Historical Transition from the Assyrian Threat to the Babylonian Exile

Isaiah 36 – The Siege Of Jerusalem By Sennacherib And The Assyrian Army
Isaiah 37 – The Lord’s Deliverance Of Jerusalem
Isaiah 38 – The Lord’s Extension Of Hezekiah’s Life
Isaiah 39 – The Babylonian Exile Predicted

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One Reply to “Historical Transition from the Assyrian Threat to the Babylonian Exile”

  1. Some contextual notes from the NIV Study Bible are helpful here: Much of chapters 36-39 is paralleled in 2 Kings 18:13-20:19); chapters 36-37 describe the fulfillment of many predictions about Assyria’s collapse, while chapters 38-39 point toward the Babylonian context of chapters 40-66.

    Sennacherib taunted Hezekiah when he invaded Judah (2 Chronicles 32) “and the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting me…so he withdrew to his own land in disgrace” (32:20-21). Here in Isaiah, we read more details of this dramatic scene. Hezekiah chooses the most excellent path and puts the problem before the Lord, something we should all learn from:

    Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over al the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God…Now Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.” Isaiah 37:14-20

    The Lord is not one to be taunted. He hears the sincere request from Hezekiah and assures him the King of Assyria will not prevail, “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here…I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!” (37:33-35). The Lord sent an angel and 185,000 Assyrians were killed. The Assyrian king got the message and left…went to Ninevah only to be killed by his sons there.

    Later on, Hezekiah is approaching death as the result of some sickness, so Isaiah tells him the Lord says, “put your house in order” (38:1)…a nice way of saying, you’re about to die. Hezekiah weeps bitterly and cries out to the Lord…and is allowed to live 15 more years. The Lord chooses to show his commitment with a sign that is quite controversial.

    This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. Isaiah 38:7

    Whether an optical illusion or some miracle, the Lord protected Hezekiah and his people at this time and for his purpose.

    But Hezekiah showed his weakness when the king of Babylon’s envoy arrived. Hezekiah “showed them what was in his storehouses–the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil–his entire armory and everything found among his treasure” (39:2).  Foolishly, Hezekiah choose to rely on a human treaty with Babylon to defend against Assyria. Isaiah heard about the incident and responded with a word from the Lord, “the time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord” (39:6). Great job Hezekiah! Now you’ve really blown it!! His reply is confusing: “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good…there will be peace and security in my lifetime” (39:8). Old and confused, Hezekiah misses the point. Sad.

    Lord, may I always seek you first when troubles arise. Remind me to lay before you whatever problems reveal themselves and trust you, whatever your answer may be.

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