This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2 Kings 18:1,7,13-16; 19:5-7,20-21,28,32-36  In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. 7 The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. 13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria, who was at Lachish, “I have violated our treaty. If you leave, I will do whatever you demand.” So the king of Assyria demanded that King Hezekiah of Judah pay three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver in the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace. 16 At that time King Hezekiah of Judah stripped the metal overlays from the doors of the Lord’s temple and from the posts which he had plated and gave them to the king of Assyria. [in verses 17-36 the Assyrian emissaries taunt Jerusalem, saying YHWH can’t save them, so Hezekiah sends servants to inquire of Isaiah the prophet] 19:5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me. 7 Look, I will take control of his mind; he will receive a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down with a sword in his own land.’'”” … 20 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I have heard your prayer concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria. 21 This is what the Lord says about him: … 28 Because you rage against me, and the uproar you create has reached my ears; I will put my hook in your nose, and my bridle between your lips, and I will lead you back the way you came.” 32 So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city, nor will he shoot an arrow here. He will not attack it with his shield-carrying warriors, nor will he build siege works against it. 33 He will go back the way he came. He will not enter this city,” says the Lord. 34 I will shield this city and rescue it for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.’” 35 That very night the Lord’s messenger went out and killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When they got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses. 36 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and went on his way. He went home and stayed in Nineveh. (NET)   See also 2 Chron 32:1-23 and Isaiah 36-37.

Colonel R. Taylor discovered a clay prism in ancient Nineveh in 1830.  The six-sided prism contains 500 lines of text written in the Akkadian language describing the exploits of King Sennacherib (705-681 BC).  Dated to 689 BC, it is only 15” x 5.5”.  Of Biblical significance is Sennacherib’s account of his invasion of Judah and siege of Jerusalem in 701 BC.[1]  The prism reads:

Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I came up against him, and by force of arms and by the might of my power I took 46 of his strong fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a countless number. From these places I took and carried off 200,156 persons, old and young, male and female, together with horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the gates, so as to prevent escape… Then upon Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, and diverse treasures, a rich and immense booty… All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat of my government.[2]

Notice what Sennacherib does not mention: the defeat of Jerusalem.  He besieged the city and took away booty, but did not defeat it.  According to the Bible, God sent an angel into the Assyrian camp during the night and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, causing Sennacherib to retreat.

Sennacherib Murdered by his own sons

2 Kings 19:37  Now it came to pass, as he (Sennacherib) was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.”

Isaiah’s prophecy came to pass 20 years later.  This exact account was discovered on a clay tablet (in The British Museum): “On the twentieth day of the month Tebet Sennacherib king of Assyria his son slew him in rebellion… Esarhaddon his son sat on the throne of Assyria.’”


[1]There is a problem with the reconciling the Biblical and extra-biblical dating.  According to 2 Kings 18:10 Samaria fell in the 9th year of Hoshea’s reign, and 6th year of Hezekiah’s reign.  Then 18:13 says Sennacherib invaded the fortified cities of Judah in Hezekiah’s 14th year.  That’s only 8 years later, which would be 714 BC, not 701 BC as we know from extra-biblical sources.  It could not have been much earlier than 701 BC because Sennacherib did not begin to reign until 705.  One solution is to understand the Biblical text to refer to the time that Sennacherib began his campaigns against Judah’s fortified cities, not the time at which Lachish fell, or the time at which Hezekiah was corresponding with Sennacherib at Lachish.  This would explain how Hezekiah was able to accomplish all the preparations described in 2 Chron 32:2-6,32.  He didn’t begin preparing in 701 BC (his 27th or 28th regal year), but in his 14th.

Advertisements