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(Hizqiyah ben ’Ahaz)
King of Judah
(Melekh Yehudah)
King Hezekiah on a 17th century painting by unknown artist in the choir of Sankta Maria kyrka in Åhus, Sweden.
Reign coregency with Ahaz 729,
sole reign
716 – 697 BCE
coregency with Manasseh 697 - 687
Born c.739 BCE
Birthplace probably Jerusalem
Died c.687 BCE
Place of death probably Jerusalem
Predecessor King Ahaz
Manasseh (only male child)
Successor Manasseh
Offspring Manasseh
Royal House House of David
Father King Ahaz
Mother Abijah, also called Abi
Kings of Judah


Hezekiah is the common transliteration of a name more properly transliterated as "Ḥizkiyyahu." (Hebrew: חִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ or יְחִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ, Modern {{{2}}} Tiberian {{{3}}}; Greek: Ἐζεκίας, Ezekias, in the Septuagint; Latin: Ezechias) was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah.[1] Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BCE.[2] He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Hezekiah witnessed the forced resettlement of the northern Kingdom of Israel by Sargon's Assyrians in c 720 BCE and was king of Judah during the invasion and siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BCE. The siege was lifted by a miraculous plague that afflicted Sennacherib's army.[3] Even so, the Assyrians conquered much of Judah, and Hezekiah's people came to yearn for an ideal king who would restore the golden age of David.[3]

Notably, Isaiah and Micah prophesied during his reign.[1] Hezekiah enacted sweeping religious reforms, during which he removed non-Yahwistic elements from the Jerusalem temple.[1]



Hezekiah, more properly transliterated as Ḥizkiyyahu(and sometimes as Ezekias) (Hebrew: חִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ Ḥizqiyyāhu, Khizkiyahu; or יְחִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ Yəḥizqiyyāhu, Y'khizkiyahu). The root of the name חִזְקִיָּהוּ Ḥizkiyyahu is חזק, a verb stem that can mean

   strengthen, fortify in the PI'ÉL (חַזֵּק),
   hold, seize in the HIF'IL (הַחֲזֵק), and
   gather one's strength, take courage in the HITPA'ÉL (הִתְחַזֵּק). 

It also spawns a number of nouns, including

   חוֹזֶק, חָזְקָה, חֶזְקָה strength, and
   חֲזָקָה taking hold, seizing, occupying, presumption [of entitlement] 

as well as the adjectives

   חָזָק, חָזֵק strong. 

Accordingly, חִזְקִיָּהוּ Ḥizkiyyahu can be said to "mean" something like Strengthened by God.[4]

The Biblical account

The main accounts of his reign are found in the Hebrew Bible, in 2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39, and 2 Chronicles 29-32.


Reign over Judah

Remnants of the Broad Wall of biblical Jerusalem, built during Hezekiah's days against Sennacherib's siege

Hezekiah took the throne at the age of twenty-five (2 Chronicles 29:1) and reigned for twenty-nine years (2 Kings 18:2). Some writers have proposed that Hezekiah served as coregent with his father Ahaz for about fourteen years from 729 BCE. His sole reign has been dated by Albright from 715 – 687 BCE or 716 – 687 BCE according to Thiele, the last ten years of which were as coregent with his son Manasseh.[5]

Hezekiah introduced religious reform and reinstated religious traditions. He set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among other things which he did to this end, he destroyed the "brazen serpent," which had been relocated at Jerusalem, and had become an object of idolatrous worship. (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chronicles 29:3-36) The biblical sources portray Hezekiah as a great and good king, following the example of his great-grandfather Uzziah. The book of Kings ends the account of Hezekiah with praise. (2 Kings 18:5)

Family and life

Hezekiah was born in c. 739 BCE, the son of King Ahaz and Abijah (2 Chronicles 29:1). Abijah was a daughter of a man named Zechariah, but he was not the prophet Zechariah. Abijah was also known as Abi. (2 Kings 18:1-2) He was married to Hephzi-bah. (2 Kings 21:1) He died in 687 BCE at the age of 54 years from natural causes, and was succeeded by his only son Manasseh, who was 12 years old. (2 Kings 21:1)

Political moves and Assyrian invasion

Assyrian Archers

Between the death of Sargon, and the succession of his son Sennacherib, Hezekiah sought to throw off his subservience to the Assyrian kings. He ceased to pay the tribute imposed 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). If Hezekiah expected the Egyptians to come to his aid, it did not come, and Hezekiah had to face the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16) in the 4th year of Sennacherib (701 BCE).

