0 An angel kills 185,000 sleeping soldiers (2 Kings 18-20)

Episode 154: An angel kills 185,000 sleeping soldiers

(2 Kings 18-20)

Hezekiah, the best king of Judah

18 1 Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, became king of Judah when he was twenty-five years old. 3 He did what was right in God's eyes, just like his ancestor David. 4 He removed the high places, broke images, cut down groves, and broke into pieces the brass serpent that Moses made. 5 He was the best king that Judah ever had. 9 But in the fourth year of Hezekiah's reign in Judah, Assyria attacked Samaria. 10 A few years later, the Assyrians conquered Samaria, captured all of Israel and took them captive back to Assyria. 12 This all happened because Israel didn't obey God.

The Assyrians invade Judah

14 Hezekiah sent a message to Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, saying,

I'm sorry for offending you. I'll pay you whatever you want.

Sennacherib told him to pay 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold.

15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver in God's house, along with the gold from the doors of God's temple.

18 The king of Assyria sent messengers to Hezekiah, who said to him,

19 This is what the king of Assyria says:

You can't trust your god.

25 He told me to destroy your land.

27 You’ll soon be eating your own dung and drinking your own piss.

Messages between God, Hezekiah, Sennacherib, and Isaiah

19 1 When King Hezekiah heard about the threats from Sennacherib, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into God's house.

2-3 He sent Eliakim, Shebna, and the elders, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah. When they arrived, they said to Isaiah,

The king of Assyria has insulted God and attacked us.

4 King Hezekiah would like you to pray for us.

6 Isaiah said to them,

Tell Hezekiah that this is what God says:

Don't be afraid of the king of Assyria who has blasphemed me.

7 I'll blast him and cause him to die by the sword.

9 Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah saying,

10 Don't let your god fool you when he says he'll protect Jerusalem from me.

10 You've heard how I've destroyed other lands. I'll do the same to yours.

14 When Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers, he read it and then spread it out in front of God.

15 Hezekiah said to God,

You are the god of all the kingdoms of the earth.

19 Help us fight against King Sennacherib.

20 Isaiah said to Hezekiah,

This is what God says to you:

I heard what you said about King Sennacherib.

This is what God says to him:

The virgin daughter of Zion despises you, and laughs at you, and shakes her head at you.

22 Who are you blaspheming?

24 I've dug wells and drank from them.

I dried up rivers with my bare feet.

25 I helped you destroy cities.

28 But now you rage against me and your noise has reached my ears, so I'll put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your lips.

32 This is what God says to Hezekiah about Sennacherib,

He won't come into Jerusalem or shoot an arrow there.

34 I will defend Jerusalem for my own sake and for David's.

An angel of God kills 185,000 sleeping soldiers

35 And that night, an angel of God came into the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers.

When they woke up early the next morning, they were all dead

Sennacherib is killed by his sons

36-37 Sennacherib returned to Nineveh and was killed by his sons while he was praying in the house of his god, Nisroch.

Hezekiah is cured with a lump of figs

20 1 Hezekiah was deathly ill. Isaiah came to him and said, “God says you're going to die.”

2 Hezekiah prayed to God, saying, “Remember how good I've been.”

And he wept.

4 Then the word of God came to Isaiah and said,

5 Tell Hezekiah that I've heard his prayer and seen his tears.

I'll heal him in three days and add fifteen years to his life.

6 And I'll protect Jerusalem from Assyrian attacks.

7 Isaiah said to the Hezekiah's servants, “Take a lump of figs.”

And they put some figs on Hezekiah's boil, and he recovered.

God makes a shadow go backwards

8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What will be the sign that God will heal me?”

9 Isaiah said,

This is the sign that God will cure you: Will the sun's shadow go back or forward ten degrees?

10 Hezekiah said to Isaiah,

The sun usually goes forward. So ask God to make it go backward ten degrees.

11 Isaiah cried out to God. And God brought the shadow back ten degrees.

21 When Hezekiah died, his son Manasseh became king.

A few more words about this episode

Hezekiah broke into pieces the brass serpent that Moses made. (18:4)
This was, according to this verse, a good thing. But it was God who told Moses to make the brass serpent in Numbers to cure the people who were bit by the serpents that God sent to bite them for complaining about the lack of food and water. (Numbers 21:5-7, Episode 63)
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