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Ancient Blinding of Prisoners
Illustration of a King Blinding His Captives
The sketch is from a relief depicting prisoners begging for their lives before the king of Assyria who is about to gouge out their eyes. Notice the hooks in their lips and fetters on their ankles and wrists. This is similar to what happened to king Zedekiah of Judah.
The other kings are waiting for the same fate with bridles in their noses. The Bible reveals accounts of prisoners being blinded and this metaphor is used of God leading rebellious people and nations.
"And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon." - 2 Kings 25:7
"Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest." - Isaiah 37:29
"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen.." - Ezekiel 38:1-4
There are many examples revealing Assyrian severity. A captured king was taken to the capital and compelled to pull the royal chariot of triumph. Rings were put through their lips or noses and sometimes hands, feet, noses and ears were cut off, they were blinded and their tongues were torn from their mouths. Prisoners were skinned alive and set on fire. Their skins were also hung near enemy city gates in order to collect tribute. The Lord allowed the ruthless Assyrians to capture the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC because of Israel's rebellion against Him. They were never seen again.
The Bible mentions the "Assyrians"
Jeremiah 2:18 - And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
2 Kings 16:10 - And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that [was] at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.
2 Kings 19:4 - It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that are left.
Isaiah 37:4 - It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that is left.
Jeremiah 2:36 - Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.
2 Chronicles 32:9 - After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he [himself laid siege] against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that [were] at Jerusalem, saying,
2 Chronicles 30:6 - So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.
2 Kings 16:7 - So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I [am] thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
2 Kings 18:9 - And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which [was] the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it.
2 Kings 18:17 - And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which [is] in the highway of the fuller's field.
2 Kings 17:26 - Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.
2 Kings 17:24 - And the king of Assyria brought [men] from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed [them] in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
2 Kings 20:6 - And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
2 Chronicles 28:21 - For Ahaz took away a portion [out] of the house of the LORD, and [out] of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave [it] unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.
Zechariah 10:10 - I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and [place] shall not be found for them.
Jeremiah 50:17 - Israel [is] a scattered sheep; the lions have driven [him] away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
2 Kings 18:16 - At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of the LORD, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
Isaiah 36:8 - Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
Nehemiah 9:32 - Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.
Micah 5:6 - And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver [us] from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
2 Kings 23:29 - In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
Isaiah 27:13 - And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
Isaiah 36:2 - And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
2 Kings 18:23 - Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
2 Kings 18:28 - Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:
2 Kings 19:10 - Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Isaiah 36:13 - Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.
2 Kings 15:19 - [And] Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.
2 Kings 16:8 - And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent [it for] a present to the king of Assyria.
2 Kings 18:30 - Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.