2 Kings 18 – Hezekiah Reigns in Judah

Hezekiah removed the high places, tore down the pillars, and even destroyed the Bronze serpent that Moses had made in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4-9).  It had become an object of worship – an idol, probably because of the association of serpents with the “goddess” Asherah.  Verses 6-7 tells us that Hezekiah “held fast to the Lord” and that the Lord was with him.  He rebelled against the Assyrian king, and would not serve him.  Verse 8 declares his many victories in battle over the Philistines.  But verse 13 tells us that in the fourteenth year of his reign, Sennacherib took the fortified cities of Judah.

The Taylor Prism from the Neo-Assyrian empire ...

The Taylor Prism from the Neo-Assyrian empire tells the story of king Sennacherib’s third campaign and includes descriptions of his conquests in Judah, some of which are described from another point of view in the old testament of the Bible. This picture has been assembled from File:Taylor Prism-1.jpg and File:Taylor Prism-2.jpg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hezekiah’s initial response was to bargain with the Assyrian king (verses 14-15), which at first seems effective.  But Sennacherib tires of his further rebellion; and sends his Rabshakeh, or (chief cupbearer) to deliver his message.  Eliakim tries to get him to speak to them in Aramaic, so that the people will not understand.  But that is exactly what the Assyrian wants – they want the people to hear and be dismayed  and frightened for their plight, in order to quash rebellion.

In verses 31-35, the cup-bearer, speaking for Sennacherib, tells them not to listen to Hezekiah, and even tells them that their God has sent the Assyrians Himself.  Then he makes the mistake of comparing the Lord to the impotent “gods” of other lands, saying that he will not deliver Jerusalem out of Sennacherib’s hand.

Side notes:

Now residing in the private collection of Shlomo Moussaieff of London, a bulla (clay seal) was found bearing Hezekiah’s name. It reads, “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of Ahaz], king of Judah.”

Archaeologists at the site of Beersheba unearthed a horned altar from the late 8th century  B.C. made of hewn stones, with a serpent carved into one of the stones.  More information on the site can be found in this article at BiblePlaces.com.

This link to the British Museum about the Sennacherib Relief details the siege and capture of Lachish by the Assyrian king.  At the southwestern corner of Lachish, Sennacherib built a siege ramp and used archers, infantry, and siege machines. The Judeans constructed a counter-siege ramp. But it failed – Sennacherib conquered Lachish. Both of the actual ramps have been uncovered.  The victory was important enough to Sennacherib to devote an entire wall at his palace to it.  Had he been able to capture Jerusalem, that victory would undoubtedly have over-shadowed the one at Lachish.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


One comment on “2 Kings 18 – Hezekiah Reigns in Judah

  1. Pingback: Competing Messages « The Daily Bible Plan

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