The invasion of Judah by Sennacherib and the Assyrian army was a major and well documented historical event. Sennacherib recorded 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 the Sennacherib prism), and besieged Jerusalem ("Ur-sa-li-im-mu") with earthworks.[6] It was during the siege of Jerusalem that the Bible says the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Herodotus wrote of the invasion and acknowledges many Assyrian deaths, which he claims were the result of a plague of mice.[7]

Hezekiah initially pays tribute to Assyria, but then rebels.[8] The Assyrians claimed that Sennacherib raised his siege of Jerusalem after Hezekiah acknowledged Sennacherib as his overlord and paid him tribute[9]. The Bible records that eventually Hezekiah tried to pay off Sennacherib's with three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold in tribute, even despoiling the doors of the Temple to produce the promised amount, but, after the payment was made, Sennacherib renewed his assault on Jerusalem. (2 Kings 18:14-16)[8] Sennacherib besieges Jerusalem and sends the Rabshakeh to the walls. The Rabshakeh claims that the Israelites should not trust Yahweh or Hezekiah, pointing to Hezekiah's righteous reforms (destroying the High Places) as a sign that the people should not trust their king. The fundamental law in Deuteronomy 12:1-32 prohibits sacrifice at every place except the temple in Jerusalem; in accordance with this law Josiah, in 621 BCE, Hezekiah's great-grandson, likewise destroyed and desecrated the altars (bmoth) throughout his kingdom.[8]

Sennacherib failed to conquer Jerusalem. The Bible records that Hezekiah went to the temple and there he prayed, the first king in Judah (recorded in the Bible) to do so in about 250 years, since the time of Solomon.[8]

Hezekiah's construction

The Biblical account maintains that Hezekiah anticipated the Assyrian invasion and made at least two major preparations to resist conquest, construction of Hezekiah's tunnel, which is more commonly known as the Siloam Tunnel, and construction of the Broad Wall. The tunnel is 533 meters long and was dug in order to provide Jerusalem underground access to the waters of the Spring of Gihon/The Siloam Pool, which lay outside the city. This 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) which was where all the spring waters were channeled. The wall surrounded the entire city, which bored up to Mount Zion. An impressive vestige of this structure is the broad wall in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of 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.

Death of Sennacherib

2 Kings 19:37 says -

"It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him [Sennacherib] with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place."

The Bible does not say when this took place, but Assyrian records show that Sennacherib was assassinated by his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, in 681 BCE - ie., twenty years after the invasion of Judah in 701 BCE.[10] He was succeeded by Esarhaddon as the Assyrian king.

Hezekiah's illness and death

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). 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

Hezekiah with the prophet Isaiah. The Imperial Crown Western Germany 2nd half of the 10th century The cross is an addition from the early 11th century; the arch dates from the reign of Emperor Conrad II (ruled 1024-1039); the red velvet cap is from the 18th century.

Hezekiah introduced substantial religious reforms. The worship of Yahweh was concentrated at Jerusalem, suppressing the shrines to him that had existed till then elsewhere in Judea (2 Kings 18:22). Idolatry, which had resumed under his father's reign, was banned. Hezekiah abolished the shrines and smashed the pillars and cut down the sacred post. (2 Kings 21:3) He also smashed the bronze serpent which Moses had made, "for until that time the Israelites had been offering sacrifices to it". (2 Kings 18:4)

Hezekiah also resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival. (2 Chronicles 30:5, 10, 13, 26)

While the historicity of 2 Chronicles 30 has been questioned [11], recovery of LMLK seals from the northwest territory of Israel (corresponding to 2 Chronicles 30:11) may indicate that some sort of administrative relationship existed between Hezekiah and a minority of northern Israelites.[12].

Hezekiah's reforms removed polytheism and restored monotheism, which was the foundation of the Abrahamic religions.

The books of Kings and Chronicles have lengthy passages attesting that there was effective centralization before Hezekiah - for example, 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).

