Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia

Author: Sennacherib  | Date: 1927

Show Summary
D. D. Luckenbill Chicago 1927 2 The University of Chicago Press

Sennacherib Lays Siege to Jerusalem

[701 B.C.]

Sennacherib, the great king, the mighty king, king of the universe, king of Assyria, king of the four quarters (of the earth); the wise ruler, favorite of the great gods, guardian of the right, lover of justice; who lends support, who comes to the aid of the needy, who turns (his thoughts) to pious deeds; perfect hero, mighty man; first among princes, the flame that consumes the insubmissive, who strikes the wicked with the thunderbolt; the god Assur, the great mountain, has intrusted to me an unrivaled kingship, and, above all those who dwell in palaces, has made powerful my weapons; from the upper sea of the setting sun to the lower sea of the rising sun, all humankind he has brought in submission at my feet.

At the beginning of my reign, when I solemnly took my seat on the throne, and ruled the inhabitants of Assyria with mercy and grace, Merodach-baladan, king of Babylonia (whose heart is wicked), an instigator of revolt, plotter of rebellion, doer of evil, whose guilt is heavy, brought over to his side Shutur-Nahundu, the Elamite, and gave him gold, silver, and precious stones, and so secured him as an ally. [He gathered together numerous allies and marshaled for the fight.]

To me, Sennacherib, whose heart is exalted, they reported these evil deeds. I raged like a lion, and gave the command to march into Babylonia against him. That evil prop of the devil heard of my march to battle, and the horse and bowmen of the Elamites, the Arameans, and the Chaldeans, he brought them all into Kutha, and there had a watch kept on the progress of my campaign. I set out from Assur ahead of my army, like a mighty bull. I did not wait for my army. I did not hold back. My general and governors I sent on to Kish, ahead of me, with the order:

"Take the road against Merodach-baladan, do not hold back. Keep a close watch over him."

In the anger of my heart I made an assault upon Kutha. The troops about its walls I slaughtered like lambs and took the city. The horse and bowmen of the Elamite, the Arameans, and the Chaldeans . . . together with the citizens, the rebels, I brought forth and counted as spoil. I raged like a lion. I stormed like a tempest. With my merciless warriors I set my face against Merodach-baladan, who was in Kish. And that worker of iniquity saw my advance from afar. Terror fell upon him. He forsook all of his troops, and fled to the land of Guzummanu. Adinu, son of the wife of Merodach-baladan, together with Baskânu, brother of Iati’e, queen of the Arabs, along with the armies, I seized as living captives.

In joy of heart and with a radiant face I hastened to Babylon and entered the palace of Merodach-baladan, to take charge of the property and goods laid up therein. I opened his treasure-house. Gold, silver, vessels of gold and silver, precious stones, beds, house chairs, palanquins1, his royal standards, whose inlay was of gold and silver, all kinds of property and goods, and without number—an enormous treasure—his wife, his harem, his slave girls, his officials, his nobles, his courtiers, the male and female musicians, the palace slaves, who gladdened his princely mind, all of the artisans I brought forth and counted as spoil. I hurried after him, sent my warriors to Guzummanu, into the midst of the swamps and marshes and they searched for him for five days, but his hiding-place was not found . . .

[Sennacherib’s second campaign was against the Kassites. He besieged their cities, counted their people as booty, and set fire to their dwellings. In his third campaign he invaded Syria and Palestine. He took Sidka, king of Ashkalon, into captivity, along with his wife, his sons, his daughters, and his brothers. "The seed of his father’s house I tore away and brought to Assyria." He executed the rebellious governors and nobles of Ekron.]

The citizens who had sinned and treated Assyria lightly, I counted as spoil. The rest of them, who were not guilty of sin and contempt, who were without blame, I spoke their pardon. Padi, their king, I brought out of Jerusalem. I set him on the royal throne over them and imposed upon him my kingly tribute. As for Hezekiah, the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, forty-six of his strong, walled cities, as well as the small cities in their neighborhood, which were without number, I besieged and took by using a ramp, by bringing up siege engines, and by attacking and storming on foot, by mines, tunnels, and breaches. Two hundred thousand one hundred and fifty people, great and small, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, cattle and sheep, without number, I brought away from them and counted as spoil. Himself, like a caged bird, I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city. Earthworks I threw up against him. The cities of his which I had despoiled I cut off from his land. And thus I diminished his land. As for Hezekiah, the terrifying splendor of my majesty overcame him, and the Arabs and his mercenary troops which he had brought in to strengthen Jerusalem, his royal city, deserted him. [As tribute Hezekiah dispatched to Sennacherib at Nineveh gold and silver, precious gems, valuable ivory pieces and woods, "as well as his daughters, his harem, and his male and female musicians."]

1Covered carriages borne on the shoulders of men, usually with projecting poles at the ends and a door at the side.

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Chicago: Sennacherib, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, trans. D. D. Luckenbill in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed December 1, 2023,

MLA: Sennacherib. Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, translted by D. D. Luckenbill, Vol. 2, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 1 Dec. 2023.

Harvard: Sennacherib, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, trans. . cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 1 December 2023, from