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Nineveh Destroyed

Nineveh was the ancient capital of the Assyrian empire. It was destroyed around 612 BC which is when this event appears on the Old Testament Timeline. This city was used by Assyrian kings as their primary location to rule their territories. Around 631 B.C., the Assyrians dominated many kingdoms that were located in the Middle Eastern region of the world. They had defeated these people and then transported many of them to different lands within their borders. This policy was used against Israel and Judah. As a matter of fact, God used the Assyrians to punish the Israelites for their sins. He allowed them to force the northern tribes into exile. Various Assyrian rulers continued this practice for many years.

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Plan of ancient Nineveh

Over time, God wanted to remove the Assyrian’s from power because of their many sins. He decided to use the Babylonians to accomplish this task. He wanted the Babylonians to become powerful so that they could be used against the idolatrous Judeans.
The Babylonians were a conquered people living under the dominion of the Assyrians and about 625 B.C. they rose to power and launched an assault against the Assyrian empire. The Babylonians pushed toward Nineveh, which was the seat of Assyrian power. While the Assyrians were preoccupied with the Babylonians, a tribal group known as the Medes assaulted Nineveh and destroyed the city.

There were quite a few prophets who prophesied against Nineveh. They included Jonah, who was upset with the Lord for saving these people from judgment and Nahum who denounced the cruel acts that the Assyrians did to his people when they held them captive. The book of Nahum explains in vivid detail why God had decided to destroy Nineveh.

The prophet Nahum explained in great detail why the Lord decided to remove Nineveh as a power. When God allowed the Assyrians to conquer Israel and harass Judah, they did so with great cruelty. They built up their city by shedding blood, enslaving people, performing cruel acts of torture and by having a disregard for human life. They engaged in sorcery and witchcraft and the Assyrian people of Nineveh treated so many groups of conquered people with extreme contempt. God also punished the Assyrians because of their pagan worship of false gods. Even though he used this kingdom to punish Israel for the sin of idolatry, he then decided to judge them for doing the very same thing.

One of the reasons why Jonah didn’t think that God should have spared the people of Nineveh is because of all of their evil deeds. When the prophet of Jonah was sent to these people, many of them turned their hearts toward God in repentance. However, a lot of Assyrian people didn’t turn from their sins nor were they sorry for the evil that they had committed. When Nineveh fell, the Assyrian power base went into decline and even though the Medes are credited with destroying the city, it was the Babylonians who would rule over the land. Assyria never rose to power again after they were defeated by the Babylonians.

Biblical References:

  • The whole entire book of Nahum outlines Gods judgment against the Assyrians.
  • The book of Jonah deals with the theme of God showing mercy on Assyrians regardless of their cruelty.