[CF Devotionals] 2011-09-27 - The Shame of Nineveh

Part 15 ~ Nahum

The practices of the nation went far beyond just the violence of war; they included occult practices which represented a manifestation of war against God. These included sorcery and witchcraft.

"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft" (Deuteronomy 18:10).

God reiterates His statement against Nineveh. He is against them. The result is a people who are shamed before the world. The simile is that of a person being stripped naked, exposed to all and pelted with filth. For her harlotry, she faces the traditional judgment: public exposure.

"I will pull up your skirts over your face, that your shame may be seen—your adulteries and lustful neighings, your shameless prostitution! I have seen your detestable acts on the hills and in the fields. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?" (Jeremiah 13:26-27).

Everyone steps back. None will help or comfort. No longer would wiles attract anyone. In fact, the nations would rejoice in her destruction. As Armerding notes:

"The "ruins" of Nineveh reflect the Lord's determination to make a full "end" of it (1:89), and the fulfillment of this purpose is amply attested both inscriptionally and archaeologically. The Babylonian Chronicle merely summarizes a variety of contemporary records in its comment concerning the sack of Nineveh: "They ... turned the city into a ruin mound and a heap of debris" (Thomas, Documents , p. 76).

The debacle is still regarded as one of the greatest riddles of world history. Within a span of eighty years, Nineveh, which had been raised to unrivaled prominence by Sennacherib and his successors, was obliterated from living memory. Sennacherib had boasted of his city: "Nineveh, the noble metropolis, the city beloved of Ishtar, wherein are all the meeting-places of gods and goddesses; the everlasting substructure, the eternal foundation; whose plan had been designed from of old, and whose structure had been made beautiful along with the firmament of heaven" (Maier, p. 318).

But the Lord had purposed Nineveh's end, and the imperial city was never rebuilt; trouble did not come "a second time" from that quarter. For the next three hundred years at least, there is no evidence that the site of Nineveh was even occupied. Xenophon passed the ruins without recognizing them  (C. 400 B.C.) Maier, p. 135). Lucian stated: "Nineveh has perished, and there is no trace left where it once was" (ibid.)"

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