Saturday, November 1, 2014

King Sennacherib

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Hello friends! The following is physical evidence of King Sennacherib (Credit given at the bottom of the article :D)

2 Chronicles 32

32 After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?
Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.
And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying,
Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying,
10 Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem?
11 Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The Lord our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
12 Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it?
13 Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? were the gods of the nations of those lands any ways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand?
14 Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand?
15 Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?
16 And his servants spake yet more against the Lord God, and against his servant Hezekiah.
17 He wrote also letters to rail on the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand.
18 Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews' speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city.
19 And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.
20 And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.
21 And the Lord sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.
22 Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.
23 And many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.
24 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.
25 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.
26 Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
27 And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;
28 Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.
29 Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much.
30 This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
31 Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
32 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
33 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

Praise The Lord JESUS CHRIST!!!
Assyrian Lachish Reliefs 
Setting the Stage

In 930 BC the unified country of Israel split into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom is known as Israel. The southern kingdom is known as Judah. 200 years later, in 720 BC, Israel is destroyed by Assyria (modern day Iraq).

With Israel destroyed Assyria turns its gaze toward destroying Judah. 2 Kings 18:13 says, “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.”

2 Kings 18:17 states, “The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.” The prize of Judah would be the destruction of Jerusalem. Conquering Boston would be a victory but defeating Washington, D.C. would be even greater. 

Sennacherib drives one of the most powerful armies of all human history toward Jerusalem. The Assyrian commander tells the people of Jerusalem, “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?”

Hezekiah prays fervently for deliverance. He sends a delegation to Isaiah the prophet for counsel. Isaiah tells him not to worry Jerusalem will NOT be destroyed by the leading world power, God will intervene. This is just one of the myriad stories found in the Bible. Is this story accurate? How can a story from nearly 3,000 years ago be trusted as completely true? Does archaeology support or deny the accuracy of 2 Kings 18 and 19?

The Discovery

We know from Assyrian history, outside the Bible, there was a king named Sennacherib. His reign was from 704-681 BC. We know Sennacherib moved the capital of the Assyrian empire from a city named Dur Sharrukin to Nineveh. He then built an amazing palace. He actually named his palace, “The Palace without Rival.” John Malcolm Russell explains, “The walls of some seventy rooms in this structure were lined with limestone slabs carved in low relief with scenes commemorating Sennacherib’s royal exploits.” For nearly 2,500 years the palace lay buried and forgotten.

In 1847 Sennacherib’s palace was discovered by the British diplomat and amateur archaeologist Austin Henry Layard. Layard’s discovery drew a huge amount of attention. Inscriptions discovered within the palace removed any doubt this was indeed Sennacherib’s famous palace. The finds were magnificent. The main focus of the excitement came from a room archaeologists labeled, “Room XXVI.”

Layard found the walls of this room covered with limestone 8 feet tall and 80 feet long wrapping around all four walls. Every inch of the room’s walls powerfully depicted only one scene in history, Sennacherib’s defeat of the southern kingdom city of Lachish. Remember in 2 Kings 18:17, “The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.”

The piece of art identifies itself as the battle of Lachish and provides detailed chronological information about the battle. Some women are seen walking down siege ramps; while possibly their husbands are being impaled by the Assyrians.

We see what the women of Lachish were wearing the day of the battle; we see the type of facial hair worn by the men. We see the type of military equipment and military techniques the Assyrians used to defeat Lachish and threaten Jerusalem. The relief gives us stunning play-by-play detail of the destruction of Lachish.

Do you see all the little dome-shaped objects in the background? What are they? Each one represents a soldier’s helmet. They are depicting in art a vast sea of soldier’s helmets, representing the immensity of the Assyrian army.


The Provenance, or history, of the Lachish Relief is without dispute. The relief did not appear mysteriously on the black market. The dig of Sennacherib’s palace was well-documented and the relief clearly discovered from within the city of Nineveh and specifically in Room XXVI of Sennacherib’s palace. Even though Austin Henry Layard was an amateur archaeologist at the time of the discovery, the discovery has a strong provenance. Furthermore, leading archaeologists have been able to examine the relief and confirm its authenticity and importance.


Why would Sennacherib cover a room in his palace with scenes from this one battle? That’s where it gets really interesting. Archaeologists have been able to determine this room was a waiting room for people getting ready to see Sennacherib. Many of the people getting ready to see the emperor were kings or dignitaries in their own land. These powerful people, as they waited to meet with Sennacherib, would be able to see the power of the king and the fate of those who would resist his rule.

The discovery is significant on many levels, here are but a few:
The discovery confirms Israel as a powerful/important nation in the 8th century BC. If you want to show yourself as powerful to other kings/dignitaries you will mention someone powerful whom you defeated. No one is impressed if you steal candy from a baby. Yet if you steel candy from an Ultimate Fighting Champion, you have my attention. Many critics argue the nation of Israel was not great during the time of the kings (David, Solomon, etc…). Critics will say Israel was a sparsely populated country full of poor farmers. The Assyrian relief, in support of the Bible, proves Israel was a powerful country during the period of the kings.
Sennacherib uses 8 feet-by-80 feet of wall space to brag about destroying Lachish. Why didn’t he instead use that prime real estate to brag about destroying Jerusalem? Jerusalem would have been the ultimate prize to brag about, Lachish is generally regarded as the second most important city of Judah behind Jerusalem. Destroying Jerusalem would have meant destroying the temple of the God of Israel. A message would be sent throughout the world telling people the god of Assyria is greater than the God of Israel. Since the relief depicts Lachish instead of Jerusalem it is obvious Sennacherib did not destroy Jerusalem. The biblical account is accurate; Lachish was destroyed not Jerusalem. In additional support to my first point, Sennacherib is boasting to other kings about destroying the second most influential city in Judah.

The destruction of Lachish is the most widely documented event from the Old Testament. The story is explained in four independent sources from the same era: 1) In the Bible; 2) In Assyrian cuneiform prisms (another discovery shown in picture at left) accounting the same events, 3) In archaeological excavations at the site of Lachish; and 4) In the monumental reliefs discovered in Nineveh.

The discovery supports the construction of another archaeological marvel: Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Sennacherib’s army thought they had cut off all sources of water to Jerusalem. It would be a matter of a couple weeks until the people fled Jerusalem in need of water. The joke was on them. Hezekiah, without modern tools, had constructed a tunnel inside Jerusalem through 1750 feet of solid rock in order to reach an underground water supply. The tunnel wasn’t discovered in modern times until 1837. I have had the amazing privilege, with water up to my knees, of walking through all 1750 feet of the tunnel constructed to survive Sennacherib’s siege.

The Assyrian Lachish Relief is the 8th century BC’s equivalent of finding an HD video taken during a war that occurred during the Old Testament. The HD video completely supports the biblical account making this one of the ten most significant biblical discoveries in archaeology of all time.

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