You no doubt remember Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria, from the story of Jonah. God had sent His prophet to testify against the people of Nineveh. Jonah ran from God, not wanting to warn the Ninevites. Aware of their reputation for brutality and their long history of atrocities against Israel, the prophet no doubt believed they were deserving of God's judgment and not His mercy. (Aren't we all?)
Just how brutal were the ancient Assyrians? Among other atrocities, they were known for staking captives to the ground and stripping the flesh off their bodies. Beheadings even then were common. One stone relief found at Nineveh depicts an Assyrian commander giving a bracelet to a soldier, presumably as a reward for the six human heads lying at his feet. Another relief shows Ashurbanipal II, perhaps the best known Assyrian king, on the back of a horse standing on top of a small hill of human skulls.
The area, now in the northwestern part of Iraq, obviously has a long history of violence and brutality. In spite of the many attempts to broker peace in the Middle East, scripture states bluntly that no such peace will occur until Jesus Himself comes in glory to destroy His adversaries and to set up His earthly kingdom.