1 Dec: St. Nahum, Prophet of the Old Testment

Many Old Testament figures are numbered among the saints by the Catholic Church. You can find them listed in the Martyrologium Romanum.

1. Commemoratio sancti Nahum, prophetae, qui Deum praedicavit cursum temporum regentem et populos in iustitia iudicantem.

NahumYes, folks, once again today is the feast of St. Nahum, whose book is betwixt Micah and Habakkuk.

We don’t know much about this figure, historically. He was from the town Alqosh close to the end of the Assyrian reign. Like Johan, Nahum warns Ninevah of its destruction (612 BC).

Whenever I hear about Assyrians I think of a poem by Byron called the Destruction of Sennacherib which, though occurring earlier than Nahum, nevertheless concerns a biblical event recounted in 2 Kings. Read it aloud for some real fun!

THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB, first published in 1815

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

And some people think our guardian angels are like those girly men in the cute pictures.

2 Kings 19:35-36: And that night the angel of the LORD went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennach’erib king of Assyria departed, and went home, and dwelt at Nin’eveh.

In any event, you might sit down with Nahum today and read for a while.  Remember, there is an indulgence available for reading Sacred Scripture!

From the Prophet Nahum:

15:Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah, fulfil your vows, for never again shall the wicked come against you, he is utterly cut off.

An appropriate passage for this 1st Sunday of Advent.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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9 Responses to 1 Dec: St. Nahum, Prophet of the Old Testment

  1. randir25 says:

    I have always pictured the Gualdian Angels in Armor, with Shields, and Swords/Spears!
    Except the time mine was wearing “Heaven Fire Dept” turnout gear, and carrying an extingusher for dragonfire! (Long story, but I needed that image at the time)

  2. randir25 says:

    Oops! Guardian Angels! FatFinger Syndrome

  3. Priam1184 says:

    The girly angel art of this era is kind of disgusting. This is war people. And if any of you ever have the good fortune to visit Jerusalem, make sure to visit the tunnel that Hezekiah’s workmen carved through the rock BY HAND to keep the city supplied with water during Sennacherib’s siege. Truly a marvel of any age, and the water is ice cold even in August…

  4. Tom in NY says:

    “The memorial of St. Nahum, the prophet, who preached that God was ruling the path of time and was judging the peoples in justice.”
    N. B., these are present rather than past or future participles.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  5. NoraLee9 says:

    I became disabused of the notion of “girly” Guardian Angels while teaching English in the second most dangerous high school in NYC (1985-1998). I was well taken care of by big, burly angels who could redirect gunfire and knife thrusts. No joke.

  6. jaykay says:

    Thanks for the reminder , Fr., of Fr. Moore S.M., my Latin and English teacher c. 1972, God rest him, who taught us that poem along with Chesterston’s “Lepanto”. Magnificent rolling poetry. “Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard, where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred…”. You certainly couldn’t teach that poem these days.

  7. KAS says:

    I recently began subscribing to a delightful monthly Theosis and love the depth of the articles and the fact that I see each day the Saint, usually one I would not have known about with such ease without the magazine. I also love the Byzantine Catholic slant and find it quite enriching.

    The OT prophets are seriously cool.

  8. samwise says:

    The Divine Liturgy @ St. John Chrysostom had St. John of Damascus instead of Nahum…The priest said that they moved their calendar up 2 weeks to avoid repeating the same Gospel.

  9. AndrewR says:

    Fr – as you point out, Nahum was from the town of al Qosh, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alqosh) a town in existence even to this very day and a stronghold for Christians (and Jews until 1947) in the foothills northeast of Mosul (Nineveh) in northern Iraq. His tomb can still be visited, along with the monastery where the Patriarchs of the Assyrian Church of the East are laid to rest. Once entire nation of Assyria converted (see Christ commending thier ancestors in Luke 11:32), they began evangelizing on the Silk Road all the way into China, counting among thier faithful, members of Ghengis and Kublai Khan’s families. Assyrian and Chaldean (Catholic) Christians in Iraq are now being ground into non-existence by Islamists. Perhaps we could use feast days like Nahum’s to pray for our beleagured brothers and sisters in the Middle East – and that the hearts of Muslims would be open to Christ.