New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:3 did that which was right. It is a mark of God’s amazing grace that such a God-fearing king as Hezekiah could be the son of such a wicked king as Ahaz. Perhaps part of the credit should go to his mother Abi (II Kings 18:2), the daughter of Zachariah. One could speculate that the latter might have been the same as the godly prophet Zechariah who had served during the reign of King Uzziah (II Chronicles 26:5; 29:1). Also note below, on II Kings 18:5.
18:4 brasen serpent. The brazen serpent (Numbers 21:8,9) was originally a symbol of sin judged and salvation given. Once it had served its purpose, however, it should have been abandoned. Instead it eventually became an idol. This is the danger involved in too much emphasis on symbols rather than the realities they are intended to represent.
18:4 Nehushtan. The meaning of “Nehushtan” is, simply, “a piece of brass.”
18:5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel. Hezekiah was arguably the most godly of all the kings of Judah, yet his father Ahaz was probably the most ungodly. Perhaps the testimony of his grandfather, Jotham, or his great grandfather, Uzziah, influenced him toward Jehovah. More likely, he was pointed to the Lord by the prophet Isaiah, who was a frequent spokesman for God at the king’s court.
18:10 Samaria was taken. See II Kings 17:6.
18:11 king of Assyria. Although Shalmanezer initiated the siege of Samaria, Assyrian records indicate that he was murdered. His brother Sargon then became the king who finally took Israel into captivity. An inscription in Sargon’s palace even states the actual number of Israelites that he carried into Assyria. Interestingly, Sargon is only mentioned once in the Bible by name (Isaiah 20:1).
18:13 Sennacherib. Shalmanezer, king of Assyria when Israel was first besieged, had died before his campaign was finished, and Sargon II had finished the conquest. Then Sargon had died and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib, who wanted to take Judah also.
18:15 Hezekiah gave him. The Assyrian records left by Sennacherib confirm this payment of tribute to the Assyrian monarch by King Hezekiah.
18:17 Rab-shakeh. These names are actually titles. Tartan, Rabsaris and Rabshakeh mean, respectively, “Tribute Officer,” “Chief Eunuch” and “Chief Butler.”
18:17 conduit of the upper pool. Ironically (or providentially), this was the same location where Ahaz had received, and then ignored, the testimony of the prophet Isaiah some thirty years before, even including the great promise of the coming virgin birth of the Messiah, Immanuel (Isaiah 7:3,10-14).
18:17 fuller’s field. The field where cloth was cleaned and bleached.
18:26 The Syrian language. The Syrian language was Aramaic, which was only then beginning to be used as an international language in the Middle East. The Jews’ language, of course, was Hebrew.
18:31 his own vine. The Assyrians were not only grossly cruel and licentious but also bold liars. The Jews were well aware that these tempting promises would be completely ignored if they surrendered. The vicious treatment of other peoples captured by the Assyrians was well known. Note also the obvious lie that the Lord had told them to destroy their land (II Kings 18:25).
18:33 gods of the nations. The Jews well knew, despite the arrogant and obscene boasting of Rabshakeh that “the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5).