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Hezekiah In The Bible: The King Who Saved His People And Changed History

In this article, we will explore the life of Hezekiah in the Bible and what we can learn from this king. So, grab your Bible, and let’s dig in…

The history of the kings of Israel and Judah is quite fascinating. Most of us know a lot about Saul, David, and Solomon, and many of us know that somewhere after Solomon, things started to go south, ending in Israel being split into two separate kingdoms.

Then, we go through a whole list of good and bad kings. It can feel like a hot mess at times when you read through the books of the Kings.

But between those lesser-known kings, there are still many hidden gems, and one of them is King Hezekiah, who managed to change the history of the kingdom of Judah forever.

But who was Hezekiah, and what can modern believers learn from him?

King Hezekiah In The Bible

Who Was Hezekiah In The Bible?

We can read about Hezekiah in 2 Kings 16 to 20 and 2 Chronicles 28 to 32.

He is also mentioned in Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Micah, so he was a very prominent figure in that period of Judah’s history.

Hezekiah was David’s 13th successor as king, but since the kingdoms had already split by this point, he ruled over Judah rather than over the entirety of Israel as David had.

He was the son of the wicked King Ahaz, but he did not follow in his father’s footsteps. The Bible says there was no other king of Judah like him (2 Kings 18:5).

He reigned over Judah for 29 years, and his reign was full of victory but also sorrow.

Let’s look at the story of Hezekiah in more detail.

King Hezekiah Map

The Assyrians laid siege to the city of Lachish. King Hezekiah knew that Jerusalem would be the next target of this mighty army. He repaired the city walls and prepared for battle. He sent a message to the Assyrians, ‘I have done wrong in siding with the Egyptians. I will pay whatever you demand of me to withdraw.’ (Image Source)

The Bible Story of Hezekiah

To properly understand the story of Hezekiah, we have to start with his father, King Ahaz.

Ahaz was the 12th descendant of David, but he was a wicked king that ruled Judah with no respect for God or His people.

The time when Ahaz ruled was full of political turmoil. Syria and Assyria were fierce opponents, and the kingdom of Israel had gone into allegiance with Syria.

The two nations began to pressure Judah into allying with them, by force, if necessary, against Assyria. Instead, Ahaz allied with the Assyrians to drive Israel and Syria away.

With that came an entire political and religious change. The people of Judah worshiped idols, including the bronze serpent that Moses had made to cure the Israelites in the desert.

Idolatry became the standard to the extent that Ahaz nailed shut the doors of the temple, stopped the worship of God entirely, and disbanded the Levitical priesthood.

These were the circumstances during which Hezekiah took the throne when he was 25 years old.

Hezekiah’s Spiritual Reforms

king hezekiah bible story

Unlike his father, Ahaz, Hezekiah worshiped the true God!

2 Kings 18:6-7 says…

For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses. The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.

This led Hezekiah to undo many of the wicked things his father had done. He destroyed the high places where the people worshiped the idols and restored and sanctified the temple, commanding all the people to worship only there.

He also restored the Levitical priesthood, the sacrifices, and the Passover feast.

Even the bronze serpent that the people worshiped, a vital historical artifact, was destroyed by Hezekiah so the people could no longer make sacrifices to it—all of this he did to bring the people of Judah back to God.

Hezekiah’s Political Reforms

Spiritual reforms weren’t all that Hezekiah implemented. Like his forefather, David, he had a militaristic approach that won him battles against the Philistines, whom he drove back as far as Gaza (2 Kings 18:8).

He also refused to serve the king of Assyria and rebelled against him despite fierce opposition.

This led to a point where the Assyrians began to invade Judah and make their way to Jerusalem. Hezekiah fortified Jerusalem against the siege and tried to appease the Assyrian king through diplomacy, but that proved fruitless.

Then, the Assyrians made a fatal mistake: they taunted God and compared Him with the gods of other countries they had conquered.

Hezekiah humbled himself and grieved before the Lord, and the Lord answered. The prophet Isaiah told the king that the Assyrian army would retreat and be destroyed.

That night, an angel struck down 185,000 of the Assyrian men. When the remnant awoke, they found the dead bodies and immediately retreated.

Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, fled to Nineveh, where he was later killed by one of his sons while worshiping his god.

