The end of the Assyrians: Nahum

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Today’s reading: Nahum 1-3.

“Why do those Assyrians keep popping up in the Old Testament?”

Assyria dominated the Middle East from the ninth to seventh centuries BC. Its territory stretched from modern-day Iraq through Syria to Jordan, Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea. It used advanced military technology to conquer surrounding nations and its cruelty was legendary. Nineveh, the same city that Jonah preached in, was its capitol. As Assyria grew in power it threatened the survival of both Israel and Judah, who had never faced such a mighty enemy.

841 BC Assyria begins to exact tribute from Israel.

760 BC (about) Jonah preaches in Nineveh and the city repents.

744 BC Tiglath-pileser III (called Pul in the Bible) reigns, and in 733 begins to invade Israel. Judah, under King Ahaz, pays tribute to Assyria to avoid conflict. Ahaz even builds a shrine to the Assyrian god, Asshur, in the temple at Jerusalem.

721 BC Assyria, led by Shalmaneser V and then Sargon II, defeats Israel and destroys the Northern Kingdom.

704 BC Sennacherib reigns; Hezekiah is king in Judah, and in 701 Assyria surrounds Jerusalem, only to withdraw after 185,000 troops die in a single night.

630 BC (about) Nahum prophesies that Nineveh will fall.

612 BC Fall of Nineveh to the Babylonians and Medes; Josiah is king in Judah.

Nineveh had repented of its godless ways when Jonah preached there, but their devotion to the LORD didn’t last. They resumed their idolatry and ruthless warfare and brought down God’s final judgment. Nahum’s message was one of condemnation for Nineveh, but of hope for Judah since the Assyrians would no longer trouble them (Nahum means hope).

From you, [O Nineveh,] has one come forth who plots evil against the LORD and counsels wickedness. This is what the LORD says: “Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be cut off and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, [O Judah,] I will afflict you no more. Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.” Nahum 1:11-13

Listen to the charges God brought against Nineveh:

  • a city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims
  • the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft
  • one who plots evil against the LORD and counsels wickedness

Two points that are noteworthy about Assyria and its capital city:

  1. God used Assyria as his rod to punish Israel, but punished Assyria in turn for its wickedness.
  2. God was patient with Assyria, even sending his messenger to preach repentance, but in the end there was a limit to his patience. He said he could not let the guilty go unpunished.

“You remember in what foul-mouthed language Rabshakeh addressed king Hezekiah; and God now declares that there shall be no more such letters as his. God may allow evil to lord it over his people for a while; but he puts a hook in the mouth of the leviathan by-and-by. He that restraineth the sea and the waves thereof, Jehovah is his name, and he restraineth the wickedness of men.” Charles Spurgeon

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8 thoughts on “The end of the Assyrians: Nahum

  1. As an assyrian, and now christian for 2000 years i hope god have a plan for us. Assyrians til today live in Nineveh (in todays iraq) and we hope that we will still be able to live there and that ISIS will be defeated. Assyrians before jesus time were godless but for 2000 years we have praised our beloved jesus and are still hping for a brighter future in our ancestral homeland.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I read with great sadness about the loss of the Christian church or churches in Mosul after 2000 years. Do you live near there? I did not know that the Assyrians still existed as a people even though the nation of Assyria is gone. What makes an Assyrian an Assyrian? Are you only in Iraq or also in Syria, Jordan, etc.? I will pray with you that ISIS is defeated and peace will come to your land.

  2. Yes, assyrians til today live in iraq, syria, iran and turkey that was the ancient assyria. Most of us live in the diaspora because of our christian faith and that we have been through a lot of genocides and masscres because of our christian faith. We assyrians were 1.5 million 2003 in iraq but since the usa invasion 1 million have immigrated and in iraq we are today up to 4-500.000 assyrians. Assyrians today are descendants of the ancient assyrians. I have some links you can read about us. Thank you for your prayers my brother in christ.

    The Assyrians – A people without rights:

    http://www.atour.com/media/files/organization/IAIGO/IAIGO-2014–The-Assyrians-A-People-Without-Rights–English.pdf
    Who are the Assyrians and what are the Nineveh Plains:

    http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/09/19/who-are-the-assyrians-and-what-are-the-nineveh-plains/

    Documentary: Take a rare glimpse into the lives of the Assyrians after ISIS attacks in Iraq:

    Website for the Restore Nineveh Now initiative:

    http://www.restoreninevehnow.org/

  3. Yes, assyrians til today live in iraq, we are up to 400.000 assyrians. The sad part is that assyrians was up to 1.5 million in 2003 but have fled because of masscres ans torture since we are christians. Assyrians live in iraq, syria, iran, turkey that was ancient assyria but most of us live in the diaspora, i live for example in sweden were assyrians are up to 100.000. Assyrians today are descendants of the ancient assyrians. Even though assyria fell long time ago assyrians still live after 5000 years on this earth and we praise the lord that he has kept us this long. The churches in iraq that we have lost are all assyrian churches. From 2003-2013 we have had 70 assyrian churches attacked, ruined or bombed. Thank you for the prayers my brother in christ! I will send you links were you can read about us assyrians;
    The Assyrians – A people without rights:

    http://www.atour.com/media/files/organization/IAIGO/IAIGO-2014–The-Assyrians-A-People-Without-Rights–English.pdf
    Who are the Assyrians and what are the Nineveh Plains:

    http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/09/19/who-are-the-assyrians-and-what-are-the-nineveh-plains/

    Documentary: Take a rare glimpse into the lives of the Assyrians after ISIS attacks in Iraq:

    Website for the Restore Nineveh Now initiative:

    http://www.restoreninevehnow.org/

  4. Pingback: Bible Daily Devotional – The end of the Assyrians: Nahum | ChristianBlessings

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