DESPITE FEET OF CLAY, HEZEKIAH ENCOURAGES LOOKING TO THE LORD FOR DELIVERANCE RATHER THAN TRUSTING THE ARM OF THE FLESH
Iain Duguid: Following his “acts of faithfulness” (as in 2 Chronicles 29–31; cf. 31:20), Hezekiah saw the death of the Assyrian emperor Sargon II (721–705 BC) as an opportunity to rebel, but in 701 Sargon’s successor, Sennacherib, moved against Judah (32:1; 2 Kings 18:7, 13). Preparation for the Assyrian attack included some defensive works, but priority was given to the proper worship of God (2 Chron. 32:2–8). Hezekiah’s response to the threats of Sennacherib’s taunting messengers (vv. 9–20) led dramatically to deliverance (v. 21). The resulting gifts for both the Lord and Hezekiah recall the fame of Solomon (vv. 22–23; cf. 9:23–24). . .
Differences in details between Kings and Chronicles result from the Chronicler’s using information from Kings and Isaiah to highlight his own message of Hezekiah’s leadership in preparation and reliance on God, and also the results.
August Konkel: For the most part, Hezekiah is regarded as a noble and successful king, but it is never forgotten that he too had feet of clay. In contrast to Ahaz, he restored the worship of God, he asked for and received a sign of divine providence, and in his time the city was delivered. Yet he also was unfaithful: his fateful alliance with the Babylonians was the first step toward that nation accomplishing what the Assyrians could not do. Jerusalem would bear the punishment of faithlessness, and Hezekiah would be partly responsible for that catastrophe.
Hezekiah is a good example of how one person and one experience show many aspects of the profound calling to live by faith. In its whole account, the book of Kings emphasizes that Hezekiah demonstrated how to trust God in a manner that was unequaled (2 Kings 18:5). Yet it was this same king who fell into the trap of trusting in human alliances and dooming his city (20:12-19). Hezekiah was the man whose life was declared to be over in his prime (Isa 38:9-20), yet he became the example of how God can revive the dead. Faith is always a matter of faithfulness. The failure of faith brings consequences that are inescapable, but the presence of faith assures us of hope that nothing can destroy.
Andrew Hill: Along with the building of Solomon’s temple and the fall of Samaria, Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah is one of the most important events in the history of southern kingdom. The Assyrian campaign is dated to 701 B.C., during the Fourteenth year of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:13). The Chronicler assumes a thorough knowledge on the part of his audience of the earlier parallel accounts (2 Kings 18-19; Isa. 36-37). Further, he ignores the problems of harmonizing posed by the conflicting details of the invasion reported in the Kings version. As Selman notes, the Chronicler has edited the earlier sources in such a way that the conflict becomes largely a “war of words.”
Martin Selman: The key question is whether Yahweh can save or deliver his people. The underlying Hebrew word (bassil) is mentioned eight times (vv. 10-17), with the Assyrians constantly challenging any deity to counteract the apparently superior power of the Assyrian army. Yahweh is assumed to be a god just like any other, and the Assyrians attempt to undermine the Israelites’ confidence (v. 10) by casting doubt on his effectiveness. The turning-point comes when Judah’s leaders pray (v. 20). Yahweh listens to their desperate plea and saves his people (v. 22), with Hezekiah as no more than a spectator. It is therefore Yahweh who really rules in Israel, and the chapter aims to stimulate faith in Israel’s God rather than admiration for Israel’s king.
I. (:1-8) DESPERATE TIMES PRESENT A CRISIS OF FAITH
A. (:1) Siege by Sennacherib of Assyria
“After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself.”
Raymond Dillard: Here the introductory phrase “after these faithful acts” is also diagnostic of the author’s intent; it places the entire narrative that follows in the context of the author’s theology of immediate retribution: a righteous king should enjoy victory in warfare and rest from his enemies, and this is the moral of the story (32:20–23).
J.A. Thompson: In view of the Chronicler’s retribution theology, this verse is striking after such a glowing account of faithfulness. But the invasion of Sennacherib is reminiscent of the invasion of Zerah in Asa’s day (14:9-15), where trust in God led to victory. God does not promise that his faithful ones will not have trials but that he will not forsake them. The details supplied by the Chronicler are somewhat abbreviated by comparison with the accounts in 2 Kgs 18-19 and Isa 36-37. There is no mention here of the siege of Jerusalem, of Hezekiah paying tribute, or of Sennacherib’s capture of many towns in Judah. Only after Hezekiah had carried out so many faithful acts did the events of this chapter unfold. Faithful deeds are followed by divine help and deliverance.
August Konkel: Sometimes it seems that our efforts to serve God are rewarded with trouble and opposition. There can be no bargaining with God, no conditions for the sacrifices made to serve God’s kingdom. In the Chronicler’s presentation of Hezekiah, the most traumatic event of his kingdom comes after all that Hezekiah ha so faithfully done (2 Chron 32:1). The attack of Sennacherib results in a blessing due to seeking the Lord. A central point of the story is that Jerusalem tended to overshadow another reality: the captivity of all the other fortified cities of Judah (2 Kings 18:13).
Matthew Henry: Here is 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 Chron. 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 fenced cities (2 Chron. 32:1), and purposed to fight against Jerusalem, 2 Chron. 32:2. See 2 Kgs. 18:7, 13.
B. (:2-5) Strategic Defensive Measures
“Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come,
and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem,”
1. (:3-4) Diverting the Water Supply
a. (:3) Cooperative Decision
“he decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city, and they helped him.”
Iain Duguid: In both security and reforms Hezekiah consulted with others (32:3; 30:2, 23; cf. 1 Chron. 13:1), and wide community involvement was evident (2 Chron. 32:4; 30:13). Resolute wise leadership embraced both worship of the Lord and security for the people and was possible through consultation and cooperation.
J.A. Thompson: It is no denial of one’s trust in God if one makes certain precautionary preparations. “Pray to God and keep your powder dry” is a wise response in the face of danger at any time. Blocking off the water from the springs outside the city was a wise defensive measure because a plentiful water supply made the task of invaders easier.
b. (:4) Committed Implementation
“So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and the stream which flowed through the region, saying, ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’”
Raymond Dillard: Standard siege strategy calls for reducing a city through thirst by cutting off access to the water supply or by poisoning it; plentiful water only eases the task of the invading foe. Hezekiah’s efforts at diverting and concealing the water sources in the area of Jerusalem anticipate the coming siege. Apart from the famous “Hezekiah’s tunnel,” the earlier Warren shaft, and an irrigation channel attributed to the Solomonic period (cf. Eccl 2:6; see H. Shanks, The City of David [Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeological Society, 1975]), comparatively little is known about the water supply of the City of David. Two springs are known to have been in the area, the famous Gihon (32:30) in the Kidron Valley east of the city and the spring at Enrogel, two miles south.
2. (:5) Directing Effective Countermeasures
“And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down, and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall,
and strengthened the Millo in the city of David,
and made weapons and shields in great number.”
Raymond Dillard: Building projects such as these related to the water supply and the repair of the walls are not only prudent strategy; for the Chronicler they are tokens of divine blessing given to pious monarchs. It is striking that Isaiah took a different view (Isa 22:9–11) and warned about the danger of self-reliance and a tendency to forget Yahweh.
J.A. Thompson: The countermeasures taken by Hezekiah were threefold. He had to care for the water problem, both from a defensive and offensive point of view. Then he had to repair weak spots in the wall, erect towers, construct an outside wall, and build up the Millo, that is, “the supporting terraces” as David and Solomon once had done (1 Chr 11:8; 1 Kgs 11:27).
Frederick Mabie: Hezekiah fortified “the Millo” (“supporting terraces,” 32:5) and also expanded the confines of the city of Jerusalem by what is known as the Broad Wall, described as “another wall outside” the original city wall (v. 5). This twenty-foot-thick wall expanded the walled portion of Jerusalem toward the western hill and allowed the city to accommodate the rising population as the Assyrian invasion drew near (see M. Broshi, “The Expansion of Jerusalem in the Reigns of Hezekiah and Manasseh,” IEJ 24 : 21-26).
Hezekiah’s most impressive achievement, however, was the tapping into the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeling the water underground (via the Siloam Tunnel) to the western side of the City of David (vv. 3-4, 30). As a result, Jerusalem had ongoing access to fresh water that was out of the view (and access) of the Assyrian army (vv. 3-4; see additional details on this tunnel at vv. 27-30).
C. (:6-8) Strong Encouragement by Hezekiah
1. (:6) Appointment of Military Officers
“And he appointed military officers over the people,
and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate,
and spoke encouragingly to them, saying,”
2. (:7-8a) Charge to Courageously Trust the Lord
“Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria, nor because of all the multitude which is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. 8 With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.”
Iain Duguid: Trusting in fortifications and military preparedness was always a temptation (cf. Isa. 22:8b–11), but Hezekiah called the people to look not to “an arm of flesh” but to the presence of “the Lord our God.” While in 2 Kings 19:6–7 similar words are spoken later by Isaiah to Hezekiah, the Assyrian envoys’ earlier words in 2 Kings 18:29–36 point to Hezekiah’s having already encouraged reliance on the Lord.
3. (:8b) Positive Impact of Hezekiah’s Encouragement
“And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
Andrew Hill: Hezekiah organizes the citizens of Jerusalem into a militia of sorts with oversight by select military personnel (32:6). As “commander-in-chief” he encourages the people with a motivational speech patterned after the charge to Joshua as he succeeded Moses before the conquest of Canaan (32:6b-8a; cf. Deut. 31:8; Josh. 1:9). The king’s appeal to the people is a theological treatise, not a nationalistic or patriotic rally cry. Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against Hezekiah and Jerusalem numerically speaking, victory is assured because it is God himself who is fighting for Judah (Ex. 14:14; Deut. 1:30; 20:4; cf. Deut. 17:16).
Martin Selman: Under Hezekiah’s leadership unity and faith both increased. They joined together as a “great many people” (v. 4, NRSV, RSV) to help the king (v. 3) before assembling for their encouragement in one of the city’s squares (v. 5; cf. 29:4).
II. (:9-19) DEMAND FOR SURRENDER SUPPORTED BY PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE
A. (:9-15) Attacking the Credibility of King Hezekiah
Raymond Dillard: It is a form of psychological warfare: the commander of a powerful army sends messengers to intimidate surrounding cities into capitulation in the face of a threatened siege or disaster. Cf. the messages sent to Samaria by Ben-hadad (1 Kgs 20:2–12). When his messengers went to Jerusalem, Sennacherib “was besieging Lachish.” It was literally a “monumental” campaign; Sennacherib commemorated the event with a mural over fifty feet long carved in stone in one of his palaces (D. Ussishkin, The Conquest of Lachish by Sennacherib [Tel Aviv: University Institute of Archeology, 1982]). . .
The messenger’s speech is, of course, designed both to instill fear and to arouse discontent with Hezekiah. Hezekiah is charged with religious heresy, with abuse of power through forced labor, with deception, and with endangering the lives of his subjects. The “forced labor” (32:11) was presumably the conscripted assistance used for the water projects and repairing the walls and towers.
Ackroyd (193) sees in v 16 echoes of Ps 2:2: speaking against Yahweh and Hezekiah was speaking “against the Lord and his anointed.” Hezekiah in Chronicles is idealized in the same way the author treated David and Solomon; he takes on messianic overtones that would be developed in the postbiblical literature of Judaism.
Iain Duguid: Sennacherib’s appeal to Jerusalem was audaciously arrogant, not simply boasting in his own might but also blasphemously placing the Lord on the same level as the impotent gods of other peoples.
1. (:9) Crafting the Psychological Message to be Delivered by His Commanders
“After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem while he was besieging Lachish with all his forces with him, against Hezekiah king of Judah and against all Judah who were at Jerusalem, saying,”
2. (:10) Calling into Question the Faith of Those Defending Jerusalem
“Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria,
‘On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege?’”
3. (:11-12) Charging Hezekiah with Deceit and Oppression
a. (:11) Braggadocious False Claims Leading to False Hope
“Is not Hezekiah misleading you
to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying,
‘The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria’?”
b. (:12) Burdensome Religious Policies
“Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before one altar, and on it you shall burn incense’?”
4. (:13-14) Citing Historical Precedent of Assyrian Conquests to Prove the Inability of Foreign Gods
“Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands able at all to deliver their land from my hand? 14 ‘Who was there among all the gods of those nations which my fathers utterly destroyed who could deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand?”
J.A. Thompson: Sennacherib’s message was typical of those who place their faith in human power rather than in the invisible power of God. Like many such people, he considered faith in the living God to be the same as all “religion,” and he mocked the reforms of Hezekiah as meaningless in the face the power of the sword he carried. There is great irony in these verses. Whereas Sennacherib is engaging in psychological warfare, he is doing so by quoting truths thinking they are lies. The phrase “the Lord our God will save us from the King of Assyria” is truth but Sennacherib quoted it as if it were an impossibility. Similarly, in v. 12 Hezekiah’s reforms were not against the wishes of this “god” but were conducted in fear of the Lord. Sennacherib alluded to history in vv. 13-14 and the fact that no god had stopped them yet. The problem for Sennacherib was that he had never confronted the One true God, Yahweh, the God of Israel. When he did, he returned defeated and disgraced (v. 21).
Andrew Hill: The gist of the Assyrian message is a call to surrender the city of Jerusalem or die in the siege. King Sennacherib’s emissaries offer two logical reasons for Judah’s capitulation to the invading army.
(1) The success of the Assyrian campaign in the outlying regions of Judah is interpreted as necessary retribution against Hezekiah because he has offended the gods in his purge of the “high places” (32:11-12).
(2) Recent history has shown that none of the gods of the other nations was able to deliver their people from the Assyrian juggernaut (32:13-15).< /p>
5. (:15) Challenging the People to Reject Hezekiah’s Leadership
“Now therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers.
How much less shall your God deliver you from my hand?”
B. (:16-19) Attacking the Ability of the God of Jerusalem to Deliver
1. (:16) Talking Incessantly against the Lord and His Servant Hezekiah
“And his servants spoke further against the LORD God
and against His servant Hezekiah.”
2. (:17) Taunting the God of Hezekiah with Insulting Letters
“He also wrote letters to insult the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, ‘As the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand,
so the God of Hezekiah shall not deliver His people from my hand.’”
3. (:18-19) Tactics of Intimidation
a. (:18) Disheartening the People by Threats Delivered in Hebrew
“And they called this out with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall,
to frighten and terrify them, so that they might take the city.”
b. (:19) Denigrating the God of Jerusalem
“And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the peoples of the earth, the work of men’s hands.”
III. (:20-23) DIVINE DELIVERANCE – VINDICATING THEOLOGY OF IMMEDIATE RETRIBUTION
A. (:20) Prayer for Deliverance
“But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz,
prayed about this and cried out to heaven.”
B. (:21a) Angel of Destruction
“And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior,
commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria.”
Mark Boda: The Chronicler communicates the total devastation by referring to three levels in the military: mighty warrior, commander, and officer (32:21).
C. (:21b) Downfall of Sennacherib
“So he returned in shame to his own land.”
2. Death at the hands of His Own Children in His Pagan Temple
“And when he had entered the temple of his god,
some of his own children killed him there with the sword.”
D. (:22) Protection of Hezekiah and the Jews in Jerusalem
“So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria,
and from the hand of all others,”
“and guided them on every side.”
E. (:23) Elevation of Hezekiah
“And many were bringing gifts to the LORD at Jerusalem
and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah,”
Iain Duguid: Further, while Sennacherib had departed in “shame” (2 Chron. 32:21), Hezekiah received gifts and “was exalted in the sight of all nations,” another comparison with Solomon (9:23–24). The narrative that began with threat ends in honor to Hezekiah because he (and the people) had honored the Lord, who had heard their prayer.
“so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.”
IV. (:24-26) DEADLY DISEASE DUE TO PRIDE
A. (:24a) Affliction Leading to Prayer for Deliverance
“In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill;
and he prayed to the LORD,”
J.A. Thompson: The words “in those days” suggest that the paragraphs that follow in v. 24 and following should be read in close connection with the preceding narrative. Hezekiah’s illness followed soon after Sennacherib’s visit to Jerusalem.
B. (:24b) Assurance of Recovery
“and the LORD spoke to him and gave him a sign.”
J.A. Thompson: The reference to Hezekiah’s illness is brief in Chronicles and assumes familiarity with the account in 2 Kgs 20:1-11, which gives details of the miraculous sign (mopet). The Chronicler made use of the sign to link together the two separate accounts in Kings of Hezekiah’s illness and the visit of the Babylonian envoys. The healing God gave to Hezekiah became an occasion for pride. When Hezekiah, with the citizens of Jerusalem, humble himself in respect to his pride, the wrath of God did not fall on the people in the days of Hezekiah.
Thomas Constable: Hezekiah became deathly ill, and in response to his prayers, God gave him a sign (the shadow on a stairway went backwards; 2 Kings 20:11) that he would recover (v. 24). However, he did not respond to God appropriately for this blessing, because his heart had grown proud (v. 25). God’s judgment fell, consequently, on Judah and Jerusalem, but the king humbled himself, and God postponed the remaining judgment (v. 26). Hezekiah fell short of being the perfect Son of David, just like all the rest of Judah’s monarchs did.
C. (:25) Arrogance and Inappropriate Response go God’s Grace
“But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received,
because his heart was proud
therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.”
D. (:26a) Addressing Pride
“However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart,
both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,”
E. (:26a) Avoidance of Divine Wrath During Days of Hezekiah
“so that the wrath of the LORD did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.”
Raymond Dillard: Illness in Chronicles ordinarily is the result of sin (16:7–12; 21:18–19; 26:19–21), though here the Chronicler does not provide any precipitating reason for Hezekiah’s illness. Rather, his recovery and the sign he was given become the occasion for pride, from which Hezekiah must humble himself, recalling again the language of 2 Chr 7:14, and contrasting to Uzziah (26:16).
V. (:27-31) DIVINE BLESSING OF RICHES AND REPUTATION
Raymond Dillard: Hezekiah’s wealth once again reflects the concern of the author to effect parallels with David and Solomon. . . Riches and building programs are among the tokens of divine favor; Hezekiah’s tunnel was a monumental undertaking, a task requiring the grace and favor of God; see 32:2–5.
August Konkel: The Chronicler is most interested in Hezekiah’s achievement (vv. 27-30). He focuses on two matters: his wealth (vv. 27-29) and his water project (v. 30). The meticulous mention of the various items, with the repeated emphasis on quantity, is intended to suggest that the kingdom of Hezekiah was comparable to that of Solomon. The list of Hezekiah’s wealth is constructed as one single sentence (in MT), including the building projects necessary to accommodate his possession:
– Hezekiah made treasuries for his wealth (v. 27),
– storehouses for all his produce (v. 28a),
– stalls for all his cattle and pens for his flocks (v. 28b), and
– cities (possibly meaning state-owned lands) for his vast herds of sheep and cattle (v. 29).
The whole is rounded off by emphasizing his exceedingly great possessions as a sign of God’s blessing (v. 29b).
A. (:27-29) Summary of Prosperity
1. (:27a) Supremacy of Wealth and Reputation
“Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor;”
2. (:27b-29) Storehouses of Wealth
a. (:27b) Abundance of Valuable Commodities
“and he made for himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuable articles,”
b. (:28) Abundance of Produce and Livestock
“storehouses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil,
pens for all kinds of cattle and sheepfolds for the flocks.”
c. (:29a) Accumulation of Cities
“And he made cities for himself,”
d. (:29b) Accumulation of Livestock
“and acquired flocks and herds in abundance;”
3. (:29c) Source of Wealth = Blessing of God
“for God had given him very great wealth.”
B. (:30a) Supreme Achievement
“It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon
and directed them to the west side of the city of David.”
C. (:30b-31) Summary of Prosperity
1. (:30b) Reflected in Divine Favor
“And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did.”
Raymond Dillard: “succeed” (32:30), is another term characteristic of the Chronicler’s theology of immediate retribution. In saying that Hezekiah succeeded in all that he did, the Chronicler is emphasizing only one part of the attitude taken to the Babylonian emissaries in the earlier two accounts (2 Kgs 20:17–19 // Isa 39:6–8). In the earlier accounts Hezekiah’s display was a harbinger of a day when the Babylonians would carry away Judah’s wealth and royal household, though Hezekiah would have peace and security during his reign. The Chronicler regards this testing as successful, focusing only on its positive outcome.
2. (:31) Reflected in Divine Testing
“And even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon,
who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him,
that He might know all that was in his heart.”
J.A. Thompson: The Chronicler’s assertion that God “left Hezekiah” in order to “test” him has significant theological implications. God wants genuine character and faithfulness in his people, and he will expose them to trials in order to train and shape them. The path of sanctification is not an easy one (cf. Gen 22:1).
August Konkel: The visit of the Babylonian envoys is cast in terms of well-known eastern interest in astrology (v. 31). Kings accounts for the visit as an inquiry into Hezekiah’s health (2 Kings 20:12). For the Chronicler, they came investigating a sign, no doubt a reference to the return of the shadow (2 Kings 20:8-11). This is presented as a test from God, the real cause for their appearance. God was not testing Hezekiah’s actions but needed to know what was in his heart (the expression is derived from Deut 8:2). Though this is not presented as a test in Kings, the tory there does show that Hezekiah responded positively to the prophet’s warning and resigned himself to the divine will (2 Kings 20:12-19). The story in both versions ends on a positive note, indicating Hezekiah’s devotion to the divine purpose whether the final outcome be good or bad.
Andrew Hill: Hezekiah’s “success” (32:30) may be viewed as God’s reward for overcoming the circumstances of God’s testing in his life (32:31). Divine testing is a recurring Old Tes
tament theme, not because God needs to know the intents of the human heart, but rather because the Lord tests the hearts of his servants so that they might respond to him in complete faith as a result of the discernment that emerges from this kind of self-knowledge (cf. Deut. 8:2-3).
(:32-33) EPILOGUE – CLOSING SUMMARY OF HEZEKIAH’S REIGN
A. (:32) Recorded Deeds
“Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his deeds of devotion,
behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz,
in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.”
B. (:33a) Death and Burial
“So Hezekiah slept with his fathers,”
“and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs
of the sons of David;”
3. Honor Shown to Him
“and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
honored him at his death.”
C. (:33b) Succession
“And his son Manasseh became king in his place.”