(maybe you need to change 4 Kings to 2 Kings. In the Russian Bible, 2 Kings is 4 Kings)  Can I ask you to help me deal with the chronology of events in the life of Hezekiah? In the Bible, king Sennacherib wanted to conquer Jerusalem, threatening its residents. After this comes a description of how Hezekiah opened the letter from the ambassadors of the king of Assyria before God. Hezekiah prayed, and the answer of God through Isaiah was that that they will not be able to conquer the city. Afterward the troops were destroyed by an angel from God – 180 000 thousand people were killed, and soon even Sennacherib was killed by his own sons. And then in the Bible Hezekiah gets a deadly disease. Hezekiah prays and receives a promise from God, that Jerusalem will not be taken, and the king of Assyria will not be able to harm it. What king is this? Was it about Sennacherib?  This means that this prayer was before he was killed by his own sons and before the angel of the Lord killed 180,000 by the walls of Jerusalem? In 4 kings 19:35 it says that “in the same night” the angel of the Lord killed 180 000 people. I.e. it happened in the night, when Hezekiah spread it before the Lord. And if so, when was the prayer, where he wept and after that God extended his life—the prayer in which He promises that the king of Assyria will not harm him (4 kings 20:6)? Was it that same night or even before the first prayer? After all, what could God say that protects Hezekiah the king of Assyria, if he had already been destroyed. If, of course, we are talking about the same king.

Here again briefly are the events which I want to understand correctly:

– First prayer of Hezekiah: 4 kings 19:14 and the next

– The destruction of the angel of the army of Assyria (in the same night?) 4 kings 19:35-36

– The second prayer of Hezekiah and the promise of God to deliver from the king of Assyria (4 kings 20:6)

– The destruction of the king of Assyria (4 kings 19:37)

Might God be promising to protect Judah from the Assyrian king, speaking about the event, described in 4 kings 19:37, of which Hezekiah did not know yet at that time?

The second question:

And one more question, if you can. What exactly was Hezekiah proud of, as described in 2 Chronicles 32:22-26. What exactly is he not thankful for? For the victory over the king of Assyria? The recovery from the disease? For the newly-found fame and wealth? Just all these events are listed one after another in this passage is not clear, in what Hezekiah became arrogant.

Thank you.


First of all, we cannot necessarily absolutely assume that 2 Kings is perfectly chronological. It is possible that the events in 2 Kings 20 happened after those in 2 Kings 19. I am not saying this is the case. but we should at least be open to the possibility.  Kings is generally chronological, so this is not very likely, but it should be considered. In this particular case, I believe that 2 Kings 19 and 20 are in fact chronological. First, Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem, after taking many cities in Judah. Then Hezekiah prayed to God and asked Isaiah to intervene. Then, God answered Hezekiah’s prayer and that very night the entire army of Sennacherib was destroyed. Sennacherib himself was apparently not with the army, as the writer of 2 Kings then interjects the story about his execution in a palace coup. We cannot assume that the execution of Sennacherib is chronological. It is inserted as a parenthesis in the story.

Some time later, Hezekiah came down with a deadly illness. We do not know how much later. Was this before or after the death of Sennacherib? We are not told. I believe that it was after the events in 2 Kings 19 including the destruction of the army. The situation in 2 Chronicles 32:22-26 supports this conclusion as it reports the pride of Hezekiah and its connection to his illness. It makes sense that Hezekiah got prideful after God heard his prayer and saved Judah through him. Anyway, Hezekiah became ill, he reminded God of his faithfulness to him (2 Kings 20:2-3) and God chose to deliver him from the sickness. Then comes the part you seem confused/concerned about. In 2 Kings 20:6 God tells Hezekiah, through Isaiah, that He will deliver him and the city from the king of Assyria. Your question is, who is this king and when did this happen? Here are the facts: The reign of Sennacherib was 705-681 BC. The reign of his successor, Esarhaddon. was 681-669 BC. When God healed Hezekiah, he also promised him continuing protection against Assyria. Whether the king in question was Sennacherib or Esarhaddon is not clear. Remember that, although 2 Kings 20:1-33 happened after 2 Kings 19:1-36, the timing of the death of Sennacherib is not clear from 2 Kings. Either way, after the destruction of Sennacherib’s army, Assyria did not simply go away. They were still a danger to Judah. So, God assured Hezekiah that during his reigh, Assyria would not conquer Jerusalem. We know from 2 Kings and from 2 Chronicles that this promise was fulfilled.  Hezekiah finished his reign in relative peace.  To summarize, we cannot be absolutely sure which King God promised to protect Hezekiah from. In fact, it may even have been that he promised to protect Hezekiah and Jerusalem from both Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.

About 2 Chronicles 32:22-26, the context tells us that the events of 2 Kings 19-20 are parallel to 2 Chronicles 32, including the threat of Sennacherib, the prayer of Hezekiah and the destruction of the Assyrian army. 2 Chronicles 32:24, which describes Hezekiah’s illness, is parallel to 2 Kings 20:1f. The difference here is that 2 Chronicles mentions the pride of Hezekiah. 2 Chron 32:24f has, “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him.” You ask what Hezekiah was proud of. Was it the miracle of his healing, the destruction of Sennacherib’s army or was it his wealth? I say all of the above. It is a sad fact about most of us that if God blesses us abundantly, we tend to get prideful and we take credit for what God did as if it was our own personal accomplishment. Hezekiah fell to this sin, but, fortunately, he later repented of his pride (2 Chron 32:26). For this reason, God continued to honor his promise to protect Hezekiah for the last 15 years of his reign as he had promised.

John Oakes

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