Sin (the god) sends many brothers, son of Sargon, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria (B.C. 705), in the 23rd year of Hezekiah. "Like the Persian Xerxes, he was weak and vainglorious, cowardly under reverse, and cruel and boastful in success." He first set himself to break up the powerful combination of princes who were in league against him. Among these was Hezekiah, who had entered into an alliance with Egypt against Assyria. He accordingly led a very powerful army of at least 200,000 men into Judea, and devastated the land on every side, taking and destroying many cities ( 2 Kings 18:13-16 ; Compare Isaiah 222429 ,24,29, and 2 Chronicles 32:1-8 ). His own account of this invasion, as given in the Assyrian annals, is in these words: "Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I came up against him, and by force of arms and by the might of my power I took forty-six of his strong fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a countless number. From these places I took and carried off 200,156 persons, old and young, male and female, together with horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the gates, so as to prevent escape...Then upon Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, and divers treasures, a rich and immense booty...All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat of my government." (Compare Isaiah 22:1-13 for description of the feelings of the inhabitants of Jerusalem at such a crisis.)
Hezekiah was not disposed to become an Assyrian feudatory. He accordingly at once sought help from Egypt ( 2 Kings 18:20-24 ). Sennacherib, hearing of this, marched a second time into Palestine ( 2 Kings 18:17 2 Kings 18:37 ; 19 ; 2 Chr 32:9-23 ; Isaiah 36:2-22 . Isaiah 37:25 should be rendered "dried up all the Nile-arms of Matsor," i.e., of Egypt, so called from the "Matsor" or great fortification across the isthmus of Suez, which protected it from invasions from the east). Sennacherib sent envoys to try to persuade Hezekiah to surrender, but in vain. (See TIRHAKAH .) He next sent a threatening letter ( 2 Kings 19:10-14 ), which Hezekiah carried into the temple and spread before the Lord. Isaiah again brought an encouraging message to the pious king ( 2 Kings 19:20-34 ). "In that night" the angel of the Lord went forth and smote the camp of the Assyrians. In the morning, "behold, they were all dead corpses." The Assyrian army was annihilated.
This great disaster is not, as was to be expected, taken notice of in the Assyrian annals.
Though Sennacherib survived this disaster some twenty years, he never again renewed his attempt against Jerusalem. He was murdered by two of his own sons (Adrammelech and Sharezer), and was succeeded by another son, Esarhaddon (B.C. 681), after a reign of twenty-four years.
bramble of destruction
Sennacherib, or Sennacherib
(sin, the moon, increases brothers ), was the son and successor of Sargon. [SARGON] His name in the original is read as Tsinakki-irib , the meaning of which, as given above indicates that he was not the first-born of his father. Sennacherib mounted the throne B.C. 702. His efforts were directed to crushing the revolt of Babylonia, which he invaded with a large army. Merodach-baladan ventured on a battle, but was defeated and driven from the country. In his third year, B.C. 700, Sennacherib turned his arms toward the west, chastised Sidon, and, having probably concluded a convention with his chief enemy finally marched against Hezekiah, king of Judah. It was at this time that "Sennacherib came up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them." ( 2 Kings 18:13 ) There can be no doubt that the record which he has left of his campaign against "Hiskiah" in his third year is the war with Hezekiah so briefly touched in vs. 13-16 of this chapter. In the following year (B.C. 699) Sennacherib made his second expedition into Palestine. Hezekiah had again revolted, and claimed the protection of Egypt. Sennacherib therefore attacked Egypt, and from his camp at Lachish and Libnah he sent an insulting letter to Hezekiah at Jerusalem. In answer to Hezekiahs prayer an event occurred which relieved both Egypt and Judea from their danger. In one night the Assyrians lost, either by a pestilence or by some more awful manifestation of divine power, 185,000 men! The camp immediately broke up; the king fled. Sennacherib reached his capital in safety, and was not deterred by the terrible disaster which had befallen his arms from engaging in other wars, though he seems thenceforward to have carefully avoided Palestine. Sennacherib reigned 22 years and was succeeded by Esar-haddon, B.C. 680. Sennacherib was one of the most magnificent of the Assyrian kings. Seems to have been the first who fixed the seat of government permanently at Nineveh, which he carefully repaired and adorned with splendid buildings. His greatest work is the grand palace Kouyunjik. Of the death of Sennacherib nothing is known beyond the brief statement of Scripture that "as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword and escaped into the land of Armenia." ( 2 Kings 19:37 ; Isaiah 37:38 )
se-nak'-er-ib (cancheribh; Sennachereim, Assyrian Sin-akhierba, "the moon-god Sin has increased the brothers"):
Sennacherib (704-682 BC) ascended the throne of Assyria after the death of his father Sargon. Appreciating the fact that Babylon would be difficult to control, instead of endeavoring to conciliate the people he ignored them. The Babylonians, being indignant, crowned a man of humble origin, Marduk-zakir-shum by name. He ruled only a month, having been driven out by the irrepressible Merodach-baladan, who again appeared on the scene.
In order to fortify himself against Assyria the latter sent an embassy to Hezekiah, apparently for the purpose of inspiring the West to rebel against Assyria (2 Kings 20:12-19).
Sennacherib in his first campaign marched into Babylonia. He found Merodach-baladan entrenched at Kish, about 9 miles from Babylon, and defeated him; after which he entered the gates of Babylon, which had been thrown open to him. He placed a Babylonian, named Bel-ibni, on the throne.
This campaign was followed by an invasion of the country of the Cassites and Iasubigalleans. In his third campaign he directed his attention to the West, where the people had become restless under the Assyrian yoke. Hezekiah had been victorious over the Philistines (2 Kings 18:8). In preparation to withstand a siege, Hezekiah had built a conduit to bring water within the city walls (2 Kings 20:20). Although strongly opposed by the prophet Isaiah, gifts were sent to Egypt, whence assistance was promised (Isaiah 30:1-4). Apparently also the Phoenicians and Philistines, who had been sore pressed by Assyria, had made provision to resist Assyria. The first move was at Ekron, where the Assyrian governor Padi was put into chains and sent to Hezekiah at Jerusalem.
Sennacherib, in 701 BC, moved against the cities in the West. He ravaged the environs of Tyre, but made no attempt to take the city, as he was without a naval force. After Elulaeus the king of Sidon fled, the city surrendered without a battle, and Ethbaal was appointed king. Numerous cities at once sent presents to the king of Assyria. Ashkelon and other cities were taken. The forces of Egypt were routed at Eltekeh, and Ekron was destroyed. He claims to have conquered 46 strongholds of Hezekiah's territory, but he did not capture Jerusalem, for concerning the king he said, in his annals, "himself like a bird in a cage in Jerusalem, his royal city, I penned him." He states, also, how he reduced his territory, and how Hezekiah sent to him 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, besides hostages.
The Biblical account of this invasion is found in 2 Kings 18:13-19:37; Isa 36; 37. The Assyrian account differs considerably from it; but at the same time it corroborates it in many details. One of the striking parallels is the exact amount of gold which Hezekiah sent to the Assyrian king (see The Expository Times, XII, 225,405; XIII, 326).
In the following year Sennacherib returned to Babylonia to put down a rebellion by Bal-ibni and Merodach-baladan. The former was sent to Assyria, and the latter soon afterward died. Ashurnadin-shum, the son of Sennacherib, was then crowned king of Babylon. A campaign into Cilicia and Cappadocia followed.
In 694 BC Sennacherib attacked the Elamites, who were in league with the Babylonians. In revenge, the Elamites invaded Babylonia and carried off Ashur-nadin-shum to Elam, and made Nergalushezib king of Babylon. He was later captured and in turn carried off to Assyria. In 691 BC Sennacherib again directed his attention to the South, and at Khalute fought with the combined forces. Two years later he took Babylon, and razed it to the ground.
In 681 BC Sennacherib was murdered by his two sons (2 Kings 19:37; see SHAREZER). Esar-haddon their younger brother, who was at the time conducting a campaign against Ararat, was declared king in his stead.
A. T. Clay
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