II Kings 19:1-23:35
We are in the Nation Stream reading from the New Century Version.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
19 – King Hezekiah is holed up in Jerusalem. It’s the very latter 700’s B.C. [about 702-701 b.c.] Israel to the north was overrun by Assyrians roughly 20 years prior. Now the south has been attacked. Cities have been lost to Assyria. A threatening message has just been sent to Hez. He is quite unpopular by now. All Hebrews are frightened for their lives. No one knows what to do. The Prophet Isaiah is his close confidant; and a great comfort to Hezekiah and Isaiah sends a powerful and accurate word. Hezekiah also goes into the Temple and “lays it all out” before the Lord. This is a maniacal-level-crisis for this nation that it looks like is on the verge of extinction. Was God’s blessing and plan only for a 700 year period? [or a 1300 year period – if we count back to Abraham?]. God answers Hez. first through this letter from Isaiah, and then straight up to Hez. himself. It’s Pulitzer Prize level literature that all of us are to take to heart about how God protects, and especially protects those who call on Him. That night one of the mightiest deeds of all time occurs as God sends His angel through the Assyrian camp, kills all 185,000 of them. At dawn, the Assyrian King rose and his army is just as dead as all the rocks around them. King Sennacherib goes home to Nineveh and gets assassinated by his own sons.
20 – Hezekiah gets ill. Kind of a strange phenomenon that is less rare than we wish it was: a calamity follows a victory. The crisis, the prayer, the interaction with Isaiah, the remedy, the healing and the proof of it all is intriguing. Hezekiah is granted 15 more years. Later envoys from Babylon come and visit Hezekiah claiming they heard Hezekiah was sick. Maybe he was hoping for an alliance with Babylon. Think: does he need an alliance with a pagan country when he has The Almighty pulling for him at the price of a prayer? Hezekiah was old and not thinking too clearly as he “plays chum” with these strangers and shows them all the treasures in his palace. We have to ask, “for heaven’s sake, why??” Isaiah appears and rebukes Hez. for this and declares that those people will come back someday and strip this place. It happened some 11+1/2 decades later, yes, but that is no consolation. Hez. did a dumb stunt. BTW, The story of King Hezekiah, a good king for the most part, is further told in II Chron. 29-32. He dies at the end of II Kings 20 and Manasseh, his son takes the throne at 12! Prepare yourself for the rule of a rascal. Judah would have been better off with a psychotic badger running the show.
21 – This chapter is about two kings who were evil, really evil, like we read in Genesis 6 –>why God has to destroy the world. They were only evil all the time. Manasseh rules 55 years and Amon rules for two years. They were pagan and severely so. They both seemed frantic to reverse any and all spiritual progress that was made during their father and grandfather Hezekiah. Their deeds are sickening to even mention; lude, murderous; mass-murderous at that, and diabolically dark. They sneered with delight at they sacrificed children to satanic gods…and they did it IN Jerusalem. OK, we’ll stop there. It’s too yicky to go on. King Josiah then comes to the throne as an 8-year-old.
22 – Josiah rules from 8 years of age to 39 years of age. His story is also in II Chron. 34-35. If anyone is wondering why the semi-parallel, I’ll put this in today’s terms: Kings is the NY Post and Chronicles is the Wall Street Journal. Or for west coasters: Kings is the L.A. Times and Chronicles is the Orange Country Register. They may tell the same story of the same era and person but Kings is “more gore” and less focused on Spiritual virtue, while Chronicles looks for the redemption in everything. OK, Josiah occupies II Kings 22 & 23 He becomes king at 8, starts to seek the Lord at 16, the reforms began when he was 20. It was a massive task attempting to reverse the ghoulish reigns of two beastly kings that almost spanned three generations. The Temple repairs were overdue, and they commenced. The Book of the Law [long neglected] was found when Josiah was 26. The anguish of having it read aloud was because it was stark reminder of how far they had fallen from grace and God and goodness. Josiah was in the right. The Judeans were more nonplused by it all for idolatry was all most of them had ever personally known. Josiah’s reforms were the greatest to date, however they only served to slow the inevitable of a people who were ‘gone from God’ at the core. Josiah, therefore would not see the destruction of Jerusalem. His life would take us to within about 20-25 years of the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C.
23 – Josiah leads a reform pledge with “The Bible” in front of them and all are required to be present and pledge allegiance. Then Josiah goes on a spree destroying every pagan relic, altar, temple, artifact and art itself in effort to clean up the land of all false gods. And there was work to do, good heavens there were alot of wrong things built in Judah and Samaria during the bad kings; Manasseh and Amon. Josiah was a monumental king who served God with all his heart, soul, and strength. Josiah’s error was going out east to face off with Neco of Egypt and getting involved in a battle that was not his to fight got him killed prematurely when they “collided” at Megiddo. The aftermath was dismal as Josiah’s son Jehoahaz is anointed king. He turns evil like so many of the kings did. He’s captured by Neco who then issues a stiff tax on the Hebrews. Neco puts Eliakim [Jehohaz’ brother] in charge. He pays the fat tax bill – at everyone’s expense, while Jehoahaz is taken to Egypt to die. Yeesh, this ungodliness never pays.