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CHAPTER 18 Sep. 12 
Hezekiah Becomes King of Judah
Now it happened in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that David his father had done. 4He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for in those days the children of Israel burned incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan. 5He trusted in Yahweh the God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among them that were before him. 6For he joined with Yahweh; he didn’t depart from following Him, but kept His commandments which Yahweh commanded Moses. 7Yahweh was with him; wherever he went forth he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria, and didn’t serve him. 8He struck the Philistines to Gaza and its borders, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city. 9It happened 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. 10At the end of three years they took it: in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11The king of Assyria carried Israel away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12because they didn’t obey the voice of Yahweh their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded, and would not hear it, nor do it. 
The Assyrian Invasion
13Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah, and took them. 14Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish saying, I have offended; return from me. That which you put on me, I will bear. The king of Assyria appointed to Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of Yahweh, and in the treasures of the king’s house. 16At that time, Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of Yahweh’s temple, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17The king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great army to Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they had come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field. 18When they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder. 
Rabshakeh’s Speech 
19Rabshakeh said to them, Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this in which you trust? 20You say (but they are but vain words), ‘There is counsel and strength for war’. Now on whom do you trust, that you have rebelled against me? 21Now, behold, you trust in the staff of this bruised reed, even in Egypt. If a man leans on it, it will go into his hand, and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust on him. 22But if you tell me, ‘We trust in Yahweh our God’; isn’t that He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?’ 23Now therefore, please give pledges to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24How then can you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25Have I now come up without Yahweh against this place to destroy it? Yahweh said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it’. 26Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah and Joah said to Rabshakeh, Please speak to your servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Jews’ language, in the hearing of the people who are on the wall. 27But Rabshakeh said to them, Has my master sent me to your master, and to you, to speak these words? Hasn’t he sent me to the men who sit on the wall, to eat their own dung, and to drink their own water with you? 28Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spoke, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria: 29Thus says the king, ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you; for he will not be able to deliver you out of his hand. 30Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in Yahweh saying, Yahweh will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 31Don’t listen to Hezekiah’. For thus says the king of Assyria, ‘Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and every one of you will eat of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and everyone will drink the waters of his own cistern; 32until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and of honey, that you may live, and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he persuades you saying, Yahweh will deliver us. 33Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 35Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand, that Yahweh should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ 36But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, Don’t answer him. 37Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, came with Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.


18:4 The bronze serpent had become a totem and idol, it was worshipped for what it physically was rather than there being any perception of the salvation in Christ which it had prefigured. The cross has been likewise abused in many Christian traditions.
18:6 He joined with Yahweh- This is what God seeks- that we should intertwine our life and spirit with His. The Hebrew idea of ‘joining’ suggests marriage (Mt. 19:6), and by entering covenant relationship with God through joining to Christ in baptism, this is effectively what we have done. This is an amazing concept- that the God of the universe would join in such intimate relationship with tiny people on this earth. The difference between us is huge beyond words; no wonder we have such difficulty in understanding and responding to His love.
18:13 This stands in intended contrast to the chapter so far, which has described Hezekiah’s obedience in such stellar language. The point simply is that bad things happen to good people; commitment to God doesn’t shield us from disaster.
In the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah- Hezekiah was mortally sick but then healed by God and given an extra 15 years to live (2 Kings 20:6). He reigned 29 years (:2); therefore this sickness was also in the fourteenth year of his reign. The invasion and his sickness were at the same time. Sometimes the coincidence of serious trials in our lives is such that we are left with no other conclusion but that this has to be God’s hand; of itself this destroys any possibility that God gives only the good and there is some cosmic ‘Satan’ being bringing the evil. Hezekiah’s sickness may explain his uncharacteristic lack of faith displayed in :14-16 and :21; or it could be that those decisions were taken in his name by others due to his sickness. 
18:20 In the face of overwhelming human odds against him, Hezekiah trusted in the more abstract things of faith in God’s word; to the eyes of the world, this is simply laughable. But in life after life, situation after situation, such faith is justified- not only in Biblical history but in examples of faithful believers all around us.
18:26 The fact Rabshakeh spoke Hebrew suggests he was a Jew who had turned traitor. Hence he was aware of the prophet Micah’s words (see on :31).
18:31 Eating from one’s own vine and fig tree is the very language which the contemporary prophet Micah had used to describe God’s Kingdom on earth (Mic. 4:4). Rabshakeh was presenting the kingdom of Assyria as being the promised Kingdom of God on earth.  The kingdoms of this world stand as an imitation Kingdom of God; the subliminal message of advertising and much human reasoning is that if we go the way of the world, we can have our promised Kingdom here and now. This was the very temptation with which Jesus struggled and overcame in the wilderness (Mt. 4:8).