The theme of this book is the destruction of Nineveh. I know you recognize the name, Nineveh. But from where? Jonah! Jonah about 150 years ago saw Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, repent before his very eyes. However, much time has passed and they did not stick to their conviction. These people were not just backsliders; they deliberately rejected God. So now what? God needs to judge a sinning world.
Nineveh is the capital of Assyria. (Modern day Iraq) The Assyrians were a huge and cruel nation. They were warriors that built their kingdom on their pillage from other countries. Their morals were horrible. The Assyrian kings kept detailed record of their conquests and made art of their brutalities to hang on their walls. They spread complete fear throughout the land in order to keep the nations inline to pay them taxes.
Archaeologist have uncovered some of their documentation: here are the people of Nineveh:
- Cut off their hands and fingers. Others cut off their noses, ears and fingers.
- Put out many of their eyes. Skin them alive and put their skin on the walls of the cities they conquered.
- Cut off their heads and put them on stakes and line the roads to their city.
- Swing babies by their ankles and crack their heads against a stone wall.
- Formed pillars of their corpses.
- Impaled men on stakes against their city gate.
- Cut off their privates and had carried about as an object lesson for all lands.
- Cut off their testicles and tore out their privates like seeds
- They skinned men alive
- Cut out their tongues
- Gauged out their eyes for fun
- Dismembered their bodies
- and then made mounds of the skulls as decorations in their empire
To name a few!
God sent Nahum to predict the final doom on Nineveh’s empire. You have to know how this must have sounded. Picture this most powerful nation in the world, the world leader (interesting). Assyria for the past 300 years has built an empire so big it was a fortified city. The walls were 100 feet high, wide enough for 4 chariots to run side by side on. The city circumference was 80 miles (close your eyes and picture how far 80 miles is from your house). It had a moat that was 140 feet wide and 60 feet deep. It had hundreds of towers for its protection. Talk about feeling safe and complacent. But what is a city without the Lord in it? Again…I say interesting!
When you read this story think of it personally and nationally today. Nineveh was overthrown for its sin. Her great wealth and power could not save her. A person or a nation that deliberately and finally rejects God has a very fatal ending.