This sent an even more powerful message to the people of Judah that King Hezekiah was right to worship the Lord rather than the false gods, and his reign was full of victory.

Hezekiah’s Healing

king hezekiah healed
CC BY, via Wikimedia Commons

2 Kings 20 tells us how, after the victory against Assyria, Hezekiah fell ill and was about to die. The prophet Isaiah even came to him to warn him about his impending death.

Immediately, Hezekiah cried out to the Lord and asked Him to heal him, reminding God about all the things he did for God’s people.

God answered his prayer immediately. Before Isaiah had left, God told the prophet to return to the king and tell him that God would add fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life, which God confirmed with a sign.

And it happened; Hezekiah’s illness was cured, and he reigned for another fifteen years.

The Fall Of Hezekiah

Sadly, the story ends as so many others do. The Babylonian king sent an envoy to Hezekiah to give him letters and presents after his sickness.

The king, full of pride, showed off the wealth he had amassed. In fact, the Bible says that there was nothing that Hezekiah did not show them.

King Hezekiah in the temple

And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures—the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory—all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. – 2 Kings 20:13

Isaiah went to Hezekiah and told the king that the Babylonians would carry away everything he had shown them because of his pride.

In his selfish pride and arrogance, Hezekiah said it was good as long as it did not happen during his lifetime.

Only a few generations later, precisely that happened: the Babylonians carried away all the wealth of Judah, along with its people.

5 Lessons We Can Learn From King Hezekiah

We can learn many things from King Hezekiah that are just as true for our spiritual lives today as they were almost 3,000 years ago.

  • We are not doomed to repeat the sinful patterns of our parents.

    King Hezekiah only had one example of kingship throughout his life: that of his father, the wicked King Ahaz. And yet, Hezekiah chose the exact opposite path for his life, and God blessed him because of that.

We can also choose to live a life of dedication to God and reap the benefits of it, no matter what example our parents had set for us.

  • A life fully committed to God will prosper. Look again at 2 Kings 18:6 and 7: “For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered.”

That doesn’t only refer to financial prosperity but to success in general. When we live our lives committed to the Lord, we will aim to follow the will of the Lord in every endeavor, and that approach is guaranteed to prosper.

  • If something is not of the Lord, it is not to be tolerated at any cost. Hezekiah did not hesitate to destroy anything that stood in the way of the people turning to God.

    Even the serpent that Moses had made, which was an important relic and a significant part of Israel’s history, had become a snare. If it were to remain standing it meant the people would worship it again.

It’s reminiscent of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:8-9 about cutting off your hand or gouging out your eye if they cause you to stumble.

We as modern believers should identify those things in our lives that are taking us further away from God, then remove whatever those stumbling blocks are.

  • Pleading with God is a powerful weapon. The Bible mentions two occasions where Hezekiah pleaded with the Lord: once to save Jerusalem from the Assyrians and once for his healing. Both times, God answered his prayers almost immediately.

When we are living in a close relationship with the Lord, there’s no reason for us not to take our petitions and concerns to Him.

  • Pride is not of God. As we saw, God made Hezekiah prosper in everything he did. This was God’s doing, not Hezekiah’s.

    The victory over the Assyrians had little to do with Hezekiah; he only prayed, and God did the miracle. Yet Hezekiah became prideful, eventually leading to Judah’s fall at the hands of the Babylonians.

When God blesses you, always remember that we deserve nothing from the hands of the Lord. He loves and cares for us, and He wants us to prosper in every way so we can be effective for His kingdom.

But everything we receive from Him is pure grace, and we can never do anything to deserve it.

Give God the praise for everything He does in your life, and never let your success come between you and the Lord.

Just to recap on what we have reviewed… King Hezekiah was a man who followed the Lord during a time when it wasn’t the popular thing to do. He committed to bringing his people back on the right path, and his efforts were rewarded with victory upon victory.

Sadly, he was not too great to stumble.

There’s an important lesson to learn from Hezekiah. No matter how close we are to God and how dedicated we are to His kingdom, we should never forget that it’s all grace, and we must remain vigilant against the temptation to become prideful.

The glory should always go to God and only to Him.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson on Hezekiah in the Bible. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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