According to the Assyrian sources, Sennacherib, King of Assyria (704–681 BCE) went on campaign to the West to quell a rebellion in 701 BCE. During his campaign he conducted a pitched battle against the forces of Egypt and Kush and won the war. However, according to the Biblical narrative the Assyrians suffered an enormous defeat by the angel of God. Furthermore, the Kushite ruler who came to the aid of the Judean forces was Tirhakah (=Taharqa), King of Kush, who ascended the throne of Egypt-and-Kush only eleven years later, in 690 BCE.
How then, can we explain the mentioning of Taharqa in the biblical account? Is the information that he was present in the events of 701 BCE an anachronism or is it historically reliable? Can his role in the events be determined? Who won the war – Sennacherib, King of Assyria or Taharqa, King of Kush (and his ally, Hezekiah, King of Judah)? Did Sennacherib conduct two campaigns against the Levant, as some have suggested? The purpose of this article is to address these questions.
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