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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Dating.

The recognition of the multilayered character of the book complicates its dating. While most scholars accept a general time-frame between 663 BCE (the fall of Thebes, Nah 3:8 ) and 612 BCE (the fall of Nineveh), the final form of the book is probably exilic or even post-exilic, given allusions to Isa 40–55 and other prophetic materials. Further problematizing the dating of Nahum is the possibility that Assyria may represent less a historical entity than a symbolic enemy, much as Edom serves as a symbol of evil in many of the prophets, and Babylon stands for Rome in Revelation. The readiness with which Nahum's language could be read symbolically is attested in the Nahum pesher from Qumran, in which the writers' contemporary foes are labelled ‘Assyria’.

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Oxford University Press

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