Iraq Plans Renovation of Ancient Synagogue Venerated by Shiites and SunnisIraqi-American Haider Ajina forwarded the following article from the Iraqi Azzaman news service:
Antiquities Department to renovate synagogue holding Nahum’s tomb
By Ammar Imad Azzaman,
July 15, 2007
From 1930 onwards, the Jews throughout Iraq were subjected to increasingly oppressive laws, and in 1948 the last of the Jewish population left Al Qush, the rabbi handing the keys of the synagogue to the next-door neighbour of the synagogue. Al Qush now almost exclusively comprises Chaldean Christians. The Jewish Quarter of Al Qush, including the synagogue, is in a poor state of repair. The remains of this quarter are, in parts, more than two thousand years old.
In the centre of the synagogue – on the edge of the quarter - is a simple plaster tomb topped by a green silken coverlet. This tomb is purportedly the tomb of Nahum himself. (Tomb of Nahum)
The Antiquities Department has included an ancient synagogue where Biblical prophet Nahum is purportedly buried in its 2008 renovation plans.
“The Antiquities Department has added the tomb of Prophet Nahum, peace be on him, to its 2008 preservation plan,” said department’s chief, Abbas al-Hussaini. The synagogue and the tomb are situated in the northern Christian Iraqi town of al-Qoush, 40 kilometers north of Mosul. Al-Qoush, a major Christian center in northern Iraq, had a large Jewish community before the Jewish exodus to Palestine in 1948.
The renovation of the synagogue and the tomb, archaeologists say, is an urgent matter. Some scientists say the synagogue might be irreparably damaged. The department has put off the renovation of the tomb mainly because it lacked the right expertise and resources to have it refurbished and reconstructed.
Hussaini said his department was seeking foreign assistance to renovate the site. Prophet Nahum is venerated by all faiths and sects in Iraq, including Muslim Shiites and Sunnis. “The tomb is not important to Iraqis only. It is of an international character and can turn into a tourist attraction,” said Hussaini.
The start of renovation is bound to attract considerable media interest and perhaps reveal more information about the prophet of whom the Bible says very little beyond the fact that a reference to the town of al-Qoush from which he hailed.
Scientists accompanying the renovation team will examine the tomb to determine its age. The earliest traces of the synagogue itself are believed to be more than 400 years old.
There are inscriptions and plagues of varying antiquity whose readings are certain to shed more light on the tomb and the history of Jewish community in al-Qoush. Al-Qoush is also the site of ancient monasteries; one those – Raban Hormus – dates to the 3rd century. It is perched like an eagle’s nest on the slope of the mountain at the bottom of which al-Qoush lies.
In the centre of the synagogue – on the edge of the quarter - is a simple plaster tomb topped by a green silken coverlet. This tomb is purportedly the tomb of Nahum himself. (Photos from Tomb of Nahum)
Haider Ajina has more on the outstanding developments in Iraq:
This article is very intriguing. Iraq while struggling is concerned about restoring its ancient Jewish heritage. Since the mid-east has spawned the three great religions, historical sights sacred to all three are intertwined. It is often almost impossible to clearly identify when one stopped and the other began. While respect and preservation of religious sights by locals is traditional in the mid-east, total disregard for them by militants in times of violence is sadly also true. The restoration of the synagogue holding Nahum’s tomb, shows us what a budding democracy and rule of law can do,
even under tough conditions. This also shows what Muslims who no longer fear their militant leaders and are free of their leader’s venomous rhetoric can and will do. This sparks tremendous hope.
Every time I talk to my father in Baghdad he also says how much security has improved in Baghdad and how strong security is in Nejaf, (a province under Iraqi provincial control). The most significant development is that locals are feeding the Iraqi security forces information about terrorist and outlaws. The locals are taking ownership of their neighborhoods, fighting back and not tolerating outlaws and terrorist in there midst. Locals now know what is at stake and that the rule of law is here to stay.
This boost of confidence is thanks to our men and women participating in the surge, the Iraqi forces we have trained is having a grass roots effect on the security of Baghdad. This sprawling city of almost five million is proving a very tough nut to crack, but it is yielding as Baghdadis are joining in.
Nahum lived about 2600 years ago. He was a native of Elkosh (about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem). The Bible's book of Nahum is short in length and consists almost entirely of a prophecy of Nineveh's destruction. It is believed that Nahum wrote his book about two years before Nineveh was destroyed in 612 BC.
Nineveh at that time was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, which was one of the most powerful empires of the ancient world. The Assyrians conquered the kingdom of Israel in about 722 BC, about 2700 years ago.
Nahum explains that because of Assyria's pride and cruelty in their destruction of Israel, and because of their idolatry, treachery, superstition, and injustice, their empire would be destroyed as punishment. In 612 BC (about 2600 years ago), a coalition of Babylonians, Scythians and Medes conquered Nineveh.
Although we do not know exactly when the book of Nahum was written, we do know that it contains some long-term prophecies that we can see as being fulfilled even today. For example, Nahum said that Nineveh's destruction would be final, and that the city would never again regain the greatness that it once had, and that Nineveh would never again be able to cause problems for Israel.
As we can see today, Nahum was right. Nineveh was never again a world power. And today, it is little more than an archaeological site. In contrast, Israel is again a nation, and a relatively prosperous one at that.
God's holiness, justice and power are the foundation of the Nahum's prophetic book. God rules over all the earth, even over those who do not acknowledge Him. Along with Nahum's writings about the destruction of Nineveh, there is also a message of hope shines through. God is slow to anger (Nahum 1:3) and good (Nahum 1:7) and offers good tidings to those who want His blessings (Nahum 1:15).
Nahum, means "Comforted". His book is the seventh of the twelve minor prophets.
Return to list of People in the Biblehttp://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com/p52.htmBook of Nahum
Nahum is the name of a book in the Old Testament of the Bible. In many Christian Bibles, Nahum is divided into 3 chapters and is ordered as the 34th of the 66 books in the Bible. Some of the following is based on J.B. Tidwell's The Bible Book by Book, published in 1916.
Nahum, the Prophet. His name means "consolation", and he was a native of Elkosh, a small town of Galilee. We do not know where he uttered his prophecy, whether from Philistia or at Nineveh. It is thought that he escaped into Judah when the Captivity of the Ten Tribe began and that he was at Jerusalem at the time of the Assyrian invasion.
The Prophecy. The date, if the above conclusions are to be relied upon, would be in the reign of Hezekiah, King of Judah, which would be between 720 and 698 B. C. Others put it between the destruction of Thebes, 664 B. C. and the fall of Nineveh, 607 B. C. claiming that it might be either during the reign of Josiah, 640-625 B. C. or in the reign of Manasseh, 660 B. C. The theme of the book is the approaching fall of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, which held sway for centuries and has been regarded as the most brutal of the ancient heathen nations. The purpose, in keeping with the name of the author, was to comfort his people, so long harassed by Assyria, which was soon to fall and trouble them no more. The style is bold and fervid and eloquent and differs from all the prophetic books so far studied in that it is silent concerning the sins of Judah. It is a sort of outburst of exultation over the distress of a cruel foe, a shout of triumph over the downfall of an enemy that has prevented the exaltation of the people of Jehovah.
Outline of Nahum
I. The Doom of Nineveh Pronounced, Ch. 1.
II. the Siege and Fall of Nineveh, Ch. 2.
III. The Sins Which Will Cause Nineveh's Ruin, Ch. 3.http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com/g68.htm