WHAT IS “HUZZAB” IN NAHUM 2:7?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Nahum 2:7: “And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.”
Since it is certainly an obscure term, there is disagreement as to the meaning of “Huzzab” here. Some ridicule it as a “King James mistranslation.” Following the 1881 Revised Version, the modern English translations remove the proper noun and render it as “it is decreed.”
Does “natsab” (the Hebrew word) function here as a noun or a verb? Individuals of the “noun” persuasion offer various ideas as to the gist of “Huzzab”—the queen of Assyria, the city of Nineveh itself, a pagan goddess of Nineveh, the city of Babylon, some unknown region east of the Tigris River, and so on.
Those of the “verb” camp offer these possibilities—to decree, to appoint, to set up, to stablish. Here, we must change the King James Bible text. We would have to force the Scriptures to read something like, “It is decreed [natsab]. She will be led away captive….” (Compare King James Bible, “And Huzzab shall be led away captive….”)
As in all our studies, we will take the position of faith and not alter the King James Bible. As the rest of their work bears out, our 1611 scholars were fully competent Christian linguists. They correctly translated the Hebrew word “natsab” as “Huzzab.” We may not know what it means, but that does not mean the text is wrong. It is our responsibility to do research and see why the King James Bible says what it says where it says it, rather than (taking the easy way) whining and complaining that we are ignorant and cannot understand. In this case, even with research, however, we cannot arrive at a definite conclusion.
All we can say on the basis of Scripture is that Nineveh is clearly identified by name in verse 8: “But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, shall they cry; but none shall look back.” It would seem to this author thus: since verse 8 contrasts with verse 7, verse 7 implies something other than Nineveh. “Huzzab” does not appear to be Nineveh the city—at least this much is clear. Read the verses together: “ And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.  But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, shall they cry; but none shall look back.”
Whatever “Huzzab” is, it ultimately does not have significance in our Christian walk, the Church the Body of Christ, or God’s current dealings with man. Let us be careful never to get “bogged down” with obscure Old Testament references and terms. God the Holy Spirit will give the most illumination to the party to whom that portion of Scripture is addressed. Let us be thus content with that.
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