2 Chronicles 32
This chapter continues and concludes the history of the reign of
I. The descent which Sennacherib made upon him, and the care he took to
fortify himself, his city, and the minds of his people, against that
2 Chronicles 32:1-8.
II. The insolent blasphemous letters and messages which Sennacherib
2 Chronicles 32:9-19.
III. The real answer God gave to Sennacherib's blasphemies, and to
Hezekiah's prayers, in the total rout of the Assyrian army, to the
shame of Sennacherib and the honour of Hezekiah,
2 Chronicles 32:20-23.
IV. Hezekiah's sickness and his recovery from that, his sin and his
recovery from that, with the honours that attended him living and dead,
2 Chronicles 32:24-33.
|Sennacherib's Invasion; Hezekiah's Patient Confidence.
||B. C. 713.|
1 After 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
2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he
was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
3 He 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.
4 So 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
5 Also 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.
6 And 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,
7 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:
8 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.
I. The formidable design of Sennacherib against Hezekiah's kingdom, and
the vigorous attempt he made upon it. This Sennacherib was now, as
Nebuchadnezzar was afterwards, the terror and scourge and great
oppressor of that part of the world. He aimed to raise a boundless
monarchy for himself upon the ruins of all his neighbours. His
predecessor Shalmaneser had lately made himself master of the kingdom
of Israel, and carried the ten tribes captives. Sennacherib thought, in
like manner, to win Judah for himself. Pride and ambition put men upon
grasping at universal dominion. It is observable that, just about this
time, Rome, a city which afterwards came to reign more than any other
had done over the kings of the earth, was built by Romulus.
Sennacherib invaded Judah immediately after the reformation of it and
the re-establishment of religion in it: After these things he
entered into Judah,
2 Chronicles 32:1.
1. It was well ordered by the divine Providence that he did not give
them this disturbance before the reformation was finished and
established, as it might then have put a stop to it.
2. Perhaps he intended to chastise Hezekiah for destroying that
idolatry to which he himself was devoted. He looked upon Hezekiah as
profane in what he had done, and as having thrown himself out of the
divine protection. He accordingly considered him as one who might
easily be made a prey of.
3. God ordered it at this time that he might have an opportunity of
showing himself strong on the behalf of this returning reforming
people. He brought this trouble upon them that he might have the
honour, and might put on them the honour, of their deliverance.
After these things, and the establishment thereof, one would
have expected to hear of nothing but perfect peace, and that none durst
meddle with a people thus qualified for the divine favour; yet the next
news we hear is that a threatening destroying army enters the country,
and is ready to lay all waste. We may be in the way of our duty and yet
meet with trouble and danger. God orders it so for the trial of our
confidence in him and the manifestation of his care concerning us. The
little opposition which Sennacherib met with in entering Judah induced
him to imagine that all was his own. He thought to win all the
(2 Chronicles 32:1),
and purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
2 Chronicles 32:2.
2 Kings 18:7,13.
II. The preparation which Hezekiah prudently made against this storm
that threatened him: He took counsel with his princes what he
should do, what measures he should take,
2 Chronicles 32:3.
With their advice he provided,
1. That the country should give him a cold reception, for he took care
that he should find no water in it (and then his army must perish for
thirst), or at least that there should be a scarcity of water, by which
his army would be weakened and unfitted for service. A powerful army,
if it want water but a few days, will be but a heap of dry dust. All
hands were set immediately to work to stop up the fountains, and
the brook that ran through the midst of the land, turning that
(it is probable) into the city by pipes under-ground. Such as this is
the policy commonly practised now-a-days of destroying the forage
before an invading army.
2. That the city should give him a warm reception. In order to this he
repaired the wall, raised towers, and made darts (or, as it is in the
margin, swords or weapons) and shields in abundance
(2 Chronicles 32:5),
and appointed captains,
2 Chronicles 32:6.
Note, Those that trust God with their safety must yet use proper means
for their safety, otherwise they tempt him, and do not trust him.
God will provide, but so must we also.
III. The encouragement which he gave to his people to depend upon God
in this distress. He gathered them together in a broad open street, and
spoke comfortably to them,
2 Chronicles 32:6.
He was himself undaunted, being confident the invasion would issue
well. He was not like his father, who had much guilt to terrify him and
no faith to encourage him, so that, in a time of public danger, his
heart was moved, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind,
and then no marvel that the heart of his people was so too,
With what he said he put life into his people, his captains especially,
and spoke to their heart, as the word is.
