Study Guide

Sennacherib (and Rabshakeh) in Book of Isaiah

Sennacherib (and Rabshakeh)

The Assyrian King, Sennacherib—speaking through his vizier (advisor), the Rabshakeh—is a classic, arrogant bad-guy. He lays down the trash talk, only to get cleaned up in the end. (Since the Rabshakeh are basically just mouthpieces for their king's views, we've included them both in the same section.) But before their inevitable comeuppance, Sennacherib and his Rabshakeh are a pair of potty-mouths, saying that they'll besiege Jerusalem until the city's residents are forced to drink their own urine and eat their own excrement (super-gross, but a good example of the villains' sense of humor).

Sennacherib makes the egotistical mistake of lumping in the biblical God with everyone else's gods. He asks why, if he (Sennacherib) has managed to defeat everyone else's gods and desecrate their temples, it would be impossible to do the same thing to Judah's God? Of course, this being the Bible, he isn't able to do that to Judah's God. His army gets totally massacred by an angel. Sennacherib is one of numerous gentile kings who believe they're the center of the universe, only to have a rude awakening when God cuts them down.