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Re-Reading The Hezekiah-Sennacherib Narrative

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Chapter Summary

The preliminary events of the Hezekiah-Sennacherib narrative record Hezekiah's extended regnal résumé (2 Kgs 18:1-8) where the narrator gives a rare positive evaluation of a monarch in the DH. The Hezekiah-Sennacherib narrative presents Hezekiah as paying tribute before any military action against Jerusalem. Therefore, in this presentation of the events, it can appear confusing as to why Assyrian emissaries are still sent to Jerusalem after Hezekiah's capitulation. But a close reading of the narrative reveals a previously unnoticed causal link. Contrary to the implications of the Assyrian annals, the Kings narrative presents Hezekiah paying tribute to Sennacherib while at Lachish and not subsequent to Assyrian military action against Jerusalem. A close reading suggests that the reason for the Assyrian expedition to Jerusalem, despite Hezekiah's prior capitulation, is Hezekiah's failure to pay the full tribute.

Keywords: Assyrian annals; Assyrian military action; Hezekiah-Sennacherib narrative; Jerusalem; paying tribute

10.1163/ej.9789004175969.i-230.17
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