Nahum 1:15 predicts a future time of peace, stating, “Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! . . . No more will the wicked invade [Judah].”
To discover when this time of peace will occur, we must consider the larger context of Nahum. The book of Nahum was written to communicate the pending destruction of the city of Nineveh. The prophet Nahum wrote sometime between 663 and 612 B.C. Nahum 1:1-8 introduces the oracle and highlights the majesty of God and His attributes. Verses 9-14 focus on God’s anger against Nineveh and His plans to afflict it.
Nahum 1:15 then looks back at the preceding verses and declares that the destruction of Nineveh by the Babylonians would be “good news” for Judah. Why? Nineveh was an enemy of Judah and the capital of the Assyrian Kingdom. In 722 B.C., the Assyrians had defeated the northern kingdom of Israel, destroying Samaria, its capital. In 701 B.C., the Assyrians nearly conquered Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. The Assyrians were widely known for their “endless cruelty” (Nahum 3:19), leading God to condemn Nineveh to destruction.
We know from history that this destruction of Nineveh took place in 612 B.C. at the hands of the Medes. At that time, Judah was rid of one of its most dangerous enemies. The report of this news would have been considered “good” to everyone in Judah.
The last half of Nahum 1:15 says, “Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.” Nineveh’s defeat would result in the ability of Judah to continue its annual feasts and to fulfill its vows to God in Jerusalem at the temple.
In addition, the Hebrew noun translated “peace” in Nahum 1:15 is sometimes used in reference to deliverance or freedom from enemy attack (e.g., Jeremiah 4:10; 6:14). The context of Nahum 1:15 fits this usage, connecting “peace” with the destruction of an enemy.
In the New Testament, Paul quotes part of this verse in Romans 10:15 when he writes, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” This does not mean that Paul believed Nahum 1:15 was a prediction of the gospel message. Instead, he used this verse to connect the preaching of the gospel with the deliverance from sin provided by God’s salvation.