Day 184 – Hezekiah Reigns

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read the story of Hezekiah. His father was Ahaz, one of the worst kings of Judah, but Hezekiah was one of the best kings. Our history is not our destiny and our ancestors do not determine our future. While Hezekiah does not condem Ahaz, his actions undo all of his father’s bad actions. Some of the good kings restablised Temple worship, but didn’t remove the idolatrous places. Hezekia not only reinstates true worship in the Temple but also removes idos from the land.

An ambassador from the king of Assyria comes to give a message to Hezekiah. He tells everyone that Assyria conquered many lands and their gods did not protect them. He says it is foolish for the Lord will protect Israel.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

2 Kings 18

1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah.

2 He was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.

3 He did what Yahweh regards as right, just as his ancestor David had done.

4 He abolished the high places, broke the pillars, cut down the sacred poles and smashed the bronze serpent which Moses had made; for up to that time the Israelites had offered sacrifices to it; it was called Nehushtan.

5 He put his trust in Yahweh, God of Israel. No king of Judah after him could be compared with him — nor any of those before him.

6 He was devoted to Yahweh, never turning from him, but keeping the commandments which Yahweh had laid down for Moses.

7 And so Yahweh was with him, and he was successful in all that he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to serve him.

8 He beat the Philistines back to Gaza, laying their territory waste from watchtower to fortified town.

9 In the fourth year of Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched on Samaria and laid siege to it.

10 He captured it after three years. Samaria fell in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel.

11 The king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

12 This happened because they had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh their God and had broken his covenant, everything that Mosesservant of Yahweh had laid down. They neither listened to it nor put it into practice.

13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria advanced on all the fortified towns of Judah and captured them.

14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish, ‘I have been at fault. Call off the attack, and I willsubmit to whatever you impose on me.’ The king of Assyria exacted three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold from Hezekiah king of Judah,

15 and Hezekiah gave him all the silver in the Temple of Yahweh and in the palace treasury.

16 At which time, Hezekiah stripped the facing from the leaves and jambs of the doors of the Temple of Yahweh, which an earlier king of Judah had put on, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

17 From Lachish the king of Assyria sent the cupbearer-in-chief with a large force to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. He marched on Jerusalem and, on his arrival, took up position near the conduit of the upper pool which is on the road to the Fuller’s Field.

18 He summoned the king. The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebnah the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph went out to him.

19 The cupbearer-in-chief said to them, ‘Say to Hezekiah, “The great king, the king of Assyria, says this: What makes you so confident?

20 Do you think empty words are as good as strategy and military strength? Who are you relying on, to dare to rebel against me?

21 There you are, relying on that broken reed Egypt, which pricks and pierces the hand of whoever leans on it. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like to all who rely on him.

22 You may say to me: We rely on Yahweh our God. But have his high places and altars not been suppressed by Hezekiah who told Judah and Jerusalem: Here, in Jerusalem, is the altar before which you must worship?

23 Very well, then, make a wager with my lord the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find horsemen to ride them.

24 How could you repel a single one of the least of my master’s soldiers? And yet you have relied on Egypt for chariots and horsemen.

25 And lastly, have I marched on this place to lay it waste without warrant from Yahweh? Yahweh himself said to me: March on this country and lay it waste.” ‘

26 Eliakim, Shebnah and Joah said to the cupbearer-in-chief, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the Judaean language within earshot of the people on the ramparts.’

27 But the cupbearer-in-chief said, ‘Do you think my lord sent me here to say these things to your master or to you? On the contrary, it was to the people sitting on the ramparts who, like you, are doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine.’

28 The cupbearer-in-chief then drew himself up and shouted loudly in the Judaean language, ‘Listen to the word of the great king, the king of Assyria.

29 The king says this, “Do not let Hezekiah delude you. He will be powerless to save you from my clutches.

30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on Yahweh by saying: Yahweh is sure to save us; this city will not fall into the king of Assyria’s clutches.

31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for the king of Assyria says this: Make peace with me, surrender to me, and every one of you will be free to eat the fruit of his own vine and of his own fig tree and to drink the water of his own storage-well

32 until I come and take you away to a country like your own, a land of corn and good wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil and honey: and so you will survive and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah; he is deluding you when he says: Yahweh will save us.

33 Has any god of any nation been able to save his country from the king of Assyria’s clutches?

34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivvah? Where are the local gods of Samaria? Did they save Samaria from my clutches?

35 Of all the local gods, which ones have saved their countries from my clutches, for Yahweh to be able to save Jerusalem from my clutches?” ‘

36 The people, however, kept quiet and said nothing in reply, since the king had given the order, ‘You are not to answer him.’

37 The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebnah the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph, with their clothes torn, went to Hezekiah and reported what the cupbearer-in-chief had said.

2 Chronicles 29

1 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.

2 He did what Yahweh regards as right, just as his ancestor David had done.

3 In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the Temple of Yahweh, having repaired them.

4 He then brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the eastern square,

5 and said to them, ‘Listen to me, Levites! First sanctify yourselves, then sanctify the Temple of Yahweh, God of your ancestors, and remove the filth from the sanctuary.