There is also evidence from archaeology that Hezekiah did not centralize the religion in Jerusalem. He allowed, and indeed built temples at Lachish and Arad, and allowed a high place to continue in operation at Beersheva. The reference in 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 dismissed by William G. Dever [13] to be "simply Deuteronomistic propaganda". 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.

Far from being a Canaanite goddess, the Kuntillet Ajrud 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 attributing 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.

Archaeological evidence

Stamped bulla sealed by a servant of King Hezekiah, formerly pressed against a cord; unprovenanced Redondo Beach collection of antiquities

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


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)

Siloam Inscription

In the Siloam Tunnel we find the Siloam Inscription, which commemorates the meeting of the two teams.

Chronological notes

There has been considerable academic debate about the actual dates of reigns of the Israelite kings. Scholars have endeavored to synchronize the chronology of events referred to in the Bible with those derived from other external sources. In the case of Hezekiah, scholars have noted that the apparent inconsistencies are resolved by accepting the evidence that Hezekiah, like his predecessors for four generations in the kings of Judah, had a coregency with his father, and this coregency began in 729 BCE.

As an example of the reasoning that finds inconsistencies in calculations when coregencies are a priori ruled out, 2 Kings 18:10 dates the fall of Samaria (the Northern Kingdom) to the 6th year of Hezekiah's reign. William F. Albright has dated the fall of the Kingdom of Israel to 721 BCE, while E. R. Thiele calculates the date as 723 BCE.[14] If Abright's or Thiele's dating are correct, then Hezekiah's reign would begin in either 729 or 727 BCE. On the other hand, 18:13 states that Sennacherib invaded Judah in the 14th year of Hezekiah's reign. Dating based on Assyrian records date this invasion to 701 BCE, and Hezekiah's reign would therefore begin in 716/715 BCE.[15] This dating would be confirmed by the account of Hezekiah's illness in chapter 20, which immediately follows Sennacherib's departure (2 Kings 20). This would date his illness to Hezekiah's 14th year, which is confirmed by Isaiah's statement (2 Kings 18:5) that he will live fifteen more years (29-15=14). As shown below, these problems are all addressed by scholars who make reference to the ancient Near Eastern practice of coregency.

Following the approach of Wellhausen, another set of calculations shows it is probable that Hezekiah did not ascend the throne before 722 BCE. By Albright's calculations, Jehu's initial year is 842 BCE; 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 fell before 722 BCE. (That Hezekiah began to reign before 722 BCE, however, is entirely consistent with the principle that the Ahaz/Hezekiah coregency began in 729 BCE.) 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 died at the age of thirty-six (2 Kings 16:2); 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.

Miniature from Chludov Psalter

Since Albright and Friedman, several scholars have explained these dating problems on the basis of a coregency between Hezekiah and his father Ahaz between 729 and 716/715 BCE. Assyriologists and Egyptologists recognize that coregency was a practice both in Assyria and Egypt,[16][17] 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."[18]

Among the numerous scholars who have recognized the coregency between Ahaz and Hezekiah are Kenneth Kitchen in his various writings,[19] Leslie McFall,[20] and Jack Finegan.[21] McFall, in his 1991 article, argues that if 729 BCE (that is, the Judean regnal year beginning in Tishri of 729) is taken as the start of the Ahaz/Hezekiah coregency, and 716/715 BCE as the date of the death of Ahaz, then all the extensive chronological data for Hezekiah and his contemporaries in the late eighth century BCE are in harmony. Further, McFall found that no textual emendations are required among the numerous dates, reign lengths, and synchronisms given in the Bible for this period.[22] 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 BCE. This is in contrast with the general consensus among those who accept the biblical and near Eastern practice of coregencies that Hezekiah was installed as coregent with his father Ahaz in 729 BCE, and the synchronisms of 2 Kings 18 must be measured from that date, whereas the synchronisms to Sennacherib are measured from the sole reign starting in 716/715 BCE. The two synchronisms to Hoshea of Israel in 2 Kings 18 are then in exact agreement with the dates of Hoshea's reign that can be determined from Assyrian sources, as is the date of Samaria's fall as stated in 2 Kings 18:10. An analogous situation of two ways of measurement, both equally valid, is encountered in the dates given for Jehoram of Israel, whose first year is synchronized to the 18th year of the sole reign of Jehoshaphat of Judah in 2 Kings 3:1 (853/852 BCE), but his reign is also reckoned according to another method as starting in the second year of the coregency of Jehoshaphat and his son Jehoram of Judah (2 Kings 1:17); both methods refer to the same calendrical year.

