahum of the house of Elkosh prophesied further concerning them.  
the Elkoshite: That city is in the province of Ballynia, which is in the state of Eretz Israel, although it is outside the Holy Land. Proof of the matter is that there is gold, silver, and salt dust near it because the Dead Sea, which is near Eretz Israel, goes there under the earth. In this state they do not crown a king the son of a king [i.e., the throne is not hereditary]; and they are of the seed of Judah. [Sod Mesharim]  
2The Lord is a jealous and vengeful God and is full of wrath; the Lord avenges Himself upon His adversaries, and He bears a grudge against His enemies.   באֵ֣ל קַנּ֚וֹא וְנֹקֵם֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה נֹקֵ֥ם יְהֹוָ֖ה וּבַ֣עַל חֵמָ֑ה נֹקֵ֚ם יְהֹוָה֙ לְצָרָ֔יו וְנוֹטֵ֥ר ה֖וּא לְאֹֽיְבָֽיו:
The Lord is a jealous and vengeful God: Nahum prophesied concerning Sennacherib’s descendants, and in the time of Manasseh, as we find in Seder Olalm (ch.20).  
The Lord is a jealous and vengeful God: from the time He avenged Israel upon their enemies, and now too, He is still vengeful and full of wrath.  
He is destined to wreak vengeance upon His adversaries: who destroyed their land and exiled His people.  
and he bears a grudge: Heb. וְנוֹטֵר, lit. watches. He lays up His hatred for His enemies. Rabbi Simon says: These three expressions of vengeance correspond to the three exiles to which Sennacherib exiled Israel, as we find in Seder Olam (ch. 23).  
3The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, but He will surely not acquit; the Lord-His way is with a tempest and with a storm? and cloud is the dust of His feet.   גיְהֹוָ֗ה אֶ֚רֶךְ אַפַּ֙יִם֙ וּגְדָל־ (כתיב וּגְדָול) כֹּ֔חַ וְנַקֵּ֖ה לֹ֣א יְנַקֶּ֑ה יְהֹוָ֗ה בְּסוּפָ֚ה וּבִשְׂעָרָה֙ דַּרְכּ֔וֹ וְעָנָ֖ן אֲבַ֥ק רַגְלָֽיו:
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power: He is great in power, and He has the ability to wreak vengeance. The reason He did not hasten His revenge is that He is slow to anger, but, in any case, He will not acquit.  
the Lord - His way is with a tempest and with a storm: They [the tempest and storm] are His messengers for wreaking retribution upon His enemies, as it is stated concerning Egypt (Exod. 14:21): “with a mighty east wind” ; and concerning the generation of the Flood (Job 4:9): “From the breath of God they perish.” Concerning Tyre, it is stated (Ezek. 27:26): “The east wind has broken you.”  
and cloud is the dust of His feet: That, too, is the way of His vengeance. (Exod. 14:24) “And the Lord looked over the camp of the Egyptians with a pillar of fire and cloud”; also, (Ezek. 30:18) “As for her, a cloud shall cover her.”  
4He rebukes the sea and dries it up, and He has dried up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel are cut off, and the blossoms of the Lebanon are cut off.   דגּוֹעֵ֚ר בַּיָּם֙ וַיַּבְּשֵׁ֔הוּ וְכָל־הַנְּהָר֖וֹת הֶֽחֱרִ֑יב אֻמְלַ֚ל בָּשָׁן֙ וְכַרְמֶ֔ל וּפֶ֥רַח לְבָנ֖וֹן אֻמְלָֽל:
He rebukes the sea: To be understood [both] according to its apparent meaning, and as a figure describing the nations, who are compared to water, as the matter is stated (Isa. 17: 12): “Like the rushing of mighty waters they rush.”  
and He has dried up all the rivers: Here he prophesies that the Holy One, blessed be He, is destined to crown Nebuchadnezzar in the days of Jehoiakim, and He will deliver Assyria and all the lands to the sword.  
