Reign of Hosen Over Israel & Jerusalem from Hezekiah to the Destruction in 586 B.C. and

I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, it’s not like they haven’t seen Your power and love, let alone know about the Holy Ghost. 

Just like today, idiots are still walking around – I used to be one of them – but we have something those people didn’t have, we have 1 Jesus Christ and the 2 Holy Ghost with us always.

Hezekiah, at the age of 25, began to reign and he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.  He did what was right in the eyes of God. 

This creation is a combination of the crucifixion and the Nehushtan of Moses (the bronze serpent), taken at the top of Mt. Nebo, from whence Moses viewed the Promised Land before passing away.

He removed the high places, broke the images, cut down the groves, broke up the brazen serpent that Moses had made because the people used it as a incense burner, and called it Nehushtan.

“He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.

And the Lord was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.

He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city” (2 Kgs 18:5-8).

King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked Samaria and at the end of three years Samaria lost so the king captured the people of Israel and placed them in Halah, in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.  The people didn’t obey God so when they cried out to Him 3 He didn’t hear.

“Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.

And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.

And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house.

Sennacherib was king of Assyria when Hezekiah the Judean revolt against Assyria.

In response, Sennacherib led his armies to Judah.

He first destroyed all of the fortified cities west of Jerusalem before attempting to siege Jerusalem.

The most famous battle was the siege of Lachish.

At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field.

And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.

And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?

Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?

Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.

But if ye say unto me, We trust in the Lord our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?

Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.

How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

Am I now come up without the Lord against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

Lachish was an ancient Near East town located at the site of modern Tell ed-Duweir in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime plain of Philista (Josh 10:3, 5, 12:11).

The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakisa.

According to the Bible, the Israelites captured and destroyed Lachish for joining the league against the Gibeonites (Josh 10:31-33), but its territory was later assigned to the tribe of Judah and became a part of the Kingdom of Israel.

Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.

But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:

Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:

Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:

Isaiah is a major prophet who is considered the greatest prophet of all time.

At the time he entered Israel’s history, the second half of the 8th century B.C., the Kingdom of Judah had been recently attacked by the Assyrian.

Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The Lord will deliver us.

Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?

Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?

But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not.

Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh” (2 Kgs 18:13-37).

“And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD” (2 Kgs 19:1).

He sent the household Eliakim, the scribe Shebna, and the elders in sackcloth to the Prophet Isaiah.

“And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.

It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left” (2 Kgs 19:3-4).

Archaelogists have found the oldest known human ancestors in Ethiopia.

Originally called Abyssinia, Ethopia is sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest state, and its Solomonic dynasty claims descent from King Menelik I, traditionally believed to have been the son of the queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

After the servants found Isaiah he said to them,

“Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.

And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying,

Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered?

Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar?

Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah? (2 Kgs 19:6-13).

When Hezekiah received the letter from the messenger he took it into the house of the Lord and prayed,

Nineveh as seen from the Tigris river today.

Today no longer found only ruins of the city, built of massive stone dating from 700 B.C.

The city was heavily exploited in recent times by archaeologists.

City walls were supplied 15 crossing gates monumental that works as the control points at the exit and entrance of the city.

Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.

Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.

Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,

And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.

Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only.

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.

This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.

By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel.

I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places.

Ancient Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was the home of a people with a terrible reputation for viciousness and cruelty, especially to conquered rulers who rebelled against their power and authority.

However, they were in reality no more or less cruel than other peoples throughout history.

Jonah (the one in the story with the whale) hate the people of Nineveh, he hated them so much he argued with God, praying that He destory them.

You will read about this in the book of Janah.

Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.

Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the house tops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.

Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.

And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof.

And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.

Nisroch is the Assyrian god of agriculture, in whose temple king Sennacherib was worshiping when he was assassinated by his own sons in revenge for the destruction of Babylon.

Josephus calls him Dagon.

His identification as a god in Mesopotamia is unclear.

Some suggest he could be the same as Nusku or Dagon.

