RE: Something must change

McCarrick, Allan (
Wed, 26 Aug 1998 14:56 EST

Here is a curious event, I happen to be reading some Herodotus, and
remember the strange event that Glen referred to, although it is somewhat

Glen wrote:

>And as for me, I really don't know enough of the customs of Nineveh to
>it is out of the question. And if a king ordered me to do it back then
>(kings back then were mean. Herodotus reports of a king who made his
>minister eat the minister's son for dinner), I most assuredly would have
>bought the prettiest sackcloth available.

Persian Wars, Book I, chapters 107 through 119 and continuing for a while

Astyages, king of the Medes, dreamed that the son of his daughter Mandane
would rule the kingdom. Consequently, he had her married off to a less
troublesome middle class Persian (or lower class than the Medes). He
brought Mandane back when she was about to give birth. Instead of
killing the child himself, he commanded a servant, Harpagus, to do the
dirty-work. Harpagus could not bring himself to kill the child, but gave
it to a herdsman to expose in the country. The herdsman's wife had just
delivered a still-born child. The herdsman and his wife decided to keep
the king's grandchild as their own and return their dead child to "prove"
that the deed was done. The grandchild (later named Cyrus !) is
eventually discovered. Astyages pretends to praise Harpagus that the
child is still alive and invites him to a banquet. Astyages abducted
Harpagus' own son, and served him roasted to Harpagus at the banquet.
The story goes on and on.

Not exactly what Glen said, but not a bad memory.

Getting back to the topic of Jonah and history - I am am somewhat
surprised by the willingness of George and others to drop the entire
story of Jonah all the way from literal history directly to spiritual
fable. That we don't see currently any evidence of a short term
conversion of the people of Nineveh isn't too surprising. The Egyptians
did everything they could to eradicate the memory of Pharaoh's that
altered the established religion - to the point that several Pharaohs
were unknown until the stones from their dismantled buildings were found
as fill within newer ones. I suspect we know less details about Assyrian
infighting than Egyptian.

That Nineveh is not three days walk seems a small issue since Jonah was
not trying to beat the walking record, but was rather preaching to all
quarters of the city. Quite a job I suspect.

In addition, I believe that there was a significant total eclipse of the
sun seen from Assyria about the time that Jonah could have been
preaching. Those events often caused great social upheaval up until only
a few centuries ago. God could certainly have used that celestial sign
to confirm Jonah's message and cause the sudden turn of heart of the
whole populous. I'll check my references tonight.