But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of
Of Nineveh, against whom this prophecy was, and upon whom it lay as a burden, ( Nahum 1:1 ) ; and now though the Lord was good to them that trust in him, and a strong hold to them in a time of trouble; yet he was determined to destroy their enemies the Assyrians, and Nineveh their chief city; and that by the means of a powerful army, which, like a flood or inundation of water breaking in, overruns and carries all before it; and very fitly may the Medes and Babylonians, who joined together in an expedition against Nineveh, be compared to such a flood for their number and force; since, as the historian tells
F25 us, they were no less than four hundred thousand men: though this may be literally understood; for as the same writer F26 observes,
``there was an oracle received by the Ninevites from their ancestors, that Nineveh could never be taken by any, unless the river (on which it stood) first became an enemy to it; and so it was, that, in the third year of the siege, the river, being swelled with continual rains, overflowed part of the city, and broke down the wall for the space of two and half miles; hence the king concluded the oracle was fulfilled, and gave up all hopes of safety; and through the breach of the wall the enemy entered, and took the city;''and an "utter end" was made of it, and of the place of it, insomuch that historians and geographers disagree about it; some say it was situated upon the river Euphrates, others upon the river Tigris, which is the most correct; some say on the east of that river, others on the west; some will have it to be above the river Lycus, and others below it; so true is that of Lucian F1, that Nineveh is now entirely lost, and no traces of it remain; nor can one easily say where it once was; and travellers in general, both ancient and modern, agree that it lies wholly in ruins, and is a heap of rubbish. Benjamin Tudelensis F2, who travelled into these parts in the twelfth century, relates, that between Almozal or Mosul, and Nineveh, is only a bridge, and it (Nineveh) is a waste; but there are villages, and many towers. Haitho, an Armenian F3, who wrote more than a hundred years after the former, says,
``this city (Nineveh) at present is wholly destroyed; but, by what yet appears in it, it may be firmly believed that it was one of the greatest cities in the world.''Monsieur Thevenot F4, who was upon the spot in the last century, observes,
``on the other side of the river (Tigris from that on which Mosul stands) at the end of the bridge begins the place, where, in ancient times, stood the famous city of Nineveh. --There is nothing of it, (adds he) now to be seen, but some hillocks, which (they say) are its foundations, the houses being underneath; and these reach a good way below the city of Mosul:''and darkness shall pursue his enemies;
the enemies of God and his people, who would make such a devastation of Nineveh; even he would cause all manner of calamities, often signified in Scripture by darkness, to follow and overtake them; so that they should be brought into the most uncomfortable and distressed condition imaginable.
F25 Diodor. Sicul. l. 2. p. 111. Ed. Rhodum.
F26 Ibid. p. 113, 114.
F1 (episkop) . sive, "contemplantes", in fine.
F2 Itinerarium, p. 62.
F3 Apud Bochart Phaleg. l. 4. c. 20. p. 255.
F4 Travels, par. 1. B. 1. c. 11. p. 52.