By Bible Speaks
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Hezekiah praying in front of the Temple
Approximately 20 x 30 inches
Oil on canvas
Patterson Educational Center
Hezekiah was greatly distressed by the Assyrian threat recorded in the letters sent him but he continued to trust in Jehovah and appealed to him at the temple, also sending some of the head ones of the people to the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah’s reply, from Jehovah, was that Sennacherib would hear a report and would return to his own land, where eventually he would be slain. (2Ki 19:1-7; Isa 37:1-7)
During the night Jehovah sent his angel, who destroyed 185,000 of the cream of Sennacherib’s troops, “every valiant, mighty man and leader and chief in the camp of the king of Assyria, so that he went back with shame of face to his own land.”
WHAT AHAZ DID
· (2 Kings 16:8, 9) Ahaz then took the silver and the gold that was to be found at the house of Jehovah and in the treasuries of the king’s house and sent the king of Assyria a bribe. · (2 Chronicles 28:21) “For Ahaz had stripped the house of Jehovah and the house of the king and the houses of the princes and made a gift to the king of Assyria; but it was of no help to him” WHAT HEZEKIAH DID
· (2 Kings 18:13-16) “In the 14th year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib the king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 So King Hezekiah of Judah sent word to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I am at fault. Withdraw from against me, and I will give whatever you may impose on me.” The king of Assyria imposed on King Hezekiah of Judah a fine of 300 silver talents and 30 gold talents. 15 So Hezekiah gave all the silver that could be found at the house of Jehovah and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah removed the doors of the temple of Jehovah and the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah himself had overlaid, and he gave them to the king of Assyria”
It sounds quite similar, isn’t it?
COMPARING THE ACTIONS OF BOTH, FATHER AND SON
We find the following about the father, Ahaz:
*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
· Rather than put faith in Jehovah, however, Ahaz, out of fear of the Syro-Israelite conspiracy, chose the shortsighted policy of bribing Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria to come to his aid. (Isa 7:2-6; 8:12) … Meanwhile he mutilated much of the copper temple equipment and rearranged other features in the temple area all “because of the king of Assyria,” perhaps to pay the heavy tribute imposed on Judah In other words, he showed lack of faith and confidence, right?
But, regarding his son, Hezekiah, we think very different. With relation to the identical action he took against the temple, we, instead read:
*** w68 3/15 p. 170 par. 9 True Worship Under Challenge ***
· No doubt this was part of Hezekiah’s theocratic war strategy, a move to gain time, and to put him in a better position to grapple with the enemy. In a most recent publication, the 2000 book “Isaiah’s Prophecy-I”, we simply found a description of the facts, but without questioning the implications:
*** ip-1 chap. 29 p. 385 pars. 4-5 A King’s Faith Is Rewarded ***
· Perhaps hoping to protect Jerusalem from an immediate assault by the relentless Assyrian army, Hezekiah agrees to pay Sennacherib an enormous tribute of 300 silver talents and 30 gold talents.—2 Kings 18:14. Since there is not enough gold and silver in the royal treasury to pay the tribute, Hezekiah retrieves what precious metals he can from the temple. He also cuts down the temple doors, which have been overlaid with gold, and sends them to Sennacherib.
Recently, when I saw the clip about Hezekiah during our midweek meeting, I recalled one thought time ago I was wondering: Could it be possible that Hezekiah, in first instance, yielded at some degree with the Assyrians, then received punishment from God, recovered the faith and, finally, got the needed relief from Jehovah?
Not sure if this question would be filled under polemic questions, not my intention. After all, if the king stumbled a little then recovered completely. And his record also has another known error, (2 Chronicles 32:25) “…did not respond appreciatively to the good done to him, for his heart became haughty, bringing indignation against him…” But, also, showed repentance.
One factor may be easy to miss is the fact that: Assyrian invasion, Hezekiah’s illness, his recover, the deliverance, all these events happened AT THE SAME TIME approximately, and it perfectly fits with a different order of happenings.
· (2 Ki 18:2) “He was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 29 years…” · (2Ki 18:13) “In the 14th year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib the king of Assyria came…” · (2 Kings 20:5, 6) “Here I am healing you. On the third day you will go up to the house of Jehovah. I will add 15 years to your life” My maths are bad, but if he reigned by 29 years, and a period of 15 years was added when was healed. (29-15=14). His 14th year of reign, when the Sennacherib’s invasion, was the same year when he was sick.
And this leads to this important conclusion:
The three Bible records we have are open to another chronology of facts.
· (2 Kings 19:35-20:1) “On that very night the angel of Jehovah went out and struck down 185,000 men […] In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death.” Note IN THOSE DAYS, not AFTER THIS or equivalent expression. · (Isaiah 37:36-38:1) “And the angel of Jehovah went out and struck down 185,000 men […] In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death.” Again, note IN THOSE DAYS. · (2 Chronicles 32:23, 24) “And many brought gifts to Jehovah at Jerusalem and choice things to King Hezekiah of Judah, and he was greatly respected by all the nations after that. In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death.” The same, IN THOSE DAYS, not necessarily AFTER the deliverance. As we’ve stablished the invasion and the illness was at the same time, when all the records mention not after but those, the possibility arises that the order was different. The order the next graphic try to indicate.
THE ILLNESS REASON
Just let us read these words:
(Isaiah 38:1) “In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what Jehovah says: ‘Give instructions to your household, for you will die; you will not recover.’” If Isaiah had been a physician we could think he was diagnosing the king. But Isaiah was the God’s agent. It must have sounded like a sentence. Perhaps it explains this expression in the supplication of Hezekiah: (Isaiah 38:17) “You have thrown all my sins behind your back.”
THE POSSIBLE SECUENCE OF FACTS
· Assyria threats Judah. · Hezekiah despoils the temple of Jehovah to satisfy Sennacherib · Jehovah causes the illness of the kink, as punishment · The king repents and, as sign, a celestial phenomenon happens, observed by other nations · Jehovah releases his people from the Assyrians · Other nations give gifts to the King of Judah · Babylonians came to Jerusalem after seeing the signal · Hezekiah shows them the treasures THE REASON BEHIND THE (DES)ORDER
Not always the records in the Bible books are presented in sequential order. Let’s take Ezekiel, by example.
*** it-1 p. 793 Ezekiel, Book of ***
· For the most part, Ezekiel’s prophecies and visions are arranged chronologically as well as topically. The four verses of chapter 29:17-20 are placed out of their chronological order (compare Eze 29:1; 30:20), but topically they belong here with the prophecy against Egypt. So, we see that sometimes something is presented according its thematic or topic. In our case, as the Babylonians came to Jerusalem after the deliverance from the Assyrians, it could be the reason to group or link together the illness record AFTER the Assyrian defeat.
Well, if we were still living in our “good times” of types-antitypes we would have a nice type here. Nevertheless this sequence achieve this goal: it explains better these points
· Ahaz and Hezekiah did similar damage to the temple. They both deserved punishment. · The illness of Hezekiah seems to be a penalty from God
Well, at least, there is this possibility, I think.
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