true God. He called
for the priests and the Levites to come to Jerusalem and clean the
ordered that all the idols in his land be destroyed. Because the
people even worshiped the brass serpent that Moses had made in the
wilderness, Hezekiah had it torn down and thrown into the fire. He
tried to teach the people to do the right, and his country became
came to the throne, the king of Assyria had gained power over
Judah. Every year the people had to pay heavy taxes to him.
Hezekiah did not want his people playing taxes to a heathen king,
and so he refused to pay. He knew the king of Assyria would bring
an army to try to force him to pay. To get ready for the attack
Hezekiah built up the walls of Jerusalem until they were very
strong. Then he gathered any army and prepared to fight.
Hezekiah had his men trained for battle, they were only a handful
compared to the mighty Assyrian army. The enemy marched into the
land of Judah and took one city after another. On toward Jerusalem
At last Hezekiah
knew his soldiers could not keep the Assyrians away, but it was
too late to do anything about it. Finally, poor Hezekiah sent word
to the king of Assyria that he would not fight any longer.
When the king of
Assyria got the message, he thought, "Now is my chance to
ruin this little country of Judah." He demanded a heavier tax
than ever before.
Hezekiah did not
know how they could ever get all the money the king of Assyria
demanded. He took all the gold and silver that was in his palace.
Added to this was all the gold and silver he could get from the
people. Still it was not enough. Finally he even had to take the
silver and gold from the temple of the Lord.
Still the king of
Assyria was not satisfied. He sent this message to Hezekiah:
"I will destroy your city and take you and your people to a
far country just as I have done to the people of Israel. When I
fought against other nations their idols did not help them. Your
God won't be able to save you either.
Hezekiah was when he heard this message. What could his little
army do against the powerful Assyrians? Hezekiah took the king's
letter and went to the temple. He spread the letter before the
altar and prayed. He asked God to help him and his people out of
their trouble. Then he sent several princes to the prophet Isaiah
to find out God's will.
"The Lord says that the king of Assyria will not enter
Jerusalem, nor will he even shoot an arrow against it. He will go
back to his country the way he came. There he will be
That night the
Assyrian soldiers became so ill that many of them died. Among the
dead were all the leaders of the army. In fear the king gathered
his troops and hurried back to his own land. Never again did he
return to fight against Hezekiah, for God had heard and answered