What happened to Nineveh after the days of Jonah?
BY THE seventh century B.C.E., Assyria had become the world’s largest empire, “stretching from Cyprus in the west to Iran in the east, and at one point it even included Egypt,” noted The British Museum Blog. Its capital, Nineveh, was the biggest city in the world. It boasted impressive monuments, spectacular gardens, luxurious palaces, and extensive libraries. Wall inscriptions from ancient Nineveh show that King Ashurbanipal, like other Assyrian kings, called himself “king of the world.” At the time, Assyria and Nineveh seemed unconquerable.
Nevertheless, when Assyria had reached its greatest heights, Jehovah’s prophet Zephaniah foretold: “[Jehovah] will . . . destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh desolate, as dry as a desert.” In addition, Jehovah’s prophet Nahum foretold: “Plunder silver, plunder gold! . . . The city is empty, desolate, devastated! . . . Everyone who sees you will flee from you and say, ‘Nineveh has been devastated!’” (Zeph. 2:13; Nah. 2:9, 10; 3:7) On hearing those prophecies, people may have wondered: ‘Could that ever be possible? Could mighty Assyria ever be conquered?’ It must have seemed unbelievable.
Even so, the unthinkable happened! By the end of the seventh century B.C.E., Assyria had been conquered by the Babylonians and the Medes. Eventually, Nineveh was abandoned and vanished from memory! “By the Middle Ages,” states a publication by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, “the site was abandoned and buried, and Nineveh was remembered principally through the Bible.” According to the Biblical Archaeology Society Online Archive, by the early 1800’s, “no one even knew whether the great Assyrian capital ever really existed.” But then in 1845, archaeologist Austen Henry Layard started excavating the site of Nineveh. The ruins discovered on the site testified to Nineveh’s past glory.
The accurate fulfillment of the prophecies about Nineveh strengthens our confidence that Bible prophecies regarding the end of today’s political powers will also be fulfilled.—Dan. 2:44; Rev. 19:15, 19-21.