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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Lachish

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(Heb. Lakish', לָכַרשׁ, prob. impregnable, otherwise smitten; Sept. in Joshua and Kings Λαχίς; in Chronicles, Nehemiah, and Jeremiah Λαχείς v. r. Λαχίς; in Isaiah Λαχείς v. r. Λαχίς or Λαχής; in Mic. Λαχείς; Josephus Λαχίς , Ant. 8:10, 1; also Λάχεισα, Ant. 9:9, 3), a Caananitish royal city (Joshua 12:11) in the southern part of Palestine, whose king Japhia joined the Amoritish confederacy against Joshua (Joshua 10:3; Joshua 10:5); but he was taken (Joshua 15:25), and his city destroyed by the victorious Israelites, in spite of the re-enforcement of the king of Gezer (Joshua 15:31-35, where its great strength is denoted by the two days' assault). (See JOSHUA).

From these last passages it appears to have been situated between Libnah and Eglon; but it is mentioned between Joktheel and Bozkath, among the cities of the Philistine valley or plain of Judah (Joshua 15:39). It is mentioned in connection with Adoraim and Azekah as having been rebuilt, or rather fortified, by Rehoboam against the Philistines (2 Chronicles 11:9), and seems after that time to have been regarded as one of the strongest fortresses of the kingdom of Judah (for hither Amaziah was pursued and slain, 2 Kings 14:19; 2 Chronicles 25:27), having for a time braved the assaults of the Assyrian army under Sennacherib on his way to Egypt (2 Kings 18:14; 2 Kings 18:17; 2 Kings 19:8; 2 Chronicles 32:9; Isaiah 36:2; Isaiah 37:8); but was at length taken by Nebuchadnezzar, at the downfall of the kingdom of Judah (Jeremiah 34:7). It was reoccupied after the exile (Nehemiah 11:30). The affright occasioned by these sudden attacks was predicted by the prophet Micah (Micah 1:13), where this city, lying not very far from the frontiers of the kingdom of Israel, appears to have been the first to introduce the idolatry of that commonwealth into Judaism. A detailed representation of the siege of some large Jewish city by Sennacherib has been discovered on the recently disinterred monuments of Assyria, which is there called Lakhisha, and presumed to be Lachish (Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, p. 152), although it does not appear from the Biblical account that this city yielded to his arms; indeed, some expressions would almost seem to imply the reverse (see "thought to win them," 2 Chronicles 32:1; " departed from Lachish," 2 Kings 19:8; and especially Jeremiah 34:7). Col. Rawlinson even reads the name of the city in question on the monuments as Lubazna, i.e. Libnah (Layard, ut sup. p. 153, note). Rawlinson also thinks that on the first attack at least Sennacherib did not sack the city (lHerodotus, i, 481, note 6). At all events, it would seem that, after the submrission of Hezekiah, Sennacherib in some way reduced Lachish, and marched in force against the Egyptians (Joseph. Ant. 10:1, 1; comp. Isaiah 20:1-4). Rawlinson maintains (Heroudotus, i,477) that Sennacherib attacked Lachish a second time, but whether on his return from his Egyptian campaign, or after he had paid a visit to Nineveh, cannot now be determined. (See HEZEKIAH).

It is specially mentioned that he laid siege to it " with all his power" (2 Chronicles 32:9), and here " the great king" himself remained, while his officers only were dispatched to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:9; 2 Kings 18:17). (See SENNACHERIB).

This siege is considered by Layard and Hincks to be depicted on the slabs found by the former in one of the chambers of the palace at Kouyunjik, which bear the inscription " Sennacherib, the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judgment before (or at the entrance of) the city f Lachish (Lakhisha). I give permission for its slaughter" (Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 149-52, and 153, note). These slabs contain a view of a city which, if the inscription is correctly interpreted, must be Lachish itself. The bas-reliefs depict the capture of an extensive city defended by double walls, with battlements and towers, and by fortified outworks. The country around is represented as hilly and wooded, producing the fig and the vine. Immense preparations had evidently been made for the siege, and in no other sculptures were so many armed warriors drawn up in array against a besieged city, which was defended with equal determination. The process of the assault and sack are given in the most minute and lively manner. The spoil and captives are exhibited in full, the latter distinguished by their Jewish physiognomy, and by the pillaged condition of their garments. On a throne in front of the -city is represented the Assyrian king giving orders for the disposal of the prisoners, several of whom are depicted as already in the hands of the executioners, some being stretched naked on the ground in order to be flayed alive, while others were slain by the sword. (See Layard's Monuments of Nineveh, 2d series, plates 20-24.) (See CAPTIVE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Lachish'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/l/lachish.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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