Judah has seen the exile of Israel at the hands of super power Assyria – are they next?
Flash forward a century – judgement on the Assyrians and Nineveh
“Woe to the bloody city… And it will come about that all who see you Will shrink from you and say, ‘Nineveh is devastated!…The gates of your land are opened wide to your enemies; Fire consumes your gate bars…” (Nahum 3:1,7,13).
To the left of the winged bull is a large blackened panel showing direct evidence of Nineveh’s destruction by fire in 612 BC
Hezekiah’s defence of Jerusalem 701 BC
2 Kings 18.11-5
After King David and King Solomon the nation of Israel divided into northern kingdom (10 Tribes) and southern kingdom (2 Tribes)
Hezekiah was king of Judah while Shalmaneser attacked Israel, finally falling in 722 BC
Hezekiah was a righteous king and initially refused to serve or pay homage to the king of Assyria
Sennacherib next on the throne after Shalmaneser responds by taking fortified cities on the way to the prize – Jerusalem
Sennacherib imposes a tribute on Hezekiah 10,200 kg silver and 1020 kg gold.
Hezekiah Defends Jerusalem Against the Assyrians in 701B.C.
After initial submission to Sennacherib, Hezekiah’s rebellion produced an aggressive response: the Assyrians systematically attacked dozens of Judah’s fortified cities on route to the ultimate prize – Jerusalem.
Despite receiving tribute from Hezekiah, he attacked Jerusalem. The Jews held out against the siege aided by the 600 metre (1750 foot) ‘Hezekiah’s Tunnel’, still in use today, that diverts the water supply into the city of David eventually supplying the pool of Siloam.
Sennacherib’s senior commander attacked the capital as he besieged the last major city before Jerusalem – Lachish.
Now in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it. At the end of three years they captured it; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was captured. Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.
” Then the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rab-saris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a large army to Jerusalem. So they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they went up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway of the fuller’s field. When they called to the king, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, came out to them. Then Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria,
“What is this confidence that you have? You say (but they are only empty words), ‘I have counsel and strength for the war.’ Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me? Now behold, you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt; on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. (2 Kings 18:9-10,13-14,17-21)
Sennacherib records his version of the biblical account on the Taylor prism:
‘As for Hezekiah the Judahite, who did not submit to my yoke: forty-six of his strong, walled cities, as well as the small towns in their area, which were without number, by levelling with battering-rams and by bringing up siege-engines, and by attacking and storming on foot, by mines, tunnels, and breeches, I besieged and took them. 200,150 people, great and small, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, cattle and sheep without number,
I brought away from them and counted as spoil. (Hezekiah) himself, like a caged bird I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city. I threw up earthworks against him- the one coming out of the city-gate, I turned back to his misery.
His cities, which I had despoiled, I cut off from his land, and to the kings of Ashdod, Ekron, and Gaza, I gave (them). And thus I diminished his land. I added to the former tribute, and I laid upon him the surrender of their land and gifts for my majesty. As for Hezekiah, the terrifying splendour of my majesty overcame him, and the Arabs and his mercenary troops that he had brought in to strengthen Jerusalem, his royal city, deserted him.
In addition to the thirty talents of gold and eight hundred talents of silver, gems, antimony, jewels, large carnelians, ivory-inlaid couches, ivory-inlaid chairs, elephant hides, elephant tusks, ebony, boxwood, all kinds of valuable treasures, as well as his daughters, his harem, his male and female musicians, which he had brought after me to Nineveh, my royal city. To pay tribute and to accept servitude, he dispatched his messengers.’
Sennacherib attacks Jerusalem ignoring the tribute but the city holds out due to Hezekiah’s tunnel build under the city through which the water was diverted.