Arresting Disaster at Ararat


In Genesis 8, after the flood covered the earth, “God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark… on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat” The waters receded, the land dried and Noah, his family, and all the animals left the ark, to begin a regenesis process for human and animal life. God promised he would never destroy the earth again. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

The Late Bronze Age collapse ushered in a calamitous period for the major kingdoms of the ancient Near East. In the late 13th to early 12th centuries BCE, the large powers of the time suffered economic decline, changes in population and settlement patterns and the loss of centralized authority. At the outset of the 12th century BCE, the Mycenaean kingdom of Greece was destroyed. In the middle of the 12th century the Kassite kingdom of Babylon was defeated. Around the same time, the Hittite kingdom of Anatolia, in the region of modern day Turkey, collapsed. Egypt’s New Kingdom saw its power begin to wane and by the mid-11th century BCE, centralized control of the country had unwound, ushering in its Third Intermediate Period. The Assyrian kingdom survived, though reduced to a rump state.

In the late 10th century BCE and into the 9th BCE, a different regenesis occurred. One great power would emerge as the greatest power of its time and ultimately cause many independent nations to cease to be.

The Assyrian kingdom survived the Late Bronze Age collapse, which left it well positioned for a recovery from the collapse. From the Assyrian capital at Assur, the modern day Qalʿat Sharqāṭ on the west bank of the Tigris River in northern Iraq, the late 10th century BCE and early 9th century BCE Assyrian kings Ashur-dan II, Adad-nirari II and Tukulti-Ninurta II began the Assyrian “reconquista,” a process of recapturing areas that had once been under Assyrian control and which were home to Assyrian populations. These kings pushed Assyria’s borders out in all directions, brushing up against the Babylonians to the southeast, fighting the Persians and Medes to the east, and defeating the Neo-Hittites to the north and the Arameans to the west.

This Assyrian kingdom would eventually grow to become perhaps the world’s first true empire, controlling a broad territory containing a wide variety of states and nations under its rule. But just as God in the Bible ended the destruction at Ararat, the Assyrian empire would limit its northward expansion in the Urartu region to the north, the region of Mount Ararat.

A map of the extent of the Assyrian Empire and its greatest extent to the north can be seen via the following link:

The image above is a headless statue of Ashur-Dan II, king of Assyria.