Sennacherib's campaign in Judah

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Sennacherib's campaign in Judah
Part of Sennacherib's campaigns
Lachish relief showing the siege of Lachish.
Date 701 BCE
Location Judah
Result Jewish victory, disputed by the Assyrians, Judah remains independent.
Menora Titus.jpg Kingdom of Judah
Supported by
Kushite empire 700bc.jpgKushite Egypt
Map of Assyria.png Neo-Assyrian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Menora Titus.jpg King Hezekiah
Menora Titus.jpg Isaiah Ben-Amotz
Menora Titus.jpg Eliakim Ben-Hilkiah
Menora Titus.jpg Joahe Ben-Asaph
Menora Titus.jpg Shebna
Supported by
Kushite empire 700bc.jpgTaharqa
Map of Assyria.png Sennacherib
Map of Assyria.png Rabshakeh
Map of Assyria.png Rabsaris
Map of Assyria.png Tartan
Unknown Over 185,000 soldiers
Casualties and losses
Many killed
200,150 Jews exiled,
46 walled cities and many other towns destroyed[1]
Over 185,000 Assyrian soldiers dead [2][3]
Sources below.

Sennacherib's campaign in Judah was a military conflict in 701 BC between Kingdom of Judah and the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the conflict is part of the greater conflict of Sennacherib's campaigns. The conflict is considered one of the greatest victories of Judah at that time, from being a vassal state of Assyria, to beating the Assyrian empire and being completely independent.


In 722 BC king Shalmaneser V of Assyria fought against and eventually destroyed the Northern Kingdom,[4] exiling nearly all of the northern-Israelites,[5] some, if not many of those who weren't exiled went to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.[6] The Kingdom of Judah under King Ahaz became a vassal-state of Assyria before the Northern Kingdom's demise.[7]

In 701 BC, many Kingdoms started rebelling against Assyria, seeing that all of those Kingdoms are rebelling, King Hezekiah of Judah has decided to rebel as well, with the promise of Egypt to help. In order to stop the rebelling, King Sennacherib of Assyria has started his campaigns in the area, today called, Sennacherib's campaigns.

Eventually, Sennacherib has suppressed all of the rebels, and now, he went towards Judah, the last rebel. King Hezekiah, fearing the fate of the northerners, has sent Sennacherib 300[8] (According to Assyrian source: 800[9]) talents of Silver and 30 of Gold.

The War[edit]

Sennacherib has captured 46 Jewish "strong, walled cities", exiling 200,150 Jews,[10] and then headed to Azekah, a city that was on the border.

Siege of Azekah[edit]

Sennacherib besieged Azekah, the city "on his border with Judah", he destroyed the walls with battering rams and his soldiers burned the city after the end of the battle.[11] After the end of the battle, headed to Lachish, a walled city near Jerusalem.

Siege of Lachish[edit]

Sennacherib besieged Lachish, the Assyrians used arrows and slingstones inside the wall when the Jews fired arrows on the Assyrian soldiers, apparently the Assyrians managed to break the wall using battering rams. After breaking the walls, the Assyrians murdered many Jews, and according to the Assyrian sources, they cut the throats of many of the defenders, others were thrown from the wall.[12]

The loss of Lachish has been a disaster for Judah, and after Lachish, Assyria now heads to Jerusalem.

Siege of Jerusalem[edit]

Seeing that Sennacherib's coming, Hezekiah built a 533-metre tunnel to the Spring of Gihon,[13][14] because he knew that this would stop the water source for the Assyrians, while supplying Jerusalem with water.[15]

Later, Sennacherib sent Rabshakeh, Rabsaris and Tartan in order to persuade Jerusalem's people to give up and open the wall, Rabshakeh spoke to the people standing on the wall, including Hezekiah's ministers Eliakim Ben-Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah Ben-Asaph.[16] After the people of Jerusalem refused to give up, the war started.[17]

But there have been a deadly disease in the Assyrian army and 185,000 soldiers have died from the disease described in the Bible as God's angel that killed the Assyrian soldiers.[18]

Due to that, Sennacherib returned to Assyria, and Judah remained the only independent state in the area.

According to Jewish tradition, the siege ended at the first night of Passover of 701 BC.



  1. ^ Sennacherib's Annals
  2. ^ 2 Kings 19
  3. ^ Isaiah 37
  4. ^ 2 Kings 17
  5. ^ 2 Kings 17
  6. ^ 2 Chronicles 30
  7. ^ 2 Chronicles 28
  8. ^ 2 Kings 18
  9. ^ Sennacherib's Annals
  10. ^ Sennacherib's Annals
  11. ^ Azekah Inscription
  12. ^ Lachish Relief
  13. ^ 2 Chronicles 32
  14. ^ Siloam Inscription
  15. ^ 2 Chronicles 32
  16. ^ 2 Kings 18
  17. ^ 2 Kings 18
  18. ^ 2 Kings 19