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Jeremiah: Historical Background Part Two

Achaz’ son Hezekiah seems to have shared the sentiments, for he reversed his father’s policy at every point, bending his efforts increasingly toward independence, while at the same time undertaking sweeping religious reforms.


Matters came to a head when Sancherev took the throne of Assyria. It was then that Hezekiah, encouraged by unrest in various parts of the empire and relying upon aid promised by Egypt, formerly the cleared his independence and joined a considerable coalition of states in open rebellion. But this, as Isaiah warned, led only to disaster.

In 701, Sancherev fell upon the coalition and broke it, invaded Judah, reduced or fortified cities and is slaughtered or deported their population, and finally, having blockaded Hezekiah in Jerusalem and forced to surrender, laid the land under ruinous taxation. Though Jerusalem was spared destruction, and though Hezekiah retained his throne, and even dared to revolt a second time (Kings II 18:17 – 19:37, Isaiah 36–37), his efforts to regain independence were unsuccessful. It couldn’t be done.

So it was that when Hezekiah died, his son and successor Menashe gave up the effort, declared himself a loyal vassal of Assyria, and so remained throughout his long reign.

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