Assyria was a powerful nation in northern Mesopotamia. Its capital was first located at the city of Asshur and later at Nineveh. The Assyrian Empire reached the height of its influence in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E.
The northern kingdom of Israel became a vassal state under the Assyrians in 841 B.C.E. In 722 B.C.E. the Assyrians conquered Samaria and exiled many of the people of Israel to regions near the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. As the Assyrians advanced down the coastal plain of Palestine in the time of King Hezekiah of Judah, they threatened to capture Jerusalem. The Prophet Isaiah gave assurance that Jerusalem would not be taken, and the Assyrian army experienced a plague and departed. The Prophet Nahum announced that Assyria would be defeated. After the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C.E., King Josiah of Judah allied himself with the Babylonians in an attempt to defeat Assyria. Josiah was killed, but the Babylonians prevailed and made Assyria part of the expanding Babylonian Empire.