Sennacherib, Hezekiah, and a “Bible Problem” -- By: Bryant G. Wood

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 04:2 (Spring 1975)
Article: Sennacherib, Hezekiah, and a “Bible Problem”
Author: Bryant G. Wood

Sennacherib, Hezekiah, and a “Bible Problem”

Bryant G. Wood

Hezekiah was one of the kings of Judah who “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 18:3). During his reign of twenty-nine years, from ca. 715 to 687 B.C., he destroyed the centers of idolatry and reestablished the worship of Yahweh (2 Chronicles 29–31). The name Hezekiah, which means “Yahweh is my strength,” seemed to typify his personality, for “he trusted in the Lord God of Israel” and “he clave to the Lord and departed not from following Him” (2 Kings 18:5, 6).

Because of his faithfulness, God blessed Hezekiah and the kingdom of Judah prospered (2 Kings 18:7). Under Hezekiah’s leadership, the Judahities were able to subdue the Philistines (2 Kings 18:8). His engineers accomplished the remarkable feat of digging a tunnel through the solid bedrock beneath Jerusalem to provide water in time of seige. (See p.49 of this issue.)

During the time of Hezekiah, the Assyrians held sway in most of the Near East. Hezekiah however, became so confident of Judah’s strength that “he rebelled against the king of Assyria and served him not” (2 Kings 18:7). We can interpret this as meaning that Hezekiah stopped paying tribute to the king of Assyria; he probably made this rash move when a new king, Sennacherib, took the throne of Assyria in 705 B.C. There are indications that Hezekiah was supported by Egypt and Babylon in the rebellion (2 Kings 18:21 and 2 Kings 20:12, 13).

Sennacherib Invades Judah

After settling affairs in the East, Sennacherib turned his attention to Palestine. In 701 B.C., he came into Judah with his mighty army and devastated the land (2 Chronicles 32:1). When Hezekiah saw that Jerusalem was in danger, he called a war council with his military

leaders — his “princes” and his “mighty men” (2 Chronicles 32:3). Together, they prepared the city for a seige as described in 2 Chronicles 32:3–5.

Since his tunnel now provided a secure water supply inside Jerusalem, Hezekiah stopped up all the water source...

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