2 Kings 18 – 20 part 12


Tonight we are going to continue to look at the life and reign of Hezekiah. As I mentioned last week the Bible has great deal of information about this faithful man of God. His reign is recorded for us in 2 Kings, 2 Chr. and in Isaiah 36 – 39. In fact most of Isaiah account is word for word of 2 Kings’ account. We looked at Hezekiah’s early rein last week and saw how he restored temple worship and got the people of Judah back on tract. However, tonight we will be taken a look at how the Assyrians began to wreak havoc on Hezekiah and the kingdom of Judah.


Tonight I will primarily stay in 2 Kings account because 2 Chr account is an abbreviated version. However it does contain some additional information, so I want to start with 2 Chr. 32. Now, before I read this text I want to understand that I looked at this for a couple of hours trying to determine if the text we are about to read happened first or happened later in the events that we are going to learn about tonight. After much thought, I have put these events in the most logical order in my mind. So, if you see something I missed, please let me know.


2 Chronicles 32:1 After these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself.  2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, and that his purpose was to make war against Jerusalem,  3 he consulted with his leaders and commanders to stop the water from the springs which were outside the city; and they helped him.  4 Thus many people gathered together who stopped all the springs and the brook that ran through the land, saying, "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?"  5 And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance.  6 Then he set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, saying,  7 "Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.  8 "With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles." And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.


When it says that the king encamped against the fortified cities in Judah its primarily talking about Lachish which was about 30 SW of Jerusalem, however other smaller cities were also involved, but not Jerusalem. When Hezekiah sees what this King was doing, he knew that He would attack Jerusalem next, so Hezekiah began to prepare for battle. He even damned up the springs so there wouldn’t be much water available for the Assyrians when the came to attack. If they didn’t have any water there attack would not last for long. I really like the encouraging words the Hezekiah tells his men. Look at verse 8 again,  8 "With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.". This is certainly true. If it was God’s will that the Jews win against the Assyrians it would be so.


Now the stage is set the men are ready to battle, but their faith in God waivers temporarily because of what happens in,


2 Kings 18:13 And in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.  14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, "I have done wrong; turn away from me; whatever you impose on me I will pay." And the king of Assyria assessed Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.  15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king's house.  16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.


Again, these fortified cities did not include Jerusalem, but the primary city that they defeated was Lachish. Now, we are not given much detail here, but apparently the defeat of these fortified cities was enough for Hezekiah to think that God wasn’t going to help them in the situation, so he decides to yield to the King of Assyria  and tries to pay him off and he admits that he was wrong from trying to free his kingdom from the Assyrians after his father had made Judah their servants. Hezekiah didn’t have enough money to give the king, so he to take the gold and silver from the temple, to try and appease the King of Assyria.


Now, this buys them some time and in the next verses we will find out that Hezekiah has not completely given up because he begins to find a way to try and free his people from the Assyrians.

2 Kings 18:17 Then the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, (rab-suh-ris) and the Rabshakeh (rab-shuh-kuh) from Lachish, with a great army against Jerusalem, to King Hezekiah. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they had come up, they went and stood by the aqueduct from the upper pool, which was on the highway to the Fuller's Field.  18 And when they had called to the king, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came out to them.


These 3 men that the King of Assyria sent to Jerusalem were high ranking officers and these names that are given are titles. Then we see they are met by 3 of King Hezekiah’s best men.


