2 Kings 18:1-19:37 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Hezekiah Did What Was Right
Comments for Study 12

2 Kings 18:1-19:37
Memory Verse: 19:19

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I. Hezekiah Becomes King of Judah (18:1-16)

>1. How was Hezekiah's life described? (1-4)

* 2 Kings 18:1-4 "In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)"

* 2 Chronicles 29 to 31 also records Hezekiah's reforms.

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>Why was he considered the best king Judah ever had? (5)

* 2 Kings 18:5 "Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him."

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>What does it mean to hold fast to the Lord? (6-8)

* 2 Kings 18:6-8 "He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory."

* "Assyria" -Assyria had been the growing world power for around one hundred years before Hezekiah. Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) conquered the peoples to the north in Asia Minor as far as Nairi (modern Turkey/Iran) and exacting tribute from Phrygia (modern Turkey), then invading Aram (modern Syria) conquering the Aramaeans and neo Hittites between the Khabur and the Euphrates Rivers. His harshness prompted a revolt that he crushed decisively in a pitched, two-day battle. According to his monument inscription while recalling this massacre he says, "their men young and old I took prisoners. Of some I cut off their feet and hands; of others I cut off the ears noses and lips; of the young men's ears I made a heap; of the old men's heads I made a marinet. I exposed their heads as a trophy in front of their city. The male children and the female children I burned in flames; the city I destroyed, and consumed with fire." Following this victory, he advanced without opposition as far as the Mediterranean and exacted tribute from Phoenicia.

Jonah, the prophet proceeding Hezekiah around one hundred years. He prophesied in Nineveh, Assyria's capital and they repented. During Hezekiah's life the prophet Nahum predicted their judgment. However, they didn't repent as they did during Jonah's ministry. Assyria returned to their oppression, cruelty, idolatry, and wickedness.

Shortly before the events recorded here Samaria had fallen to Assyrai and was deported first in 734 B.C. and then finally in 722 B.C. In 612 B.C. Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, fell to the Medes, Babylonians, and Scythians; supported by the Egyptians.

* "the king of Assyria" -According to ancient Assyrian and Babylonian lists the kings of Assyria include; Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.), Adad-nirari III (811-783 B.C.), his son Shalmaneser IV (783-773), his son Ashur-Dan III (773-755), his uncle Ashur-nirari V (755-745), and his son Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727).

Adad nirari V Stela, Assyrian King

* See a picture of a stele of Adad-nirari V Stele, Assyrian King to the right.

* The Northern Kingdom of Israel (aka Samaria, Ephraim) was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) and Shalmaneser V. The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for finishing the twenty-year demise of Israel's northern ten-tribe kingdom. Sennacherib also invaded some parts of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. He records forty-six fortified towns captured from Judah, and presumably carried away into Assyria. Jerusalem was besieged, but not taken during Hezekiah's reign.

* Assyria had slowly became to main power in the Middle East and Asia. King Shalmaneser III of Assyria fought against Damascus in campaigns in 853 (Battle of Qarqar), 849, 848, and 845 B.C. and managed to severely weaken it. Then he besieged it in 841 and receiving tribute again in 838. Damascus was finally defeated by the Assyrians in 797 B.C. (2 Kings 14:26-27) Jeroboam II, king of the northern kingdom (Samaria) took control of Damascus but lost it to the Assyrians in 732 B.C. Damascus sought to gain independence from Assyria in 727 and 720 but without success. In 721 B.C. Samaria fell to Assyria ending the northern kingdom of Israel. King Shalmaneser V of Assyria, assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years besieged Tyre. Ammon submitted to the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser. Ammon was part of an uprising that took place under Assyrian king Sennacherib; but they submitted and once again was tributary in the reign of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon. Beth Eden north of Syria proper was conquered by Ashurbanipal II in 856 B.C. An Assyrian representative bragged about conquering Beth-Eden, urging Hezekiah to surrender about 701 B.C. (2 Kings 19:12). Assyria was a major threat to Judah during this time.

battle of Qarqar

* See a picture a Kurkh stele of Shalmaneser III depicting The Battle of Qarqar in 853 B.C. to the right.

