2 Kings 19-20-21-22 , Bible Highlights: week starting september 21

Highlights From Bible Reading: 2 Kings 19-22 . Information for personal study.

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Research for Highlights of : 2 Kings 19-22

(2 KINGS 19:1)

“As soon as King Hez•e•kiʹah heard this, he ripped his garments apart and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 338 Blasphemy ***
Talmudic tradition also prescribed that when the religious judges heard testimony setting forth blasphemous words supposedly used by the accused, they were to rend their garments, following the example at 2 Kings 18:37; 19:1-4.—The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1976, Vol. III, p. 237; compare Mt 26:65.

(2 KINGS 19:7)

“Here I am putting a thought in his mind, and he will hear a report and return to his own land; and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.”’””

*** si p. 73 par. 27 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
Sennacherib returns in defeat and takes up dwelling in Nineveh. There his god Nisroch fails him once more, for it is while he is bowed in worship that his own sons kill him, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.—19:7, 37.

(2 KINGS 19:9)

“Now the king heard it said about King Tir•haʹkah of E•thi•oʹpi•a: “Here he has come out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hez•e•kiʹah, saying:”

*** g90 6/22 p. 26 Meroë—Testimony to Forgotten Grandeur ***
According to the Bible account, Assyrian king Sennacherib was battling Libnah while at the same time preparing to attack Jerusalem. Suddenly, word came that King Tirhakah was on the way to fight the Assyrians. (2 Kings 19:8, 9;

*** w88 2/1 pp. 26-27 Part 1—Ancient Egypt—First of the Great World Powers ***
Years later, during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, King Tirhakah of Ethiopia (probably the Ethiopian ruler of Egypt, Pharaoh Taharqa) marched into Canaan and temporarily diverted Assyrian king Sennacherib’s attack. (2 Kings 19:8-10) Sennacherib’s own annals, found in Assyria, apparently refer to this when they say: “I personally captured alive . . . the charioteers of the king of Ethiopia.”—Oriental Institute Prism of Sennacherib, University of Chicago.

*** it-1 p. 758 Esar-haddon ***
Conquest of Egypt. The outstanding military accomplishment of Esar-haddon was the conquest of Egypt, overcoming the Egyptian army under Ethiopian ruler Tirhakah (mentioned as “the king of Ethiopia” at 2Ki 19:9) and taking the city of Memphis. Esar-haddon thus added to his many titles that of “King of the kings of Egypt.”

*** it-2 p. 894 Sennacherib ***
The Assyrian committee returned to Sennacherib, who was now fighting against Libnah, as it was being heard “respecting Tirhakah the king of Ethiopia: ‘Here he has come out to fight against you.’” (2Ki 19:8, 9) Sennacherib’s inscriptions speak of a battle at Eltekeh (c. 15 km [9.5 mi] NNW of Ekron) in which he claims to have defeated an Egyptian army and the forces of “the king of Ethiopia.” He then describes his conquest of Ekron and his restoration of the freed Padi to the throne there.—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, pp. 287, 288.

*** it-2 p. 1109 Tirhakah ***
During Hezekiah’s reign, while Assyrian King Sennacherib was fighting against Libnah, news came that Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt, was on his way to fight the Assyrians. (2Ki 19:8, 9; Isa 37:8, 9) An Assyrian inscription, though not mentioning Tirhakah, indicates that Sennacherib defeated the forces that came from Egypt and captured “the charioteers of the king of Ethiopia.”

(2 KINGS 19:12)

“Did the gods of the nations that my forefathers destroyed rescue them? Where are Goʹzan, Haʹran, Reʹzeph, and the people of Eʹden who were in Tel-asʹsar?”

*** it-1 p. 993 Gozan ***
A name seemingly applied both to a place and to a river. At 2 Kings 19:12 and Isaiah 37:12, Gozan appears to embrace an area larger than a city, for its inhabitants are listed among the “nations” conquered by the Assyrians. Many scholars, evidently basing their conclusions on word similarities, believe that Gozan may correspond to Gauzanitis, a district of Mesopotamia referred to by Ptolemy and considered to be the same as the “Guzana” mentioned in Assyrian records. Ancient Guzana is commonly linked with modern Tell Halaf on the upper Khabur River, about 590 km (367 mi) ENE of the Sea of Galilee.

*** it-1 p. 1034 Haran ***
The name Haran also seems to have embraced the surrounding area, for Haran is listed among “the nations” conquered by the kings of Assyria.—2Ki 19:11, 12.

*** it-2 p. 1075 Tel-assar ***
A place inhabited by “the sons of Eden” mentioned along with Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph—sites in northern Mesopotamia. (2Ki 19:12; Isa 37:12) Sennacherib boasted, through his messengers, that the gods worshiped by the people of these places had been unable to deliver them from the power of his forefathers. Because of the reference to “the sons of Eden,” Tel-assar is generally associated with the small kingdom of Bit-adini along the Upper Euphrates. Assyrian monarchs Tiglath-pileser III and Esar-haddon both refer to a Til-Ashuri, but its location is considered to have been near the Assyrian border of Elam. Hence, identification of Tel-assar remains uncertain.

(2 KINGS 19:13)

“Where is the king of Haʹmath, the king of Arʹpad, and the king of the cities of Seph•ar•vaʹim, and of Heʹna, and of Ivʹvah?’””