6 Our ancestors were unfaithful, and did what is displeasing to Yahweh our God. They abandoned him, turned their faces away from Yahweh’s home and turned their backs on him.

7 They even closed the doors of the portico, put out the lamps and stopped burning incense and making burnt offerings in the sanctuaryof the God of Israel.

8 This was why Yahweh’s anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem and he made them an object of terror, astonishment and derision, as you can see for yourselves.

9 Yes, our ancestors were put to the sword, and our sons, our daughters and our wives were taken captive because of this.

10 I am now determined to make a covenant with Yahweh, God of Israel, so that his fierce anger may turn away from us.

11 Now, my sons, do not be remiss, for Yahweh has chosen you to stand in his presence and serve him by conducting his worship and offering him incense.’

12 The Levites set about it — Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah, from the Kohathites; Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallel, from the Merarites; Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah, from the Gershonites;

13 Shimri and Jeuel, of the sons of Elizaphan; Zechariah and Mattaniah of the sons of Asaph;

14 Jehiel and Shimei of the sons of Heman; Shemaiah and Uzziel of the sons of Jeduthun-

15 and gathered their brothers together; they sanctified themselves, and in obedience to the king’s order, in accordance with the words of Yahweh, they came to purify the Temple of Yahweh.

16 The priests went into the inner part of the Temple of Yahweh to purify it. They brought all the unclean things which they found in Yahweh’s sanctuary, out into the court of the Temple of Yahweh, where the Levites collected them and took them out to the Kidron Valley.

17 They began sanctifying on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month had reached Yahweh’s portico; thus they took eight days to sanctify the Temple of Yahweh, and by the sixteenth day of the first month everything was finished.

18 They then waited on King Hezekiah and said, ‘We have purified the whole Temple of Yahweh, the altar of burnt offering with all its equipment and the table for the loaves of permanent offering with all their equipment.

19 We have also got ready and sanctified all the equipment which King Ahaz in his infidelity had removed during his reign. It is all ready in front of Yahweh’s altar.’

20 King Hezekiah lost no time but called the officials of the city together and went up to the Temple of Yahweh.

21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs and seven goats as a sin sacrifice for the royal house, for the sanctuary and for Judah, and he ordered the Aaronite priests to offer them on Yahweh’s altar.

22 So they slaughtered the bulls and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it over the altar. They then slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood over the altar; and they slaughtered the lambs and sprinkled the blood over the altar.

23 Then they brought the goats, the sacrifice for sin, before the king and the assembly who laid their hands on them.

24 The priests slaughtered them and made a sacrifice for sin with their blood at the altar to expiate for all Israel, since the king had ordered the burnt offering and the sacrifice for sin on behalf of all Israel.

25 He positioned the Levites in the Temple of Yahweh with cymbals, lyres and harps, in accordance with the ordinance of David, of Gadthe king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet, for such was Yahweh’s order conveyed through his prophets.

26 When the Levites stood with David’s musical instruments, and the priests with the trumpets,

27 Hezekiah ordered the burnt offering to be presented on the altar. And as the burnt offering began, the hymns of Yahweh began too, and the trumpets sounded, to the accompaniment of the instruments of David king of Israel,

28 while the whole congregation worshipped, the singers singing and the trumpeters sounding the trumpets, continuously until the burnt offering was over.

29 When the burnt offering was finished, the king and all those present with him fell to their knees and worshipped.

30 Then King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to sing praise to Yahweh in the words of David and Asaph the seer; and joyfully they sang their praises, then knelt in worship.

31 Hezekiah spoke again, ‘Now that you have consecrated yourselves to Yahweh, come forward and bring thanksgiving sacrifices to the Temple of Yahweh.’ Then the congregation brought thanksgiving sacrifices and those who were generous brought burnt offerings.

32 The number of burnt offerings brought by the congregation was seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred lambs, all as burnt offerings for Yahweh.

33 The consecrated gifts amounted to six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep.

34 The priests were too few, however, and were unable to dismember all the burnt offerings, so their brothers, the Levites, helped them until the work was finished and the priests had sanctified themselves; for the Levites had been more conscientious about sanctifying themselves than the priests had.

35 In addition to the abundance of burnt offerings, there were also the fatty pieces for communion sacrifices and the libations for the burnt offerings. And so the liturgy of Yahweh’s Temple was restored,

36 and Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had provided for the people, since everything had happened so suddenly.

Psalm 141

1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh, I am calling, hurry to me, listen to my voice when I call to you.

2 May my prayer be like incense in your presence, my uplifted hands like the evening sacrifice.

3 Yahweh, mount a guard over my mouth, a guard at the door of my lips.

4 Check any impulse to speak evil, to share the foul deeds of evil-doers. I shall not sample their delights!

5 May the upright correct me with a friend’s rebuke; but the wicked shall never anoint my head with oil, for that would make me party to their crimes.

6 They are delivered into the power of the rock, their judge, those who took pleasure in hearing me say,

7 ‘Like a shattered millstone on the ground our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol.’

8 To you, Yahweh, I turn my eyes, in you I take refuge, do not leave me unprotected.

9 Save me from the traps that are set for me, the snares of evil-doers.

10 Let the wicked fall each into his own net, while I pass on my way.


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