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>How did the Lord bless his faith?

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>2. What major event took place in Hezekiah's reign? (9-12)

* 2 Kings 18:9-12 "In King Hezekiah's fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 10 At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah's sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel. 11 The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes. 12 This happened because they had not obeyed the LORD their God, but had violated his covenant--all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out."

* "King Hezekiah's fourth year" -735 B.C., the fourth year of Hezekiah's co-regency with Ahaz.

* "Shalmaneser king of Assyria" -In the winter (December) of 722-721 B.C. Shalmanester V died (possibly assassination) and Sargon II claimed the Assyrian throne. Sometime shortly after 705 B.C. , when Sennacherib replaced Sargon II on the Assyrian throne, Hezekiah refused to pay the annual tribute due the Assyrians.

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>How might have this affected King Hezekiah and the rest of Judah?

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>3. How did Assyria threaten Hezekiah and Judah? (13)

* 2 Kings 18:13 "In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them."

* "the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign" -This is for Hezekiah's sole reign: 701 B.C.

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>How did Hezekiah respond to Assyria's thread? (14)

* 2 Kings 18:14-15 "So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: "I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me." The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold."

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>What did the do to appease the Assyria king?

* 2 Kings 18:15-16 "So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace. At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the LORD, and gave it to the king of Assyria."

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>Was this right or wrong?

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II. Assyria Threatens Attack (18:17-19:13)

>4. Who became a threat to Hezekiah and Judah a second time? (17-18)

* 2 Kings 18:17-18 "The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them."

* 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 36-37 also records Assyria's attack on Jerusalem during Hezekiah's reign.

Jonah

* See the Assyrian ramp built at Lachish, Israel to the right.

* "king of Assyria sent his supreme commander" -The Assyrians try unsuccessfully to defeat Judah during Hezekiah's reign in 701 B.C.

* "Lachish" -Lachish means “obstinate.” Lachish was an important Old Testament city located in the Shephelah (“lowlands”) southwest of Jerusalem. It has usually been identified in modern times with the archaeological site called tell ed-Duweir. The same site has more recently come to be called tel Lachish. Lachish is also mentioned in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian records. The earliest reference to Lachish is in the Amarna letters (about 1400 B.C). It was evidently one of the important Canaanite cities of the time. The Hebrew army under Joshua’s command defeated the king of Lachish, killed him and conquered his city (Joshua 10:5, 23,32-33). Later, Lachish was apportioned to the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:39). The next Biblical reference to Lachish comes in 2 Chronicles 11:9, from the reign of Rehoboam who “fortified the city.” Lachish was also the city of refuge for Amaziah who fled there from Jerusalem to escape a conspiracy against him (2 Kings 14:19; 2 Chronicles 25:27). Lachish is perhaps most well known for the story of its siege and conquest in 701 B.C. at the hands of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36). Two later brief references appear (Jerermiah 34:7; Nehemiah 11:30). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

Hezekiah's tunnel

* See a picture of Hezekiah's tunnel to the right. (2 Chronicles 32:30; 2 Kings 20:20) View of the tunnel, accidentally discovered in 1880, which King Hezekiah built in 701 B.C. in anticipation of a long siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib, King of Assyria. The tunnel runs for about 1700 feet through the rock on which the city is built and carries the water of the Gihon spring into the pool of Siloam, inside the old city walls. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

* "on the road to the Washerman's Field" -The Assyrian officials demand Judah's surrender on the very spot where Isaiah had warned Ahaz to trust in the Lord rather than in an alliance with Assyria for deliverance rom the threat against him from Aram and the northern kingdom of Israel. (16:5-10; Isaiah 7:1-17)

* "They called for the king" -The Assyrian army had besieged Jerusalem They were calling Hezekiah from outside the wall.

