In 711 BC, just a few years after Hezekiah had become king; Sargon II of Assyria captured Ashdod. In response Hezekiah began a defense program against an Assyrian invasion rather than trusting in the Lord. He fortified cities and built the Hezekiah Tunnel discovered in 1880. The tunnel connected the Pool of Siloam (See Siloam inscription) with the spring of Gihon. This would ensure that Jerusalem had sufficient water supplies in case of a siege. It was a monumental task taking Judean workers through 1,777 feet of solid rock.
|Todd Bolen / Bible Places.com|
But it was all to no avail as Sennacherib came back and demanded an unconditional surrender. Against the proud and arrogant boast of the Assyrians, Hezekiah humbly trusted the Lord (2 Kgs 19:21–22). He sent word for Isaiah to intervene and give direction. With both his trusting in the Lord and his well laid preparations it was enough to hold off the Assyrians (2 Kgs 19:7). God sent a plague and 185,000 Assyrians died in one night (2 Kgs 19:35–36; Is 27:36–37). Sennacherib returned home depressed and discouraged where he was killed by two of his own sons. God caused the Babylonians to revolt against the Assyrians and as a result Jerusalem was spared.
It was around this same time that Hezekiah fell sick, in fact Isaiah the prophet told him to put his house in order in preparation for his death. But as a result of his earnest prayer recorded in Isaiah 38, Hezekiah was granted recovery and lived another fifteen years. He died in 686 BC after leading Judah in one of its greatest revivals in its history.
For Further Study
- Rogerson, John W., and Philip R. Davies. “Was the Siloam Tunnel Built by Hezekiah?” Biblical Archaeologist 59, no. 3 (1996): 138–49.
- Cahill, Jane M. “A Rejoinder to ‘Was the Siloam Tunnel Built by Hezekiah?.’” Biblical Archaeologist 60, no. 3 (1997): 184–85