Origin of the name HEZEKIAH.
Etymology of the
Meaning of the baby name HEZEKIAH.
= "strength" or "might of Jehovah." Nos. 2, 3,
and 4 are of the first form, No. 1 of both.
(The Sunday School Teacher's
Bible Manual, Hunter, 1894). Usage: America, Great Britain,
(1) The son
of Ahaz, and his successor in the kingdom of Judah. He came to the
throne at the age of twenty-five, by the Hebrew chronology B.C. 726, by
that of Assyria B.C. 727. He was a devoted servant of Jehovah, and
commenced his reign by repairing and cleansing the Temple, re-organising
its religious services and its officers, and celebrating a great
passover, to which he invited not merely the two tribes, but the ten (2
Chron. xxix. 1—xxx. 13). He removed the "high places,"
cast down the images, and even broke in pieces the brazen serpent, which
had become an object of idolatrous worship. He gained a victory
over the Philistines, and in other ways became great and
prosperous. In his fourth regnal year, B.C. 724 (?), Shalmaneser
commenced, and in B.C. 722 Sargon completed, the siege of Samaria,
carrying the ten tribes into captivity (2 Kings xviii. 9, 10). A
comparison of dates shows that the sickness which brought Hezekiah to
the brink of death, but ended in his restoration to health, with a
gracious promise super-added that he should still live fifteen years,
must have occurred as early in his reign as 712 (cf. 2 Kings xviii. 2
and 2 Chron. xxix. 1 with 2 Kings xx. 6; Isa. xxxviii. 5). That
year or the next Merodach-baladan, who in 721 B.C. had conquered
Babylon, sent an embassy to Hezekiah, nominally to congratulate him on
his recovery from sickness, really to invite him to join a great
confederacy which was being secretly formed against the Assyrian
power. Hezekiah was quite elated by the coming of the Babylonian
ambassador, even though warned by the prophet Isaiah that the people of
Judah would be carried captive to that same place from which the
ambassador had come (2 Kings xx. 12-19; 2 Chron. xxxii. 31; Isa. xxxix.
1-8). He joined the confederacy. Sargon, who was a very able
general, broke in upon the allies before their plans were matured, and
vanquished them in detail. He also took Jerusalem in B.C. 711, ten
years before the expedition of Sennacherib. There is no mention of
the event in the Books of Kings or of Chronicles, but it is pretty
clearly alluded to in Isa. x. 5-34 (cf. also xxii. 1-14), and is
distinctly recorded on the Assyrian monuments. [Sargon.]
In B.C. 705 Sargon was murdered, and his son Sennacherib ascended the
Assyrian throne. He was a much less able man than his father, and
revolts against his authority took place in various parts of his
empire. Hezekiah put himself at the head of a new confederacy,
proposed by Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt, the Phoenicians, the
Ammonites, the Moabites, and the Edomites making common cause with the
Jewish king. To prepare for the probable siege of Jerusalem, he
brought a spring of water from the valley of the Kidron into the city by
a conduit cut through the rock, for he said, "Why should the kings
of Assyria come and find much water?" (2 Kings xx. 20; 2 Chron.
xxxii. 30; Isa. xxii. 9 [?], 11 [?]. The revolts had taken place
in B.C. 705. It was not, however, till B.C. 701 that Sennacherib
arrived in the west to commence the campaign against the
confederates. The year is called his fourteenth regnal year; this
appears to be a copyist's error for the twenty-fourth year. The
Assyrian invaders captured one city after another, as yet, however,
keeping away from Jerusalem. Hezekiah, thoroughly alarmed, sent an
embassy to ask forgiveness for his rebellion, and offered to pay any
penalty which his late master might impose. Sennacherib named a
price—300 talents of silver (about £102,656) and 30 talents of gold (£164,250).
To obtain it, Hezekiah had to strip the gold from the doors and pillars
of the Temple. Whether the Jewish king failed to raise the whole
of the atonement money, or whether the Assyrian ruler as the paramount
power claimed the right to enter the capitals of the subordinate kings,
and therefore resented Hezekiah's refusal to admit him within the walls
of Jerusalem, or whether, with scandalous violation of good faith, he
accepted the price of peace, and then went on with war, we do not
know. But certain it is that while Sennacherib was besieging
Lachish, he sent an embassy to Jerusalem to demand its surrender.
The embassy consisted of the Assyrian Tartan (the commander-in-chief),
the Rabsaris (the chamberlain), and the Rab-shakeh (the prime minister),
the last-named personage being the chief speaker. He spoke in
Hebrew not merely to the Jewish dignitaries, but to the soldiers on the
walls, declared the impossibility of resisting the Assyrians, the vanity
of trusting either to Egypt or Jehovah, and the good character of the
land to which, if the people submitted, they would be taken in
captivity. But all was in vain. Isaiah intimated that
Jehovah, insulted by the Rab-shakeh, would interfere for the defence of
the city. Accordingly that very night an angel slew 185,000 men in
the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib soon afterwards quitted Palestine
without taking Jerusalem, and never ventured to return to it again (2
Kings xviii. 13—xix. 37; 2 Chron. xxxii. 1-23; Isa. xxxvi. 1—xxxvii.
38). Sennacherib's account of this invasion is found on a clay
cylinder, now in the British Museum. [Sennacherib.]
Besides Isaiah, Hosea (Hosea i. 1) and Micah were contemporaries of
Hezekiah. The king died by the Hebrew chronology about 698, by the
Assyrian about 697 B.C., leaving his son Manasseh to ascend the throne
(2 Kings xvi. 20; xviii. 1—xx. 21; 2 Chron. xxviii. 27—xxxii. 33;
Isa. xxxvi.—xxxix). (Sayce, Times of Isaiah, 48-66, etc.).
(2) An ancestor of the prophet Zephaniah (Zeph. i.
1—R.V.). Called in the A.V. Hizkiah.
(3) A son of Neariah. He was of the royal
family of Judah (1 Chron. iii. 23).
(4) The "father" of a certain Ater [Ater
(1)] (Ezra ii. 16; Neh. vii. 21).
¶ Hezekiah's disease.—A disease of which
the chief recorded symptom was a boil. This has been regarded as
the "bubo" of the plague, but was probably a carbuncle (Sir
Risdon Bennett) 2 Kings xx. 7; Isa. xxxviii. 21). (The Sunday
School Teacher's Bible Manual, Hunter, 1894).
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