Who was Hezekiah? Is there evidence that he actually existed?
Estimated to have reigned between the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., Hezekiah was a king not only devoted to the Lord, but also responsible for much improvement to the kingdom of Judah. Additionally, he’s one of the only kings whose name and legacy has been specifically found within the archaeological record!
King Hezekiah’s Legacy:
- Hezekiah is mentioned in the surviving annals of the Assyrian king, Sennacherib.
- Hezekiah built a water tunnel often referred to as ‘Hezekiah’s tunnel.’ It runs from the Gihon Springs, under the walls of Jerusalem to the Pool of Siloam, and is still functioning to this day!
- Hezekiah, like David and Solomon, wrote many of the Psalms in the Book of Psalms (see Psalms 120-134).
- Hezekiah protected his people and followed God. He used his power wisely, trusting in God’s law.
It is said of Hezekiah that: “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses. The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.” —2 Kings 18:5-7
Artifacts related to Hezekiah’s life:
Perhaps one of the most impressive pieces of biblical proof found in the last decade was a seal, or bulla, of King Hezekiah. Discovered in Jerusalem by archaeologists, the seal bears the inscription, ‘Belonging to Hezekiah, (son of) Ahaz, King of Judah' (see image below). This seal is a physical reminder of a king who followed the Lord, and it was found mere meters away from the southern wall of the Temple Mount—the very location of the threshing floor made Holy by King’s David and Solomon!
The seal would have been in use when the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, was a major threat to Hezekiah’s rule and to the City of Jerusalem itself. Yet, Sennacherib did not prevail.
Hezekiah built up walls and towers of protection, and actively turned the people back to God by keeping them from false worship; smashing the false idols (see 2 Kings 18:4, 2 Chronicles 31:1-21).
Hezekiah also fought against the Assyrians by hiding or closing off water sources outside of Jerusalem, so no invading force would have easy access to water (see 2 Chronicles 32). The Siloam, or Hezekiah tunnel, was built to replace the previous water channel to Jerusalem in an effort to hide and bring water from the Spring Gihon. To this day the tunnel is a functioning example of Hezekiah's water solutions (see images below).
These measures greatly attributed to the fact that the people of Judea and Jerusalem were kept safe for many generations to come.
King Hezekiah and his relationship with God:
Hezekiah did more than building towers and hiding, or rerouting water resources in order to keep his people safe. He went before the Lord in His Temple, seeking Him in prayer…
“Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: ‘O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone… Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.'” —2 Kings 19:15-16
And the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and said, “…Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.'” —2 Kings 19:20
To hear the Lord speak surely would have been enough, but He not only spoke, He acted! God defeated 185,000 Assyrians with one angel, causing Sennacherib to flee to Ninevah to meet his end at the hands of his son(s) (see 2 Kings 19:35-37; Babylonian Chronicle; Ninevah Prism of Esarhaddon). God effectively put an end to the threat Assyria posed.
Hezekiah’s obedience to the Lord saved Jerusalem. Without this obedience, God wouldn’t have acted.
But this wasn’t the end of Hezekiah’s relationship with God.
Time passed and Isaiah the prophet came to Hezekiah telling him that his life was about to end. Hezekiah responded to God a second time in prayer, and the Lord extended his life (see 2 Kings 20:1-7)! Indeed not only did the Lord heal Hezekiah, but he turned back the shadow of the sun ten degrees as a sign that His promises would be fulfilled! Thus, Hezekiah went to the house of the Lord on the third day, as the prophet Isaiah had told him, and his life was extended by fifteen years (see 2 Kings 20:8-11).
King Hezekiah was obedient to God to the end of his days and he was thusly favored by God.
“And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.” —2 Chronicles 31:21
What is the takeaway?
In all this, we see that while Hezekiah ruled during a time of trouble, he was greatly blessed of God! This is because he continually turned to God and followed His commandments. When the enemy came he didn’t look to his own strength but to God’s, and Hezekiah's prayers were answered.
Yet, not only were his prayers answered, the Lord favored him. He was wealthy not only with gold and gems, but with wheat and barley for eating and sacrifices, grapes for wine, and olives for oil, while the people of Jerusalem were spared from captivity during his lifetime (see 2 Chronicles 32:27-30, 2 Kings 19).
Through Hezekiah’s actions we see that:
- Hezekiah was wise in the Lord
- Hezekiah was obedient
- Hezekiah didn’t trust in his own wealth and power
- Hezekiah listened to the prophet of the Lord
- Hezekiah feared God AND trusted Him to answer prayer
- Hezekiah followed the Word and laws of God—he was faithful
- Hezekiah was a man of God
Hezekiah wasn’t perfect, but he still obeyed God. It’s in obeying God, trusting Him, and being faithful to Him that we are truly blessed!
In the Genesis 12:3 it says of Israel and the children of Israel, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you…”
Let us be like Hezekiah and bless Israel’s children so that we too might to be blessed!
One way to bless the children of Israel is to become a Covenant Partner with Curt Landry Ministries. Through your monthly giving YOU provide food and shelter to the children of Israel; YOU bless Holocaust survivors; YOU help young people without hope; YOU give the gift of music and worship to underprivileged children; and YOU give protection and knowledge to children! Let the blessings flow from you, to them, and back to you!