The Assyrian account of the campaign against Judah agrees in many respects with the version in the Bible. In his royal annals, Sennacherib describes a string of military victories from Phoenicia to Egypt’s border, and he boasts of his attacks against 46 fortified cities in Judah. He also lists the riches that he was able to extract from King Hezekiah. Interestingly, though Sennacherib writes that he trapped Hezekiah in Jerusalem “like a bird in a cage,” he never claims to have defeated him outright.

In my third campaign, I marched against Hatti. The awesome splendor of my lordship overwhelmed Lulli, king of Sidon, and he fled overseas and disappeared forever. The terrifying nature of the weapon of (the god) Ashur overwhelmed his strong cities …

As for Hezekiah, the Judaean, who had not submitted to my yoke, I besieged forty-six of his fortified walled cities and surrounding small towns, which were without number. Using packed-down ramps and by applying battering rams, infantry attacks by mines, breeches and siege machines, I conquered (them). I took out 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, cattle and sheep, without number, and counted them as spoil. Himself [Hezekiah], I locked him up within Jerusalem, his royal city, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earthworks, and made it unthinkable for him to exit by the city gate. His cities which I had despoiled, I cut off from his land and gave them to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, Padi, king of Ekron and S|illi-bel, king of Gaza, and thus diminished his land. I imposed upon him in addition to the former tribute, yearly payment of dues and gifts for my lordship.

He, Hezekiah, was overwhelmed by the awesome splendor of my lordship, and he sent me after my departure to Nineveh, my royal city, his elite troops and his best soldiers, which he had brought into Jerusalem as reinforcements, with 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, choice antimony … countless trappings and implements of war, together with his daughters, his palace women, his male and female singers. He (also) dispatched his personal messenger to deliver the tribute and to do obeisance.

—From the annals of Sennacherib, king of Assyria (705–681 B.C.E.), translated from the Rassam Prism, in Mordechai Cogan and Hayim Tadmor, II Kings, Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1988), pp. 337–339.