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2 Chronicles 32


(LXX versing)
Sennacherib Invades Judah Sennacherib Boasts Against the Lord The Invasion of Sennacherib and the End of Hezekiah's Reign The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem Sennacherib's Invasion
32:1-8 32:1-8 32:1-8 32:1-8 32:1-4
Sennacherib Undermines Hezekiah Sennacherib's Blasphemous Ultimatum and Downfall
32:9-15 32:9-15 32:9-15 32:9-15 32:9-16
32:16-19 32:16-19 32:16-19 32:16-19
Hezekiah's Prayer Is Answered Sennacherib's Defeat and Death
32:20-23 32:20-23 32:20-23 32:20-21 32:20-23
Hezekiah Humbles Himself Hezekiah's Illness and Pride The Closing Years of Hezekiah's Reign
32:24-26 32:24-26 32:24-26 32:24-26 32:24-26
Hezekiah's Wealth and Honor Hezekiah's Wealth and Splendor
32:27-31 32:27-30 32:27-31 32:27-31 32:27-29
Death of Hezekiah The End of Hezekiah's Reign
32:32-33 32:32-33 32:32-33 32:32-33 32:32-33

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself. 2Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem, 3he decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city, and they helped him. 4So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and the stream which flowed through the region, saying, "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?" 5And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall and strengthened the Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in great number. 6He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, 7"Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. 8With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles." And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

32:1 This period of conflict is also recorded in

  1. 2 Kgs. 18:13-19,37
  2. Isa. 36:1-37:38

For Sennacherib, King of Assyria, see SPECIAL TOPIC: KINGS OF ASSYRIA.

It is somewhat surprising that after Hezekiah's "faithfulness" (BDB 41, i.e., his spiritual reforms) that Assyria attacked. Usually invasion was a result of covenant disobedience. Here, it was

  1. a way to reveal YHWH's power and uniqueness to all the ANE
  2. a way to test Hezekiah (cf. 2 Chr. 32:31)

32:2-6 Hezekiah made several preparations for war. He trusted YHWH but he also prepared by

  1. cutting off the local spring so the Assyrian army would nave no water, v. 4
  2. rebuilding the part of the city wall that had been broken down by Joash, the King of Israel (cf. 2 Chr. 25:23; Isa. 22:9-11), v. 5
  3. building the towers on the wall higher, v. 5
  4. building two walls of fortification (location unknown)
  5. strengthening the Millo (i.e., supporting terraces of the old city; see note at 2 Chr. 11:8), v. 5
  6. making large numbers of weapons, v. 5
  7. appointing military officers over the militia, v. 6
NASB  "through the region"
NKJV, NRSV, JPSOA, REB  "through the land"
NJB  "through the country"
LXX  "that separated the city"
Peshitta  "through the midst of the land"

The term "land" (BDB 75) has a wide semantic range.


32:5 "the city of David" This refers to the old city of the Jebusites or the citadel in its midst.


32:7-8 The Chronicler records several speeches of godly Judean kings as a way to communicate theological truths.

This speech has several wonderful theological affirmations.

  1. encouragement of YHWH's help, so fear not
    1. be strong ‒ BDB 304, KB 302, Qal IMPERATIVE
    2. be courageous ‒ BDB 54, KB 65, Qal IMPERATIVE
    3. do not fear ‒ BDB 431, KB 432, Qal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense
    4. do not be dismayed ‒ BDB 369, KB 365, Qal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense
    5. these same kinds of encouraging words were given:
      (1) Moses to Joshua ‒ Deut. 31:7-8,23
      (2) YHWH to Joshua ‒ Josh. 1:6,7,9; 10:8
      (3) Joshua to his military ‒ Josh. 10:25
      (4) David to Solomon ‒ 1 Chr. 22:13; 28:20
  2. theological truths
    1. the One with us is greater than the one with him (i.e., YHWH vs. Assyrian gods); notice similar imagery in 2 Kgs. 6:16; Ps. 118:6; Rom. 8:31
    2. with him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and fight our battles (i.e., YHWH the Divine Warrior); notice similar imagery in Isa. 31:3; Jer. 17:5; there is more to reality than the physical!
  3. the people relied on the words of Hezekiah
    1. they trusted their leader's words (cf. 2 Kgs. 18:5 for Hezekiah's faith)
    2. They trusted their God
    3. Isaiah 22 seems to criticize Hezekiah for his military preparations but Chronicles does not

9After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem while he was besieging Lachish with all his forces with him, against Hezekiah king of Judah and against all Judah who were at Jerusalem, saying, 10"Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, 'On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? 11Is not Hezekiah misleading you to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying, "The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria"? 12Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, "You shall worship before one altar, and on it you shall burn incense"? 13Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands able at all to deliver their land from my hand? 14Who was there among all the gods of those nations which my fathers utterly destroyed who could deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? 15Now therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand?'"

