Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, May 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 32

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-33

Chapter 32

Now in chapter 32, we find that,

Sennacherib, the king of Assyria was coming against them, he entered into Judah, and he encamped against the fenced cities, he thought to win them for himself. And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, he took counsel with the princes and with his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him ( 2 Chronicles 32:1-3 ).

Now he said, "Why should he come and find all of this water here? Let's stop up all of the springs and all so that they won't know where the water supplies are that are outside of the city of Jerusalem." So they went about and they stopped up all of the springs on the outside of the city of Jerusalem.

And they set the captains of war over the people, they gathered them together in the street of the gate of the city, and spake to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all of the multitude that is with him: for there are more with us than with him. For with him is the arm of flesh; but with us is Jehovah our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah the king of Judah ( 2 Chronicles 32:6-8 ).

So Hezekiah gathered the people together in the streets of Jerusalem and he said, "Now don't be afraid; don't be dismayed. There are more with us than with them." Now with the Syrian army, there were at least 185,000 fighting troops. And here is the king saying, "Don't be afraid. Don't worry. There's more that is with us than are with them."

Can you imagine what 185,000 men would look like coming over the hill? That's a lot of people. "Don't worry. Don't be afraid. More with us than with them. For with them is the arm of flesh, but with us is Jehovah God." Oh how we need to realize that, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" ( Romans 8:31 )

There is always more for us and with us than is with the enemy. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" ( 1 John 4:4 ). As a child of God you should never be fearful or terrified of the enemy. Never! We need to have that awareness and consciousness of God's presence with us. With them the arm of flesh, with us Jehovah our God. We've got them outnumbered. We've got Jehovah on our side. "So the people," it said, "rested in the words of Hezekiah," which is beautiful.

Now Sennacherib sent these guys to Jerusalem. He was busy in battle at Lachish and he sent these messengers to Hezekiah with these threatening letters telling them to surrender or get wiped out. And he said, "Don't trust in the words of Hezekiah your king saying that your God is going to deliver you. Where are the gods of the Syrians? Where are the gods of the other kingdoms that we have destroyed? No god of any of the kingdoms have been able to deliver their people out of our hand." And these letters were actually blasphemous letters against the Lord who Hezekiah was encouraging the people to trust in. And these messengers were there and they were speaking in the Hebrew language to the people standing on the wall. Taunting them, saying, "Don't trust in the words of Hezekiah. Surrender. Give up because if we come with our armies we're just going to rip you up." And giving them all these threats. "Don't let Hezekiah deceive you saying, 'Trust in Jehovah.'"

Now the word of the Lord came to Hezekiah through Isaiah to just rest in God. Trust in the Lord, He would deliver. And the angel of the Lord went through the camp of the Assyrians in one night and wiped out 185,000 troops. So that when the Israelis woke up in the morning and looked out, there were all these dead corpses on the ground. Those that remained of the Assyrians fled back to Assyria including the king Sennacherib who, when he came back to Assyria, went into the temple of his god, his two sons killed him. And so they saw the delivering power of God.

Now as we get into Isaiah, Isaiah will give us more background in this. Quite a bit of more detail of this particular victory of God over the Assyrians because they trusted in the Lord, the words of Hezekiah.

Now verse 2 Chronicles 32:21 gives you a brief little thing.

The LORD sent an angel, which cut off the mighty men of valor, the leaders and the captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned ashamed where he was assassinated back to his own land ( 2 Chronicles 32:21 ).

Verse 2 Chronicles 32:24 :

In those days Hezekiah was sick to death, he prayed to the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem ( 2 Chronicles 32:24-25 ).

Now Hezekiah was sick. Isaiah came to him and said, "Set your house in order. You're going to die and not live." And Hezekiah turned his face to the wall. He began to pray. He prayed all night. Isaiah tells us about the prayer of Hezekiah in the book of Isaiah. We'll get more into that. And naturally this is a good time to read the prophecy of Isaiah and of Jeremiah as we deal with these last few chapters. But Isaiah tells us how that he cried all night long before the Lord, turning his face to the wall. And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah saying, "Go back and tell the king that I'll give him another ten years or fifteen years." So the Lord extended the life of Hezekiah. But it was tragic.

Now there is a direct will of God for our lives and I believe that there is a permissive will of God for our lives. I believe that God does permit certain things that are not necessarily His direct purpose and plan for your life. But here you are insisting on something, crying out to God, insisting. And so God permits.

In the case of Balaam, when Balak the king sent to him and said, "I want you to come and curse these people that are coming through the land." Balaam prayed and God said, "Thou shalt not go to the king; thou shalt not curse them for they are blessed. They're my people." So Balaam sent back a message to the king and said, "I'm sorry, king, I can't come. I can't curse them because these people are God's people. They're blessed of God." So Balak sent back other messengers with a lot of loot and said, "Look, the king wants you to just come and counsel him concerning these people." And Balaam saw all of the loot that he was being offered for just being the counselor. And this time I'm sure he really prayed, "Oh God, please let me go. Oh Lord, please please please." Because he was so greedy of all this loot that was being offered. So the Lord said, "All right, go." Here's a guy, "Please, oh God. God, help, please, Lord." And God said, "Go, but you just be careful. You don't say any more than what I've told you, than what I've put in your mouth." So Balaam gets on his donkey heading out. And in his mind all the visions of sugarplums dancing in his head. The things that he's going to be able to buy with all of the loot that the king is offering.

Suddenly the little donkey turns off the path, and he beats the little donkey, gets him back on the road again. Pretty soon the little donkey sort of edges in towards the cliff. Gets his ankle. He beats the donkey again. Pretty soon the little donkey just sits down, refuses to go. He beats it again. This time the little donkey's had enough. He turns around, he said, "Do you think that's right to beat me three times? Haven't I been a faithful donkey to you ever since you've owned me?" And Balaam was so mad he talked back to him. He said, "You bet your life I'm right in beating you, you stubborn beast. If I had a club I'd kill you." And then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel of the Lord standing there with a drawn sword. And Balaam says, "Wait a minute." The angel said, "You better thank that little donkey. If it weren't for him I would have had your head." Balaam said, "I'll go back. I'll go back. That's all right, I'll go back." And they said, "No, you've come this far. You go." But surely God had declared His direct will, "Don't go. Stay out of it." But because of greed he was insisting on going and God permitted him to go.

Here is Hezekiah. Now we talk about praying and prayer changing God, and in a sense God allotted and allowed Hezekiah's life to be extended for a period of time. But it was tragic, because during this period of time, this king who had been so good and had brought so much good to the people of God, now he began to be lifted up with pride. The last years of his life were different. He wasn't that humble servant of God any longer. Now because God had begun to prosper the kingdom, after Sennacherib was wiped out, man, all of the kings began to send him presents and gifts because the Assyrians had been wiping everybody else out. And now this horrible threat of Assyria is reduced, having been defeated by the Lord there before Hezekiah. All of the kings were sending him a lot of gifts and he becomes a very wealthy man. And now he begins to be prideful and of all of his wealth, got his eyes on to that.

Tragic because it was during this period of time also that his son was born to him named Manasseh. And this son was one of the most wicked kings in all of Israel. So it probably would have been better for him and for the nation had he died. But he was praying and insisting that God would heal him. If indeed you can change the mind of God through your prayers, it's always going to be for your worse. If you can insist, "Lord, my will be done, God," and God will in a gracious kind of a gesture allow your will to be done, it's going to be the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Much better for you that God's will be done in your life. Much better that your prayer be, "Not my will, Thy will be done," because you don't know what's best for you.

You don't know what's best for your friends. And many times those things for which we are crying out to God, insisting, fasting and praying that God will do this particular thing, it could be the worst thing that ever happened to you. And the worst thing that God could do for you would be to answer that particular prayer. I cannot agree with those who say that praying, "Thy will be done" is a spiritual cop-out. Because if indeed that be so, then Jesus was guilty of a spiritual cop-out, because He prayed, "Nevertheless not my will, Thy will be done."

So Hezekiah prayed all night. And God said, "I'll extend you fifteen years." But he was never the same. After this victory over the Assyrians, after all of the wealth that came, his heart was lifted up with pride.

Now Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honor: he made himself treasuries for the silver, and for the gold, and the precious stones, the spices, the shields, and the jewels; storehouses for the corn, and the wine, and the oil; stalls for all of the beasts. They provided cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him the substance very much. Now this is the same Hezekiah also who stopped the upper watercourse of the spring of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all of his works ( 2 Chronicles 32:27-30 ).

While he was awaiting this invasion by Sennacherib, they took the spring of Gihon and they dug this tunnel seventeen hundred feet through solid rock. There were fellows who started at the pool of Siloam and others who started at the spring of Gihon digging through this solid rock. Now it was quite an engineering feat for those days, because they didn't have any modern surveying type of instruments or equipment. And these guys drilling through solid rock, or not drilling, they were chipping with hammers and all through this solid rock for this distance of seventeen hundred feet, in order that they might bring the spring of Gihon within the walls of the city. Because they were expecting this siege and so they needed a fresh water supply within the city of Jerusalem and so this tremendous engineering feat, especially for those days, this 1,700-foot tunnel.

We've been through this tunnel several times, and it's quite interesting. When you get towards the middle there's a few zigzags, because they could hear the picks of the other guys and they were trying to find them. And you could see where they adjusted and finally where they came together. Where the pick finally hit the pick. It must have been tough though digging in that thing. Some places the height of the tunnel is only four feet high or so. And it must have really been tough, tough digging through that thing. But this was one of the great feats of Hezekiah's reign.

Now when he recovered from his illness, the king of Babylon heard of the recovery of his illness so he sent emissaries to Hezekiah to congratulate him for the recovery from his deathbed kind of thing. And he showed to them all of his treasures. Now this was, no doubt, again a thing of pride. He became prideful. All of the wealth that he had, and so he was just showing off all of his treasure to these emissaries from Babylon. And so the prophet came to him and said, "Who are these guys that were here?" He said, "Oh, they were from Babylon, way over on the other side of Euphrates." He said, "What did you show them?" "Everything I had." He said, "That was foolish, because they are going to come back and they are going to carry it all away captive to Babylon." So the prediction of the captivity to Babylon at the time of Hezekiah. Was not fulfilled until some years later, but here was Hezekiah's. Been better had he died, but some people think they know better than God.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 32". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-chronicles-32.html. 2014.
Ads FreeProfile