“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,’ Says the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’ ” 2 Kings 19:32-34
Hezekiah’s prayer: 2 Kings 19:1-19. Hezekiah is shaken, in part by the affront to God and the disgraceful ridicule. He spreads the letters out before the Lord in the temple, and asks the Lord to intervene for his own glory.
1 And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.
…Thus says the Lord: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7 Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” ‘ ”
14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands–wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.”
God’s answer: 2 Kings 19:20-37; 2 Chronicles 32:20-23. Isaiah brings God’s word to Hezekiah. The Lord has
heard his prayer. Judah will survive, and the king of Assyria will not see a single arrow released against Jerusalem.
32 “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. 33 By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,’ Says the Lord. 34 ‘For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’ “
That night 185,000 men in the Assyrian army die! Sennacherib returns to his capital of Nineveh, where he is assassinated by two of his sons.
35 And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses–all dead. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. 37 Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.
The Assyrian records of this invasion claim conquest of 46 strong cities in Judah, and the capture of 200,000 persons. They make no claim to the capture of Jerusalem, saying only that the king shut Hezekiah in that city “like a bird in a cage.” Sennacherib makes no mention of the disaster which struct the army. But no ancient conqueror raised monuments to his defeats. However, the Greek historian Herodotus tells of Sennacherib’s army being attacked by field mice, which ate their weapons and forced a withdrawal. It may be that rats and mice, the plague-carriers of Europe as well as of the East, were the instruments God used to deliver his people.