- Looking back to 23:31, what four kings reigned between Josiah’s death and the fall of Jerusalem? What was the length of their reigns and what was their record, as described in these chapters?
- In what ways was Nebuchadnezzar’s treatment of Jerusalem after his second capture of it much more severe than when he captured it the first time?
What reasons are given in chapter 24 for the captivity?
Cf. 23:26, 27; Jer. 15:1-4; Deut. 4:26, 27.
What does this teach us about the end of persistent sinning?
Yet what star of hope is seen shining in the closing verses of the book?
Cf. 2 Sam. 7:14, 15.
25:22. ‘Gedaliah son of Ahikam’: see 22:12; Jer. 26:24. The story of his assassination is told more fully in Jer. 40:1-41:10.
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.
This chapter tells of the end of the northern kingdom of Israel, with the causes of its downfall, and what followed after it.
- Can you trace a progressive deterioration in Israel’s moral and spiritual condition in verses 9-18? Compare the phrase ‘secretly did things against the Lord…’ in verse 9 with ‘sold themselves to do evil…’ in verse 17.
What are the modern counterparts of the sins that Israel committed?
Cf. Col. 3:5; Heb. 12:25.
- Consider what great events had taken place in Israel’s history in the territory of the northern kingdom, which had brought glory to God, and deliverance to the people.
To what condition was it now reduced? Cf. 2 Tim. 3:5; Is. 29:13.
Note.Verse 2. In what way Hoshea sinned less grievously than preceding kings is not explained.
These two chapters cover a period of about eighty years.
It is helpful to make a list in parallel columns of the kings of Judah and Israel respectively, mentioned in today’s portion, with the length of their reigns.
- Taking first the kings of Judah, how does Ahaz stand out in sharp contrast to his father Jotham, and his grandfather Azariah (Uzziah)?
What two particular acts of folly, one political, the other religious, are recorded of him?
Cf. Ps. 146:3-5; Is. 7:1-9.
- How long did the dynasty of Jehu continue in Israel?
See 10:30 and Hos. 1:4. What happened after the dynasty came to an end?
What great loss did the northern kingdom suffer in the reign of Pekah?
Do you find any good thing recorded of any of the kings of the northern kingdom in these two chapters? Cf. Hos. 7:7; 8:4; 13:11.