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Reframes: Hezekiah Trusted the Lord God of Israel

Hezekiah Trusted the Lord God of Israel: In the third year of Hosea, the son of Elah king of Israel, it came to pass that Hezekiah of Judah began to rule. He was just twenty-five years of age when he took power. The king ruled as sovereign in Judah for twenty-nine years.

He was the son of Abi, who was the daughter of a priest named Zachariah. He did well for Judah in the sight of the Sovereign Lord, administering like the great king David, his forefather. Some of his acts included removing high places, breaking pagan images, cutting down groves, and he broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses made.

Not that the brazen serpent was a bad thing, but more so the children of Israel used it as an image to burn incense towards. The people called the serpent Nehushtan. Hezekiah trusted the Lord God of Israel.

He Prospered in All Things…

After his reign, there was not a king like him before or after him. He stuck with the Sovereign Lord of Heaven and earth. He didn’t depart from following God. Hezekiah kept the Lord’s commandments that were given to Moses.

For this, God was with him and he prospered in all things. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and stopped serving him. He struck the Philistines all the way to the Gaza borders, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

Nevertheless, it came to pass during Hezekiah’s fourth year on the throne (which was the seventh year of Hoshea’s rule in Israel), Shalmaneser the king of Assyria paid a visit to Samaria, besieging it. After three years, Shalmaneser took the city in the king of Judah’s sixth year of rule.

Samaria was taken!

The king of Assyria carried away Israel into Assyria as captives, isolating them in different cities. Some were placed in Halah, some in Habor by the river of Gozan, and others in the cities of the Medes.

This happened because they were stubborn and hardheaded, and did not obey the voice of the Lord their God. They transgressed at every turn, broke the holy covenant and everything Moses the steward of the Lord ordered them to do.

They wouldn’t listen or obey. Fast forward into the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah’s rule, a new Assyrian king came on the scene. His name was Sennacherib and he came against all the fenced cities of Judah, taking them all.

Pay Up… 300 Tons of Silver

The king of Judah (Hezekiah) sent ambassadors to meet the king of Assyria in Lachish apologizing for offending him. Hezekiah asked Sennacherib to fall back from attempting to take Jerusalem, and accept his tribute.

Sennacherib then ordered Hezekiah to pay three hundred tons of silver and thirty tons of gold. King Hezekiah paid up, giving all the silver in the house of the Lord, as well as those in the treasures of his own house.

He cut gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord and from the pillars that were overlaid with gold. Hezekiah gave it all to Sennacherib. The king of Assyria sent emissaries to Jerusalem from Lachish to meet with Hezekiah.

Hezekiah Trusted the God of Israel

Tartan, Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh, the emissaries by name, came and met with Hezekiah and his administration. They came in and presented themselves aggressively by the conduit of the upper pool, by the highway of the fuller’s field.

The emissaries of Assyria summoned the king of Judah along with Eliakim (the son of Hilkiah), Shebna, and Joah (the son of Asaph). Eliakim was Judah’s prime minister, Shebna was Eliakim’s assistant, and Joah kept government records.

Rabshakeh spoke to them on behalf of Sennacherib saying, “This is what the great king of Assyria says; what confidence does Judah have?” He continued, “You have vainly received counsel to rebel against the great king of Assyria, but why?”

Hezekiah Trusted the Lord God of Israel

The Assyrian envoys told the king of Judah that trusting themselves or Egypt was like leaning on a bruised reed with their full weight. Trusting the king of Egypt is not wise, the envoys made clear. The envoys also threatened Judah in trusting their God, the Lord.

“Isn’t it your God’s high places and altars that Hezekiah has removed that the Lord said ‘You will worship Me before this altar in Jerusalem?’, said Rabshakeh. Rabshakeh pleaded that Judah would pay their pledges to the king of Assyria and he’d give them 2,000 horses if they are able to put 2,000 riders on them.

“If your kingdom can’t provide the riders of just 2,000 horses, how will you deal with the Assyrian army, and trust Egypt’s help,” said Rabshakeh. The emissaries really attempted to scare the faith out of Judah by saying they would not come against this place unless the Lord sent them to do it.

Assyria Tried to Put Fear in the People

Eliakim interrupted and asked the emissaries to speak to them in the Syrian language, which they understood. They were asked to stop speaking in the Hebrew language. They feared the people listening outside the court will hear and fear.

This move agitated the Assyrian envoys. Rabshakeh responded by saying, “Has my king sent me to your king and to you with this message?” “Hasn’t he sent me to the poor citizens of this land so they can be warned,” said the Assyrian prime.

“It’s the people who will end up eating their own waste and drinking their own urine with you,” warned the Rabshakeh. Rabshakeh took a bullhorn and spoke as loud as possible in the Hebrew language the message of the great king of Assyria to the Jews.

Don’t Listen to Hezekiah…

He warned the people not to allow their king Hezekiah deceive them in saying he will deliver them from Assyria. Rabshakeh also warned that the Jews should not allow Hezekiah to make them believe the Lord will deliver them and the royal and holy city, Jerusalem.

“Don’t listen to Hezekiah,” says the Assyrian king, “Make an agreement with me with a gift and then everyone will live peacefully and enjoy life.” “Sure, we will take you to a land very similar to your own land; a land full of corn and wine, bread, vineyards, olive oil, honey, and you will love it,” reported Rabshakeh.

He warned they should take the offer and live. “Have any of the gods of the nations delivered those nations that Assyria has taken down,” Rabshakeh asked? “Where are the gods of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah,” continued the Assyrian.

The People Listened to the King

Did the gods help Samaria out of my hands,” Rabshakeh asked again? He asked the people to name a god of the countries mentioned that were delivered out of the Assyrians hand. Therefore, why would Judah be any different he reasoned with them.

No one responded because that was the order from the king, Hezekiah. Finally, Eliakim, the prime minister, Shebna, and Joah reported everything to Hezekiah with their garments rent.

Selah (this article is based on 2 Kings chapter 18)

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