There are a lot of wars and a lot of deaths, but it appears that nothing is accomplished. Again I must say, nothing’s changed.
If people would stop thinking of themselves and 1 look to You things would be good.
Kings of Israel and Judah
Azariah, at the age of 16 lived in Jerusalem and began to reign Judah and did so for 52 years, his mother was Jecholia, and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, accept he didn’t remove the high places and the people sacrificed and burnt incense there.
The Lord smote Azariah with leprosy until the day he died, and his son, Jotham, judged the people of the land.
“And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?” (2 Kin 15:6).
Azariah was buried in the city of David, and Jothan reigned in his stead.
Zechariah lived in Samaria and reigned for six months, and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord. And Jabesh’s son, Shallum, conspired against and smote him before the people, and then killed him, and reigned instead.
“And the rest of the acts of Zechariah (not the prophet you will learn about later), and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?” (2 Kin 15:11).
Azariah was buried in the city of David, and Jothan reigned in his stead.
“This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass” (2 Kin 15:12).
Shallum reigned a month in Samaria because Menahem went to Tirzah and then to Samari and killed him and reigned in his stead.
“And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel” (2 Kin 15:15).
Menahem then smote Tiphsah and everyone else that was there and around, and ripped the women that were pregnant. He reigned for 10 years in Samaria, and was evil in the eyes of God.
King Pul of Assyria went against Menahem so he gave the king a 1,000 talents of silver. He also took 50 shekels of silver from all the mighty men to give to the Assyrian king.
“And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” (2 Kin 15:21).
When Menahem died Pekahiah reigned in his stead and did so for two years, and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord. But Remaliah’s son, Pekah, with Argob, Arieh, and 50 other men of the Gileadites, conspired against, smote, and killed him in Samaria, and reign in his stead.
“And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israe”l (2 Kin 15:26).
Pekah reigned for 20 years and during this time King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria captured Ijon, Abel-ebth-maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee, and all the land of Naphtali, and took them to Assyria.
Hoshea conspired against Pekah, smote, and killed him, and reigned in his stead.
“And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel” (2 Kin 1531).
Jotham, at the age of 25, began to reign and he reigned for 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jerusha. And he did what was right in the eyes of God, like his father Uzziah had done.
Yet, the high places weren’t torn down and the people sacrificed and burned incense, and he built the higher gate of the house of the Lord.
“Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?” (2 Kin 15:36).
Jotham died and was buried in the city of David, and his son Ahaz reigned in his stead.
“In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah” (2 Kin 15:37).
Ahaz, at the age of 20, began to reign and did so for 16 years in Jerusalem, and did evil in the eyes of God, walking in the way of the kings of Israel, and made his son pass through the fire like the heathen’s do.
He also sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree. Then the king of Syria, Rezin, recovered Elath to Syria and ran the Jews to Elath so the Syrians went to Elath and lived there.
“So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
“And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.
And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.
And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.
And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.
And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.
And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar.
And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the Lord, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of the altar.
Andking Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king’s burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by.
Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.
And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon the pavement of stones.
And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry without, turned he from the house of the Lord for the king of Assyria.
Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead” (2 Kin 16:7-20).
1 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:25-33).
Judah Alone Amid International Powers
Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah in these turbulent times. The date Hezekiah became king is disputed; certain biblical statements permit a date as early as 729 or as late as 715 B.C., the later date is traditionally preferred (715-687 B.C.).
Unlike his father, Ahaz, Hezekiah steered a course of religious reform and political freedom (2 Chr 29-31). As early as 712 B.C., he contemplated joining a revolt against Assyria led by Ashdod and supported by Shabako of Egypt; however, along with Edom and Moab, Hezekiah pulled back, perhaps cautioned by Isaiah’s warnings against depending upon Egyptian help (Is 20).
Gradually Hezekiah strengthened his position by extending his control over cities in the Philistine Plain (2 Kg 18:8).
Next, he carried out a series of religious reforms that eliminate the pagan practices permitted by Ahaz.
Hezekiah ordered the destruction of high places with their idolatrous symbols (sacred pillars and Asherim [wooden objects sacred to Asherah] cleansed the Jerusalem temple, and celebrated a great Passover (2 Chr 29-31).
Under Hezekiah, Judah became the strongest state in the southern Levant.
Hezekiah’s Opportunity for Revolt
When Sargon II died in 705 B.C., his successor, Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.), faced revolt in Babylon, once again led by Merodach-baladan. At some point Hezekiah received in Jerusalem envoys sent from Merodach-baladan, an act intimating an anti-Assyrian conspiracy (2 Kgs 20:12-15).
That Hezekiah intended rebellion seems clear from the biblical descriptions of the strengthening of his country’s defenses.
Hezekiah’s Preparation for War
In Jerusalem, Hezekiah built a massive new wall to fortify the western suburbs of the city, and he secured the city’s water supply by diverting the waters of the Gihon Spring through a 1,700-foot tunnel that led to a pool within the city fortifications (Is 22:8-11; 2 Kgs 20:20; 2 Chr 32:30).
Hezekiah strengthened the army and apparently provided a supply system of stored goods designed to withstand Assyrian siege.
umerous storage-jar fragments stamped with a royal seal, inscribed “belonging (or for) the king” (L’melek in Hebrew), found in excavations in Judah bear four names: Ziph, Socoh, Hebron, and the enigmatic mmsht.
The first three are Judean towns, while the latter may refer to the governmental offices at Jerusalem. Perhaps these four names designated regional collection-distribution centers of essential goods – oil, wine, etc. Goods would be collected in the form of taxes in kind, stored, and then redistributed as needed.
With his kingdom properly prepared, Hezekiah rebelled against Sennacherib, provoking an Assyrian response in 701 B.C. Hezekiah’s actions were part of a larger anti-Assyrian insurrection that included Sidon, Ashkelon, and the citizens of Ekron, who turned their king, Padi, over to Hezekiah.
Sennacherib’s campaign to crush the rebellious vassals is well documented both in biblical and Assyrian texts (2 Kgs 18:13-19:35; Is 36-37; 2 Chr 32:1-23; five whole or fragmentary copies of Sennacherib’s Annals mention the campaign).
Assyrian Attacks on Judah
First, Sennacherib moved against Sidon, replacing its rebellious kings and receiving tribute from subjugated Phoenician cities.
Next, Sennacherib moved south against Ashkelon and removed its king, Sidqia. He subdued cities in the northern Philistine Plain (Joppa, Bene-berak, Azor, and Beth-dagon) formerly controlled by Sidqia and then proceeded into the Shephelah.
Sennacherib’s annals mention the capture of Ekron and Timnah, both located in the strategic Sorek Valley. Assyrian pressure forced Hezekiah to release Padi, who was reinstated as king of Ekron.
The villages and towns of the Shephelah were particularly hard hit by the Assyrian invasion. Friezes from Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh depict in graphic detail the siege of Lachish, a key Judean fortress in the Shephelah protecting the approaches to Jerusalem.
Micah 1:10-16 undoubtedly refers to other towns that suffered a similar fate (Moresheth-gath, Achzib, Gath, and Adullam); Libnah is mentioned in the account of the Rabshakeh’s warnings to the citizens of Jerusalem (2 Kgs 19:8).
An oracle of Isaiah suggests a northern approach to Jerusalem by elements of the Assyrian army, which threatened the towns and villages of Benjamin (Is 10:28-34).
Altogether, Sennacherib claims to have destroyed 46 Judean cities, a boast adequately supported by the numerous destruction levels found in the excavation of Judean sites datable close to 700 B.C.