Old Testament Story List

The Prophecy Of Isaiah

Of the twelve Israelite tribes, only the tribe of Judah was not carried into captivity. When young Hezekiah became the king of Judah, the kingdom was very weak. For many years it had been ruled by men who did not serve the true God. These rulers had even closed up the temple of the Lord.

Hezekiah wanted his people to worship the

true God. He called for the priests and the Levites to come to Jerusalem and clean the temple.

King Hezekiah 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 stronger.

Before Hezekiah 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.

Even when 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 they came.

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.

How afraid 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.

Isaiah answered, "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 killed."

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 Hezekiah's prayers.

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