HOME ~ Contact us

HEZEKIAH, King of Judah, and Hephzibah

HUSBAND:
HEZEKIAH, King of Judah. (Ezekias) (y''izqiyyahu, Khizkiyahu, Y'khizkiyahu)(the LORD has strengthened). [CHART A7].
Son of Ahaz and Abijah.

The 13th king of independent Judah and the son of King Ahaz and Abijah (2 Chronicles 29:1), who was a daughter of Zechariah (who was not the prophet). (Abijah was also known as Abi (2 Kings 18:1-2).) He took the throne at the age of twenty-five (2 Chronicles 29:1) and reigned twenty-nine years (2 Kings 18:2). He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

William F. Albright dated his reign to 715 – 687 BC, while E. R. Thiele estimated the dates 716 – 687 BC.[1] Under either of these chronologies, Hezekiah ruled the southern kingdom of Judah during the forced resettlement of the northern kingdom of Israel by Sargon's Assyrians. Judah absorbed many refugees from the northern kingdom during Hezekiah's reign, about a hundred years before the destruction of Solomon's Temple by Nebuchadnezzar II's Babylonians.

Life

The account of this king in the Hebrew Bible is contained in 2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39, and 2 Chronicles 29-32. These sources portray him as a great and good king, following the example of his great-grandfather Uzziah. He introduced religious reform and reinstated religious traditions. He set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among other things which he did for this end, he destroyed the "brazen serpent," which had been relocated at Jerusalem, and had become an object of idolatrous worship. A great reformation was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chronicles 29:3-36). The author of 2 Kings ends his account of Hezekiah with praise (18:5).

Between the death of Sargon, and the succession of his son Sennacherib, Hezekiah sought to throw off his dependence to the Assyrian kings. He refused to pay the tribute enforced on his father, and "rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league with Egypt (Isaiah 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16) in the 4th year of Sennacherib (701 BC). Hezekiah anticipated the Assyrian invasion, and made at least one major preparation: in an impressive engineering feat, a tunnel 533 meters long was dug in order to provide Jerusalem underground access to the waters of the Spring of Gihon, which lay outside the city. (The work is described in the Siloam Inscription, which has been dated to his reign on the basis of its script). At the same time, a wall was built around the Pool of Siloam, into which the waters from the spring flowed (Isaiah 22:11). An impressive vestige of this structure is the broad wall in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

During the invasion, Sennacherib took Lachish. "King Tirhakah" of Kush, who was probably the heir apparent to the 25th Dynasty of Egypt Taharqa, also moved into Judah, to protect its capital Jerusalem.

"When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, intent on making war against Jerusalem, he consulted with his officers and warriors about stopping the flow of the springs outside the city ... for otherwise, they thought, the King of Assyria would come and find water in abundance" (2 Chronicles 32:2-4). The narrative in the Bible states (Isaiah 33:1; 2 Kings 18:17; 2 Chronicles 32:9; Isaiah 36) that Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem. Sennacherib records on his monumental inscription, "The Prism of Sennacherib", how in his campaign against Hezekiah ("Ha-za-qi-(i)a-ú") he took 46 cities in this campaign (column 3, line 19 of Taylor prism), and besieged Jerusalem ("Ur-sa-li-im-mu") with earthworks.[2] Eventually Hezekiah saw Sennacherib's determination, and offered to pay him three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold in tribute, despoiling the doors of the Temple to produce the promised amount (18:14-16).

The Assyrians claimed that Sennacherib raised his siege of Jerusalem after Hezekiah acknowledged Sennacherib as his overlord and paid him tribute[3]. According to one Biblical account, this invasion ended in the destruction of Sennacherib's army, when Hezekiah prayed to God and "that night the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men." (19:35) Herodotus (Histories 2:141) recorded a story that the Assyrians had been visited by a plague of mice while they were in Egypt. A common secular understanding is that the Assyrians were growing tired and sick from the extended siege and did not wish a confrontation with Kush and Egypt at this time; and accepted Hezekiah's offer of tribute as a face-saving measure.[citation needed]

The author of the Books of Kings (19:37) says "It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place." Scripture does not say when this took place. Assyrian records show that Sennacherib's assassination by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer happened in 681 BC, twenty years after the invasion of 701 BC.[4] Esarhaddon then became the next Assyrian king.

