THE SIEGE OF LACHISH
Most of the tel(the mound of rubble that was Lachish) is grassed over now, but in the northwest corner a wall looms high and solid, just as it did 2,700 years ago when the city faced invasion by the fearsome Sennacherib.
You can stand at the foot of this buttressed wall and imagine the desperate soldiers running back and forth as the situation became more and more desperate. They would have hurled every weapon they could find:
It was a fight to the death, and every man, woman and child knew it.
FORTIFICATIONS: THE GATE
Gaining access to the city was not easy. The designers had been cunning. First of all, there was a double ring of thick stone walls surrounding the city.
There was only one gate through this wall, on the west side. It was built into a tower made of huge stones.
The gatehouse had three pairs of chambers with massive wooden doors on hinges.
Getting at these gates was a problem. The elaborate entrance was built so that an advancing soldier, carrying his shield on his left arm, would expose his right flank to archers on the walls. If and when he reached the top, the invader would have to
This meant that a battering ram could not be used on the gates, since it was simply too dangerous to approach the city from this angle.
THE SIEGE RAMP
That was why the Assyrians built a siege ramp - so they could approach the city without facing a barrage of arrows from the gateway.
How did they build it?
Their army had a large, experienced unit of engineers who used Assyrian troops supplemented by unfortunate captives from the surrounding countryside. Defenders of the city had to shoot arrows or sling-stones at fellow-Judeans to prevent them building the ramp.
The giant siege ramp was built on a gradient of about 30°, flattening out at the top to give a platform large enough to hold five battering rams. The ramp led right up to the walls of Lachish. It provided passage for four-wheeled battering rams, and for attacking soldiers.
In response, the people inside the city built a counter-ramp, so they could fight the invaders when they poured over the wall. To provide stone and rubble for this counter-ramp, the people of Lachish had to demolish their own houses, since they could not leave the city to get the necessary materials.
The Assyrian battering rams were rolled up a specially constructed ramp covered with wooden logs. Once in position they began pounding the wall, probing for weakness. Ranks of archers and sling-throwers took aim at the defenders on the parapets.
The Judeans shot arrows and hurled stones and firebrands. It's all there in the Nineveh wall reliefs and the excavations at Lachish:
Armies used terror, a potent psychological weapon, to demoralize their foe - see the impaled captives from the wall reliefs at Nineveh.
Neither side was spared the reality of war: corpses without heads, gutted children, a world without pity.
Prisoners-of-war were horribly tortured and killed within sight of the city walls, to further terrify the people trapped there.
The Bible describes attempts by Sennacherib to develop mistrust and rebellion among the citizens of Jerusalem, so it can be presumed it was done also in Lachish.
What happened when the invaders poured over the walls of Lachish?
See 'THE BATTLE' for graphic details...
Where it happened:
Aerial photograph of Lachish, with siege ramp still visible (middle right)
Other Online Bible Websites
Study famous and historical people, places, artwork and archaelogy of the Holy Bible online.
For more online Bible study resources and activities, visit the following websites:
www.bible-people.info - stories of the Bible's most famous men and women - Moses, Judas, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene and more
www.womeninthebible.net - all about Bible women, good and bad: Ruth, Deborah, Mary of Nazareth, Jezebel
www.bible-archaeology.info - archaeological evidence and the Bible - what can we prove?
http://www.bible-art.info/ - Bible paintings and artworks: Nativity, Resurrection, Esther, Martha and Mary
http://www.bible-topten.com/ - Top Ten heroes, bad women, ways to hell, young people, villains, murders, films
http://www.bible-architecture.info/ - more about houses, palaces, temples and fortresses
To search through all websites click HERE »