2 Chronicles 31-33: Humbled

Chapter 31

Hezekiah’s focus on the priesthood continues in chapter 31, as (like David in 1 Chronicles 16) he appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites (v.2-10).  In the wake of the destruction of idolatry (v.1), the response is to replace such idolatry with passion for Jesus, giving thanks and praise (v.2) and giving the portion due to the priests and the Levites that they might give themselves to the Law of the LORD which points to Christ alone (v.3-4), such tithing through the Levites which have not been done for many generations of kings (v.7-8 – from the third month to the seventh month).  Such overflowing blessing which is beyond all that the Levites had needed (v.10)!  This prompted Hezekiah to command the Levites to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD (v.11) to house such contributions, tithes and dedicated things (v.12), a reminder that these are all the LORD’s to begin with – also a symbolic storing of the treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).

This very much defines the period in which Hezekiah led – doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD (v.20).  Yet, Hezekiah was not the promised offspring, despite his temporary shortcomings described in chapter 32; he is not the Son spoken of in Psalm 2; like Solomon, they both shine brightly as types of Jesus, representing ages where heaven seemed to kiss earth.  Not yet, not yet.

Chapter 32

The arrogance of Sennacherib is almost a red herring given Hezekiah’s walk with Christ and devotion to the priesthood, as surety that the LORD’s steadfast love is manifested in His victory through Israel against all enemies and odds.  The waters of the Law of the LORD flows from and to Israel (Isaiah 2:2) and Hezekiah’s decision to stop the water of the springs outside the city (v.3) is a conscious act of pronouncing judgment on Sennacherib for failing to recognise the importance of Israel’s identity to Sennacherib’s salvation.  Indeed – for with Israel is the right arm of the LORD, whereas Sennacherib is but an arm of man.

Sennacherib’s blasphemy in v.9-15 is but a repeat of what Israel believes – indeed, that what the other nations believe in are but false idols.  Of course they are incapable to fend themselves against man’s mightiest threats (v.9-15) when their object of faith is dead and lacks the power to protect but only the power to deceive.  Hezekiah’s God is the true deliverer – the story of the exodus preached in Israel and surely in the surrounding nations.  Sennacherib’s ignorance of the Passover and this protected nation is already testimony to this eventual downfall – that this tribal nation’s survival has been and will continue to be entirely dependent on the LORD’s steadfast love to Israel through Jesus.  “How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!” (v.15, c.f. v.17) is in itself a fabricated lie.

The Israelites’ first response could have been to justify themselves; to seek confidence in their military might.  Yet, Hezekiah and Isaiah’s response is exactly that required and expected of an Israelite – to pray because of such blasphemy and crying to heaven (v.20).  The irony of Sennacherib’s death is that his lie has turned on himself – that in the house of his god he was struck down rather than delivered.  One of LORD’s mere angels is sufficient to cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the Assyrian camp (v.21), and not even the Angel of the LORD Jesus Christ Himself – let alone the angelic army which protects Israel (2 Kings 6:17)?  Once again, the king of Israel is honoured because of Israel sealing its identity as the LORD’s child, as initiated by Hezekiah and Isaiah’s joint plea (v.23) – just as Christ was exalted by the Father (Acts 5:31) and was challenged by the lies of men like Sennacherib (Matthew 27:40).  Even Hezekiah’s pride was merely mentioned as a passing stage in his life, his sin overshadowed by his humility (v.26) which blessed the nation, just as Christ’s humility on the cross provided the gifts of salvation and Holy Spirit to us.

Thus, the sign Hezekiah received (v.24), amongst the various signs he received in the destruction of Sennacherib, were the Babylonian princes’ and envoys’ subject of inquiry.  The “sign that had been done in the land” is the sacrament of God’s love towards Israel, manifested in the Shekinah glory in the House of the LORD.  Yet, God left Hezekiah to himself (v.30), in order to test him and to know all that was in Hezekiah’s heart – whether Jesus was written on his heart, or whether his own name was written on his heart.

Chapter 33

Yet, just as Hezekiah was described to have a life walking with Jesus, his son Manasseh shakes that stability in Israel by his evil leadership once again (v.2) – the mindless sheep of Israel following their sinful king even in rejecting the same LORD Whom Hezekiah lifted up.  Just like Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28) who had similarly sacrificed his offspring as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, a direct threat to the Offspring Who would have brought everlasting to Israel.  Instead, Ahaz and Manasseh choose to adopt the idolatrous practices and abominations of other nations to achieve such victory – Manasseh in particular rejecting the LORD despite receiving direct revelation from Him (v.10), leading him to be chained down like a slave, like an animal (Isaiah 37:29).  Yet, in fulfillment of Solomon’s plea in 2 Chronicles 6, that even a man like Manasseh, if he were to turn back to the LORD, he would be redeemed – v.12-13 is a fulfillment of this.  Manasseh humbled himself before the LORD, and God was moved – His steadfast love expressed in bringing Manasseh back to Jerusalem (v.13).  Only at this stage did Manasseh know that the LORD was God.  As a response in faith, he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD (v.15-17), restoring the altar of the LORD and sacrificing peace and thanksgiving offering.  Judah is to return to serving the LORD, not to sway from the promise of the gospel which Manasseh newly received.

Yet, like how Manasseh has “undone” the work of Hezekiah, so also Amon is another faulty line in the lineage of David threatening the coming of the Son.  He did not humble himself before the LORD, and instead he incurred more and more guilt – bearing a death very similar to Sennacherib’s (chapter 32:21).  However, there was still some ray of light – that the people would reject those who killed Amon (v.25) – and his short reign is thus replaced by young Josiah.

 

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2 Chronicles 31-33: Humbled

2 Kings 21-22: The Reformation

II Kings 21:

1  Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3  For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4  And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem will I put my name.” 5  And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6  And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7  And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the LORD said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. 8  And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 9  But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.

 

Hezekiah’s work, unfortunately, is thus undone by Manasseh – the young king whose mother is ironically called Hephzibah, the symbolical name of Zion, representing the LORD’s delight in Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:4).  This heretical king thus built altars in the house of the LORD, building altars for Baal and made an Asherah, burning his son as an offering, using fortune-telling (Deuteronomy 18) and omens and mediums and wizards – this is the same king of Judah who followed in the vein of the practices of the neighbouring countries and failed to walk a life circumcised in the Spirit.  The irony that this same image of Asherah is now set in the same house where the LORD promised to both types of Christ, David the man after the LORD’s heart and Solomon the Wisdom of the LORD, that this is where the LORD shall put His name forever (v.4 and 7 repeated; c.f. 1 Samuel 7, 1 Kings 9).  Yet, His Name and the throne on which this anointed and prophesied son of David and King of Israel are one and the same – this is the LORD Jesus Christ, the Name of the Father (Exodus 23:21), who shall reign on the throne of Israel forevermore.  Thus, the LORD speaks – “In Jerusalem will I put my name”, thus meaning – in Jerusalem will the name of Christ be stamped as the true identity of this rebellious nation.

 

But they did not listen” (v.9) – and Manasseh thus successfully led them astray to do more evil than the neighbouring destroyed nations.

 

10  And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, 11  “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, 12  therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13  And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14  And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, 15  because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.”

 

Thus, the LORD intends to replace the plumb line of the house of Ahab, the measuring line of Samaria (v.13) with the plumb line of righteousness (Isaiah 34:11); but not until Jerusalem is wiped and turned upside down.  For the plumb line of Jerusalem is that of the house of Ahab – for the anointed city is walking in sin.  It would seem like the promise made to Adam in Genesis 3:15 will come to an end here – and never before has Israel faced such a dire threat; this is truly a dark moment in Israel’s history, far more than the imminent death of Christ (which, by comparison, is but a step towards greater light and hope).  Ironic, therefore, that he slept in the garden of strength and his son the builder (Uzza and Amon) reigned in his place, when Manasseh was truly deranged in his abuse of his strength as king of Judah who failed to build Judah up from Hezekiah’s day:

 

16  Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

 

17  Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh and all that he did, and the sin that he committed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 18  And Manasseh slept with his fathers and was buried in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza, and Amon his son reigned in his place.

