Study Guide

2 Kings Chapter 19

Chapter 19

Pride before the Fall

  • Hezekiah is disturbed by his servants' news, tears his own clothes (man, doesn't anyone respect the threads around here?), dons sackcloth and ash, and heads into the Temple. He sends Shebna, Eliakim, and some priests to talk to the prophet Isaiah.
  • They ask Isaiah to say a prayer to God to save the people of Judah from the clutches of the Assyrians, hoping God will repay the Assyrians for mocking him.
  • Isaiah tells them not to worry and to tell Hezekiah that God will put a spirit into the King of Assyria, making him return to his own land.
  • The Rabshakeh returns to the King of Assyria, who is fighting in Lachish. The King of Assyria hears that the King of Ethiopia wants to fight him, now, but he tells Judah that God is wrong when he claims that Jerusalem won't fall to Assyria. Sennacherib isn't giving up that easy.
  • Sennacherib boasts about how many other gods he's defeated, saying that Judah's won't be an exception.

Divine Smackdown

  • Hezekiah receives this message in letter-form. He then goes into the Temple and spreads out the letter before God.
  • He prays, asking God for salvation from Assyria. He says he knows that God is the Creator and distinct from the gods Assyria has already defeated. Hezekiah asks God to repay Sennacherib for mocking God.
  • Isaiah relays a reply from God, answering Hezekiah's prayer.
  • God says that Zion is like a virgin daughter scorning Assyria as a suitor, voting in favor of God.
  • God very poetically discusses Sennacherib's over-the-top boasts of power. He says that he (God) planned all this out and directed exactly what Sennacherib would do.
  • But since Sennacherib has raged against him—and since God knows every move Sennacherib makes—God will put a hook in his lip and send him back to Assyria, where he came from.
  • God promises Judah that they won't starve and will eat plentifully for the next few years. Sennacherib won't even be able to fire a single arrow against Jerusalem.
  • Thus, in the middle of the night, God's angel of destruction comes and kills one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers, leaving the land around Jerusalem strewn with their dead bodies.
  • When Sennacherib returns home, defeated by God, his sons murder him in a conspiracy. (Out of the frying pan…)

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