* "Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator" -He took care of the king's properties.

* "Shebna the secretary" -He took care of the king's day to day affairs.

* "Joah son of Asaph the recorder" -He keep record of all the king's words and actions.

* "went out to them" -The king sent his trusted officials to have a discussion. Hezekiah must have wanted to devert a long seige, death, and destruction. Hezekiah didn't want and really didn't have much of an army to defend itself. Several years earlier Assyria had wipe out Judah's fortresses and army.

>How did the Assyrian field commander challenge Hezekiah's faith in the Lord? (19-22)

* 2 Kings 18:19-22 "The field commander said to them, "Tell Hezekiah: "'This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 20 You say you have strategy and military strength--but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? 21 Look now, you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces a man's hand and wounds him if he leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. 22 And if you say to me, "We are depending on the LORD our God"--isn't he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem"?"

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Hezekiah's tunnel

* See a picture of Hebrew words in Hezekiah's tunnel to the right. "The boring through is completed." So begins the inscription, written in ancient Hebrew characters, which was found in the famous tunnel which King Hezekiah built. "And this was the story of the boring through. While the workmen were hacking their way from opposite ends, and while there were still three cubits to be bored through, they heard voices calling from each side, for there was a crevice in the rock. And on the day when the boring was completed the stone/cutters hacked their way towards each other until they met. Then the water flowed from the spring to the pool twelve hundred cubits, and the height of the rock above the heads of the stone/cutters was a hundred cubits." (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>Who did he says sent him to destroy Jerusalem? (23-25)

* 2 Kings 18:23-25 "'Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses--if you can put riders on them! 24 How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master's officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25 Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.'"

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>Was this the truth? (Micah 4:10; Nahum 1:7-11)

* Micah 4:10 "Writhe in agony, O Daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued. There the LORD will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies."

* Nahum 1:7-11 "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of [Nineveh]; he will pursue his foes into darkness. Whatever they plot against the LORD he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time. They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble. From you, [O Nineveh,] has one come forth who plots evil against the LORD and counsels wickedness."

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>How does the enemy try to use the word of the Lord against us? Consider Jesus' temptation too.

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Hezekiah's tunnel Hezekiah's tunnel

* See two sketches of Hezekiah's tunnel to the right.

>5. What did the king's officials try to stop the Assyrian commander from doing? (26-27)

* 2 Kings 18:26-27 "Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall." 27 But the commander replied, "Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the men sitting on the wall--who, like you, will have to eat their own filth and drink their own urine?"

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>How did the commander try to discourage everyone's faith in the Lord? (28-35)

* 2 Kings 18:28-35 "Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew: "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, 'The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.' 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death! "Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, 'The LORD will deliver us.' 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 35 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"

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>How did Judah respond? (36-37)

* 2 Kings 18:36-37 "But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, "Do not answer him." 37 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said."

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>What can we learn?

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>6. What did Hezekiah do when he heard the Assyrian's commander's words? (19:1-4)

* 2 Kings 19:1-4 "When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the LORD. 2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They told him, "This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the LORD your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the LORD your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives."

* "Isaiah" -See Isaiah 36-37

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>Why was Hezekiah not to be afraid of the Assyrians? (5-7)

* 2 Kings 19:5-7 "When King Hezekiah's officials came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard--those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.'"

* "spirit" -Of insecurity and fear.

* "report" -Some interpreters link this "report" with the challenge to Sennacherib from Tirhakah of Egypt (9). Ohers regard it as disturbing information for Sennacherib's homeland.

* "cut down with the sword" -The eventual murder of Sennacherib is connected with his blasphemy against the living god.

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>What did the Assyrian king boast? (8-13)

* 2 Kings 19:8-13 "When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah. 9 Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushite king [of Egypt], was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: 10 "Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, 'Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.' 11 Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my forefathers deliver them: the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, or of Hena or Ivvah?"