*** it-1 p. 179 Arpad ***
A royal city of N Syria always associated in the Bible with the city of Hamath. Arpad has been identified with Tell Erfad (Tell Rifʽat) about 30 km (19 mi) NNW of Aleppo. Situated on the road leading S to Hamath and Damascus, it came under frequent attack from the Assyrians and was eventually conquered by Tiglath-pileser III and later by Sargon II. Thus Sargon’s son, Sennacherib, when threatening Jerusalem in 732 B.C.E., had his spokesman Rabshakeh refer to the fate of Arpad as an evidence of the inability of the gods of the nations to resist Assyria’s mighty power. (2Ki 18:34; 19:12, 13; Isa 36:19; 37:12, 13) The prophet Isaiah had earlier foretold such boasting. (Isa 10:9)

(2 KINGS 19:21)

“This is the word that Jehovah has spoken against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you, she scoffs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head at you.”

*** it-2 p. 1158 Virgin ***
Cities, Places, and Peoples. Often the term “virgin” is used in connection with cities, places, or peoples. Reference is made to the “virgin” or “virgin daughter” of “my people” (Jer 14:17), as well as of Israel (Jer 31:4, 21; Am 5:2), Judah (La 1:15), Zion (2Ki 19:21; La 2:13), Egypt (Jer 46:11), Babylon (Isa 47:1), and Sidon (Isa 23:12). The sense of this figurative use appears to be that the various peoples or locations thus referred to either had not been seized and ravished by foreign conquerors or at one time enjoyed an unsubdued state like a virgin.

(2 KINGS 19:24)

“I will dig wells and drink foreign waters; I will dry up all the streams of Egypt with the soles of my feet.’”

*** it-2 p. 502 Nile ***
The Nile figured prominently in Egyptian defenses against invasion. Its cataracts to the S made the land difficult to attack from the direction of Nubia-Ethiopia, while the swampy land around the Delta region hindered the entrance of large armies from the Asiatic continent. Some scholars suggest that Assyrian King Sennacherib’s boast of drying up all the Nile canals with his feet signified his confidence in his being able to overcome defensive water-filled moats around Egyptian cities and strongholds.—2Ki 19:24.

(2 KINGS 19:25)

“Have you not heard? From long ago it was determined. From days gone by I have prepared it. Now I will bring it about. You will turn fortified cities into desolate piles of ruins.”

*** w99 8/15 p. 14 par. 3 Living by Faith in God’s Promises ***
With progressive action, Jehovah causes himself to be the Fulfiller of all his promises. Consequently, Jehovah is spoken of as ‘forming,’ or fashioning, his purpose concerning future events or actions. (2 Kings 19:25; Isaiah 46:11) These terms are from the Hebrew word ya•tsarʹ, related to the word meaning “potter.” (Jeremiah 18:4) Just as a skillful potter can shape a lump of clay into a beautiful vase, Jehovah can shape, or maneuver, things to accomplish his will.—Ephesians 1:11.

(2 KINGS 19:26)

“Their inhabitants will be helpless; They will be terrified and put to shame. They will become as vegetation of the field and green grass, As grass of the roofs that is scorched by the east wind.”

*** it-1 p. 994 Grass ***
The Israelites were very familiar with the withering of grass under the sun’s intense heat during the dry season. So the transitoriness of man’s life is fittingly likened to that of grass and is contrasted with the everlastingness of Jehovah and that of his “word” or “saying.” (Ps 90:4-6; 103:15-17; Isa 40:6-8; 51:12; 1Pe 1:24, 25) Evildoers also are compared to grass that quickly withers. (Ps 37:1, 2) The haters of Zion as well as people about to be subjugated by military conquest are likened to shallow-rooted grass growing on earthen roofs, grass that withers even before being pulled up or that is scorched in the wake of the east wind.—Ps 129:5, 6; 2Ki 19:25, 26; Isa 37:26, 27.

*** it-2 p. 1148 Vegetation ***
Figurative Use. During the Palestinian dry season, vegetation, when subjected to the scorching heat of the sun or a parching east wind, quickly dries up. Accordingly, people about to be subjugated by military conquest are likened to “vegetation of the field and green tender grass, grass of the roofs, when there is a scorching before the east wind.” (2Ki 19:25, 26; Isa 37:26, 27) Similarly, when severely afflicted, the psalmist exclaimed: “My heart has been struck just like vegetation and is dried up.” “I myself am dried up like mere vegetation.”—Ps 102:4, 11.

(2 KINGS 19:28)

“Because your rage against me and your roaring have reached my ears. So I will put my hook in your nose and my bridle between your lips, And I will lead you back the way you came.””

*** it-1 p. 367 Bridle ***
Jehovah told King Sennacherib of Assyria: “I shall certainly put my hook in your nose and my bridle between your lips, and I shall indeed lead you back by the way by which you have come.” (2Ki 19:28; Isa 37:29) Not willingly, but by Jehovah’s hand, Sennacherib was forced to forgo any siege of Jerusalem and to return to Nineveh, where he was later assassinated by his own sons.

*** it-1 p. 1136 Hook ***
Human captives were sometimes led by hooks in the lips, nose, or tongue. An Assyrian pictorial representation shows the king holding three captives by cords fastened to hooks in their lips while he blinds one of them with a spear. It was, therefore, understandable to King Sennacherib of Assyria when Jehovah spoke figuratively to him through the prophet Isaiah: “I shall certainly put my hook in your nose and my bridle between your lips, and I shall indeed lead you back by the way by which you have come.”—2Ki 19:20, 21, 28; Isa 37:29.

