2 Kings 18

Hezekiah King of Judah

1 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[a] 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.[b] )
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.
6 He held fast to the LORD and did not stop following 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.
9 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.
13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
14 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[c] of silver and thirty talents[d] of gold.
15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace.
16 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.

Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem

17 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.
18 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.
19 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 the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?
21 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.
22 But 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”?
23 “ ‘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[e] ?
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.’ ”
26 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 people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”
28 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 each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your 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?”
36 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.

2 Kings 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

Good reign of Hezekiah in Judah, Idolatry. (1-8) Sennacherib invades Judah. (9-16) Rabshakeh's blasphemies. (17-37)

Verses 1-8 Hezekiah was a true son of David. Some others did that which was right, but not like David. Let us not suppose that when times and men are bad, they must needs grow worse and worse; that does not follow: after many bad kings, God raised one up like David himself. The brazen serpent had been carefully preserved, as a memorial of God's goodness to their fathers in the wilderness; but it was idle and wicked to burn incense to it. All helps to devotion, not warranted by the word of God, interrupt the exercise of faith; they always lead to superstition and other dangerous evils. Human nature perverts every thing of this kind. True faith needs not such aids; the word of God, daily thought upon and prayed over, is all the outward help we need.

Verses 9-16 The descent Sennacherib made upon Judah, was a great calamity to that kingdom, by which God would try the faith of Hezekiah, and chastise the people. The secret dislike, the hypocrisy, and lukewarmness of numbers, require correction; such trials purify the faith and hope of the upright, and bring them to simple dependence on God.

Verses 17-37 Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is, therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiah's nobles held their peace. There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and fervent prayer.

Cross References 45

  • 1. Isaiah 1:1; Hosea 1:1; Micah 1:1; 2 Chronicles 28:27
  • 2. ver 13; Isaiah 38:5
  • 3. S 1 Kings 14:8
  • 4. Isaiah 38:5
  • 5. 2 Chronicles 31:1; Isaiah 36:7
  • 6. 2 Kings 12:3; 2 Kings 21:3
  • 7. S Exodus 23:24
  • 8. Numbers 21:9
  • 9. ver 19; S 1 Samuel 7:3; 2 Kings 19:10; 2 Kings 23:25; Psalms 21:7; Psalms 125:1; Proverbs 3:26
  • 10. Deuteronomy 10:20; Joshua 23:8; S Deuteronomy 6:18
  • 11. S Genesis 39:3; 1 Samuel 18:14; S Job 22:25
  • 12. 2 Kings 24:1; Ezra 4:19; Isaiah 36:5; 2 Kings 16:7
  • 13. 2 Kings 17:9; Isaiah 14:29
  • 14. Isaiah 1:1; Isaiah 36:1
  • 15. Isaiah 37:12
  • 16. Ezekiel 16:39; Ezekiel 23:9
  • 17. S 2 Kings 17:15
  • 18. 2 Kings 21:8; Daniel 9:6,10
  • 19. S 1 Kings 9:6
  • 20. S ver 2
  • 21. 2 Chronicles 32:1; Isaiah 1:7; Micah 1:9
  • 22. 2 Kings 19:8
  • 23. Isaiah 24:5; Isaiah 33:8
  • 24. S 1 Kings 15:18; 2 Kings 16:8; Isaiah 39:2
  • 25. 2 Chronicles 29:3
  • 26. Isaiah 20:1
  • 27. 2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:4,30; Nehemiah 2:14; Isaiah 22:9; Isaiah 7:3
  • 28. 2 Kings 19:2; Isaiah 22:20; Isaiah 36:3,11,22; Isaiah 37:2
  • 29. ver 26,37; Isaiah 22:15
  • 30. S ver 5; S Job 4:6
  • 31. Isaiah 20:5; Isaiah 31:1; Ezekiel 29:6
  • 32. 2 Kings 24:7; Isaiah 20:6; Isaiah 30:5,7; Jeremiah 25:19; Jeremiah 37:7; Jeremiah 46:2
  • 33. Isaiah 10:8
  • 34. 2 Kings 19:6,22; 2 Kings 24:3; 2 Chronicles 35:21
  • 35. Ezra 4:7
  • 36. 2 Kings 19:10
  • 37. S Numbers 13:23; S 1 Kings 4:25
  • 38. Jeremiah 14:3; Lamentations 4:4
  • 39. Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Deuteronomy 30:19
  • 40. 2 Kings 19:12; Isaiah 10:10-11
  • 41. S 2 Kings 17:24; 2 Kings 19:13; S Jeremiah 49:23
  • 42. Isaiah 10:9
  • 43. Psalms 2:1-2
  • 44. S ver 18; Isaiah 33:7; Isaiah 36:3,22
  • 45. S 2 Kings 6:30

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Hebrew "Abi," a variant of "Abijah"
  • [b]. "Nehushtan" sounds like the Hebrew for both "bronze" and "snake" .
  • [c]. That is, about 11 tons or about 10 metric tons
  • [d]. That is, about 1 ton or about 1 metric ton
  • [e]. Or "charioteers"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 18

This chapter begins with the good reign of Hezekiah king of Judah, the reformation he made in the kingdom, and the prosperity that attended him when Israel was carried captive, 2Ki 18:1-12 and gives an account of the siege of Jerusalem by the king of Assyria, and of the distress Hezekiah was in, and the hard measures he was obliged to submit unto, 2Ki 18:13-18 and of the reviling and blasphemous speech of Rabshakeh, one of the generals of the king of Assyria, urging the Jews to a revolt from their king, 2Ki 18:19-37.

2 Kings 18 Commentaries