Nowadays, some ruins of the city can still be seen in Iraq. Sometimes spelled Assur, the name means “who is happy.” Ashur in the Bible, was an ancient city in Mesopotamia on the Tigris River. Dating from the 3rd millennium BC. It was used from the 14th to the 9th centuries BC as the first capital of the Assyrian Empire.
It used to be the place where kings would be crowned or even buried. The city was also associated with the god carrying the same name, and it served as the religious capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was eventually destroyed by Babylon but later revived in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.
The ancient Assyrians had a “prime” god that they used to call Ashur. Because of this god, many Assyrian kings are said to have carried the same name. In the Bible, he was Shem’s son. He had three brothers: Elam, Arphaxad, and Aram. “The sons of Shem were Elam and Asshur and Arpachshad and Lud and Aram.” (Genesis 10:22).
There seems to be an ongoing “battle” with scholars and academics having a hard time proving whether Ashur or Nimrod built the cities of Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah.
Was Ashur Related to Noah?
The more you research and read the Holy Book, the more you understand just how connected every person, event and location is. No matter who you are, chances are that you have heard of Noah at least one time in your life. He is the ninth descendant of Adam and the son of Lamech, as Genesis 5:29 tells us.
We all know him as the one who was chosen by God to elevate humankind. After God realized that His beloved creation, humanity, was corrupt and evil. So He decided to destroy it. But God observed how righteous Noah was, so he told him to build an ark to protect his family. And also to gather every male and female species of the land animal because He was about to punish humankind with a deadly flood. (Genesis 6:14-21)
Ashur in the Bible is the grandson of Noah, the son of Noah’s son Shem. The son of Shem was one of the first boys to be born after the deadly flood that destroyed most of the humankind when Noah was chosen by God. It is speculated that he “went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah. That is the great city.” (Genesis 10:11-12) The land known as Assyria probably comes from his name, as they are both written the same in Hebrew.
Why Was Ashur Protected by God?
Ashur, as well as his siblings, offspring, and parents, were protected by God, thanks to his grandfather, Noah. Back in the days of Noah, when God asked him to build an ark that would protect his family and the animals of the world, God also made a promise to Noah. After 40 days of nonstop rain, flood, and overall destruction, Noah sent out a dove that later returned with an olive leaf. Signaling that the flood was over.
The only survivors of God’s wrath were Noah, his wife, and their children, along with their significant others. When they disembarked, God blessed them and encouraged them to “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)
We also find out in Genesis that God promised Noah and his sons never to destroy them, their descendants, or any other living creature through a flood ever again. “I establish my covenant with you. Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood. Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11). Therefore, due to the fact that Ashur is a direct descendant of Noah’s, he was protected by God.
Sometimes, you will see references naming him the “Father of the Assyrians.” But it is important to understand that those refer to the “King of the Assyrian Gods” and not Noah’s grandson.
Not much is mentioned about Shem’s son in the Bible after that. Then, finally, they mention the “king of the Assyrian gods,” who also went by the name “Asshur.” Asshur was the one who gave life and power to kings of the land and those who worshipped him. So it’s safe to assume that this false god was not protected by the Lord.
What Can We Learn from Noah?
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear, built an ark to save his family. By his faith, he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith” (Hebrews 11:7). Noah was a man of faith. Although he had no real way of finding out if there would ever be a flood, he respected God’s indications to build the ark.
He gathered his family and the animals and obeyed. And for his obedience, God rewarded him and his family, along with their entire line of descendants.
There is always something that we can learn from the Bible. Although the flood only had eight survivors, Noah and his family, there are still positive things that we can take from it. The most important one, however, is that God can always find a way to save us. God saw how good Noah was and how corrupt and bad the rest of humankind was.
So He decided to punish the bad and reward Noah and his family. On top of that, after the flood, God does not leave Noah and his family in the middle of the waters. Instead, he provides a way for them to find land.
It might be hard sometimes to picture such events in the modern day, but the possibility is never zero. And even though, at times, things seem pointless or without a way out, your faith in God and your obedience will help you go over any obstacle that life throws your way. And remember, whatever you are going through, happens for a reason. God is that reason. And God will save you.