* "the king of Assyria had left Lachish" -The Assyrian king had defeated Lachish, one of Judah's stronghold.

* "Libnah" -Libnah appears to have been located close to the Philistine border near Lachish.

* "Tirhakah, the Cushite king [of Egypt]" -Tirhakah (Taharqa) was an Egyptian Pharaoh of the twenty-fifth dynasty who also reigned the land of and Nubia. (689-664 B.C.) He supported Hezekiah's revolt against the Assyrian king Sennacherib a few years before became king. During Tirhakah's reign Assyria invaded Egypt. Esarhaddon led several campaigns against Taharqa, which he recorded on several monuments. His first attack in 677 BC, aimed to pacify Arab tribes around the Dead Sea, led him as far as the Brook of Egypt. Esarhaddon then proceeded to invade Egypt proper in Taharqa's 17th regal year, after Esarhaddon had settled a revolt at Ashkelon. Taharqa defeated the Assyrians on that occasion. Three years later in 671 BC the Assyrian king captured and sacked Memphis, where he captured numerous members of the royal family. Taharqa fled to the south, and Esarhaddon reorganized the political structure in the north, establishing Necho I as king at Sais. Upon Esarhaddon's return to Assyria he erected his victory stele, showing Taharqa's young son Ushankhuru in bondage. Upon the Assyrian king's departure, however, Taharqa intrigued in the affairs of Lower Egypt, and fanned numerous revolts. Esarhaddon died en route to Egypt, and it was left to his son and heir Ashurbanipal to once again invade Egypt. Ashurbanipal defeated Taharqa, who afterwards fled to Thebes.

Tirhakah (Taharqo)

* See a picture of a granite sphinx of Tirhakah (Taharqo), 25th Dynasty from a temple at Kawa to the right. It now resides in the British Museum, London.

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>How was Hezekiah's faith being tested?

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III. Hezekiah Prayer is Answered (19:14-37)

>7. What did Hezekiah acknowledge about the Lord in his prayer? (14-16)

* 2 Kings 19:14-16 "Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: "O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God."

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>Why did Hezekiah want the Lord to overthrow the Assyrian's? (17-19)

* 2 Kings 19:17-19 "It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. 19 Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God."

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>What can we learn from the fact the the Lord heard Hezekiah's prayer?

* 2 Kings 19:20 "Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria."

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>8. What had Assyria's king done by false invoking the Lord's name? (21-22)

* 2 Kings 19:21-22 "This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him: 'The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises you and mocks you. The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. 22 Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!'"

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>What can be learned about his pride in verses 23-24?

* 2 Kings 19:23-24 "By your messengers you have heaped insults on the Lord. And you have said, "With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its pines. I have reached its remotest parts, the finest of its forests. 24 I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt."

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>What history lesson did the Lord give him? (25-26)

* 2 Kings 19:25-26 "'Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. 26 Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up."

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>What did the Lord say he was going to do to the proud Assyrian king? (27-28)

* 2 Kings 19:27-28 "'But I know where you stay and when you come and go and how you rage against me. 28 Because you rage against me and your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came.'"

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>9. What sign was given Hezekiah? (29)

* 2 Kings 19:29 "This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: "This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit."

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>Even though Assyria had defeated a lot of Judah's cities and deported them, what was promised them? (30-31)

* 2 Kings 19:30-31 "Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

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>What can we learn about how the Lord responds to faith in him?

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>10. Would the Lord defend Jerusalem? (32-34)

* 2 Kings 19:32-34 "Therefore this is what the LORD says concerning the king of Assyria: "He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the LORD. 34 I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant."

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sennacherib destoyed

* See a drawing of Sennacherib's army destoyed by Dore to the right. (obtained from creationism.org)

>How?

* 2 Kings 19:35-36 "That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there."

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>What happened the the boastful proud king of Assyria?

* 2 Kings 19:37 "One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king."

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