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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 18

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Second Kings Chapter 18

2 Kings 18:1 "Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign."

Hezekiah is called Ezekias, also. "Hezekiah" means the might of Jehovah. Ahaz was a wicked king, but Hezekiah will be a king that does right in the eyes of the LORD. He begins to reign in Judah, just before Israel goes into captivity. It is because of kings like Hezekiah, that Judah does not go into captivity as early as Israel does.

2 Kings 18:2 "Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also [was] Abi, the daughter of Zachariah."

His reign was for a relatively long time. He would reign, until he was 54 years old. Abi, the mother’s name, is Abijah in other places. "Abi" means father. "Abijah" means Jehovah is my Father. We can see from the name, that his mother was a believer in Jehovah. She, possibly, was a good influence on her son. We are not sure what Zachariah this is.

2 Kings 18:3 "And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did."

The only other two kings that this statement was made of, was Josiah and Asa. This is a very good statement. It is interesting, that all three of these kings had fathers, who did evil in the sight of the Lord.

2 Kings 18:4 "He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan."

The very first thing that Hezekiah did, when he took office, was open the temple in Jerusalem back up for worship. 2 Chronicles 32:12 "Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it?" We see that Hezekiah even stopped the worship in the high places, which had greatly troubled the LORD. It is interesting, that he would break the pole of the brazen serpent raised in the wilderness to stop death from the serpent bites. It appears, the people had begun to worship the brazen serpent on the rod. "Nehushtan" means brazen. Brass symbolically speaks of judgment.

2 Kings 18:5 "He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor [any] that were before him."

Hezekiah had his trust in the only One you could trust, the LORD God of Israel. He was a complete change from the kings that went before him. Hezekiah was a great man of faith in the midst of a world gone mad. His faith excelled others. Even with the dire circumstances around him, he still had faith. He knew in his heart that God was his very present help.

2 Kings 18:6 "For he clave to the LORD, [and] departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses."

This kind of faith and trust in the LORD brings blessings. Hezekiah kept the faith, as long as he lived. He did not fall back into idolatry, as others did. He stayed faithful to the LORD. He truly loved the LORD with a pure heart, and kept His commandments in spirit, as well as in deed. It was the desire of his heart to please God.

2 Kings 18:7 "And the LORD was with him; [and] he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not."

Every Word that God had promised to do, He did. He had promised to mightily bless those who kept His commandments, and he did. He was with Hezekiah. God had promised to bless those who were faithful to keep His commandments, and spoke them through Moses, and then Joshua. The problem, up until now, was that they had not kept the commandments. Hezekiah keeps them. He had no fear, because God was with him. He broke free from the Assyrian oppression. Everything Hezekiah attempted to do, God blessed.

2 Kings 18:8 "He smote the Philistines, [even] unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city."

The enemies of God were Hezekiah’s enemies, as well. He smote the enemies of the living God. Assyria had tried to take all of the countries around Israel, as well as Israel. They wanted to take Judah, but God was with Hezekiah, and they could not. Instead, Hezekiah defeated the Philistines.

2 Kings 18:9 "And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which [was] the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it."

Now the scene changes back to Israel. Israel’s kings had been the opposite of Hezekiah. They had displeased God at every juncture. We know that this siege lasted two to three years.

2 Kings 18:10 "And at the end of three years they took it: [even] in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that [is] the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken."

We had discussed that Hoshea would be the last king to rule over the ten tribes as a nation. Israel goes into captivity to the Assyrians. They will be scattered, and not become a nation again. Some few will come back in the time of Ezra, but not as a nation.

2 Kings 18:11 "And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor [by] the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:"

This is repeating an earlier verse. It drives home the message of the captivity and dispersing of Israel into many nations and cities.

2 Kings 18:12 "Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, [and] all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear [them], nor do [them]."

This is showing the contrast between the disobedience to the commandments of God, to Hezekiah keeping the commandments. Israel’s problems were brought upon themselves, because they disobeyed the commandments of God. They had been warned over and over what would happen if they became unfaithful and followed other gods. Now, they are paying for their sins.

