Sennacherib Invades Judah
1 After these things and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, intending to take them for himself. 2 When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to go to war against Jerusalem, 3 he decided, together with his officers and his soldiers, to stop up the water [supply] from the springs which were outside the city [by enclosing them with masonry and concealing them], and they helped him. 4 So many people came together, and they stopped up all the springs and the brook which flowed [underground] through the region, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find an abundance of water?” 5 Also Hezekiah resolutely set to work and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down, and erected towers on it, and he built another wall outside and strengthened the Millo (fortification) in the City of David, and made a great number of weapons and shields. 6 He also appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke (a)encouragingly to them, saying, 7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria, nor because of all the army that is with him; for the One with us is greater than the one with him. 8 With him there is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
Sennacherib Undermines Hezekiah
9 After this, Sennacherib king of Assyria, while he was at Lachish [besieging it] with all his forces, sent his servants to Jerusalem, to Hezekiah king of Judah, and to all Judah who were at Jerusalem, saying, 10 “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘In what do you trust that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? 11 Is not Hezekiah misleading you in order to let you die by famine and thirst, while saying, “The Lord our God will rescue us from the hand of the king of Assyria?” 12 Has the same Hezekiah not taken away (b)his [Baal’s] high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, “You shall worship before [only] one altar and burn incense on it”? 13 Do you not know what I and my fathers (ancestors) have done to all the peoples of the [other] lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands able to rescue their lands from my hand at all? 14 Who [was there] among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed who was able to rescue his people from my hand, that your God should be able to rescue you from my hand? 15 So now, do not let Hezekiah deceive or mislead you like this, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to rescue his people from my hand or the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God rescue you from my hand!’”
16 And his servants said even more against the Lord God and against His servant Hezekiah. 17 The Assyrian king also wrote letters insulting and taunting the Lord God of Israel, and speaking against Him, saying, “As the gods of the nations of other lands have not rescued their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not rescue His people from my hand.” 18 They shouted it loudly in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, so that they might take the city [without a long siege]. 19 They spoke of the God of Jerusalem as [they spoke of] the gods of the peoples of the earth, [which are only] the work of the hands of men.
20 But Hezekiah the king and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven [for help].
Hezekiah’s Prayer Is Answered
21 And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed every brave warrior, commander, and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So the king returned to his own land in shame. And when he entered the house (temple) of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword.(A) 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 others, and He gave them rest on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and valuable presents to Hezekiah king of Judah; so from then on he was exalted in the sight of all nations.
24 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and He answered him and gave him a [miraculous] sign. 25 But Hezekiah did nothing [for the Lord] in return for the benefit bestowed on him, because his heart had become proud; therefore God’s wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 However, Hezekiah humbled his proud heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
27 Now Hezekiah had immense wealth and honor; and he made for himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and all kinds of delightful articles, 28 and storehouses for the produce of grain, new wine, and [olive] oil, and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds for the flocks. 29 Moreover, he made cities for himself and acquired an abundance of flocks and herds, for God gave him very many possessions. 30 This same Hezekiah also stopped up the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and channeled them down to the west side of the City of David. Hezekiah succeeded in everything that he did. 31 And so in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who were sent to him to inquire about the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, in order to know everything that was in his heart.(B)
32 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his godly achievements, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 So Hezekiah slept with his fathers [in death] and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the descendants of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became king in his place.
a. 2 Chronicles 32:6: Lit to their heart.
b. 2 Chronicles 32:12: Sennacherib does not distinguish between the true God of Israel and the pagan gods (see 31:1; 33:3), thinking that the people were still loyal to idols and offended at Hezekiah’s removal of them.