2 Kings 18 – “Hezekiah’s Righteousness; Sennacherib Besieges Jerusalem”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Hezekiah serves God, outlaws idolatry, and rebels against the Assyrians. Sennacherib marches on Judea and sends an officer to taunt the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

II. Photo
Hezekiah proscribes all types of idolatry: “He also broke into pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until that time the Israelites had been offering sacrifices to it; it was called Nehushtan.” (v. 4b)

III. Important Verses
3-8: [Hezekiah] did what was pleasing to the LORD, just as his father David had done. He abolished the shrines and smashed the pillars and cut down the sacred post. He also broke into pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until that time the Israelites had been offering sacrifices to it; it was called Nehushtan. He trusted only in the LORD the God of Israel; there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those before him. He clung to the LORD; he did not turn away from following Him, but kept the commandments that the LORD had given to Moses. And the LORD was always with him; he was successful wherever he turned. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. He overran Philistia as far as Gaza and its border areas, from watchtower to fortified town.
13-15: In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched against all the fortified towns of Judah and seized them. King Hezekiah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; and I shall bear whatever you impose on me.” So the king of Assyria imposed upon King Hezekiah of Judah a payment of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was on hand in the House of the LORD and in the treasuries of the palace.
19-22, 25: The Rabshakeh said to them, “You tell Hezekiah: Thus said the Great King, the King of Assyria: What makes you so confident? You must think that mere talk is counsel and valor for war! Look, on whom are you relying, that you have rebelled against me? You rely, of all things, on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which enters and punctures the palm of anyone who leans on it! That’s what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like to all who rely on him. And if you tell me that you are relying on the LORD your God, He is the very one whose shrines and altars Hezekiah did away with, telling Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship only at this altar in Jerusalem… And do you think I have marched against this land to destroy it without the LORD? The LORD Himself told me: Go up against that land and destroy it.”
26-27: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah replied to the Rabshakeh, “Please, speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in Judean in the hearing of the people on the wall.” But the Rabshakeh answered them, “Was it to your master and to you that my master sent me to speak those words? It was precisely to the men who are sitting on the wall — who will have to eat their dung and drink their urine with you.”

IV. Outline
1-2. Introductory statement: Hezekiah king of Judah
3-7a. Hezekiah’s piety
7b. Hezekiah rebels against Assyria
8. Hezekiah defeats the Philistines
9-11. Shalmaneser exiles the inhabitants of Samaria
12. Theological reason for the exile
13-16. Hezekiah sends tribute to Sennacherib king of Assyria
17. Sennacherib besieges Jerusalem
18-25. The Rabshakeh taunts Hezekiah
26-28. The Rabshakeh continues to speak in Judean
29-35. The Rabshakeh tries to cajole the Judeans into joining his side
36. The people remain silent
37. The Rabshakeh’s message is delivered to Hezekiah

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Cogan, Mordechai and Hayim Tadmor. “II Kings” The Anchor Bible v. 11 (USA: Doubleday, 1988).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hobbs, T.R. “2 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 13 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Photo taken from http://www.memoclic.com/14-3746-600×450/fond-ecran-serpent-vert-symetrique.jpg