(and its attacks vs. the Israelite tribes)
March 29, 2009
Steve Collins
The link below offers an excellent short history of the Assyrian Empire and its armies. This link is the first part of a two-part video (the second video is offered as a menu option after the first part ends) lasting almost 20 minutes.
The Assyrians were, like the Israelites, descended from Shem, a son of Noah (Genesis 10:21-22). Assyrian self-depictions show them as bearded Semites. The video barely hints at the decline of the Assyrian Empire crica 1000 BC. As readers of my book know, the Assyrian Empire was defeated and occupied by Semites from the west during the reign of King David. Indeed, it was the Israelite army which reached the Euphrates River circa 1000 BC (I Chronicles 18:2) and which later defeated the Mesopotamian armies which were then led by Assyria (I Chronicles 19:6-19). The armies of King David defeated the allied Mesopotamian/Syrian armies and occupied Assyria. The Assyrians reasserted themselves after the disastrous Israelite civil war around 911 BC in which a half-million soldiers of the northern kingdom of Israel were slain (II Chronicles 13:3-20). The Israelite Empire collapsed and Assyria was able to rebuild in the power-vacuum that was created by the sudden diminishing of the kingdom of Israel. Secular and biblical evidence supporting these conclusions is presented in Part One of my audio message on the ten tribes of Israel available at this website.
The video link graphically describes the Assyrian attack under Sennacherib upon the Judahite city of Lashich in which it used siege engines to great effect. The video omitted mention of the Lord defending the city of Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah. God sent an angel which wiped out the 185,000 man Assyrian army besieging Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:35-38). When I was in Jerusalem in August, 2000, a Jewish rabbi took me under the city of Jerusalem to the base of the old walls of Jerusalem in which Assyrian arrows were found embedded, so it is clear the Assyrians were actively trying to take the city when God delivered it. The video also mentions the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel at the hands of Assyria.
The video mentioned an interesting tactic used by ancient empires such as Assyria to quickly transmit messages from one part of the empire to another–the use of fire towers. Fires lit in succession at prearranged locations could pass warnings from one location to another very rapidly over many hundreds of miles. Those who have seen the movie, The Return of the King (part 3 of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) have seen this tactic in operation. Fire towers were lit in Minis Tirith, the “city of the kings” in the southern kingdom of Gondor to alert the far-distant king of Rohan, the northern kingdom, of an attack from the armies of Mordor to the east.
As a digression, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian who knew the Bible thoroughly and who was exceedingly knowledgeable about ancient languages and ancient history. Some day, I intend to write an article about the biblical themes embedded in the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I find the time, but I’ll offer this tickler piece of information now. Minis Tirith, the “city of kings” in the southern kingdom of Gondor, was defended by catapults which were located upon the walls of the fortified city. This also describes ancient Jerusalem, the “city of kings” in the southern kingdom of ancient Judah. II Chronicles 26:12-15 records that King Uzziah of ancient Judah built into the walls of Jerusalem defensive catapults and ballistas which would “shoot arrows and great stones” at besiegers. I think Jerusalem’s defenses under King Uzziah inspired Tolkien’s vision of the defensive armament of Minis Tirith. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is about a time when ancient prophecies will be fulfilled in “the end of days.” This prophetic time will climax when the descendants of a northern and a southern kingdom are attacked by massive armies from the eastern powers (think Revelation 16:12), but Gondor and Rohan are rescued when they are at the point of being defeated by the arrival of Aragorn, the prophesied messiah-king who leads an army of sinners-made-spirits who only Aragorn can forgive, redeem and give “rest.”  If this sounds like a metaphor for the arrival of Jesus Christ and his heavenly armies which will include the forgiven and redeemed saints (Daniel 7:22, Revelation 20:1-4) at the end of the latter days to rescue the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 19:11-21 and Zechariah 14:1-4), I think the similarity is not coincidental. Tolkien’s southern kingdom of Gondor is distinct from the “northern kingdom” of Rohan, whose population is depicted like ancient Goths, Norsemen, Germans and Saxons. It makes me wonder if Tolkien read and understood Ezekiel 38, and knew more about the descendants of the tribes of Israel than he dared tell to the Englishmen of his day. End of digression.
The second part of the video series on the Assyrian Empire concludes with an accurate narrative that the old foes of the Assyrians united to overthrow the Assyrian Empire, and it shows mapped arrows coming at Assyria from the north and south but does not name the foes. The northern arrow represents the Sacae Scythians, who were the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel who relocated themselves to the Black Sea region to escape the final Assyrian invasion of Israel. The southern arrow represents the Babylonians, with whom the Scythians cooperated to crush Assyria.
Enjoy the videos!