(2 KINGS 19:32)

““‘Therefore this is what Jehovah says about the king of As•syrʹi•a: “He will not come into this city Or shoot an arrow there Or confront it with a shield Or cast up a siege rampart against it.”

*** w88 2/15 p. 28 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Through Isaiah, who was inside Jerusalem, Jehovah said of Sennacherib: “He will not come into this city nor will he shoot an arrow there nor confront it with a shield nor cast up a siege rampart against it. By the way by which he proceeded to come, he will return, and into this city he will not come.”—2 Kings 18:17–19:8, 32, 33.
Did Jehovah stop Sennacherib, as promised? That very night 185,000 Assyrians were struck down by means of God’s angel! Sennacherib pulled away and returned to Nineveh, later to be killed by two of his own sons while he was bowing down to his god Nisroch.—2 Kings 19:35-37.
Of course, haughty Sennacherib would not be expected to boast of this loss of his troops. But what he does say is interesting. His annals, recorded on both the Oriental Institute Prism and the Taylor Prism, say: “As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) . . . Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage.” Sennacherib says that “the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship” overwhelmed Hezekiah. Yet, he does not say he captured Hezekiah or conquered Jerusalem, as he had said about the “strong cities” and “small villages.”

(2 KINGS 19:34)

““I will defend this city and save it for my own sake And for the sake of my servant David.”’””

*** si p. 145 par. 14 Bible Book Number 28—Hosea ***
However, Hosea had foretold that Jehovah would show mercy to Judah and save her, but not by military might. This was fulfilled when Jehovah’s angel slew 185,000 of the Assyrians threatening Jerusalem. (Hos. 1:7; 2 Ki. 19:34, 35)

(2 KINGS 19:35)

“On that very night the angel of Jehovah went out and struck down 185,000 men in the camp of the As•syrʹi•ans. When people rose up early in the morning, they saw all the dead bodies.”

*** w93 6/1 p. 6 A Lost Empire That Embarrassed Bible Critics ***
And why was Sennacherib unable to boast about conquering the Judean capital, Jerusalem, in the way he boasted of his conquest of the Judean fortress Lachish? Three Bible writers give the answer. One of them, an eyewitness, wrote: “The angel of Jehovah proceeded to go forth and strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When people rose up early in the morning, why, there all of them were dead carcasses. Hence Sennacherib the king of Assyria pulled away and went and returned and took up dwelling in Nineveh.”—Isaiah 37:36, 37; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21.
In his book Treasures From Bible Times, Millard concludes: “There is no good reason to doubt this report . . . Understandably, Sennacherib would not record such a disaster for his successors to read, for it would discredit him.” Instead, Sennacherib tried to create the impression that his Judean invasion had been a success and that Hezekiah continued in submission, sending the tribute to Nineveh.

*** w88 2/15 p. 28 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Did Jehovah stop Sennacherib, as promised? That very night 185,000 Assyrians were struck down by means of God’s angel! Sennacherib pulled away and returned to Nineveh, later to be killed by two of his own sons while he was bowing down to his god Nisroch.—2 Kings 19:35-37.
Of course, haughty Sennacherib would not be expected to boast of this loss of his troops. But what he does say is interesting. His annals, recorded on both the Oriental Institute Prism and the Taylor Prism, say: “As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) . . . Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage.” Sennacherib says that “the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship” overwhelmed Hezekiah. Yet, he does not say he captured Hezekiah or conquered Jerusalem, as he had said about the “strong cities” and “small villages.” Why not? As the Bible shows, the elite of the troops that Sennacherib had sent to do so had been destroyed!

(2 KINGS 19:36)

“So King Sen•nachʹer•ib of As•syrʹi•a departed and returned to Ninʹe•veh and stayed there.”

*** it-1 p. 160 Architecture ***
Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh was an immense structure of about 70 rooms, with over 3,000 m (nearly 10,000 ft) of wall space lined with sculptured slabs. (2Ki 19:36; compare Jon 3:2, 3.) Sennacherib is also believed to have built the 48-km (30 mi) aqueduct that carried water from the Gomel River to the gardens of Nineveh.

(2 KINGS 19:37)

“And as he was bowing down at the house of his god Nisʹroch, his own sons A•dramʹme•lech and Shar•eʹzer struck him down with the sword and then escaped to the land of Arʹa•rat. And his son Eʹsar-hadʹdon became king in his place.”

*** si p. 73 par. 27 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
Sennacherib returns in defeat and takes up dwelling in Nineveh. There his god Nisroch fails him once more, for it is while he is bowed in worship that his own sons kill him, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.—19:7, 37.

*** it-1 p. 52 Adrammelech ***
1. A son of King Sennacherib of Assyria. Adrammelech and his brother Sharezer killed their father while he was bowing down at the house of his god Nisroch at Nineveh. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, apparently in the location of ancient Armenia in the mountainous region to the W of what is now known as the Caspian Sea. (2Ki 19:35-37; Isa 37:36-38) An inscription of Esar-haddon, another son of Sennacherib, relates that as his father’s successor he engaged and defeated the armies of his father’s murderers at Hanigalbat in that region.

