9 In King Hezekiah’s fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 10 At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel. 11 The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes. 12 This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord their God, but had violated His covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.
2 Kings 17:9-12
Yesterday we read about how God’s judgment was coming to Israel because of their deeply embedded sin life throughout the nation of Israel as a result of their long multi-generational disobedience. In the verses above we read how this occurred and that it happened because they had not obeyed the Lord their God with the added detail They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.
However, there is more here, much more as Israel and King Hoshea are being contrasted with Judah and King Hezekiah. Assyria was not content with taking Israel, but eventually sought to also take Judah, the southern kingdom, as well for In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them (v13).
As a result King Hezekiah paid tribute to the king of Assyria, 300 talents (about 11 tons!) of silver and gold from the treasury and the temple of the Lord. It was not enough and the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army to insult and threaten King Hezekiah.
19 “This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 20 You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? 21 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. 22 But if you say to me, “We are depending on the Lord our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem”?
23 “‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them! 24 How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25 Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.”
2 Kings 18:19-25
Notice at the end this Assyrian commander claimed The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it. Then it got worse as he insulted the Lord the God of Judah.
28 “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’
2 Kings 18:28-30
32b “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 35 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”
2 Kings 18:32b-35
What did King Hezekiah do? In the next chapter we find he turned to God and to God’s prophet Isaiah. He had a message for King Hezekiah
6 Isaiah said to them, “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7 Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”
2 Kings 19:6-7
While the king of Assyria withdrew, the field commander did not and continued his blaspheming of the Lord sending messengers to Hezekiah once again comparing the Lord to other gods (idols).
10 “Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ 11 Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them—the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”
2 Kings 19:10-13
Hezekiah again turned to the Lord and prayed. Later he received a prophecy from Isaiah predicting the downfall of Assyria’s army.
32 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:
“‘He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it.
33 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the Lord.
34 I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’”
It was that very night an angel of the Lord killed 185,000 of the Assyrian army. So the king fled to Nineveh. While there his son killed him with the sword fulfilling the rest of Isaiah’s prophecies.
This has been a bit long, but what a contrast we were given by a king who turned to God and a king (of Israel) who had no relationship with God, the Lord. Much to think on here for ourselves and who we turn to and depend upon. Where are we with our relationship with God? You with your relationship with God? Me with my relationship with God?