Scholars who accept the principle of coregencies note that abundant evidence for their use is found in the biblical material itself.[23] The agreement of scholarship built on these principles with both biblical and secular texts was such that the Thiele/McFall chronology was accepted as the best chronology for the kingdom period in Jack Finegan's encyclopedic Handbook of Biblical Chronology.[24]

Hezekiah of Judah
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Judah
Coregent: 729-716 BCE
Sole reign: 716 – 687 BCE
Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b c Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "Glossary" p. 367-432
  2. ^ Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 082543825X, 9780825438257, 217.
  3. ^ a b "Hezekiah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 12 Nov. 2009 Read online
  4. ^ Professor Mordochai ben Tzyyion, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
  5. ^ See William F. Albright for the former and for the latter Edwin R. Thiele's, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (3rd ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983) 217. But Gershon Galil dates his reign to 697–642 BCE.
  6. ^ James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Related to the Old Testament (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965) 287-288.
  7. ^ (19:35) Herodotus (Histories 2:141)
  8. ^ a b c d Peter J. Leithart, 1 & 2 Kings, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, p255-256, Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI (2006)
  9. ^ Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism
  10. ^ J. D. Douglas, ed., New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965) 1160.
  11. ^ Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed. Free Press, New York, 2001, ISBN 0-684-86912-8
  12. ^ See An Administrative Center of the Iron Age in Nahal Tut by Amir Gorzalczany.
  13. ^ Dever, William G. (2005) "Did God have a wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel" (Eerdmans)
  14. ^ Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (3rd ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983) pp. 134, 217.
  15. ^ Leslie McFall, “A Translation Guide to the Chronological Data in Kings and Chronicles,” Bibliotheca Sacra 148 (1991) p. 33. (Link)
  16. ^ William J. Murnane, Ancient Egyptian Coregencies (Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 1977).
  17. ^ J. D. Douglas, ed., New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965) p. 1160.
  18. ^ Nadav Na'aman, "Historical and Chronological Notes on the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah in the Eighth Century B.C." Vetus Testamentum 36 (1986) p. 91.
  19. ^ See Kitchen's chronology in New Bible Dictionary p. 220.
  20. ^ Leslie McFall, "Translation Guide" p.42.
  21. ^ Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (rev. ed.; Peabody MA: Hendrickson, 1998) p. 246.
  22. ^ Leslie McFall, "Translation Guide" pp. 4-45 (Link).
  23. ^ Thiele, Mysterious Numbers chapter 3, "Coregencies and Rival Reigns."
  24. ^ Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology p. 246.


  • Grena, G.M. (2004). LMLK—A Mystery Belonging to the King vol. 1. Redondo Beach, California: 4000 Years of Writing History. ISBN 0-9748786-0-X.  
  • Austin, Lynn. Gods And Kings. ISBN 0-7642-2989-3.   a fictionalized account of Hezekiah's rise to power, Book 1 in Austin's "Chronicles of the Kings" series

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HEZEKIAH (Heb. for "[my] strength is [of] Yah"), in the Bible son of Ahaz, one of the greatest of the kings of Judah. He flourished at the end of the 8th and beginning of the 7th century B.C., when Palestine passed through one of the most eventful periods of its history. There is much that is uncertain in his reign, and with the exception of the great crisis of 701 B.C. its chronology has not been unanimously fixed. Whether he came to the throne before or after the fall of Samaria (722721 B.C.) is disputed,' nor is it clear what share Judah took in the Assyrian conflicts down to 701.2 Shortly before this date the whole of western Asia was in a ferment; Sargon had died and Sennacherib had come to the throne (in 705); vassal kings plotted to recover their independence and Assyrian puppets were removed by their opponents. Judah was in touch with a general rising in S.W. Palestine, in which Ekron, Lachish, Ascalon (Ashkelon) and other towns of the Philistines were supported by the kings of Musri and Melulhha. 3 Sennacherib completely routed them at Eltekeh (a Danite city), and thence turned against Hezekiah, who had been in league with Ekron and had imprisoned its king Padi, an Assyrian vassal. In this invasion of Judah the Assyrian claims entire success; 46 towns of Judah were captured, 200,150 men and many herds of cattle were carried off among the spoil, and Jerusalem itself was closely invested. Hezekiah was imprisoned "like a bird in a cage" 4 - to quote Sennacherib, and the Urbi (Arabian?} troops in Jerusalem laid down their arms. Thirty talents of gold, eight hundred of silver, precious stones, couches and seats of ivory - "all kinds of valuable treasure", - the ladies of the court, male and female attendants (perhaps "singers") were carried away to Nineveh. Here the Assyrian record ends somewhat abruptly, for, in the meanwhile, Babylonia had again revolted (700 B.C.) and Sennacherib's presence was urgently needed nearer home.

