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We now begin the third section of this Book, which includes the story of the reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah, with a period of reaction and sin between the two. It is remarkable that such a man as Hezekiah could be the son of Ahaz. Yet we must remember that all his life he was under the influence of Isaiah. Coming to the throne, he personally did right in the sight of the Lord, and immediately instituted reforms more widespread and drastic than had been attempted by any of his predecessors.
One illustration is given of how these reforms operated. So low had the people sunk that the serpent of brass, which Moses had made long before in the wilderness, and which had been carefully preserved, had positively been made an object of worship. Hezekiah called it by its right name, Nehushtan, a piece of brass, and broke it in pieces.
It was in the sixth year of his reign that Israel was carried away into captivity. This in itself, we can readily understand, would have an influence on Judah for a time at least, as there is hardly any doubt that the prophets would carefully point out the real reason of this judgment on the aforesaid tribes.
When Hezekiah had occupied the throne for fourteen years, a most formidable foe appeared in the person of Sennacherib, in the presence of whom Hezekiah manifested a weakness unworthy of him and of the God who had so wonderfully sustained him in his internal reforms. The arrogance of the Assyrian was indeed terrible. By Rab-shakeh he did far more than challenge Hezekiah. He deliberately, and with every evidence of contempt, challenged the God in whom the nation had professed to put its trust. It was impossible that such a challenge should go unanswered. And yet is not Sennacherib the supreme illustration of the fact that the infidelity of the chosen people caused the blasphemy of the heathen? Can we do other than believe that the weakness and failure, to say nothing of the sin of the ancient people, created in the mind of the Assyrians unbelief in the God whom the chosen people professed to believe? Judging the matter wholly by what the chosen people had come to be, one is not surprised at the blasphemy of Sennacherib.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on 2 Kings 18". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany