November 15, 2021
“The shields of his warriors are dyed red; the valiant men are dressed in scarlet. The fittings of the chariot flash like fire on the day of its battle preparations...”
“The shields of his warriors are dyed red; the valiant men are dressed in scarlet. The fittings of the chariot flash like fire on the day of its battle preparations, and the spears are brandished. The chariots dash madly through the streets; they rush around in the plazas. They look like torches; they dart back and forth like lightning. He gives his orders to his officers; they stumble as they advance. They race to its wall; the protective shield is set in place. The river gates are opened, and the palace erodes away.” Nahum 2:3-6
For many years, it was speculated that the stories of Jonah and Nahum were merely metaphors, moral stories not based on real occurrences. The thought was that there was no archaeological evidence for the existence of Nineveh. But in the late 1800s, the deliberation was silenced. A pair of explorers named Layard and Rawlinson made excavations and discoveries that brought to life a “metropolis” so vast that no serious mind could doubt what Jonah and Nahum prophesied concerning Nineveh’s splendor and the destruction at the peak of its glory.
Furthermore, the ancient Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, describes Nineveh’s end in the following language:
“There was an old prophecy that Nineveh should not be taken till the river became an enemy to the city. And in the third year of the siege, the river became so swollen with continual rains, overflowed every part of the city, and broke down the wall for twenty furlongs; then the king, thinking that the oracle was fulfilled, and the river became an enemy to the city, built a large funeral pile in the palace, and collected together all his wealth and his concubines and eunuchs, burnt himself and the palace with them all; and the enemy entered at the breach that the waters had made and took the city.”
So the prophecy was true, down to the details. With violence, Nineveh’s pride was laid low, and the “established” people were led away captive. Nineveh had proudly thought herself so established that she would live forever, but her end came suddenly because she exalted herself above God’s Word.
An interesting detail to note in Diodorus Siculus’ account is how the king of Nineveh knew of Nahum’s prophecy yet failed to repent! God, in His grace, had sent Jonah. And when the people repented, in His mercy, God spared them. In His grace, He also sent Nahum, and when the people refused to repent, in His justice, He destroyed them. Nahum had spoken of Nineveh’s destruction 100 years before? it fell. Plenty of time for a generation to leave their idolatry and embrace the Lord!
So, how are you going to respond to the Gospel? Are you going to seek the Lord and His mercy or turn away and test His justice?