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Who was King Hezekiah?

Hezekiah’s story is told in 2 Kings 16:20—20:212 Chronicles 28:27—32:33; and Isaiah 36:1—39:8. He is also mentioned in Proverbs 25:1Isaiah 1:1Jeremiah 15:426:18–19Hosea 1:1; and Micah 1:1.

Hezekiah, a son of the wicked King Ahaz (2 Kings 16:2-4). reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah for twenty-nine years, from c. 715 to 686 BC. His father was godless but we are told that Hezekiah did “right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 18:3).

Secular and religious historians have given Hezekiah a place in history for the amazing water pool and underground canal (2 Kings 20:20) that he had built to ensure the city had water during the on again, off again wars with the Assyrians. He also had the city walls extended to enclose the water source.

He began his reign at age 25 (2 Kings 18:2). He was more zealous for the Lord than any of his predecessors (2 Kings 18:5). During his reign, the prophets Isaiah and Micah ministered in Judah.

After Ahaz’s wicked reign, there was much work to do, and Hezekiah boldly cleaned house. Pagan altars, idols, and temples were destroyed. The bronze serpent that Moses had made in the desert (Numbers 21:9) was also destroyed, because the people had made it an idol (2 Kings 18:4).

In 701 BC, Hezekiah and all of Judah faced a crisis. The Assyrians, the dominant world power at the time, invaded Judah and marched against Jerusalem. The Assyrians had already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and many other nations, and now they threatened Judah (2 Kings 18:13). In their threats against the city of Jerusalem, the Assyrians openly defied the God of Judah, likening Him to the powerless gods of the nations they had conquered (2 Kings 18:28–3519:10–12).

Faced with the Assyrian threat, Hezekiah sent word to the prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 19:2). The Lord, through Isaiah, reassured the king that Assyria would never enter Jerusalem. Rather, the invaders would be sent home, and the city of Jerusalem would be spared (2 Kings 19:32–34). In the temple, Hezekiah prays a beautiful prayer for help, asking God to vindicate Himself: “Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God” (2 Kings 19:19).

God, faithful as always, kept His promise to protect Jerusalem. “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!” (2 Kings 19:35). The remaining Assyrians quickly broke camp and withdrew in abject defeat. “So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. . . . He took care of them on every side” (2 Chronicles 32:22).

Later, Hezekiah became very sick. Isaiah told him to set things in order and prepare to die (2 Kings 20:1). But Hezekiah prayed, beseeching God to be merciful and to remember all the good he had done. Most Christians remember Hezekiah for the fact that God healed him and gave him an additional fifteen years of life (2 Kings 20:1-6).

In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. 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 and not live.’” Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, “Remember now, O LORD, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Thy sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And it came about before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David,” 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. And I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’ (NASB) 2 Kings 20:1-6

However, soon after his healing, Hezekiah made a serious mistake. The Babylonians sent a gift to Hezekiah, for they had heard Hezekiah had been sick. In foolish pride, Hezekiah showed the Babylonians all of his treasures, all the silver and gold, and everything in his arsenal. There was nothing Hezekiah did not parade in front of them. Isaiah rebuked Hezekiah for this act and prophesied that all the king had shown the Babylonians would one day be taken to Babylon—along with Hezekiah’s own descendants.

Hezekiah’s life is, for the most part, a model of faithfulness and trust in the Lord.  The Lord rewarded him for his integrity and trust in Him. King Hezekiah is an example for all of us.

Let’s pray and trust Adonai !

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