Joe Baker
In the 24th (not 14th) year of Hezekiah
Tue Apr 10, 2018 20:36

Hi All

Further to my last post on the Treasury Chronicle. I maintain the dates in this Chronicle were accurate but one extract has had its date deliberately altered and that is the extract at 2 Kings 18:13, where the entry concerning the depletion of the treasuries by Sin-aḫḫe-eriba is assigned to year 14 of Ḥezekiah. Now a simple back calculation of the reign dates, given in the bible, from Nabu-kudurri-uṣur’s annexation of Judah in 587 back to the Assyrian 701 campaign would require that the end of this campaign would have occurred in the 24th year of Ḥezekiah (during autumn 701, after the autumn new year). Biblical scholars, who do not want to alter the biblical dates have attempted to explain this discrepancy by means such as co-regencies (thereby lowering the reign of Ḥezekiah) or re-assigning the biblical story to a different Assyrian campaign (usually the 712 campaign to Ashdod, carried out by Šarru-ukin’s turtanu, with some even suggesting that Sin-aḫḫe-eriba held that post in 712).

The real solution lies in the way the Book of Kings has reaches us in its final form. The original book was written in the days of Josiah and it was composed by a court official who was heavily influence by prophetic and deuteronomic thought. For this very reason I identify him with Shallum son of Tiqwah son of Ḥarḥas the keeper of the wardrobe who was the husband of Ḥuldah who lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. Now the author has Josiah send a delegation of high court officials to Ḥuldah to enquire of Yahweh (just as the same author had Ḥezekiah send his high officials to Isaiah to enquire of Yahweh). Since this author saw Isaiah as the leading prophet in the days of Ḥezekiah, so too he would have seen Ḥuldah as the leading prophet in the days of Josiah. She was no unknown, yet she is here referred to by whom she was married to, by that person‘s father and even grandfather (something extremely rare in the Book of Kings) and by that person’s occupation. I suspect the author named himself in this passage.

In the original book of Kings the author’s account of Ḥezekiah is to be found in 2 Kings 18:1-37; 19:1-9a, 36-37; 20:20-21. At the beginning of his account of the campaign of Sin-aḫḫe-eriba (2 Kings 18:13-16), the original author used the Treasury Chronicle, which has strong parallels with the annals of Sin-aḫḫe-eriba concerning this 701 campaign

2 Kings 18:13-16                                   | Annals of Sin-aḫḫe-eriba
and in year fourteen of King Ḥezekiah, | Hezekiah of the land Judah
Snḥryb, king of Aššur, | I
went up against all the fortified cities of Judah | surrounded (and) conquered 46 of his fortified walled cities
and he took them. | and small(er) settlements
So Hezekiah, king of Judah, | ... Hezekiah, fear of my lordly brilliance overwhelmed hi
sent to the king of Aššur at Lachish | [see the British Museum wall display of the siege of Lachish]
... and the king of Aššur extracted | ... he ... delivered (this) payment
from Hezekiah, the king of Judah, |
300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold. | 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver

To this account the original author added his own prophetic/deuteronomic composition (found at 2 Kings 18:17-37: 19:1-9a, 36-37). His account was based on a prophecy given to Ḥezekiah that Jerusalem would be spared as Yahweh would cause Sin-aḫḫe-eriba to hear a report that would cause him to return to his country and there be killed. The author then tells how Sin-aḫḫe-eriba heard that Taharqa of Egypt was coming to fight him which caused him to return to Ninua where he was killed by his sons. The author did not get everything correct here. The mention of Taharqa as leading the Egyptian army is anachronistic (but easily explainable given the later prominence of Taharqa’s later involvement in hostile actions against Assyria). Also the sense of the story (as normal in such prophecies) is the implied close temporary sequence of events (prophecy - immediate consequence), however 20 years past between Sin-aḫḫe-eriba’s 701 campaign and his death in 681.

One hallmark of the original author’s account is that, at the very beginning of his account of Ḥezekiah’s reign (2 Kings 18:5) he wrote, “He trusted (bṭḥ) in Yahweh, the god of Israel, and after him there was none like him amongst the kings of Judah, either before and after him”. Now throughout the Book of Kings it is only here, in the account of the original author, that this word is used in this sense - in all 9 times (other than once in the later post-exilic addition (2 Kings 19:10) but which derives from this original account). The author has the Assyrian rab šaqe expound deuteronomic philosophy and that they should not trust in Ḥezekiah, Yahweh or Egypt. But the author “knows” that Ḥezekiah trusted in Yahweh and because of this the city was delivered from siege.

The idea that Sin-aḫḫe-eriba suffered a disaster (2 Kings 19:35) is a later concept, which was included in a later post exilic composition that was inserted into what is now 2 Kings 19: 9b-35; 20:1-19. This Assyrian disaster story was still absent in the exilic period. For in Jeremiah 26 (set in the days of Jehoiakim, but set down in exilic times (probably as part of the Baruch Memoirs) recalls the prophesies of Micah the Morasthite against Jerusalem, in the days of Ḥezekiah, and how Hezekiah sought Yahweh who repented and spared the city. There is no hint, at this time, of a divine disaster saving the city. But by 450 Herodotos reports on a disaster that fell on Sanakharibos at Pelusium. Given that this form of the name is parallel to the Snḫryb of the Book of Kings (and besides any Egyptian name would have been completely garbled, particularly as his name is only recorded in Egyptian literature as Wsḫ-rnf meaning “his name is long”), Herodotos is likely to have heard the Biblical story possibly from a Judahean as he also reports that the Phoenicians = Canaanites (who for Herodotos would include Judaheans) came from the Erythra Sea (which included the Persian Gulf).

