[by Dean Smith] An article in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reports on work by researchers from Tel Aviv University transcribing messages written on shards of pottery. The shards are believed to be 2,500 years old.
They found an ominous message written on one piece of broken pottery from the ancient city of Lachish that confirms the book of Jeremiah.
God called the prophet/priest Jeremiah to warn Judah of its impending fall to the massive Babylonian army if the Jews under King Jehoiakim did not repent and turn back to God. Jerusalem fell to Babylon, but wasn’t destroyed and instead Judah was forced to pay tribute to the Babylonian empire.
However, ten years later when King Zedekiah, a Babylonian vassal, tried to throw off the Babylonian yoke it led to a second invasion that resulted in Jerusalem’s destruction and ransacking of the temple. Jeremiah again warned Judah that resistance was futile, but he was ignored and actually imprisoned.
It was this second invasion referenced in Jeremiah 34:
7 when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining cities of Judah, that is, Lachish and Azekah, for they alone remained as fortified cities among the cities of Judah. (Jeremiah 34:7 NASV)
Jeremiah reported only two Jewish military outposts stood between Jerusalem and the Babylonian army — Lachish and Azekah. Lachish was the second largest city in Judah. It was double-walled built to withstand an army’s assault — but was no match for Babylon.
As researchers were interpreting the writing on the pottery shards, they came across a dire warning written by a Jewish commander stationed outside Lachish.
“In the dispatch, an official stationed outside the city reports to his commander …. ‘we can see the signals from Lachish, but we no longer see Azekah.'”
Researchers believe this is a record of the ominous news that Azekah had fallen to the Babylonians and the military observers knew Lachish was next. Babylon would show no mercy this time. Other shards contained urgent messages calling for reinforcements and supplies.
Spared the first time, Lachish, Azekah and Jerusalem would all be destroyed in this second Babylonian invasion.