Miracles and Faith go hand in hand. God smote many in defense of the righteous. This article is about how one of His angels saved Jerusalem under the reign of Hezekiah. The event is recorded on the Bible Timeline Poster around 700 BC.
Hezekiah’s reign (726-697 BC) overlapped the reigns of Assyrian kings Shalmaneser V, Sargon II, and Sennacherib. He also served as coregent with his father king Ahaz who placed Judah under the rule of Assyria during his reign.
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In 722 BC, Shalmaneser besieged Samaria and three years later the city fell to his brother Sargon II. He had the citizens of Samaria deported to other Assyrian territories (2 Kings 18:10-11). Judah, meanwhile, experienced religious and political reformation during Hezekiah’s reign. In 713-711 BC, Hezekiah joined in planning a rebellion along with the rulers of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab against Sargon. This rebellion may have been stirred up by king Merodach-Baladan of Babylon who was removed from his throne years ago by Sargon. The allied kings decided not to pay tribute to Assyria, but Hezekiah later withdrew from the plan and Azuri, the ruler of Ashdod, was removed from his throne (Isaiah 20).
Sennacherib came to power after the death of his father Sargon II during the battle of Tabal in 705 BC. He wasted no time in defeating his father’s old enemy, king Merodach-Baladan of Babylon. Sennacherib also invaded the kingdom of Judah and captured the town of Lachish. Upon hearing this, Hezekiah offered to pay tribute to Sennacherib if only he would withdraw his armies from Judah (2 Kings 18:13-). The king of Assyria received Hezekiah’s tribute but continued to Jerusalem to besiege it.
The king of Judah sent his ambassadors after Sennacherib summoned him but Sennacherib’s chief of staff insulted the king of Judah and belittled his army. His ambassadors asked the Assyrian chief of staff to speak to them in Aramaic instead of Hebrew because they did not want to frighten the people. But Sennacherib’s chief of staff refused because he wanted the people to hear about what the Assyrian army will do to them if they will not surrender and made an example out of the people of Samaria.
Hezekiah relayed the Assyrian chief of staff’s message to the prophet Isaiah. But the prophet told the king not to worry about Sennacherib’s threats and foretold the Assyrian king’s death by the sword. Sennacherib besieged the town of Libnah and left to meet the attack of Taharqa, king of Egypt. Sennacherib sent a message to Hezekiah demanding for his surrender before leaving. Hezekiah despaired and Isaiah, once again, sent him a prophecy reassuring him of Judah’s safety and Assyria’s defeat.
2 Kings 19:35 tells that 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were killed by an angel that night and Sennacherib returned to Nineveh. He was later killed by his own sons. His youngest son, Esarhaddon, succeeded him as king of Assyria.
Miller, J. Maxwell, and John H. Hayes. A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986
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