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Assyrian Empire, End of

The Assyrians were a cruel and warlike people who were used by God to punish his people and the surrounding nations who practiced idolatry. The Assyrians were especially cruel in their tactics and methods of conquest. Most Assyrian kings had a policy to transport the people from defeated kingdoms into other territories. They also enslaved them, killed them in great numbers, tortured humans as a means of entertainment, they praised false gods and they shed innocent blood. The Assyrians were not a righteous and upstanding group of people and in time God had to judge them for their sins. The kingdom of Assyria is completely replaced by Babylon by 600 BC which is when this event appears on the Bible Timeline.

Before God destroyed the Assyrians he sent them some of his prophets to warn them to turn away from their sins. The book of Jonah is a testimony to this truth. Jonah prophesied to the Assyrian city of Nineveh about 100 years before its destruction. This event took place around 740 to 730 B.C. The prophet didn’t want the Assyrian people of Nineveh to escape God’s judgment but God knew that they would repent and this is why he sent him to the city. Even though the people of Nineveh repented when Johan came to them the future generations of Assyrians did not have a change of mind about their cruel acts and sins. The prophet Nahum speaks judgments against the city about the same time as Jonah and his prophesies about the downfall of this city eventually take place.

The Assyrians conquered many people in the Middle East region of the world. The Medes, Scythians, Babylonians, and Medes were some of the major groups of people that were brought under the control of the Assyrians. The Israelites were also dominated by the Assyrians, but the people of Judah were not. They would be conquered by the kingdom of Babylon at a later date. The Assyrians broke their empire down into small and manageable provinces. The Assyrian King Tiglath-Pilezer started this policy and as he expanded the empire he continued to use it to make sure the people would not rebel. Eventually, this policy failed because the Babylonians, Scythians, and Medes rose up against the Assyrians around 632 B.C.

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Battle scene, Assyrian, about 728 BC.

The Babylonians led this federation and went to war against the Assyrians. Their main objective was to take Nineveh and destroy this city because it was the seat of power for the Assyrian empire. The Babylonians got close to the city and almost destroyed it, but the Assyrians managed to keep them tied up before they could accomplish this objective. Some of the tribal groups of Medes managed to sack Nineveh while the Assyrians were busy fighting the Babylonian federation. Even though the Medes conquered the city the Babylonians would go on to become the official rulers of Assyria. When the Assyrians lost Nineveh they knew that their empire was going to fall into the hands of their enemies. Babylon went on to conquer other Assyrian cities and by 600 B.C. Babylon had become the next dominant empire in the region.

Biblical References:

The Books of Nahum, I and II Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles and Jonah explains why God took the time out to destroy and in some instances save Assyrians.