Erich Lessing/Collection of the Israel Museum

PLANNING FOR THE WORST. In 701 B.C.E., the armies of the Assyrian monarach Sennacherib descended upon the cities and vilages of the kingdom of Judah. Although Sennacherib boasted in this famous cuneiform inscription, known as the Sennacherib Prism , that he trapped Hezekiah in Jerusalem “like a bird in a cage,” he ultimately failed to conquer Hezekiah’s capital city. The failure of his seige of the city likely resulted from the defensive measures Hezekiah took prior to the seige, which included reinforcing Jerusalem’s defenses and building a tunnel that would secure the city’s only source of water.