Bashan and Carmel: The good dwelling places.  
and the blossoms of the Lebanon are cut off: The Sages of Israel explained this as an allusion to the various types of sweet fruit that Solomon planted in the Temple, which were gold; and as soon as the gentiles entered the Temple, they withered. [from Yoma 21b, 39b]  
5Mountains quaked because of him and the hills melted, and the land raised up from before Him-and the inhabited earth and all who dwell thereon.   ההָרִים֙ רָֽעֲשׁ֣וּ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְהַגְּבָע֖וֹת הִתְמֹגָ֑גוּ וַתִּשָּׂ֚א הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ מִפָּנָ֔יו וְתֵבֵ֖ל וְכָל־י֥וֹשְׁבֵי בָֽהּ:
Mountains quaked because of Him: The kings and the princes (of the heathens) shall fear His decree.  
raised up: Heb. וַתִּשָׂא; i.e., raised up a pillar of smoke.  
6Who can stand before His fury and who can rise amidst His wrath? His wrath has reached [the earth] like fire, and the rocks have been broken up by Him.   ולִפְנֵ֚י זַעְמוֹ֙ מִ֣י יַֽעֲמ֔וֹד וּמִ֥י יָק֖וּם בַּֽחֲר֣וֹן אַפּ֑וֹ חֲמָתוֹ֙ נִתְּכָ֣ה כָאֵ֔שׁ וְהַצֻּרִ֖ים נִתְּצ֥וּ מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
has reached: Heb. נִתְּכָה, has reached the earth, as in (Exod. 9:33) “And rain did not reach (נְתַּ) the earth. ”  
have been broken up by Him: by His fear.  
7The Lord is good-yea, a stronghold on a day of trouble- and is cognizant of those who trust in Him.   זט֣וֹב יְהֹוָ֔ה לְמָע֖וֹז בְּי֣וֹם צָרָ֑ה וְיֹדֵ֖עַ חֹ֥סֵי בֽוֹ:
The Lord is good yea, a stronghold: Even when he inflicts retribution upon His enemies, His mercies do not cease to do good to those who fear Him. [This ability is] unlike the trait of [a man of] flesh and blood, who, when he is busy with one thing, is not free to [simultaneously] do another thing, as the matter is stated (Exod. 15:3): “The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His Name.” [This is] as it is stated in Mechilta (ad loc.)  
and is cognizant of: the necessities of those who trust in Him.  
8But, with an overrunning flood He shall make a full end of its place, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.   חוּבְשֶׁ֣טֶף עֹבֵ֔ר כָּלָ֖ה יַֽעֲשֶׂ֣ה מְקוֹמָ֑הּ וְאֹֽיְבָ֖יו יְרַדֶּף־חֹֽשֶׁךְ:
But, with an overrunning flood: with flooding wrath.  
He shall make a full end of its place: the place of the land. This refers back to “and the land raised up from before Him,” as is stated above.  
9What do you think of the Lord? He will make a full end; the trouble will not rise twice.   טמַה־תְּחַשְּׁבוּן֙ אֶל־יְהֹוָ֔ה כָּלָ֖ה ה֣וּא עֹשֶׂ֑ה לֹֽא־תָק֥וּם פַּֽעֲמַ֖יִם צָרָֽה:
He will make a full end: of Nineveh and the kings of Assyria. He will not repeat this to you again.  
10For, while the thorns are entangled and the drunkards are drinking, they are consumed like dry stubble, fully ripe.   יכִּי עַד־סִירִ֣ים סְבֻכִ֔ים וּכְסָבְאָ֖ם סְבוּאִ֑ים אֻ֨כְּל֔וּ כְּקַ֥שׁ יָבֵ֖שׁ מָלֵֽא:
For, while the thorns are entangled: I.e., their destruction will come upon them suddenly, and they will not descend from their honor gradually, but while the thorns and the briers are [yet] entangled; i.e., strongly rooted.  
and the drunkards are drinking: While they are at their feasts and in their joy. Some interpret כִּי עַד סִירִים as an expression of הֲסָרָה, removal.  
they are consumed like dry stubble, fully ripe: Whose ripening has become full and complete, and it has dried out.  
fully ripe: Heb. מָלֵא; asovir, to be filled, in O.F And so (Exod. 22:28): “Your ripe fruits (מְלֵאָתְ)” ; (Deut. 22:9) “The ripe fruit (הַמְלֵאָה) of the seed.”  
