Lachish, meaning impregnable, or obstinate, was a major Canaanite city located southwest of Jerusalem, west of Hebron, in the maritime plain inland of The Mediterranean Sea (see Bible Places). Its lengthy existence is attested by its mention in the records of Egypt (see The Ancient Egyptians), Assyria (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) and Babylon (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), while in regard to early Bible History, it's best known from its being taken by the Israelites under Joshua.
The advancing Israelites were documented by the people of Lachish themselves, as recorded in a cuneiform tablet (the Amarna tablets) discovered by archaeologists:
"They have entered the land to lay waste ... strong is he who has come down. He lays waste." The "they" were the Israelites. The "He" was God.
The same tablets record a plea from another Canaanite ruler to the king of Egypt: "All the lands of the king have broken away ... The Habiru [Hebrews] are plundering the lands of the king. If no troops come in this very year, then all the lands of the king are lost."
And then, the Israelites came:
"And Joshua passed on from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish, and laid siege to it, and assaulted it: and The Lord gave Lachish into the hand of Israel, and he took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it, as he had done to Libnah." (Joshua 10:31-33 RSV)
Lachish was then assigned within the territory of Judah (see Tribal Lands):
"The cities belonging to the tribe of the people of Judah in the extreme South, toward the boundary of Edom, were ... Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon" (Joshua 15:21,39 RSV)
Later, with the division of the kingdom, shortly after the passing of Solomon, Lachish was among the cities rebuilt and fortified by Rehoboam:
"Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defense in Judah. He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, fortified cities which are in Judah and in Benjamin." (2 Chronicles 11:5-10 RSV)
Fact Finder: Did Lachish fall to the Assyrians under Sennacherib?
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