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Tylor Standley

© 2010 Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 © 2010 Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The capital of ancient Assyria, Nineveh, is the setting for one of our most beloved Bible stories. Children in Sunday School giggle as they watch Jonah get projectile vomited from the mouth of the big fish on the flannel-graph (do teachers still use those?). The lesson ends with Jonah’s sermon and the Ninevites singing “I Saw the Light.”

There is, however, more to the story.

For nearly 300 years the Assyrian Empire ravaged the eastern Mediterranean seaboard, including the land of Israel.

We will not find this sinister narrative on any Sunday School flannel-graph or animated in a Veggietales movie. Instead, we find it carved into the monuments of the Assyrian Empire. While we sugarcoat our Bible stories, so as not to damage the minds of our little ones, the children of Israel saw the gory images of…

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