King Sennacherib of Assyria enjoyed his yearly tribute from the kingdom of Judah. Assyrian rulers were paid an annual tribute from Judah since of the reign of King Ahaz around 740 B.C. King Ahaz was a wicked ruler who brought a lot of problems onto Israel from God. One of the punishments that God brought upon the Jewish people was constant harassment from their enemies. God allowed the king of Assyria to force the kingdom of Judah to pay them tribute. After King Ahaz had died, his son King Hezekiah took his place on the throne.. He appears on the Bible Timeline Poster between 726 and 697 BC.
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After ruling Judah for 14 years, King Hezekiah missed a tribute payment to Assyria. King Sennacherib became angry and mobilized his army against Judah to make sure that they will pay him the tribute. King Hezekiah was a god fearing righteous man unlike his father, Ahaz. The king knew that the Assyrians were powerful warriors and that their armies were strong. He also realized that if God didn’t intervene to rescue them they would surely be defeated at the hand of the Assyrians.
King Hezekiah tried to pay off the debt that he owed to keep the Assyrians from attacking. The Assyrians didn’t take the money they wanted to destroy Judah. They sent messengers to taunt the people of Judah, and they spoke blasphemous things against them and against God. King Hezekiah then prayed to God and then he held a meeting with Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah told him that the Lord heard his prayer and decided to deliver Judah from Assyria. God sent an angel who killed 185,000 Assyrian troops. King Senncherib and the rest of his troops fled back to Assyria and within a few days of his return the Assyrian king was killed by his sons. God punished the Assyrians for their blasphemies. This event is an important one from the life of King Hezekiah because it allowed the people of Judah to live in peace instead of being carried off into captivity. This fate had already happened to their relatives in Israel, and if it weren’t for Hezekiah, it would have happened to the Judeans as well.
King Hezekiah’s name means “to strengthen” or “to fortify” and during his life he played a critical role in keeping Judah in God’s will. What made Hezekiah such a good king in good standing with the Lord is the fact that he truly honored God. Hezekiah wasn’t perfect, but he did his best to honor God and to get the people of Judah to follow his example. He conducted religious reforms by encouraging the priests to reopen the temple that was closed by his father, Ahaz. He also had them to remove all of the pagan idols and altars that his Ahaz had spread all throughout the land during his reign. He instructed the priests to make sacrifices to God once again and to lead the people in proper worship. After the Temple of Solomon was rededicated to the Lord, the people of Judah brought so many tithes to the temple that there were huge piles of possessions, food and wealth stacked up within the area.
They also enjoyed a great Passover feast each year. The king’s religious reforms were so great and influential on the people that Hezekiah’s fame began to spread all through the land. God had caused all of these good things to come upon Hezekiah because he was truly trying to do his best for the Lord. Toward the end of King Hezekiah’s reign, God removed his presence from the ruler to test his heart. One day the King became ill and was about to die, and the prophet Isaiah told the king that he would live. Instead of being grateful to God, King Hezekiah became prideful. Eventually, God used Isaiah to tell the king that Babylon was going to carry off everything into his kingdom including the people. Isaiah then told him that this would take place after Hezekiah died. King Hezekiah lived out the rest of his days in peace, and he was grateful that the Lord spared him this trouble during the last 15 years of his life.
- 2 Chronicles 29: 1 – 2 Background information on King Hezekiah.
- 2 Chronicles 29: 3 – 17 King Hezekiah reopens the Solomon’s Temple.
- 2 Chronicles 29: 18 – 36 The Temple is rededicated to the Lord and God turns the heart of his people and causes them to worship in a way that pleases him.
- 2 Chronicles 30 Passover Celebration.
- 2 Chronicles 31: Hezekiah reforms the religion of Israel, and he removes the pagan altars and places of worship.
- 2 Chronicles 32: 1 – 23 Assyria attacks Judah and God defend them.
- 2 Chronicles 32: 24 – 31 King Hezekiah becomes ill, and God heals him.
- 2 Chronicles 32: 32, 33 King Hezekiah dies and his son Manasseh is the next king to rule the land
- 2 Kings 18 – 22 Tells an alternate story about King Hezekiah’s life with some detailed information about the major events in his life.