Now this later post-exilic addition (2 Kings 19: 9b-35; 20:1-19) contains various sections that combined later deuteronomic retelling of the original author’s account about these events coupled with prophetic stories influenced by the writings of the late exilic Deutero-Isaiah. These include the story of Ḥezekiah’s illness (which re-introduces Isaiah) and the ambassadors of Marduk-apla-iddina 2 (with its reference to the Babylonian exile). This addition (specifically 2 Kings 20 :1-6) contains the story that during the Assyrian siege, Ḥezekiah was sick, and Isaiah said he would die, but because Ḥezekiah prayed to Yahweh, Isaiah was informed by Yahweh to tell Ḥezekiah that he would recover and live an extra 15 years.

In post-exilic times when this section was added to the original Book of Kings, it was found to conflict with the original Treasury Chronicle date of year 24 for the end of the siege of Jerusalem. Now Ḥezekiah was known to have reigned for 29 years (2 Kings 18:2) and so, if he lived for 15 years after the siege, then according to the account of 2 Kings 20:1-6, the siege of Jerusalem should have happened in his (29-15=) 14th year. The devoted post-exilic follower of Isaiah, who added this section, could only reconciled the difference by changing the existing date “in the twenty fourth year” to “in the fourteenth year”.

Now there is dated archaeological material which provides proof that the 701 campaign of Sin-aḫḫe-eriba took place after year 21 of Ḥezekiah. This is in the form of seal inscriptions imprinted on fiscal bullae giving information concerning collected taxes that were sent to central warehouses from various cities. Some of these contain dates ranging from year 3 to year 26 of a king who was most likely Ḥezekiah (although most bullae come from illegal excavations, some were obtained from assemblies that included bullae naming Aḫaz and Ḥezekiah). In particular, one bulla was sent from the city of Gath which was only ever under Judahean control during the reign of Ḥezekiah (as evident from “lmlk” seal imprints and private seal imprints of officials of Ḥezekiah that have been discovered in that city). The importance of these fiscal bullae is that 5 of the dated ones, sent from Lachish, bear year dates from years 14 (2 bullae), 19 (2 bullae) and 21 (1 bulla). This is proof that Lachish was not taken and destroyed until after year 21 (of Ḥezekiah.

Regards Joe

  • Re: carbon14 ressurrection of DavidJoe Baker, Fri Mar 23 09:12
    Hi Toby I agree that there are references to David in the Tell Dan and Mesha stelae but not necessarily in the Šašanq Karnak inscription. Now I think the information about Šašanq taking tribute from... more
    • Re: carbon14 ressurrection of DavidToby, Wed Apr 11 22:51
      Hello Joe, I'll refrain comments on the Bible part of your posting (not sure where the line is here.) I might be wrong, but I don't think anyone disputes, based on his wall inscriptions, that... more
    • In the 24th (not 14th) year of Hezekiah — Joe Baker, Tue Apr 10 20:36
      • In the 14th (not 24th) year of HezekiahToby, Thu Apr 12 01:07
        Joe, You wrote: "Now a simple back calculation of the reign dates, given in the bible, from Nabu-kudurri-uṣur’s annexation of Judah in 587 back to the Assyrian 701 campaign would require that... more
        • Assyrian Babylonian DatesJoe Baker, Sun Apr 15 18:54
          Hi Toby I have inserted a “corrected” version of your count of reigns 722bc Sargon 17? years 17 Šarru-ukin 705bc Sennacherib 24? years 24 Sin-aḫḫe-eriba 681bc Essarhaddon 12/13 years 12... more
          • What was Sargon's name?Toby Anderson, Wed Apr 25 23:29
            Hello Joe, You wrote: “Sin-aḫḫe-eriba did name his father as Šarru-ukin in one known inscription, BM 99178 - See page 194 of Eckart Frahm’s “Einleitung in die Sanherib Inschriften” “ I... more
        • In the 14th (not 24th) year of HezekiahToby, Thu Apr 12 01:16
          Apparantly, my simple calculation was too long and this website truncated off the missing part. HEre it is: It was customary for the Assyrian kings to record their titulary back through father and... more
      • Joe, In your posting, you quote the bible. Yet, you deleted the postings on Nimrod when Rich started looking at the Hebrew. Might you explain the rules? Do you have them posted somewhere? Toby
        • Re: In the 24th (not 14th) year of HezekiahJoe Baker, Thu Apr 12 07:42
          Hi Toby There are no rules other than common sense, but note that this forum is called “The Ancient Near Eastern Chronology Forum” not the The Ancient Near Eastern Mythological Forum” which later... more
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