Lachish Reveals Its Secrets

Today, Lachish is known as Tell ed-Duweir. Lachish was once a highly fortified city that was situated in the lowlands of Judea, located 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem. This once powerful and strategic city disappeared from the world’s memory only to reappear in the 20th century.
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Lachish Reveals Its Secrets

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Biblical minimalists, those who attempt to discredit the credibility of the Word of God, abound. If God says "yes," they’ll say "no"—or at best, "maybe." Minimalists take on various forms, such as the revisionists: those who say, for example, "What it really said in the original Hebrew or original Greek is...," or those who feign faith and say that the great miracles and gifts of the Old and New Testaments ended with the days of the Apostles. Then there are the minimalists, theological humanists, who attempt to convert every supernatural act to a natural one, such as the flood in the days of Noah being local and not global as the Bible declares. They make the allegation that the Red Sea that parted so that Moses and the children of Israel could cross over on dry land was actually the Sea of Reeds.  There are many other examples. Then there are the minimalists who reject majority-text Holy Writ as the writings of mere men, having no holy inspiration or Holy God to support it. Regardless of what form the minimalists assume, they all have one very obvious common denominator: the desire to destroy the faith.

On the other side of the equation are the Biblical maximalists who believe the Word of God cover to cover. One should expect that this is the position of the GodSaidManSaid team. The disparity between the minimalist and maximalist is often played out in the field of archaeology. The minimalists regularly attempt to discredit the Bible’s historic account of events, but be assured they are regularly proven wrong. The Word of God is a reliable history book. A case in point is the ancient city of Lachish, second only to Jerusalem in importance in the ancient land of Judah.

GOD SAID, Joshua 10:31-34:

31 And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it:

32 And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.

34 And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it:

GOD SAID, II Kings 18:14:

And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.

GOD SAID, Isaiah 36:1-2:

1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.

2 And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field.

MAN SAID: The Bible is an unreliable record of history.

Now THE RECORD. The first mention of Lachish is in Joshua, chapter 10. Joshua, the successor of Moses, defeats Lachish. This city is mentioned 22 times in the Bible.

Today, Lachish is known as Tell ed-Duweir. Lachish was once a highly fortified city that was situated in the lowlands of Judea, located 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem. This once powerful and strategic city disappeared from the world’s memory only to reappear in the 20th century.

Famed archaeologist Henry Austin Layard visited ruined Nineveh in the mid-1800s. His discoveries have a direct bearing on the city of Lachish. In his excavations of the royal city of Nineveh, he unearthed many startling discoveries. Keep in mind that this is the city to which the prophet Jonah (of the "Jonah and the whale" story) carried the message of God’s impending judgment. You must take a few minutes to visit the message "Jonah—Everyone Says Yes," on this website for absolutely astonishing information. Concerning Layard’s discoveries at Nineveh, these following paragraphs by Dr. G. Frederick Owen are found in the Archaeological Supplement of the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible:

Henry Austin Layard visited ruined Nineveh in 1845 and found the entire circuit of its walled area to be seven and one-half miles. Within the 1,800-acre enclosure were two mounds. The southern mound was one hundred feet high, covered 40 acres, and was known by the natives as "Nebi Yunis" (the Prophet Jonah). The north mound was ninety feet high, covered 100 acres, and was called "Kuyunjik" (The Castle of Nineveh).

Layard cut trenches in the north mound and soon brought to light a gateway flanked by two winged lions, and a wall on which was inscribed, in cuneiform characters, the name of Sennacherib. Penetrating farther into the city, he uncovered Sennacherib’s royal palace, whose approach was lined with gigantic winged bulls. These bore on their bodies the cuneiform inscribed annals of the king. Immense halls 40 feet wide and 180 feet long led to the interior of the palace, of which Layard said:

In this magnificent edifice, I opened no less than seventy-one halls, chambers, and passages, whose walls, almost without exception, had been panelled with slabs of sculptured alabaster recording the wars, the triumphs, and the great deeds of the Assyrian king. By a rough calculation, about 9880 feet, or nearly two miles, of bas-reliefs, with twenty-seven portals, formed by colossal winged bulls and lion-sphinxes, were uncovered in that part alone of the buildings explored during my researches.

The annals of Sennacherib inscribed on the man-headed winged bulls, and on a terra cotta and a baked clay cylinder give a rather complete account of Sennacherib’s eight campaigns, "including the capture and destruction of the city of Babylon in 689 B.C., and his great drive down the east coast of the Mediterranean toward Egypt in 701 B.C. Special emphasis is laid on his treatment of the cities of the Philistines, his invasion of Judea, and the siege of Jerusalem, in which Hezekiah and Isaiah were involved. His account agrees with, and in some instances supplements the biblical account as given in II Kings 18:13-19 and Isaiah chapters 36-37. The siege and capture of Lachish, during the king’s campaign in Judah, is graphically pictured on one of these palace walls. Beneath this pictured panel are the words:

Sennacherib King of the Universe, King of Assyria, sat upon a throne and reviewed the spoil of the city of Lachish. [End of quote]

Concerning Nineveh and Lachish, Dr. Owen reported the following:

During his excavations at Nineveh in 1850 Layard found that of all the forty-six cities conquered by Sennacherib during his famous campaign to Syria and Palestine in 701 B.C., Lachish seems to have been the source of his greatest pride, for upon his return to Nineveh, Sennacherib had his artists and sculptors record the taking of the city on his palace walls in thirteen panels, which, when taken together, made up one of the most extensive and elaborate battle panoramas ever executed.

