The Capture of Nineveh And It’s Destruction

By far the most costly war in terms of human life was World War II (1939-45), in which the total number of fatalities, including battle deaths and civilians of all countries, is estimated to have been 54,800,000, assuming 25,000,000 U.S.S.R. fatalities and 7,800,000 Chinese civil … More

Destruction

At the time of Nahum’s prophecy, Assyria was at the height of its power. Sennacherib had done much to increase the strength and magnificence of Nineveh, its capital, by building great temples, palaces, and fortifications. Nineveh was confident that it could not be overtaken but Nahum prophesies of her imminent and permanent destruction. In a few short years after his prophecy her final end came as a coalition of Medes, Babylonians and Scythians besieged the city.

Nahum vividly described the furious onslaught of the enemy in this chapter. He describes how Nineveh would be attacked (vv. 1-6), defeated (vv.7-8), and plundered (vv. 9-13). First comes the fighting in the suburbs, then the assault upon the walls, and finally the capture of the city and its destruction.

The capture of Nineveh was due to a flood, which destroyed a part of the wall, thus giving the enemy access to the city. Some scholars suggest the dam gates which were found in archaeological excavation, were closed to dam up the river. When an enormous amount of water had been accumulated, the gates were opened, allowing the water to flood Nineveh. It actually fell in 612. B.C. to the captors who pillaged the city of its vast treasures (vv. 9-10), and then burned it to the ground. The prophet calls for the invaders to come and gather the rich spoil which was immense. Countless millions of dollars of gold, silver, ivory and other treasures were taken from the city by its spoilers. Nineveh’s wealth came from its own plunder of other nations.

Application

There is no real security in wealth as people often think. Everything that I have of this world’s goods can be taken from me overnight. It is only the things of Christ that last. I must not find myself depending too much on the things of this world?

Nahum 2:1-13 (English Standard Version)

The scatterer has come up against you. Man the ramparts; watch the road; dress for battle; collect all your strength. For the LORD is restoring the majesty of Jacob as the majesty of Israel, for plunderers have plundered them and ruined their branches. The shield of his mighty men is red; his soldiers are clothed in scarlet. The chariots come with flashing metal on the day he musters them; the cypress spears are brandished. The chariots race madly through the streets; they rush to and fro through the squares; they gleam like torches; they dart like lightning. He remembers his officers; they stumble as they go, they hasten to the wall; the siege tower is set up. The river gates are opened; the palace melts away; its mistress is stripped; she is carried off, her slave girls lamenting, moaning like doves and beating their breasts. Nineveh is like a pool whose waters run away. "Halt! Halt!" they cry, but none turns back. Plunder the silver, plunder the gold! There is no end of the treasure or of the wealth of all precious things. Desolate! Desolation and ruin! Hearts melt and knees tremble; anguish is in all loins; all faces grow pale! Where is the lions' den, the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion and lioness went, where his cubs were, with none to disturb? The lion tore enough for his cubs and strangled prey for his lionesses; he filled his caves with prey and his dens with torn flesh. Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard.

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