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
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
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.' "
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
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
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.
- God is
start thinking to highly of ourselves God can humble us
need to trust in God and turn our problems over to Him.