Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Why in the Old Testament God chose Israel and called them His people and favored them over Assyria?

You need to distinguish between the Assyrians as a nation and people blessed by God and Assyria as a symbol of arrogance and the unjust invader of Israel. The Assyrians did believe in God at the time of Jonah but afterwards returned to their old ways. The Lord used them to punish Israel for their sins but this does not mean that they themselves went unpunished for what they had done to Israel. "Therefore it shall come to pass, when the LORD has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks. For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also, I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man. My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, And as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; and there was no one who moved his wing, nor opened his mouth with even a peep." Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!" (Isa 10:12-15).
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