2 Kings 18:13 "Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them."

It appears, from this, that many of the fenced cities of Judah did fall to the Assyrians. Sennacherib was the king of Assyria at the time. Jerusalem did not fall.

2 Kings 18:14 "And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold."

We see that Hezekiah realizes, that the Assyrians have a powerful army, with battering rams and other war material, sufficient to take the city. Hezekiah sends the king of Assyria word, that he will pay whatever tribute is levied, but he wants the Assyrian king to leave Judah. A talent weighs 125 pounds. The silver he required of Hezekiah was 37,500 pounds and 3,750 pounds of gold.

2 Kings 18:15 "And Hezekiah gave [him] all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house."

Ahaz had taken all of the silver and gold 30 years earlier, but God had blessed them.

2 Kings 18:16 "At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of the LORD, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria."

Hezekiah had been blessed of God, and Hezekiah had tried to restore the temple to its greatness. He had even covered the pillars and doors with gold. Now, there is an emergency, and he will use it to save Jerusalem. The Assyrian had asked for so much gold and silver, he would have to deplete the land to have enough to pay them.

2 Kings 18:17 "And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rab-saris and Rab-shakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which [is] in the highway of the fuller’s field."

It appears, that Sennacherib had returned home with his captives, that he had taken from the cities he overran. He thinks Judah will be such an easy mark, that he can send his subordinates to take care of them. Tartan was commander in chief. Rabsaris was chief eunuch. Rab- shakeh was chief cup-bearer. This field was in the direction of Lachish from Jerusalem. It appears, they had brought a message to Hezekiah.

2 Kings 18:18 "And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which [was] over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder."

Hezekiah did not personally go out to meet them, but sent three of his men of high esteem in his court to meet with them. Eliakim had taken the place of Shebna as head of the household. Shebna was qualified to draw up official documents. Asaph kept the records for the king.

2 Kings 18:19 "And Rab-shakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence [is] this wherein thou trustest?"

Rab-shakeh, third in command in this, is very insulting, speaking of Hezekiah without his title. He was, possibly, trying to say with this, that he would not be king long. We can assume from this, that Hezekiah had rebelled against the Assyrians.

2 Kings 18:20 "Thou sayest, (but [they are but] vain words,) [I have] counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?"

The king of Assyria is assuming that Hezekiah had sent for help from Egypt. He did not know that Hezekiah was speaking of the strength of the LORD. Hezekiah would welcome help from Egypt, but if he did not get it, he knew he could depend upon the LORD. The message the king of Assyria had sent, was an insulting message. He said that Hezekiah was talking big, but could not carry through.

2 Kings 18:21 "Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, [even] upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him."

2 Kings 18:22 "But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: [is] not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?"

Sennacherib is telling Hezekiah, that to depend on Egypt, is depending on someone who could not even defend themselves, much less Judah. He, also, says that Judah’s God would be angry with Hezekiah for breaking down the high places and altars, except the temple. The king of Assyria is in for a surprise. Hezekiah’s God is pleased with him, not angry.

2 Kings 18:23 "Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them."

These men are saying, that Hezekiah would not have 2,000 men to fight, even if they had the horses. Assyria would furnish the horses, if Hezekiah furnished the men.

2 Kings 18:24 "How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?"

2 Kings 18:25 "Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it."

The Assyrian says, it is a vain hope to expect Egypt to help them. This Assyrian is trying to say, that his false god is the LORD. He says, this false god, Asshur had told them to come against Judah. Sennacherib claims that the LORD sent him against Judah. He does not even know the LORD, or recognize Him as God.

2 Kings 18:26 "Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rab-shakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand [it]: and talk not with us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people that [are] on the wall."

Rab-shakeh had tried to show his superiority, by speaking in the Hebrew language. Besides making him feel important, he thought he might influence the people standing around to surrender. Now, we see the three men, that Hezekiah sent, show that they are educated men. They tell him to speak in his own language, and they will understand. They tell him, that the negotiations are not for the ears of the people.

2 Kings 18:27 "But Rab-shakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? [hath he] not [sent me] to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?"

This is a threat to the people who are listening, so they might influence Hezekiah to give up.

