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Basic Bible: Hezekiah Rallies Judah’s Army

II Chronicles 32:1-8, 22-23

“After these things . . .” (v. 1). After these things refers to all which transpired between II Chronicles 29:3 and 31:21. After these things consists of all that Hezekiah caused to happen during the first 13 years of his reign as king of Judah.

In the first month of his reign, Hezekiah opened the temple which his father had closed and made repairs. He refurbished the articles of worship in the temple and organized the priests and Levites such that they might sanctify themselves and cleanse the temple. He re-established the offering up burnt sacrifices to the Lord and keeping the Passover as had been practiced in the days of Solomon.

Shalmaneser king of Assyria conquered Israel and repopulated the territory of the northern kingdom with Assyrians in the 7th year of Hezekiah’s reign. The kingdom of Israel ceased to exist at that time. Hezekiah invited the remnant of the tribes of Israel that remained in the land to partake of the Passover in Jerusalem and a number responded (see II Chron. 30:6, 11). Following this Passover, the people went throughout Judah and destroyed altars to false gods and cut down the groves.

In the 14th year of Hezekiah’s reign (see II Kings 18:13), “Sennacherib king of Assyria came . . . and thought to win them (the fortified cities of Judah) for himself” (v. 1b). Sennacherib thought to do to Judah as Shalmaneser had done to Israel. In verses 2-8, we see Hezekiah’s response.

Hezekiah’s thoughts were to make it as difficult as he possibly could for Sennacherib to accomplish his goal. It was Hezekiah’s thought to stop up the springs of water that flowed into “the brook that ran through the midst of the land” (v. 4). Hezekiah sought to eliminate a natural water source upon which the Assyrians could rely.

While making water unavailable to the enemy can be an effective tactic, stopping up ever flowing springs is not easily achieved and is, at best, a temporary deterrent. Hydraulic pressure will build and cause the pent up waters to break through and create new channels of flow. It was Hezekiah’s intent that the Assyrians should not find an abundance of water when they came to besiege the city and he ordered the defenders of Jerusalem to seal up the springs.

Hezekiah then strengthened the walls of the city and constructed an outer wall which, when breached, would expose the attackers to counter attacks launched from the higher elevation of the stronger walls that had protected Jerusalem for century after century. Hezekiah “made darts and shields in abundance” (v. 5). The defenders of Jerusalem would have the weaponry needed to defend themselves.

After taking these steps, Hezekiah gathered his “captains of war” and issued words of encouragement to them. He declared that Jerusalem was stronger than the multitudes that came to fight against them because “with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles” (v. 8).

The author of II Chronicles was moved to write: “And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” The defenders of Jerusalem were as well prepared to defend their city as they could possibly be. They were prepared for a battle that would never take place.

Sennacherib’s plan was to lay siege to Jerusalem (v. 11). The defenders of Jerusalem would eventually find themselves without food and water and be forced to surrender. Sieges can be long in duration. The Assyrian siege of the city of Samaria was three years in duration (II Kings 17:5). Sennacherib, likening the God of Jerusalem to gods made by the hands of men, announced that God would fail to deliver Jerusalem from his hand (v. 14).

Hezekiah’s preparations would be insufficient to endure a siege of three years and Hezekiah knew it. Hezekiah called upon the Lord (v. 20). The Lord heard his prayer.

Sennacherib would return to his own land (v. 21). The siege ended because the Lord sent an angel who slew 185,000 Assyrians that very night (see II Kings 19:35). The Lord God caused Sennacherib to return to his own land.

Verse 22 states, “Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.”

That which happened with Hezekiah was made to happen by the Lord God. Hezekiah believed that the Lord was with him and would help Judah. Hezekiah called out to the Lord and Judah was saved. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. All who call upon Him believing, shall not perish but receive life eternal.

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