2 Kings 18:19 Then the Rabshakeh (rab-shuh-kuh) said to them, "Say now to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: "What confidence is this in which you trust?  20 "You speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. And in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me?  21 "Now look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.  22 "But if you say to me, 'We trust in the LORD our God,' is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem'?" '  23 "Now therefore, I urge you, give a pledge to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses -- if you are able on your part to put riders on them!  24 "How then will you repel one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put your trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen?  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.' "


Hezekiah had started talking with the Egyptians about helping them overcome the Assyrians. This is very similar to what Hoshea tried to do for the Northern kingdom, but in the same way the King of Assyria finds out about it and now these 3 officers are there to try and pursued Hezekiah and his people that they should not even think about rebelling again. They point out how the king of Egypt is not a man to have confidence in because he will betray them just as fast as he would help them. Also they point out that they can’t even trust in their God to deliver them. Based on their understanding they felt that Hezekiah had offended their God by tearing down the high places and having only one alter. Of course they were wrong about this however, they continue to boast that the God of Israel was the one that asked them to come against them. When you add these 2000 horses they were promising you can see how tempting it might be for them to pledge themselves to the king of Assyria.


2 Kings 18:26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, (rab-shuh-kuh) "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; and do not speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people who are on the wall."  27 But the Rabshakeh (rab-shuh-kuh) said to them, "Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, who will eat and drink their own waste with you?"


The reason why this man was saying these things in Hebrew was so that all the Jews could understand it, so they might be influenced by what he said. That is why Eliakim asked him to speak in Aramaic instead, but he would not listen and continues speaking in Hebrew trying His best to get the Jews of Jerusalem to turn on their own king.


2 Kings 18:28 Then the Rabshakeh (rab-shuh-kuh) stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria!  29 "Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand;  30 'nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." '  31 "Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: 'Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern;  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 groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, "The LORD will deliver us."  33 'Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria?  34 'Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand?  35 'Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?' " 


He really lays it on thick here. He tries  to convince them that Hezekiah is lying to them and that God will not be able to deliver them, however if they will come out to them they will enjoy their freedom under the king of Assyria. Then he points out how they have been able to destroy all the nations they had went up against and how none of the God’s of those nations were able to help them and the God of their nation would not be able to stand against them either. These were very persuasive words that would have sunk in deep into the minds of those that heard them. But notice the response of the people.


2 Kings 18:36 But the people held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, "Do not answer him."  37 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh (rab-shuh-kuh). 


Even as good as his speech was as far as we know none of them went against their king, instead they were silent just as the king had commanded. Then, these 3 men of Judah go back and tell the King what this man had said and this message was very distressful and this concerned these 3 men because they had torn their clothes.


2 Kings 19:1 And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.  2 Then he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.  3 And they said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah: 'This day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth.  4 'It may be that the LORD your God will hear all the words of the Rabshakeh (rab-shuh-kuh), whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.' "  5 So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.  6 And Isaiah said to them, "Thus you shall say to your master, 'Thus says the LORD: "Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.  7 "Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."


When people in the OT were under great distress or when they wanted to show outwardly that they were truly sorry for what they had done they would tear their cloths and they would put on a uncomfortable sackcloth, which is equivalent to potato sack. That is what Hezekiah is doing here and he basically throwing himself at the mercy of God and he wants to hear what God has to say about the arrogance of the Assyrians. So, Isaiah is sent for and reassures Hezekiah that the words that man said were false and that these men were guilty of blaspheming God because God did not tell them to go against Jerusalem and they were claiming that they were mightier than God. Then God promises that Assyria will be leaving very soon and that the king will be killed in his own land.


Now in verses 8 and following we find out that Rabshakeh, the man that tried his best to get the people at Jerusalem to turn on their own king, has went back to where the king of Assyria was, but he finds out that he has left Lachish and is now battling against Libnah. Now verse 9 seems to be the rumor that God said He would cause him to return back to his home.


2 Kings 19:9 And the king heard concerning Tirhakah (tur-hay-kuh) king of Ethiopia, "Look, he has come out to make war with you."


The king already had his hands full with the battle he was fighting and it would have been difficult for him to handle the Ethiopians as well. When Rabshakeh (rab-shuh-kuh) seen that the king would not be making it to Jerusalem any time soon he sends a messenger with a letter to Hezekiah telling him basically everything he told them the first time. However, this time he calls God a deceiver and claims that he will not be able to help them when they come up against them and also mentions a few more nations they had destroyed. Once again he was doing his best to intimidate the king. Notice the kings response to this letter.


