Scripture reading – 2 Kings 19

Click on this link for translations of this Bible study.

Today’s Scripture reading should be familiar because it is a parallel account of events that Isaiah recorded in chapter 37 of the book that bears his name. Rather than repeat the obvious, I encourage you to read 2 Kings 19, and I hope my brief outline of events will be a blessing.

Hezekiah’s Petition to the LORD (2 Kings 19:1-7)

With the Assyrian army encamped outside Jerusalem, King Hezekiah was shaken by the threats of Rab-shakeh, the Assyrian general (2 Kings 18:28-35).  In a display of humility, Hezekiah “rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord” (2 Kings 19:1). The king also sent messengers to appeal to Isaiah. He implored God’s prophet to pray for Judah and Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:2-5).

Isaiah responded to Hezekiah’s messengers and sent the king a message from the LORD to comfort and encourage him. “Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me” (2 Kings 19:6). Isaiah assured Hezekiah that Sennacherib was nothing to the LORD. The LORD said, “I will send a blast upon him [Sennacherib], and he shall hear a rumour” (2 Kings 19:7). The “rumour” would be so disturbing that Sennacherib and his army would retreat to Assyria, where he would “fall by the sword in his own land” (2 Kings 19:7).


King Sennacherib’s Taunts (2 Kings 19:8-13)

Soon after, Sennacherib received news of a threat from Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia. Understanding his throne was in danger, the king of Assyria made a final threat against Jerusalem and then retreated (2 Kings 19:9-13).

The king of Assyria mocked Hezekiah’s faith. He declared, “Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria” (2 Kings 19:10). After naming the kings who had fallen to Assyria (2 Kings 19:11-12), Sennacherib boasted that the God of Israel and Judah would not deliver Jerusalem or Hezekiah from his assault.

Hezekiah’s Desperate Prayer

Hezekiah’s Desperate Prayer (2 Kings 19:14-19)

When Hezekiah received Sennacherib’s letter, he went to the Temple, spread the letter before the LORD, and prayed (2 Kings 19:14-19).

Consider some instructive elements in Hezekiah’s prayer that should serve as a model for believers. The king declared his faith in the God of Heaven, whose presence was revealed in the Tabernacle and Temple. Hezekiah prayed, “O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone” (2 Kings 19:15a). He acknowledged the sovereignty of the LORD over the “kingdoms of the earth” (2 Kings 19:15b), and declared His God was the Creator who “made heaven and earth” (2 Kings 19:15c).

After worshipping the LORD in prayer, Hezekiah appealed to Him to hear Sennacherib’s insults and reproaches that he had cast upon “the living God” (2 Kings 19:16). The king recounted the nations that had fallen to Assyria and the gods of those nations (2 Kings 19:18). Hezekiah then appealed to the LORD to save His people. He desired “that all the kingdoms of the earth may know…the Lord God” (2 Kings 19:19).


Isaiah’s Assurance: Hezekiah’s Prayer Would Be Answered. (2 Kings 19:20-31)

Referring to Jerusalem as “the virgin daughter of Zion,” Isaiah declared that Hezekiah’s prayer was heard (2 Kings 19:20-21). The LORD acknowledged Sennacherib’s scorn and mocking (2 Kings 19:20) for that proud and foolish king had reproached and blasphemed “the Holy One of Israel” (2 Kings 19:22-24).

The LORD then condemned Sennacherib, who refused to acknowledge His sovereignty. The LORD strengthened the king of Assyria and gave him power over the nations (2 Kings 19:25-26). Yet, Sennacherib refused to accept that the God of heaven knew him and his rage against the LORD (2 Kings 19:27). The LORD, therefore, determined He would lead Sennacherib from Judah to his homeland, like a beast with a ring in its nose, and a bridle in its mouth (2 Kings 19:28).

Isaiah’s Assurance: Hezekiah’s Prayer Would Be Answered

What assurance did Hezekiah have that the LORD would perform all He promised? The people would harvest volunteer crops they had not planted for two years. In the third year, there would be peace, and the people would plant seeds and harvest (2 Kings 19:29). Furthermore, the remnant that escaped Assyria would be blessed with a growing population (2 Kings 19:30-31).

Although they were an overwhelming force, Sennacherib and his Assyrian army never entered Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:32-33). The LORD declared, “I will defend this city [Jerusalem], to save it, For mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” (2 Kings 19:34). That very night, the LORD sent forth his angel and 185,000 Assyrians were slain (2 Kings 19:35). All that the LORD promised came to pass, for Sennacherib returned to his homeland defeated. Years later, the king’s “sons smote him with the sword,” and a third son “reigned in his [father’s] stead” (2 Kings 19:37).


Closing thoughts –  

Today’s study concludes with a reminder: God is sovereign over men and nations. The LORD determines the boundaries of nations and their success and destruction. Foolish men will scoff and refuse to acknowledge the LORD, but be forewarned:

God determines the rise and fall of leaders and nations.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of