The Bible says that the Angel of the Lord wiped out 185,000 of Sennacherib's troops, and Herodotus acknowledges many deaths (though he claims it was a plague). Not willing to believe in supernatural intervention, many modern historians will tend to go with the story from the Assyrian perspective. However Sennacherib, like Shalmaneser III before him (who claimed victory over the battle of Qarqar in 853, but seems to have had no real hold over the nations), was probably just trying to save face.[citation needed]

The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chronicles 32:24, Isaiah 38:1. Various ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, among them Merodach-baladan, the king of Babylon (2 Chronicles 32:23; 2 Kings 20:12). Hezekiah is also remembered for giving too much information to Baladan, king of Babylon, for which he was confronted by Isaiah the prophet (2 Kings 20:12-19). The Talmudic account states that Isaiah went to tell Hezekiah that he was going to die because he deliberately did not have children. This was on account of the fact that Hezekiah had seen prophetically that his child would be an idolator and therefore he preferred not to have children. Isaiah told him he was required to fulfil the biblical commandment of "be fruitful and multiply" and not outguess God about what the future would bring. Isaiah then suggested perhaps if his own daughter married Hezekiah in the merit of righteous parents their children would also be righteous. [5]Hezekiah agreed and Isaiah's daughter bore him Manasseh who was an idolator and later murdered his grandfather Isaiah. He repented in his later years after being taken to Babylon in captivity. According to Jewish tradition, The victory over the Assyrians and Hezekiah's return to health happened at the same time, the first night of Passover.

Religious reforms

King Hezekiah introduced substantial religious reforms during his reign. They included the following:

* Hezekiah concentrated worship of Yahweh at Jerusalem, suppressing the shrines to him that had existed till then elsewhere in Judea (2 Kings 18:22). * He abolished idol worship which had resumed under his father's reign. He abolished the shrines and smashed the pillars and cut down the sacred post. He also broke into pieces the bronze serpent which Moses had made, for until that time the Israelites had been offering sacrifices to it "(2 Kings 18:4). * He resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival (2Chronicles 30:5, 10, 13, 26). While the historicity of 2Chronicles 30 has been criticized, recovery of LMLK seals from the northwest territory of Israel (corresponding to 2Chronicles 30:11) may indicate that some sort of administrative relationship existed between King Hezekiah and a minority of northern Israelites (see "An Administrative Center of the Iron Age in Nahal Tut" by Amir Gorzalczany [4]).

These are incredibly important reforms, as they removed the polytheism of the past and in essence restored the notion of the one God, thereby preserving the foundation for the Jewish and Christian religions we know today.

Richard Elliot Friedman[6] is of the belief that the P Source of the Bible was composed during the time of Hezekiah. P for instance “emphasizes centralization of religion: one centre, one altar, one Tabernacle, one place of sacrifice. Who was the king who began such centralization? King Hezekiah." But the books of Kings and Chronicles have lengthy passages attesting that there was effective centralization before him, in the days of David (1 Chronicles 6:31-49; 15:3-16:6; 16:37,38; 23:2-26:32) and Solomon (1 Kings 4:1-19; 6:1-7:51; 8:1-66; 2 Chronicles 2:1-7:10).

According to Friedman and others who follow the theorizing of Julius Wellhausen regarding the formation of Israel's religion, P is the work of Aaronid priesthood. They are the priests in authority at the central altar – not Moses, not Korah, nor any other Levites. Only those descended from Aaron can be priests. Friedman then goes on to say “P always speaks of two distinct groups, the priests and the Levites. Who was the king who formalized the divisions between priests and Levites? King Hezekiah." Chronicles reports explicitly:

“Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions—each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites (2 Chronicles 32:1, NIV).” As was noted above, long sections in Kings and Chronicles attribute the original assignment of these courses to David and his son Solomon, so that Hezekiah was re-establishing, not creating, these divisions.