Hebrew Legend

In the Midrash, “Nisroch” is actually said to be derived from the Hebrew word “neser.”

Neser was the name given to a plank of wood discovered by Sennacherib on his return to Assyria from his campaign in Judah.

The sages write that this plank was originally part of Noah’s Ark, and that Sennacherib worshiped it as an idol.

It would therefore be concluded that it was this idol that Sennacherib was worshiping when he was murdered by his two sons.

Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.

By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord.

For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead” (2 Kgs 19:15-37).

1 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21).

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Rom 1:16-17).

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, buy by me (Jn 14:1 & 6).

2  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (Jn 14:25-26).

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom 8:9).

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2).

3 “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear (Is 59:1-2).

 

Jerusalem from Hezekiah
to the Destruction in 586 B.C.

The Western Wall Tunnel is an underground tunnel exposing the full length of the Western Wall.

The tunnel is adjacent to the Western Wall and is located under buildings of the Old City of Jerusalem.

While the open-air portion of the Western Wall is approximately 60 meters (200 ft) long, the majority of its original length is hidden underground.

The tunnel allows access to an additional 485 meters (1,591 ft) of the wall.

Recent archaeological excavations have confirmed a western expansion of Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah (715-687 B.C.).

Archaeologists speculate that a population influx, in part of Israelite refugees fleeing the Assyrian invasion, made the expansion necessary. Clear evidence indicates the southwestern hill was now incorporated into Jerusalem’s defenses.

A segment of a “broad wall” 65 meters long and 7 meters wide, south of the Transversal Valley, had been unearthed by Naham Avigad.  Avigad attributed the wall to Hezekiah, who “counted the houses of Jerusalem, and…broke down the houses to fortify the wall” (Is 22:10). 

Indeed, Hezekiah’s wall was built on top of the foundations of houses visible under the outer edge of Avigad’s wall.

This massive wall, made to withstand Assyrian siege tactics, enclosed the western hill; its line apparently turned south above the Hinnom Valley and continued southward, joining the City of David’s fortifications near the juncture of the Hinnom and Kidron Valleys.

The Siloam Pool has long been considered a sacred Christian site, even if the correct identification of the site itself was uncertain. According to the Gospel of John, it was at the Siloam Pool where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1–11).

Traditionally, the Christian site of the Siloam Pool was the pool and church that were built by the Byzantine empress Eudocia (c. 400–460 A.D.) to commemorate the miracle recounted in the New Testament. However, the exact location of the original pool as it existed during the time of Jesus remained a mystery until June 2004.

The “broad wall” enclosed an additional 90 acres of land, making the total fortified area of Jerusalem approximately 150 acres. The area taken in included the mishneh – “Second Quarter,” where the prophet Huldah lived (2 Kgs 22:14) – and the maktesh (the Mortar), probably a reference to the depression between the western and eastern slope (Zech 1:11).  Population estimates for the city at this time range from 15,000 to 25,000.

Hezekiah’s Water Tunnel
A 1750-foot (530m) tunnel carved during the reign of Hezekiah to bring water from one side of the city to the other, Hezekiah’s Tunnel together with the 6th c. tunnel of Euphalios in Greece are considered the greatest works of water engineering technology in the pre-Classical period.

Had it followed a straight line, the length would have been 1070 ft (335m) or 40% shorter.

The Water Systems

By about 700 B.C. Jerusalem benefited from three water systems.  In addition to Warren’s Shaft, which gave vertical access to the Gihon Spring, two other systems channeled the water of the spring to various parts of the city.

The Siloam Channel extends four hundred meters from the Gihon Spring southward to a pool at the southern end of the eastern ridge.  The channel lies outside the protective walls of the city.  

It was composed of both a narrow tunnel and a covered channel capped by stone.  The channel not only brought water to a reservoir, but was used as an irrigation system as well.  Apertures in the east side of the channel could be opened to water fields located in the Kidron Valley.

Hezekiah’s most impressive engineering feat was a tunnel excavated through the eastern ridge and was used to bring the waters of the Gihon Spring inside Jerusalem.  

