Israel State Archives Site Israel Museum, Jerusalem Site Blue on White
     
שלח  לחבר
But defend itself  
 
 
Letter, discovered in the ruins of Lachish, relates that the torches of the neighboring town, Azeqah, were extinguished, meaning that it had been captured by the Babylonian army. Lachish itself was conquered shortly thereafter, and in the same year Jerusalem was taken and the First Temple destroyed. These events are also described in Jeremiah 34:6. Tel Lachish
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BCE 586 Tel Lachish
Ink on pottery. Israel Antiquities Authority
Archaeological Exhibit The Azeqah ostracon: the Lakhish letters This letter, written in ink on pottery, may be one of the most poignant expressions of the dramatic final moments of the biblical Kingdom of Judah. The ostracon was part of the archive of letters discovered at the gates of the city of Lakhish, shortly before its destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezer, King of Babylonia in 586 BCE. The potsherds were found beneath a floor covered in ash, a sure sign that the site had been destroyed by fire. The final sentence of the letter reads as follows: "For we are watching the Lakhish fire signal; according to the signs which my lord has given, because we do not see Azeqah." According to the archaeologist Yigael Yadin, this sentence tells us that that the torches of Azeqah, a neighboring city to Lakhish, had been extinguished; in other words, Azeqah had already been captured by the Babylonians, but the defenders of Lakhish were still determined to persist in the struggle for their own city. The prophet Jeremiah, who was calling at the time for Judah to surrender to the Babylonians in order to save Jerusalem, described the events in the following words: "When the army of the king of Babylonia fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lakhish and against Azeqah; for these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah." But not long after these words were spoken, Lakhish was conquered and destroyed, and soon after that, Jerusalem was razed and the First Temple was burned to the ground.
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