LACHISH, SIEGE OF In Old Testament times the besieging army in attacking a fortified city sought first to drive all of its defenders within the walls. They then made choice of three methods of attack. They ' could either make a bold assault upon the most vulnerable part of the wall, or prepare to invest the city and starve out the defenders, or they might prepare their engines of war for a long and formal siege preparatory to ttie final battle.
In ancient Nineveh there was an elaborate rep resentation of the siege of Lachish upon the walls of the palace of Sennacherib, and similar bas reliefs show us the details of the siege of Susa, or Shushan, the capital of Ahasuerus and Esther (see SHUSHAN) and other cities. It was during the siege of Lachish that Sennacherib sent his tartan or commander-in-chief to Jerusalem to demand the submission of King Hezekiah as told in 2 After the destruction of Lachish by Sennach erib there does not appear to have been more than one refortifying of the site. This is the wall on the north which is thin at the east end, but thicker in the middle of the side. This can be traced around the city, and is probably the work of Ma nasseh, who about 66o B. C. fortified Jerusalem and put commanders in all the fenced cities of Judah. If so these must have been the walls which were besieged by Nebuchadnezzar about 590 B. C. (See Jer. xxxiv :7.) After the siege of Nebu chadnezzar we have little or no data concerning its occupation. Even after the return of the Jews they made their principal settlement in the vicinity of the later site of Umm Lakis, and since the fourth century before Christ the site appears to have been left desolate, or occupied only by the dcsert tribes and their cattle.
More than twenty-three centuries have passed away and the buried cities still occupy the one great mound, the surface of which was planted with barley and with beans when the spade of the explorer broke the silence of the ages in this tomb of many cities. (See Tell el-Hesy La Kings xviii. The besieging army consisted of the chariot force which was made up from the mili tary aristocracy of Assyria and consisted largely of men of rank and wealth. The cavalry and in fantry came next in importance and finally the great host of common soldiers coming from the tributary peoples.
At Lachish the king himself took command and fought from a chariot, while behind him were two chariots each of which carried a royal stand ard, the one being the figure of an archer riding a bull, and the other the emblem of the supreme god, Assur on two bulls. The chariots of the king and his standard bearers were covered with gold and silver, while bows, arrows, and battle axes were fastened to the sides. In the rear of each of these chariots was a rich red shield, while above it was a spear from which streamers were flying. The other chariots were similar in con struction and general design but they did not bear the royal colors or other insignia of the king.
The cavalry was armed with bows or javelins. The armor of the men was made of scales and consisted of a jacket and greaves. The horses were also protected by a thick leather armor which was fastened around the neck and covered both back and sides. Every cavalry man had a mountcd at tendant who held thc horse by the bridle while his mastcr was fighting.
It appears that theAssyrian infantry also fought in pairs, cach archer having a companion who like Jonathan's armor-bearer protected his mas ter as far as possible by holding before him a shield made of wicker work or leather, and in some cases thcre was also a second armor-bearer whose business it was to carry the arrows.
The higher rank of infantry carried spears and large round shields ornamcnted with bands of metal. If it was found that no sudden attack could capture a city the bcsicging army established a fortified camp just outside of bowshot, and if there were danger of a desperate counter-attack this camp would also be protected by a dike. The commander in chief would then slowly movc his clumsy war machines forward toward the city walls. This movement was retarded as far as pos sible by the defenders who threw arrows and stones among the enemy, and also used torches and balls of fire. The fortress was sometimes on the top of a rocky hill as at Susa, and In this case the attacking party must fill up the ditches and raise banks upon which their crude battering-rams could be placed. These rams were made of a beam of wood either with or with out a metal covering for the head, and this was carried by a number of men who struck it with all possible force against some weak point in the wall.
A more elaborate machine of the same sort was a beam which was set upon a frame carried upon wheels, and the frame had a covering which protected the men who worked the beam. Upon the highest point of this improved battering-ram a little tower was sometimes built and filled with archers who from this position were enabled to pick off the defenders who stood upon the top of the city wall. If the wall were built of heavy stones and well protected by fighting men it might for a long time defy the attacking party, espe cially when, as in the case of Tyre,the besieged city had access to the seacoast, and therefore could not be starved into submission. When at last a city was taken the terrible work of slaughter and cruelty really began. The victorious Assyrians often impaled the principal men among their pris oners or skinned them alive. Great piles of the heads of their victims were made at the gates of the city while other prisoners including women and children wcre driven off into Assyrian slav ery. If a prisoner of high degree were saved to grace the triumph of the conqueror, the king would often with his own hands pierce the eyes of his victim with a spear, and lead him oack with a thong which had been put through his lips. King Zedekiah was one of these unfortunate victims, and the Assyrian bas-reliefs give many il lustrations of this and othcr barbarities. (William Hayes Ward, Hom. Rev., July, 1895.) (See \VAR.) LAD (lad), (Heb. .1P%, nah'ar). A general term applied to: 1. An infant just born (Exod. :6; Judg. xiii: 5, 7; I Sam. iv :21).
2. A boy not yet full grown (Gen. xxi :16 ; xxii: 12 ; IS. Vii :16 ; :4)• 3. A youth nearly twcnty years of age (Gen xxxiv:19; xli:t2; Kings iii ; 2 S2111. XViii :5, 29) • 4. A girl, or maiden (Gen. xxiv:I4, 16 ; xxxiv : 3, 12 ; Dcut. xxii :15). The A. V. sometimes translates the term "child."