Hezekiah and Sennacherib – 2 Chronicles 31-32

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)

After the temple was restored, the people of Israel went out into the cities of Judah and tore down the Asherim and the high places throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim , and Manasseh. Then they returned to their own cities. Hezekiah then had the priests and Levites divided up according to their service. He made his own contribution for the offerings; and then he had the people resume the practice of tithing and bringing their firstfruits for the priests and the Levites. Because God had blessed the people richly, the contributions were so plentiful, that there was a great abundance over what was needed. Because of Hezekiah’s leadership,  the people prospered greatly.

In chapter 32, Sennacherib of Assyria came and invaded Judah. And Hezekiah had the people go to all of the springs and the brook that ran through the area and stopped the water from flowing — thereby depriving Sennacherib‘s army the benefit of the water. He then had the walls rebuilt and towers erected upon them; and he had them make weapons and shields. He spoke encouragingly to the people and told them the same thing that Moses and Joshua had told the people so long ago — “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him.” He assured them that God was with them, and the people were comforted.

Sennacherib sent servants and wrote letters to mock God, trying to discourage and dismay the people. Then God sent an angel, who struck down his forces. Sennacherib returned to his land defeated, and was killed by his own sons. Hezekiah became very sick, and he prayed to God and was delivered from death. But his heart grew proud and he brought wrath upon the people until he humbled himself. Hezekiah and the people prospered greatly until his death. And then his son Manasseh reigned.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

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Psalm 119:121-128; Psalm 76 – Who Can Stand Before You?

ayinThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each line with the 16th letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, “ayin.”  The psalmist repeats three times the reference to himself as God’s servant.  In 121, he declares his faithfulness to God as that servant, asking Him for deliverance from those which oppress him.  In verse 126, he urges the Lord to act now because his laws have been broken.  Whether this refers to a specific occasion or simply the general state of God’s people at the time, we are not told, but it hardly matters.  It is a prayer to God for His justice.

It is the general consensus of most commentators that Psalm 76 centers around God’s destruction of Sennacherib‘s army during the time of Hezekiah.  This would make “Asaph” in the superscription actually be those Levite descendants which were so named.  The complete destruction and defeat described in verses 3-8 fits this line of thought.

Sennacherib's army

Miraculous destruction of Sennacherib’s army.

Salem in verse 2 is the name of the kingdom city of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18), and it is used synonymously with Jerusalem, especially in reference to Adonizedek (see Joshua 10:1-3).  The references to the wrath of man praising God in verse 10, and the following verses about the victory of God’s people over the kings of man, echo well the insolence of Sennacherib being his downfall.  His anger with God’s people brought him to pit an assault on God’s people with an army led by blasphemous representatives (2 Kings 18:17-36).   Sennacherib’s defiance and mockery of the Lord were followed by Isaiah’s prophecy of his downfall and the subsequent crushing of his army by the angel of the Lord (2 Kings 19:14-36, Isaiah 37:36).

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.

Psalms 48 – Great Is the Lord!

The Pool of Hezekiah, Jerusalem

The Pool of Hezekiah, Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Psalm 48 is considered by some to be the last of a trilogy (46, 47, 48), all three of which appear to express praise and rejoicing for their deliverance from Sennacherib‘s army.  Some believe the occasion in question was deliverance during Hezekiah’s reign in 701 BC (2 Kings 19).  Others believe it to be concerning events during the reign of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:1-28).   Either way, this is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God for deliverance.

But it is more than that.  Verses 8-14 speak of God dwelling in His city forever, of how His praise reaches to the ends of the earth.  But we know that the literal Jerusalem would be destroyed in 70 A.D. after Israel rejected the Messiah; and we also know that most of the literal earth hardly was in the habit of praising God.  The key is in the second part of verse 8 – “the city of our God, which God will establish forever.”  This is clearly a reference to the New Jerusalem that will fulfill this passage by way of our Lord Jesus.

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.

2 Kings 19 – Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib’s Fall

Hezekiah sends Eliakim and Shebna to the prophet Isaiah, and he says to tell Hezekiah that the Lord will cause Sennacherib to hear a rumor and return to his own land.  He further says that the Lord will make him fall by the sword there (verse 7).    Sennacherib again sends messengers to Hezekiah – this time more blatantly mocking and blaspheming the Lord.  Hezekiah’s prayer in verses 14-19 are an appeal to God not to let this blasphemer defeat them.

English: Angel smites the Assyrians

English: Angel smites the Assyrians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isaiah’s next response in verse 20-34 in great detail predict the wrath of the Lord toward the prideful Sennacherib, declaring that he will neither come into the city, nor shoot a single arrow there.  Sennacherib and his army had been used as the “rod” of God for exacting His punishment on the people of Israel for their apostasy.  But the Assyrian king had compared himself to a god because of his vanity.  Verse 35 tells us that the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 of the Assyrians in one night; and Sennacherib did in fact return to his land – where two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with a sword.  His other son, Esarhaddon then took the throne.

Assyrian records of Esarhaddon, who reigned from 680-669 BC, state that he had to fight his brothers for the throne after the murder of Sannacherib – after which they fled to another country.

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.

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.

Judah Remains \ Week 24 summary posted

The genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah...

The genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah. Based on a literal interpretation of 1 and 2 Kings. Note: In the kings of Israel, a horizontal arrow can indicate a change of dynasty (lack of known genealogical connection). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow, we move to the reign of Hezekiah in Judah, and his troubles with the Assyrian king, Sennacherib.  Sennacherib’s great mistake of his own pride is compounded by insulting the Lord, which will be his undoing.  Then we will start to read of the miserable reign of Manasseh (possibly the worst of any of the kings of Judah); and finish the week on a better note with Josiah.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 24 (June Week 2) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 1 Kings 11, 12, 16:30-17, 18, and 2 Kings 2, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © 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.