In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz began his rule over Judah.
He was twenty-five years old when he became king and he ruled for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.
In God's opinion he was a good king; he kept to the standards of his ancestor David.
He got rid of the local fertility shrines, smashed the phallic stone monuments, and cut down the sex-and-religion Asherah groves. As a final stroke he pulverized the ancient bronze serpent that Moses had made; at that time the Israelites had taken up the practice of sacrificing to it - they had even dignified it with a name, Nehushtan (The Old Serpent).
Hezekiah put his whole trust in the God of Israel. There was no king quite like him, either before or after.
He held fast to God - never loosened his grip - and obeyed to the letter everything God had commanded Moses.
And God, for his part, held fast to him through all his adventures.
And he drove back the Philistines, whether in sentry outposts or fortress cities, all the way to Gaza and its borders.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)