Biblical Archaeology Review 41:3, May/June 2015

ReViews: Murder, Mayhem and Resolve in Biblical Lachish

Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2015

This volume has everything you could wish for. Drama, clear storytelling, lots of pictures (most in color), archaeological integrity, strong Biblical content, murders and resolution. Ussishkin wrote the book in Hebrew, but the very skillful English translation tells the tale in language clear enough for interested beginners in archaeology to understand and enjoy. It is the rich story of two remarkable excavations, separated by almost 40 years, at the Biblical city of Lachish, the second city of Judah, perhaps its winter capital. No other excavation of a Biblical city presents quite the drama found here. In my view the only other similar popular book is Yigael Yadin’s book on Masada published in 1966.

As told in the Bible, Lachish has an unfortunate and violent history. Joshua 10 describes how the Canaanites in Lachish banded together with other Canaanite cities to confront the invading Israelites, only to lose a major battle. Second Kings 14:19 relates the story of the assassination of King Amaziah of Judah at Lachish, after he fled there from Jerusalem. Second Kings 18 and 19 outline the Biblical view of the invasion of Judah by the great Assyrian monarch Sennacherib, how he battled against Lachish and took it with destructive force. And finally, the Bible tells of the destruction of Lachish by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in Jeremiah 34.

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