But there is evidence from archaeology that Hezekiah did not centralize the religion. He allowed, and indeed built temples at Lachish and Arad, and allowed a high place to continue in operation at Beersheva. The statement of 2 Kings 18:4 that Hezekiah ”removed the high places (bamot), and broke down the pillars (massebot) and cut down the sacred poles (asherah)," is claimed by William G. Dever [7] to be "simply Deuteronomistic propaganda". Far from being a Canaanite goddess, the Kuntillet Arjud and Khirbet el-Qom both speak of Yahweh and his Asherah. According to these writers, the P source equally sought to establish the legitimacy of its approach by crediting in Chronicles their later reforms to Hezekiah, to out-trump their Shilohite enemies. This is shown by the fact that ostraca of the Arad temple at the time of Hezekiah not only that its maintenance was an official state cult, but that it was not under the control of the Aaronids at all. The ostraca mention the provisioning of the temple for the “sons of Korah” the descendent of Moses with “qodesh kohanim” holy objects of the priests. Aaronids were not exclusively the priests for Hezekiah as Chronicles claims – that came later with the victory of the Aaronites in the second temple period. Hezekiah like Josiah was following the Shilohite kohanim.

Even Friedman acknowledges that the “Aaronid priesthood that produced P had opponents, Levites who saw Moses and not Aaron as their model. What was the most blatant reminder of Moses power that was visible in Judah? The bronze serpent 'Nehushtan'. According to tradition, stated explicitly in E, Moses had made it. It had the power to save people from snakebite. Who was the king who smashed the Nehushtan? Hezekiah.”

However, there is indirect (admittedly weak) Biblical evidence that he did not. Ezra, the Aaronid priest, for instance, reports much later that even as late as the Exile there were images of serpents painted all over the walls of the inner chamber of the temple. Dever and others argue that in order to establish the sanctity of their view, the P Source writers had to show it was anchored in the actions of Hezekiah.

Achaeological evidence

A lintel inscription, found over the doorway of a tomb, has been ascribed to his comptroller Shebna.

Seals

Two distinct classes of seal impressions have been found in modern Israel relating to King Hezekiah:

* LMLK seals on storage jar handles, excavated from strata formed by Sennacherib's destruction as well as immediately above that layer suggesting they were used throughout his 29-year reign (Grena, 2004, p. 338)

* Bullae from sealed documents, some that may have belonged to Hezekiah himself (Grena, 2004, p. 26, Figs. 9 and 10) while others name his servants (ah-vah-deem in Hebrew, ayin-bet-dalet-yod-mem), all from the antiquities market and subject to authentication disputes (see Biblical archaeology)

Chronological issues

There has been considerable debate about the actual dates of his reign. For those who do not accept the ancient Near Eastern practice of coregencies, the Biblical records are in conflict, as they would be for a number of rulers of Israel and Judah when this principle is neglected or deliberately ignored. 2 Kings 18:10 dates the fall of Samaria to the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign, which would make 729 BC the year of the beginning of his coregency with Ahaz (see below). Verse 13 of the same chapter states that Sennacherib invaded Judah in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah; the Assyrian records leave little doubt that this invasion took place in 701 BC, which would fix 716/715 BC as Hezekiah's initial year of sole reign, which would be confirmed by the account of his illness.

In chapter 18 of 2 Kings it is stated that during the 14th year of his reign, Sennacherib had returned to pillage Samaria, setting up his base of operations at Lachish and threatening Jerusalem, forcing Hezekiah to pay tribute. As the description in chapter 20 of Hezekiah's illness immediately follows Sennacherib's departure, this would date his illness to his 14th year, which is confirmed by Isaiah's statement that he will live fifteen more years (29-15=14). His fourteenth year being 701 BC, the first year of sole reign must have been 716/715 BC.[8] He had become coregent a few years before this, at the age of 25.

