Visualizing Isaiah 36: Hezekiah and Sennacherib

This installment regarding Isaiah’s prophecies features the “Sennacherib Prism” — one of which is in the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, and featured in my tours there as a Docent at the OI. Check out other installments on “Ferrell’s Travel Blog.”

Ferrell's Travel Blog

Two significant historical characters are mentioned together in Isaiah 36. Sennacherib, the king of Assyria from 704–681 B.C., claims to have taken 46 cities of Judah in the days of Hezekiah. The biblical account says,

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. (2 Kings 18:13 ESV)

There are three known clay prisms in which Sennacherib mentions Hezekiah, king of Judah.

  1. The Taylor Prism, in the British Museum
  2. The Oriental Institute Prism in Chicago
  3. The Jerusalem Prism, in the Israel Museum

Sennacherib admits in the prism-account that Hezekiah did not submit to his yoke, but was “shut up in Jerusalem” like a caged bird.

The Jerusalem Prism, now displayed in the Israel Museum, is perhaps the least well-known of the three documents. Our photo shows that document displayed under the replica of the relief of…

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Lamassu of Sargon II — Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Lamassu of Sargon II -- Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Steve Wolfgang with grandchildren, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago