Got to Have Hope
Explore the Bible Series
February 20, 2011
Background Passage: II Kings 18:1-20:21 (II Chronicles 29:-32:3)
Lesson Passage: II Kings 18:28-32; 19:5-7, 15-19
Perhaps a brief summary of Assyrian history may prove helpful in understanding this lesson; therefore, I offer this little introductory review (See various entries in The Holman Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, The Oxford Companion to the Bible, and The Oxford History of the Biblical World).
Tiglath-pileser III (c.744-727 B.C.): Called Pul, in II Kings, this
Assyrian leader subdued much of
Shalmaneser V (c. 726-722 B.C.): Successor to Tiglath-pileser,
Shalmaneser laid siege to
Sargon II (c. 721-705 B.C.): Assyria’s glory may have reached its apex during the reign of this king, son of Tiglath-pileser and brother of Shalmaneser. He was an accomplished warrior, successfully defeating the Babylonians, Israelites, Medians, Cappadocians and Armenians, the Egyptians, and Arabians. It also seems that Assyrian architecture reached its crest in the public works programs initiated by Sargon, especially the renovation of the ancient city of Nineveh.
Sennacherib (c. 704-681 B.C.): Son and successor to Sargon,
Sennacherib solidified his father’s claims on
Esarhaddon (c. 681-669 B.C.): Esarhaddon subdued the Babylonians
and built a magnificent palace near
Ashurbanipal (c. 669-627 B.C.): The last monarch of Assyria, Ashurbanipal governed his country after the death of his father, Esarhaddon. Today he is best known for founding a massive library that contained more than 20,000 clay tablets. His name only appears once in the Bible (Ezra 4:10), but his reign spanned the careers of Manasseh, Amon, and Josiah.
Integrity of King Hezekiah of
A. The background of Hezekiah (vv. 1-2): Ahaz, father of Hezekiah, was an evil king who celebrated the most dreadful pagan practices of his day, and Hezekiah’s mother, Abi, may have come from a righteous family. Perhaps Abi had a good influence on her son, and he became the most honorable king since David.
B. The king’s virtuous conduct (vv. 3-8): Hezekiah destroyed the trappings of Baal worship and other forms of pagan worship, and he obeyed the teachings of Moses.
rising threat of the Assyrians (vv. 9-12): The ascension of Shalmaneser V (ruled
726-722 B.C.) signaled a very aggressive period in Assyrian history. The death of Tiglath-pileser III emboldened
the new king strengthen his hold on
A. Assyria’s elaborate insult toward
comforted Hezekiah (19:1-7):
continued threats (19:8-13): When his initial threats did not buckle Hezekiah’s
faith, Shalmaneser sent a messenger to embellish the accounts of
prayer (19:14-19): After this second threat, Hezekiah took his concerns
directly to the Lord. He went to the
prophecy (19:20-37): God, speaking through the prophet, took offense at the
mockery of Sennacherib. God took
personally the ridicule of his people, and Isaiah pledged ruin would befall the
Assyrian king. In fact, Isaiah observed
the hand of God in the military successes of the Assyrians. They had risen to
power as part of Jehovah’s sovereign design, even though these pagans did not
recognize the hand of the Lord in their affairs. The Lord promised to provide
III. The Last Years of Hezekiah’s Reign (20:1-21)
A. The king’s grave illness (vv. 1-11): We do not know the nature of Hezekiah’s malady, but the illness threatened his life; indeed, Isaiah told the king that he would die. Verse seven indicates that the illness related to a boil, and Isaiah required that the king’s servants apply a fig cake as a kind of poultice to relieve the king’s pain. Hezekiah prayed earnestly, and the Lord granted him fifteen more years. As a sign of the Lord’s miraculous intervention, the sundial reversed ten “steps” (The Reformation Study Bible says this refers to the marks on a sundial).
visit of the Babylonian emissaries (vv. 12-21): Hezekiah lived long enough to
witness the early development of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, under the
leadership of Merodach-baladan (ruled 721-703). The Assyrians still held the advantage, and,
for some time, they dominated the Babylonian monarch. However, political changes loomed on the
historical horizon, and Isaiah foresaw Babylonian ascendancy. Envoys from