In the book of Jonah we read about when Jonah went to
Nineveh to warn the people of Nineveh that God was
going to destroy them for their wickedness. Remember reading that the people of Nineveh repented and God
spared them of their destruction? They may have repented, but did they stop
their harlotry and sorcery? No, they didn't…and God destroyed them after all.
This destruction came about 100 years after Jonah and was prophesied by Nahum
in the short book of the Bible that bares his name. But why is Nineveh so important? Why was it given two
prophets and two whole books of the Bible?
I always pictured
Nineveh as a small or
average sized town, but that is incorrect. Possibly founded by Noah’s grandson,
was vast and technologically advanced.
begat Nimrod: he began to be a
mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before
the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the
LORD. 10 And the beginning of his
kingdom was Cush ,
and Erech, and Babel Accad, and Calneh, in the . 11 Out of that
land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12 And Resen
between land of Shinar
and Nineveh : the
same is a great city. Calah
was built in its region and the people’s use of brickwork is still a testament
to time. The city was the center of the ancient
Sumerian civilization that brought us Cuneiform writing, the first recorded law
codes under Hammurabi, and the Epic of Gilgamesh which included a similar version
of Noah’s flood. Tower of Babel Nineveh
became the center of power within the Assyrian Empire. Diodorus Siculus
said that its walls were sixty miles around and one hundred feet high. Three
chariots could be driven abreast around the summit of its walls, which were
defended by fifteen hundred bastions, each of them two hundred feet in height. A virtually indestructible
city, it was the center of the entire region during Jonah and Nahum’s time.
The city’s remains were found by A. H. Layard in 1845-1854 outside of
. Some of the
Ziggurat temples still partially stand in this area of the world. These
Ziggurats are thought by some to be the architectural style used in the
building of the Mosul,
Iraq . Tower
What if the
was not the fanciful tower described to us as children that reached up into the
clouds to try and reach God’s throne. What if the tower was a taunt to God and
a temple to man? Jewish historian Josephus wrote the following: Tower of Babel
Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah-a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny-seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his own power.
He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers! (
Ant. I: iv: 2)
Nineveh was likely founded
on rebellion towards God. It was probably the original Babylon. The city could have been the
birthplace of many types of sins against God. Even still, God provided
salvation to the Gentiles of this city if they would repent of the evil they
had honed and perfected for centuries. Through his prophet Jonah, God gave them
a chance to get out the destruction they deserved and they took him up on this
over time reverted back into their old ways however, and Nahum was then given a
prophecy of the city’s utter destruction.
God said that a flood would come on the city:
Nahum 1: 8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.
1: 10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.
The city under siege, will open it’s gates because of a fire:
3: 13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.
This invasion would utterly destroy the city not to return:
There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?
How accurate was Nahum’s prophecy?
The following is a historical account of
“But, in the third year, rain fell in such abundance that the waters of the
Tigris inundated part of the city and
overturned one of its walls for a distance of twenty stades. Then the
King, convinced that the oracle was accomplished and despairing of any means of
escape, to avoid falling alive into the enemy's hands constructed in his palace
an immense funeral pyre, placed on it his gold and silver and his royal robes,
and then, shutting himself up with his wives and eunuchs in a chamber formed in
the midst of the pile, disappeared in the flames.
So complete was the destruction that the excavations of modern explorers on the site of
have not yet found one single wall slab earlier than the capture of the city by
Arbaces and Balazu. All we possess of the first Nineveh is one broken statue. History has no
other example of so complete a destruction.”
I do not know how anyone could be more accurate than Nahum’s prophecy from God. May we never take the word of God lightly, nor take his mercy for granted.