Israeli study confirms battle recorded by prophet Isaiah

Archaeologists confirm account of Biblical battle described by the prophet Isaiah.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A new site survey and study of one of the Bible’s most significant battlegrounds has revealed new information about an epic clash between Assyrian troops and Judean forces, confirming an account of the event described by the prophet Isaiah.

Some 2,700 years ago, Assyrian King Sennacherib conquered the ancient Judean city of Lachish in an intense battle, constructing a ramp especially built to siege the town.

A detailed account of the siege is found in the Bible and illustrated depictions of the battle were discovered in the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh. The story of Lachish’s fall has survived in both Jewish and Assyrian folklore for millennia.

A team of Israeli and American archaeologists conducted an extensive site survey of Lachish to determine exactly how the battle happened, how the Assyrians constructed the ramp that was so critical to their victory, and whether or not the version of events in the Bible is accurate.

The results of the investigation were recently published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, with the project’s lead researcher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, revealing fascinating details about the battle.

“In order to build the ramp, the Assyrians could have used either sediment or stones,” Garfinkel wrote. “However, containers are needed in order to move sediment, which was not very practical, while a stone can be passed from a man to another very quickly.”

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Researchers discovered that the Assyrians had utilized a nearby resource to obtain the building materials needed for the ramp, without requiring transporting the supplies across long distances.

“At the side of the cliff, we found a quarry,” he wrote, adding that he believes “at least 1,000 men,” likely prisoners of war captured by the Assyrians, “worked for the project.”

Researchers estimated that the completed ramp contained some 13 million stones, and that using round-the-clock slave labor, the ramp may have been finished in as little as a month.

The researchers also noted that a passage from Isaiah, which said the Assyrians took Lachish after working 24 hours a day to build the ramp, appeared to be backed up by archaeological evidence.