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Fireheart 1945


"Defend your clan, even with your life." - Warrior code, Warrior cats novel series

More Blog Posts222

  • 1 week
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  • 2 weeks
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  • 4 weeks
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  • 4 weeks
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  • 6 weeks
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May
21st
2020

The Assyrian Invasion of Judah and its implications · 8:11pm May 21st

In 2 Kings 18-19, 2 Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 36-37, King Sennacherib of Assyrian invades Judah. Given that King Hezekiah of Judah had rebelled and stopped paying tribute (2 Kings 18:7), this was not surprising; the Assyrians were brutal in dealing with rebelling peoples, dealing cruelly with war captives and deporting rebellious nations in an effort to kill future rebellion and destroy their national identity. It may be that Hezekiah rebelled, at least in part if not in whole, because vassalship to Assyria required recognition of Assyrian deities, which Hezekiah could not do (Zondervan NASB Study Bible, note on 2 Kings 18:7, pg. 531).

Sennacherib's invasion was effective; he conquered, according to his own account, 46 fortified cities along with numerous unprotected villages, as well as deporting 200,150 people. In addition, most of the other rebelling nations in the area were either conquered or accepted Assyrian vassalship, and an Egyptian army was defeated at Eltekeh.

As Sennacherib was personally laying siege to Lachish, Hezekiah sent a submissive message and promised to give the Assyrians tribute (2 Kings 14). Sennacherib imposed a major payment upon Hezekiah, who paid the money demanded of him (2 Kings 14-16). However, the Assyrians treacherously continued their siege of Lachish, basically taking the money and running with it.

Furthermore, the Assyrian king sent three of his officials to meet with those of Hezekiah at Jerusalem. The Assyrian general sent as part of the parley team mocked Hezekiah, his hopes for Egyptian relief... and his reliance on the LORD God (2 Kings 18:19-25). When the party sent to the Assyrians ask for them to speak in Aramaic, so that the people on the wall cannot understand the conversation, the Assyrians refuse and begin another propaganda bombardment (2 Kings 18:27-35). He attempts to stir up a rebellion against Hezekiah, calling on the people not to follow him or the LORD God, and claims that if they listen, they'll be allowed to remain peacefully in the land until deported to a land like their own. He also claims that none of the gods of other nations was able to stop Assyria, so what chance did Judah stand? If the Assyrian plan was to stir up a revolt, it failed (2 Kings 18:36). Their clothes torn (v. 37) in grief, the Judean party return to Hezekiah and report what the Assyrians have said.

Hezekiah tears his own clothes, puts on sackcloth, and goes into the temple of the LORD (19:1). He tells a group of leaders to go and ask of the prophet Isaiah (19:2-5). God answers through Isaiah that Hezekiah should not fear the Assyrians, and that He, the LORD, will bring judgment upon them (v. 6-7).

The Assyrians go back to their king, who has left Lachish and is besieging Libnah (v. 8). When they hear of an Egyptian/Cushite army coming to fight them (v. 9), Sennacherib sends another message to Hezekiah. It is similar to the one delivered by his general, but addresses Hezekiah personally, telling him that God is deceiving him (v. 10), and again reminding him that the gods of other nations failed to stop his army (v. 11-13).

Hezekiah again goes into the temple of the LORD, and brings the letter sent by Sennacherib. He spreads it out before the LORD before praying (v. 14), praising God (v. 15) and asking Him to see the insults against His name (v. 16). Hezekiah admits that the Assyrians have indeed destroyed all the nations that they had mentioned (v. 17), but that's because the gods of those nations were no-gods; non-existent, of course they had no power to save their people (v. 18). He ends the prayer by asking God to deliver the nation out of the hand of Assyria, for God's own sake (v. 19).

God's response was spectacular. God ridiculed the pride of the Assyrian king, who claimed to be master of all he had conquered (even claiming to have dried up the waters of Egypt despite not even conquering it, v. 24) (v. 23-24.) God revealed that He was the one who had, long ago, decreed the Assyrian conquest of the cities they had destroyed, so naturally the conquered could not repulse them (v. 25-26). Using images of the Assyrians' own cruelty, God promised that he would force Sennacherib to return to Assyria (v. 27-28). In addition, God said He would provide for His people and that a remnant of them would survive (v. 29-31) before promising that Sennacherib's army would not even shoot a single arrow at the city and that God Himself would defend Jerusalem (v. 32- 34).

Furthermore, God sent an angel to destroy the Assyrian army. 185,000 soldiers died (v. 35) from the angel's actions. Sennacherib returned to his own land, where about 20 years later, when he was worshiping his own god, he was assassinated by his own sons, who then fled north (v. 36-37). The story thus ends on an ironic note; to quote one of my Study Bibles (note on Isaiah 37:36-38, pg. 1306), Hezekiah went into the temple of his God and was saved; Sennacherib went into the temple of his false god and was assassinated.

The God of the universe, who made all things seen and unseen, can overcome any obstacle, any challenge, that we face. There is no problem He cannot overcome; He made all of existence, it's all in His power. For those with saving faith, sometimes we have to realize that a situation is entirely out of our hands and that God is the only one who can overturn our problem(s). Sometimes we have to wait, even if we think there's no time; after all, Hezekiah had to wait after initially going to the temple, during which time the Assyrians threatened him again (2 Kings 19:9-13). However, God WILL act in His good time, and the results will speak for the Creator who made them happen.

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