 

19  Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. 20  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done. 21  He walked in all the way in which his father walked and served the idols that his father served and worshiped them. 22  He abandoned the LORD, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the LORD. 23  And the servants of Amon conspired against him and put the king to death in his house. 24  But the people of the land struck down all those who had conspired against King Amon, and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place. 25  Now the rest of the acts of Amon that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 26  And he was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza, and Josiah his son reigned in his place.

 

Unsurprisingly, Manasseh did not exhibit Christ-like leadership in his family; Amon is thus led astray, a man who could have re-built Jerusalem but instead led Judah to further downfall.  Instead, his life was brought to a short end at 24 years old when the servants of Amon conspired against him and killed him in his own house (typical of the manner of the kingdom of corruption – 1 Kings 15:27, 16:9, 16:16; 2 Kings 9:14, 10:9, 15:10, 15:25, 21:23-24).   Would Josiah, the new king brought to the fore by those who struck down the conspirators, bring the lamp back to Jerusalem?

 

II Kings 22:

1  Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. 2  And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

 

Now we come to the life of Josiah (healed / supported by Jehovah), the young king and son of the one beloved by Jehovah (Jedidah), the daughter of Adaiah (adorned by Jehovah) of Bozkath (a city of Judah in the lowlands).  This is a man lifted up by the LORD in his reign over Jerusalem for 31 years, walking in all the way of David, the type of Christ.  He is surrounded by men like Shaphan, the son of he who is near the LORD (Azaliah), son of Meshullam (befriended) – the secretary to the house of the LORD.  At the tender age of 26, he immediately restarts the restoration of the Temple by directing the portion of Jehovah, Hilkiah, trusting that the carpenters, builders and masons deal honestly:

 

3  In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the LORD, saying, 4  “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money that has been brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people. 5  And let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD, and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the LORD, repairing the house 6  (that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons), and let them use it for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house. 7  But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”

 

8  And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9  And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD.” 10  Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.

 

This is a stark contrast to Manasseh and Amon’s lives – the first recorded instance of Josiah’s kingship is the restoration of the house of the LORD.  This cleansing is coupled with the description in 2 Chronicles 34:1-7:

 

1  Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2  And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 3  For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images. 4  And they chopped down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and he cut down the incense altars that stood above them. And he broke in pieces the Asherim and the carved and the metal images, and he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5  He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6  And in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around, 7  he broke down the altars and beat the Asherim and the images into powder and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

 

However, his task is far greater than that of mere physical restoration; the LORD planned for a spiritual reformation through the young king Josiah – restoring the true meaning of what the house of the LORD was for.  It is befitting of such a king from an ancestry in Judah to tear his clothes in his utter disappointment that the LORD had been disobeyed by His anointed nation for so many years – and it is indeed a fitting commentary for the entire books of 1 and 2 Kings, that the fathers of the kings of Israel have not obeyed the words of the Torah.

 

11  When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 12  And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, 13  “Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

 

Immediately, Josiah’s trusted men (Ahikam, Achbor / Abdon (c.f. 2 Chronicles 34:20), Shaphan and Asaiah, bearing names indicating their faithful servant-heart to the LORD their God) go to the prophetess of the LORD, Huldah , the wife of Shallum (whose name indicates retribution, as it is the LORD’s retribution against Israel v.16-17 for their faithlessness).  However, the hope is to stay with Judah – Josiah, whose heart was “penitent”, who “humbled [himself] before the LORD, when [he] heard how [the LORD] spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse (in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:37)”.  Just like Hezekiah (c.f. 2 Kings 20:19), Josiah also will not see the imminent disaster, despite the penitence and faithfulness of these kings of Judah – for the LORD’s destruction shall come to bring true refining in the fiery furnace to usher the dawn of reformation where Christ shall fulfill all the shadows which the nation Israel should have always been pointing to.

 

14  So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter), and they talked with her. 15  And she said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 16  Thus says the LORD, behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. 17  Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. 18  But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 19  because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. 20  Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king.

