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By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/hezekiahs-pride-part-1-isaiah-devotional-journal-81/.
Isaiah 39 Septuagint Modernized NETS
Hezekiah-Part Seven: Hezekiah’s Virtue
In general, pride tempts capable people. Pride is a danger for those who succeed in their plans. Spiritually, pride attacks those who demonstrate virtue and faithfulness to the Lord.
For example, the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God, descended upon Jesus as he came up from the waters of baptism. By this action, the Lord God anointed him for ministry. Immediately, the same Spirit led him into the wilderness, where Satan tempted him for forty days (Mark 1:9-13). Satan focused his temptation on causing Jesus to respond to him in a prideful way, to abandon his complete dependence upon the Lord his God and Father.
Jesus, being the Son of God, could have depended upon his own divine nature. But he didn’t. By submitting to the written Word of God in Scripture, Jesus withstood all attempts of Satan to cause him to respond in prideful ways.
As another example, Satan himself is an angelic being whose splendor originally was great, greater than all the other angels. His downfall occurred when he gave in to pride. Pride is one of the first and greatest of all sins. Pride leads people to depend upon themselves, rather than upon the Lord. It is important for Christians to understand the movements of pride, so that we can defend against it.
Scripture gives us much detail concerning King Hezekiah’s pride. But first, we must consider his virtue in order to understand why he succumbed to pride. As background for this and the following posts, it would be good to read through 2 Chronicles 29-31. I quote from the Septuagint below, but readers may feel free to choose their own preferred version of Scripture.
The book of Isaiah concludes its history of good King Hezekiah in chapter 39. The portrait this chapter paints of Hezekiah’s pride and callousness toward his own progeny is not beautiful. It seems a poor ending to a wonderful life.
Hezekiah had recovered from a near fatal illness (Journal 80, Isaiah 38). Having heard about this, the son of the king of Babylon went to visit him, bringing gifts. This pleased Hezekiah very much. The king took him on a thorough tour of all the many treasures in his house. Hezekiah was a man of great wealth and delighted to show off in this fashion.
Afterwards, God sent Isaiah to announce to Hezekiah Babylon’s future devastation of everything in his own house and all the treasures accumulated by his ancestors over many generations. They would even carry off some of his own sons and make them eunuchs in Babylon (castrate them). But Hezekiah rejoiced, because the prophecy would not be fulfilled in his own days. He himself would be spared. He would rather that his children would be the ones to suffer for his pride.
Isaiah 39:7 They shall also take of your children whom you shall beget; and they shall make them eunuchs in the house of the king of the Babylonians. 8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, The word of the Lord is good, which He has spoken; let there be peace and righteousness in my days. (Complete Apostles’ Bible, Brenton’s Septuagint)
This chapter speaks very poorly of Hezekiah, right? Yes, it does. Therefore, the question is, how could such a good man be so selfish?
Hezekiah’s Immediate Ancestors
Hezekiah was very good. Scripture speaks more highly of him than of nearly any other king. Hezekiah took the throne at age twenty-five. His father Ahaz was very wicked. He imitated the kings of Israel, making molded images of idols, ignoring the temple, and burning incense everywhere. He even “burned his children in the fire,” an abominable cultic practice of the native peoples of the land (2 Chronicles 28:3).
Hezekiah’s grandfather, Jotham, did what was right in the sight of the Lord. But he did not inspire his people. They remained corrupt (2 Chronicles 27:1-2).
Uzziah, Hezekiah’s great-grandfather, reigned fifty-two years. At first he did right, following the laws of the Lord. The Lord blessed his building projects and his preparations for war (2 Chronicles 26:6-15). Unfortunately, Scripture records that he became proud. “His heart was lifted up to his destruction; he transgressed against the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 26:16).
Uzziah’s pride led him to enter the temple of the Lord to burn incense (Numbers 16:16-17, 35). God permitted only priests to do this (Exodus 30:7-9). God’s rules concerning incense were very strict (Leviticus 10:1-5). Uzziah’s arrogance as king in performing this abominable deed was so great that eighty-one priests of the Lord went in to resist him. When he became furious with them, the Lord struck him with leprosy. He lived in isolation the rest of his days (2 Chronicles 26:16-23).
Just How Good Was Good King Hezekiah?
