Biblical Archaeology Review 27:1, January/February 2001

Sennacherib’s Siege of Jerusalem: Once or Twice?

By Mordechai Cogan

The Assyrian monarch Sennacherib’s military campaign against King Hezekiah of Judah is one of the best-documented and most discussed events in the history of ancient Israel. The late-eighth-century B.C.E. encounter is reported in both Kings (2 Kings 18:13–19:37) and Chronicles (2 Chronicles 32:1–23). It is likely the backdrop for several prophetic teachings (for example, Isaiah 1:4–9, 22:1–14; Micah 1:10–16). In addition, we have a detailed cuneiform account of the campaign in the annals of Sennacherib (his third campaign).1 We even have a relief from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh depicting his conquest of Lachish,2 a visual account complemented by archaeological finds from the site south of Jerusalem.3

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