Hezekiah — whom Jehovah has strengthened. (1.) Son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1; 2 Chr. 29:1), whom he succeeded on the throne of the kingdom 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-granfather 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 (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chr. 29:3–36).
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 (2 Kings 18:13–16), 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 (18:14).
But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa. 33:1), and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2 Kings 18:17; 2 Chr. 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 (2 Kings 19:37). (See SENNACHERIB.)
The narrative of Hezekiah’s sickness and miraculous recovery is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chr. 32:24, Isa. 38:1. Various ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2 Chr. 32:23; 2 Kings 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” (2 Chr. 32:27–33). He had “after him none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him” (2 Kings 18:5). (See ISAIAH.)