Hezekiah did better than all these ancestors. Hezekiah began to reign at age twenty-five. His model king was David, not his immediate forbears.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. (2Chronicles 29:2 LXE)
HEZEKIAH PURIFIES THE TEMPLE
- It’s wonderful to read 2 Chronicles 29 through 31. Hezekiah was a king like no other. He worked pointedly, quickly, thoroughly, and generously to do all that the law commanded concerning the cleansing of the temple and bringing sacrifices there.
2 Chronicles 29:10 Therefore it is now in my heart to make a covenant, a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that He may turn away His fierce wrath from us. 11 And now be not wanting to your duty, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him to minister, and to be ministers and burners of incense to Him. (CAB, LXE)
- The apostate actions of the kings of prior generations had caused the hearts of nearly everyone to turn calloused, indifferent, and even scornful of the Lord and his ways. Hezekiah reversed this.
2 Chronicles 29:5 and said to them, Hear, you Levites: Now sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and cast out the impurity from the holy places. 6 For our fathers have revolted, and done that which was evil before the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him, and have turned away their face from the tabernacle of the Lord, and have turned their back. 7 And they have shut up the doors of the temple, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense, and have not offered whole burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. (CAB, LXE)
- Hezekiah inspired others to follow his lead.
And they purified the house of the Lord in eight days [!]… 18 And they went in to King Hezekiah, and said, We have purified all … which King Ahaz polluted in his reign, in his apostasy, we have prepared and purified; behold, they are before the altar of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 29:15-19)
THE PEOPLE WORSHIP THEIR TRUE GOD AGAIN
2 Chronicles 29:33 And the consecrated calves were six hundred, and the sheep three thousand. 34 But the priests were few, and could not slay the whole burnt offering, so their brethren the Levites helped them, until the work was finished, and until the priests had purified themselves… 35 And the whole burnt offering was abundant, with the fat of the complete peace offering, and the drink offerings of the whole burnt sacrifice. So the service was established in the house of the Lord. 36 And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced, because God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly. (CAB, LXE) (“…since the events took place so suddenly” SAAS)
The King Prepares the Passover
Hezekiah led the people with a strong hand. Unlike his grandfather Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:2), his personal dedication extended downward to others. He motivated them to follow his lead.
THE KING AND THE ASSEMBLY
Hezekiah was never a loner. People were happy to join his team.
2 Chronicles 30:2 For the king, and the princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, designed to keep the Passover in the second month. (CAB, LXE)
But preparing to celebrate the Passover began as an uphill battle.
3 For they could not keep it at that time, because a sufficient number of priests had not purified themselves, and the people were not gathered to Jerusalem. (CAB, LXE)
These events occurred just a short while before the Assyrians carried off Israel into captivity. The time was ripe for God to discipline Israel for their faithless apostasy (2 Kings 17:5, 18:13). Nevertheless, Hezekiah included the northern kingdom in his invitation to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. In doing so, he remained faithful to the decree given Solomon, while the kingdom was still united (2 Chronicles 12:13; Deuteronomy 12:5, 11; 1 Kings 8:29).
2 Chronicles 30:5 And they [see verse 2 above] established a decree that a proclamation should go through all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come and keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem; for the multitude had not done it lately according to the Scripture.
Remember that Jeroboam had torn the ten tribes of Israel away from the united kingdom of David, Solomon, and initially Rehoboam, Solomon’s son (1 Kings 11:43). As Jeroboam’s first action as king of the northern ten tribes, he placed two golden calves (1 Kings 12:27-30). He put one calf in Bethel on the southern border. The other he placed in Dan, near the northern border at that time. He placed these specifically so that the people of Israel would not go to Jerusalem to worship there, as the Lord had decreed.
And here is King Hezekiah of Judah, sending out a proclamation to the hostile north to invite them to celebrate the Lord’s Passover in Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 30:6 And the posts went with the letters from the king and the princes to all Israel and Judah, according to the command of the king, saying, Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and bring back them that have escaped, even those that were left of the hand of the king of Assyria. 7 And be not as your fathers and your brethren, who revolted from the Lord God of their fathers, and He gave them up to desolation, as you see. 8 And now harden not your hearts, as your fathers did; give glory to the Lord God, and enter into His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, and He shall turn away His fierce anger from you. 9 For when you turn to the Lord, your brethren and your children shall be pitied before all that have carried them captives, and He will restore you to this land; for the Lord our God is merciful and gracious, and will not turn away His face from you, if we return to Him. (CAB, LXE)
ISRAEL’S RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION
How did the northern people of Israel respond?
and they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. (2 Chronicles 30:10)
11 But the men of Asher, and some of Manasseh and of Zebulun, were ashamed, and came to Jerusalem and Judah.
THE LORD BLESSES THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH
The actions of Hezekiah and all the people of Judah pleased the Lord. And he blessed them.
2 Chronicles 30:12 At the word of the Lord, the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders.
Summary to This Point
1. I’ve gone into historical details more than usual in this post. Second Chronicles records a wonderfully rare coming together of all the people of Judah to faithfully worship the Lord. This happened completely because of one man’s leadership, good King Hezekiah. The story gets even better as Scripture progresses.
Hezekiah was young, still in his twenties, when all these events occurred. The reason I am building such a detailed background is so that we can see how easy it was for Hezekiah to give in to pride in his older years. His spiritual successes and leadership skills were enormous. Because in the end he gave in to pride, he provides a warning for all of us.
There is a popular verse that has been in circulation for a number of years. It has to do with beseeching the Lord in prayer. King Hezekiah is the very embodiment of this verse.
2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (ESV)
2. Hezekiah was a great leader who inspired people of many backgrounds to follow him. Levites, priests, the assembly of elders, the people as a whole, and even a few people from hostile Israel to the north all united to follow his lead in turning back to worship the Lord.
There is still more for us to see. But because this post is already long enough, I will continue in Post #82.
To be continued…
By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/hezekiah-worships-isaiah-devotional-journal-80/.
Isaiah 38 Septuagint Modernized NETS
Hezekiah-Part Six: Hezekiah Worships
III. Isaiah 38:9-20
Only Isaiah records King Hezekiah’s prayer when he recovered from his illness. In this prayer, Hezekiah worships the living God who saved him.
9 The prayer of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and had recovered from his sickness:
10 I said in the end of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave; I shall part with the remainder of my years.
11 I said, I shall no more see the salvation of God in the land of the living; I shall no more see the salvation of Israel on the earth; I shall no more see man.
12 My life has failed from among my kindred; I have parted with the remainder of my life; it has gone forth and departed from me, as one that has pitched a tent takes it down again; my breath was with me as a weaver’s web, when she that weaves draws near to cut off the thread.
13 In that day I was given up as to a lion until the morning; so has He broken all my bones; for I was so given up from day even to night.
14 As a swallow, so will I cry, and as a dove, so do I mourn; for my eyes have failed from looking to the height of heaven to the Lord, who has delivered me,
15 and removed the sorrow of my soul.
16 Yea, O Lord, for it was told You concerning this; and You have revived my breath; and I am comforted, and live.
17 For You have chosen my soul, that it should not perish; and You have cast all my sins behind me.
18 For they that are in the grave shall not praise You, neither shall the dead bless You, neither shall they that are in Hades hope for Your mercy.
19 The living shall bless You, as I also do; for from this day shall I beget children, who shall declare Your righteousness,
20 O God of my salvation; and I will not cease from blessing You with the psaltery all the days of my life before the house of God. (CAB, LXE) (1)
Today’s news media loves crises. They love to interview folk who have passed through a crisis and come close to being destroyed. They show up with microphone in hand and say, “Tell us about your experience.” Then the survivor tells their tale. Such is this portion of Isaiah. Scripture gives King Hezekiah space to tell his harrowing experience of how he survived a deadly illness. We read his story in his prayer to God after he recovered (verse 9 forward).
Isaiah 38 is not the only place in Scripture that records a prayer after a near death experience. The Psalter contains several such prayers. King David’s enemies hounded him to death. He didn’t die, however. He lived to sing praises to the Lord who saved him. We find songs celebrating deliverance from near death in Psalm 18:4-19, 57:3-4, 116:3-8, and 118:5, 10-29. As pointed out in other posts on this site, these worshipful prayer songs of David prophetically represent the heart cries and life events of the Lord Jesus Christ during his incarnation (See A Triplet of Psalms on this site).
PARALLELS TO THE LIFE OF CHRIST
How awesome would it be to have one’s life run parallel to that of the Lord Jesus Christ? Many saints both dead and alive encounter persecutions and grievous circumstances similar to those in the life of Christ. The New Testament declares that Christians will and should experience such parallels. Is it possible that this portion of King Hezekiah’s life experience prophetically looks ahead to the death and resurrection of Christ?
- “sick and recovered” (verse 9)–See Psalm 18:4-8; Psalm 116:3, 6; 118:17-18.
- a near death experience near the gates of Hades (verses 10 and 18)–Psalm 88:3; Psalm 6:4-5; 30:3; 94:17.