2 Kings 21-22: The Reformation

2 Kings 19-20: Peace and prosperity in the days of the King

II Kings 19:

1  As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. 2  And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3  They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4  It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5  When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6  Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7  Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”

 

Hezekiah’s hope is high – “It may be that your Christ heard all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the Father, and will rebuke the words that your Christ has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left” (a more Christocentric translation of the Hebrew).  He knows that the Son has heard these mocking words of blasphemy from Rabshakeh, and that the Father as His witness would rebuke these same words (c.f. John 8:18).  Isaiah thus prays for a spirit of fear to be placed in the heart of this Assyrian king, despite the prideful man’s many victories against neighbouring nations for these nations too have relied on their gods to deliver them, but to no avail:

 

8  The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that the king had left Lachish. 9  Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 10  “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11  Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12  Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13  Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’”

 

14  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  And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the 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 mock the living God. 17  Truly, O 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 were destroyed. 19  So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”

 

It is refreshing to see a king lying prostrate before the King of the heavens – the LORD who is enthroned above the cherubim, above the mercy seat in the house of the LORD before which Hezekiah prayed (Exodus 25:22).  The kings of Assyria have rightly cast the gods of these nations into the fire, “for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands”.  Is that not the same pandemic facing the world today?  Let us therefore wait on the true LORD to save us from the false leaders of this world, so that the glory of God may be revealed for all to see and be shamed!

 

Thus says the LORD through Isaiah:

 

20  Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21  This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him:

 

“She despises you, she scorns you—

the virgin daughter of Zion;

she wags her head behind you—

the daughter of Jerusalem.

22  “Whom have you mocked and reviled?

Against whom have you raised your voice

and lifted your eyes to the heights?

Against the Holy One of Israel!

23  By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,

and you have said, ‘With my many chariots

I have gone up the heights of the mountains,

to the far recesses of Lebanon;

I felled its tallest cedars,

its choicest cypresses;

I entered its farthest lodging place,

its most fruitful forest.

24  I dug wells

and drank foreign waters,

and I dried up with the sole of my foot

all the streams of Egypt.’

25  “Have you not heard

that I determined it long ago?

I planned from days of old

what now I bring to pass,

that you should turn fortified cities

into heaps of ruins,

26  while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,

are dismayed and confounded,

and have become like plants of the field

and like tender grass,

like grass on the housetops,

blighted before it is grown.

27  “But I know your sitting down

and your going out and coming in,

and your raging against me.

28  Because you have raged against me

and your complacency has come into my ears,

I will put my hook in your nose

and my bit in your mouth,

and I will turn you back on the way

by which you came.

 

These words of judgment against Sennacherib are staunch reminders of how Sennacherib could even potentially achieve victory against Israel to begin with – because the LORD allows it (v.25) – the LORD’s plan from days of old, that is to save men from their sins by the sacrifice of His divine Son (Genesis 3:15).  The Holy One of Israel is not pleased (c.f. Isaiah 41) – for He is the Christ, the remnant of the house of Judah who shall take root downward and bear fruit upward (c.f. Psalm 1).  “The zeal of the LORD will do this”.  Indeed, it is this same zeal of the LORD that the one remnant Jesus Christ indeed took root in the international church and bore fruit for the Gentiles to feed from Him (Romans 11).

 

29  “And this shall be the sign for you: this year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same. Then in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30  And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31  For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.

 

32  “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 33  By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. 34  For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

 

Thus, the messenger of the LORD Jesus Christ went out to strike down many men in the Assyrian camps, pushing Sennacherib back home to Nineveh, worshipping his false god Nisroch (the great eagle) when he should have hid under His wings (c.f. Ezekiel 1:10).  Yet, his demise is akin to the demise of those conspiring kings of Israel – being struck down by Adrammelech (splendor of the king) and Sharezer (prince of fire) only to pave way to Esarhaddon (victor), the irony that his son is named after one of the idols Adrammelech.  This does not bode well for the royal family of Assyria has they increasingly ignore the might and presence of Christ Jesus, hence their eventual ruin:

 

35  And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36  Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. 37  And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

 

II Kings 20:

1  In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” 2  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3  “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4  And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5  “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD, 6  and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7  And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”

 

Thus, on the third day, the son of God is given life (v.5) – fifteen years of more life for the purpose of seeing Jerusalem redeemed from the hand of the king of Assyria.  Yet, this life is not eternal, and is a reminder that Hezekiah serves only as a shadow and reminder to the Christ who shall rise again to achieve an eternal peace in New Jerusalem.  Thus Hezekiah recovers from a cake of sweet figs (1 Samuel 30:12)  contrary to the fig tree without figs, which offends Christ (Mark 11:13-14; sign of peace and prosperity – c.f. 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10).

 

8  And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?” 9  And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” 10  And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11  And Isaiah the prophet called to the LORD, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz.

 

This event is also recorded in Isaiah 38.  In the words of Matthew Henry:

 

He cried unto the Lord by special warrant and direction, and God brought the sun back ten degrees, which appeared to Hezekiah (for the sign was intended for him) by the going back of the shadow upon the dial of Ahaz, which, it is likely, he could see through his chamber-window; and the same was observed upon all other dials, even in Babylon, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. Whether this retrograde motion of the sun was gradual or per saltum–suddenly–whether it went back at the same pace that it used to go forward, which would make the day ten hours longer than usual–or whether it darted back on a sudden, and, after continuing a little while, was restored again to its usual place, so that no change was made in the state of the heavenly bodies (as the learned bishop Patrick thinks)–we are not told; but this work of wonder shows the power of God in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of prayer, and the great favour he bears to his chosen. The most plausible idolatry of the heathen was theirs that worshipped the sun; yet that was hereby convicted of the most egregious folly and absurdity, for by this it appeared that their god was under the check of the God of Israel. Dr. Lightfoot suggests that the fifteen songs of degrees (Ps. cxx., &c.) might perhaps be so called because selected by Hezekiah to be sung to his stringed instruments (Isa. xxxviii. 20) in remembrance of the degrees on the dial which the sun went back and the fifteen years added to his life; and he observes how much of these psalms is applicable to Jerusalem’s distress and deliverance and Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery.

 

12  At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13  And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 14  Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15  He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

 

Yet, in spite of Hezekiah’s recovery, he opens his house to the man ominously entitled Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan – meaning death who has given a son.  The son of death therefore takes Hezekiah to Sheol, and Isaiah pronounces the inevitable judgment on Israel:

 

16  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: 17  Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. 18  And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19  Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

 

20  The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21  And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his place.

 

Yet, Hezekiah is not the promised son of Psalms 1-2.  He is but a faint (though incredibly influential and powerful) shadow, who brought temporary prosperity to Israel.  This is, however, not enough.  Note the LORD tested him through the son of death, these Babylonians, only to reveal Hezekiah’s flawed heart – the narrative showing a king whose life is marked by peace and security in his days.  This prophecy, however, would ring different in relation to Christ – whose peace and security in His days would be everlasting.  Perhaps this is why Hezekiah believes “the word of the LORD that you have spoken is good” (v.19) – for if only this were true also for Christ, then the eternal God-man would be able to bring far more peace and security than a sinful man like Hezekiah.  If Hezekiah, a tainted picture of what would otherwise be a glorious truth, a man reborn only to not make return according to the benefit done to him, could nonetheless bring temporal peace and prosperity – what more can the glorious Christ, the sinless God-man and Redeemer of Hezekiah, give to the future of Israel?  Yet, until then, we ponder on the life of Hezekiah as he points us towards the God whom he put his faith in (2 Chronicles 32:25-31):

 

25  But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. 26  But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

 

27  And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; 28  storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. 29  He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. 30  This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. 31  And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.

2 Kings 19-20: Peace and prosperity in the days of the King

2 Kings 17-18: Hezekiah, the son of the Father

II Kings 17:

1  In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel, and he reigned nine years. 2  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. 3  Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria. And Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. 4  But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. 5  Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it.

