You Can Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

2 Kings 19

1 When Hezekiah heard it all, he too ripped his robes apart and dressed himself in rough burlap. Then he went into The Temple of God.
2 He sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, all of them dressed in rough burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3 They said to him, "A message from Hezekiah: 'This is a black day, a terrible day - doomsday! Babies poised to be born, No strength to birth them.
4 "'Maybe God, your God, has been listening to the blasphemous speech of the Rabshakeh who was sent by the king of Assyria, his master, to humiliate the living God; maybe God, your God, won't let him get by with such talk; and you, maybe you will lift up prayers for what's left of these people.'"
5 That's the message King Hezekiah's servants delivered to Isaiah.
6 Isaiah answered them, "Tell your master, 'God's word: Don't be at all concerned about what you've heard from the king of Assyria's bootlicking errand boys - these outrageous blasphemies.
7 Here's what I'm going to do: Afflict him with self-doubt. He's going to hear a rumor and, frightened for his life, retreat to his own country. Once there, I'll see to it that he gets killed.'"
8 The Rabshakeh left and found that the king of Assyria had pulled up stakes from Lachish and was now fighting against Libnah.
9 Then Sennacherib heard that Tirhakah king of Cush was on his way to fight against him. So he sent another envoy with orders to deliver this message to Hezekiah king of Judah:
10 "Don't let that god that you think so much of keep stringing you along with the line, 'Jerusalem will never fall to the king of Assyria.' That's a barefaced lie.
11 You know the track record of the kings of Assyria - country after country laid waste, devastated. And what makes you think you'll be an exception?
12 Take a good look at these wasted nations, destroyed by my ancestors; did their gods do them any good? Look at Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, the people of Eden at Tel Assar. Ruins.
13 And what's left of the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of Sepharvaim, of Hena, of Ivvah? Bones."
14 Hezekiah took the letter from the envoy and read it. He went to The Temple of God and spread it out before God.
15 And Hezekiah prayed - oh, how he prayed! God, God of Israel, seated in majesty on the cherubim-throne. You are the one and only God, sovereign over all kingdoms on earth, Maker of heaven, maker of earth.
16 Open your ears, God, and listen, open your eyes and look. Look at this letter Sennacherib has sent, a brazen insult to the living God!
17 The facts are true, O God: The kings of Assyria have laid waste countries and kingdoms.
18 Huge bonfires they made of their gods, their no-gods hand-made from wood and stone.
19 But now O God, our God, save us from raw Assyrian power; Make all the kingdoms on earth know that you are God, the one and only God.
20 It wasn't long before Isaiah son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah:
21 This is my response to him: The Virgin Daughter of Zion holds you in utter contempt; Daughter Jerusalem thinks you're nothing but scum.
22 Who do you think it is you've insulted? Who do you think you've been bad-mouthing? Before whom do you suppose you've been strutting? The Holy One of Israel, that's who!
23 You dispatched your errand boys to humiliate the Master. You bragged, "With my army of chariots I've climbed the highest mountains, snow-peaked alpine Lebanon mountains! I've cut down its giant cedars, chopped down its prize pine trees. I've traveled the world, visited the finest forest retreats.
24 I've dug wells in faraway places and drunk their exotic waters; I've waded and splashed barefoot in the rivers of Egypt."
25 Did it never occur to you that I'm behind all this? Long, long ago I drew up the plans, and now I've gone into action, Using you as a doomsday weapon, reducing proud cities to piles of rubble,
26 Leaving their people dispirited, slumped shoulders, limp souls. Useless as weeds, fragile as grass, insubstantial as wind-blown chaff.
27 I know when you sit down, when you come and when you go; And, yes, I've marked every one of your temper tantrums against me.
28 It's because of your temper, your blasphemous foul temper, That I'm putting my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth And turning you back to where you came from.
29 And this, Hezekiah, will be for you the confirming sign: This year you'll eat the gleanings, next year whatever you can beg, borrow, or steal; But the third year you'll sow and harvest, plant vineyards and eat grapes.
30 A remnant of the family of Judah yet again will sink down roots and raise up fruit.
31 The remnant will come from Jerusalem, the survivors from Mount Zion. The Zeal of God will make it happen.
32 To sum up, this is what God says regarding the king of Assyria: He won't enter this city, nor shoot so much as a single arrow there; Won't brandish a shield, won't even begin to set siege;
33 He'll go home by the same road he came; he won't enter this city. God's word!
34 I'll shield this city, I'll save this city, for my sake and for David's sake.
35 And it so happened that that very night an angel of God came and massacred a hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians. When the people of Jerusalem got up next morning, there it was - a whole camp of corpses!
36 Sennacherib king of Assyria got out of there fast, headed straight home for Nineveh, and stayed put.
37 One day when he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer murdered him and then escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon became the next king.

