Biblical Archaeology Review 31:3, May/June 2005

In the Path of Sennacherib

By Oded Borowski

“I laid waste the large district of Judah and made the overbearing and proud Hezekiah, its king, bow in submission,” boasts Sennacherib, monarch of Assyria, in a preserved cuneiform inscription.1 “I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities: ... and conquered (them),” Sennacherib elsewhere claims, obviously hoping to secure his place in history. And indeed he has.

The Bible records this campaign in two separate accounts, once in the Book of Kings and again in Chronicles. “King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified towns” (2 Chronicles 32:1). Sennacherib’s hordes attacked Judah, according to 2 Kings 18:13 “in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign,” probably 701 B.C.E. The Biblical texts conform to Sennacherib’s own description by admitting that “King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked and captured all the fortified towns of Judah.”

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