Science

Proof of Bible story about angels killing 185,000 soldiers in a night is uncovered after 2,700 years


Researchers have discovered an ancient military base that may corroborate a Bible story about God’s angels fending off an attack on Jerusalem.

The tale says that around 2,700 years ago, the Lord sent a messenger angel to fight an army of Assyrian soldiers who came to conquer the Holy Land.

The Angel of the Lord is then said to have descended on the invading military and killed 185,000 soldiers in a single night.

There has not been any archaeological evidence that the supernatural event – or even the battle – actually happened.

Now, using modern mapping techniques, archaeologist Stephen Compton claims he has found more evidence the epic battle took place.

King Sennacherib who ruled the Assyrian Empire from 705 to 681 BC laid siege on Jerusalem to capture all paths leading to the Mediterranean Sea. Pictured: (Top) A 1930s aerial image of Jerusalem (Bottom) The drawings found on Sennacherib's palace wall

King Sennacherib who ruled the Assyrian Empire from 705 to 681 BC laid siege on Jerusalem to capture all paths leading to the Mediterranean Sea. Pictured: (Top) A 1930s aerial image of Jerusalem (Bottom) The drawings found on Sennacherib’s palace wall

The carvings showed how the military base was laid out, allowing Compton to compare it to photos taken of the area in the 1910s (pictured)

The carvings showed how the military base was laid out, allowing Compton to compare it to photos taken of the area in the 1910s (pictured)

The Assyrian Empire operated from 1365 to 609 BC, hundreds of years before the time of Christ.

The invasion of Jerusalem was driven by the empire’s king Sennacherib who wanted to assert his political and economic dominance over all routes across the Syrian Desert that led to the Mediterranean Sea.

Researchers had previously discovered a scene carved into the stone walls of the King Sennacherib’s palace, which celebrated his conquest of Lachish, a city 42 miles south of Jerusalem.

The carvings showed how the military base was laid out, allowing Compton to compare it to photos taken of the area in the 1910s.

He noticed an area that was the same size and shape as the drawings on the palace wall which led to ruins containing the remains of a perimeter wall and pottery shards.

After conducting an archaeological survey of the site, Compton determined that it was abandoned after Sennacherib’s invasion and that humans hadn’t inhabited the area for at least 2,600 years.

The finding has paved the way for researchers to locate other similar military sites in the area and they hope it will lead to uncovering ancient cities that were destroyed by the Assyrian Empire. 

In 2021, Compton wrote in a post on X, then-Twitter, that he had discovered the location of Sennacherib’s military camps.

‘Each was a round site a little over a mile north of the respective old city walls and each bore the same Arabic name on at least one early map, ‘Mudawwara,’ he wrote.

The location also signified that it was the site where Sennacherib’s forces planned their attack because it was called Khirbet al Mudawwara in Arabic, meaning ‘The ruins of the camp of the invading ruler.’

Before Compton discovered the Assyrian site, researchers had only encountered one other ancient military campsite in the area.

The secondary site was occupied during the Roman siege of Jerusalem and its layout gave researchers a way to compare the layout of its military camp to the Assyrians.

‘Roman military camps were always rectangular, whereas this was oval, the characteristic shape of Assyrian camps,’ Compton wrote in a press release.

The methods Compton used to find Sennacherib’s camp site has led to the discovery of other Assyrian military camps.

‘In some cases, it has also been possible to use the newly discovered camps to locate the sites of ancient cities that were known to have been besieged by the Assyrians but whose locations were unknown or uncertain,’ Compton wrote.

The angel of the Lord - written in Hebrew as malak Yahweh - translates to messenger of the Lord and was sent to protect Jerusalem after its ruler, Hezekiah, prayed to God for safety

The angel of the Lord – written in Hebrew as malak Yahweh – translates to messenger of the Lord and was sent to protect Jerusalem after its ruler, Hezekiah, prayed to God for safety

Compton reported that the methods used to find Sennacherib's camp site has led to the discovery of other Assyrian military camps. Pictured: 1930s aerial view of Jerusalem

Compton reported that the methods used to find Sennacherib’s camp site has led to the discovery of other Assyrian military camps. Pictured: 1930s aerial view of Jerusalem

Three Bible stories in the book of 'Isaiah, 37:36-38' '2 Kings, 19:35' and '2 Chronicles, 32:21' detailed how the Assyrian soldiers were slain the night before they attacked Jerusalem. Pictured: The military site on Ammunition Hill

Three Bible stories in the book of ‘Isaiah, 37:36-38’ ‘2 Kings, 19:35’ and ‘2 Chronicles, 32:21’ detailed how the Assyrian soldiers were slain the night before they attacked Jerusalem. Pictured: The military site on Ammunition Hill

Three Bible stories in the book of ‘Isaiah, 37:36-38’ ‘2 Kings, 19:35’ and ‘2 Chronicles, 32:21’ detailed how the Assyrian soldiers were slain the night before they attacked Jerusalem.

In all stories, the Israelite deity Yahweh, sent an angel who passed through the camp while the soldiers slept, slaying them all for threatening his followers.

Bible passage 19:35 from the book ‘2 Kings’ says: ‘And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.’

The angel of the Lord – written in Hebrew as malak Yahweh – translates to messenger of the Lord and was sent to protect Jerusalem after its ruler, Hezekiah, prayed to God for safety.

In another retelling of the attack, a plague took the Assyrian soldier’s lives, while a Greek version claimed the soldiers were left defenseless in battle after mice invaded their camp during the night and chewed through all their bowstrings and shield straps.

After the Assyrian army was vanquished, the hill sat undisturbed until the 1930s, when the British turned a portion into an ammunition storage depot for its defensibility and renamed Ammunition Hill.

In 1948, the Jordanian army captured the hill from the British and built defensive trenches around the perimeter.

The site changed hands again two decades later when when Israeli paratroopers fought to take possession of the hill during what later became known as the Six-Day War.

Today, the site is a memorial and museum dedicated to that bloody battle that killed 15,000 Arabs and roughly 1,000 Israelis.



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