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Verses 11-12

(11, 12) Out of that land went forth Asshur.—So the LXX., Syriac, and Vulg.; but the Targum and most modern authorities rightly translate, “Out of that land he went forth into Assyria.” We have here nothing to do with Asshur the son of Shem (see Genesis 10:22), but are occupied with Nimrod and the Hamites, who, after firmly establishing themselves in Babylonia, subsequently extended their influence northward. This is confirmed by the cuneiform inscriptions, which prove that the southern portion of Mesopotamia was the chief seat of the Accadians, while in Assyria they came at an early date into collision with the Shemites, who drove them back, and ultimately subjugated them everywhere. It is not necessary to suppose that this spread of Hamite civilisation northward was the work of Nimrod personally; if done by his successors, it would, in Biblical language, be ascribed to its prime mover.

The Assyrian cities were:—

1. Nineveh.—So happily situated on the Tigris that it outstripped the more ancient Babylon, and for centuries even held it in subjection.

2. The City Rehoboth.—Translated by some Rehoboth-Ir, but with more probability by others, “the suburbs of the city:” that is, of Nineveh, thus denoting already the greatness of that town.

3. Calah.—A city rebuilt by Assur-natzir-pal, the father of Shalmaneser, and interesting as one of the places where the Assyrian kings established libraries (Chald. Gen., p. 26). The ruins are still called Nimroud.

4. Resen.—The “spring-head.” Of this town nothing certain is known. Canon Rawlinson places it at Selamiyah (Anc. Mon., 1:204), a large village half-way between Nineveh and Calah. As the vast ruins scattered throughout Mesopotamia are those of Assyrian buildings, Resen, though “a great city” in Hamite times, might easily pass into oblivion, if never rebuilt by the conquerors.

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