At what precise period the Babylonian Merodach (i.e. Marduk)- Baladan sent his embassy to Hezekiah is disputed. Although ostensibly to congratulate the king upon his recovery from a sickness, it was really sent in the hope of enlisting his support, and the excessive courtesy and complaisance with which it was received suggest that it found a ready ally in Judah (2 Kings xx. 12 sqq.; Isa. xxxix.). Merodach-Baladan was overthrown by Sargon in 710 B.C., but succeeded in making a fresh revolt some years later (704-703 B.e.), and opinion is much divided whether his embassy was to secure the friendship of the ' See W. R. Smith, Prophets of Israel,' 415 sqq.; O. C. Whitehouse, Isaiah, pp. 20 sqq., 372; J. Skinner, Kings, p. 43 seq.; T. K. Cheyne, Ency. Bib. col. 2058, n. I, and references.

2 The chief dates are: 720, defeat of a coalition (Hamath, Gaza and Musri) at Karkar in north Syria and Raphia (S. Palestine); 715, a rising of Musri and Arabian tribes; 713-711, revolt and capture of Ashdod (cp. Is. xx.). That Judah was invaded on this latter occasion is not improbable.

3 Meluhha is held by many critics to be N.W. Arabia; the identification of Musri is uncertain, see below.

' The phrase was a favourite one of Rib-Addi, king of Gebal. (Byblus), in the 15th century B.C.; Tell-el-Amarna Letters (ed. Knudtzon), Nos. 74, 79, &c. Jeremiah (v. 27) uses the simile in a different way. For a discussion of Sennacherib's record, see Wilke,, Jesaja (Leipzig, 1905), pp. 97 sqq.

youthful Hezekiah at his succession or is to be associated with the later widespread attempt to remove the Assyrian yoke.' The brief account of the Assyrian invasion, Hezekiah's submission, and the payment of tribute in 2 Kings xviii. 14-16, supplements the Assyrian record by the statement that Sennacherib besieged Lachish, a fact which is confirmed by a basrelief (now in the British Museum) depicting the king in the act of besieging that town. 2 This thoroughly historical fragment is followed by two narratives which tell how the king sent an official from Lachish to demand the submission of Hezekiah and conclude with the unexpected deliverance of Jerusalem. Both these stories appear to belong to a biography of Isaiah, and, like the similar biographies of Elijah and Elisha, are open to the suspicion that historical facts have been subordinated to idealize the work of the prophet. See Kings, Books Of.

The narratives are (a) 2 Kings xviii. 13, 17-xix. 8; cf. Isa. xxxvi. I-xxxvii. 8, and (b) xix. 9b-35; cp. Isa. xxxvii. 9-36 (2 Chron. xxxii. 9 sqq. is based on both), and Jerusalem's deliverance is attributed to a certain rumour (xix. 7), to the advance of Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia (v. 9), and to a remarkable pestilence (v. 35) which finds an echo in a famous story related, not without some confusion of essential facts, by Herodotus (ii. 141; cf. Josephus Antiq. x. i. 5).' It is difficult to decide whether xix. 9a belongs to the first or second of these narratives; and whether the "rumour" refers to the approach of Tirhakah, or rather to the serious troubles which had arisen in Babylonia. It is equally difficult to determine whether Tirhakah actually appeared on the scene in 701, and the precise application of the term Musri (Mizraim) is much debated. Unless the two narratives are duplicates of the same event, it may be urged that Sennacherib's attack upon Arabia (apparently about 689) involved an invasion of Judah, by which time Egypt was in a position to be of material assistance (cf. Isa. xxx. 1-5, xxxi. 1-3?). This theory of a second campaign (first suggested by Sir Henry Rawlinson) has been contested, although it is pointed out that Sennacherib at all events did not invade Egypt, and that 2 Kings xix. 24 (Isa. xxxvii. 25) can only refer to his successor. The allusion to the murder of Sennacherib (xix. 36 sq.) 4 points to the year 681, but it is uncertain to which of the above narratives it belongs. On the whole, the question must be left open, and with it both the problem of the extension of the name Musri and Mizraim outside Egypt in the Assyrian and Hebrew records of this period and the true historical background of a number of the Isaianic prophecies. It is quite possible that later events which belong to the time of the Egyptian supremacy and the wars of Esarhaddon have been confused with the history of Sennacherib's invasion.

