King of Assyria, son and successor of Shalmaneser, began to reign B. C. 710, and reigned but a few years. Hezekiah king of Judah having shaken off the yoke of the Assyrians, by which Ahaz his father had suffered under Tigloth-pileser, Sennacherib marched an army against him, and took all the strong cities of Judah. Hezekiah, seeing he had nothing left but Jerusalem, which he perhaps found it difficult to preserve, sent ambassadors to Sennacherib, then besieging and destroying Lachish, to make submission. Sennacherib accepted his tribute, but refused to depart, and sent Rabshakeh with an insolent message to Jerusalem. Hezekiah entreated the Lord, who sent a destroying angel against the Assyrian army, and slew in one night 185,000 men. Sennacherib returned with all speed to Nineveh, and turned his arms against the nations south of Assyria, and afterwards towards the north. But his career was not long; within two or three years from his return from Jerusalem, while he was paying adorations to his god Nisroch, in the temple, his two sons Adrammelech and Sharezer slew him and fled into Armenia. Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead, 2 Kings 18:1-19:37 2 Chronicles 32:33.
A most remarkable confirmation of the above Bible history has been found in the long buried ruins of ancient Nineveh. The mound called Kouyunijik, opposite Mosul, has been to a good degree explored, and its ruins prove to be those of a palace erected by this powerful monarch. The huge stone tablets which formed the walls of its various apartments are covered with bas-reliefs and inscriptions; and though large portions of these have perished by violence and time, the fragments that remain are full of interest. One series of tablets recounts the warlike exploits of Sennacherib, who calls himself "the subduer of kings from the upper sea of the setting sun to the lower sea of the rising sun," that is, from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.
The most important of these mural pages to Bible readers, are those recounting the history of his war against Syria and the Jews, in the third year of his reign. Crossing the upper part of Mount Lebanon, he appears to have conquered Tyre and all the cities south of it on the seacoast to Askelon. In this region he came in conflict with an Egyptian army, sent in aid of King Hezekiah; this host he defeated and drove back. See 2 Kings 19:9 Isaiah 37:1-38. The inscription then proceeds to say, "Hezekiah king of Judah, who had not submitted to my authority, forty-six of his principal cities, and fortresses and villages dependant upon them, of which I took no account, I captured, and carried away their spoil. The fortified towns, and the rest of his towns which I spoiled, I severed from his country, and gave to the kings of Askelon, Ekron, and Gaza, so as to make his country small. In addition to the former tribute imposed upon their countries, I added a tribute the nature of which I fixed." Compare 2 Kings 18:13 Isaiah 36:1. He does not profess to have taken Jerusalem itself, but to have carried away Hezekiah’s family, servants, and treasures, with a tribute of thirty talents of gold and eight hundred talents of silver. The amount of gold is the same mentioned in the Bible narrative. The three hundred talents of silver mentioned in Scripture may have been all that was given in money, and the five hundred additional claimed in the Ninevite record may include the temple and palace treasures, given by Hezekiah as the price of peace.
In another apartment of the same palace was found a series of wellpreserved bas-reliefs, representing the siege and capture by the Assyrians of a large and strong city. It was doubly fortified, and the assault and the defense were both fierce. Part of the city is represented as already taken, while elsewhere the battle rages still in all its fury. Meanwhile captives are seen flayed, impaled, and put to the sword; and from one of the gates of the city a long procession of prisoners is brought before the king, who is gorgeously arrayed and seated on his throne upon a mound or low hill. They are presented by the general in command, very possibly Rabshakeh, with other chief officers. Two eunuchs stand behind the king, holding fans and napkins. Above his head is an inscription, which is thus translated: "Sennacherib the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judging at the gate of the city Lachisa; I give permission for its slaughter." The captives are stripped of their armor, ornaments, and much of their clothing, and are evidently Jews.
Little did Sennacherib then anticipate the utter of his ruin of his own proud metropolis, and still less that the ruins of his palace should preserve to this remote age the tablets containing his own history, and the image of his god Nisroch so incapable of defending him, to bear witness for the God whom he blasphemed and defied. See NINEVEH, NISROCH, SHALMANESER, and SO.
These dictionary topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859. Public Domain, copy freely.
Rand, W. W. "Entry for 'SENNACHERIB'". "American Tract Society Bible Dictionary".