Author: Ron Graham
Hezekiah and Isaiah
—And their godliness as king and prophet
Time ~ 7. Exile and Scattering
Span ~ 200 years
Books ~ Jer, Lam, Eze, Dan, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Obadiah, [Joel]
Figures ~ Jeremiah, Daniel
Begins with ~ Wars upon Israel and Judah
Ascendant empire ~ Babylon
After Israel fell to the Assyrians, the city of Jerusalem, capital of the small kingdom of Judah, was vulnerable. The Assyrian military commander Sennacherib knew it, and laid seige to Jerusalem. Hezekiah king of Judah was distressed, and sought the help of Isaiah the prophet.
1 Do a Hezekiah
When everything looks as grim as it can possibly look, you do what Hezekiah did.
"He spread it before the LORD. Then Hezekiah prayed to the LORD" (2Kings 19:14-16).
It worked for Hezekiah. "Indeed for peace I had this bitterness, but you have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit" (Isaiah 37:14-15, 38:17)
2 Godly King, Godly Prophet
A few years after Samaria fell and the kingdom of Israel was led into exile, the Assyrians turned their attention to Judah where Hezekiah was reigning (after his father Ahaz died) and Isaiah the prophet was preaching God's message. Sennacherib the ruthless commander of the Assyrian army, made a seige.
This would surely have meant the immediate fall of Jerusalem, and Judah would have gone the same way as the northern kingdom. The Assyrians, however, were not to have their way. It would be many years later, under a new superpower (the Babylonians), that Judah would be taken captive.
This reprieve for Judah was God's response to the humility and righteousness of Hezekiah the king and of Isaiah the prophet. Under their combined leadership Judah was purged of evil. The LORD therefore saved the small kingdom, weak as it was, against the might of Sennacherib's army.
Sennacherib demonstrated that he was a master of warfare both psychological and material. He made the serious mistake, however, of boasting against the LORD. So the LORD's angelic warriors showed him, in one dreadful night, that the power of God, not Assyria, is invincible.
3 Bible Summary (2 Kings 18-20)
- Similar information is found in 2nd Chronicles 26-32
- Almost identical information is given in Isaiah 36-39
- Hezekiah becomes king of Judah (18)
- He purges Judah of idolatry (18)
- A far better king than his predecessors (18)
- The king of Assyria's messengers challenge Hezekiah (18)
- Hezekiah sends word to Isaiah the prophet (19)
- Hezekiah receives a boastful letter from Sennacherib (19)
- Hezekiah prays, Isaiah prophesies (19)
- The angel kills 185,000 Assyrians at night in their camp (19)
- Hezekiah falls ill. Isiah says he will die, but God promises to add 15 years to his life (20)
- The shadow on the stairway goes back ten steps as a sign to Hezekiah (20)
- Isaiah prophesies the captivity of Judah in Babylon (20)
4 Sennacherib's Own Account
"But as for Hezekiah, the Jew, who did not bow to my yoke, forty-six of his strong walled towns, and innumerable smaller villages in their neighbourhood, I besieged and conquered by stamping down earth ramps and then by bring up battering rams, by the assault of foot soldiers, by breaches, by tunnelling and military engineering operations.
I made to come out from them 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, innumerable horses, mules, donkeys, camels, large and small cattle, and counted them as spoils of war. He himself I shut up like a caged bird within Jerusalem his royal city. As for Hezekiah, the awful splendour of my lordship overwhelmed him."
(From Sennacherib's inscription on a hexagonal clay prism)
5 A Few Facts About Isaiah
- A prophet in Judah after the kingdom divided
- Called Esaias in the King James New Testament
- Contemporary with the kings of Judah named Uzziah (Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah
- Contemporary with the kings of Israel from Jereboam II to Hoshea
- Contemporary with Amos, Hosea, and Micah, who were prophets in the kingdom of Israel before its fall.
- Prophesied against Assyria after the commander Sennacherib sent a boastful letter to Hezekiah
- A great help and encouragement to Hezekiah his king when Judah was under great threat and seige
- Author of the first of four major books of prophecy in the Old Testament: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel.
6 A Few Facts About Hezekiah
- The king of Judah who withstood Sennacherib the Assyrian commander, after Israel fell to Assyria.
- A good king who sought God through Isaiah the prophet
- He purged the kingdom of Judah from idols
- He received 15 years of grace added to his life
- His story is told in 2Kings 18-20, 2Chronicles 29-32, Isaiah 36-39