After Ahaz died in 715 BC, his son Hezekiah (13) reigned in his stead. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He was truly one of the greatest and most righteous of all of the kings of Judah. “He removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made [for the people had started to worship it as an idol]: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nebushtan. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him [not including David who was king of united Israel].
“For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the lord commanded Moses, And the Lord was with him, and he prospered wherever he went; and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not. He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city” (2 Kings 18:4-8)
In the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, and told them to sanctify themselves and the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and to remove the filthiness out of the holy place. Here are the wise words he spoke to them:
“Our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he has delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as you see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.
“Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My son, be not negligent: for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that you should minister unto him, and burn incense” (2 Chronicles 29:6-11).
It was in Hezekiah’s heart to keep the Passover feast of the Lord after the temple was cleansed. He wrote letters to all Judah and Israel [remnant of the 10 tribes who still lived in the northern lands] that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem for this feast of the Lord. This occurred in the 2nd month instead of the month of the first month of Abib [Nisan] as it was delayed for a month due to the repairs and cleansing of the temple. Also, the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem, for they had not done it in a long time.
The children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread not only for seven days but fourteen days with great gladness and singing and celebrating. Hezekiah gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep.
“So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 30:26).
After Assyria had defeated and carried away the kingdom of Israel, they fixed their eyes on Judah. In 701 BC, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. Hezekiah had to pay tribute to them in the form of silver and gold to keep them at bay. This only worked for a little while until Sennacherib came again to destroy Judah for good this time. The Assyrians laid siege to Jerusalem and commanded the people there to surrender. They also blasphemed the God of Israel. Being a godly and righteous king, the first thing Hezekiah did was pray to the Lord for deliverance from the superior forces of Assyria. This prayer is recorded in 2 Kings 19:15-19.
Hezekiah sent for the prophet Isaiah, who had been working for the Lord since King Uzziah was on the throne. Isaiah told the king to not be afraid of Sennacherib’s words for the Lord had spoken to him concerning the king of Assyria, “He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, not cast a bank against it [build a siege ramp]. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” (2 Kings 19:32-34).
This was a short-lived prophecy as that night “the angel of the Lord [theophany of the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ/Yahweh] went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh” (2 Kings 19:35-36).
In the waning years of Hezekiah, he became very ill. Isaiah the prophet informed him that he was about to die. Hezekiah responded with bitter weeping and prayed for God to deliver him from death at this time. God informed him through Isaiah that he would add fifteen years to his life. It was during these fifteen years that Hezekiah foolishly showed off all his treasures to a Babylonian contingency. Isaiah responded to this act with a prophecy from God that someday all the treasures of his ancestors would be carried off to Babylon. Also, his descendants [future kings of Judah] “shall be taken away and they will be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 20:18).
This act would take place because of the evil acts of the future kings of Judah (including his own son, Manasseh), not because of Hezekiah’s unwise moment of prideful boasting.
Hezekiah co-reigned with his father Ahaz for 14 years, by himself for 18 years, and with his son Manasseh for 11 years, for a total of 43 years. The 29 years mentioned in 2 Kings 18:2 represent only those years in which he was the absolute ruler of Judah. Isaiah was a prophet during Hezekiah’s reign, as well as Uzziah, Jotham, and Ahaz before him. He was a prophet of the Lord God of Israel for over 60 years. “Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead” (2 Kings 20:21). Manasseh was the 14th ruler of Judah; however, he was the 13th king of Judah, as Athaliah (7th ruler of Judah) was queen of Judah for 6 years approximately 150 years earlier. You know what they say about the number 13, as you are about to find out.
Manasseh was only 12 years old when he began his co-reign with his father. He was 22 when he began to rule by himself after Hezekiah’s death.
“Manasseh did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger” (2 Kings 21:2-6).
During this time, the people and house of Judah and David did not hearken to the law of Moses, and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel. Manasseh also shed very much innocent blood, until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another with it (2 Kings 21:16). Some of this innocent blood might have been Isaiah the prophet’s as it is believed that Manasseh might have had Isaiah killed. According to Jewish tradition, Isaiah was tied inside a sack, placed within the hollow of a tree trunk, and then sawed in two. It truly makes you wonder how a young man could become so evil after witnessing the righteousness of his father’s rule. He took more after his grandfather, Ahaz, than he did his father.