*** it-1 p. 146 Ararat ***
In the reign of King Hezekiah, it was to “the land of Ararat” that Sennacherib’s sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, fled after murdering their father. (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38) Jeremiah foretold that Ararat would be among “the kingdoms” to come up against Babylon at the time of her destruction, in the sixth century B.C.E. (Jer 51:27) These latter Scriptural references indicate a land N of Assyria. Eusebius, Jerome, and the majority of other early “Christian” writers considered Ararat as equivalent to Armenia, and the Greek Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 37:38 and the Latin Vulgate reading of 2 Kings 19:37 so represent it. Numerous Assyrian inscriptions from the reigns of Shalmaneser I, Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser III, Tiglath-pileser III, and Sargon II in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.E. make reference to Ararat as “Urartu.” An inscription of Esar-haddon, another son of Sennacherib and successor to the Assyrian throne, says that he defeated his patricidal brothers’ armies at Hanigalbat, in the area of Armenia. On the basis of these inscriptions and the association by Jeremiah of Ararat with the kingdoms of Minni and Ashkenaz, it appears that the land of Ararat was situated in the mountainous region of Lake Van in ancient Armenia, with the headwaters of the Tigris River to the S and the Caucasus Mountains to the N.

*** it-1 p. 148 Archaeology ***
Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, was the site of excavations that unearthed the immense palace of Sennacherib, containing about 70 rooms, with sculptured slabs lining over 3,000 m (nearly 10,000 ft) of the walls. One depicted Judean prisoners being led into captivity following the fall of Lachish in 732 B.C.E. (2Ki 18:13-17; 2Ch 32:9; PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 952) Of even greater interest were the annals of Sennacherib found here at Nineveh, which were recorded on prisms (clay cylinders). On certain prisms Sennacherib describes the Assyrian campaign against Palestine in Hezekiah’s reign (732 B.C.E.), but, notably, the boastful monarch makes no claim of having taken Jerusalem, thus confirming the Bible account. (See SENNACHERIB.) The account of Sennacherib’s assassination at the hands of his sons is also recorded on an inscription of Esar-haddon, Sennacherib’s successor, and the assassination is referred to in an inscription of the following king. (2Ki 19:37)

*** it-1 p. 155 Archaeology ***
As an illustration, the Bible record states that King Sennacherib of Assyria was killed by his two sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, and was succeeded to the throne by another son, Esar-haddon. (2Ki 19:36, 37) Yet, a Babylonian chronicle stated that, on the 20th of Tebeth, Sennacherib was killed by his son in a revolt. Both Berossus, Babylonian priest of the third century B.C.E., and Nabonidus, Babylonian king of the sixth century B.C.E., gave the same account, to the effect that Sennacherib was assassinated by only one of his sons. However, in a more recently discovered fragment of the Prism of Esar-haddon, the son who succeeded Sennacherib, Esar-haddon clearly states that his brothers (plural) revolted and killed their father and then took flight. Commenting on this, Philip Biberfeld, in Universal Jewish History (1948, Vol. I, p. 27), says: “The Babylonian Chronicle, Nabonid, and Berossus were mistaken; only the Biblical account proved to be correct. It was confirmed in all the minor details by the inscription of Esarhaddon and proved to be more accurate regarding this event of Babylonian-Assyrian history than the Babylonian sources themselves. This is a fact of utmost importance for the evaluation of even contemporary sources not in accord with Biblical tradition.”

(2 KINGS 20:7)

“Isaiah then said: “Bring a cake of pressed dried figs.” So they brought it and applied it to the boil, after which he gradually recovered.”

*** w03 5/15 p. 25 Each One Will Sit Under His Fig Tree ***
Pressed figs also had medicinal value. A poultice of pressed, dried figs was applied to a boil that threatened the life of King Hezekiah, though his subsequent recovery was principally due to divine intervention.—2 Kings 20:4-7.

*** w03 5/15 p. 25 Each One Will Sit Under His Fig Tree ***
H. B. Tristram, a naturalist who visited the Bible lands in the middle of the 19th century, observed that the local people still used a poultice of figs for treating boils.

(2 KINGS 20:11)

“So Isaiah the prophet called out to Jehovah, and He made the shadow on the stairway of Aʹhaz go back ten steps after it had already descended the steps.”

*** it-1 p. 593 Day ***
As to “the shadow of the steps” referred to at Isaiah 38:8 and 2 Kings 20:8-11, this may possibly refer to a sundial method of keeping time, whereby shadows were projected by the sun on a series of steps.—See SUN (Shadow That Went Ten Steps Back).

