Lachish

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Lachish (Hebrew: לכיש‎; Greek: Λαχις; Latin: Lachis) was a town located in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime plain of Philistia (Joshua 10:3, 5; 12:11). The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša (EA 287, 288, 328, 329, 335). According to the Bible, the Israelites captured and destroyed Lachish for joining the league against the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:31-33), but its territory was later assigned to the tribe of Judah (15:39) and became a part of the Kingdom of Israel.

Contents

History

Neo-Assyrian Empire

Under Rehoboam, Lachish became the second most important city of the kingdom of Judah. In 701 BC, during the revolt of king Hezekiah against Assyria, it was captured by Sennacherib despite determined resistance (see Siege of Lachish). The town later reverted to Judaean control, only to fall to Nebuchadnezzar in his campaign against Judah (586 BC).

During Old Testament times Lachish served an important protective function in defending Jerusalem and the interior of Judea. The easiest way to get a large attacking army (such as an Assyrian army, see Isaiah 36:2, Isaiah 37:8 and Jeremiah 34:7) up to Jerusalem was to approach from the coast. Lachish was one of several city/forts guarding the canyons that lead up to Jerusalem and greater Judea. In order to lay siege to Jerusalem an invading army would first have to take Lachish, which guarded the mountain pass. During the reign of Hezekiah, King of Judah, the Assyrians, under King Sennacherib, attempted to take Jerusalem, and, in that campaign, succeeded in taking Lachish (see 2 Chronicles 32:9 and Isaiah 36:2). Modern excavation of the site has revealed that the Assyrians built a stone and dirt ramp up to the level of the Lachish city wall, thereby allowing the soldiers to charge up the ramp and storm the city. Excavations revealed approximately 1,500 skulls in one of the caves near the site, and hundreds of arrowheads on the ramp and at the top of the city wall, indicating the ferocity of the battle.

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