‘Trust In The Lord’: Hezekiah, Kings And Isaiah -- By: John W. Olley

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 50:1 (NA 1999)
Article: ‘Trust In The Lord’: Hezekiah, Kings And Isaiah
Author: John W. Olley

‘Trust In The Lord’:
Hezekiah, Kings And Isaiah

John W. Olley


The Hezekiah narrative (2 Kings 18-20 // Isaiah 36-39) is unique in the Former Prophets in its repeated use of בָּטַח ‘trust, rely on’. An exploration of the context and content of בָּטַח in the narrative and elsewhere in Isaiah, Psalms, Proverbs and other prophetic literature points to a consistent pattern of true and false grounds for ‘trust’. In particular there is no basis in the ‘inviolability of Zion’. The drama of the narrative is sharper in the context of Isaiah and may have been shaped soon after Sennacherib’s death, with possible wisdom influence. At the same time, the redactor of Kings has seen ‘trust’ as a key feature in Hezekiah’s reign. The relevance of the narrative to readers of the canonical Kings and Isaiah is also considered. There is significance for all in the worship of Yhwh alone together with humble obedience. It is his honour that is affirmed among the nations.

I. The Hezekiah Narratives And ‘Trust’

The Hezekiah-Isaiah narratives have long attracted both historical and literary investigations. It is the only narrative in Kings involving a prophet whose messages are included in the Latter Prophets and that alone would arouse interest. To this is added the existence of parallel accounts in 2 Kings 18-20 and Isaiah 36-39, a sizeable block, with all manner of literary and theological questions, and the parallel with Sennacherib’s own account which raises historical questions. With this can be combined the later forms of the tradition as used in Chronicles and textual traditions represented by the LXX, Qumran and Josephus.1

For much of this century attention has focused on the Kings narrative, generally with a primarily historical interest.2 It has been common since Gesenius3 to see the Isaiah setting as secondary, the material being borrowed from Kings, either as an addition to First Isaiah on analogy with the addition of Jeremiah 52 to that book4 or more commonly as a bridge when First and Second Isaiah were joined.5

Interest ha...

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