32:9-15 The king of Assyria tried to instill fear in the defenders of Jerusalem with a loud public messge (cf. 2 Kings 18).

  1. What are you trusting? (v. 10)
  2. Asserting that Hezekiah had given them false hope. (v. 11)
  3. Reminding them that Hezekiah had taken away their local worship sites (i.e., high places). v. 12
  4. Look at our military victories, has any nation or their god been successful against us? (vv. 13-15, see note, IVP Bible Background Commentary [OT], p. 455)
  5. Do not let Hezekiah
    1. deceive you ‒ BDB 674, KB 728, Hiphil IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVEe sense
    2. mislead you ‒ BDB 694, KB 749, Hiphil IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense
    3. do not believe him ‒ BDB 52, KB 63, Hiphil IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense

32:9 Josephus, Antiq. 10.1.1., mentions the name of

  1. Sennacherib's military general as Rabshakeh
  2. his two commanders as
    1. Tartan
    2. Rab-saris (cf. 2 Kgs. 18:17)

Josephus says Sennacherib ignored his promise not to besiege Jerusalem in light of Hezekiah's offer to pay a large tribute, mostly from the temple (cf. 2 Kgs. 18:13-16), but instead he attacked Egypt and Ethiopia but left a large military contingent to attack and destroy Jerusalem. Chronicles never mentions this attempted bribe of Hezekiah's.

32:11,15 "the hand of the king of Assyria" See SPECIAL TOPIC: HAND.

16 His servants spoke further against the Lord God and against His servant Hezekiah. 17He also wrote letters to insult the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, "As the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand." 18They called this out with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, so that they might take the city. 19They spoke of the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the peoples of the earth, the work of men's hands.

32:16-19 The king of Assyria sent letters to instill fear against Hezekiah's leadership.

  1. These letters insulted YHWH, v. 17.
  2. They asserted that no other national god had delivered their people and neither could YHWH, v. 17.
  3. The Assyrian messengers read this letter publicly and loudly, in Hebrew (cf. 2 Kgs. 18:26), before the walls of Jerusalem, v. 18.
  4. They asserted that YHWH was a manmade idol like the other gods of the nations, v. 19.

The theological stage is set! YHWH must defend His name. He is not one of the gods of the nations; He is more powerful than the gods of Assyria.

32:16 This added comment seems to assume that the people of this post-exilic period knew the full account of the speech of 2 Kings 18 or Isa. 36:4-10.

32:18 This verse also assumes a familiarity with 2 Kgs. 18:26-37 or Isa. 36:11-20.

20But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned in shame to his own land. And when he had entered the temple of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword. 22So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. 23And many were bringing gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.

32:20 As is true of so much of Chronicles, its account is based on prophetic writings. Here, the great prophet Isaiah is named (cf. Isa. 36:1-37:38).

Notice both the king and the great prophet prayed (cf. 2 Kings 19). YHWH answered in power (2 Chr. 32:21). This powerful act of deliverance is detailed in 2 Kgs. 19:35-37.

Notice, too, the answered prayers.

  1. Hezekiah and Isaiah pray for military victory, v. 20.
  2. Hezekiah prays for healing, v. 24.
  3. Hezekiah prays for forgiveness, v. 26 (cf. 2 Chr. 7:14; 30:18,20).


32:21 "the Lord sent an angel" This destroying angel is probably the same one that brought the last plague on Egypt (cf. Exodus 11).

The mentioning of angels (BDB 521) is rare in Chronicles.

  1. the destroying angel of 1 Chronicles 21
  2. the destroying angel here

This is not the "angel of the Lord" that personifies Deity but the angel that brings judgment.

Just one lexical note. The Hebrew root translated "destroy" (BDB 470, KB 469) normally means "hide." Only in the Hiphil stem does it rarely mean "destroy" (i.e., Exod. 23:23; 1 Kgs. 13:34; Ps. 83:4; Zech. 11:9). This implies that there were once two different roots with the same consonants. Remember, context, not lexicons, determines word meaning. Context, context, context!


