Kenneth Mills: Learning from Hezekiah’s Divine Deliverance | Community
During excavations at an old dump in Jerusalem, Dr. Eilat Mazar, a third-generation archaeologist, discovered a small bubble.
A bulla is a piece of clay with the imprint of an official’s seal. As scrolls were rolled up, documents were folded, or registers were signed, a piece of clay was placed on them and imprinted with the official’s seal or signet ring. It was a bit like a notary stamping or embossing a document in today’s world. The bubble authenticated the document.
The interesting thing about the bubble discovered by Dr. Mazar is the inscription. It reads: “Belonging to Hezekiah, (son of) Ahaz, king of Judah. It was discovered in the Ophel excavations just south of the Temple Mount. It is only about half an inch in diameter and less than a quarter inch thick, but the inscription is very clear.
After the death of Solomon, the kingdom is divided. The northern kingdom was Israel; the southern kingdom was Judah. Hezekiah was the 13th king of Judah and he reigned from approximately 726 to 697 BC.
The people of Judah have not always been loyal to Jehovah God. It had a lot to do with who was king and whether or not they were devoted to God. Hezekiah was one of the good kings.
When Hezekiah ascended the throne, the people of Judah had abandoned Jehovah God and built altars to other gods. Hezekiah did two things: 1) he tore down the idols and altars to the other gods, and 2) he repaired and cleansed the temple and called the priests to be faithful to their calling.
The Bible says this about Hezekiah: “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. Because he clung to the Lord. He did not turn away from him, but kept the commandments that the Lord had commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went he prospered” (2 Kings 18:5-7a).
The Assyrians intended to expand their kingdom. In 733 BC, Tiglath-Pileser III invaded Israel (2 Kings 15). In 722 BC. AD, Shalmaneser invades Samaria (2 Kings 17-18). In 701 BC. AD, Sennacherib invades Judah (2 Kings 18-19).
King Hezekiah was in the 14th year of his reign when Sennacherib captured the fortified cities of Judah.
Sennacherib desired to conquer Jerusalem, and Hezekiah sent him a message saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you impose on me, I will bear it” (2 Kings 18:14). Hezekiah therefore gave Sennacherib all the silver from his treasury, all the silver from the temple and the gold from the gates of the temple.
This did not deter Sennacherib from wanting Jerusalem, and his commander called on the people to ignore Hezekiah, saying, “Let Hezekiah trust you not in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given. into the hands of the king of Assyria” (2 Kings 18:30).
Understanding the gravity of the situation, Hezekiah knew he had to have a water supply within the city walls of Jerusalem. His work crews immediately began building a tunnel to bring water into the city from the Gihon spring.
As they worked from inside and outside the city, they drew nearer, and the Siloam inscription reads: “And when it was drilled, the quarrymen struck their one to the other, pickaxe to pickaxe, and the water flowed from the source to the reservoir for 1,200 cubits.
It is through this 1,750 foot tunnel that many visitors to Jerusalem walk.
But there was something else Hezekiah understood: he had not depended on God as he should have. He took Sennacherib’s commander’s letter, went to the temple, spread the letter and prayed to God for deliverance. He concludes his prayer by saying, “Now, Lord our God, deliver us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God. (2 Kings 19:19).
Isaiah the prophet answered, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I have heard your prayer to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. … For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake” (2 Kings 19:20, 34).
“And that night the angel of the Lord went out and smote 185,000 men in the camp of the Assyrians. And when the people got up early in the morning, behold, they were all dead bodies. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, returned home, and dwelt in Nineveh” (2 Kings 19:35-36).
In 1830, Colonel Robert Taylor discovered Taylor’s prism at Nineveh on which Sennacherib recorded his campaign against Judah. Sennecherib wrote: “As for the king of Judah, Hezekiah, who had not submitted to my authority, I besieged and took 46 of his fortified cities…As for Hezekiah, I confined him like a bird in a cage in his royal city of Jerusalem. ”
In this divine deliverance, Hezekiah’s strength rested on Jehovah God, not on the protection of Sennacherib.
May we learn from Hezekiah, place our trust in Jehovah God, obey him, and obtain our deliverance through his holy power.
Kenneth Mills is a deacon and former preacher.
Kenneth Mills is a deacon and former preacher.