*** it-2 pp. 1043-1044 Sun ***
Shadow That Went Ten Steps Back. The use of sundials extends back beyond the eighth century B.C.E. in both Babylon and Egypt. However, the Hebrew word ma•ʽalohthʹ, translated “dial” at 2 Kings 20:11 and Isaiah 38:8, in the King James Version, literally means “steps” (NW) or “degrees,” as is indicated in the King James Version marginal readings on these verses. This word is also used in the superscriptions of the 15 ‘Songs of the Ascents,’ Psalms 120 to 134.
In the scriptures mentioned, at 2 Kings 20:8-11 and Isaiah 38:4-8, the account is related of the portent God gave sick King Hezekiah in answer to Isaiah’s prayer. It consisted of causing a shadow that had gradually fallen to reverse its direction and go back up ten steps. This could refer to the steps, or degrees, of a dial for measuring time, and it is not impossible that Hezekiah’s father possessed such a sundial, even obtaining it from Babylon. However, the Jewish historian Josephus in discussing the account speaks of these steps of Ahaz as being “in the house,” apparently indicating that they formed part of a stairway. (Jewish Antiquities, X, 29 [ii, 1]) There may have been a column placed alongside the stairs to receive the sun’s rays and cause a shadow to extend gradually along the steps and serve as a measurement of time.
The miracle performed could have involved the relationship between earth and sun, and if so, it could have been similar to the miracle recorded at Joshua 10:12-14. (See POWER, POWERFUL WORKS [Sun and moon stand still].) It appears that this portent had far-reaching effects, inasmuch as 2 Chronicles 32:24, 31 shows that messengers were sent from Babylon to Jerusalem to inquire about it.

(2 KINGS 20:12)

“At that time the king of Babylon, Be•roʹdach-balʹa•dan son of Balʹa•dan, sent letters and a gift to Hez•e•kiʹah, for he had heard that Hez•e•kiʹah had been sick.”

*** it-2 pp. 380-381 Merodach-baladan ***
(Merʹo•dach-balʹa•dan) [from Babylonian, meaning “Marduk Has Given a Son”].
“The son of Baladan” and king of Babylon who sent letters and a gift to King Hezekiah of Judah following that king’s recovery from illness. (Isa 39:1) He is called “Berodach-baladan” at 2 Kings 20:12, but this difference is generally considered to be the result of a scribal error, or else to represent an attempt at transliterating an Akkadian consonant with a sound somewhere between that of “m” and “b.”
The name of Merodach-baladan occurs in Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions as “Marduk-apla-iddina.” He there appears as the ruler of a Chaldean district known as Bit-Yakin, situated in the marshlands above the head of the Persian Gulf and S of Babylon. He claims royal descent, giving the name of King Eriba-Marduk of Babylon (considered as of the early part of the eighth century B.C.E.) as his forefather.—Iraq, London, 1953, Vol. XV, p. 124.
Tiglath-pileser III, whose rule extended into the reign of King Ahaz of Judah (761-746 B.C.E.), refers to Merodach-baladan as ruler of a Chaldean tribe rendering homage to him when the Assyrians made a campaign into Babylonia.
Sends Delegation to Hezekiah. Merodach-baladan is stated to have entered Babylon and proclaimed himself king at the time of the accession of Sargon II to the Assyrian throne. Merodach-baladan had the support of the Elamites in this action, and although Sargon soon endeavored to dislodge him from Babylon, the Chaldean was able to maintain his position there for a period of about 12 years, according to the Babylonian King List. It may have been during this time that he sent his embassy to King Hezekiah, either in the 14th year of the Judean king (732 B.C.E.) or shortly thereafter. It is suggested by some, including Jewish historian Josephus, that Merodach-baladan’s expressions of interest in Hezekiah’s health involved more than a formality and that his ulterior motive was to attempt to gain the support of the kingdom of Judah, along with that of Elam, in a coalition against Assyria. At any rate, Hezekiah’s action in showing the royal treasure-house and his armory (2Ki 20:13) to the Chaldean’s messengers was roundly condemned by the prophet Isaiah as presaging eventual conquest of Judah by Babylon.—Isa 39:2-7.

(2 KINGS 20:13)

“Hez•e•kiʹah welcomed them and showed them his entire treasure-house—the silver, the gold, the balsam oil and other precious oil, his armory, and everything that was to be found in his treasuries. There was nothing that Hez•e•kiʹah did not show them in his own house and in all his dominion.”

*** it-1 p. 1105 Hezekiah ***
Hezekiah’s Mistake and Repentance. The Scripture record states that “according to the benefit rendered him Hezekiah made no return, for his heart became haughty and there came to be indignation against him and against Judah and Jerusalem.” (2Ch 32:25) The Bible does not say whether or not this haughtiness was connected with his unwise act in showing the entire treasure of his house and all his dominion to the messengers of the Babylonian king Berodach-baladan (Merodach-baladan) who were sent to Hezekiah after he recovered from his illness. Hezekiah may have displayed all this wealth to impress the king of Babylon as a possible ally against the king of Assyria. This, of course, could tend to excite the greed of the Babylonians. The prophet Isaiah was against any alliance with or dependence on God’s age-old enemy Babylon. When Isaiah heard how Hezekiah had treated the Babylonian messengers, he uttered the inspired prophecy from Jehovah that the Babylonians in time would carry away everything to Babylon, including some of Hezekiah’s descendants. Hezekiah, however, humbled himself and God kindly allowed that the calamity would not come in his days.—2Ki 20:12-19; 2Ch 32:26, 31; Isa 39:1-8.

(2 KINGS 20:20)

“As for the rest of the history of Hez•e•kiʹah, all his mightiness and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought the water into the city, is it not written in the book of the history of the times of the kings of Judah?”

*** w09 5/1 p. 27 Did You Know? ***
Did King Hezekiah really build a tunnel into Jerusalem?
Hezekiah was a king of Judah in the late eighth century B.C.E., a time of conflict with the mighty Assyrian power. The Bible tells us that he did a great deal to protect Jerusalem and to secure its water supply. Among the works he undertook was the construction of a 1,749-foot-long [533 m] tunnel, or conduit, to bring springwater into the city.—2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:1-7, 30.
In the 19th century, just such a tunnel was discovered. It became known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel, or the Siloam Tunnel. Inside the tunnel, an inscription was found that described the final phases of the tunnel’s excavation. The shape and form of the letters of this inscription lead most scholars to date it to the time of Hezekiah. A decade ago, however, some suggested that the tunnel was built about 500 years later. In 2003, a team of Israeli scientists published the results of their research aimed at fixing a reliable date for the tunnel. What conclusion did they reach?
Dr. Amos Frumkin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem says: “The carbon-14 tests we carried out on organic material within the plaster of the Siloam Tunnel, and uranium-thorium dating of stalactites found in the tunnel, date it conclusively to Hezekiah’s era.” An article in the scientific journal Nature adds: “The three independent lines of evidence—radiometric dating, palaeography and the historical record—all converge on about 700 BC, rendering the Siloam Tunnel the best-dated Iron-Age biblical structure thus far known.”

*** w97 6/15 pp. 9-10 Jerusalem in Bible Times—What Does Archaeology Reveal? ***
Other questions have been raised about the famous Siloam Tunnel, likely dug by King Hezekiah’s engineers in the eighth century B.C.E. and referred to at 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30. How could the two teams of tunnelers, digging from opposite ends, manage to meet? Why did they choose a serpentine path, making the tunnel considerably longer than a straight one? How did they get enough air to breathe, especially since they would likely have used oil-burning lamps?
The magazine Biblical Archaeology Review has offered possible answers to such questions. Dan Gill, a geological consultant of the excavation, is quoted as saying: “Underlying the City of David is a well-developed natural karst system. Karst is a geological term that describes an irregular region of sinks, caverns and channels caused by groundwater as it seeps and flows through underground rock formations. . . . Our geological examination of the subterranean waterworks beneath the City of David indicates that they were fashioned essentially by skillful human enlargement of natural (karstic) dissolution channels and shafts that were integrated into functional water supply systems.”
This may help to explain how the Siloam Tunnel was excavated. It could have followed the winding course of a natural channel under the hill. Teams working from each end could have dug a provisional tunnel by altering existing caverns. Then a sloping channel was dug for the water to flow from the Gihon spring to the Pool of Siloam, which probably was located inside the city walls. This was a real engineering feat as the height difference between the two ends is only 12.5 inches [32 cm], despite its length of 1,749 feet [533 m].

*** w96 8/15 pp. 5-6 Practical Lessons From the Promised Land ***
Jerusalem drew a supply of water from the Pool of Siloam. However, during the eighth century B.C.E., in anticipation of a siege by the Assyrians, King Hezekiah built an outer wall to protect the Pool of Siloam, enclosing it within the city. He also stopped up the springs outside the city, so that the besieging Assyrians would be hard-pressed to find water for themselves. (2 Chronicles 32:2-5; Isaiah 22:11) That is not all. Hezekiah found a way to divert an extra supply of water right into Jerusalem!
In what has been called one of the great engineering feats of antiquity, Hezekiah dug a tunnel from the spring of Gihon all the way to the Pool of Siloam. Averaging 6 feet [1.8 m] in height, this tunnel was 1,749 feet [533 m] long. Just imagine it—a tunnel almost a third of a mile [half a kilometer] long, cut through rock! Today, some 2,700 years later, visitors to Jerusalem can wade through this masterpiece of engineering, commonly known as Hezekiah’s tunnel.—2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:30.
Hezekiah’s efforts to protect and increase Jerusalem’s water supply can teach us a practical lesson. Jehovah is “the source of living water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) His thoughts, contained in the Bible, are life-sustaining. That is why personal Bible study is essential. But opportunity for study, and the resulting knowledge, will not simply flow to you. You may have to ‘dig tunnels,’ such as through your hard-packed daily routine, to make room for it. (Proverbs 2:1-5; Ephesians 5:15, 16) Once you have begun, stick to your schedule, giving high priority to your personal study. Be careful not to let anyone or anything rob you of this precious water supply.—Philippians 1:9, 10.

*** g96 6/8 p. 29 Watching the World ***
Tunnel Mystery Hypothesis
Archaeologists have long wondered why Hezekiah’s tunnel, excavated during the eighth century B.C.E. to assure water for Jerusalem when besieged by the Assyrian army, followed such a haphazard, meandering course. A straight, more efficient route would have taken only 1,050 feet [320 m] of digging, instead of the 1,748 feet [533 m] the tunnel took. An inscription, written in ancient Hebrew, was found on the tunnel wall in 1880. It explained how two teams of workers started at opposite ends of the rock-hewn tunnel and met in the middle. This raised the additional question of how they managed to do so, considering the tunnel’s wandering route. Geologists now feel they have the answer. According to Dan Gill of the Geological Survey of Israel, the workers followed and widened natural channels formed by water traversing through the rock where cracks occurred under seismic stresses or where different layers met. Over time, these could become quite broad in places, which may explain why the tunnel height varies from 5.5 feet [1.7 m] to as much as 16 feet [5 m] and also how the workers, using oil lamps, could get enough air. The workers were skillful as well, for the success of the tunnel depended on having a slightly descending slope—a mere 12.5 inches [31.75 cm] over the entire course.