2 Kings 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

Hezekiah receives an answer of peace. (1-7) Sennacherib's letter. (8-19) His fall is prophesied. (20-34) The Assyrian army destroyed, Sennacherib slain. (35-37)

Verses 1-7 Hezekiah discovered deep concern at the dishonour done to God by Rabshakeh's blasphemy. Those who speak from God to us, we should in a particular manner desire to speak to God for us. The great Prophet is the great Intercessor. Those are likely to prevail with God, who lift up their hearts in prayer. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. While his servants can speak nothing but terror to the profane, the proud, and the hypocritical, they have comfortable words for the discouraged believer.

Verses 8-19 Prayer is the never-failing resource of the tempted Christian, whether struggling with outward difficulties or inward foes. At the mercy-seat of his almighty Friend he opens his heart, spreads his case, like Hezekiah, and makes his appeal. When he can discern that the glory of God is engaged on his side, faith gains the victory, and he rejoices that he shall never be moved. The best pleas in prayer are taken from God's honour.

Verses 20-34 All Sennacherib's motions were under the Divine cognizance. God himself undertakes to defend the city; and that person, that place, cannot but be safe, which he undertakes to protect. The invasion of the Assyrians probably had prevented the land from being sown that year. The next is supposed to have been the sabbatical year, but the Lord engaged that the produce of the land should be sufficient for their support during those two years. As the performance of this promise was to be after the destruction of Sennacherib's army, it was a sign to Hezekiah's faith, assuring him of that present deliverance, as an earnest of the Lord's future care of the kingdom of Judah. This the Lord would perform, not for their righteousness, but his own glory. May our hearts be as good ground, that his word may strike root therein, and bring forth fruit in our lives.

Verses 35-37 That night which followed the sending of this message to Hezekiah, the main body of their army was slain. See how weak the mightiest men are before Almighty God. Who ever hardened himself against Him and prospered? The king of Assyria's own sons became his murderers. Those whose children are undutiful, ought to consider whether they have not been so to their Father in heaven? This history exhibits a strong proof of the good of firm trust and confidence in God. He will afflict, but not forsake his people. It is well when our troubles drive us to our knees. But does it not reprove our unbelief? How unwilling are we to rest on the declaration of Jehovah! How desirous to know in what way he will save us! How impatient when relief is delayed! But we must wait for the fulfilling of his word. Lord, help our unbelief.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 19

This chapter relates that King Hezekiah, on a report made to him of Rabshakeh's speech, sent a message to the prophet Isaiah to pray for him, who returned him a comfortable and encouraging answer, 2Ki 19:1-7 and that upon Rabshakeh's return to the king of Assyria, he sent to Hezekiah a terrifying letter, 2Ki 19:8-13, which Hezekiah spread before the Lord, and prayed unto him to save him and his people out of the hands of the king of Assyria, 2Ki 19:14-19, to which he had a gracious answer sent him by the prophet Isaiah, promising him deliverance from the Assyrian army, 2Ki 19:20-34, which accordingly was destroyed by an angel in one night, and Sennacherib fleeing to Nineveh, was slain by his two sons, 2Ki 19:35-37.

2 Kings 19 Commentaries

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.