Sennacherib (the King of Assyria) Threatens Jerusalem (Isaiah 36)

Special Note: The parallel passages describing the Assyrian threat to Jerusalem (2 Kings 18, 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 36) appear individually in 3 posts this week: July 27, July 29 and July 31, 2015.

Scripture Text:

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Isaiah 36

1. When approached by solicitors with “an offer too good to refuse” are you an easy sell or a hard sell?

2. When have you bought something “hook, line and sinker”, only to regret it?

3. The Assyrian army had already routed Egyptian forces 20 miles west of Jerusalem, and were fighting at Lachish (some 20 miles southwest). What would the people of Jerusalem feel as they saw this Assyrian army pincer movement?

4. How does this event fulfill what Isaiah warned in Isaiah chapters 7:3, 18 – 25 and 8:6 – 8?

5. What arguments does the field commander offer for why Jerusalem should surrender (verses 4 – 10)? Do you find these arguments persuasive? Or can you see through them? What do you see? What tone of voice do you hear?

6. How do Assyria and Isaiah compare in their view of Judah’s alliance with Egypt (see Isaiah 19:14, 15; Isaiah 30:3 – 5)? As a Judean leader, how would you feel, hearing this Assyrian commander repeat the same things Isaiah has said for years?

7. How does the Assyrian king’s account of Hezekiah’s reforms (verse 7) differ from the account in 2 Kings 18:3, 4? What is the purpose of such misrepresentation?

8. What is the meaning of his sarcastic offer in verse 8? What is he implying by his final statement in verse 10 (see Isaiah 10:6, 7, 12)? Why does the king speak in Hebrew to people on the city wall (verses 13 – 20)? What alternatives does he offer them? Compared to the “gods”, where is the Lord in all this?

9. Do the people respond as expected? Why not panic in the face of such a clear threat from Assyria?

10. How must the faith of Hezekiah have appeared to the Assyrians? In what situation has your faith in God’s promises appeared equally foolish?

11. Given your level of faith now, would you have clung to Isaiah’s prophecies at this point, or would you have caved in to the “reality” of the situation? Why? What “Assyrian threat” faces you now? To what promises of God are you clinging?

Additional Note:

Sennacherib’s campaign is well-documented, for he kept scrupulous records of his military ventures. Invading Palestine in 701 B. C. , his armies captured 47 cities in Judah and then laid siege to Jerusalem.

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Sennacherib (the King of Assyria) Threatens Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:1 – 23)

Special Note: The parallel passages describing the Assyrian threat to Jerusalem (2 Kings 18, 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 36) appear individually in 3 posts this week: July 27, July 29 and July 31, 2015.

Scripture Text:

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2 Chronicles 32:1 – 23

1. What is your favorite body of water?

  • your pool?
  • secret fishing hole?
  • stretch of white water rapids?
  • secluded seashore or lake?

2. What kept you out of mischief when you were 5 years old?

3. After all his successes, what was the major political crisis Hezekiah faced in his reign? How did he prepare to deal with this crisis (verses 2 – 8)? What strikes you about these preparations?

4. What psychological warfare tactics did Sennacherib use to undermine the morale of Hezekiah and Jerusalem? What did he say about Hezekiah? About himself? The Lord?

5. How was Sennacherib’s invasion actually defeated? Did Hezekiah play any role in this defeat? Did he get credit for it?

6. Are you facing any Sennaecheribs in your life now? How are you preparing to defend yourself?

7. Has God ever miraculously rescued you from a terrible situation or person? How did it happen?

Additional Note:

Of all the kings of Judah, none are given higher praise than Hezekiah but, overall, his life contained a mixture of wisdom and folly, vice and virtue . . .

On the good side:

  • he trusted in the Lord
  • cleansed Judah from idol worship
  • won independence from the powerful nations around
  • (after a prayer for healing) was granted an extension of his life

On the bad side:

  • he foolishly tried to bribe the Assyrians with gold stripped from the Temple
  • when representatives from Babylon visited him, he boastfully showed them all his treasures
  • when Isaiah warned that Babylon would come back to take those treasures and more, Hezekiah contented himself to say that at least there would be peace and truth during his reign

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Sennacherib (the King of Assyria) Threatens Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:17 – 37)

Special Note: The parallel passages describing the Assyrian threat to Jerusalem (2 Kings 18, 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 36) appear individually in 3 posts this week: July 27, July 29 and July 31, 2015.

Scripture Text:

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2 Kings 18:17 – 37

1. If you won 2,000 horses on a quiz show, what would you do with them?

2. What advice has Isaiah given Hezekiah on the Assyrian invasion (see Isaiah 31:1 – 3)?

3. Isn’t paying tribute enough (see 2 Kings 18:14 – 16)? What two plans does Sennacherib figure Judah might pursue (verses 19 – 22)?

4. What do the Assyrians make of the Egyptian option? The Yahweh option? What Assyrian option do they propose (verses 23 – 25)? Which of the three would you put your money on and why?

5. Why do Hezekiah’s men want the Assyrians to speak in Aramaic (verses 26, 27)? What reason do the Assyrians give for continuing in Hebrew? What is he implying will happen?

6. If you were a Hebrew standing on the wall, what would you see going on below you? What would you overhear that was not meant for you? How would you feel, knowing Eliakim wants to hide the conversation from you?

7. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, what heart appeal do you smell in verses 31 and 32? Would tastier food sway them? Why or why not?

8. How do the Assyrians view the God of Judah (verses 22, 32 – 35)? The deities in general? Assyrian power compared to deity-power?

9. Despite this attack on Hezekiah and their God, are the people still loyal to him? How so?

10. Why do the three palace messengers tear their clothes? Why aren’t they dressed for success? Won’t their tattered appearance bias their message? How so?

11. If your minister’s, pastor’s or president’s character were being smeared by outside accusers, would you and your fellow parishioners jump on the band wagon, remain silent or voice your objection? Why?

12. Have any friendships been threatened because you took the side of the accuser and not your friend?

13. When events look bleak, will friends stand with you? Will God really deliver? How do you go about the process of faithful discovery?

14. What is the equivalent of torn clothing today? What do you use to get a similar message through?

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