Curiously, this episode is omitted from the duplicate account in Isaiah 36. Isaiah 36:1 repeats 2 Kings 18:13 verbatim. Then it skips 2 Kings 18:14–16, the entire description of Hezekiah’s suit for peace and his agreement to pay tribute to Sennacherib. The text then continues by quoting 2 Kings 18:17ff. (Isaiah 36:2ff.). Isaiah was apparently interested in emphasizing God’s deliverance, rather than Hezekiah’s submission and tribute. But the historicity of this submission is confirmed in Assyrian annals (James Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near East in Texts, 3rd ed. [Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969], pp. 287–288).


See Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, “Light at the End of the Tunnel,” BAR 25:01; and the previous articles in this issue.


The Vulgate is Jerome’s late-fourth-century translation of the Christian Scriptures from Hebrew into Latin, the “vulgar,” or widespread, language of the day—hence the name.



W.F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, 2nd ed. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957), p. 314 n. 53; John Bright, A History of Israel, 2nd. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), pp. 296–308; Siegfried H. Horn, “Did Sennacherib Campaign Once or Twice Against Hezekiah?” Andrews University Seminary Studies (AUSS) 4 (1966), pp. 1–28.


R.A. Parker, “The Length of the Reign of Amasis and the Beginning of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty,” Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts, Kairo 15 (1957), pp. 208–212.


It has been suggested that perhaps Tirhakah accompanied the Egyptian foray into Philistia in 701 B.C. as a prince or general and that he was subsequently given the title of king by the (later) Biblical writer, who knew about that development by the time he was writing.This solution does not work because Tirhakah tells us in his Kawa inscriptions that he first went down the river (north) from Nubia to Egypt when his brother Shebitku was king (M. Frederick L. Macadam, The Temples of Kawa: I. The Inscriptions [Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1949], pp. 14–21). In 701 B.C. Shabako was the reigning king; Shebitku did not come to the throne until 698 or later. Thus Tirhakah could not accompany the troops to Asia as a prince in 701 because he had not yet come to Lower Egypt by that time.In response to an article I published including this chronological point (William H. Shea, “Sennacherib’s Second Palestinian Campaign,” Journal of Biblical Literature [JBL] 104 [1985], pp. 401–418, esp. 415–416), Frank Yurco argued that there must have been an overlapping co-regency between Shabako and Shebitku (Frank J. Yurco, “The Shabaka-Shebitku Co-regency and the Supposed Second Campaign of Sennacherib Against Judah: A Critical Assessment,” JBL 110 [1991], pp. 35–45, esp. 39, 45). As Yurco points out here, Shabako came to the throne in 713, the earliest date in his inscriptions, and ruled for at least 15 years. Thus he ruled until at least 698; hence the necessity for the creation of this supposed co-regency. This would move the dates for Shebitku higher (earlier), thus permitting Tirhakah to go with the army in 701. As Yurco admits, however, there is no direct evidence from Egyptian reliefs or inscriptions for the existence of such a co-regency. It is simply a modern invention to solve a problem in an ancient text.


Donald B. Redford, “Taharqa in Western Asia and Libya,” Eretz Israel 24 (1993), pp. 188–191. See Shea, “The New Tirhakah Text and Sennacherib’s Second Palestinian Campaign,” AUSS 35 (1997), pp. 181–187. Lines 10 and 11 of this text tell of the victory that he claimed: “They were destined for a severe and grievous blow, the work of my hands … I had no compassion on the least of them nor [on the most influential of them?]. (Soon they were) fleeing before me with fear pulsating through their limbs … I forced (?) his confederates to the ground all at once.” From this victory Tirhakah claims to have brought back captives to Egypt, where he settled them to work for him. This he tells of in line 13. Then comes the reference to the high Nile in line 14, “The inundation came as a cattle-thief, although for many years (it had been in) abeyance.” This high Nile can be dated to Tirhakah’s 6th year, according to Kawa Stela V (Macadam, Temples of Kawa, pp. 22–32). The quotations of the inscription here are taken from Redford, “Taharqa in Western Asia.”


For the Middle Bronze Age wall on the east side of Jerusalem, see Kathleen M. Kenyon, Royal Cities of the Old Testament (New York: Schocken Books, 1971), pp. 24–32. Also see Hershel Shanks, “The City of David After Five Years of Digging,” BAR 11:06.


This does not appear in all editions of the RSV.


Andrew G. Vaughn, “Paleographic Dating of Judean Seals and Its Significance for Biblical Research,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 313 (1999), p. 58.