(lay' chihssh) Place name meaning “obstinate.” An important Old Testament city located in the Shephelah (“lowlands”) southwest of Jerusalem. It has usually been identified in modern times with the archaeological site called tell ed-Duweir. The same site has more recently come to be called tel Lachish. Lachish is also mentioned in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian records.
The earliest reference to Lachish is in the Amarna letters (about 1400 B.C). It was evidently one of the important Canaanite cities of the time. The Hebrew army under Joshua's command defeated the king of Lachish, killed him and conquered his city (Joshua 10:5,
Joshua 10:23,Joshua 10:32-33). Later, Lachish was apportioned to the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:39). The next Biblical reference to Lachish comes in
2 Chronicles 11:9, from the reign of Rehoboam who “fortified the city.” Lachish was also the city of refuge for Amaziah who fled there from Jerusalem to escape a conspiracy against him (2 Kings 14:19;
2 Chronicles 25:27).
Lachish is perhaps most well known for the story of its siege and conquest in 701 B.C. at the hands of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:1;
2 Chronicles 32:1;
Isaiah 36:1). Two later brief references appear (Jeremiah 34:7;
The archaeological excavations at Lachish have been extensive and rewarding. They have shown occupation at Lachish from about 4000 B.C. to the time of its conquest by the Persian Empire (539-333 B.C.). The rich and varied finds represent almost all of the periods, but the chief interest for the student of the Bible centers on the periods beginning with the time of the Hebrew invasion of Canaan. Impressive archaeological evidence shows the city was destroyed during the period of the conquest related in the Book of Joshua, but the archaeological evidence does not indicate who the destroyers were. Some scholars date the Lachish destruction layer as late as 1150 B.C. on the basis of a cartouche of Rameses III of Egypt.
The biblical account of Sennacherib's conquest of Lachish in 701 B.C. is supported and amplified by Assyrian records of King Sennacherib's campaign (2 Kings 18:1;
2 Chronicles 32:1;
Isaiah 36:1). This was graphically recorded in a large and elaborate bas relief on the walls of the royal palace in Nineveh. Presently housed in the British museum in London, these carvings show Assyrian soldiers attacking the walled city, the city inhabitants defending their city, soldiers killing some of the defenders, families with possessions being led away captive, and the king on his throne reviewing the spoils taken from the city. A replica of this relief may be found in the library of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville,