Sennacherib (sĕnăkˈərĭb) [key] or Senherib, d. 681 B.C., king of Assyria (705–681 B.C.). The son of Sargon, Sennacherib spent most of his reign fighting to maintain the empire established by his father. It is difficult to determine the exact sequence of his conquests, but his first campaign seems to have been waged against Babylonia. Later he marched against an uprising of the western nations (Phoenicia, Judah, and Philistia), who were supported by Egypt. He defeated the Egyptians at Eltekeh (701 B.C.) and prepared to take Jerusalem. Isaiah had warned Hezekiah not to join the uprising against Assyria, but the king had refused the advice. Thus, Sennacherib destroyed many of Judah's cities and besieged Jerusalem, forcing the king to pay a heavy tribute.
Disturbances in Babylonia called the king to that area, and he waged a naval campaign against the Chaldaeans. He laid Elam waste and finally fought both the Chaldaeans and the Elamites at the battle of Halulina (Khaluli; c.691 B.C.). The exact outcome of the battle is uncertain. Two years later Sennacherib captured and destroyed Babylon. He constructed canals and aqueducts and built a magnificent palace at Nineveh. Two of his sons, jealous of their brother Esar-haddon, murdered Sennacherib. Esar-haddon succeeded to the throne.
See L. L. Homor, Sennacherib's Invasion of Palestine (1926, repr. 1966); B. S. Childs, Isaiah and the Assyrian Crisis (1967).
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