It is not certain whether Hezekiah's conflict with the Philistines as far as Gaza or his preparations to secure for Jerusalem a good water supply (xviii. 8, xx. 20; 2 Chron. xxxii. 30; Ecclus. xlviii. 17 sq.) 5 should precede or follow the events which have been discussed. On the other hand, the reforms which the compiler of the book has attributed to the early part of the reign were doubtless much later (2 Kings xviii. 1-8). Not the fall of Samaria, but the crisis of 701, is the earliest date that could safely be chosen, and the extent of these reforms must not be overestimated. They are related in terms that imply an acquaintance with the great "Deuteronomic" movement (see Deuteronomy), and are magnified further with characteristic detail by the chronicler (2 Chron. xxix.-xxxi.). The most remarkable was the destruction of a brazen serpent, the cult of which was traditionally traced back to the time of Moses (Num. xxi. 9). 5 This persistence of serpent-cult, and the ' For the early date (between 720 and 710), Winckler, Alttest. Unt. 139 sqq., Burney, Kings, 350 sq.; Driver; Kuchler, &c.; for the later, Whitehouse, Isaiah, 29 sq., in agreement with Schrader, Wellhausen, W. R. Smith, Cheyne, M'Curdy, Paton, &c.

Isa. x. 28-32 may perhaps refer to this invasion. Allusions to the Assyrian oppression are found in Isa. x. 5-15, xiv. 24-27, xvii. 12-14; and to internal Judaean intrigues perhaps in Isa. xxii. 15-18, xxix. 15. For a picture of the ruins in Jerusalem, see Isa. xxii. 9-ii. But see further Isaiah (BooK).

' See, on the story, Griffith, in D. Hogarth's Authority and Archaeology, p. 167, n. I.

4 The house of Nisroch should probably be that of the god Nusku; see also Driver in Hogarth, op. cit. p. 109; Winckler, op. cit. p. 84.

5 It is commonly believed that Hezekiah constructed the conduit of Siloam, famous for its Hebrew inscription (see Inscriptions, Jerusalem). But Isa. viii. 6, would seem to show that the pool was already in existence, and, for palaeographical details, see Pal. Explor. Fund, Quart. Stat. (1909), pp. 289, 305 sqq.

The name Nehushtan (2 Kings xviii. 4, cp. nahash, " serpent") is obscure; see the commentaries.

idolatry (necromancy, tree-worship) which the contemporary prophets denounce, do not support the view that the apparently radical reforms of Hezekiah were extensive or permanent, and Jer. xxvi. 17-19 (which suggests that Micah had a greater influence than Isaiah) throws another light upon the conditions during his reign. Hezekiah was succeeded by his Son Manasseh.

See further W. R. Smith, Prophets, 359-364, and HEBREW RELIGION. According to Prov. xxv. I, Hezekiah was a patron of literature (see PROVERBS). The hymn which is ascribed to the king (Isa. xxxviii. 9-20, wanting in 2 Kings) is of post-exilic origin (see Cheyne, Introd. to Isaiah, 222 sq.), but is further proof of the manner in which the Judaean king was idealized in subsequent ages, partly, perhaps, in the belief that the deliverance of Jerusalem was the reward for his piety. For special discussions, see Stade, Zeits. d. alttest. Wissenschaft, 1886, pp. 173 sqq.; Winckler, Alttest. Untersuch., 26 sqq.; Schrader, Cuneiform Inscr. and Old Test. (on 2 Kings, Lc.); Driver, Isaiah, his Life and Times, pp. 43-83; A. Jeremias, Alte Test. 304-310; Nagel, Zug d. Sanherib gegen Jerus. (Leipzig, 1903, conservative); and especially Prasek, Sanherib's "Feldzuge gegen Juda" (Mitteil. d. vorderasiat. Gesell., 1903, pp. 113-158), K. Fullerton, Bibliotheca sacra, 1906, pp. 577-634, A. Alt, Israel u. Agypten (Leipzig, 1909); also the bibliography to ISAIAH. (S. A. C.)

