IN THE 8TH CENTURY, B.C., THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE WAS AT ITS PEAK, and its armies threatened the nations on the eastern Mediterranean seaboard, including Israel. The Assyrians were a brutal, fearsome people, the most terrible, perhaps, in all the earth’s history. Conquered lands were literally plundered of everything of value – even people, who were taken to slavery in foreign lands. The wall murals of the Assyrians, some of which now bedeck the British Museum in London, depict scenes of horrible savagery and torture. Men were sometimes skinned alive, or impaled on poles to slowly die outside the gates of a city.
Earned archaeologist, Sir Austen Henry Layard, rediscovered and unearthed the ancient Assyrian cities, and graphically described the scenes on the wall murals he found: “Captives… were stretched naked at full length on the ground, and whilst their limbs were held apart by pegs and cords they were being flayed alive. Beneath them were other unfortunate victims undergoing abominable punishments. The brains of one were apparently being beaten out with an iron mace, whilst an officer held him by the beard. A torturer was wrenching the tongue out of the mouth of a second wretch who had been pinioned to the ground. The bleeding heads of the slain were tied round the necks of the living who seemed reserved for still more barbarous tortures.” (“Discoveries In The Ruins Of Assyria And Babylon,” p. 456)