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Jerusalem's Survival, Sennacherib's Departure, and the Kushite Role in 701 BCE


An Examination of Henry Aubin's Rescue of Jerusalem


Edited by Alice Ogden Bellis
In 2002 Henry T. Aubin published The Rescue of Jerusalem: The Alliance Between Hebrews and Africans in 701 BC. Aubin, an award-winning Canadian journalist, explores Jerusalem’s survival in 701 BCE in the face of an Assyrian invasion of the Levant. It is unusual for a book in biblical studies to be reconsidered fifteen to twenty years later. The rationale for a book-length collection devoted to Aubin’s The Rescue of Jerusalem is, first of all, the importance of the issues it raises for the academy and beyond. This volume brings together excellent scholars from several fields to consider certain issues that are raised by The Rescue of Jerusalem’s thesis that an army of Egypt’s Twenty-fifth Dynasty was influential in saving Jerusalem from destruction; the dynasty was composed of Kushites, who came from present-day Sudan. This volume is important for another reason. Not only does The Rescue of Jerusalem raise issues regarding what may have hap­pened in 701 BCE; it also probes Western biblical scholarly attitudes regarding the Twenty-fifth Dynasty’s involvement in those events. Aubin's approach raises important concerns about scholarly attitudes, not only from the past, but also about the ways in which past attitudes have a way of continuing to color later academic discourse when they are not challenged. Cover image: Taharqo, the Kushite commander of expeditionary force of 701 BCE and later Pharaoh of Egypt’s Twenty-fifth Dynasty
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4156-8
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 23,2020
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 387
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4156-8
$141.00
$112.80
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What saved Jerusalem from destruction by the Assyrian army in 701 BCE? The seemingly invincible Assyrians — the only superpower of the day — had been about to assault the city when they suddenly departed. The Bible says the “angel of the Lord” swept down on the Assyrian camp, killing 185,000 troops as they slept, obliging the survivors to retreat to their homeland in present-day Iraq. Historians for more than a century have generally agreed that if Jerusalem — the only Hebrew city that the invaders had not destroyed — had been seized and the survivors deported (as per imperial policy in such cases), Hebrew society could have been permanently extinguished. Judaism would therefore never have evolved several centuries later and neither of its two kindred monotheisms, Christianity and Islam, would have developed. As if to underscore the event’s importance to Hebrew society, the Bible tells the story of Jerusalem’s miraculous deliverance, three times — in the books of Second Kings, Isaiah and Second Chronicles. The Old Testament/Tanakh/Hebrew Bible presents no other story so often.

Modern historians have proposed more down-to-earth explanations for the failure of the Assyrian emperor, Sennacherib. These include an epidemic that caused him to flee, a crisis elsewhere in the empire with which he had to deal, and a simple surrender by Jerusalem’s King Hezekiah. But now another theory — advanced in a 2002 book, The Rescue of Jerusalem: The Alliance between Hebrews and Africans in 701 BC, by a Canadian journalist, Henry Aubin — is rallying new respectability: an army led by Africans from present-day Sudan repelled the Assyrians. The army’s commander would have been a young Kushite, Taharqo, who later became Pharaoh. After 18 years of the book’s obscurity, the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, is breathing new life into it, commissioning eight specialists in this period of history to judge the theory’s plausibility. The verdict: six of the scholars tilt in favor of the theory, one is undecided, and only one rejects it.

Cover image: Taharqo, the Kushite commander of expeditionary force of 701 BCE and later Pharaoh of Egypt’s Twenty-fifth Dynasty

What saved Jerusalem from destruction by the Assyrian army in 701 BCE? The seemingly invincible Assyrians — the only superpower of the day — had been about to assault the city when they suddenly departed. The Bible says the “angel of the Lord” swept down on the Assyrian camp, killing 185,000 troops as they slept, obliging the survivors to retreat to their homeland in present-day Iraq. Historians for more than a century have generally agreed that if Jerusalem — the only Hebrew city that the invaders had not destroyed — had been seized and the survivors deported (as per imperial policy in such cases), Hebrew society could have been permanently extinguished. Judaism would therefore never have evolved several centuries later and neither of its two kindred monotheisms, Christianity and Islam, would have developed. As if to underscore the event’s importance to Hebrew society, the Bible tells the story of Jerusalem’s miraculous deliverance, three times — in the books of Second Kings, Isaiah and Second Chronicles. The Old Testament/Tanakh/Hebrew Bible presents no other story so often.

Modern historians have proposed more down-to-earth explanations for the failure of the Assyrian emperor, Sennacherib. These include an epidemic that caused him to flee, a crisis elsewhere in the empire with which he had to deal, and a simple surrender by Jerusalem’s King Hezekiah. But now another theory — advanced in a 2002 book, The Rescue of Jerusalem: The Alliance between Hebrews and Africans in 701 BC, by a Canadian journalist, Henry Aubin — is rallying new respectability: an army led by Africans from present-day Sudan repelled the Assyrians. The army’s commander would have been a young Kushite, Taharqo, who later became Pharaoh. After 18 years of the book’s obscurity, the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, is breathing new life into it, commissioning eight specialists in this period of history to judge the theory’s plausibility. The verdict: six of the scholars tilt in favor of the theory, one is undecided, and only one rejects it.

Cover image: Taharqo, the Kushite commander of expeditionary force of 701 BCE and later Pharaoh of Egypt’s Twenty-fifth Dynasty

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Contributor

Alice Ogden Bellis

Table of Contents .................................................................................... v
List of Abbreviations............................................................................. vii
List of Contributors.............................................................................. xiii

Introduction (1) - Alice Ogden Bellis

Report/Rumor (13) - Alice Ogden Bellis

Are the Kushites Disparaged in Isaiah 18? Kush Applied as a Literary Motif in the Hebrew Bible (19) - Marta Høyland Lavik

Egypt or God? Who Saved Judah from the Assyrian Attack in 701 BCE? (55) - Song-Mi Suzie Park

“Those Weaned From Milk”: The Divine Wet Nurse Motif in Isaiah 28’s Ceremony for the Covenant with Mut (75) - Christopher B. Hays

Sennacherib’s Departure and the Principle of Laplace (113) - Jeremy Pope

The Rescue of Jerusalem: a View from the Nile Valley (167) - Aidan Dodson

Israelite Interaction With Egypt During The Monarchy: A Context For Interpreting 2 Kings 19:8–13 (189) - Lester L. Grabbe

The Siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib (211) - Alan B. Lloyd

Aubin’sTheRescueOfJerusalem: an Assyriological Assessment (221) - K. Lawson Younger, Jr.

Responses (247) - Henry T. Aubin

Response to Marta Høyland Lavik: The Kushite Mission’s Historical Context (252)

Response to Song-Mi Suzie Park: Some Theological Issues in 2 Kings 18–19 (264)

Response to Christopher Hays: Hays Poses a Timely Question on Scholarship (273)

Response to Jeremy Pope: The Emptiness of the Theory of Hezekiah’s Surrender (290)

Response to Aidan Dodson: Assessing the Strength of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty’s Army in 701 BCE (310)

Response to Lester Grabbe: Was the Battle of Eltekeh Decisive? (331)

Response to Alan B. Lloyd: Why Minimize the Kushite Role in 701 BCE? (344)

Response to K. Lawson Younger, Jr.: The Puzzle of Taharqo’s Route to Judah (355)

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