 

Note the increasing demise of Israel.  Hoshea is anything but like the Hoshea, the son of Nun (c.f. book of Joshua).  He does not bear the name Yeshua, nor is he the true salvation of Israel.  Shalmaneser (which could be translated as chained), however, lives up to his true name.  He is the one who shut up the king of Israel and bound him in prison.  “Salvation” is thus bound up – symbolically, Israel is to be chained to Assyria for many decades, scattered throughout Halah, Habor, river of Gozan and in the cities of the Medes:

 

6  In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

 

This is not simply because the king of Israel walked in the ways of the previous kings of Israel – it was because the people of Israel sinned against the LORD, represented by the sinful king.  Instead of being in awe of the LORD, they were in awe of other gods (c.f. 2 Peter 2:22) which they had been saved from back in Moses’, Aaron’s and Joshua’s day.

 

7  And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods 8  and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. 9  And the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10  They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, 11  and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the LORD carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the LORD to anger, 12  and they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this.” 13  Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”

 

Yet, it is interesting that throughout this entire period of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the LORD had consistently sent to the kings of Israel and kings of Judah prophets, seers, and men of God to remind the kings of them straying from the LORD.  The role of these Spirit-filled men was to simply remind them to cling onto Christ and walk in Him as David had walked, to simply keep His commandments (v.13; c.f. 1 Kings 1:10-45; 11:29; 12:22; 13:1-29; 14:2-18; 16:7-12; 17:18-24; 18:22-36; 19:16; 20:13-38; 22:7; 2 Kings 1:9-13; 3:11; 4:7-42; 5:3-13; 6:6-15; 7:2-19; 8:2-11; 9:1-4; 13:19; 14:25).  Instead of following Christ and being conformed to the image of God (Romans 8:29), “they went after false idols and became false” – conforming to the image of the false idol which they worshipped:

 

14  But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15  They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them. 16  And they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17  And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 18  Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.

 

19  Judah also did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced. 20  And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

 

Note that even Judah, although preserved (v.18), did not keep the commandments of the LORD and walked in the customs that Israel had introduced (v.19).  Instead, once Israel was torn from the house of David, the house of righteousness, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, became king only to lead the majority of the kings of Israel (and sometimes of Judah) into sin (c.f. 1 Kings 13).  The narrator here therefore culminates his summary of the history of Israel with v.21-23, the apex of the pride and fall of Israel:

 

21  When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD and made them commit great sin. 22  The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, 23  until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day. 24  And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25  And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the LORD. Therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26  So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27  Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there, and let him go and dwell there and teach them the law of the god of the land.” 28  So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear the LORD.

 

However, despite the dispersion, the LORD’s efforts in destroying the Assyrians who did not fear the LORD (v.25); and even the Assyrian king eventually yielding to the LORD’s might by asking for one of the priests to teach the Assyrians how they should fear God, the reality was far different from the LORD’s plans.  “Every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived” – even when the king of Assyria is beginning to fear the LORD, every nation still made their own gods, fearing no god but their own.  Such staunch idolatry of the neighbouring nations is but another sign of Israel’s failure to walk with Christ and be His body (c.f. Exodus 19:6):

 

29  But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived. 30  The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31  and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32  They also feared the LORD and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. 33  So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.

 

Every nation in which the Israelites lived, they did not witness nor were they fishers of men for Christ.  Note these false idols:

 

  • Babylon had Succoth-benoth (tents of daughters, the booths of prostitution);
  • Cuth had Nergal (hero);
  • Hamath had Ashima (crime/offence, Pan of the Greeks);
  • Avvites had Nibhaz (to bark, a dog-headed man) and Tartak (prince of darkness, in the form of an ass);
  • Sepharvaim had Adrammelech (splendor of the king, resembling Molech – male power of the sun) and Anammelech (image of the kingfemale power of the sun)

 

All also had the LORD, but also serving their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.  What sadness, that each of these gods are still worshipped in some way, shape, or form today – yet, these are false idols, truly leading men to prostitution, as if they were worshipping a hero, as if their gods were splendors and images of the king – what lies!  The future of Israel looks dim, as Christ the LORD, His Unseen Father and Their Holy Spirit – are all but one of many Gods feared but without the same intimate relationship the saints have thus far enjoyed:

 

34  To this day they do according to the former manner. They do not fear the LORD, and they do not follow the statutes or the rules or the law or the commandment that the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35  The LORD made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, 36  but you shall fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. 37  And the statutes and the rules and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to do. You shall not fear other gods, 38  and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods, 39  but you shall fear the LORD your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” 40  However, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner.