1. He endeavoured to keep down their fears: "Be strong and
courageous; do not think of surrendering the city or capitulating,
but resolve to hold it out to the last man; do not think of losing the
city, nor of falling into the enemy's hand; there is no danger. Let the
soldiers be bold and brave, make good their posts, stand to their arms,
and fight manfully, and let the citizens encourage them to do so: Be
not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria." The prophet had
thus encouraged them from God
Be not afraid of the Assyrians; and here the king from him. Now
it was that the sinners in Zion were afraid
but the righteous dwelt on high
and meditated on terror so as to conquer it. See
which refers to what is recorded here.
2. He endeavoured to keep up their faith, in order to the silencing and
suppressing of their fears. "Sennacherib has a multitude with
him, and yet there are more with us than with him; for we
have God with us, and how many do you reckon him for? With our enemy is
an arm of flesh, which he trusts to; but with us is the Lord,
whose power is irresistible, our God, whose promise is inviolable, a
God in covenant with us, to help us, and to fight our battles,
not only to help us to fight them, but to fight them for us if he
please:" and so he did here. Note, A believing confidence in God will
raise us above the prevailing fear of man. He that feareth the fury
of the oppressor forgetteth the Lord his Maker,
It is probable that Hezekiah said more to this purport, and that the
people rested themselves upon what he said, not merely upon his word,
but on the things he said concerning the presence of God with them and
his power to relieve them, the belief of which made them easy. Let the
good subjects and soldiers of Jesus Christ rest thus upon his word, and
boldly say, Since God is for us, who can be against us?
|The Destruction of the Assyrians.
||B. C. 713.|
9 After 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,
10 Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust,
that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem?
11 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?
12 Hath 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?
13 Know 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?
14 Who 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
15 Now 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?
16 And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and
against his servant Hezekiah.
17 He 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
18 Then 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.
19 And 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.
20 And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet
Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.
21 And 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.
22 Thus 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.
23 And 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.
This story of the rage and blasphemy of Sennacherib, Hezekiah's prayer,
and the deliverance of Jerusalem by the destruction of the Assyrian
army, we had more at large in the book of Kings,
2 Kings 18:1-19:37
It is contracted here, yet large enough to show these three
I. The impiety and malice of the church's enemies. Sennacherib has his
hands full in besieging Lachish
(2 Chronicles 32:9),
but hears that Hezekiah is fortifying Jerusalem and encouraging his
people to stand it out; and therefore, before he come in person to
besiege it, he sends messengers to make speeches, and he himself writes
letters to frighten Hezekiah and his people into a surrender of the
1. His great malice against the king of Judah, in endeavouring to
withdraw his subjects from their allegiance to him. He did not treat
with Hezekiah as a man of honour would have done, nor propose fair
terms to him, but used mean and base artifices, unbecoming a crowned
head, to terrify the common people and persuade them to desert him. He
represented Hezekiah as one who designed to deceive his subjects into
their ruin and betray them to famine and thirst
(2 Chronicles 32:11),
as one who had done them great wrong and exposed them already to the
divine displeasure by taking away the high places and altars
(2 Chronicles 32:12),
and who, against the common interest of his people, held out against a
force that would certainly be their ruin,
2 Chronicles 32:15.
2. His great impiety against the God of Israel, the God of
Jerusalem he is called
(2 Chronicles 32:19),
because that was the place he had chosen to put his name there, and
because that was the place which was now threatened by the enemy and
which the divine Providence had under its special protection. This
proud blasphemer compared the great Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and
earth, with the dunghill gods of the nations, the work of men's hands,
and thought him no more able to deliver his worshippers than they were
to deliver theirs
(2 Chronicles 32:19),
as if an infinite and eternal Spirit had no more wisdom and power than
a stone or the stock of a tree. He boasted of his triumphs over the
gods of the nations, that they could none of them protect their people
(2 Chronicles 32:13-15),
and thence inferred not only, How shall your God deliver you?
(2 Chronicles 32:14),
but, as if he were inferior to them all, How much less shall your
God deliver you? as if he were less able to help than any of them.
