II Kin. 18:13-19:37; II Chron. 32:1-23; Is. 36:1-37:38
Fourteen years after Hezekiah had become king of Judah, Sennacherib, king of Assyria became a serious threat to Judah. He moved in and took the fortified cities. Hezekiah, in an attempt to pacify Assyria made an enormous gift to their king. He also improved the security around Jerusalem and made additional weapons and shields for his army. However, that did not keep Sennacherib from continuing his threat to Judah. He sent his chief officers to intimidate the Judeans into submission to his might.
The chief officer of the Assyrian army pointed out to Hezekiah’s officers the weakness of Judah’s alliance with Egypt and the failure of the gods of other nations to protect them against the mighty Assyria. He was correct in those assumptions. BUT when he belittled the power of the Lord God, he made a huge mistake.
(One of the greatest hindrances facing the church today is the view that people outside of the church see in false religions found in the world. As the gods of Hezekiah’s era were unable to protect their nations from Assyria, the false religions today fail to provide the way of salvation from a world of sin. Scoffers, as well as honest people see the destruction and heartache caused by the followers of those religions and mistakenly judge the Lord’s church as being a part of that corrupt system. They also see immorality and corruption in the lives of people professing to be Christians and judge the church by them instead of recognizing true Christians by the Scriptures.)
Upon receiving the report of the threat of the Assyrian officers from his own officers, Hezekiah immediately sent representatives to Isaiah to seek intervention and deliverance from the Lord, his source of strength against the Assyrians. The prophet did not disappoint the king. His message to Hezekiah was, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard…and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’”
The Assyrian king, Sennacherib sent messengers again to Hezekiah with a letter making the same threats as before. In stating that Jerusalem would fall, the Assyrian king was trusting that his god was more powerful than the Lord God of Judah. However, this time Hezekiah spread the message out in the temple before the Lord and prayed. Many times prayers are of a personal and selfish nature. However, Hezekiah prayed for the welfare of God’s kingdom and for its deliverance, “that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.”
Isaiah came to Hezekiah with the message from God, “…I have heard.” The prophet further relayed the message that the Lord had spoken concerning the Assyrian king. He had boasted of his mighty power and of all the things that he would do against Judah. Sennacherib failed to consider that he would not be fighting against Hezekiah and his army, but against the almighty eternal God. The Assyrian king was reminded of God’s previous conquests. He was informed that God would turn him around as with a hook in his nose and bridle (bits) in his lips as one would direct a beast of burden. The king would return to his place without having shot a single arrow into the city. “For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”
God was faithful to Hezekiah as He sent His angels and killed one hundred eighty-five thousand of the Assyrian soldiers in one night. “So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.”
About twenty years later, while worshipping his god, Nisroch, two of the king’s sons assassinated their father and escaped into Ararat. Another one of their brothers, Esarhaddon then became king of Assyria instead of Sennacherib.