Two teams of workmen starting from opposite sides carved a 533-meter-long tunnel through the southeastern hill.  The tunnel emerges in the southern Tyropoeon Valley and empties into the Pool of Siloam.  

An overflow channel continues southward from the pool.  This system gave Jerusalem a protected water supply in times of siege, an expedient measure taken by Hezekiah as he steered Judah along a course of independence against Assyrian control (Is 22:10-11; 2 Kgs 20:20; 2 Chr 32:34).

Jerusalem in the Last Years of the Monarchy

Remarkable finds illuminating Jerusalem between about 700 to 587 B.C. come from the east slope of the southeastern ridge. A series of terraces descending along the slope supported numerous public and domestic structures clinging to the slope. 

House of Ahiel
The stairs to access the roof of the House of Ahiel can be seen on the left in this photo.

(Photo from 2007, with the back right pillar leaning in the corner.)

Some are large stone buildings (ashlar masonry) that probably served some public function.  Other structures were more modest private dwellings patterned after a typical four-room plan known from other sites.

The “House of Ahiel,” so-called because of a name found in the ruins, is more typical of these dwellings. Narrow alleyways and steps interconnected the various units along the slope.

One partially excavated building yielded 51 clay sealings called bullae used as seals on documents.  The bullae mention names including two that may have biblical connections.

One bulla mentions Gemariah ben Shaphan, possibly the royal official mentioned several times in Jeremiah (36:9-12, 25-26).  Azariah ben Hilkiah is mentioned on another bulla, likely a priest named in priestly genealogical lists (1 Chr 9:10-11; cf. Ezra 7:1).

Additional finds from the houses of the eastern slope include weights, zoomorphic figurines, fragments of carved wood, and fertility figurines. The latter testify to the pagan worship practices tolerated and promoted by Manasseh and other Judean kings.

Prophetic warnings failed to root out these practices that brought God’s judgment upon the city when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, sacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Archaeologists have found abundant evidence in many excavated areas of the city of the final assault inflicted upon Jerusalem and the conflagration that consumed parts of the city. After 586 b.c. Jerusalem languished in ruins until exiles began the long process of rebuilding in the post-exilic period.

The Siege of Jerusalem

While besieging Libnah and Lachish, Sennacherib sent a high military officer – the Rabshakeh – to Jerusalem to demand the surrender of the city. The Assyrian forces surrounded the city and built an earthen embarkment around it to prevent any escape.

Sennacherib boasted that he made Hezekiah a prisoner in Jerusalem “like a bird in a cage.”  At some point, an Egyptian force led by Tirhakah intervened in response to Hezekiah’s desperate appeals, but Sennacherib defeated the expedition near Eltekeh.

The Taylor Prism in the British Museum tells how Sennacherib “shut up Hezekiah like a bird in a cage” (2 Kgs 18:17).

Each record mentions that Hezekiah paid Sennacherib 30 talents of gold.

The Rabshakeh taunted the Jerusalem citizenry for relying on Egypt, “that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it” (2 Kgs 18:21).  The situation appeared hopeless, and Hezekiah, cut off from all help, despaired for the city. 

Isaiah encouraged the king and gave assurance to Hezekiah that Jerusalem would not fall. Subsequently, in a miraculous intervention, the besieging Assyrian army lost 185,000 men, and the siege was lifted (2 Kgs 19:35-36). 

Actually, it wasn’t miraculous since it was the work of God.

An interesting incident reported by the Greek historian Herodotus recalls that the Assyrian army met defeat near Pelusium when a plague of mice stripped the weapons of the Assyrian troops.

What, if any, relationship exists between the two accounts of an Assyrian defeat in the southern Levant cannot be determined for certain.  Nonetheless, Jerusalem was spared destruction although Hezekiah paid a great price for his rebellion.  In addition to the destruction of numerous Judean cities.  Hezekiah paid a large tribute to Sennacherib and lost control of Philistine territory previously under his control.