Jeremy Goldberg, «Two Assyrian Campaigns against Hezehiah and Later Eight Century Biblical Chronology», Vol. 80 (1999) 360-390
The massive Assyrian invasion of Judah in 701 (reflected in 2 Kgs 18,13b; 18,1719,37) has apparently been confused with an earlier, limited invasion in Hezekiahs 14th year (reflected in 2 Kgs 18,13a.14-16; 2 Kgs 20; 2 Chr 32; Isa 22). Historically, this earlier campaign can best be dated to 712, when Sargon II apparently led the Assyrian royal guard on a Palestinian campaign. Chronologically, this dating fits perfectly with e.g. recent dating of the definitive fall of Samaria (2 Kgs 18,9: in Hezekiahs 6th year) to 720. 2 Kgs 18,9s parallel dating to Hosheas 9th year agrees with his apparent accession in 731 or 729. Dating Menahems death to 743 (as required, following biblical data, to avoid a triple overlap among Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz) agrees with Eponym Chronicle evidence for this dating of 2 Kgs 15,19-20s presumably already desperate fiasco, and is consistent with a plausibly composite 738 tribute-list naming Menahem. Combining these datings produces a workable later 8th century biblical chronology.
1. Two Assyrian Campaigns against Hezekiah
The most controversial period for the royal chronology of Israel and Judah is the later 8th century BC. Much of the problem appears to center on 2 Kgs 18,13s dating of a massive invasion of Judah by Sennacherib to Hezekiahs 14th year. As extremely widely accepted, this massive invasion is clearly identifiable with Sennacheribs known such invasion in 701. But dating Hezekiahs 14th year to 701 conflicts with other biblical data and has been very widely rejected in recent studies. With the help of recent shifts in viewpoint concerning 2 Kgs 18,14-16, the Azekah text, and the fall of Samaria, it appears possible to reconstruct the historical situation hidden behind this apparent biblical error as follows.
2 Kgs 18,1319,37, together with the parallel account in Isa 3637, and Assyrian sources for the 701 campaign both tell of a massive invasion of Judah by Sennacherib which included an Assyrian approach to, but not assault on, Jerusalem1. Any possibility of distinguishing between these invasions appears eliminated, for the bulk of the biblical material, by the good agreement of Assyrian and biblical sources when read between the lines of competing claims of victory is on a limited Assyrian setback. Thus, as emphasized by e.g. Millard, Assyrian records indicate that Sennacherib let Hezekiah off very easily, especially in view of his marked hostility towards "the Judaean", and leave the end of the 701 campaign strangely obscure except for tribute eventually sent by Hezekiah to Nineveh. In spite of 2 Kgs 19,35s historically impossible 185,000 Assyrian dead, prophecies in this chapter likewise point to only a limited Assyrian setback