The value that I absorb from a study of Nineveh is that the truths of God are not determined by the knowledge and perceptions of man. Two hundred years ago, Nineveh was little more than a legendary place of mythical story, maybe akin to the stories of the lost city of Atlantis. In the modern thought of 1840, many stories of the Bible, maybe especially fantastical stories such as Jonah and the big fish, were relegated to that of myth. It was a time of questioning, and “higher criticism” in biblical scholarship. Interpretation of scripture was being put under a magnifying glass. If Nineveh was as great a city as was described in the Bible, then where was it? Without a physical Nineveh, or even any traces that it had ever existed, the accuracy of the seven books of the Bible that mentioned it was in question, and if those were not true, then what was? When faith in God’s Word crumbles, then faith in God follows close behind.
Nineveh was destroyed in the 7th century BC, and even its ruins had vanished over the centuries. No one knew whether this great capital of Assyria had ever even existed outside of the pages of the Bible. It was in this climate that Austen Henry Layard, a lawyer and self appointed archaeologist, discovered the remains of first Nimrud (Kalhu, or Biblical Calah), and then Nineveh itself. He published a book called Nineveh and Its Remains, a book that was wildly popular and was a tremendous verification of the accuracy of the Biblical text. What had been relegated to fable was once again known as fact.
Today, the accuracy of the Bible is still questioned by many. We are a people constantly searching for “proof” and God seems to comply by doling out new discoveries that confirm Biblical accuracy and shore up our shaky belief. Nineveh is real. God’s Word is true.
For the new study on Nineveh:
"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57
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