2 Kings chapter 18

Hezekiah becomes king of Judah. Assyria invades Judah.

 


 

HEZEKIAH BECOMES KING OF JUDAH

 

VERSE 1. Now in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

the third year of Hoshea. That was 729 BC.

Hezekiah … began to reign. This is the first of three eras in Hezekiah’s kingship:

ERA 1. Hezekiah reigned as coregent with his father Ahaz for 14 years: from 729 to 715 BC.

 

VERSE 2. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah.

he reigned twenty-nine years. That number probably represents the next two two eras of Hezekiah’s kingship:

ERA 2. Hezekiah reigned alone for 18 years: from 715 to 697 BC

ERA 3. Hezekiah reigned as coregent with his son Manasseh for 11 years: from 697 to 686 BC.

 

VERSE 3. He did that which was right in the LORD’s eyes, according to all that David his father had done.

He did that which was right in the LORD’s eyes. This is so unusual for a king. Hezekiah is a rare individual indeed. The text says he did right.

Such a thing is said of only four kings of Judah:

1 Kings 15:11. Asa did that which was right in the LORD’s eyes, as David his father did.

2 Kings 18:3. [Hezekiah] did that which was right in the LORD’s eyes, according to all that David his father had done.

2 Chron. 17:3. The LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and didn’t seek the Baals,

2 Kings 22:2. [Josiah] did that which was right in the LORD’s eyes, and walked in all the way of David his father, and didn’t turn away to the right hand or to the left.

 

VERSE 4. He removed the high places, broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because in those days the children of Israel burned incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan.

He removed the high places. Hezekiah actually removed the high places where people worshipped the LORD God, contrary to the Law of Moses.

cut down the Asherah. Hezekiah destroyed the idols used in the worship of Baal and Asherah.

He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent. This is the bronze snake that Moses had made in the wilderness.

At this point in the biblical narrative, people see it as a religious fetish. They have made it spiritually unclean. So Hezekiah destroys it.

In our own lives, there can be no idols. If we find that we’ve allowed something to become an idol, we need to be like Hezekiah. We need to destroy it.

 

VERSE 5. He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that after him was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among them that were before him.

He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. Hezekiah is one of the great kings of Judah.

after him was no one like him. The effort Hezekiah puts into reforming his people and their corrupt religious practices are simply amazing.

In our own lives, how can we be like Hezekiah? How can we reform our own lives?

 

VERSE 6. For he joined with the LORD. He didn’t depart from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.

he joined with the LORD. We like this translation! But what does this mean?

The Hebrew word translated as “joined” is וַיִּדְבַּק֙ (“dabaq”). It means to cling, cleave, keep close.

The NASB translation renders it as “clung“. That suggests a relationship.

The NIV, ESV, and NKJV render it as “held fast“. This too suggests a relationship.

The NLT and BSB render it “remained faithful“. This suggests the mere fulfilling of an obligation.

Are you “joined” with the LORD God? Do you “cling” to him? Do you “hold fast” to him?

 

VERSE 7. The LORD was with him. Wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria, and didn’t serve him.

Wherever he went, he prospered. This phrase represents a very Old Testament worldview.

If you walk with the LORD God, you will be blessed. You will be healthy. You will be wealthy.

Conversely if you are not rich, or not healthy, it is because you are sinning.

 

VERSE 8. He struck the Philistines to Gaza and its borders, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city.

Hezekiah defeated the dreaded Philistines.

 

VERSE 9. In the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it.

Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria. This is a second account of the fall of Samaria.

It can be read in parallel with the first account of the fall of Samaria, which was in 2 Kings 17:3-6.

 

VERSE 10. At the end of three years they took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.

At the end of three years. That was in 722 BC.

they took it. Shalmaneser V captured Israel’s capital.

 

VERSE 11. The king of Assyria carried Israel away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,

 

VERSE 12. because they didn’t obey the LORD their God’s voice, but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear it or do it.

 

ASSYRIA INVADES JUDAH

 

NOTE. See also Isaiah 36 and Isaiah 37

 

VERSE 13. Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.

 

VERSE 14. Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have offended you. Withdraw from me. That which you put on me, I will bear.” The king of Assyria appointed to Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.

talents. A talent is about 30 kilograms or 66 pounds or 965 Troy ounces

 

VERSE 15. Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the LORD’s house and in the treasures of the king’s house.

 

VERSE 16. At that time, Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the LORD’s temple, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

 

VERSE 17. The king of Assyria sent Tartan, Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great army to Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they had come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field.

 

VERSE 18. When they had called to the king, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder came out to them.

 

VERSE 19. Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘The great king, the king of Assyria, says, “What confidence is this in which you trust?

 

VERSE 20. You say (but they are but vain words), ‘There is counsel and strength for war.’ Now on whom do you trust, that you have rebelled against me?

 

VERSE 21. Now, behold, you trust in the staff of this bruised reed, even in Egypt. If a man leans on it, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust on him.

 

VERSE 22. But if you tell me, ‘We trust in the LORD our God,’ isn’t that he whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?’

he whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away. That is not true.

But Rabshakeh of Assyria is lying in order to drive a wedge between the people and their king.

 

VERSE 23. Now therefore, please give pledges to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses if you are able on your part to set riders on them.

 

VERSE 24. How then can you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

 

VERSE 25. Have I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? the LORD said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’ ” ’ ”

 

VERSE 26. Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah, and Joah, said to Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in the Syrian language, for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Jews’ language, in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.”

 

VERSE 27. But Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to your master and to you, to speak these words? Hasn’t he sent me to the men who sit on the wall, to eat their own dung, and to drink their own urine with you?”

 

VERSE 28. Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria.

 

VERSE 29. The king says, ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of his hand.

 

VERSE 30. Don’t let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”

Don’t let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD. Rabshakeh tries to persuade the people to NOT trust in the LORD God.

But trusting in the LORD God is exactly what the people need.

 

VERSE 31. Don’t listen to Hezekiah.’ For the king of Assyria says, ‘Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and everyone of you eat from his own vine, and everyone from his own fig tree, and everyone drink water from his own cistern;

Make your peace with me. Rabshakeh makes it seems that if they surrender, it will be nice for them.

eat from his own vine … fig tree. The notion of having your own vine and fig tree occurs 22 times in the Old Testament.

It seems to be a symbol of security and freedom from oppression.

Former U.S. president George Washington cited a verse from the prophet Micah about the vine and fig tree:

Micah 4:4. But every man will sit under his vine and under his fig tree. No one will make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of Hosts has spoken.

 

VERSE 32. until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and of honey, that you may live and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he persuades you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.”

 

VERSE 33. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

 

VERSE 34. Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?

 

VERSE 35. Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ ”

 

VERSE 36. But the people stayed quiet, and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, “Don’t answer him.”

 

VERSE 37. Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, came with Shebna the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him Rabshakeh’s words.

 


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2 KINGS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

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