#7 Prophets for Nineveh in Assyria: Jonah and Nahum

JONAH
  • Written by Jonah son of Amittai, from Gath Hepher in Zebulun. Zebulun is in Sidon in Lebanon now.
  • Jonah was contempoary with Elisha and outlived him.  Elisha was born in 910 BC and died in 800 BC, so Jonah lived after 800 BC.
  • The prophet Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25 during the reign of Amaziah in Judah and Jeroboam in Israel in the year 793 BC. Jeroboam king of Samaria restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Sea of Arabah “in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah ….”
  • Assyria defeated Damascus and this put a stop to Damascus controlling parts of the northern kingdom of Israel.
  • Jonah is sent to Nineveh by the Lord, but doesn’t want to go.  He tries to take a ship going in the opposite direction.  A storm blows up and Jonah is thrown overboard, gets swallowed by a whale and spat out three days later back on land.  After this experience Jonah goes to Nineveh and calls for repentance and they repent.
  • There is a shrine to Jonah in the Nineveh ruins; the prophet Jonah was well-known in Persia.
  • Genre: Minor prophet
NAHUM
  • The book is introduced as the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.  Elkosh is probably Alqosh which is a village in the Nineveh Plains of Northern Iraq.
  • Nahum belonged to the Hebrew diaspora.  The Tomb of Nahum is found inside the synagogue of Alqosh.
  • In 700 BC King Sennacherib made Nineveh the capital of the Assyrian empire.  The preaching of the prophet Jonah in about 800 BC had caused repentence and averted the destruction of Nineveh, but the people had soon dropped back into wickedness.
  • Most of Nahum’s prophecies concern Nineveh and its coming woe.  It will have a problem with grasshoppers – which sounds like the prophecy of Joel.
  • Nahum asks the Ninevans, ‘Are you better than Thebes on the Nile?’  Thebes in Egypt was sacked in 663 BC.  Thus, Nahum was prophesying sometime after 663 BC but before 612 BC which is the date when Nineveh fell.
  • Nineveh was destroyed by the Babylonians, Medes and Persians.  It would never rise again, and is now marked only by ruins across the river from modern-day Mosul.
  • Genre: Minor prophet

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