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Lachish

Meaning: impregnable

This is the name of an ancient royal Canaanite city in the Shephelah, or maritime plain of Canaan (Joshua 10:3, 5; 12:11)

Modern Lachish and Tel Lachish—satellite view
Tel Lachish
A portion of the ruins of ancient Lachish that can be viewed at Tel Lachish in Israel, overlooking modern Lachish. Photographer: Tim Bulkeley

Lachish was taken and destroyed by the Israelites (Joshua 10:31-33). It afterwards became, under King Rehoboam, one of the strongest fortresses of the kingdom of Judah (2 Chronicles 10:9).

Sennacherib Lachish inscription
Photographer: Alaa (in Arabic: علاء, CC BY-SA 3.0, link

Lachish was assaulted and probably taken by King Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14,17; 19:8; Isaiah 36:2). An account of this siege is given on some slabs found in the chambers of the palace of Koyunjik, and now in the British Museum. The inscription on the picture above has been deciphered as follows:

“Sennacherib, the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judgment before the city of Lachish: I gave permission for its slaughter.” (See NINEVEH.)

At an archaeological dig to the west (Tell-el-Hesy), a cuneiform tablet was found containing a letter supposed to be from Amenophis at Amarna in reply to one of the Amarna tablets sent by Zimrida from Lachish. This letter is from the chief of Atim (=Etam, 1 Chronicles 4:32) to the chief of Lachish, in which the writer expresses great alarm at the approach of marauders from the Hebron hills. “They have entered the land,” he says, “to lay waste… strong is he who has come down. He lays waste.”

“This letter shows that “the communication by tablets in cuneiform script was not only usual in writing to Egypt, but in the internal correspondence of the country. The letter, though not so important in some ways as the Moabite stone and the Siloam text, is one of the most valuable discoveries ever made in Palestine” (Conder's Tell Amarna Tablets, p. 134).

See the Christian archaeological video which describes this ancient city: On the Prophets & Kings of Israel (“The Wages of Sin,” part of the Faith Lessons video series). “What happened at Lachish issues warnings to Christians today. When God’s values are ignored by the majority, even the righteous reap the consequences.”

Article Version: July 13, 2018

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