SENNACHERIB (Assyrian, "Sin-aḥe-erib" = "Sin hath increased the brethren"; Hebrew, ):
King of Assyria, 705-681
Hezekiah, however, by his partizanship had exposed himself to the hostility of Sennacherib, who began in 701 a campaign which is described at some length in the Bible (II Kings xviii.-xix.; II Chron. xxxii.; Isa. xxii., xxxvi.-xxxvii.; comp. Josephus, "Ant." x. 1). The invasion was at first completely succesful for the Assyrian arms. City after city of Judah fell, and Hezekiah was besieged in Jerusalem until he submitted to the payment of a ransom of 300 talents of silver (or, according to Sennacherib himself, of 800) and 30 of gold, the Temple itself being stripped to make up the amount. The conqueror then withdrew to Nineveh, but, after a marauding expedition into Cilicia, he was obliged in the following year again to subdue Merodachbaladan, who had fled to Nagitu on the Persian Gulf. With the aid of Phenician shipwrights, Sennacherib constructed a fleet on the Tigris, and finally reached Nagitu. After a stubborn resistance the fugitives were routed and forced to return.Disaster Before Jerusalem.
Despite certain chronological difficulties, it seems probable on the whole that Sennacherib again invaded Palestine, about 699, because Hezekiah, relying on Egyptian support, had once more revolted. Directing his main attacks on Libnah and Lachish, the Assyrian king sent a strong force to Jerusalem to demand its surrender. The insolent tone adopted by his officers, however, rendered all overtures impossible; and, recognizing their inability to carry the city by storm, they returned to Sennacherib, who had meanwhile reached Pelusium, where he was about to attack Sethos, Pharaoh of Egypt. Before a battle could be fought a mysterious calamity befell the Assyrian army, which is said to have lost 185,000 men in a single night, while the remnant, fleeing in terror, was pursued by the Egyptians (II Kings xix. 35; Isa. xxxvii. 36; Herodotus, ii. 141). This disaster, however, which naturally is not mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions, did not stay the career of Sennacherib. His expeditionto Nagitu brought upon Babylonia a retaliatory raid by the Elamites, who set a new king on the throne of Babylon. The Assyrians were completely victorious over the combined forces of Elamites and Babylonians, and in the following year (692) Sennacherib overran Susiana, capturing many towns, including the temporary capital of Kudur-Nakhunta, the Elamitic king, who fled, but survived his defeat only three months. His son and successor, Umman-Minanu, made an alliance with Mushezib-Marduk, King of Babylonia; and their forces were augmented by some of the Euphratean tribes which Sennacherib had subdued in the third year of his reign. After a fierce battle at Khalule on the lower Tigris, the Assyrian king routed his opponents, and followed up his victory by sacking Babylon itself (689). The events of the last eight years of the reign of Sennacherib are not recorded. In 681 the king was assassinated in the temple of Nisroch (possibly another name for Marduk) at Nineveh by two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer. The throne was seized by Esar - haddon, another son of Sennacherib.
- Rawlinson, Seven Ancient Monarchies: The Second Monarchy, 4th ed., London, 1879;
- Bezold. Inschriften Sanherib, in Schrader, K. B. ii., Berlin, 1890;
- Thiele, Babylonisch-Assyrische Geschichte, Gotha, 1886;
- Winckler, Gesch. Babyloniens und Assyriens, Leipsic, 1892;
- Meissner and Rost, Bauinschriften Sanheribs, ib. 1893;
- Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria, New York, 1900;
- Nagel, Zug des Sanherib Gegen Jerusalem, Leipsic, 1902;
- Schrader, K. A. T. 3d ed.