Assyria

The ancient kingdom of Assyria plays a prominent role in the Old Testament. Assyria amassed a large empire during ancient times, including much of the land of Israel.

The Assyrian Empire conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, in about 721 BC (about 2700 years ago).

They were ruthless, torturing and decapitating many of their victims. Many of the residents of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which consisted largely of 10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel, were forced to leave their homeland.

And they were replaced by many foreigners who were brought in to populate the land. This was a common practice in ancient times, to force residents away from their own land and to bring in foreignors to replace them, in the hopes of preventing future uprisings.

The tribes of Israel that were displaced by the Assyrians later lost their identity over time as Israelites. Those 10 tribes are sometimes called "the lost tribes of Israel."

After the invasion by the Assyrian Empire, the northern kingdom never recovered and ceased to exist.

The northern kingdom had come into being about two centuries beforehand, after the reign of King Solomon, about 2900 years ago. At that time, the land of Israel split up into two kingdoms. The southern kingdom, called Judah, included the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. The northern kingdom retained the name of Israel. The two kingdoms were often at war with each other.

About a century after the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom, a coalition of Babylonians, Scythians and Medes conquered Nineveh, which at the time was the capital of Assyria. They brought an end to the Assyrian Empire.

That conquest was the subject of prophecies by Nahum, an Old Testament prophet who lived about 2600 years ago. Nahum prophesied that the Assyrian Empire would be destroyed because of its pride and cruelty in the destruction of Israel, and because of their idolatry, treachery, superstition and injustice.

Assyria appears in 119 Bible verses: Gen 2:14, Gen 10:11, Gen 25:18, 2 Kgs 15:19, 2 Kgs 15:20, 2 Kgs 15:29, 2 Kgs 16:7, 2 Kgs 16:8, 2 Kgs 16:9, 2 Kgs 16:10, 2 Kgs 16:18, 2 Kgs 17:3, 2 Kgs 17:4, 2 Kgs 17:5, 2 Kgs 17:6, 2 Kgs 17:23, 2 Kgs 17:24, 2 Kgs 17:26, 2 Kgs 17:27, 2 Kgs 18:7, 2 Kgs 18:9, 2 Kgs 18:11, 2 Kgs 18:13, 2 Kgs 18:14, 2 Kgs 18:16, 2 Kgs 18:17, 2 Kgs 18:19, 2 Kgs 18:23, 2 Kgs 18:28, 2 Kgs 18:30, 2 Kgs 18:31, 2 Kgs 18:33, 2 Kgs 19:4, 2 Kgs 19:6, 2 Kgs 19:8, 2 Kgs 19:10, 2 Kgs 19:11, 2 Kgs 19:17, 2 Kgs 19:20, 2 Kgs 19:32, 2 Kgs 19:36, 2 Kgs 20:6, 2 Kgs 23:29, 1 Chr 5:6, 1 Chr 5:26, 2 Chr 28:16, 2 Chr 28:20, 2 Chr 28:21, 2 Chr 30:6, 2 Chr 32:1, 2 Chr 32:4, 2 Chr 32:7, 2 Chr 32:9, 2 Chr 32:10, 2 Chr 32:11, 2 Chr 32:21, 2 Chr 32:22, 2 Chr 33:11, Ezra 4:2, Ezra 6:22, Neh 9:32, Isa 7:17, Isa 7:18, Isa 7:20, Isa 8:4, Isa 8:7, Isa 10:5, Isa 10:12, Isa 11:11, Isa 11:16, Isa 19:23, Isa 19:24, Isa 19:25, Isa 20:1, Isa 20:4, Isa 20:6, Isa 23:13, Isa 27:13, Isa 36:1, Isa 36:2, Isa 36:4, Isa 36:8, Isa 36:13, Isa 36:15, Isa 36:16, Isa 36:18, Isa 37:4, Isa 37:6, Isa 37:8, Isa 37:10, Isa 37:11, Isa 37:18, Isa 37:21, Isa 37:33, Isa 37:37, Isa 38:6, Jer 2:18, Jer 2:36, Jer 50:17, Jer 50:18, Lam 5:6, Ezek 23:7, Ezek 31:3, Ezek 32:22, Hos 5:13, Hos 7:11, Hos 8:9, Hos 9:3, Hos 10:6, Hos 11:5, Hos 11:11, Hos 12:1, Hos 14:3, Mic 5:6, Mic 7:12, Nahum 3:18, Zeph 2:13, Zech 10:10 and Zech 10:11.

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