2 Kings 16–20: Captivity, Prayer & Pride

Read the Bible in 2011Week 30: Tuesday

In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
2 Kings 17:6

Tuesday’s Bible reading is 2 Kings 16–20. These chapters take us through the reigns of Ahaz, king of Judah, and his son, Hezekiah, and the final days of Hoshea, the last king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Chapter 16 is the history of Ahaz, one of the evil kings of Judah. Chapter 17 tells of the Assyrian conquest of Israel and her captivity. The long list of the horror of their sins tells us the why of their judgment by God:

“They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them. They forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him. So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.”
2 Kings 17:15–18

Chapters 18–20 are about the reign of Hezekiah. Quite a lot is written about him in the Bible. His life is also recorded in 2 Chronicles 29–32 and Isaiah 36–39. Hezekiah was a king who had a strong start. He removed the high places and destroyed the idols in Judah.

“He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.”
2 Kings 18:5–6

The assault of the Assyrians on Judah and Hezekiah’s response and prayer is one of the great accounts of trust in God and His deliverance in the Old Testament. I won’t summarize it, because if you have never read this part of the Old Testament you will want to read what happens for yourself.

Chapter 20 is the story God’s healing of Hezekiah’s mortal illness. This chapter also recounts Hezekiah’s pride before an envoy of Babylon (cf. 2 Chronicles 25:32 ff. and Isaiah 39). 2 Chronicles has these sad words:

“But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud;therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.”
2 Chronicles 32:25–26

The prophet Isaiah tells Hezekiah of the coming captivity of Judah by Babylon. The chapter closes with the death of Hezekiah, and his son, Manasseh, becoming the new king.

Israel is a study of flagrant rebellion against God. Hezekiah is a story of a man who began strong and trusted God in the midst of adversity, yet when peace came, so did his pride.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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