Journey Through The Scriptures
Lesson 5: Assyria’s Defeat, Hezekiah’s Illness
(Scripture to Read: Isaiah 36:1–39:8)
This historical section of Isaiah records the events of which the prophet had spoken so frequently. The approach of the Assyrian officers to the gates of Jerusalem, and their boastful challenge to Hezekiah and the people of Judah, is a classic example of intimidation. From a human standpoint, these were not idle threats. The Assyrians had already conquered dozens of cities in Judah, and there seemed to be no one who was able to stop them. The Assyrian commander knew where to insert his jabs. He made fun of the ability of Judah’s army to put up a fight, he ridiculed their dependence on Egypt, and he even intimated that the fall of Jerusalem to his army was God’s will (36:8–10).
Hezekiah certainly did the right thing, seeking God in sackcloth as evidence of his distress and humility. And since in the end, Assyria’s defiance was really an attack on Israel’s God, the Lord answered His people’s prayers in miraculous fashion. He carried out a slaughter of the Assyrian army without any human assistance (37:36–38)—even down to the untimely death of Sennacherib. Hezekiah again turned to prayer when he fell terminally ill, and God sent Isaiah to the king with the welcome news of his added years of life. Hezekiah’s foolishness and pride in showing his treasures to a delegation from Babylon became the setting for a prophecy of Judah’s future conquest by Babylon and exile (39:5–7).
- Why did the Assyrian commander refuse the request to speak to Hezekiah’s officials in Aramaic instead of Hebrew?
- Who was most offended by the taunts and threats of the Assyrian leaders (37:4–6)?
- Why did God’s message to Hezekiah concerning his recovery mention Hezekiah’s ancestor David?
- Why do you think Hezekiah was so eager to show his treasure to his Babylonian visitors?
Something to Think About
God’s statement to Hezekiah, “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears” (38:5) is a wonderful reminder that God hears and answers our prayers. He is attentive to our concerns and compassionate, moved by our tears. And best of all, He has the power to meet any need.