Assur and Nineveh (1910)

A Bronze Lion from Nineveh [Public Domain]
This image is from Illustrerad Verldshistoria by Ernst Wallis et al, published 1875-9.
The following public domain article is now available on-line:

Theophilus G. Pinches, “Assur and Nineveh,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 42 (1910): 154-176.

Assur and Nineveh


Of all the little explanatory verses on the Old Testament there are probably but few which are of greater interest than that referring to the great cities of Assyria. It is that well-known verse 11 of the 10th chapter of Genesis, which, in the Revised Version, tells us that, “out of that land (Shinar or Babylonia) he (Nimrod, who is best identified with the Babylonian god Merodach) went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city).” Whether it was Asshur or Nimrod who went forth from Babylonia or not is a matter of but minor importance, as it is the cities which were founded, and not the person who founded them, with which we have to deal.

A very important testimony to the great size of Nineveh is given in the Book of Jonah, where it is spoken of, in verse 2 of the third chapter, as ”that great city,” and further, in the third verse of the same chapter, as “an exceeding great city of three days’ journey,” the distance referred to being commonly regarded as indicating its extent. Naturally, there is some difficulty in estimating this from such a vague statement, for, admitting that the words are correctly applied, the distance traversed must necessarily depend on the speed of the traveller. Perhaps a preaching – journey, such as that upon which the prophet Jonah was engaged, was slower than an ordinary one, but taking as a rough estimate 10 miles a day, this would make about 30 miles as its greatest extent. Between Nineveh and Calah, However, there is nothing like this distance, so that another explanation will have to be found.

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