2 Chronicles 32

1After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.

2And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,

3He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.

4So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?

5Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.

6And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying,

7Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:

8With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

9After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying,

10Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem?

11Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

12Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it?

13Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? were the gods of the nations of those lands any ways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand?

14Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand?

15Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?

16And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah.

17He wrote also letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand.

18Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city.

19And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.

20And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.

21And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.

22Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.

23And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.

24In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.

25But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

26Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

27And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;

28Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.

29Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much.

30This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.

31Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

32Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.

33And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

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The first thing Hezekiah did when he learned of the pending attack from the king of Assyria was he took counsel with his princes and mighty men. Hezekiah knew “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Pr.11:14) and that “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” (Pr.15:22) The next thing Hezekiah did was strengthen himself and built up the wall of the city and made arms for his people. “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Pr.24:5-6)

After setting captains of war over the people and gathering them together, he encouraged them to “Be strong and courageous, be not dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” Hezekiah knew what the LORD had said to Jeremiah, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” (Jer.15:5-7)

We, in our flesh, oftentimes forget that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph.6:12) We forget that just because we cannot see the heavenly host round about us doesn’t mean it’s not there (see 2Ki.6:14-17). We have a tendency to look at the odds without taking into consideration that one man with God is more than multitudes of men without God. We need to remember, as Hezekiah, that “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Pr.16:7)

After this the king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem to gainsay the encouraging words of Hezekiah. Verses 10-19 record their words and tactics to weaken the people whom Hezekiah had strengthened. They spoke against God, making him to be no greater than the gods of any of the other nations that the king of Assyria had destroyed. They painted Hezekiah as a foolish leader who vainly trusted in God to deliver them. “Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria?” (2Ch.32:11) This is a classic, if not the classic, device of the devil — casting doubt upon the word of God. Remember how the devil tricked Eve into partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: “Yea, hath God said…?” Asking questions that cast doubt upon the word of God is easy to do and it’s a powerful device of the devil because it caters to the natural tendency of man to reject the things of the Spirit of God as so much foolishness. (1Co.2:14)

The Assyrian king’s servants also asserted that Hezekiah had removed the high places of God, when it was the high places of idolatry that Hezekiah had removed. (2Ch.32:12 c/w 2Ch.31:1) This is another common device of the devil — to persuade men that all religion is equally valid, that mixing the worship of idols with the worship of God is a good thing, that it is better that worshipping God should be easy rather than hard, etc. Hezekiah had restored the due order of worship and sacrifice to God (which things go hand in hand) which meant that the people must worship before the altar in Jerusalem rather than in all the groves and high places scattered throughout the land (that Hezekiah had destroyed). The point is that while Hezekiah had done well in destroying the high places of idolatry, the servants of the king of Assyria painted a different picture, one in which Hezekiah looked like an intolerant zealot who was destroying God’s places of worship.

Furthermore they reminded the people of how powerful the king of Assyria was and how many nations he had destroyed and how the gods of those nations failed to deliver them. “How much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?” (2Ch.32:15) The Assyrian king launched an all out campaign to scare the Lord’s people, even writing “letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him…” (2Ch.32:17) All this served to frighten the people into submission so they could take the city.

These things sound very familiar. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecc.1:9) Yes, these same things happen today in civil governments of all kinds. It should be no surprise to us, for it is the same principalities and powers at work today that were at work in the days of good king Hezekiah. Let us rest upon his encouraging words as the people did in his day: “Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.” (2Chr.32:7-8)