Painting: Hezekiah, King of Judah
Painter: (Unknown – 17th Century)
Hezekiah was one of the better kings of Judah. He succeeded his father Ahaz as king of the Southern Kingdom in 715 B.C. Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king. The Deuteronomic Historian describes Hezekiah as a man who did right in the eyes of the Lord, just as David had done.
Although his father Ahaz was one of the unfaithful kings of Judah, the Deuteronomic Historian praises Hezekiah for his faithfulness to God: “He trusted in the LORD the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him” (2 Kings 18:5).
During the reign of Hezekiah, Judah faced both political and religious turmoil. The major reason for the problems Judah faced was the aggressive policies of Assyria and their ambition to establish an empire throughout the ancient Near East. When Tiglath-pileser III because king of Assyria in 745 B.C., he began a policy of total conquest. His desire to establish an empire brought him to Palestine.
During the days of Ahaz, Hezekiah’s father, Judah became a tributary to Assyria because Ahaz had asked for military help from Tiglath-pileser at the time of the Syro-Ephraimite war. In 722 B.C., Samaria was conquered by Sargon II and the people of the Northern Kingdom were deported to other parts of the Assyrian empire.
When Hezekiah became king, he made an attempt to regain Judah’s independence from Assyria. In order to achieve his goal of breaking the Assyrian yoke, Hezekiah embarked on economic and religious reform in preparation for a revolt against Assyria. He knew that his actions would bring Assyrian retaliation. Sennacherib, the Assyrian king during the reign of Hezekiah recognized that these changes in Judah were meant as an act of open revolt against Assyria.
The studies below deal with Hezekiah’s reign and his economic and religious reforms. These studies also deal with Hezekiah’s confrontation with Sennacherib, king of Assyria.
The last two studies deal with “The Book of Hezekiah.” These studies are meant to be a satire. They deal with the problem of biblical illiteracy and how people misquote the Bible. In order to explain how people misquote the Bible, I have created the fictitious Book of Hezekiah in order to account for the biblical illiteracy of many people. Of course, there is no book of Hezekiah, so, do not rush to your Bible to find the Book of Hezekiah there.
Hezekiah was a great king. I hope these studies will help you become better acquainted with the king who “trusted in the LORD the God of Israel.”
Studies on Hezekiah, King of Judah
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary