Sennacherib’s Threat And Hezekiah’s Prayer

One night at dinner a man, who had spent many summers in Maine, fascinated his companions by telling of his experiences in a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flood … More


When Hezekiah heard the report from his messengers he tore his clothing, put on sackcloth and went to the temple to pray. He also sent two of his priestly leaders to Isaiah for advice (vv. 1-2). The people were completely demoralized. It seemed as if the whole nation would die. Hezekiah’s only hope was God would act on behalf of his people. Isaiah’s response was a message of hope. He said that Sennacherib would return to his land and die there (v. 7). Evidently Rabshakeh had pitched his tents near Jerusalem and was waiting on Hezekiah to send him a message of surrender. He received word that his king was in battle at Libnah, about six miles north of Lachish so he left Jerusalem to join the battle. The king of Egypt, an ally of Hezekiah was marching up to fight Sennacherib.

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord (v. 14). However Rabshakeh warned Hezekiah not to get his hopes up thinking that Egypt would help him.  He told him that it would be foolish for Hezekiah to trust in his Israelite God to save them. His prayer included four points:

1. He recognized God’s sovereignty (v. 15).

2. He pointed out how Sennacherib had defied the living and sovereign God (v. 16).

3. Sennacherib’s claims (18:33-35) only proved that pagan gods were not gods at all.

4. He requested that God show the world that Jehovah was the only God (v. 19).




The situation looked hopeless as Sennacherib asked Hezekiah to surrender. It said that Hezekiah went to the temple and prayed. Prayer should be my first response to any crisis.


II Kings 19:1-19 (English Standard Version)

As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left." When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, "Say to your master, 'Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'" The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that the king had left Lachish. Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, "Behold, he has set out to fight against you." So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?'" Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: "O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone."

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