 

41  So these nations feared the LORD and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day.

 

II Kings 18:

1  In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 2  He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3  And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. 4  He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan). 5  He trusted in the LORD the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. 6  For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses. 7  And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. 8  He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

 

Despite the end of 2 Kings 17, as dim as the future of Israel seemed, the light enters into the darkness by way of Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, king of Judah.  He is indeed the might of Jehovah, his mother called my father is the LORD.  This typological Son of the Father unsurprisingly walks as David did, doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD.  He fully trusted not in himself, nor in the various idols listed in 2 Kings 17, but he trusted in the LORD, holding fast to Him and did not depart from Him.  The bronze serpent, the type of Satan, was crucified on the cross (c.f. John 3:14) and lifted up by Moses, as a sign of the Son being lifted up and destroying the work of the evil one.  Instead, they worshipped the one to be destroyed.  Hezekiah fittingly should call it Nehushtan, a trifling thing of brass, for it is indeed but a piece of brass used to speak the gospel truth to the Israelites in the wilderness.  Note his reform in the first year of his reign, in the first month (2 Chronicles 29:3-11):

 

3  In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them. 4  He brought in the priests and the Levites and assembled them in the square on the east 5  and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place. 6  For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD and turned their backs. 7  They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. 8  Therefore the wrath of the LORD came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. 9  For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10  Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us. 11  My sons, do not now be negligent, for the LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.

 

The work of King Ahaz is thus undone by the sevenfold sacrifice of bulls, rams, lambs, and male goats (2 Chronicles 29:21, 35-36), laying their hands on the scapegoat (2 Chronicles 29:23-24).  However, despite His faithfulness, the Israelites continued to transgress the LORD’s covenant, neither listening nor obeying:

 

9  In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it, 10  and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11  The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12  because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened nor obeyed.

 

Although the previous king of Assyria had understood the LORD’s protection over Israel (2 Kings 17:27-28), the onslaught of Assyria shall not cease until Israel returns to the LORD.  Yet, they did not.  Sennacherib (sin, the god) named after an idol, thus taunts Israel, despite Hezekiah following Christ’s burden by self-sacrificing himself to take whatever Sennacherib would impose on him (v.14):

 

13  In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14  And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you impose on me I will bear.” And the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15  And 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 doorposts that Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17  And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field. 18  And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

 

The house of the LORD is thus stripped once again, yet the king of Assyria still sends his general, the chief of the Heads, and the chief cupbearer / of the princes (Tartan, Rabsaris, Rabshakeh) with a great army.  What the narrator of 2 Kings, however, fails to record are the words of encouragement from Hezekiah in such times of difficulty:

 

7  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde 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 took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. – 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

 

19  And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 20  Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? 21  Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such 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 altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? 23  Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24  How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25  Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.’”

 

What sarcasm and what lies (v.25) from this chief cupbearer / of the princes!  Yet, these are words of irony – for it is the Assyrians who are doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine:

 

26  Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27  But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?” 28  Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29  Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30  Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will 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 your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, 32  until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The LORD will deliver us. 33  Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34  Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 35  Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’” 36  But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 37  Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

 

Just as the end of 2 Kings 17 was dark, with Israel’s future entering its darkest time, so also these words of Sennacherib mark a dark period threatening the birth of the Messiah through Judah.  If Israel is taken over, what hope can there be?  “Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand”?  Yet, it is exactly this question, that Hezekiah shall cling onto the LORD even more than before – to anticipate that Messiah who will be the light shining into the darkest of nights.

2 Kings 17-18: Hezekiah, the son of the Father