go-AYR ba-YAM va-ya-b’-SHAY-hu v’-khol ha-n’-ha-ROT he-khe-REEV um-LAL ba-SHAN v’-khar-MEL u-FE-rakh l’-va-NON um-LAL
ד גּוֹעֵר בַּיָּם וַיַּבְּשֵׁהוּ וְכָל־הַנְּהָרוֹת הֶחֱרִיב אֻמְלַל בָּשָׁן וְכַרְמֶל וּפֶרַח לְבָנוֹן אֻמְלָל׃
Nachum begins his prophecy by addressing Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. He depicts Hashem’s control over nature, and indicates that just as He rules over nature, He also rules over humanity and will punish Israel’s enemies. In this verse, Nachum first describes how Hashem dries up the seas and the rivers, a reference to the miracles of the splitting of the Sea of Reeds (Exodus 15) and the crossing of the Yarden river (Joshua 3). He then says that Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon, three of the most luxuriant areas of the Holy Land, thought to be immune to drought, will dry up before Hashem’s presence. Biblical Bashan was located on the east side of the Jordan river in modern day Syria and the Israeli Golan Heights. It was captured by the Israelites from Og, king of Bashan, who came out against them as they prepared to enter the Land of Israel (Numbers 21:33-35), and given as part of the inheritance of half the tribe of Menashe (Joshua 13:29-31). The land of Bashan is known in the Bible for its rich pastures (Jeremiah 50:19), oak forests (Isaiah 2:13) and majestic mountains (Psalms 68:16).