What was so especially "wicked" about Niniveh that Jonah would have to go there?

Were they wicked in that they worshiped different god(s)? This is pretty much what every other country did.

Were they wicked in that they had high crime and murder rates?

Were they wicked in that they instituted high taxes?

Actually I am looking for how Niniveh was "different". For example, violent people, as we know, are common in all societies. So I wonder if they were unusually violent (i.e., if that was the issue).

What was it that set them apart in their wickedness?

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    Why high taxes? – Charles Koppelman Dec 27 '12 at 20:42
  • high (income) taxes are evil for it punish people for being productive. Ask Milton Friedman (a jew). I suppose they probably have sword free zone that allow psychos to kill children and give their government justification for even more restrictions on right to bear arms. However, I want to keep the question serious. – user4951 Dec 27 '12 at 22:03
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    I highly doubt that Milton Friedman actually uses the word "evil" and even more highly doubt that he was basing anything on Jewish sources. Karl Marx and Emma Goldman were also Jews. – Charles Koppelman Dec 27 '12 at 22:10
  • Actually I am looking for cases where Niniveh is "different". Violent, as we know are common in all societies. So I wonder if they are unusually violent (have higher homicide rate), and that sort of thing. Tax is robbery. Not recognizing tax as robbery means God (in Judaism) himself recognize government and their rights to tax hapless peasants, which is another issue I want to know my self. – user4951 Dec 28 '12 at 4:33
  • You're welcome to ask :) – Charles Koppelman Dec 28 '12 at 5:40

Jonah 3:8 - see Radak - says that the sin of Ninvei was Chamas - translated by many as robbery. We see similarly in Braishis 6:11 (or with English) by the Great Flood by Noach which came upon the world for that reason.

There are others that translate Chamas differently. However it was Chamas that was the reason why Hashem was ready to destroy Ninvai.

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    Where does Radak say that Chamas means robbery? It means 'violence' or something along those lines. See for example its usage in Genesis 16:5 – Double AA Dec 27 '12 at 16:01
  • @DoubleAA, I seem to recall that a lot of verbal commentary (as in pulpit speeches) assume it means robbery as well. There must be a source somewhere that serves as the basis for this assumption. – Seth J Dec 27 '12 at 16:03
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    Also, worth noting that Radak says Chamas was the biggest sin, not the only sin. – Double AA Dec 27 '12 at 16:07
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    ותאמר שרי אל אברם חמסי עליך וגו' (טז, ה) היאך נופל כאן לשון חמס שעניינו גזילה, ומה ענין זה לכעסה על אברהם, וכמו"כ יש להבין הלא היא עצמה נתנה את הגר לאברהם ומה תביעה יש לה עליו. אכן באמת יש להבין עצם הדבר שנעשה כך ותקל גבירתה בעיניה, וע"י מה נעשתה קלה בעיניה והרי ולד שפחה כמותה, ואדרבה גם ולדה עבד לשרה והיאך נקלה כבודה בעיני הגר, אלא סבורה היתה הגר כהנך דעות בפוסקים (יו"ד קס"ז ס"ט) דישראל שבא על שפחתו או קדשה הולד בן חורין דאמרינן מסתמא שחררה, ונקל כבוד גבירתה כי סברה שבת חורין היא דשחררה אברהם. – Gershon Gold Dec 27 '12 at 16:55
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    FTR, I'm not supporting any position. I was merely stating for @DoubleAA's sake that Gershon's interpretation isn't new. I've heard it before. I've also heard other explanations. It means violence, in today's Hebrew. I've also heard it means violent corruption (like extortion, violently forced sexual corruption, and all kinds of immoral activities that can fall under that umbrella). – Seth J Dec 28 '12 at 5:21

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