Meet Hezekiah: Successful King of Judah

Discover why God granted King Hezekiah a longer life

Assyrian army attacking Jerusalem under King Hezekiah
Illustration of Assyrian army attacking Jerusalem under King Hezekiah, Book of Kings.

Peter Dennis / Getty Images

Of all the kings of Judah, Hezekiah was the most obedient to God. He found such favor in the Lord's eyes that God answered his prayer and added 15 years to his life.

Hezekiah, whose name means "God has strengthened," was 25 years old when he began his reign (from BC 726-697). His father, Ahaz, had been one of the worst kings in Israel's history, leading the people astray with idolatry. Hezekiah zealously began to set things right. First, he reopened the temple in Jerusalem. Then he sanctified the temple vessels that had been desecrated. He reinstated the Levitical priesthood, restored proper worship, and brought back Passover as a national holiday.

But he didn't stop there. King Hezekiah made sure idols were smashed throughout the land, along with any remains of pagan worship. Over the years, the people had been worshiping the bronze serpent Moses made in the desert. Hezekiah destroyed it.

During Hezekiah's reign, the ruthless Assyrian empire was on the march, conquering one nation after another. Hezekiah took steps to fortify Jerusalem against a siege, one of which was to build a 1,750-foot long tunnel to provide a secret water supply. Archaeologists have excavated the tunnel under the city of David.

Hezekiah made one major mistake, which is recorded in 2 Kings 20. Ambassadors came from Babylon, and Hezekiah showed them all the gold in his treasury, armaments, and the riches of Jerusalem. Afterward, the prophet Isaiah scolded him for his pride, foretelling that everything would be taken away, including the king's descendants.

To appease the Assyrians, Hezekiah paid King Sennacherib 300 silver talents and 30 of gold. Later, Hezekiah became seriously ill. Isaiah warned him to get his affairs in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah reminded God of his obedience then wept bitterly. So, God healed him, adding 15 years to his life. 

Later the Assyrians returned, mocking God and threatening Jerusalem again. Hezekiah went to the temple to pray for deliverance. The prophet Isaiah said God had heard him. That same night, the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 warriors in the Assyrian camp, so Sennacherib retreated to Nineveh and stayed there.

Even though Hezekiah's loyalty pleased the Lord, his son Manasseh was a wicked man who undid most of his father's reforms, bringing back immorality and worship of pagan gods.

Accomplishments of King Hezekiah

Hezekiah stamped out idol worship and restored Yahweh to his rightful place as God of Judah. As a military leader, he fended off the superior forces of the Assyrians.

Strengths

As a man of God, Hezekiah obeyed the Lord in everything he did and listened to the counsel of Isaiah. His wisdom told him God's way was best.

Weaknesses

Hezekiah lapsed into pride in showing Judah's treasures to Babylonian envoys. By trying to impress, he gave away important state secrets.

Life Lessons

  • Hezekiah chose God's way instead of the popular immorality of his culture. God prospered King Hezekiah and Judah because of his obedience.
  • Genuine love for the Lord gained Hezekiah 15 more years of life when he was dying. God desires our love.
  • Pride can affect even a godly man. Hezekiah's bragging later figured into the looting of Israel's treasury and the Babylonian captivity.
  • Although Hezekiah made sweeping reforms, he did nothing to ensure they would remain in place after his death. We guarantee our legacy only with wise planning.

Hometown

Jerusalem

References to Hezekiah in the Bible

Hezekiah's story appears in 2 Kings 16:20-20:21; 2 Chronicles 28:27-32:33; and Isaiah 36:1-39:8. Other references include Proverbs 25:1; Isaiah 1:1; Jeremiah 15:4, 26:18-19; Hosea 1:1; and Micah 1:1.

Occupation

Thirteenth king of Judah

Family Tree

Father: Ahaz
Mother: Abijah
Son: Manasseh

Key Verses

Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. (2 Kings 18:5-7, NIV)

"I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life." (2 Kings 20:5-6, NIV)

Sources

  • Who was Hezekiah in the Bible? https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Hezekiah.html
  • Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia