Smith's Bible Dictionary


Hezeki'ah. (the might of Jehovah).

1. Twelfth king of Judah, son of the apostate, Ahaz and Abi or Abijah, ascended the throne at the age of 25, B.C. 726. Hezekiah was one of the three most perfect kings of Judah. 2Ki_18:5. Sir_49:4. His first act was to purge, repair and reopen, with splendid sacrifices and perfect ceremonial, the Temple. He also destroyed a brazen serpent, said to have been the one used by Moses, in the miraculous healing of the Israelites, Num_21:9, which had become an object of adoration.

When the kingdom of Israel had fallen, Hezekiah invited the scattered inhabitants to a peculiar Passover, which was continued for the unprecedented period of fourteen days. 2Ch_29:30-31. At the head of a repentant and united people, Hezekiah ventured to assume the aggressive camp[aign against the Philistines, and in a series of victories, not only rewon the cities which his father had lost, 2Ch_28:18, but even dispossessed them of their own cities, except Gaza, 2Ki_18:8, and Gath. He refused to acknowledge the supremacy of Assyria. 2Ki_18:7. Instant war was imminent and Hezekiah used every available means to strengthen himself. 2Ki_20:20.

It was probably at this dangerous crisis in his kingdom, that we find him sick and sending for Isaiah, who prophesies death as the result. 2Ki_20:1. Hezekiah's prayer for longer life is heard. The prophet had hardly left the palace when he was ordered to return and promise the king immediate recovery and fifteen years more of life. 2Ki_20:4. An embassy coming from Babylon ostensibly to compliment Hezekiah on his convalescence, but really to form an alliance between the two powers, is favorably received by the king, who shows them the treasures which he had accumulated. For this, Isaiah foretells the punishment that shall befall his house. 2Ki_20:17.

The two invasions of Sennacherib occupy the greater part of the scripture records concerning the reign of Hezekiah. The first of these took place in the third year of Sennacherib, B.C. 702, and occupies only three verses. 2Ki_18:13-16. Respecting the commencement of the second invasion, we have full details in 2Ki_18:17; seq.; 2Ch_32:9; seq.; Isa_36:1. Sennacherib sent against Jerusalem, an army under two officers and his cupbearer, the orator Rabshakeh, with a blasphemous and insulting summons to surrender; but Isaiah assures the king he need not fear, promising to disperse the enemy. 2Ki_19:6-7. Accordingly, that night "the angel of the Lord went out, and smote, in the camp of the Assyrians, a hundred fourscore and five thousand."

Hezekiah only lived to enjoy for about one year more, his well-earned peace and glory. He slept with his fathers, after a reign of twenty-nine years, in the 56th year of his age, B.C. 697.

2. Son of Neariah, one of the descendants of the royal family of Judah. 1Ch_3:23.

3. The same name, though rendered in the Authorized Version Hizkiah, is found in Zep_1:1.

4. Ater of Hezekiah. See Ater.


Taken from: Smith's Bible Dictionary by Dr. William Smith (1884)