11From you has emanated one who plots evil against the Lord, one who counsels wickedness.   יאמִמֵּ֣ךְ יָצָ֔א חֹשֵׁ֥ב עַל־יְהֹוָ֖ה רָעָ֑ה יֹעֵ֖ץ בְּלִיָּֽעַל:
From you: you, Nineveh.  
emanated: Sennacherib, who plots evil, who thought to destroy the earthly abode and the heavenly abode. One passage reads (II Kings 19:23): “And I will come to its remotest lodge” ; and one passage reads (Isa. 37: 24): “Its remotest height.” “First I will destroy His earthly abode, and then I will destroy His heavenly abode” - as found in the chapter “ Chelek ” (Sanh. 94b).  
12So said the Lord: Though they be at peace-and likewise many-and likewise they have crossed and passed over, I will no longer afflict you.   יבכֹּ֣ה | אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֗ה אִם־שְׁלֵמִים֙ וְכֵ֣ן רַבִּ֔ים וְכֵ֥ן נָג֖וֹזּוּ וְעָבָ֑ר וְעִ֨נִּתִ֔ךְ לֹ֥א אֲעַנֵּ֖ךְ עֽוֹד:
Though they be at peace and likewise many: Jonathan’s Targum is very appropriate to the verse: If they [the people of Nineveh] are at peace in their counsel, that they will all be of one accord; and likewise, if the people of Nineveh, your enemies, are many, O Jerusalem; and likewise, even if they have crossed the Tigris and passed over the Euphrates to besiege it, they will not succeed, for I have afflicted you; I will no longer afflict you. I have heard further (this rendering):  
If they are perfect: the people of Nineveh, in their greatness.  
and likewise: if they will be still greater and more honored.  
and so they shall be cut down and pass away: And so I will cut them down and take them away. This is like (Exod 1:12) “And the more they would afflict them, the more they would multiply.”  
and I will no longer afflict you: I will afflict you this time with destruction and annihilation, and I will no longer be involved with you. Our Sages expounded upon this concerning the practice of charity in Tractate Gittin (7a), but it does not fit in with the context.  
13And now I will break off his yoke from you, and I will rend your bonds asunder.   יגוְעַתָּ֕ה אֶשְׁבֹּ֥ר מֹטֵ֖הוּ מֵֽעָלָ֑יִךְ וּמֽוֹסְרֹתַ֖יִךְ אֲנַתֵּֽק:
And now I will break off his yoke from you: The Shechinah says this to the prophet, who is of Israel: I will break off the yoke of Assyria from you and from My people.  
14And the Lord shall command concerning you; No more [offspring] of your name shall be sown; from the house of your god I will cut off a graven image and a molten image; I will make your grave, for you have become worthless.   ידוְצִוָּ֚ה עָלֶ֙יךָ֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה לֹֽא־יִזָּרַ֥ע מִשִּׁמְךָ֖ ע֑וֹד מִבֵּ֨ית אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ אַכְרִ֨ית פֶּ֧סֶל וּמַסֵּכָ֛ה אָשִׂ֥ים קִבְרֶ֖ךָ כִּ֥י קַלּֽוֹתָ:
And the Lord shall command concerning you: Now the king of Assyria is being addressed.  
No more [offspring] Of your name shall be sown: No king shall arise from you.  
I will make your grave: I will make the house of your god your grave, for you shall flee there to escape, and there you shall be slain, as your father was slain in the temple of Nisroch, his god.  
for you have become worthless: in My eyes.