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Nahum 1:3 – Slow to Anger, but Great in Power

Summary

God will judge the guilty.

Analysis

Nahum 1:3 provides the only occurrence of the expression "slow to anger" that is not immediately followed by "abounding in steadfast love." "Slow to anger" also occurs in Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; and Jonah 4:2. In Exodus 34 and Numbers 14 the declaration that the guilty will not be cleared does occur in subsequent clauses, as it does in Nahum 1:3, but, unlike Nahum 1:3, "abounding in steadfast love" occurs immediately after "slow to anger." It appears that in 1:2-8 Nahum works with stock expressions, but modifies them slightly to fit his core message. "Abounding in steadfast love" is not the core theme that Nahum addresses, although there is comfort for Judah (1:12, 15). Nahum focuses on the very specific removal of Assyrian oppression. Whether or not more was previously said to Judah or would need to be said later, it is left for other canonical texts to say it.

Nahum 1:3


3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power,
   and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.


His way is in whirlwind and storm,
   and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

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10 February 2011

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