"his own children killed him" Sennacherib invaded in 701 b.c. (cf. 2 Kgs. 18:13, "in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah"). He was not assassinated until 681 b.c., some twenty years later when Esarhaddon became king.

Josephus, Antiq. 10.1.5., gives the names of the son of Adrammelch and Seraser at the temple called Araske. The people exiled these sons to Armenia, and Esarhaddon became king (681 b.c.).


32:22 YHWH gave Judah "rest," which is the Chronicler's way of asserting that Hezekiah and the people's faith brought covenant blessings (i.e., Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).

NASB, NKJV, MT  "and guided them on every side"
NRSV, LXX, Vulgate  "he gave them rest on every side"
TEV  "He let the people live in peace"
NJB  "he gave them peace on every side"
JPSOA  "He provided for them on all sides"
REB  "He gave them respite on every side"

The MT has "guided" (BDB 624, KB 675, Piel IMPERFECT with waw). The UBS Text Project, p. 480, suggests ("C" rating, meaning considerable doubt) an emendation that divides the Hebrew letters and adds one consonant.

  1. MT, "and he led them" ‒ וינהלם (BDB 624, KB 675)
  2. LXX translates as "and he gave them rest" ‒ וינה להם

"Rest" (BDB 628, KB 679) is a recurrent covenant promise (i.e., Exod. 33:14; Deut. 3:20; 12:10; 25:19; Josh. 1:13,15; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1; 2 Sam. 7:1,11; 1 Kgs. 5:4; 1 Chr. 22:9,18; 23:25; 2 Chr. 14:6,7; 15:15; 20:30).

32:23 YHWH's actions on behalf of His people caused both fear and honor (i.e., bringing gifts).

  1. fear
    1. Exod. 15:14-16; 23:27
    2. Deut. 2:25; 11:25
    3. Josh. 2:9
    4. 1 Chr. 14:17
    5. 2 Chr. 17:10-11; 20:29
  2. honor (i.e., bringing gifts)
    1. Exod. 3:22; 11:2; 12:35-36
    2. 2 Chr. 9:23-24; 17:10-11; 26:8; 32:23

24In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign. 25But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.

32:24 This account of Hezekiah's illness and YHWH answering his prayer is found in 2 Kgs. 10:1-11; Isa. 28:1-8.

"mortally ill" This illness is not specified in Chronicles but

  1. in 2 Kgs. 20:7; Isa. 38:21, it is related to a boil (BDB 1006), which was
    1. one of the plagues on Egypt ‒ Exod. 9:9-11
    2. one of the consequences of covenant disobedience ‒ Deut. 28:27,35
  2. Josephus, Antiq. 10.2.1., calls it "distemper" (physical) and "melancholy circumstances" (mental, i.e., no heir)

"gave him a sign" The miracle is recorded in 2 Kgs. 20:8-9. The shadow from the sun moved backwards on the steps.

32:25 The account of Hezekiah's prideful act and its consequences is found in 2 Kgs. 20:12-21 (note v. 31 here).

This does show that even godly people in good times still have a pull towards self! This is the residue of the Fall of Genesis 3. Hezekiah's pride brought terrible consequences, to his descendants and to all the people of Judah. His sin affected the whole nation! This same theological issue of corporality can be seen in

  1. Adam's sin of Genesis 3 ‒ Rom. 5:12-21
  2. Achan's sin at Jericho ‒ Joshua 7
  3. David's sin with Bathsheba ‒ 2 Samuel 11
  4. Solomon's sin in his old age with his foreign wives ‒ 1 Kgs. 11:1-8
  5. Messiah's substitutionary death ‒ Isaiah 53


32:26 "humbled himself" This VERB (BDB 488, KB 484, Niphal IMPERFECT with waw, cf. 2 Chr. 7:14; 12:6,7,12; 30:11; 33:12,19,23; 34:27) is an idiom for repentance. Repentance changes hearts, minds, and circumstances.


27Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; and he made for himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuable articles, 28storehouses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil, pens for all kinds of cattle and sheepfolds for the flocks. 29He made cities for himself and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great wealth. 30It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did. 31Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

32:27 "spices" It seems unusual to modern westerners that perfumes (BDB 141, lit. "spices") were a source of wealth (cf. 1 Kgs. 10:2,10,25; 2 Chr. 9:1,24; Ezek. 27:22). In 2 Kgs. 20:13 and Isa. 39:2 "spices" are linked with "precious oils" (BDB 1032 and BDB 373 II). See NIDOTTE, vol. 1, pp. 774-775.

