This is Episode #117 and today we’ll read 2 Kings chapters 18-19 together. King Hezekiah stays faithful to God and the royal spokesmen from Assyria made a lot of threats. But they were no match for the God of Israel. Enter Isaiah.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #117 and today we’ll read 2 Kings chapters 18-19 together. King Hezekiah stays faithful to God and the royal spokesmen from Assyria made a lot of threats. But they were no match for the God of Israel. Enter Isaiah.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
2 Kings Chapter 18
Judah’s King Hezekiah
In the third year of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done. He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for until then the Israelites were burning incense to it. It was called Nehushtan.
Hezekiah relied on the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. He remained faithful to the Lord and did not turn from following him but kept the commands the Lord had commanded Moses.
The Lord was with him, and wherever he went he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its borders, from watchtower to fortified city.
Review of Israel’s Fall
In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Assyria’s King Shalmaneser marched against Samaria and besieged it. The Assyrians captured it at the end of three years. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Israel’s King Hoshea, Samaria was captured. The king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria and put them in Halah, along the Habor (Gozan’s river), and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not listen to the Lord their God but violated his covenant — all he had commanded Moses the servant of the Lord. They did not listen, and they did not obey.
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Assyria’s King Sennacherib attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. So King Hezekiah of Judah sent word to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you demand from me, I will pay.” The king of Assyria demanded eleven tons of silver and one ton of gold from King Hezekiah of Judah. So Hezekiah gave him all the silver found in the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the king’s palace.
At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the Lord’s sanctuary and from the doorposts he had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria.
Then the king of Assyria sent the field marshal, the chief of staff, and his royal spokesman, along with a massive army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They advanced and came to Jerusalem, and they took their position by the aqueduct of the upper pool, by the road to the Launderer’s Field. They called for the king, but Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebnah the court secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, came out to them.
The Royal Spokesman’s Speech
Then the royal spokesman said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: ‘What are you relying on? You think mere words are strategy and strength for war. Who are you now relying on so that you have rebelled against me? Now look, you are relying on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff that will pierce the hand of anyone who grabs it and leans on it. This is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who rely on him. Suppose you say to me, “We rely on the Lord our God.” Isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You must worship at this altar in Jerusalem”?’
“So now, make a bargain with my master the king of Assyria. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you’re able to supply riders for them! How then can you drive back a single officer among the least of my master’s servants? How can you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Now, have I attacked this place to destroy it without the Lord’s approval? The Lord said to me, ‘Attack this land and destroy it.’”
Request for Aramaic
Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebnah, and Joah said to the royal spokesman, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak with us in Hebrew within earshot of the people on the wall.”
But the royal spokesman said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words only to your master and to you? Hasn’t he also sent me to the men who sit on the wall, destined with you to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”
The royal spokesman stood and called out loudly in Hebrew: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria. This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you; he can’t rescue you from my power. Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on the Lord by saying, “Certainly the Lord will rescue us! This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.”’
“Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for this is what the king of Assyria says: ‘Make peace with me and surrender to me. Then each of you may eat from his own vine and his own fig tree, and each may drink water from his own cistern 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 trees and honey — so that you may live and not die. But don’t listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you, saying, “The Lord will rescue us.” Has any of the gods of the nations ever rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?
The People Kept Silent
Have they rescued Samaria from my power? Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued his land from my power? So will the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’”
But the people kept silent; they did not answer him at all, for the king’s command was, “Don’t answer him.” Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and reported to him the words of the royal spokesman.
2 Kings Chapter 19
Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah’s Counsel
When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the Lord’s temple. He sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, who were covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They said to him, “This is what Hezekiah says: ‘Today is a day of distress, rebuke, and disgrace, for children have come to the point of birth, but there is no strength to deliver them. Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all the words of the royal spokesman, whom his master the king of Assyria sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke him for the words that the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the surviving remnant.’”
So the servants of King Hezekiah went to Isaiah, who said to them, “Tell your master, ‘The Lord says this: Don’t be afraid because of the words you have heard, with which the king of Assyria’s attendants have blasphemed me. I am about to put a spirit in him, and he will hear a rumor and return to his own land, where I will cause him to fall by the sword.’”
Sennacherib’s Departing Threat
When the royal spokesman heard that the king of Assyria had pulled out of Lachish, he left and found him fighting against Libnah. The king had heard concerning King Tirhakah of Cush, “Look, he has set out to fight against you.” So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, “Say this to King Hezekiah of Judah: ‘Don’t let your God, on whom you rely, deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria. Look, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries: They completely destroyed them. Will you be rescued? Did the gods of the nations that my predecessors destroyed rescue them — nations such as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the Edenites in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, or Ivvah?’”
Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers’ hands, read it, then went up to the Lord’s temple, and spread it out before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord:
Lord God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you are God — you alone — of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. Listen closely, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God. Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made by human hands — wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, Lord our God, please save us from his power so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are God — you alone.
God’s Answer through Isaiah
Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “The Lord, the God of Israel says, ‘I have heard your prayer to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria.’ This is the word the Lord has spoken against him:
Virgin Daughter Zion
despises you and scorns you;
shakes her head behind your back.
Who is it you mocked and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
You have mocked the Lord through your messengers.
You have said, ‘With my many chariots
I have gone up to the heights of the mountains,
to the far recesses of Lebanon.
I cut down its tallest cedars,
its choice cypress trees.
I came to its farthest outpost,
its densest forest.
I dug wells
and drank water in foreign lands.
I dried up all the streams of Egypt
with the soles of my feet.’
Have you not heard?
I designed it long ago;
I planned it in days gone by.
I have now brought it to pass,
and you have crushed fortified cities
into piles of rubble.
Their inhabitants have become powerless,
dismayed, and ashamed.
They are plants of the field,
grass on the rooftops,
blasted by the east wind.
But I know your sitting down,
your going out and your coming in,
and your raging against me.
Because your raging against me
and your arrogance have reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth;
I will make you go back
the way you came.
This Will be the Sign
“This will be the sign for you: This year you will eat what grows on its own, and in the second year what grows from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For a remnant will go out from Jerusalem, and survivors, from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.
Therefore, this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
He will not enter this city,
shoot an arrow here,
come before it with a shield,
or build up a siege ramp against it.
He will go back
the way he came,
and he will not enter this city.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
I will defend this city and rescue it
for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.”
Defeat and Death of Sennacherib
That night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up the next morning — there were all the dead bodies! So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and left. He returned home and lived in Nineveh.
One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then his son Esar-haddon became king in his place.
I can’t wait to get to the book of Isaiah. Some of my favorite wisdom comes from him. I also want you to remember all of this when we get to the book of Jonah and God sends Jonah to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria…it’s great.
Also, don’t miss the foreshadowing of Christ when it is written that a remnant will go out from Jerusalem. That remnant leads straight to Christ. Jerusalem had to survive because it was the city God had chosen to provide a ransom for His people. All of His people…including us. Share your thoughts with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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