2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 32
The Last Part of Hezekiah’s Reign.
SENNACHERIB’S INVASION. — V. 1. After these things and the establishment thereof, after the true worship of Jehovah had been reestablished and properly regulated by Hezekiah, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came and entered into Judah, on a campaign of conquest, and encamped against the fenced cities, the fortified towns, especially along the frontier, and thought to win them for himself, literally, “to break into them,” to conquer and subdue them. V. 2. And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, his face being set against the capital for war, Ashdod and Lachish having already fallen, Is. 20, 1, and the siege of Libnah having begun, v. 3. he took counsel with his princes and his mighty men, his payment of tribute having failed to stop the advance of the Assyrian army, 2 Kings 18, 14-16, to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city, by filling up, and covering over, cisterns and wells, in order to cut off the enemy’s supply of water; and they did help him. V. 4. So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, by covering over the cisterns and removing all evidences of the presence of any pools, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, the Gihon, the brook of the Valley of Ben-hinnom, whose waters they deflected into the city by a subterranean channel, saying, Why should the king of Assyria come and find much water? By cutting off the supply of water from the besieging army, the Jews would add materially to its distress and to the difficulties of a siege. V. 5. Also he strengthened himself, was filled with new energy and enterprise, and built up all the wall that was broken, apparently since the time of Joash, king of Israel, chap. 25, 23, and raised it up to the towers, providing the wall with special towers for defense, and another wall without, he repaired the wall enclosing the lower city, and repaired Millo in the City of David, the castle of the upper city, and made darts, missiles of defense, and shields in abundance, he prepared very carefully for a siege. V. 6. And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, the large open space near the gate of Oriental cities, and spake comfortably to them, he addressed them in an encouraging, inspiring strain, saying, v. 7. Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for there be more with us than with him, they had the protection of the great, invisible host of the Lord’s angels, 2 Kings 6, 16. V. 8. With him is an arm of flesh, on the side of the Assyrian king was only human strength, which, over against God, is nothing but the greatest weakness; but with us is the Lord, our God, to help us and to fight our battles. With God on their side, the believers are always in the majority. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah, king of Judah, they relied upon them, trusted in them. V. 9. After this did Sennacherib, king of Assyria, send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, a fortress on the Philistine border, on the road to Egypt, which was his real goal, and all his power with him, all the armed forces under his sovereignty,) unto Hezekiah, king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying, v. 10. Thus saith Sennacherib, king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem? literally, “On what are you placing your trust and sitting in restraint? He meant to intimate that they were as foolish as a rat that deliberately walks into a trap to be safe from capture. V. 11. Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The Lord, our God, shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Like all unbelievers, Sennacherib tried to ridicule the trust of the Jews and their king in the almighty power of Jehovah by speaking of the course taken by Hezekiah as one misleading the people. V. 12. Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, of which Sennacherib foolishly thought that they were sanctuaries of Jehovah, the true God, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar and burn incense upon it? Cp. 2 Kings 18, 22. V. 13. Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands anyways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand? V. 14. Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, in making Assyria a world empire by ruthless conquests, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand? The fallacy of Sennacherib’s argument consisted in this, that he tried to draw a conclusion from the powerlessness of the false gods to the supposed weakness of the true God. V. 15. Now, therefore, let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade, mislead, you on this manner, neither yet believe him; for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand and out of the hand of my fathers; how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand? Cp. 2 Kings 18, 35; Is. 36, 20; 37, 11-13. V. 16. And his servants spake yet more against the Lord God, blasphemies which the present author does not repeat, and against His servant Hezekiah. V. 17. He wrote also letters to rail on the Lord God of Israel, 2 Kings 19, 9, and to speak against Him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver His people out of mine hand. This letter was delivered to Hezekiah after his intention of obstinate resistance had become known. V. 18. Then they, the messengers on their first visit, cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ speech, in the Hebrew language, unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them and to trouble them, that they might take the city, after having broken down the morale of its defenders by the methods here recounted. V. 19. And they spake against the God of Jerusalem as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man, placing Jehovah on a level with base idols. V. 20. And for this cause Hezekiah the king and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. Cp. 2 Kings 19, 14-34; Is. 37, 15-19. Those that trust in the Lord with all their heart remain firm in spite of all the threats of the enemy, relying on the power of Jehovah alone.
THE ASSYRIANS DESTROYED. THE END OF HEZEKIAH’S REIGN. — V. 21. And the Lord sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valor, the veteran soldiers, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria, 2 Kings 19, 35-37. So he, who had boasted so inordinately of his invincible army, returned with shame of face to his own land, utterly humiliated, even in the eyes of his own subjects. And when he was come into the house of his god, when, after some time, he was worshiping in the temple of his chief idol, they that came forth of his own bowels, his own sons, slew him there with the sword. V. 22. Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, whatever other enemies had designs against him, and guided them on every side, giving to His people the full measure of protection. V. 23. And many, including members of the neighboring nations, brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, for they also had received the benefit of Jehovah’s interposition, and presents to Hezekiah, king of Judah, so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth. V. 24. In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord; and He spake unto him, and He gave him a sign, wrought a miracle in making him well. Cp. 2 Kings 20, 1-11; Is. 38. V. 25. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up, he yielded to a degree of pride in boastfully exhibiting his treasures to the ambassadors of the king of Babylon, 2 Kings 20, 15; therefore there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem. V. 26. Notwithstanding, Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah, Is. 39, 8; 2 Kings 20, 19. V. 27. And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches, in personal possessions and in gifts brought to him by neighboring nations, and honor; and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, costly gilded weapons, and for all manner of pleasant jewels, various articles which were highly prized in those days; v. 28. storehouses also for the increase of corn and wine and oil, and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks, folds for his small cattle. V. 29. Moreover, he provided him cities, probably to be understood of the watch-towers erected for the use of the shepherds, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God, the Giver of all good gifts, had given him substance very much. V. 30. This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, namely, at the approach of Sennacherib’s army, and brought it straight down to the west side of the City of David, in a special subterranean canal. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. Hezekiah’s Pool, or reservoir, in the northwest part of Jerusalem still remains, and at least a part of the subterranean channel dug by him has been laid open. 2) V. 31. Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, very likely the king’s miraculous recovery, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart; it was a test of Hezekiah’s faith and sincerity, especially in the matter of giving all glory to God alone, both for his health and for his possessions. V. 32. Now, the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his goodness, all the various displays of his kindness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah, the prophet, the son of Amoz, Is. 36 to 39, and in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel, 2 Kings 18 to 20. V. 33. And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchers of the sons of David, in a place higher on the slope than the tombs then occupied. And all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honor at his death, by the usual burning of spices, as in the case of Asa, chap. 16, 14. And Manasseh, his son, reigned in his stead. Hezekiah died in the true faith and was given the testimony that he was a king after the Lord’s heart. Blessed is everyone that heeds the warning of the Lord’s servants in time and willingly returns from the way of error.