March 28, 2011

Minor Prophets L-Part I: The Once Great (But Wicked) Nineveh

I will supply some background information about Nineveh before launching into the book of Jonah. The features of Nineveh are impressive even by today’s standards.

1) It was the greatest of the ancient Assyrian empire and its capital. It flourished between 800 and 612 BC.

2) It was located on the left bank of the Tigris River (modern Iraq). Its remains are even in existence today and are probably being seen by our troops in country and modern Iraqi even now.

3) The Book of Jonah itself calls it “an exceedingly great city” so even during Jonah’s time we know it was massive. It took three days on foot to traverse it.
Jonah 3:3 ~ Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth.
4) Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary has put the population of Nineveh at the time of Jonah at approximately 600,000. This is a massive ancient city. In perspective that would make it 6x the size of Allentown or 1/3 the size of Philadelphia. Within its city walls alone it is said that it could’ve housed 175,000 people (Allentown, Pennsylvania).

5) It last for quite a while in Biblical narrative. It was last mentioned in Nahum as it was prophesied that it would be overthrown by the Medes and Chaldeans in 612 BC. By 500 BC Nahum states that, “Nineveh is devastated”.

6) Sennacherib built and enormous palace at Quyundjig. The palace “had no equal” and covered 5 acres, had 71 rooms, two long halls 180 ft. long and 40 feet wide. The rooms were decorated with 9880 feet of sculptured reliefs depicting Assyrian victories over enemies that included the Judean city of Lachish in 701 BC.

7) Sennacherib’s city was enclosed in eight miles of walls with 15 gates and had gardens watered by 30 miles of aqueduct.

8) They had amassed library of 20,000 tablets.

The list goes on but we see via this city how great something can be and how quickly it is relegated to history books and memory. This city is also a great example of what happens to a haughty and arrogant city/nation that believes they can go their own course without the Alimighty. They are smited, crushed and ground to powder. A powder that then gets blown into the winds of history leaving only a hollow and empty echo.

Brand, Chad Owen, Charles W. Draper, and Archie W. England. "Nineve/Nineveh." Holman illustrated Bible dictionary . Nashville, Tenn.: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003. 1192-1193. Print.

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