Bible passage: Zephaniah 2:13-15
Written: About 2,600 years ago
In Zephaniah, chapter 2, the prophet Zephaniah warns of judgment against the people of Judah and pronounces judgment against the nations surrounding them, which had a history of aggression towards Israel, including Judah, and the people of Israel.
In verses 13-15, Zephaniah focuses on Assyria and warns that its main city, Nineveh, would become utterly desolate. Nineveh was the seat of power for the great Assyrian Empire which had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and carried out 10 of the 12 tribes of Israelites. Assyria's destruction of the northern part of Israel was so complete the 10 tribes are now called the "lost tribes of Israel." But in this prophecy from Zephaniah, it is Assyria's turns to face destruction and desolation.
Zephaniah lived during the rise of Babylonian empire, which later would conquer the land of Judah, destroying the city of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 BC, about 2,600 years ago.
It was the Babylonians who conquered Assyrian Empire, laying waste to Nineveh during that process.
Although the 10 tribes of Israel (the northern kingdom of Israel) who were subjugated by the Assyrians eventually lost their identity as distinct tribes of Israel, the people of Judah were able to recover after the destruction of the southern part of Israel by the Babylonians. Nineveh, on the other hand, lives on today as an archaelogical site.
- Research and commentary is based on the book 100 Prophecies. © Ray Konig and AboutBibleProphecy.com.
Here is Zephaniah 2:13-15 (NIV):
13 He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert.
14 Flocks and herds will lie down there, creatures of every kind. The desert owl and the screech owl will roost on her columns. Their hooting will echo through the windows, rubble will fill the doorways, the beams of cedar will be exposed.
15 This is the city of revelry that lived in safety. She said to herself, "I am the one! And there is none besides me." What a ruin she has become, a lair for wild beasts! All who pass by her scoff and shake their fists.