Isaiah 10:5-7 Assyrian Empire and Modern Day Geography

Isaiah 10:5-7 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation I send it against a godless nation and commission it against the people of My fury to capture booty and to seize plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend, nor does it plan so in its heart, but rather it is its purpose to destroy and to cut off many nations.

Nimrod founded Nineveh as noted in Genesis 8:10-12. Assyria lay along the middle Tigris between the Kurdish Taurus Mountains and Jebel Hamrin and formed an area about the size of the state of Connecticut (modern day northern Iraq; Iraq, Turkey, and Iran mountainous borders). On the west bank of the Tigris lay a single plain, while on the east bank the country was divided into three sections: the area between the mountains and the Great Zab River, the sector between the Great and Lesser Zab rivers, and the region between the Lesser Zab and the mountain Jebel Hamrin (modern day Kirkuk Oil Field in Iraq).

The land is fertile and undulating and has enough rainfall to support dry farming. Assyria had abundant supplies of limestone and alabaster and some marble. This region of real estate was recently in the news with the Civil War taking place in Syria (September 2013). A major oil and gas pipeline runs from the Kirkuk Oil Field north to the border of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Once in Turkey, the pipeline runs to the west before stopping in the Mediterranean Sea where oil and gas are exported primarily to Europe. The security of this pipeline is constantly being challenged by multiple groups.

The major cities were Asshur (son of Shem and Hebrew people, Genesis 10:22, modern day between Mosul and Bagdhad, Iraq) on the west bank of the Tigris and Lesser Zab River; and Nineveh (modern day Mosul, Iraq), and Calah to the southeast on the Tigris a few miles from Nineveh.

The height of power of the Assyrian Empire was during the seventh century BC. The Assyrians built an empire that stretched from Egypt on the southwest to Persia (modern day Iran) on the east and from the Persian Gulf on the southeast to Anatolia (modern day Turkey) on the north.

Resources: New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Holman QuickSource Bible Atlas, Holman QuickSource Bible Dictionary, MapsofWorld.com

Assyria had specific directions from God. Go get Israel. But that was not enough. Assyria wanted more. Their attitude and plans were the conquest of multiple nations. Assyria’s punishment crossed the line and exceeded the expectation God had set. If Assyria would have followed directions and stuck to Israel, Assyria would have avoided judgment themselves. With their actions, Assyria is as good as dead.

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