- cut off from family and from life (verses 11-12)–Psalm 102:3-11; 88:8, 18.
- “given as to a lion” (verse 13)–Psalm 22:13, 21; 57:4;
- “so has He broken all my bones” (verse 13)–Psalm 34:20; 6:1-5; 22:14; 31:10; 42:10. (Note: Christ’s bones were not broken.)
- eyes fail from looking upward–Psalm 69:3.
- delivered! (verse 14)–Psalm 18:1; 30:3; 56:13; 57:4; 86:13; 116:6, 8.
- the Lord did it (verses 14, 16, 17)–Psalm 116:6, 8; 18:4-17; 118:21-23; 22:24-31; 57:3-5.
- Praise the Lord! (verses 19-20)–Psalm 18:46-50; 22:22-25; 57:3-11; 116:16-19; 118:18-29.
There may be other parallels to the Psalms and to the life of Christ within this simple, heartfelt prayer of King Hezekiah.
THE SIGN OF TWO KINGS
When have any of us ever seen the sun move backward in the sky? Isaiah gave Hezekiah a sign that the shadow cast by the setting sun would move backward (2). The text does not say that the sun would move backward, but that the shadow of its setting would (2 Kings 20:8-11). Nevertheless, the sign indicates a miracle. The shadow of death over Hezekiah would be withdrawn.
God performed an even bigger miracle when he resurrected King Jesus from the grave. When God gave victory over death to his Son, he also turned back death’s shadow from the entire world. The sunshine of life shines again. Both the resurrection of Christ the King and the “resurrection” of King Hezekiah indicate life for every believer who identifies with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the King of kings.
When we face difficulties from which we may not survive, let us call upon the name of the Lord. Our God saves. He delivers from death. God’s deliverance is sure, fixed in the heavenlies, whether in this life or by means of our passing to the next. Either way, Christians do experience and will experience resurrection from death. This is the prophetic promise of Isaiah 38.
1 The Complete Apostles’ Bible (CAB). Translated by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton. Revised and Edited by Paul W. Esposito, and, The English Majority Text Version (EMTV) of the Holy Bible, New Testament. Copyright © 2002-2004 Paul W. Esposito. Available August 8, 2021, at Isaiah 38 – Complete Apostles’ Bible (bibliatodo.com).
2 Septuagint translations differ among themselves and from the Masoretic. The differences concern whether the shadow of the setting sun would move backward on the face of a sundial or backward upon the steps of a set of stairs in his father’s house. These differences don’t change the overall meaning of the text. Either way, the shadow cast by the setting sun moves backward.
By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/king-hezekiah-prays-isaiah-devotional-journal-78/
Isaiah 37 Septuagint Modernized NETS
King Hezekiah-Part Four: Hezekiah Prays
The prophet Isaiah records three prayers of Hezekiah to God Almighty. In response to each of these, God answers with direct speech and action. Notably, God speaks his words not to Hezekiah but to the prophet Isaiah. The first two interactions concern the imminent siege and attack by the Assyrian army against Jerusalem. The third concerns Hezekiah’s mortal illness. In the first instance, Scripture does not record that Hezekiah prays. Rather, he asks the prophet Isaiah to pray. In the second and third instances, Scripture records the words that Hezekiah prays himself.
HEZEKIAH’S THREE RESPONSES
When the Rabshakeh came threatening annihilation to Jerusalem, Hezekiah responded in three ways.
- He tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth. These are outward signs of inner grief, mourning, humility, and repentance. More modern equivalents might be wearing black to a funeral, physically dropping to one’s knees to pray, and bowing the head in prayer.
- Hezekiah also “went up into” (NETS and Brenton) the house of the Lord. Only the Greek Septuagint includes two separate words for “went up” and “into.” Both are important. The Masoretic Hebrew writes “into” alone. Hezekiah did not move laterally to his own home or to the home of his friends. Nor did he go down to some other location. Rather, he made the effort to go up to where God is. He entered into the presence of the Lord. Spiritually speaking, supplicants must acknowledge the Lord, approach him, and enter into his presence in order to initiate speech with him.
- Finally, Hezekiah sent emissaries to Isaiah the prophet with exact words to tell him. It is not wrong to ask friends to pray for us. There are many fine reasons why a believer might want others to join them in prayer. If the Lord wills for us to be alone with him, he has power to make third parties unavailable. Hezekiah gave these words to Isaiah.
3 Today is a day of affliction, and reproach, and rebuke, and anger; for the pangs have come upon the travailing woman, but she has not the strength to bring forth. 4 May the Lord your God hear the words of Rabshakeh, which the king of the Assyrians has sent, to reproach the living God, even to reproach with the words which the Lord your God has heard; therefore you shall pray to your Lord for these that are left. (CAB, LXE)
Hezekiah’s prayer expresses two main thoughts. First, he appeals to the “living” God’s own honor, and second, he desires the preservation of the remnant, “these that are left.”
Just as a first responder giving immediate first aid, the living Lord’s first response was, “Do not be afraid,” (verse 6). The enemy’s goal, as represented by the Rabshakeh, is to blind and confuse believers to make them give up in fear. The Lord’s goal is to comfort, “Do not be afraid…I will” do such and such (verse 7). He shifts the fearful person’s attention away from themselves and the situation and onto himself, his power, and his goodness. In this instance, Isaiah told Hezekiah that the Lord would take care of it all. He himself need not lift a finger.
II. Isaiah 37:8-38
Hezekiah prays a second time. This prayer is strikingly different from the first. No longer does the king tell Isaiah how to pray for them, but he himself prays directly. His prayer focuses on faith statements of God’s attributes and power. He sees the Assyrians minimized in comparison with God Almighty. He asks specifically for God to save them from the Assyrians so that “every kingdom of the earth may know that you alone are God,” (verse 20, NETS). In other words, his expressed concern is for the testimony and glory of God alone.
The king does one other thing that bears attention. Because God was already at work against the Assyrians, Rabshakeh did not speak in person this second time at Jerusalem’s wall. Rather, messengers sent from the Assyrian king had given Hezekiah a scroll (or scrolls). The NET translation expresses well the impact of Isaiah 37:14.
Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the LORD’s temple and spread it out before the LORD.
This verse presents a graphic image of the meaning of prayer (Isaiah 37:14). All the problems are reported in one place. Hezekiah takes these and spreads them out, possibly as he kneels upon the floor. As he opens them up before the Lord, he turns them over to him. By doing so, he asks God to carry the burden for him. Hezekiah also speaks out loud his faith and trust in God, his Lord.
Scripture records no message from Hezekiah to Isaiah. Yet, Isaiah spoke God’s reply. This time, God’s first words confirm Hezekiah’s expressed faith. “I heard what you prayed to me,” (verse 21). I grant your request. This is what I’m going to do. And here is a sign, so that you will know I will do what I say.
God gives two reasons for his positive reply to Hezekiah’s prayer for help.
- First, he protects Jerusalem for his own sake. Jerusalem is where God’s temple resides. God protects his own glory.
- Second, he protects the city for “My servant David’s sake.” God had promised David that Messiah would come from his loins (2 Samuel 7:12-16; 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 22:16).
Verses 36-38 record the fulfillment of God’s promise to Hezekiah through Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 37:36-38). It happened just as he said it would.
…Hezekiah’s third prayer to be continued
By Christina M Wilson. Originally published at King Hezekiah-Highlights: Isaiah Devotional Journal 77 – justonesmallvoice.com.
Isaiah 36-37 Septuagint Modernized NETS
King Hezekiah-Part Two: Highlights
When reading the four Isaiah chapters concerning King Hezekiah, certain highlights, or themes, shine through.
- Hezekiah’s trust in God
- his vibrant prayer life
- his successful leadership of those under his authority
- God’s testing of him
- his pride
- his selfishness
- the fact that godly character is not inheritable
The crux of King Hezekiah’s history in the context of Israel’s history, however, is not Hezekiah’s character, but the character of God.
Will God Come Through for Jerusalem?
“Rabshakeh” is the title given the emissary/military general who represented the King of Assyria (36:2). The threat was real–very close, very imminent, right at Jerusalem’s front door.
Rabshakeh lied. He bluffed. His purpose in Isaiah 36 was to talk his way into victory. He pressed all the psychological buttons he could think of. His purpose was to get the people to forsake their king (Isaiah 36:14) and give up without a fight (Isaiah 36:16-17). He promised them peaceful prosperity until the day when he would take them away to the happy, happy land of captivity.
Rabshakeh exemplifies the tactics of our spiritual enemy, Satan. Satan attacks our faith in God by subtly twisting his character and lying to us about him. His goal is to make us fearful of possibilities and potential outcomes that have not yet occurred. He paints a very dour picture of the present and future, tempting us to give up without a fight.
