7. Lachish Letters
Lachish was the most important city in Judah after Jerusalem. About 34 inscriptions found at Lachish. 18 found in 1935; 3 found in 1938; another one found in 1966; 10 more found in between 1973-94; another 2 jar labels were found. Lachish letters were found in burnt debris of Stratum II by city gate; stratum II was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer (around 586 BCE).
There are 22 ostraca letters written in Hebrew, mostly correspondence between Hoshaiah, a military officer stationed between Lachish & Jerusalem w/ Yaosh, the commanding officer of Lachish. Maybe from a nearby fortress outside Lachish. These letters come from the time just before Judah’s destruction by Babylon (around 586 BCE). Reference is made to “beacons of Lachish” in letters – may refer to importance of fire signals in war against Babylonians. Instructive for showing the type of wartime activity going on at this time in Judah. Ostracon 4 references Azekah, a fortified city nearby. Both Lachish and Azekah are mentioned in Jeremiah 34:7 as well. Mention is made to a "prophet". Scholars discuss the communication between military and the prophets; apparently, military personal took prophets seriously.