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100 Prophecies, the book

This chapter is from a copyright book, 100 Prophecies, by Ray Konig. It is reprinted here with permission from the author. The new and expanded version of this book, now called 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies, is available at Amazon.com.

Chapter 8: 10 prophecies fulfilled by Nineveh and Babylon

These 10 Bible prophecies were fulfilled by the ancient cities of Babylon and Nineveh. Babylon served as the center of power for the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple about 2,600 years ago. Nineveh served as the center of power for the Assyrian Empire, which devastated the northern part of Israel about 2,700 years ago.

71. Nineveh would be destroyed

Bible passage: Nahum 1:8,9
Written: Perhaps around 614 BC, about 2,600 years ago

The Old Testament book of Nahum contains many prophecies about the demise of Nineveh, which served as the capital for the Assyrian Empire. In Nahum 1:8,9, and elsewhere, the prophet said that Nineveh would come to an end.

The great city fell to a coalition of Babylonians and others about 2,600 years ago. The conquest of Nineveh contributed greatly to bringing an end to the Assyrian Empire, which included a large part of western Asia. The Assyrians controlled all or part of what is now Egypt, western Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, northern Saudi Arabia, Syria, and eastern Turkey.

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Here is Nahum 1:8-9 (KJV):

8But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

9What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.

72. Nineveh's destruction would be permanent

Bible passage: Nahum 3:19
Written: Perhaps around 614 BC, about 2,600 years ago

In Nahum 3:19, the prophet said that Nineveh's destruction would be permanent, that Nineveh would suffer a wound from which it would never heal.

As explained by a Greek historian named Diodorus Siculus, who lived about 2,100 years ago, a coalition of Babylonians, Medes, and others, attacked the fortified city of Nineveh. The city was conquered in 612 BC, about 2,600 years ago.

By that time in history, the Assyrian Empire had already conquered the northern part of the land of Israel. In fact, the conquest led to the displacement of many people from 10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Those tribes are often referred to today as the "Lost Tribes of Israel."

The Assyrian Empire was known for its public displays of cruelty and harsh treatment of the peoples it conquered. At the end of verse 19, the evilness of the empire was alluded to: "for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually."

Scholars are uncertain as to when exactly Nahum prophesied. Some scholars believe that he prophesied at least a few years before the conquest of Nineveh.

Some of Nahum's prophecies have long-term fulfillments that continue to be visible today, such as the prophecy that Nineveh would never recover from its defeat. It is worth noting that Babylon, one of the principal agents in the destruction of the Assyrian Empire, had been conquered earlier by the Assyrians. But, unlike Assyria, Babylon was able to recover and regain its empire.

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Here is Nahum 3:19 (KJV):

There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

73. Deserters would flee from Nineveh before its conquest

Bible passage: Nahum 3:17
Written: Perhaps around 614 BC, about 2,600 years ago

As part of a broader prophecy involving Nineveh, the prophet, in Nahum 3:17, alluded to deserters fleeing from Nineveh.

Centuries later, the historian Diodorus mentioned deserters in his writings about the fall of Nineveh. In fact, he wrote that they contributed to its downfall, by supplying information to Arbaces, who helped lead the attack against Nineveh. Arbaces was able to stage a surprise attack while the king of Assyria's army was feasting and reveling:

While his whole army was now feasting and revelling, Arbaces (receiving intelligence by some deserters of the security and intemperance of the enemy) fell in upon them suddenly in the night; and being in due order and discipline, and setting upon such as were in confusion, he being before prepared, and the other altogether unprovided, they easily broke into their camp, and made a great slaughter of some, forcing the rest into the city.
- The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian, Book II, Chapter 2.

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Here is Nahum 3:17 (KJV):

Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

74. Nineveh would be hit with a flood

Bible passage: Nahum 2:6
Written: Perhaps around 614 BC, about 2,600 years ago

In Nahum 2:6, Nahum alluded to flooding as having a role in the destruction of Nineveh.