2 Kings 19:14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.  15 Then Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said: "O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.  16 "Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.  17 "Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands,  18 "and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands -- wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them.  19 "Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone."


Instead of trying to deal with matter on his own as he did before, he did the wisest thing a person could do. He went to God first and humbled himself before Him. He had faith in God and knows that He is the only God and that all these other kingdoms that the Assyrians defeated with their gods protecting them were not really gods at all. Hezekiah is wanting to God to protect them from this evil man and to prove to him that the God Israel is the only God.


This is great example for us to follow today. Its important that we put our faith and trust in God. When we have a problem in our life, we shouldn’t allow it to consume us. Instead, we need to turn our problems over to God like Hezekiah has done here.


2 Kings 19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.'  21 "This is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him: 'The virgin, the daughter of Zion, Has despised you, laughed you to scorn; The daughter of Jerusalem Has shaken her head behind your back!  22 ' Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, And lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel.  23 By your messengers you have reproached the Lord, And said: "By the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, To the limits of Lebanon; I will cut down its tall cedars And its choice cypress trees; I will enter the extremity of its borders, To its fruitful forest.  24 I have dug and drunk strange water, And with the soles of my feet I have dried up All the brooks of defense."


Isaiah comes to Hezekiah and brings him some encouraging words from God. In this first section God is talking about the arrogance of Sennacherib and how Jerusalem will shake its his head and laugh at him to scorn because he thinks he is so mighty.


2 Kings 19:25' Did you not hear long ago How I made it, From ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, That you should be For crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins.  26 Therefore their inhabitants had little power; They were dismayed and confounded; They were as the grass of the field And the green herb, As the grass on the housetops And grain blighted before it is grown.  27 ' But I know your dwelling place, Your going out and your coming in, And your rage against Me.  28 Because your rage against Me and your tumult Have come up to My ears, Therefore I will put My hook in your nose And My bridle in your lips, And I will turn you back By the way which you came.


Here God is pointing out the Assyrians should know that God of Israel is the only God and that He created the universe and how He is in control. He is the one that gave Assyrians their power and ability to conquer these nations that were not following after God and that is the only reason they were able to destroy the northern kingdom of Israel (Isa. 10:5). But now God is going to show them that they have no power without him and he is going to do them as they have done to others and lead them back to their home. Historians tell us that the Assyrians would take their captives and either put a ring in their nose or they would run it through bottom and upper lip and lead them around by it.


2 Kings 19:29' This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, And in the second year what springs from the same; Also in the third year sow and reap, Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them.  30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah Shall again take root downward, And bear fruit upward.  31 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, And those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.'


Now God is giving Hezekiah some words of encouragement showing that they will not have to worry about this king and they will prosper once again. The first 2 years they eat from what comes up voluntarily from the crops that had planted previously, but by the third year things will be back to normal so they can plant and then eat from their crops.


2 Kings 19:32" Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it.  33 By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,' Says the LORD.  34 'For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.' " 


Sometime God does even more than you think He might do because He wasn’t going to allow this evil king to even step foot into Jerusalem. You know this had to encouraging to Hezekiah and as we continue on we will see once again that God keeps His word.


2 Kings 19:35 And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses -- all dead.  36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.  37 Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer (shuh-ree-zur) struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.


Just as God promised Sennacherib did not set foot in Jerusalem and God showed him how powerless He was against God almighty. You and I can only imagine what was going the through the Assyrians minds when they woke up and found 185,000 of their men dead. Just as God said they went back to where they came from and king Sennacherib was killed in his own land by 2 of his own sons. Last week I said Hezekiah would take 2 lessons. Well, I was wrong its going to take one more lesson to finish his story.


 We learned:

  1. God is in control
  2. If start thinking to highly of ourselves God can humble us
  3. We need to trust in God and turn our problems over to Him.