The MT has "shields" (BDB 171) after "spices" and before "all kinds of courtly vessels" (BDB 479 CONSTRUCT BDB 326). The NET Bible suggests an emendation unsupported by the ancient versions which changes "shields," מגנים to "precious items," מגדנום (BDB 550, cf. v. 23).

NJB  "donkeys"
REB, Pehsitta  omits "cities"

The UBS Text Project, p. 481, gives "cities" an "A" rating. The NEB and REB follow the Peshitta, which lists only animals. The NOUN "cities" (BDB 746) has the same consonants as "donkeys" (BDB 747). Donkey fits better the list of animals in this verse. Donkeys were the royal mount of Israel's kings.

Large flocks were a symbol of agricultural blessing from YHWH (i.e., Lev. 26:2-6) for covenant obedience (i.e., Deut. 8:13; 15:14; 28:4).

32:30 The Jewish Study Bible, p. 1816, suggests this verse may refer to the Siloam tunnel (cf. 2 Kgs. 20:20). See R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 128.

32:31 "the wonder that had happened in the land" What "wonder" (lit. "sign," BDB 68, cf. 2 Chr. 32:24)?

  1. Because the term "wonder/sign" is used in vv. 24 and 31, most think it was Hezekiah's healing (cf. 2 Kgs. 20:12); possibly because they were astral worshipers and the "sign" involved the sun.
  2. But "in the land," along with "envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who were enemies of Assyria," I think it was the miraculous defeat of Sennacherib's large army (v. 1) who had not been defeated before this (vv. 21-22; cf. 2 Kgs. 19:35-37). Also note the information in 2 Kgs. 20:13-21 and Edwin M. Yamauchi, The Stones and the Scriptures, p. 80.


"that He might know all that was in his heart" This is an idiom, not a theological affirmation, of "Open Theism." God often "tests" his people to demonstrate their faith (i.e., Genesis 3; 22; see Special Topic above).

We must remember that God knows the motives of the human heart, which determine the appropriateness or inappropriateness of every action (cf. 1 Sam. 2:7; 16:7; 1 Kgs. 8:39; 1 Chr. 28:9; 2 Chr. 6:30;Ps. 7:9; 44:21; 139:1-4; Pro. 15:11; 21:2; Jer. 11:20; 17:9-10; 20:12; Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24; 15:8; Rom. 8:27).

32Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his deeds of devotion, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became king in his place.

32:32-33 This is a typical summary statement of a king's reign. Notice the two sources of information used by the Chronicler.

  1. writing of Isaiah
  2. royal document of the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel
  3. other sources about this period are found in James B. Pritchard, The Ancient Near East, vol. 1.
    1. Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem, pp. 199-201
    2. Lachish Ostraca, pp. 212-214
    3. also note Esarhaddon's Syro-Palestinian campaign, 2 Chronicles 33, pp. 201-202

The Chronicler uniquely used prophetic sources (cf. 1 Chr. 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 24:19-21; 26:22; 32:32; 33:19.

32:32 "his deeds of devotion" This is a secular use of the covenant word hesed (cf. Neh. 13:14).


32:33 "slept with his fathers" This is a Hebrew idiom for being buried in the royal tombs. The OT asserted a conscious, but gloomy, afterlife until judgment day (i.e., Dan. 12:2).


"honored him" Honor (BDB 468 II) is used of several godly kings.

  1. David ‒ 1 Chr. 29:12,28
  2. Solomon ‒ 1 Kgs. 3:13; 2 Chr. 1:11-12
  3. Jehoshaphat ‒ 2 Chr. 17:5; 18:1
  4. Hezekiah ‒ here

Mostly the term is used of YHWH giving them honor, but here of the people of Judah and Jerusalem honoring Hezekiah at his burial.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. What "acts of faithfulness" is 2 Chr. 32:1 referring to?
  2. Why did the Chronicler not mention Hezekiah trying to buy off Sennacherib?
  3. Why does Isaiah 22 make Hezekiah's preparations for the coming Assyrian siege evil, while the Chronicler affirms them?
  4. Why are 2 Chr. 32:7-8 such wonderful theological verses?
  5. How is 2 Chr. 32:10 the theological key to the whole chapter?
  6. List the reasons given by Sennacherib's envoy why Judah should not resist.
  7. How did YHWH spare Jerusalem?
  8. How does this chapter show Hezekiah's great faith and yet human failure?

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