2 Kings 19: Hezekiah is mad at the continued challenge by the king of Assyria and his commanders. He sends his people to meet the prophet Isaiah, Amoz’s son. Unless I missed it, this is the first reference to the prophet Isaiah. I had wondered who the next prophet would be after the death of Elisha. According to the CEB study bible notes, this is the first instance of a king approaching a prophet asking him to get God to help on behalf of the people (CEB study bible, p. 604 OT; note for 19:2-4). That’s interesting. The remainder of this chapter focuses on God’s message and warning to the king of Assyria as well as his promise to Hezekiah that he and his people will be ok whereas the Assyrians will not. And that’s what happens at the end.
2 Kings 20: Hezekiah gets very sick and is near death. Isaiah tells him that God indicated he will die in a few days, but Hezekiah prays to God to save him. God agrees and grants him 15 more years of life. Other kings had heard of Hezekiah’s illness and sent him gifts and letters, most notably the Babylonian king’s son, Merodach-baladan (king was Baladan). Hezekiah starts to brag and shows off everything of value in his treasury, his stock of weaponry, and everything in his storehouses. Isaiah tells Hezekiah that eventually Babylon will take everything because of his actions, but not in his lifetime. Hezekiah pretty much states that since this won’t happen in his lifetime, it’s not a big deal. The chapter ends with his death.
This story really made me think a lot about our current leadership in the US (Trump). There is such a focus on wealth in our country at the moment. There always has been, but it seems even more prominent now. Several seem to argue that because they are wealthy, they are the most important. This is troubling to me.
2 Kings 21: Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, rules over Judah. He wasn’t very good, rebuilding the shrines that his father destroyed, set up altars to Baal, and made some sacred pole. He did lots of other bad things, including burning his own son to death. This angers God to the point where he threatens to destroy Manasseh and all of his people, indicating that he will leave whoever survives to their enemies. The chapter ends with Manasseh’s son, Amon, taking over Judah after he dies. He was assassinated by his officials because he was bad too. His son, Josiah, succeeds him as king.
Romans 3: Paul continues to strengthen his argument that both Jews and Gentiles are under the power of sin. So simply being a Jew doesn’t mean you are better off. He makes it clear that the “knowledge of sin comes through the Law” (3.20). He then shifts to point out that having faith in Jesus will lead to God’s righteousness. Jesus’ sacrifice absolve us of our sins. Paul ends with stating that God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles as long as all have faith in Jesus.