Hezekiah's Strengths and Weaknesses

Categories: Putting God First

The Bible stories about Hezekiah show that he had both strengths and weaknesses. See how many you can find in the following list of information about Hezekiah. Then select what you consider to be the ten most important parts of his life and explain why.

Hezekiah

  • Hezekiah was the son of King Ahaz and Abijah, who was the daughter of the prophet Zechariah.
  • He was 25 years old when he inherited the throne, and he reigned in Jerusalem for 29 years, from about 715 to 687 BCE.
  • Hezekiah was one of four godly kings of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The other good kings were Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah.
  • King Hezekiah of Judah was a friend of the prophet, Isaiah.
  • In his first month in office, Hezekiah opened the temple gates (his father had closed them, thereby stopping all temple activities), meaning that, once again, the people had access to God.
  • He called the priests and Levites and ordered them to purify the defiled temple, to begin repairs on the temple, and to remove all the idols from the sanctuary.
  • It took them 16 days just to clean up the temple.
  • When the idols were removed, Hezekiah restored proper sacrifice and worship, according to the rule prescribed by David. (II Chron. sees Hezekiah as the reformer par excellence - a character like David and Solomon.)
  • Hezekiah is credited with reinstituting proper worship (including reinstatement of the Levitical musicians) and rededicating the temple, overturning many years of abuse by kings "who did evil in the eyes of the Lord" (including his own father, Ahaz).
  • Many of the north were ritually impure, but Hezekiah prayed that the "Lord would pardon all those who set their hearts to seek him."
  • The Lord's favorable response and the resultant healing of the community struck a blow against inflexible legalism.
  • Hezekiah himself had broken into pieces the "brasen serpent" (bronze snake) Moses had made, recognizing that the people attached superstitious meaning to the relic wilderness story. (See 2 Kings 18:3, 4; Numbers 21:5-9)
  • In the fourteenth year of his reign, Hezekiah's faith was tested by an invasion of the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, who determined to do to Judah what he had done in the north. He began by capturing all the fortified cities.
  • Hezekiah offered the king a bargain. He admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay a tribute if only Sennacherib would withdraw. Sennacherib demanded "three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold." At least part of this gold came from the temple, where it was removed from the doors and pillars. (See 2 Kings 18:14-16)
  • Despite the tribute of silver and gold, the Assyrians laid siege to‚Ä®Jerusalem and the surrounding cities. The Assyrian commander taunted Hezekiah for the mounting desertions in his army and mocked the people for depending on God, whom he accused of being impotent.
  • Upon hearing the commander's words, Hezekiah turned to the prophet, Isaiah. Isaiah told him God would deliver them.
  • The commander repeated his taunts through letters. Hezekiah took these to the temple and laid them out before Yahweh and prayed directly (See 2 Kings 15-19). Isaiah sent word to him that God had heard his prayers. Isaiah's prophecy included a lengthy response to Sennacherib and Hezekiah, including the prophecy of a remnant. (See 2 Kings 20-34)
  • Thanks to the prayers of Hezekiah, Isaiah, and the Hebrew people, Jerusalem was delivered.
  • Under the rocky ground of Jerusalem, there is a 1749-foot tunnel known as "Hezekiah's tunnel." Tourists in Jerusalem enjoy walking single file through the dark tunnel built to conduct water from the Gihon spring to the pool of Siloam. The tunnel was cleared in 1910.
  • Hebrew writing was found inside Hezekiah's tunnel. Known as the Siloam inscription, the rock with this writing on it is now in the Museum of the Ancient Orient at Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Sometime after Jerusalem's deliverance from Sennacherib's army, Hezekiah became very ill. The prophet Isaiah had the task of informing Hezekiah that he should set his "house in order" for he would die.
  • Once again, Hezekiah prayed to God for help. God responded immediately and Isaiah was sent to relay the good news. Hezekiah asked for a sign that would modify the order of creation by shortening the shadow on the sundial - essentially turning back time.
  • The sign was granted and Hezekiah knew he'd recover. Not only was Hezekiah "recovered of his sickness," but also he lived for another 15 years.
  • Upon his recovery, Hezekiah recited a psalm of thanksgiving, according to Isaiah 38:9-20. According to the Anchor Bible, "this is one of the rare instances outside the Psalter where a personality other than David is the author of a psalm."
  • After Hezekiah was recovered from his sickness, he was "flattered by Babylon's suggestion of an alliance against Assyria." Hezekiah welcomed the Babylonian ambassadors and "proudly exhibited his treasures." (The Interpreter's Bible in Twelve Volumes, Vol. III, p. 308)
  • The prophet, Isaiah, correctly prophesied that everything in Hezekiah's palace would be carried off to Babylon. (Isaiah 39:1- 6) This sad event occurred during King Zedekiah's reign. (II Kings 24:13)