King Senechereb was a former ruler of the ancient empire of Assyria he was the son of Sargon II. His name means “the god Sin has replaced his brothers”. Senechereb began his reign around 705 B.C. which is where he appears on the Biblical Timeline Poster with World History. During his time in the power, God used this king to punish Judah. About 20 years earlier God allowed another king named Shelmanezer to overrun Israel and carry away the people into captivity. Since that time Assyrian rulers were used by God punish his people and he also used them against the people of Judah when they refused to turn from idolatry.
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King Hezekiah ruled Judah during this period and even though he was a righteous ruler many of the people in Judah were into worshipping pagan gods. So the Lord allowed King Senechereb to demand tribute from Judah. King Hezekiah didn’t like paying tribute and one year he refused to pay. When he did, the Assyrian king mobilized his forces and marched on Judah. God empowered the Assyrians to defeat the Judeans and capture many of their towns. Hezekiah realized that Judah wasn’t going to win a war against the Assyrians, so he begged the Assyrian King to stop his assault and admitted that he was wrong for not paying the tribute. The King of Judah then took the treasures from God’s Temple to pay tribute to the king of Assyria. Apparently, this wasn’t enough to make things right.
King Senechereb sent his vast armies against Judah, and once they arrived in Jerusalem, they began to blaspheme God and his people. They taunted Judah by claiming that God couldn’t protect them and that their armies were weak and pathetic. They also said that their alliance with Egypt was worthless. They went on to tell the people not to listen to the king and not to rely on God or anything else. King Hezekiah was distressed over this situation. God had allowed the Assyrians to blaspheme him and discredit the Judeans so that he could show them his power while punishing the Assyrians for their sins.
Ultimately, God killed 185,000 Assyrians and forced them to leave Jerusalem. King Senechereb never went back to Jerusalem during his reign because he was murdered a short time later by his sons. King Hezekiah learned to trust in God more than ever through this situation. The prophet Isaiah made many prophesies against King Senechereb while he was in power. Isaiah encouraged Hezekiah and Jerusalem with messages from God. He told them that God would destroy the Assyrians for their blasphemy and that they shouldn’t worry about this enemy. The people were truly grateful for God’s deliverance though they didn’t turn away from their sins.
- 2 Kings 18: 13 – 18 King Senechereb attacks Judah, and King Hezekiah wants him to leave.
- 2 Kings 18: 19 – 35 The Assyrian army encircles Jerusalem and blasphemes God and king.
- 2 Kings 19: 1 – 7 Isaiah reassures Hezekiah will be victorious over King Senechereb.
- 2 Kings 19: 14 – 19 King Hezekiah prays for Sennacherib’s defeat.
- 2 Kings 19: 20 – 28 Isaiah prophesies the downfall of Senechereb once again.
- 2 Kings 19: 32 – 34 God says he will defend Jerusalem
- 2 Kings 19: 35 – 37 King Sennacherib’s forces are defeated, and this Assyrian king loses his life.
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