Lesson 6Isaiah Chapters 36-39

This week we will get a look at two interesting men in the Bible: Sennacherib, King of Assyria; and Hezekiah, King of Judah (the two southern tribes). We will observe intrigue, politics, pride, and God’s awesome intervention on behalf of His people.


The scriptural text for this lesson is Isaiah Chapters 36-39. By way of background, the King of Assyria, Sennacherib, has been leading his mighty army south for the past few years, conquering all of the land along the eastern Mediterranean coast. In 703 BC, Hezekiah declares his independence from Assyria, and Sennacherib begins an orderly and well executed campaign against Judah, systematically destroying forty-six walled cities from the north through the south; and ending at Joppa, where he also defeated an Egyptian army trying to defend Judah. (Hezekiah had an allegiance with them at the time.)

In Sennacherib’s own record of his deeds, we read:

"...As to Hezekiah, the Judean, he did not submit to my yoke. I laid siege to forty-six of his strong cities, walled forts, and to the countless small villages in the vicinity, and conquered them. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earth work... Thus I reduced his country but still increased the tribute... Hezekiah himself, who the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship had overwhelmed and whose irregular and elite troops that he had brought into Jerusalem, his royal residence, in order to strengthen it had deserted him, did send me later to Nineveh, my lordly city, together with thirty talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones...and all kinds of valuable treasures."(Quoted from the New International Biblical Commentary.)

The scene is therefore set the King of Assyria arrays his forces against Hezekiah as we begin to read Chapter 36.

Read Isaiah Chapters 36-39; then answer the following:

  1. From reading the first seven verses, identify who Judah and King Hezekiah were putting their trust in.
  2. What had Hezekiah done prior to the visit of Rabshakeh in verse two? (See 2 Kings 18:13-17)
  3. After the emissaries from Jerusalem hear the threat and charges by Rabshakeh, what is their immediate response? (see verse 11)
  4. Why do they make such a strange request?
  5. What does Rabshakeh mean by his response in verse 12? Why were there references to drinking urine and eating dung?
  6. In verses 13-20, list all of the specific arguments Rabshakeh offers for trusting his word over Hezekiah’s.
  7. In verses 18-22, what is Sennacherib saying about God’s ability to deliver Judah?
  8. What is Isaiah’s answer in Isa. 37:6-7?
  9. What is God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayer? (see verses 22-35)
  10. What happened to Sennacherib’s army? (see verse 36)
  11. What happened to Sennacherib? (see verses 37-38)
  12. What happens in Chapter 38? What does God mean in verse 8?
  13. What is described in Chapter 39? Why? What coming captivity is foretold in this passage?

Our study this week gives us great insight into the political mind, the strategies man employs in war and to impose his will on others, and in the futility of trusting in idols. We saw once again how quickly and dramatically God defends His people and punishes sin. In spite of man’s evil motives, God’s will and sovereign kingdom accomplish his purposes.

Let’s praise God this week for His sovereign care over us and his presence in our lives assuring us of victory over every evil when His Son the Living Christ returns.

Have a great week everyone!

Yours in Christ,