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Hebrew יְחִזְקִיָּה Yechizqiyah

Proper noun




  1. (Biblical) A king of Judah.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible (Authorized Version), 2 Chronicles 29:1-2
      Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.
  2. A male given name of biblical origin.

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Kings of Judah

Meaning: whom Jehovah has strengthened.

Son of Ahaz (2Kg 18:1; 2Chr 29:1), whom he succeeded as King of Judah. He reigned twenty-nine years (B.C. 726-697). The history of this king is contained in 2 Kings 18-20, Isa. 36-39, and 2 Chr. 29-32. He is spoken of as a great and good king. In public life he followed the example of his great-grandfather Uzziah. 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 removed to Jerusalem, and had become an object of idolatrous worship (Num 21:9). A great reformation was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2Kg 18:4; 2Chr 29:3ff).

On the death of Sargon and the accession of his son Sennacherib to the throne of Assyria, Hezekiah refused to pay the tribute which his father had paid, and "rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league with Egypt (Isa. 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib (2Kg 18:13ff), who took forty cities, and besieged Jerusalem with mounds. Hezekiah yielded to the demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold (2Kg 18:14).

But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa 33:1), and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2Kg 18:17; 2Chr 32:9; Isa. 36). This invasion issued in the destruction of Sennacherib's army. 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." Sennacherib fled with the shattered remnant of his forces to Nineveh, where, seventeen years after, he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer (2Kg 19:37).

The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery is found in 2Kg 20:1, 2Chr 32:24, Isa 38:1. Various ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2Chr 32:23; 2Kg 20:12). He closed his days in peace and prosperity, and was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He was buried in the "chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2Chr 32:27ff). He had "after him none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him" (2Kg 18:5). (See Isaiah.)

Ruled from 716/15 to 687/86.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Rule start 716  +
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Simple English

(Hizqiyah ben ’Ahaz)
King of Judah
(Melekh Yehudah)
King Hezekiah on a 17th century painting by unknown artist in the choir of Sankta Maria kyrka in Åhus, Sweden.
Reign coregency with Ahaz 729,
sole reign
716 – 697 BCE
coregency with Manasseh 697 - 687
Born c.739 BCE
Birthplace probably Jerusalem
Died c.687 BCE
Place of death probably Jerusalem
Predecessor King Ahaz
Manasseh (only male child)
Successor Manasseh
Offspring Manasseh
Royal House House of David
Father King Ahaz
Mother Abijah, also called Abi

Hezekiah, also translated as Ḥizkiyyahu(and sometimes as Ezekias, Ḥizqiyyāhu, Khizkiyahu; or יְחִזְקִיָּ֫הוּYəḥizqiyyāhu, Y'khizkiyahu), is a king of Judah that appears in the book of Chronicles and the book of Kings. He is one of the few kings who is compared favorably with David, and is unique for his trust in the Lord: "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 (stop) to follow him" (2 Kings 18:5 – 6, NIV). He was the son of Judah's King Ahaz, and is best known for turning his people away from the sins of his father Ahaz, restoring worship in the temple, and having his life made fifteen years longer (2 Kings 20).[1] His rule is described in the Old Testament, in 2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39, and 2 Chronicles 29-32. The Chronicles writes more about Hezekiah than any other king after Solomon and suggest that he is a "second Solomon" in his celebration of the Passover, his wealth, his honor, and his land.[1]

Preceded by
The Kings of Judah
Coregent: 729-716 BCE
Sole reign: 716 – 687 BCE
Succeeded by


  1. 1.0 1.1 The NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA: Zondervan Publishing House. ISBN 99 00 01 0201 9. 

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