Mr. J. L. Starkey and his worthy associates directed the excavations at Lachish from 1932 to January 10, 1938, and made many significant discoveries, the most important being twenty-one letters (now known as The Lachish Letters) which they found among the ashes and charcoal in the guard room adjoining the outer gate of the city. These letters were written with "carbon ink by a certain Hoshaiah (Nehemiah 12:32, Jeremiah 42:1, 43:2), a subordinate military officer stationed at an outpost near Jerusalem, to Joash the commanding officer at Lachish. These short messages were written during the last years of Jeremiah (c.588 B.C.) and reflect the troubled period through which the kingdom was passing during Zedekiah’s reign just before the fall of Lachish and some two years before the fall of Jerusalem. They were evidently written within a period of a few days or weeks, as is indicated from the similarity of the fragments, five of which fit together as pieces of one vessel."

Letter I contains a list of nine proper names, five of which are found in the Old Testament. Three appear only during the time of Jeremiah. In Letter IV Hoshaiah writes:

And let my lord know that we are watching for the signals of Lachish according to all the indications which my lord hath given, for we cannot see Azekah.

Jeremiah mentions "fire" signals (Jeremiah 6:1), and tells how the king of Babylon "fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah" (Jeremiah 34:7). [End of quote]

Nebuchadnezzar, the heathen king of Babylon, was sent by God to bring judgment upon Israel, for they had long forgotten the God of their salvation and had embraced gross wickedness. A prophet named Jeremiah, whom God had sent, dwelt amongst the Jews of Judah to proclaim their impending doom. He and his words were rejected. The rebellious Israelites justified themselves in their doings, pronouncing their status as God’s chosen, and therefore His blessed. God, through His prophet Jeremiah, contested their claim and prophesied destruction. A sample of the words God caused Jeremiah to speak follows. Jeremiah 4:16-31:

16 Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.

17 As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD.

18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.

19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.

21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?

22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.

25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.

26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.

27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.

28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

29 The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.

30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.

31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.

Jeremiah 21:4-6:

4 Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city.

5 And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.

6 And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence.

The prophet was rejected by much of Judah’s leadership and people as a false prophet. They classified the words he spoke as treasonous, especially statements such as Jeremiah 21:8-9:

8 And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.

9 He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey.

Jeremiah instructed the people to desert. One of the ancient Lachish letters speaks exactly to the issue of treason. Again from the Archaeological Supplement:

Letter VI refers to the words of the princes as "weakening our hands," all of which makes interesting reading when compared with Jeremiah 38:4:

Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people . . .

Professor Haupert of Moravian College and Theological Seminary says:

The real significance of the Lachish letters can hardly be exaggerated. No archaeological discovery to date has had a more direct bearing upon the Old Testament. The scribes who wrote the letters (for there was more than one) wrote with genuine artistry in classical Hebrew, and we have virtually a new section of Old Testament literature: a supplement to Jeremiah.

Dr. Albright says: In these letters we find ourselves in exactly the age of Jeremiah with social and political conditions agreeing perfectly with the picture drawn in the book that bears his name. [End of quote]

In Biblical Archaeology Review, a feature article was published in 2005 titled, "Why Lachish Matters." The following excerpts discuss the 21 ancient Lachish "Letters:"

The ostracon (inscribed potsherd) provides poignant testimony to the last days of Lachish. In perhaps his most famous discovery, James Starkey uncovered 21 inscribed sherds, known now as the Lachish Letters, 18 of them in a guardroom of the city gate. Excavator Ussishkin, following Olga Tufnell, believes the sherds are copies of letters sent from Lachish to Jerusalem. The letters date to the reign of Judah’s last king, Zedekiah, and record Judah’s increasingly desperate situation in the face of the Babylonian army led by Nebuchadnezzar. In Lachish Letter IV, a soldier writes to his commander, "We are watching for the beacons of Lachish ... we cannot see [the beacons from] Azekah." Jeremiah 34:7 records that Lachish and Azekah were the last Judahite strongholds to fall to the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar razed Lachish and Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. Judah’s second most important city never regained its former importance. [End of quote]

Biblical minimalists continue to attack the Word of God. They are unfailingly wrong. The Holy Bible is accurate to the smallest detail. Its record, for instance, of the earth’s history and the progression of the seed of Abraham, is flawless. I’m aware that these bold statements gall the antagonist of the Word of God, but they are true nevertheless. II Timothy 2:13:

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

God’s Word is a reliable record of the truth.

Have you embraced the Christ of Calvary? Are you born-again? You can meet the beautiful Christ today. Click on to "Further With Jesus" on this website for a proper and immediate introduction.

GOD SAID, Isaiah 36:1-2:

1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.

2 And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field.

MAN SAID: The Bible is an unreliable record of history.

Now you have THE RECORD.


King James Bible

King, P.J., "Why Lachish Matters," Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2005

Owen, G.F., D.D., Ed.D., Archaeological Supplement, The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, B. B. Kirkbride Bible Co., 1988

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