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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