For his evil deeds, the Lord’s prophets came to Manasseh and told him, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, and has done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols:
“therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever hears of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day” (2 Kings 21:10-15). This was the first prophecy of the coming destruction for the kingdom of Judah for their fullness of sin.
The Lord spoke to Manasseh, and to his people, but they would not hearken. “So the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns [nettles], and bound him with bronze chains, and carried him to Babylon [Assyria had at this time captured the capital city of the Babylonians]. And when he was in affliction, he sought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God” (2 Chronicles 33:10-13).
Manasseh had to learn the hard way, but at least the Lord let him live long enough for him to repent and believe in the Lord God. Until death, no one is beyond God’s forgiveness (take, for example, the thief on the cross at the crucifixion of Jesus, per Luke 23:43). If the Lord can forgive Manasseh, do you think He is unable to forgive you? Manasseh tried to make up for his evil acts for the rest of his life.
“He took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed there peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the Lord their God only” (2 Chronicles 33:15-17).
Manasseh reigned 55 years (including his co-reign with Hezekiah) in Jerusalem as king of Judah. “So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house; and Amon (15) his son reigned in his stead… He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; and humbled not himself before the Lord, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more (2 Chronicles 33:20, 22-23). Amon reigned two years in Jerusalem, and his servants conspired against him and killed him in his own house. The people of the land then made Josiah (16) his son king in his stead.
Josiah was 8 years old when he began to reign. The name Josiah means, “Yahweh gives” or “Yahweh heals.” “Josiah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left” (2 Chronicles 34:2).
In the 8th year of his reign, “he began to seek after the God of David his father.” In his 12th year, “he began to purge the land from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,” and “the altars of Baalim.” He broke in pieces the images of the idols and crushed them into powder, and threw the remnants “upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And He burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem” (see 2 Chronicles 34:3-5). Josiah did this in the northern lands of Israel as well, including Bethel. Bethel was one of the places where Rehoboam placed one of the golden calves for the children of Israel to worship.
Josiah fulfilled the prophecy of a man of God approximately 300 years earlier as recorded in I Kings 13:1-2: “And behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus says the Lord; Behold a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon you [Jeroboam] shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon you, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon you.”
Josiah also ordered the house of the Lord to be repaired. While they were making the repairs, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses. This was probably the book of Deuteronomy, which was put up during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon. When the king heard the words of the law, he rent his clothes and told his servants to go to Huldah the prophetess to inquire of the Lord concerning the laws of the book. He said, “Go inquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:21).
Here are the words of the Lord to Josiah through Huldah the prophetess: “Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants there, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
“And as for the king of Judah [Josiah], who sent you to inquire of the Lord, so shall you say unto him, because your heart was tender, and you did humble yourself before God, and humbled yourself before me, and did rend your clothes, and weep before me; I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, neither shall your eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same” (2 Chronicles 34:24-29). This was the second prophecy regarding the destruction of Judah for the fullness of their sins.
Then the king gathered all the elders and people of Judah and Jerusalem, and all the priests, and the Levites, and read the words of the book of the covenant. The king “made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the works of the covenant which are written in this book. And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 34:31-33).
King Josiah proclaimed a celebration to keep the Passover on the 14th day of the first month and the feast of unleavened bread for the following seven days. “And there was no Passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a Passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was the Passover kept” (2 Chronicles 35:8-19).
In 609 BC, Pharaoh Necho of Egypt set out for the city of Charchemish to join the Assyrians in an attempt to defeat the Babylonians, who were rising to great power. Necho had to march his army through Judah to get there. Josiah did not like this and came against the Egyptian army in the valley of Megiddo. He was shot with an arrow and later died in Jerusalem. Josiah reigned as king of Judah for 31 years. “And like unto him there was no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (2 Kings 23:25). He “took after” his great grandfather, Hezekiah.
The third prophecy (third time is a charm!) against Judah’s fullness of sins came after King Josiah’s death. This prophecy might have come from Zephaniah the prophet. “Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him with. And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there” (2 Kings 23:26-27).
The people of Judah then took Jehoahaz (17) the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father’s stead in Jerusalem. He was 23 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 3 months in Jerusalem. The king of Egypt dethroned him at Jerusalem, and made Judah pay an annual tribute of 100 talents of silver and a talent of gold.