*** it-1 p. 151 Archaeology ***
One tunnel, known as the Siloam Tunnel, averaged 1.8 m (6 ft) in height and was cut through rock for a distance of some 533 m (1,749 ft) from Gihon to the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley (within the city). It thus seems to be the project of King Hezekiah described at 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30.

*** it-1 p. 1104 Hezekiah ***
One of the outstanding engineering feats of ancient times was the aqueduct of Hezekiah. It ran from the well of Gihon, E of the northern part of the City of David, in a rather irregular course, extending some 533 m (1,749 ft) to the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley below the City of David but within a new wall added to the southern part of the city. (2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30) An inscription in ancient Hebrew characters was found by archaeologists on the wall of the narrow tunnel, which had an average height of 1.8 m (6 ft). The inscription reads, in part: “And this was the way in which it was cut through:—While [. . . ] (were) still [. . . ] axe(s), each man toward his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, [there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellow, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right [and on the left]. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed (the rock), each man toward his fellow, axe against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward the reservoir for 1,200 cubits, and the height of the rock above the head(s) of the quarrymen was 100 cubits.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 321) So the tunnel was cut through the rock from both ends, meeting in the middle—a real engineering accomplishment.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
He stopped up the water sources outside the city to hide them and make things difficult for the enemy, strengthened the walls, and fortified them. (2Ch 32:2-5, 27-30) It would seem that “the conduit” for bringing water into the city from the spring of Gihon was already constructed at this time, possibly being a peacetime project. (2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30) If, as believed, it was the conduit that includes the tunnel cut through the side of the Kidron Valley with its termination at the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley, then it was no minor project to be completed in a few days. (See ARCHAEOLOGY [Palestine and Syria]; GIHON No. 2.)

*** it-2 p. 651 Pool ***
Pools of Jerusalem. The general location of the ancient Pool of Siloam (Joh 9:7) is thought to be the present Birket Silwan, just SW of the City of David. Likely this is also the approximate location of King Hezekiah’s pool adjoining the conduit that he constructed to bring the waters of the spring of Gihon into Jerusalem.—2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30.

*** it-2 p. 944 Siloam ***
Likely this is also the approximate site of King Hezekiah’s “pool” or reservoir adjoining the conduit he constructed to carry the waters of Gihon.—2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30.

(2 KINGS 21:13)

“And I will stretch out on Jerusalem the measuring line applied to Sa•marʹi•a and use the leveling tool applied to the house of Aʹhab, and I will wipe Jerusalem clean, just as one wipes a bowl clean, wiping it and turning it upside down.”

*** re chap. 25 p. 162 par. 5 Reviving the Two Witnesses ***
In the Hebrew Scripture prophecies, such measuring provided a guarantee that justice would be rendered on the basis of Jehovah’s perfect standards. In the days of wicked King Manasseh, the prophetic measuring of Jerusalem testified to an unalterable judgment of destruction on that city. (2 Kings 21:13; Lamentations 2:8)

*** it-2 p. 240 Leveling Instrument ***
A leveling instrument may be used to construct a building properly or to test its fitness for preservation. Jehovah foretold that he would apply to wayward Jerusalem “the measuring line applied to Samaria and also the leveling instrument applied to the house of Ahab.” God had measured and found Samaria and the house of King Ahab to be morally bad or crooked, resulting in their destruction. Likewise, God would judge Jerusalem and its rulers, exposing their wickedness and bringing about the destruction of that city. These events actually occurred in 607 B.C.E. (2Ki 21:10-13; 10:11)

(2 KINGS 21:16)

“Ma•nasʹseh also shed innocent blood in very great quantity until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other, besides his sin of causing Judah to sin by doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah.”

*** si p. 74 par. 34 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
Likewise, it was Manasseh’s bloodguilt that finally sealed Judah’s doom. Adding to his sin of false worship, Manasseh ‘filled Jerusalem with blood from end to end.’ Even though Manasseh later repented of his bad course, bloodguilt remained. (2 Chron. 33:12, 13) Not even the good reign of Josiah, and his putting away of all idolatry, could wipe out the community bloodguilt carrying over from Manasseh’s reign. Years later, when Jehovah began to bring his executioners up against Jerusalem, he declared that it was because Manasseh had “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and Jehovah did not consent to grant forgiveness.” (2 Ki. 21:16; 24:4)

(2 KINGS 22:8)

“Later Hil•kiʹah the high priest said to Shaʹphan the secretary: “I have found the book of the Law in the house of Jehovah.” So Hil•kiʹah gave the book to Shaʹphan, who began to read it.”

*** w90 7/15 p. 28 Do We Really Need the Originals? ***
In the time of King Josiah, temple workmen unexpectedly found “the very book of the law,” perhaps the actual document written by Moses. (2 Kings 22:8) Much of what it contained was previously unknown to the king, and the reading of it spurred a great spiritual revival.—2 Kings 22:11–23:3.

*** it-1 p. 1118 Hilkiah ***
During the course of the temple repair work, Hilkiah found the very “book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses.” What made the find outstanding was most likely the manuscript’s being the original book written by Moses. Hilkiah gave it to Shaphan the secretary, who took the manuscript to the king. Upon hearing Shaphan read the book, King Josiah dispatched a delegation headed by High Priest Hilkiah to Huldah the prophetess to inquire of Jehovah in behalf of the king and the people.—2Ki 22:3-14; 2Ch 34:14.

