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The Land of Assyria

The Land of Assyria in Bible Times with Capital Cities.

Isaiah 10:5-6 - "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send you (Assyria) against a hypocritical nation (Israel), and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets."

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The Land of Assyria for Little Kids

This map shows some of the key places and topography of the land of Assyria during ancient times! Many remember Assyria because of their powerful army that destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel. God used the Assyrians to punish the northern kingdom for worshiping false gods and idols.

Assyria is also known for their capital city of Nineveh; it was a huge city with big towering walls and many traders. But the people there were very sinful and wicked. In the story of Jonah and the whale, Jonah was told to go to Nineveh and tell them that they needed to repent from their wicked ways!

The land of Assyria had many mountains and hills in the east and north. On it's other side, was the Euphrates River which flowed down to the land of a different kingdom - Babylonia.

Assyria was an interesting kingdom and it is good to study it so that we have a better understanding of God's Word and what it was like during Biblical times.

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The Land of Assyria for Big Kids

Ancient Assyrian Man with BeardAssyria in Bible History. The Assyrians were descendents of Asshur, the second son of Shem, who settled between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers at the northern side of the Tigris and on its west bank. They are immortalized in history as the invincible army whom the Lord raised up to destroy the rebellious northern kingdom of Israel. They were brutal, they were ruthless, and there are various quotes discovered on monuments that indicate their utter brutality. The "hunter" kings of ancient Assyria were strategic and relentless in their attacks. God used them to punish Israel for their idolatry, and in 722 BC under the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser, they came and routed the capital of Israel in the north and took its 10 tribes away as prisoners to the land of Assyria. They were known in history as the 10 lost tribes of Israel. God used them as his instrument for a time but later their capital city Nineveh and their empire was destroyed by a combination of forces by the Medes and the Babylonians in 612 BC.

The Land of Assyria. In ancient times the land of Assyria was located along the northern portion of the Tigris River. The Zagros Mountains were its eastern border, on the other side was Mighty Persia. In the north was the territory of the ancient Armenians, the kingdom of Urartu. The southern and western borders were the Tigris River, and on the other side was Mesopotamia. Assyria was about 18,000 square miles of hills and mountains in the north, and small rolling hills and plains in the south. The chief cities of ancient Assyria were Nineveh, Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Ashur.

Nineveh. The city of Nineveh was located on the east bank of the Tigris River, and King Sennacherib made it his capital around 700 BC. It was believed to be about 60 miles around with a 100 foot wall all around with 1500 towers each beeing 200 feet high. The population was over 2 million people, In the Book of Jonah Nineveh was described as "an exceeding great city, of three days' journey." The prophet Nahum said that Nineveh's merchants outnumbered the stars of heaven (Nahum 3:16).

Nimrud. The ancient city of Kalhu or Calah, also called Nimrud in Arabic, was located on the Tigris River in northern Mesopotamia. King Ashurnasirpal II made Calah his capital in the 9th century BC, and his son Shalmaneser III built the great Ziggurat there. He also built his great palace with over 200 rooms.

Khorsabad. King Sargon the great made Khorsabad his capital around 717 BC and made the city marvelous with high walls and 157 towers with 7 gates. He also built a great Ziggurat. The winged bulls guarding his palace weighed over 40 tons of solid limestone.

Ashur. Asshur was a city along the Tigris and the religious capital of ancient Assyria. Many of the kings were buried in Ashur. As a kingdom Ashur was founded by the son of Shem whose name was Asshur, when he left Shinar he travelled northward and founded Nineveh (Genesis 10). The whole territory of ancient Assyria was referred to as the land of Asshur.

The Mighty Assyrians. The Assyrians were raised up by God Almighty at a specific time, in order to destroy the northern kingdom of Israel. The military tactics of the ancient Assyrians are still examined today. They were not only invincible for a period of time, but they were ruthless and cruel. God chose to use these people to destroy the rebellious people of Israel.

"He will raise a signal for a nation from afar off, and whistle for it from the ends of the earth; and lo, swiftly, speedily it comes." Isaiah 5:26.

Famous Rulers. The most famous rulers in the land of Assyria were those who conquered the most territory during the time of the Biblical kings. Each of these rulers set up a capital city with spectacular monuments. King Sennacherib made Nineveh his capital in 700 BC, King Ashurnasirpal made Calah (Nimrud) his capital in the ninth century BC, and Sargon the Great made Khorsabad his capital around 717 BC.

The Fall of Nineveh. In 612 BC as the prophets foretold, the armies of the Medes and the Persians allied together and destroyed the capital of the Assyrian Empire, the city of Nineveh. The greatest city in the world was destroyed never to rise again.


The study of ancient Assyria is very important in the study of the Bible, let's pray:

Dear Jesus, we thank you for your word which declares that you chose the Assyrians to destroy the northern kingdom of Israel. It is unbelievable that this could have happened, but they chose to not follow you and to worship idols. You are patient with them, until your patience ran out and it was no longer possible. All of this happened in order to fulfill a greater purpose, to salvation of the world and the building of your church. We thank you that we are part of your church. We love you. In Jesus name… Amen!


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The Land of Assyria for Kids

The Land of Assyria in Bible Times
Map of the Land of Assyria in Bible Times for Bible Study


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Bible History Online

The Geography of the Bible


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