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There was no prospect of such an event whilst the Assyrians were in the midst of their successes and triumphs; but still the word of the prophet prevailed; and it was not till long after these calamities brought upon the Jews, of which we have already given a short account, that the Assyrian empire, properly so called, was overthrown, and Nineveh destroyed.

Nineveh, or Ninus, as it was most usually called by the Greeks and the Romans, the capital city of the Assyrian empire, was a very ancient city; for we read, Genesis x. 11: "Out of that land went forth Asher, and builded Nineveh." As it was a very ancient, so was it likewise a very great city. In Jonah it is styled an exceeding great city, of three days journey, that is of three days journey in circuit, as Jerome and the best commentators expressed it. Strabo hath said, that Nineveh was much larger than Babylon; and a little afterwards he saith, that the circuit of Babylon was 385 furlongs; but Diodorus Siculus asserts, that the whole circuit of Nineveh was 480 furlongs, which make somewhat more than sixty miles; and sixty miles were three days journey, twenty miles a day being the common computation for a foot traveller.

It is further said in Jonah, iv. 11, that in

Nineveh there were "more than six-score thousand persons who could not discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle." It is generally calculated that the young children of any place, are a fifth part of the inhabitants; and if we admit of that calculation, the whole number of inhabitants in Nineveh, amounts to six hundred thousand, which number will appear by no means incredible, according to the dimensions given by Diodorus Siculus, as before stated.

A city of such dimensions might easily contain such a number of inhabitants, and mauy more; and, at the same time, there might be, as there are in most of the great cities of the east, large vacant spaces for gardens, or for pastures, so that there might be, as the text asserts there was, also much cattle. The inhabitants of Nineveh, like those of other great cities, abounding in wealth and luxury, became very corrupt in their morals. Whereupon the prophet Jonah was commissioned to preach unto them the necessity of repentance, as the only means of averting their impending destruction; and such was the success of his preaching, that the king and the people repented, and turned from their evil ways, and thereby, for a time, delayed the execution of the Divine judgments.

But this repentance of Nineveh, we may presume, was not of long continuance. For, not many years after, we find the prophet Nahum foretelling the total and entire destruction of the city. Whenever it was that Nahum prophesied, he plainly and largely foretold the destruction of Nineveh; his whole prophecy relates to this single event; and the city was accordingly destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians. Nahum prophesies that the Assyrians should be taken while they were drunken : "For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry;" chap. i. 10; and Diodorus relates, that it was while all the Assyrian army were feasting for their former victories, that those about Arbaces, being informed by some deserters of the negligence and drunkenness in the camp of the enemy, assaulted them unexpectedly by night; and, falling orderly on them disorderly, and, prepared on them unprepared, became masters of the camp, and slew many of the soldiers, and drove the rest into the city.

Nahum foretells, ii. 6, "that the gates of the river shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved; and Diodorus informs us, "That there was an old prophecy, that Nineveh should

not be taken, till the river became an enemy to the city." In the third year of the siege, the river being swoln with continual rains, overflowed part of the city, and broke down the wall for twenty furlongs; then the king, thinking that the oracle was fulfilled, and the river become an enemy to the city, built a large funeral pile in the palace, and, collecting together all his wealth, his concubines and eunuchs, burnt himself and the palace with them all; and the enemy entered the breach that the waters had made, and took the city. What was therefore predieted in the first chapter, verse 8, was literally falfilled: "With an overflowing flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof."

Nahum promises the enemy much spoil of gold and silver, ii. 9: "Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold, for there is no end of the store and glory, out of all the pleasant furniture." And we read in Diodorus, that Arbaces carried many talents of gold and silver to Ecbatana, the royal city of the Medes.

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According to Nahum, i. 8, and iii. 15, the city was to be destroyed by fire and water; and we see in Diodorus, that by fire and water it was destroyed.

Nahum foretold the total and entire destruction of the city: "The Lord," saith he, in the

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first chapter, verses 8 and 9, "with an overrunning flood, will make an utter end of the place thereof; he will make an utter end; affliction shall not rise up the second time. Again, in the second chapter, verses 11 and 13: "Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions? meaning Nineveh, whose princes ravaged like lions; “Behold I am against thee, saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will cut of thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard.” And again, in the third and last chapter, verses 17, 18, and 19: "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, or have been. Thy shepherds slumber, Oh king of Assyria; thy nobles shall dwell in the dust; thy people are scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them; 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?"

The prophet Zephaniah, likewise, in the days of Josiah king of Judah, foretold the same sad event, chapter ii. verses 13, 14, 15: "The Lord will stretch out his hand against the north, and

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