*** it-2 p. 117 Josiah ***
After King Josiah completed cleansing the land of Judah and while he was having Jehovah’s temple repaired, High Priest Hilkiah found “the book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses,” doubtless the original copy.

*** it-2 p. 118 Josiah ***
2Ki 22:3-20;

(2 KINGS 22:11)

“As soon as the king heard the words of the book of the Law, he ripped his garments apart.”

*** w00 3/1 p. 30 Searching for Jehovah With a Prepared Heart ***
Humility Softens the Heart
Humility is a vital factor in having a prepared heart because it makes us teachable and helps us to accept more readily loving counsel and correction. Consider the fine example of King Josiah. During his reign a document containing God’s Law given through Moses was found. When Josiah heard the words of the Law and realized how far his forefathers had strayed from pure worship, he ripped his garments apart and wept before Jehovah. Why did God’s Word so deeply touch the king’s heart? The account says that his heart was “soft,” so that he humbled himself upon hearing Jehovah’s words. Jehovah noted Josiah’s humble, receptive heart and blessed him accordingly.—2 Kings 22:11, 18-20.

(2 KINGS 22:14)

“So Hil•kiʹah the priest, A•hiʹkam, Achʹbor, Shaʹphan, and A•saiʹah went to Hulʹdah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shalʹlum son of Tikʹvah son of Harʹhas, the caretaker of the wardrobe, and she was dwelling in the Second Quarter of Jerusalem; and they spoke to her there.”

*** it-1 p. 893 Gate, Gateway ***
The gates named in Nehemiah’s record are gates that had been in the wall that was built prior to the eighth century B.C.E. and in the wall surrounding “the second quarter.” (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22; Zep 1:10) “The second quarter” was a northern part of the city bounded on the W and part of the N by Hezekiah’s wall (2Ch 32:5) and joined by Manasseh’s wall, which continued on the NE and E. (2Ch 33:14) This was N of the earlier city and wall, but apparently it did not extend as far W as the earlier wall.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
During Josiah’s time “the second quarter” (“the new town,” JB) of the city receives initial mention. (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22) This “second quarter” is generally understood to be the section of the city lying W or NW of the temple area.—Zep 1:10.

*** it-2 p. 906 Shallum ***
8. Husband of Huldah, the prophetess whom King Josiah’s delegation visited; son of Tikvah. He was presumably “the caretaker of the garments,” either for the priests or the king. (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22) Possibly the same as No. 10.

(2 KINGS 22:20)

“That is why I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be laid in your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the calamity that I will bring on this place.’”’” Then they brought the reply to the king.”

*** w00 9/15 p. 30 Humble Josiah Had Jehovah’s Favor ***
Because of humbling himself before Jehovah God, however, Josiah will not have to look upon the calamity. He will be gathered to his forefathers and be taken to his graveyard in peace.—2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chronicles 34:22-28.
Was Huldah’s prophecy accurate, since Josiah died in battle? (2 Kings 23:28-30) Yes, for the “peace” in which he was gathered to his graveyard is in contrast with “the calamity” due to come upon Judah. (2 Kings 22:20; 2 Chronicles 34:28) Josiah died before the calamity of 609-607 B.C.E. when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. And ‘being gathered to one’s forefathers’ does not necessarily exclude dying a violent death. A comparable expression is used with reference to both violent and nonviolent deaths.—Deuteronomy 31:16; 1 Kings 2:10; 22:34, 40.

*** w00 12/15 p. 30 Do You Remember? ***
• Was Huldah’s prophecy, as recorded at 2 Kings 22:20, accurate, that Josiah would die “in peace,” since he was mortally wounded in battle?
Yes, he died in peace in the sense that he died before the calamity of 609-607 B.C.E., when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem.—9/15, page 30.

*** it-1 p. 1157 Huldah ***
When Josiah heard the reading of “the very book of the law” found by Hilkiah the high priest during the temple repair work, he sent a delegation to inquire of Jehovah. They went to Huldah, who, in turn, relayed the word of Jehovah, indicating that all the calamities for disobedience recorded in the “book” would befall the apostate nation. Huldah added that Josiah, because of having humbled himself before Jehovah, would not have to look upon the calamity but would be gathered to his forefathers and be taken to his graveyard in peace.—2Ki 22:8-20; 2Ch 34:14-28.
Some consider Huldah’s prophecy to be in error in view of Josiah’s death in an unnecessary battle. (2Ki 23:28-30) However, the “peace” in which Josiah would be gathered to his graveyard is obviously in contrast with “the calamity” due to come upon Judah. (2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28) Josiah died prior to the coming of that calamity in 609-607 B.C.E., when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. Additionally, that the expression ‘to be gathered to one’s forefathers’ does not necessarily exclude dying a violent death in warfare is indicated by the use of the comparable expression ‘to lie down with one’s forefathers’ with reference to a death in battle as well as a nonviolent death.—Compare De 31:16; 1Ki 2:10; 22:34, 40.

*** it-2 p. 591 Peace ***
The prophecy concerning Josiah’s ‘being gathered to his own graveyard in peace’ indicated that he would die before the foretold calamity upon Jerusalem. (2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28; compare 2Ki 20:19.)

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