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Two Kings Eighteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

2 Kings 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

2 Kings 18:2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

2 Kings 18:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

did that which was right. It is a mark of God's amazing grace that such a God-fearing king as Hezekiah could be the son of such a wicked king as Ahaz. Perhaps part of the credit should go to his mother Abi (2 Kings 18:2), the daughter of Zachariah. One could speculate that the latter might have been the same as the godly prophet Zechariah who had served during the reign of King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:5; 29:1). Also note below, on 2 Kings 18:5.

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

brasen serpent. The brazen serpent (Numbers 21:8, 9) was originally a symbol of sin judged and salvation given. Once it had served its purpose, however, it should have been abandoned. Instead it eventually became an idol. This is the danger involved in too much emphasis on symbols rather than the realities they are intended to represent.

Nehushtan. The meaning of “Nehushtan” is, simply, “a piece of brass.”

2 Kings 18:5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

He trusted in the Lord God of Israel. Hezekiah was arguably the most godly of all the kings of Judah, yet his father Ahaz was probably the most ungodly. Perhaps the testimony of his grandfather, Jotham, or his great grandfather, Uzziah, influenced him toward Jehovah. More likely, he was pointed to the Lord by the prophet Isaiah, who was a frequent spokesman for God at the king's court.

2 Kings 18:6 For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.

2 Kings 18:7 And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.

2 Kings 18:8 He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

2 Kings 18:9 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it.

2 Kings 18:10 And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.

Samaria was taken. See 2 Kings 17:6.

2 Kings 18:11 And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:

king of Assyria. Although Shalmanezer initiated the siege of Samaria, Assyrian records indicate that he was murdered. His brother Sargon then became the king who finally took Israel into captivity. An inscription in Sargon's palace even states the actual number of Israelites that he carried into Assyria. Interestingly, Sargon is only mentioned once in the Bible by name (Isaiah 20:1).

2 Kings 18:12 Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.

2 Kings 18:13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.

Sennacherib. Shalmanezer, king of Assyria when Israel was first besieged, had died before his campaign was finished, and Sargon II had finished the conquest. Then Sargon had died and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib, who wanted to take Judah also.

2 Kings 18:14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.

2 Kings 18:15 And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house.

Hezekiah gave him. The Assyrian records left by Sennacherib confirm this payment of tribute to the Assyrian monarch by King Hezekiah.

2 Kings 18:16 At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

2 Kings 18:17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field.

Rab-shakeh. These names are actually titles. Tartan, Rabsaris and Rabshakeh mean, respectively, “Tribute Officer,” “Chief Eunuch” and “Chief Butler.”

conduit of the upper pool. Ironically (or providentially), this was the same location where Ahaz had received, and then ignored, the testimony of the prophet Isaiah some thirty years before, even including the great promise of the coming virgin birth of the Messiah, Immanuel (Isaiah 7:3, 10-14).

fuller's field. The field where cloth was cleaned and bleached.

2 Kings 18:18 And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.

2 Kings 18:19 And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?

2 Kings 18:20 Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?

2 Kings 18:21 Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.

2 Kings 18:22 But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?

2 Kings 18:23 Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.

2 Kings 18:24 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

2 Kings 18:25 Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

2 Kings 18:26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.

The Syrian language. The Syrian language was Aramaic, which was only then beginning to be used as an international language in the Middle East. The Jews' language, of course, was Hebrew.

2 Kings 18:27 But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

2 Kings 18:28 Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:

2 Kings 18:29 Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:

2 Kings 18:30 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

2 Kings 18:31 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:

his own vine. The Assyrians were not only grossly cruel and licentious but also bold liars. The Jews were well aware that these tempting promises would be completely ignored if they surrendered. The vicious treatment of other peoples captured by the Assyrians was well known. Note also the obvious lie that the Lord had told them to destroy their land (2 Kings 18:25).

2 Kings 18:32 Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.

2 Kings 18:33 Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

gods of the nations. The Jews well knew, despite the arrogant and obscene boasting of Rabshakeh that “the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5).

2 Kings 18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?

2 Kings 18:35 Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?

2 Kings 18:36 But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.

2 Kings 18:37 Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.