Archaeological discovery backs up epic battle from 2,700 years ago documented in the Bible

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An archaeological discovery has seemingly corroborated an epic battle that took place some 2,700 years ago and is documented in the Bible.

King Sennacherib’s Assyrian troops attempted a siege of Jerusalem approximately 2,700 years ago. King Hezekiah of Judah allegedly prayed for a miracle to save the city from being captured.

As per the Bible, an “angel of the Lord” descended on the invading Assyrian troops attempting to besiege Jerusalem. The “angel of the Lord” allegedly “struck down” 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in a single night. Sennacherib – the king of Assyria – realized the devastation and was forced into a military retreat. The “angel of the Lord” allegedly prevented an Assyrian conquest of Jerusalem, according to accounts detailed in 2 Kings 19:35 and Isaiah 37:36.

2 Kings 19:35:

“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”

Historical records do indicate that there was an attempted Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. However, Sennacherib’s Annals claim that Assyrian troops returned to Assyria after receiving tribute from King Hezekiah. He was purportedly allowed to stay in power as a vassal of the Neo-Assyrian Empire – which included present-day Iraq, as well as parts of Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Kuwait.

Archaeologists had previously discovered a scene carved into the stone walls of King Sennacherib’s palace, which displayed the Assyrian conquest of Lachish – a city 42 miles south of Jerusalem. The carvings showed how the Assyrian military bases were laid out.

Archaeologist Stephen Compton carefully examined these ancient engravings to determine the locations of ancient military camps set up by King Sennacherib in the Levant.

Compton wrote a peer-reviewed paper titled “The Trail of Sennacherib’s Siege Camps,” which was recently published in the journal Near Eastern Archaeology. In the paper, Compton mapped out the likely locations for the ancient Assyrian military camps, from around 700 B.C.

Compton utilized aerial photographs of Lachish from World War II, landscape images, satellite imagery, onsite surveys, ancient pottery, and archaeological data to create a virtual map of Sennacherib’s camps.

After Sennacherib’s invasion of Lachish, the ruins near the city were abandoned for approximately 2,600 years. The ancient Arabic name for the ruins was “Khirbet al Mudawwara,” meaning “The Ruins of the Camp of the Invading Ruler.” Based on the discovery of pottery sherds from a period of prehistory known as the Chalcolithic, Compton suspects that the ruins were an Assyrian military camp used for the invasion and then abandoned after the city was conquered.

There was similar ruins north of Jerusalem, which was on a hill that was known in Arabic as “Jebel el Mudawwara,” or “The Mountain of the Camp of the Invading Ruler.”

Some archaeologists believed the ruins were a Roman military camp built by Titus during the later Roman invasion of Jerusalem. However, Compton noted that Roman military camps were always rectangular, but Assyrian military camps were an oval shape.

“We knew it was an oval. What I did was I took the image of the relief and match it up with recognizable features in the landscape with the actual landscape and overlayed the two,” Compton told Fox News. “I used earlier photographs of the landscape from World War II, right before major changes were made. And it was a match.”

Using the location of the military camps, Compton said that he had determined the location of two lost ancient cities – Libnah and Nob, Both cities were known to have been conquered by the Assyrians, but whose exact locations were uncertain. Nob was described as a “city of priests” near Jerusalem in 1 Samuel 22:19. Compton said Nob “held the tabernacle, the holiest site in Judaism prior to the construction of the temple.”

Compton – an independent scholar specializing in Near Eastern archaeology – believes that the sites of the Assyrian military camps tell the story of where Sennacherib’s armies invaded and conquered. He concluded that the discovery of the military camps proves that King Sennacherib’s infamous siege of Jerusalem did happen.

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