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Nineveh City of Assyria

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

The city of Nineveh is first mentioned in Genesis 10.

Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city). —Genesis 10:8-12 NKJV

Nineveh is not mentioned again in Scripture till the days of Jonah, when it is described as a great and populous city, the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36; Isaiah 37:37).

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. —Jonah 3:3NKJV Then the Lord said, “…Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand…” —Jonah 4:10-11 NASB

The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively taken up with propheticdenunciations against this city. Its ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah. 1:14; 3:19, etc.).

Zephaniah also (2:13-15) predicts its destruction along with the fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time, there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in Gospel history (Matthew 12:41).

The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. —Luke 11:32 NASB
Stretched for some 30 miles, having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river

This “exceeding great city” lay on the eastern or left bank of the Tigris River, along which it stretched for some 30 miles, having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river back toward the eastern hills. Occupying a central position on the great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient cities.

Nineveh is located at present-day Mosul, Iraq. Much excavation remains to be done. An ancient inscription found at the site says,

Sennacherib king of the world …Over a great distance I had a watercourse directed to the environs of Nineveh…”
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