|"We Discovered Ellen White Failed the Biblical Tests of a Prophet"|
for Real People
Mrs. White vs. The Bible
|King's Name||Dates B.C.||Capital City|
Nineveh first became the official, undisputed capital of the Assyrian Empire during the reign of Sennacherib.5 Israel had ceased to exist some fifteen years before. The capital of Assyria was in Calah at the time Jonah went to Nineveh, so Mrs White's statement that Nineveh "was the capital of the Assyrian realm" is entirely wrong.
1. Bethel is called Beth-Aven in Hos. 10:5, 'the house of sin', no longer the 'house of God'.
2. Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 285.
3. First of all, the reference to Judah in this context might involve a contemporary Jewish request for help from the king of Jerusalem, not the king of Samaria. We know that King Ahaz of Judah asked for Tiglath-pileser III's help, about 735 BC (2 Chronicles 28:20-22). We have no sources telling us of a contemporary Israelite request for help, but we know that not many years before that Menahem paid tribute to Pul, which happens to be the private-citizen name of Tiglath-pileser III before he reached the throne (2 Kings 15:19). From the numbers in the books of Kings we know that Pekah began his rival reign in Transjordan during Menahem's official reign, so Pekah and Pekahiah could have also been involved in requesting Assyria's help against their political rivals both at home and abroad.
4. White, Review and Herald, December 4, 1913 paragraph 1.
5. As already said, all along this period Nineveh was an important city. For instance, many of Shalmanaser III's military campaigns began in Nineveh. Cities were founded in this period, too. However, the fact remains that Nineveh was not the capital of Assyria until Sennacherib. Perhaps someone will try to rescue Ellen White from this predicament by going to Jonah 3:6, "When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust." Since what Mrs White is discussing in her 1913 RH article "Nineveh, That Great City" is primarily Jonah's mission, could it be that all she meant to say is that Nineveh was once the capital of Assyria in the days of Jonah? Well, that explanation is hardly satisfactory. Some people contend that speaking of a "King of Nineveh", meaning Assyria, is more or less the same as speaking of a "King of Samaria", meaning Israel. Maybe so, although I've never heard of the Queen of London, meaning Britain, or the King of Madrid, meaning Spain. The problem is that there's no evidence that Nineveh was the capital of Assyria in the days of Jonah, whether he went there in the final days of Shalmaneser III or sometime in the reigns of his immediate weak successors. The hypothesis that Jonah might have gone to Nineveh in the closing years of Shalmanaser III might be the one that most easily accommodates most known data. While Shalmanaser III was besieging Tarsus (a city which according to Flavius Josephus was otherwise known as Tarshish), Ashurdanappli, one of his sons, rebelled against him and managed to obtain control of several cities, Nineveh being one of them. If Josephus is right, then by choosing Tarshish as the destination of his maritime adventure Jonah might be making sure he couldn't comply with God's command to go to Nineveh. Once Tarsus was captured, it would have been next to impossible for Jonah to go through two hostile military fronts in order to reach Nineveh. This could account for the presence in Nineveh of a "king of Nineveh", who was not the Assyrian king, only a local ruler of a rebellious city in those days.
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