Following the approach of Wellhausen, which Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen characterized as presupposition-based (no coregencies, no consideration from archaeology of how ancient scribes measured the years),[9] another set of calculations shows it is probable that Hezekiah did not ascend the throne before 722 BC. By Albright's calculations, Jehu's initial year is 842 BC; and between it and Samaria's destruction the Books of Kings give the total number of the years the kings of Israel ruled as 143 7/12, while for the kings of Judah the number is 165. This discrepancy, amounting in the case of Judah to 45 years (165-120), has been accounted for in various ways; but every one of those theories must allow that Hezekiah's first six years as well as Ahaz's last two fell before 722 BC. Nor is it clearly known how old Hezekiah was when called to the throne, although 2 Kings 18:2 states he was twenty-five years of age. His father (2 Kings 16:2) died at the age of thirty-six; it is not likely that Ahaz at the age of eleven should have had a son. Hezekiah's own son Manasseh ascended the throne twenty-nine years later, at the age of twelve. This places his birth in the seventeenth year of his father's reign, or gives Hezekiah's age as forty-two, if he was twenty-five at his ascension. It is more probable that Ahaz was twenty-one or twenty-five when Hezekiah was born (and suggesting an error in the text), and that the latter was thirty-two at the birth of his son and successor, Manasseh.

All these problems have been resolved by scholarship later than Albright and Friedman that takes into account the coregency between Hezekiah and his father Ahaz. Assyriologists and Egyptologists recognize that coregencies were practices both in Assyria and Egypt,[10][11] After noting that coregencies were only used sporadically in the northern kingdom (Israel), Nadav Na'aman writes,

In the kingdom of Judah, on the other hand, the nomination of a co-regent was the common procedure, beginning from David who, before his death, elevated his son Solomon to the throne…When taking into account the permanent nature of the co-regency in Judah from the time of Joash, one may dare to conclude that dating the co-regencies accurately is indeed the key for solving the problems of biblical chronology in the eighth century B.C."[12]

Scholars who have recognized the coregency between Ahaz and Hezekiah include Kenneth Kitchen in his various writings,[13] Leslie McFall.[14] and Jack Finegan.[15] As demonstrated most explicitly in McFall's 1991 article, when 729 BC (that is, the Judean regnal year beginning in Tishri of 729) is taken as the start of the Ahaz/Hezekiah coregency, and 716/715 BC as the date of the death of Ahaz, then all the extensive chronological data for Hezekiah and his contemporaries in the late eighth century BC are in harmony. Further, no textual emendations are required among the numerous dates, reign lengths, and synchronisms given in Scripture for this period. In contrast, those who do not accept the Ancient Near Eastern principle of coregencies require multiple emendations of the Scriptural text, and there is no general agreement on which texts should be emended, nor is there any consensus among these scholars on the resultant chronology for the eighth century BC.

Still another date has been put forth as possible by astronomical calculations. 2 Kings 20:8-11 speaks obscurely about "the shadow" moving "ten degrees" during the above mentioned illness of Hezekiah (as does Isaiah 38:7f). Professor Aurel Ponori-Thewrewk, retired director of the planetarium of Budapest, Hungary, may have been the first scholar to offer an astronomical explanation for this passage; observing that new Bible translations use "the sundial of Ahaz," while other Bibles "the stairway of Ahaz," he states that the original Hebrew text says ma(c)alóth, the plural of ma(c)alah. Therefore, his conclusion is that it had a double meaning: while it refers to the steps over which the shadow has already passed, it may have meant the instrument (?) of Ahaz which had obviously contained more than ten units, and on which Hezekiah could observe the movement of the sun's shadow. But whatever was the original meaning of the Hebrew word, Ponori-Thewrewk says, the shadow had made an abnormal movement on it. He imagines a pole or gnomon that casts a shadow on a plane that is perpendicular to it. The shadow can move ahead for a while, then it can move backward on that plane.

John D. Davis, Davis dictionary of the Bible (Baker Book House, 1975: 184) also asserts the possibility that 2 Kings 20:11 and Isaiah 38:8 may be explained by a solar eclipse, and the stairway of Ahaz may have been a sundial with a projecting gnomon to cast a shadow. The foretold backward position of the sun's shadow, could have been caused by an eclipse of the sun, probably on May 6, 724 BC. This eclipse took place between 6:09 and 8:24 a.m., its maximum was 64.3% at 7:15 a.m. This would then date Hezekiah's first year as king to 738 BC, and his last to 709 BC. It is possible that Isaiah (38: 7-8) had been informed beforehand by an astronomer, perhaps by one of Merodach-baladan's envoys, about the expected date of a solar eclipse on May 6, so Isaiah comforted the king on May 3. According to the latest NASA charts, however, the eclipse of May 6, 724 BC would not have been visible from Jerusalem.[16]

WIFE:
Hephzibah


CHILDREN of Hezekiah and Hephzibah:
  1. Manasseh, King of Judah. [CHART A7].


