What Happened to the Magnificent Assyrian Army
Was there an Assyrian siege on Jerusalem in 701 B.C.E.? The Holy Scripture, in II Kings 19, tells the story of King Sennacherib and his mighty Assyrian army laying siege on Jerusalem that ended in their death. This account has intrigued some members of the Christian world for generations, and its physical proof or disproof has eluded and baffled archeologists for many decades.
The Sennacherib Prism was discovered in Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire, in 1830. It records the Annals of Sennacherib and indicates that Jerusalem was approached but never destroyed because King Hezekiah surrendered. The prism also tells of countless towns and villages conquered and plundered by King Sennacherib, taking 200,150 into captivity.
It is interesting to note that the Assyrian record differs from other accounts of the event while the Old Testament account is corroborated by the historians Herodotus (Greek), Berosus (Chaldean) and Josephus (Jewish). However, none are independent witnesses.
In 1838 Edward Robinson discovered the tunnel of Hezekiah. This tunnel was built to supply water to the city of Jerusalem. In the 1970s, Nahman Arigad uncovered a massive, defensive city wall. Scientific evidence dates both the tunnel and wall back to the 8th century B.C.E., leaving little doubt the people of Jerusalem expected a siege on their city. Had it not been for those two major finds supporting the siege idea, perhaps archeologists would not have been so enthusiastic about finding more proof.
In 1976, five arrowheads were found by archeologists near Jerusalem. Three were identified as Assyrian, one was Hebrew, but the fifth proved to be a puzzle. It was not Assyrian, Hebrew, or any other neighboring culture. Assyrian weapons were made of iron, but this arrowhead was made of copper and appeared primitive. Still, the whole group lay buried within the same timeline of around 700 B.C.E. What was its origin?
This leaves us with plenty evidence of a siege but no real answer as to what happened. Which account is correct? Do we believe the Sennacherib Prism account or what is told in II Kings 19? Discover the thrilling story as it is told in The Black Angel of the Lord.