December 1, 2016

Synaxarion of the Holy Prophet Nahum the Elkoshite

Holy Prophet Nahum (Feast Day - December 1)


Nahum the Elkoshite breathed forth words, 
Of wounded longing sprinkled with myrrh.
On the first of December the living lament Nahum.

Nahum was from Elkosh beyond Bapareim,* and was of the tribe of Symeon. He flourished about 460 years before Christ.** After the death of the Prophet Jonah he prophesied and gave signs concerning the Ninevites, saying, "Nineveh shall perish by sweet waters, and ascending fire;" and this actually took place. For the river, which circles Nineveh, flooded it after an earthquake, and drowned it. And fire that came from the wilderness, consumed the highest point of the city.*** Having prophesied these things against Nineveh, and after writing his prophetic book, which consists of three chapters, he reposed in peace and was buried in his homeland.**** The name Nahum means "comforter."


* Scholars have attempted to identify Elkosh with several cities, including the modern Alqosh of Assyria in northern Iraq and Capernaum of northern Galilee (the latter is thought to be named after him). The ancient synagogue in Alqosh reportedly contains the tomb of the Prophet Nahum, although Nahum's bones have been relocated to a nearby church.

** He actually lived in the 7th century B.C.

*** Regarding the Prophet Nahum the following is written by Alexander Maurokordatos (1636–1709) in his History of the Jews. He says he lived during the reign of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem and was from Galilee, where he settled after the destruction of Samaria. Although the Ninevites repented during the time of Jonah, they again fell away to their former sins. Therefore the punishment that God did not send them due to their repentance, the same they received due to their wickedness. For this reason, forty years after the repentance of the Ninevites, they became enslaved by the Babylonians. Since the Ninevites were taken as slaves by the Babylonians, the city of Nineveh was consumed by fire, and drowned by the sea.

It should be noted that with the prophecies the Prophet makes in regards to the destruction of Nineveh and Assyria, he comforts the Israelites, showing that God punishes those who formerly punished them.

**** A portion of a relic of the Prophet Nahum is said to be at the Athonite Monastery of Simonopetra.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
O Prophet Nahum, thou didst shine forth in the Law, and proclaim the consolation of grace from of old in the Spirit. Even so, by appearing unto men, God the Word gladdened mortal nature. Intercede with the compassionate Trinity to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Illumined by the Spirit, thy pure heart was a vessel of illustrious prophecy. For thou seest the far-off things as though they were present, O Prophet Nahum. Wherefore we venerate thee.