SOURCES:

HOW ARE WE RELATED:
Our Line of Descent from Malcolm III:

	MALCOLM III Caenmore (A.D.1055-1093) md. Margarethe of England
                 |
    _____________|______________________________________________
    |                                                          |
DAIVD I, The Saint, md. Maud of Northcumberland              EDITH, md Henry I, King of England
HENRY of Huntingdon  md. Adama of Surrey                     Matilda. (Maud)  She married (1) Henry V of Germany.  she married (2) Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou and Maine.  
David of Huntingdon md. Maud of Chester                      HENRY II, King of England  md  Ida, Countess of Norfolk
Isabella of Huntingdon md. Robert IV de Brus                 William I Longspee md Ela Fitzpatrick
Robert V de Brus md. Isabella de Clare, of Gloucester        William II Longspee md Idonie de Camville
Robert VI de Brus md. Marjorie of Carrick                    Ela Longspee md James de Audley
Robert I Bruce md. Isabella of Mar                           Hugh de Audley md  Isolde de Mortimer
Margary Bruce md. Walter Stewart III                         Hugh de Audley md  Margaret de Clare 
Robert II  md. Euphemia of Ross                              Margaret de Audley.   md Ralph de Stafford
Robert III (Stuart)  md. Arabella Drummond                   Hugh Stafford.  md Philippa de Beauchamp
James I, King of Scotland    md. Joan Beaufort               Edmund Stafford.  md Anne of Gloucester
Joan STEWART (STUART) md. James DOUGLAS III, Earl of Morton  Humphrey Stafford.  md Anne Neville
Janet DOUGLAS (c1461-1489).  md. Patrick HEPBURN             Margaret Stafford md Robert Dunham
Jane HEPBURN (1485-c1558).   md. George SEATON               John Dunham md Elizabeth Bowett
George SEATON III (c1508-1549).  md. Elizabeth HAY           John Dunham II md Jean Thorland
Marion SEATON (1528-1567).  md. John GRAHAM                  John Dunham III md Benedict Folgamsee
Margaret (Mary) GRAHAM   md. George BUCHANAN                 Ralph Dunham.  He married Elizabeth Wentworth.    
Margaret Helen BUCHANAN   md. (Sir) Alexander COLQUHOUN      Thomas Dunham. He married Jane Bromley. 
(Sir) Alexander COLQUHOUN  md. Marion Stirling (Sterling)    John Dunham Sr..  He married Susanna Kenney/Keno.  
(Sir) John COLQUHOUN (1595 or1632-c1647) md. Rebecca Short   John Dunham Jr..  He married Mary. 
William CAHOON (1633-1675) md. Deliverence PECK              Mary Dunham. She married  James Hamblin
Joseph CAHOON (1665-1710) md. (2) Elizabeth SCRANTON         Elkenah Hamblin.  He married Abigail Hamblin.
Ebenezer CAHOON  md. Mary REYNOLDS                           Sylvanus Hamblin.  He married Dorcas Fish. 
William CAHOONE  md. (2) Elizabeth VAUGHAN                   Barnabus Hamblin.  He married Mary Bassett.
William CAHOON  md. (2) Mary SMITH                           Isaiah Hamblin.  He married Daphne Haynes. 
Mary CAHOON  md. David ELLIOTT                               Jacob Vernon Hamblin md Sarah Priscilla Leavitt.
Peter Mack ELLIOTT  md. Charlotte ALVORD                     Ella Ann Hamblin = Warren Moroni Tenney
Harriett Louisa ELLIOTT  md. James Newberry MORRIS           Clive Vernon Tenney = Minnie Williams
Eli Ray MORRIS (1892-1980) md. Tina Matilda KUNZLER          Mildred Ella Tenney = Glenn Russell Handy
LeGrand Elliott MORRIS md. Dorothea Bertha Ernestine Kersten         |
Rodney Allen MORRIS           --       married     --     Deborah Lee Handy