Verbum et Ecclesia
versão On-line ISSN 1609-9982
The immensity of Hezekiah's tribute payment to the Assyrian monarch, Sennacherib (2 Ki 18:14) has elicited limited reflection by scholars. Agriculture, generally believed to have formed the basis of the Judaean economy, could not alone have financed Hezekiah's expenditure at the close of the 8th and the beginning of the 7th century BCE. Alternative sources of revenue, in addition to the income from the tithes and taxes as a result of his religious reforms, which undoubtedly contributed substantially, must have been available to the king. Archaeological data will not enable us to prove the veracity of the biblical narratives, but they will help us to interpret it, illuminate the context of the biblical passages and provide valuable information for the reconstruction of the social and cultural history of the early Israelites. An entirely accurate picture of the actual events that occurred will continue to elude us.