The Lions of Assyria

“Where is the den of the lions … where the lion, lioness, and lion’s cub went with nothing to disturb them? The lion tore enough … and filled his lairs with prey and his dens with torn flesh.” – Nahum 2:11-12 NASB

Lions were important symbols for ancient Assyria. Scholars have described how Ashurbanipal II (who reigned in Assyria in the ninth century BC) built his Northwest Palace, a “magnificent complex” with entrances protected by “colossal human-headed winged bulls and lions.” Two centuries later, one of his successors, Sennacherib, carried on this tradition, building a portico with columns supported by solid cast bronze lions in his “Palace without Rival.”

Lions were significant because these animals, while stately in appearance, reminded visitors that Assyria had enormous power that could be unleashed at any time.

When God called Nahum to prophesy to Nineveh, He paid special attention to lions. God knew the Assyrians had taken advantage of His people.

God promised to “restore the splendor of Jacob” (v. 2) even though they had been devastated. God knew all about Assyria’s vast militaristic array and the massive building projects enjoyed by a series of its leaders. While Assyria (symbolized by its capital, Nineveh) seemed powerful, its time would end, and the lions that symbolized so much of their strength would be gone. God’s message was clear: “Behold, I am against you” (v. 13).

Kings and kingdoms have various symbols of might. In many ways, their rulers place confidence in their strategies and resources. But God still reigns. His power will ultimately triumph. Renew your faith in God, and trust your life to Him.

*Reflection Question:* What fears are you asking God to replace with His peace?


Father, thank You that You reign over all the earth. Thank You for holding my life. Replace my fears with Your peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Today’s Bible Reading

Nahum 2

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