Thus did they rail, rail in writing (which, being more deliberate, is
so much the worse), on the Lord God of Israel, as if he were a
cipher and an empty name, like all the rest,
2 Chronicles 32:17.
Sennacherib, in the instructions he gave, said more than enough; but,
as if his blasphemies had been too little, his servants, who learned
insolence from their master, spoke yet more than he bade them
against the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah,
2 Chronicles 32:16.
And God resents what is said against his servants, and will reckon for
it, as well as what is said against himself. All this was intended to
frighten the people from their hope in God, which David's enemies
sought to take him off from
saying, There is no help for him in God,
Thus they hoped to take the city by weakening the hands of those that
should defend it. Satan, in his temptations, aims to destroy our faith
in God's all-sufficiency, knowing that he shall gain his point if he
can do that; as we keep our ground if our faith fail not,
II. The duty as well as the interest of the church's friends, and that
is in the day of distress to pray and cry to Heaven. So Hezekiah did,
and the prophet Isaiah,
2 Chronicles 32:20.
It was a happy time when the king and the prophet joined thus in
prayer. Is any troubled? Is any terrified? Let him pray. So we engage
God for us; so we encourage ourselves in him. Praying to God is here
called crying to Heaven, because we are, in prayer, to eye him
as our Father in heaven, whence he beholds the children of men, and
where he has prepared his throne.
III. The power and goodness of the church's God. He is able both to
control his enemies, be they ever so high, and to relieve his friends,
be they ever so low.
1. As the blasphemies of his enemies engage him against them
so the prayers of his people engage him for them. They did so here.
(1.) The army of the Assyrians was cut off by the sword of an angel,
which triumphed particularly in the slaughter of the mighty men of
valour, and the leaders and captains, who defied the sword of any man.
God delights to abase the proud and secure. The Targum says, The Word
of the Lord (the eternal Word) sent Gabriel to do this execution, and
that it was done with lightning, and in the passover night: that was
the night in which the angel destroyed the first-born of Egypt. But
that was not all.
(2.) The king of the Assyrians, having received this disgrace, was cut
off by the sword of his own sons. Those that came forth of his own
bowels slew him,
2 Chronicles 32:21.
Thus was he mortified first, and then murdered--shamed first, and then
slain. Evil pursues sinners; and, when they escape one mischief, they
run upon another unseen.
2. By this work of wonder,
(1.) God was glorified, as the protector of his people. Thus he saved
Jerusalem, not only from the hand of Sennacherib, but from the hand
of all others,
2 Chronicles 32:22;
for such a deliverance as this was an earnest of much mercy in store;
and he guided them, that is, he guarded them, on every side. God
defends his people by directing them, shows them what they should do,
and so saves them from what is designed or done against them. For this
many brought gifts unto the Lord, when they saw the great power
of God in the defence of his people. Strangers were thereby induced to
supplicate his favour and enemies to deprecate his wrath, and both
brought gifts to his temple, in token of their care and desire.
(2.) Hezekiah was magnified as the favourite and particular care of
Heaven. Many brought presents to him
(2 Chronicles 32:22,23),
in token of the honour they had for him, and to make an interest in
him. By the favour of God enemies are lost and friends gained.
|The Death of Hezekiah.
||B. C. 698.|
24 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed
unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.
25 But 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.
26 Notwithstanding 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.
27 And 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;
28 Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and
oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.
29 Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks
and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very
30 This 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.
31 Howbeit 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.
32 Now 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
33 And 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.
Here we conclude the story of Hezekiah with an account of three things
I. His sickness and his recovery from it,
2 Chronicles 32:24.
The account of his sickness is but briefly mentioned here; we had a
large narrative of it,
2 Kings 20:1-11
His disease seemed likely to be mortal. In the extremity of it he
prayed. God answered him, and gave him a sign that he should recover,
the going back of the sun ten degrees.
II. His sin and his repentance for it, which were also more largely
2 Kings 20:12-21,
&c. Yet several things are here observed concerning his sin which we
had not there.
1. The occasion of it was the king of Babylon's sending an honourable
embassy to him to congratulate him on his recovery. But here it is
added that they came to enquire of the wonder that was done in the
(2 Chronicles 32:31),
either the destruction of the Assyrian army or the going back of the
sun. The Assyrians were their enemies; they came to enquire concerning
their fall, that they might triumph in it. The sun was their god; they
came to enquire concerning the favour he had shown to Hezekiah, that
they might honour him whom their god honoured,
2 Chronicles 32:31.
These miracles were wrought to alarm and awaken a stupid careless
world, and turn them from dumb and lame idols to the living God; and
men were startled by them, but not converted till a greater wonder was
done in that land, in the appearing of Jesus Christ,
2. God left him to himself in it, to try him,
2 Chronicles 32:31.
God, by the power of his almighty grace, could have prevented the sin;
but he permitted it for wise and holy ends, that, by this trial and his
weakness in it, he might know, that is, it might be known (a usual
Hebraism), what was in his heart, that he was not so perfect in grace
as he thought he was, but had his follies and infirmities as other men.