This too is consistent with details recorded in the historical writings of Diodorus. The ancient historian wrote that the soldiers who attacked Nineveh had a difficult time breaching the security walls that surrounded the city. But, a tributary or river, perhaps the Khosr or the Tigris, which Diodorus apparently mistakenly identified as the Euphrates, overflowed and aided the attacking army:

The siege continued two years, during which time nothing was done to any purpose, save that the walls were sometimes assaulted, and the besieged penned up in the city. The third year it happened that [the] Euphrates, overflowing with continual rains, came up into a part of the city, and tore down the wall twenty furlongs in length.
- The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian, Book II, Chapter 2.

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Here is Nahum 2:6 (KJV):

The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved.

75. Nineveh would be hit with fire

Bible passage: Nahum 3:15a
Written: Perhaps around 614 BC, about 2,600 years ago

In addition to the flooding that Nahum alluded to in Nahum 2:6, the prophet also mentioned fire in his prophecy of Nineveh's destruction. This, too, is consistent with the historical record. When archaeologists re-discovered and unearthed the lost city of Nineveh during the 1800s, they discovered a layer of ash covering the ruins.

According to the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica (2008) entry for Nineveh, " …Nineveh suffered a defeat from which it never recovered. Extensive traces of ash, representing the sack of the city by Babylonians, Scythians, and Medes in 612 bc, have been found in many parts of the Acropolis."

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Here is Nahum 3:15a (KJV):

There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, …

76. The great city of Nineveh would become desolate

Bible passage: Zephaniah 2:13
Written: About 2,600 years ago

In Zephaniah 2:13, the prophet, who lived about 2,600 years ago, prophesied that Nineveh, the great city of the Assyrian Empire, would become a dry and desolate land.

After a coalition of Babylonians and others had conquered Nineveh about 2,600 years ago, the city began declining. Eventually, the city was swallowed up by time and sand and lost for centuries.

A few centuries ago, the city was re-discovered and began a new life as an archaeological site. In speaking of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire, Austen Henry Layard wrote the following, during the 1800s:

It is, indeed, one of the most remarkable facts in history, that the records of an empire, so renowned for its power and civilisation, should have been entirely lost ; and that the site of a city as eminent for its splendour as its extent, should for ages have been a matter of doubt : it is not perhaps less curious that an accidental discovery should enable us to recover these records, and identify this site.
- Layard, Nineveh and Its Remains.

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Here is Zephaniah 2:13 (KJV):

And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.

77. Babylon would subjugate Judah for 70 years

Bible passage: Jeremiah 25:11,12
Written: About 2,600 years ago

In Jeremiah 25:11,12, the prophet said that the Jews would suffer 70 years of Babylonian domination and that Babylon would be punished after the 70 years. Both parts of this prophecy were fulfilled.

The Babylonians, along with a coalition of others, conquered the city of Nineveh in 612 BC, which was the heart of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians then crowned a new king, Ashur-uballit II, and regrouped in Harran. But the Babylonians chased after them and forced the remnants of the Assyrian army to surrender. The king, perhaps put to death, was never heard from again. The Assyrian Empire had been defeated, and had lost its last king of record in 609 BC, never to recover and rise again.

With this conquest, Babylon assumed control over a vast portion of what had been the Assyrian Empire. Whereas Judah had been forced to pay tribute to Assyria, it would now be forced to serve Babylon. Babylon later asserted its dominance over Judah by taking many Jews as captives to Babylon, and by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple.

The Babylonian Empire came to an end in 539 BC, when Cyrus, a leader of Persians and Medes, conquered Babylon. Cyrus later offered the captive Jews the freedom to return to their homeland.

Some scholars say that the 70-year period lasted from about 605 BC, which is about the time that Babylon began forcing many Jews into captivity, to about 536 BC, which is about the time that some members of the exiled community began returning to Judah.