The king of Egypt made Eliakim (18) his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Necho took Jehoahaz and carried him away to Egypt where he died. Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he began to reign, “and he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem… and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, according to all that his fathers had done.” (2 Kings 23:36-37). Jehoiakim submitted himself as vassal to King Nebuchadnezzar after Egypt and Assyria were conquered by Babylon in 605 BC. After Nebuchadnezzar’s victory at Carchemish, he led his armies to Judah and besieged Jerusalem. Jerusalem fell and Judah was pillaged, with many of the inhabitants carried away to Babylon. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were among those taken into exile. This was the first invasion of Judah and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and took place in the year 605 BC.
Jehoiachin (19) became king of Judah at the age of 18 after the death of his father, Jehoiakim. Jehoiachin did evil in the sight of God, according to all that his father had done before him. In 597 BC the second siege of Jerusalem occurred by Nebuchadnezzar. “And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, with his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the 8th year of his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] reign” (2 Kings 24:12).
The Babylonians carried out all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had told King Hezekiah would happen nearly a century earlier. Nebuchadnezzar also took Jehoiachin, his mother, Jehoiachin’s wives, princes of Judah, thousands of mighty men of Judah, and craftsmen back to Babylon as captives. This event was prophesied many years before by Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 22:24-26). “The king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s (Jehoiakim) brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah (20)” (2 Kings 24:17). During this time of apostasy, Habakkuk the prophet prophesied to the last 5 kings of Judah.
Zedekiah was 21 years old when he began to reign, “and he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem… He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 24:18-20). This was after Nebuchadnezzar had Zedekiah swear by God that he would do all that Nebuchadnezzar asked, but Zedekiah stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel.
“Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 36:34). The Lord God sent many messengers and prophets to warn them of the judgment to come because he had compassion on his people, and on Jerusalem: “but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, until there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16).
In the 9th year of Zedekiah’s reign, in the 10th month, and on the 10th day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his mighty host, came against Jerusalem and besieged it for approximately 18 months. On the 9th day of the 4th month (of the 11th and final year of Zedekiah’s reign), the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people to eat. The city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night, and also King Zedekiah.
“The army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with chains of brass, and carried him to Babylon” (2 Kings 25:5-7).
In the 5th month (Av), on the 7th day of the month, in the year 586 BC, which is the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard of Babylon, to Jerusalem. He burnt the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem from the 7th day until the 10th day. The actual destruction of the Temple began on the 9th day of Av and continued until the 10th day. This day is now remembered as the fast of Tisha B’Av. For more on this fast and the number 9 and how it relates to judgment for Israel, see: The Dog Days of Summer :: By Randy Nettles – Rapture Ready.
19 is another number that has great Biblical significance, for it is the sum of 10 (perfection of divine order) and 9 (finality or judgment). For more on this number and how it could possibly relate to Covid 19, please take a look at Terry James’ new book entitled Lawless: End Times War Against the Spirit of Antichrist and especially chapter 7 (Covid 19 – The Invisible Enemy) where I wrote about the subject.
“Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age; he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the good vessels there.
“And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia; to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah [see Jeremiah 29:10], until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths, for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten (70) years” (2 Chronicles 36:17-21).
So Judah was carried away out of their land for the fullness of their sins against the Lord. Judah suffered the same judgment and fate as Israel had 136 years earlier. I believe the reigns of the good kings of Judah (Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah) delayed the inevitable judgment of Judah for this extra time that was allotted to them from the Lord. Moses had clearly explained to the children of Israel (before their entry into the Promised Land of Canaan) over 8 centuries earlier the difference between obeying the Lord and not obeying the Lord and the consequences of both as recorded in Deuteronomy 28. Verses 1-14 describe the blessings for obedience, and verses 15-68 describe the curses for disobedience. Unfortunately, the children of Israel chose the curses, albeit unintentionally.
To fully understand the horrific curses that would come upon Israel due to the fullness of their sins, you need to read the entire chapter (Deuteronomy 28). Here is a little snippet: “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you, and shall pursue you, and overtake you, until you be destroyed, because you hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded you: and they shall be upon you for a sign and for a wonder, and upon your seed for ever.
“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you” (Deuteronomy 28:45-51).
In part 6, we will look at the fullness of sin against the Lord in Jesus’ time and the present time we are now living in.