2 Kings 20:1-11 “At about that time” (in reality, some ten years earlier), King Hezekiah of Judah had fallen ill, but the prophet Isaiah had healed the king’s boils with a poultice of figs. He had assured Hezekiah that the LORD would defend Jerusalem from the Assyrians, and, miraculously, had made the sun’s shadow go backwards to demonstrate the LORD’s power. The retreat of the Assyrians in 702BC reminded the people that Isaiah’s prophesy had been fulfilled.
The Assyrian King Sennacherib on his throne
2 Kings 20:12-21 Following Hezekiah’s illness, envoys had arrived in Jerusalem in 712BC from Marduk II (Hebrew, ‘Merodach’), King of Babylon (see 4 on Map 60). Hezekiah had welcomed the envoys into his palace where they saw the wealth of the kingdom of Judah on display. Isaiah had prophesied that a time would come when the Babylonians would conquer Judah and carry away all its wealth. Hezekiah’s descendants would be taken away and would become eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon.
2 Kings 21:1-18 In 698BC, Manasseh succeeds his father Hezekiah as King of Judah. He rules for over fifty years, during which time he re-builds the ‘high places’ of pagan worship with their altars to Baal and Asherah. He worships the stars, kills hundreds of innocent people, sacrifices his own son to the god Moloch, and puts an ‘Asherah pole’ in the LORD’s Temple. As a result of his idolatry, the prophets - including Isaiah - foretell the destruction of Jerusalem.