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Friday, July 24 2015

Isaiah 36: The Invasions of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib

"Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it ... the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria ... Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah"

The Assyrian Empire peaked in power from about 910 to 610 BC. With its capital at Nineveh (see also The Nineveh Prophecies), it was centered in the same area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that its political and military successor occupied - Babylon. From the perspective of Bible history, the Assyrian Empire existed after the decline of the Egyptian Empire and before the rise of the Babylonian Empire.

Assyrian Empire

Sennacherib was the king of Assyria from about 705 to 681 BC. The photograph below is that of an actual in-his-time stone carving of Sennacherib leading his great army into battle against the then-rising Babylonians (see the Fact Finder question below). It's also similar to what the people of Israel and Judah would have seen when the Assyrians attacked their kingdoms - but with very different results.

The first invasion resulted in the Assyrian defeat of the Kingdom of Israel in the time of King Shalmaneser V of Assyria (reigned about 727 to 722 BC) - an easy victory for the Assyrian Empire, not only because they were the "superpower" of the day, but moreover because the LORD appointed Assyria as the agents of His Wrath against the defiantly-corrupt "lost ten tribes" (see What Did They Say To The Prophets? and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes).

"18:9 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. 18:10 And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.

18:11 And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes: 18:12 Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them." (2 Kings 18:9-12 KJV)

Then, after the LORD-permitted defeat of the Kingdom of Israel was completed, a later king of Assyria, Sennacherib, came and threatened the Kingdom of Judah - which the LORD did not authorize, and as the Assyrians would soon know, would not permit (see Why Did The Assyrian Army Cross The Line?). As we will read, the victory of the Assyrian army over Israel, or the annihilation of the Assyrian army in defense of Judah, were in the hands of the LORD. The historical accounts are found in the Book of Kings (see 2 Kings 19: What Did Isaiah Do During The Siege Of Judah?) and the Book of Isaiah.

"18:13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them." (2 Kings 18:13 KJV)


The Assyrians were aware of what the LORD had authorized them to do to the northern kingdom: "the LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it" (verse 10, below). But they then not only declared that their mandate to destroy Israel included permission to destroy Judah, they began blaspheming the LORD by saying that He couldn't now stop them because He was no different than the non-existent gods of the nations that they had conquered: "Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?" As we will read in the next chapter, it was Sennacherib's fatal mistake.

"36:1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. 36:2 And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field. 36:3 Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder.

36:4 And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah,

Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? 36:5 I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? 36:6 Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him. 36:7 But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?

36:8 Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them. 36:9 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 36:10 And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

36:11 Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall.

36:12 But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

36:13 Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. 36:14 Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you. 36:15 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

36:16 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; 36:17 Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.

36:18 Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 36:19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 36:20 Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?

36:21 But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.

36:22 Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh." (Isaiah 36:1-22 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who were the Medes and the Chaldeans?
See The Medes And Chaldees Prophecies

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This Day In History, July 24

1132: The Battle of Nocera between Ranulf II of Alife and Roger II of Sicily began.

1148: During the Second Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), Louis VII of France laid siege to Damascus (see also Damascus In History And Prophecy).

1411: The Battle of Harlaw; it was one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland.

1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier, while on the first of his three voyages to North America, erected a cross at Gaspe, claiming the land for Francis I of France (see also Thanksgiving).

1567: Mary Queen of Scots abdicated; James VI became King of Scotland at the age of 1.

1701: French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (the Cadillac automobile is named after him) founded a trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later became the city of Detroit.

New France
1704: Britain captured Gibraltar from Spain.

1759: The French garrison at Fort Niagara, under the command of Pierre Pouchot, fell to British and native forces under the command of Sir William Johnson.

1791: Robespierre expelled all Jacobins that were opposed to the principles of the French Revolution.

1799: Napoleon gained his last victory during his occupation of Egypt, defeating the Ottoman Turks (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) at the Battle of Aboukir.

1814: During the War of 1812 (1812-14; a war declared by U.S. President James Madison with the publicly-stated purpose of destroying Canada and subjecting its people to dictatorial rule from Washington), General Phineas Riall advanced toward the Niagara River to halt Jacob Brown's U.S. invasion forces. It was one of many such invasions that were stopped and driven back.

1823: Slavery was abolished in Chile.

1918: On Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, the cornerstone for Hebrew University was laid by Dr. Chaim Weizmann. Dr. Weizmann was later elected as the first President of the present-day state of Israel (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism).

1922: The British mandate over Palestine was approved by the League of Nations (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).

1943: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Operation Gomorrah began. British and Canadian warplanes bombed Hamburg, Germany by night, while U.S. bombers did so by day. The bombings killed over 30,000 people and destroyed nearly 300,000 buildings.

1946: The U.S. conducted the first underwater test of an atomic bomb, off Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

1963: The Bluenose II was launched at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The schooner is a major Canadian symbol (pictured on the Canadian dime coin).

1967: French President Charles de Gaulle, while visiting Montreal, Canada, made a speech that ended with "Vive le Quebec libre" ("Long live free Quebec" - an incitement for the province of Quebec to separate and destroy Canada) for which the pompous old "general" (who lost every battle that he ever commanded) was promptly rebuked by Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson and was sent back to France (a country that Canadians fought and died for during its, and de Gaulle's, liberation from Hitler).

1969: After completing the first manned moon landing, Apollo 11 returned to earth with a splash-down in the Pacific Ocean.

1977: The Libyan-Egyptian War ended after 4 days.

1990: Prior to their invasion, Iraqi military forces began massing on the Kuwait-Iraq border.

2001: Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the former Tsar of Bulgaria, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria. He thereby became the first king in history to regain political authority through democratic election to a different office.


Copyright © Wayne Blank