And, there is another 70-year period that figures prominently in regards to Babylon's subjugation of Judah. The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem's Temple in 586 BC and the Jews rebuilt it and consecrated it in about 516 BC.

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Here is Jeremiah 25:11,12 (KJV):

11And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

78. Babylon's gates would open for Cyrus

Bible passage: Isaiah 45:1
Written: About 2,700 years ago

In Isaiah 45:1, the prophet said that Cyrus would succeed in subduing the nations before him. Cyrus built a great empire, largely by bringing an end to the Babylonian Empire. Despite Babylon's remarkable defenses, which included moats, protective walls, and watchtowers, Cyrus was able to enter the city and conquer it.

The city straddled the Euphrates. The river ran under segments of the protective walls and through the city. Cyrus had an ingenious plan for gaining entry into the city. The plan, as described by Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived during the fifth century BC, involved diverting the flow of the Euphrates so that soldiers could march into the riverbed and under the protective walls.

Here is a portion of what Herodotus wrote about Cyrus and his invasion of Babylon:

Therefore, whether it was some other man who suggested it to him when he was in a strait what to do, or whether he of himself perceived what he ought to do, he did as follows:--The main body of his army he posted at the place where the river runs into the city, and then again behind the city he set others, where the river issues forth from the city; and he proclaimed to his army that so soon as they should see that the stream had become passable, they should enter by this way into the city. Having thus set them in their places and in this manner exhorted them he marched away himself with that part of his army which was not fit for fighting: and when he came to the lake, Cyrus also did the same things which the queen of the Babylonians had done as regards the river and the lake; that is to say, he conducted the river by a channel into the lake, which was at that time a swamp, and so made the former course of the river passable by the sinking of the stream.
- Herodotus, The Histories, Volume I, Book I, Section 191, as translated by G.C. Macaulay.

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Here is Isaiah 45:1 (KJV):

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

79. Babylon would be overthrown

Bible passage: Isaiah 13:19
Written: About 2,700 years ago

In Isaiah 13:19, the prophet said that Babylon would be overthrown.

About 150 years after the time of Isaiah, Cyrus, with a coalition of Medes and Persians, conquered Babylon in 539 BC, bringing an end to its empire.

After the defeat, Babylon was never able to regain its empire, even though it had accomplished a similar feat prior to the time of Cyrus. In fact, Babylon previously had been defeated by the Assyrians and was able to recover and avenge its loss by conquering the Assyrian Empire.

In the centuries following Cyrus' conquest of Babylon, the great city became desolate and forgotten.

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Here is Isaiah 13:19 (KJV):

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

80. Babylon would be humbled

Bible passages: Isaiah 14:23; Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 13:19
Written: About 2,700 years ago

The book of Isaiah foretold a humble end for Babylon, despite its prior history of power and perseverance:

I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 14:23, KJV)

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. (Isaiah 13:21, KJV)

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (Isaiah 13:19, KJV)

Within these and other Bible verses, it was prophesied that Babylon, which had been powerful enough to dominate much of the ancient world, would be humbled to the point of desolation.

Babylon's decline began after Cyrus conquered it about 2,500 years ago. Although it had recovered marvelously from previous defeats and setbacks, Babylon never again would reclaim its past glories and power. During the centuries that followed, Babylon waned and faded and eventually fell into disrepair and desolation.

Like Nineveh, Babylon would be lost to obscurity for a time. And, like Nineveh, it would re-emerge during modern times as an archaeological site.

Archaeologists began excavating the site about 200 years ago, during the mid-1800s. Some parts of the city, however, could not be dug up because they had been overcome with water from a water table:

The height of the water-table has tended to restrict most excavation to the Neo-Babylonian (CHALDAEAN) dynasty (c. 625-539 BC), when the political power of the Babylonians probably reached its greatest height.
- A Dictionary of Archaeology, by Ian Shaw and Robert Jameson.

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