Assyria Invades Judah
1After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. 2When Hezekiah realized that Sennacherib also intended to attack Jerusalem, 3he consulted with his officials and military advisers, and they decided to stop the flow of the springs outside the city. 4They organized a huge work crew to stop the flow of the springs, cutting off the brook that ran through the fields. For they said, “Why should the kings of Assyria come here and find plenty of water?”
5Then Hezekiah worked hard at repairing all the broken sections of the wall, erecting towers, and constructing a second wall outside the first. He also reinforced the supporting terraces*32:5 Hebrew the millo. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. in the City of David and manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields. 6He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate. Then Hezekiah encouraged them by saying: 7“Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! 8He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.
Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem
9While King Sennacherib of Assyria was still besieging the town of Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah and all the people in the city:
10“This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? 11Hezekiah has said, ‘The Lord our God will rescue us from the king of Assyria.’ Surely Hezekiah is misleading you, sentencing you to death by famine and thirst! 12Don’t you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the Lord’s shrines and altars? He commanded Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar at the Temple and to offer sacrifices on it alone.
13“Surely you must realize what I and the other kings of Assyria before me have done to all the people of the earth! Were any of the gods of those nations able to rescue their people from my power? 14Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from the destructive power of my predecessors? What makes you think your God can rescue you from me? 15Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t let him fool you like this! I say it again—no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!”
16And Sennacherib’s officers further mocked the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah, heaping insult upon insult. 17The king also sent letters scorning the Lord, the God of Israel. He wrote, “Just as the gods of all the other nations failed to rescue their people from my power, so the God of Hezekiah will also fail.” 18The Assyrian officials who brought the letters shouted this in Hebrew*32:18 Hebrew in the dialect of Judah. to the people gathered on the walls of the city, trying to terrify them so it would be easier to capture the city. 19These officers talked about the God of Jerusalem as though he were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands.
20Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven. 21And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace to his own land. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there with a sword.
22That is how the Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the others who threatened them. So there was peace throughout the land. 23From then on King Hezekiah became highly respected among all the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the Lord arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah, too.
Hezekiah’s Sickness and Recovery
24About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. He prayed to the Lord, who healed him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud. So the Lord’s anger came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem. 26Then Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his pride, as did the people of Jerusalem. So the Lord’s anger did not fall on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.
27Hezekiah was very wealthy and highly honored. He built special treasury buildings for his silver, gold, precious stones, and spices, and for his shields and other valuable items. 28He also constructed many storehouses for his grain, new wine, and olive oil; and he made many stalls for his cattle and pens for his flocks of sheep and goats. 29He built many towns and acquired vast flocks and herds, for God had given him great wealth. 30He blocked up the upper spring of Gihon and brought the water down through a tunnel to the west side of the City of David. And so he succeeded in everything he did.
31However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.
Summary of Hezekiah’s Reign
32The rest of the events in Hezekiah’s reign and his acts of devotion are recorded in The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah Son of Amoz, which is included in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33When Hezekiah died, he was buried in the upper area of the royal cemetery, and all Judah and Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became the next king.