From the providential viewpoint, Ashurbanipal's nation had been used by God to punish the Israelites for their sins. His grandfather Sennacherib conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.E. and brought many of its leading citizens into exile. Sennacherib almost conquered the Kingdom of Judah as well, with only the city of Jerusalem able to withstand his armies.
Ashurbanipal's father Esarhaddon is mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Ezra as having brought Assyrian colonists to Israel. These Assyrian peoples eventually became worshipers of Yahweh and later wished to help the Jews rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem when they returned from Babylonian exile. Being considered as foreigners and "enemies," they were rebuffed, and later emerged as part of the Samaritan nation. Ashurbanipal himself (called Osnapper) is probably mentioned in Ezra 4:5 as another king who resettled people in Israel.
Historically, Ashurbanipal was the last great king of Assyria. Besides his substantial military, political, and artistic accomplishments, he is particularly noteworthy for his collecting thousands of clay-tablet documents from all over his empire and housing them in his library at Nineveh
. His own literacy and appreciation of the value of written texts enabled him to leave one of history's great legacies in the many ancient Mesopotamian texts that have survived due to his efforts.