2 Kings 18:28 "Then Rab-shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:"

2 Kings 18:29 "Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:"

Notice, he is doing the opposite of what he was asked to do. He still speaks in Hebrew, so all the people can understand him. He speaks loudly, so they will be able to hear. He elevates Sennacherib to great king, while not even calling Hezekiah king. This is an extremely insulting thing to do. He is doing his best, to get the people to turn against Hezekiah.

2 Kings 18:30 "Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria."

Now, he is insulting God. This Assyrian, possibly, had heard, that Hezekiah had been encouraging his people to trust in the LORD.

2 Kings 18:31 "Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make [an agreement] with me by a present, and come out to me, and [then] eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:"

2 Kings 18:32 "Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us."

All of this is to get these people to voluntarily go into captivity to Assyria. He does not tell them, that they will be in bondage to Assyria. Assyria may have some of these things, that are mentioned here, but they would not belong to these Hebrews, if they give up their freedom to Assyria. Who would want to trade their freedom for a few material things, anyway?

2 Kings 18:33 "Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?"

2 Kings 18:34 "Where [are] the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where [are] the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?"

A good Hebrew would be able to quickly see, the people mentioned had worshipped false gods. They had not depended on the LORD. The Hebrew God is the LORD. He is the only True God. Those false gods had no power, but the LORD is all powerful.

2 Kings 18:35 "Who [are] they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?"

To compare the LORD to these false gods, is abominable. This Assyrian sees no difference in the LORD and all of the local false gods of these other countries.

2 Kings 18:36 "But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not."

Rab-shakeh’s words of warning were not heeded by the people of Israel. If they had thoughts of rebelling against Hezekiah, they are not mentioned. A true Hebrew would understand that the LORD was not like these local false gods, which had no power. They would have their faith and trust in Hezekiah, because he was on the side of the LORD. Hezekiah had said not to answer these men of Assyria, and they did not answer.

2 Kings 18:37 "Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which [was] over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with [their] clothes rent, and told him the words of Rab-shakeh."

These three men, that Hezekiah had sent to represent Judah in front of the three men from Assyria, would not be tearing their clothes for fear of the threats that were made. They were tearing their clothes, because these men of Assyria had compared the LORD with the false gods around them. These men, along with Hezekiah, were offended for their LORD. They knew that the LORD was perfectly capable of saving them and destroying Assyria. The next chapter continues on with this same thing. We will see Hezekiah’s reaction there.

2 Kings 18 Questions

1. What is another name for Hezekiah?

2. What does "Hezekiah" mean?

3. What kind of king was he?

4. How old was he, when he began to reign?

5. How many years did he reign?

6. What was his mother’s name?

7. What is another name for her?

8. What does "Abi" mean?

9. What does "Abijah" mean?

10. Who, possibly, influenced Hezekiah to love the LORD?

11. His love for the LORD is compared to whose in 2 Kings 18:3?

12. Who were two other kings, who had the same thing said about them?

13. What kind of fathers did all three of these kings have?

14. What was the first thing Hezekiah did, when he took office as king?

15. Quote 2 Chronicles 32:12.

16. What does 2 Kings 18:4 tell us he did, to stop the false worship?

17. What was named Nehushtan?

18. What does "Nehushtan" mean?

19. How was Hezekiah compared to the other kings?

20. What good is said about Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18:6?

21. Because of what Hezekiah did, what did the LORD do for him?

22. Who were Hezekiah’s enemies?

23. What had happened to Samaria?

24. What caused Israel to go into captivity?

25. What king came against the fenced cities of Jerusalem?

26. What did Hezekiah give them to save Jerusalem?

27. Who did the king of Assyria send with a message for Hezekiah?

28. Who did Hezekiah send to receive the message?

29. Who talked for the Assyrians?

30. How did he insult Hezekiah, by what he called him?

31. Who did he tell Hezekiah not to depend on for help?

32. Who did the Assyrian try to turn against Hezekiah?

33. What effect did the message have on the three men, that Hezekiah sent to receive it?

Verse 1

2Ki 18:1

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Kings 18". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-kings-18.html.
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