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Biblical warfare: How Assyria conquered Lachish and how the Jews tried to defend it using a chain

The main gate of Lachish
Credit: Wilson44691/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 3.0

Archaeologists from Israel and America have released a report confirming how the Assyria’s King Sennacherib was able to conquer the small Judean city of Lachish.

The interesting battle, recorded in Isaiah, says during his invasion of Judah, the Assyrian King was able to conquer Lachish (Isaiah 36:1-2) and then surrounded the city of Jerusalem where Sennacherib’s representatives taunted the city and Judah’s King Hezekiah with its imminent destruction if Hezekiah didn’t surrender (Isaiah 36:4-24).

After King Hezekiah called on God, the prophet Isaiah delivered a prophetic word that King Sennacherib would hear of trouble brewing causing him to withdraw and return to his homeland, which is exactly what happened (Isaiah 37:5-7).

The archaeologists released a report on the remains of a massive ramp that the Assyrian army built up to the city’s walls, confirming details of the Lachish’s destruction found engraved on walls in Nineveh, which was then the Assyrian capital.

The large wall carving, where Sennacherib brags about his defeat of Lachish, shows a huge ramp had been built up the city’s wall, located on a hill. There were also images of battering rams being brought up to hit and breach the walls.

The archaeologists state they have found the remains of this large ramp and as well a quarry of stones located beside the ramp used to build it. They estimated that the ramp was made up of three million stones, averaging 6.5 kg in weight.

They believe that Sennacherib used a group of 1,000 men, who had been captured in previous battles, to build the ramp and estimate it would have taken around 25 days to complete.

Remains of the Assyrian siege ramp built at Lachish. Credit: Wilson44691/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 3.0

Once the ramp was built, the Assyrian army then brought up a battering ram, that swung between an arch, to batter and breach the wall.

The mysterious chain used by the Jewish defenders

During the excavation of Lachish, they also found the remains of a large chain outside the walls. This was a very rare find and archaeologists were puzzled by what it was used for.

In his article, The Mystery of the Unexplained Chain, Yigael Yadin writes that the chain was used by the Jewish defenders to deflect the battering ram upwards, reducing its impact on the wall.

Once the battering ram was in place, the defenders on both sides of the wall where the huge ran was located would lower a chain and as the battering ram was coming forward, the defenders would lift the chain up causing the battering ram to deflect upwards, reducing its impact.

In response, the attacking armies would use grappling hooks to try to catch the chain and break it. The remains of the chain and eventual breaching of the wall indicated they successfully countered this defensive manoeuvre.

Confirmation of Isaiah’s prophecy

Ironically, the large carving of the Lachish battle in Nineveh ordered by Sennacherib confirms the prophetic word by Isaiah that Jerusalem would not fall.

Because in terms of Judea, Lachish was a small, minor city, but King Sennacherib was forced to boast about this victory, because he had been unable to take Jerusalem.

In this relief found in Nineveh, King Sennacherib orders the destruction of Lachish. The relief reads: “Sennacherib, the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judgment, before (or at the entrance of) the city of Lachish (Lakhisha). I give permission for its slaughter”
Credit: oncenawhile/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 3.0

READ: Biblical warfare: How did the Assyrians conquer Judean Lachish? AND The Mystery of the Unexplained Chain


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