God left him to himself to be proud of his wealth, to keep him from
being proud of his holiness. It is good for us to know ourselves, and
our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited or
self-confident, but may always think meanly of ourselves and live in a
dependence upon divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own
hearts, nor what we shall do if God leave us to ourselves. Lord,
lead us not into temptation.
3. His sin was the his heart was lifted up,
2 Chronicles 32:25.
He was proud of the honour God had put upon him in so many instances,
the honour his neighbours did him in bringing him presents, and now
that the king of Babylon should send an embassy to him to caress and
court him: this exalted him above measure. When Hezekiah had destroyed
other idolatries he began to idolize himself. O what need have great
men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and
follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think
highly of themselves, and to beg earnestly of God that he will hide
pride from them and always keep them humble!
4. The aggravation of his sin was the he made so bad a return to God
for his favours to him, making even those favours the food and fuel of
(2 Chronicles 32:25):
He rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him.
Note, It is justly expected that those who have received mercy from God
should study to make some suitable returns for the mercies they have
received; and, if they do not, their ingratitude will certainly be
charged upon them. Though we cannot render an equivalent, or the
payment of a debt, we must render the acknowledgment of a favour.
What shall I render that may be so accepted?
5. The divine displeasure he was under for this sin; though it was but
a heart-sin, and the overt-act seemed not only innocent but civil (the
showing of his treasures to a friend), yet wrath came upon him and his
kingdom for it,
2 Chronicles 32:25.
Note, Pride is a sin that God hates as much as any, and particularly in
his own people. Those that exalt themselves must expect to be abased,
and put under humbling providences. Wrath came on David for his pride
in numbering the people.
6. His repentance for this sin: He humbled himself for the pride of
his heart. Note,
(1.) Though God may, for wise and holy ends, suffer his people to fall
into sin, yet he will not suffer them to lie still in it; they shall
not be utterly cast down.
(2.) Heart-sins are to be repented of, though they go no further.
(3.) Self-humiliation is a necessary branch of repentance.
(4.) Pride of heart, by which we have lifted up ourselves, is a sin for
which we ought in a special manner to humble ourselves.
(5.) People ought to mourn for the sins of their rulers. The
inhabitants of Jerusalem humbled themselves with Hezekiah, because they
either knew that they also had been guilty of the same sin, or at least
feared that they might share in the punishment. When David, in his
pride, numbered the people, they all smarted for his sin.
7. The reprieve granted thereupon. The wrath came not in his days.
While he lived the country had peace and truth prevailed; so much does
repentance avail to put by, or at least to put off, the tokens of God's
III. Here is the honour done to Hezekiah,
1. By the providence of God while he lived. He had exceeding much
riches and honour
(2 Chronicles 32:27),
replenished his stores, victualled his campus, fortified his city, and
did all he wished to do; for God had given him very much
2 Chronicles 32:29.
Among his great performances, his turning the water-course of Gihon is
(2 Chronicles 32:30),
which was done upon occasion of Sennacherib's invasion,
2 Chronicles 32:3,4.
The water had come into that which is called the old pool
and the upper pool
but he gathered the waters into a new place, for the greater
convenience of the city, called the lower pool,
And, in general, he prospered in all his works, for they were
2. By the respect paid to his memory when he was dead.
(1.) The prophet Isaiah wrote his life and reign
(2 Chronicles 32:32),
his acts and his goodness or piety, or which it is part of the honour
to be recorded and remembered, for examples to others.
(2.) The people did him honour at his death
(2 Chronicles 32:33),
buried him in the chief of the sepulchres, made as great a burning for
him as for Asa, or, which is a much greater honour, made great
lamentation for him, as for Josiah. See how the honour of serious
godliness is manifested in the consciences of men. Though it is to be
feared that the generality of the people did not heartily comply with
the reforming kings, yet they could not but praise their endeavours for
reformation, and the memory of those kings was blessed among them. It
is a debt we owe to those who have been eminently useful in their day
to do them honour at their death, when they are out of the reach of
flattery and we have seen the end of their conversation. The due
payment of this debt will be an encouragement to others to do