WHO WAS HEZEKIAH?
Hezekiah was a king of Judah and the son of Ahaz. Hezekiah has a great testimony because the Bible says that Hezekiah trusted in YHWH, the God of Israel and did not turn from following Him, but kept the commands of the LORD and Moses. Of him it is written that
…not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before or after him. 2 Kings 18:5
Hezekiah had the poles to the pagan god Asherah removed. He even broke down the bronze snake that Moses had placed on a pole because some people had begun to offer incense to it. He followed Yahweh with his whole heart.
He reigned in Jerusalem 29 years. He was 25 when he began to reign, so at the end of this time, he was 54 years of age.
Early on during his reign, Assyria was a problem to Hezekiah. The Bible tells us that Hezekiah refused to serve the King of Assyria. Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and after three years, captured it and carried away Israelites captive. Sennacherib king of Assyria also came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. Hezekiah attempted to pay off the Assyrian King. Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house. He even stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord and from the doorposts to send to Assyria. Hezekiah later repented of this but not before the Assyrian king sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah to mock him and to mock the Lord God, YHWH.
The words of Rabshakeh were threatening:
2 Kings 18:28 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’
… This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me…’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from 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 rescued Samaria from my hand? 35 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”
Hezekiah put on sackcloth and tore his clothes. He went to the temple and sought out the LORD’s prophet, Isaiah, to seek advice. Isaiah responded by sending a letter to Hezekiah telling him he did not need to be afraid because the king of Assyria had blasphemed the LORD, who had heard the blasphemy of the king and his attendants. The LORD answered:
2 Chronicles 19:7 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.’
Hezekiah believed the words from the LORD that Isaiah sent.
2 Kings 19:14 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.
2 Kings 19:15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, 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.”
The LORD God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and answered. He told Isaiah to send Hezekiah a message to tell him that his prayers had been heard and what the LORD would do.
2 Kings 19:35 That night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up the next morning — there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and left. He returned home and lived in Nineveh.