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Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)
Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)
Does this record of Sennacherib's war campaigns mention Hezekiah the Judahite?

This beautifully preserved six-sided hexagonal prism of baked clay, commonly known as the Taylor Prism, was discovered among the ruins of Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire.

It contains the victories of Sennacherib himself, the Assyrian king who had besieged Jerusalem in 701 BC during the reign of king Hezekiah, it never mentions any defeats. On the prism Sennacherib boasts that he shut up "Hezekiah the Judahite" within Jerusalem his own royal city "like a caged bird." This prism is among the three accounts discovered so far which have been left by the Assyrian king Sennacherib of his campaign against Israel and Judah. British Museum. The Taylor Prism discovery remains one of the most important discoveries in  Biblical Archaeology.

Interesting note: Egyptian sources make mention of Sennacherib’s defeat in the conflict with Judah, but gives the credit for the victory to an Egyptian god who sent field mice into the camp of the Assyrians to eat their bowstrings and thus they fled from battle.

(See 2 Kings 19; 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 37)

"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,' Says the LORD. 'For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'" Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses--all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh." Isaiah 37:33-38 

Material - Baked Clay 
Neo Assyrian (Reign of Sennacherib)
Language: Akkadian (Cuneiform)
Text: Records the first 8 campaigns of King Sennacherib
Date: 691 BC 
Dates of Sennacherib's reign: 701–681 BC
Height: 38.5 cm 
Width: 16.5 cm (max.) 
Width: 8.57 cm (faces) 
Depth: 
Nineveh, northern Iraq
Excavated at Nebi Yunus
It was acquired by Colonel Taylor and Sold to the British Museum in 1855
Location: British Museum, London
Item: ANE 91032
Room: 69a, Temporary Displays

Biblical Reference: 2 Kings 18:13-19:37; Isaiah 36:1-37:38

British Museum Excerpt

The Taylor Prism

Neo-Assyrian, 691 BC
From Nineveh, northern Iraq

Recording the first 8 campaigns of King Sennacherib (704-681 BC)

This six-sided baked clay document (or prism) was discovered at the Assyrian capital Nineveh, in an area known today as Nebi Yunus. It was acquired by Colonel R. Taylor, British Consul General at Baghdad, in 1830, after whom it is named. The British Museum purchased it from Taylor's widow in 1855.

As one of the first major Assyrian documents found, this document played an important part in the decipherment of the cuneiform script.

The prism is a foundation record, intended to preserve King Sennacherib's achievements for posterity and the gods. The record of his account of his third campaign (701 BC) is particularly interesting to scholars. It involved the destruction of forty-six cities of the state of Judah and the deportation of 200,150 people. Hezekiah, king of Judah, is said to have sent tribute to Sennacherib. This event is described from another point of view in the Old Testament books of 2 Kings and Isaiah. Interestingly, the text on the prism makes no mention of the siege of Lachish which took place during the same campaign and is illustrated in a series of panels from Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh. 

The British Museum


For the Oriental Institute Prism of Sennacherib refer to the Bible History Online article.


List of Assyrian Kings

Assur-nasipal II (885-860 B.C.) A cruel warrior king, he made Assyria into the most fierce fighting machine of ancient world.

Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.) he was the first Assyrian king to come into conflict with Israel. King Ahab fought against him, and king Jehu paid him tribute.

Shansi-adad (825-808 B.C.) Assyria in decline

Adad-nirari (808-783 B.C.) Assyria in decline

Shalmaneser III (783-771 B.C.) Assyria in decline

Assur-dayan (771-753 B.C.) Assyria in decline

Assur-lush (753-747 B.C.) Assyria in decline

Tiglath-pileser III (Pul) (747-727 B.C.) He carried the Northern Kingdom of Israel into captivity.

Shalmaneser IV (727-722 B.C.) He besieged Samaria and died during the siege.

Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) He completed the destruction of Samaria and the captivity of Israel.

Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) He was the most famous of the Assyrian kings, he mentions the name of Hezekiah on his prism. His army was defeated at the gates of Jerusalem by the Angel of the Lord. He also conquered Babylon.

Esar-haddon (681-668 B.C.) He rebuilt Babylon and conquered Egypt. He was one of Assyria's greatest kings.

Assur-banipal (668-626 B.C.) He destroyed the Thebes in Egypt and collected a great library, innumerable clay tablets were found.

Assur-etil-ilani (626-607 B.C.) It was under his reign that the Assyrian Empire fell.

Assyrian annals mention contacts with some ten Hebrew kings: Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Menahem, Hoshea, Pekah, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh.


Related Pages:

Sennacherib

Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism

Lachish Letters

Lachish in Easton's Bible Dictionary

Biblical Archaeology: Assyria

Archaeology of Ancient Assyria - Archaeological Discoveries

Ancient Near East - Images and Art

Bible History Online - Fallen Empires (Biblical Archaeology)

Bible History Links - Ancient Near East : Art & Images

Bible History Online - Ancient Art

Assyria and Bible Prophecy - Timeline of Events

Ancient History Timeline

The Destruction of Israel - Kings of Israel, Judah and Assyria

Archaeology of Ancient Assyria - Khorsabad

Timeline 800 - 700 BC

The Assyrians

The Captivity

Archaeology of Ancient Assyria - Calah

Ancient Babylonia - Nimrud

Archaeology of Ancient Assyria - Austen Henry Layard

Archaeology of Ancient Assyria - Ancient Assyria

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Calah

Ancient Sketches

 

Biblical Archaeology

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