When did Nahum’s prophecy of destruction against Nineveh get fulfilled?

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Historical background

Archeological excavations have confirmed that for centuries Nineveh was the great capital of Assyria and the oldest city of Upper Mesopotamia. The Assyrians themselves called it Ninua, and devoted it to the Babylonian goddess Nina.

God’s warnings

While the prophet Isaiah foretold of the destruction of Assyria (Isa. 37:21–38), the prophet Nahum predicted specifically the final downfall of its capital Nineveh.

God didn’t leave the city’s inhabitants without a warning. For He sent the prophet Jonah with the message of destruction that its people may repent and not receive the judgement of God. As a result, the inhabitants of that city humbled themselves before God and repented of their sins. And thus, they were saved (Jonah 1-4).

However, Assyria and Nineveh as its capital, fell again into deep sin. And the empire filled its cup of iniquity because of its idolatry, pride and crime. For the Kings of Assyria rebelled against God and His rule and honored their man-made idols of silver, gold, and stone (2 Kings 18:33–35; 19:8–22).

Nahum’s prophecy

Bible students can find the time of Nahum’s prophetic message against Nineveh from his reference to the destruction of No (ch. 3:8). Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, conquered this city, which the Greeks called Thebes and later Diospolis, in 663 B.C. Therefore, we can conclude that a part of Nahum’s work must have been after that period. The prophet saw the destruction of Nineveh as taking place in the future (ch. 3:7), and thus a realistic date for Nahum’s prophecy could be around 640 B.C.

Its fulfillment

Ashurbanipal ruled most of the nations of the Mesopotamia and forced them to pay tribute. However, before his death the political situation began to change, and after his death (around 627) the Assyrian Empire collapsed after a blockade that lasted three months. Nineveh was seized in 612 B.C. by the Medes and the Babylonians. And in 612 B.C. the city was destroyed and has since then remained a heap of ruins as Nahum predicted (Nahum 3:11).

Since Nahum’s prophecy, which predicted Assyria’s downfall, was written when that nation was at the peak of its success and power, the book of Nahum amazingly confirms Bible prophecy and proves the divine inspiration of its prophets.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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