These were the tactics of Rabshekah. His main argument was that Hezekiah’s God was no different than all the other “gods” whom Assyria had vanquished. Hezekiah realized that indeed these other “gods” were false idols, blocks of wood and stone (Isaiah 37:18-19). They failed the countries which clung to them. But Hezekiah knew that his God lived, had power, and would save them. And, in the end, God did. He came through for Jerusalem at this time, because of Hezekiah’s strong faith in him.
By Christina M Wilson. Published simultaneously at King Hezekiah-Overview: Isaiah Devotional Journal 76 – justonesmallvoice.com.
Isaiah 36-37 Septuagint Modernized NETS
King Hezekiah-Part One: Overview
Four narrative chapters concerning King Hezekiah bring the first portion of the prophetic book of Isaiah to a close. At the same time, these chapters serve to introduce the latter half of Isaiah. Barry Webb calls them a “bridge” between the two major portions of the book (1).
Even casual readers will notice that the first portion of Isaiah differs from the latter portion in tone and content. Speaking in general terms, the first portion represents God speaking harshly to his people in terms of accusation and judgment. Historically, the first portion encompasses the permanent carrying off into captivity of the northern kingdom. It also prophesies the carrying off of Judah into exile more than a century later.
Isaiah also judges the nations in the harshest of terms, providing much end time material. Not all the end times, or eschatological, material is bad news, however. Interspersed throughout the judgment of the nations are passages of hope in a future Messiah. This Messiah will bless not just Judah and Jerusalem, but the whole world. This includes Gentiles.
The Lord speaks more fully in the second portion of the book. He develops in greater detail the nature of the coming Messiah. And, for the first time, he introduces the suffering which will characterize Messiah’s life. Overall, however, Isaiah’s message is one of comfort, hope, restitution, and glory.
Who Is King Hezekiah?
Four chapters of straight narrative in the prophetic book of Isaiah is unusual in itself. These chapters resemble a stand alone packet. Indeed, they are a packet, because they appear in 2 Kings 18:13, 17-20:21 in much the same form. This history appears in 2 Chronicles 32:9-26, as well, though shorter. 2 Chronicles devotes four entire chapters to Hezekiah’s complete reign, 2 Chronicles 29-32. Does a reader get the impression that there is something about King Hezekiah which God wants us to grasp?
2 Chronicles records this about King Hezekiah:
20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. 21 And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered. (2 Chronicles 31:20-21 ESV)
Scripture also reports this:
22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22 ESV)
Christianity’s “Every Person”
Hezekiah (though he predates the incarnation) represents what it means to follow Christ and be “Christian.” Within the Christian world, he would be an “every person.” Scripture makes clear that Hezekiah, as an “every person,” was not perfect (Isaiah 38:3 and 39:6-8). Concerning his imperfections, he resembles King David. But also like David, Hezekiah’s heart of faith, expressed by his actions, remained loyal and steadfastly true to his God. I believe the Bible contains so many chapters devoted to Hezekiah’s life and actions because God holds him up as a model for us to imitate.
Facts of King Hezekiah’s Reign
Isaiah’s period of prophecy and King Hezekiah’s reign mostly overlap (Isaiah 1:1 and 39:8). Apparently, Isaiah ceased prophesying some time before Hezekiah died (Isaiah 1:1). This extensive overlap carried practical implications. Because of Isaiah’s physical proximity to Jerusalem and its king, the prophet and Hezekiah interacted on major occasions, such as the invasion by the Assyrians. Also, because of Isaiah’s importance as a prophet, he would naturally have much to say to and about Judah’s king.
God himself excoriated the “apostate children” in Isaiah 30:1 forward (Septuagint). In the post for that chapter, I disagreed with many commentators by making the case that verses 1-18 applied not to Judah but to Israel. Given the Bible’s witness to the favor God granted King Hezekiah and his faithful heart, I stand by that assessment. God would never speak to his faithful children using the words he uses to chastise the hard hearted, distant, and disobedient children of chapter 30. Rather, when Scripture does portray the failings of Hezekiah’s character (Isaiah 39 and 2 Chronicles 32:24-31 Septuagint), it does so without the harsh, condemnatory words of Isaiah 30:1-17. The link to the prior post is here: ISAIAH 30 SEPTUAGINT-TWO KINGDOMS: JOURNAL 64.
1 Webb, Barry. The Message of Isaiah: On eagles’ wings, part of the series, The Bible Speaks Today, Old Testament portion edited by J. A. Motyer. Published by Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1996, page 147.