2 Kings 20 and 21
The events described in chapter 20 happened in the earlier part of Hezekiah’s reign before the invasion of Sennacherib (see verses 6 and 13 and also 18:15, 16), and are introduced here as a kind of appendix to the story of Hezekiah.
- Put yourself in Hezekiah’s place, and try to picture the effect on him of Isaiah’s announcement. What did he do (cf. Ps. 102:24), and what did God then do? How would these experiences help to prepare Hezekiah for the greater tests of faith that he was to meet when Sennacherib attacked him? In spite of his faithfulness to God, in what way did Hezekiah fail in the incident recorded in 20:12-19? Cf. Prov. 29:5. How did Isaiah view the incident, and what word of judgment was given him to speak? For its fulfillment over a century later see chapter 25.
- Summarize in you own words Manasseh’s flagrant idolatry. What judgments did God declare through his prophets? Do you think it can have been easy for the prophets to speak thus? Cf. Mic. 3:8.
- 20:12. Merodach-Baladan (see Is. 39:1) was a northern chieftain, who had seized Babylon and was looking round for every possible means of strengthening his position. His reign did not last long, and it would have been folly for Hezekiah to enter into alliance with him.
- 21:13. The first half of the verse means that Jerusalem will receive the same measure of judgment as Samaria and the house of Ahab. The metaphor in the second half of the verse is a very strong and vivid one.
2 Kings 22 and 23
- Make out a list of all that Josiah did, both positively to promote true religion, and negatively to destroy the false. Are our lives marked by a similar eagerness to depart from iniquity and to live in covenant with God? Cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. What was the mainspring of Josiah’s reformation zeal? Cf. Ps. 119:161b; Is. 66:2; see also 2 Kgs. 23:25; and contrast the behavior of Jehoiakim in Jer. 36:23-25.
- Examine the part played by Huldah the prophetess, and compare with the influence of other women mentioned in previous chapter.