Lachish was the last fortified city before taking Jerusalem only 30 miles away.
These pictures in stone lined the walls of his 71-roomed palace, discovered in 1847 by Austin Henry Layard
A bit like a comic book story, the battle starts to the left of the city, and ends in the victory to the right
Identify sling-shooters, archers, cavalry, storm-troopers, siege engines, artificial earth ramparts (just like Masada) and defenders throwing flaming torches and rocks down on the attackers
Prisoners are taken from the city, tortured, flayed and spiked on poles
The dome-shaped objects in the background represent soldiers’ helmets.
But the Assyrian record does not explain this ‘mystery of history’: What happened to Jerusalem? Despite the might of the Assyrian army and the numerous other victories they enjoyed, Jerusalem did not fall. The mighty Assyrian army left the area without a battle. Why?
In the Bible account, we find the answer: God declares that He will defend the city and Sennacherib’s army are destroyed by the angel of the Lord:
“Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead.” (2 Kings 19:35)
Iconic in its symbolism is the boring of the eyes, linked with the saying ‘gulla abut ainak’, an aggressive insult in the Arab world, meaning, “I’m going to poke your eyes out.” When cities were sacked, marauding armies engaged in ritualised vandalism.
You hadn’t fully toppled a king till you had also annihilated his images. Sennacherib, whose face has been vandalised by a conquering enemy soldier accepts the city’s surrender with the words:
‘Sennacherib King of the world, King of Assyria, he sat on a throne and the booty of Lachish passed before him’.
The Assyrian account, independent of the Bible passage, confirms the historical accuracy of the Bible in six specific details:
Hezekiah rebelled against Sennacherib
Forty six walled cities of Judah were defeated
Lachish, last key city before Jerusalem, was taken
Hezekiah was trapped Jerusalem
Thirty talents of gold were paid in tribute
Jerusalem was not taken
On display are sling stones and arrowheads found at the Lachish site not far from Gaza Strip