This falls into three equal divisions, of which the first ends with Jehoash's temple-reforms and the second with Hezekiah's death.
From the standpoint of the popular religion, the removal of the local altars, like Hezekiah's destruction of the brazen serpent, would be an act of desecration, an iconoclasm which can be partly appreciated from the sentiments of 2 Kings xviii.
The male and female singers (if the reading be correct) whom Sennacherib carried off from Jerusalem in Hezekiah's time, may well have belonged to an old foundation (A.
9), and this was the judgment which Hezekiah's repentance averted.
1 does not cover a prophecy which certainly falls after Hezekiah's death, and the style has nothing in common with the earlier part of the book.
2); it has changed Hezekiah's submission (2 Kings xviii.) into a brave resistance (2 Chron.
Similarly, Hezekiah's reforms are dated in his first year (2 Chron.
With the addition of Hezekiah's song (xxxviii.
The date 728 for Hezekiah's accession rests upon the assumption that of the two inconsistent dates in 2 Kings xviii.
10 (which places the fall of Samaria in Hezekiah's 6th year) is correct; but some scholars (as Wellhausen, Kamphausen, and Stade) suppose that the date in ver.
10 (which places Sennacherib's invasion in Hezekiah's 14th year) is correct, and assign accordingly Hezekiah's accession to 715.
Reducing now both the Assyrian and Biblical dates to a common standard, 2 and adopting for the latter the computations of Ussher, we obtain the following singular series of discrepancies: Manifestly all the Biblical dates earlier than 733-732 B.C. are too high, and must be considerably reduced: the two events, also, in Hezekiah's reign-the fall of Samaria and the invasion of Sennacherib-which the compiler of the book of Kings treats as separated by an interval of eight years, were separated in reality by an interval of twenty-one years.4 1 See George Smith, The Assyrian Eponym Canon (1875), pp. 2 9 ff., 57 ff.; Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek (transcriptions and translations of Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions), i.
Even Moses himself is said to have made a brazen serpent which, down to Hezekiah's time, continued to be worshipped at Jerusalem.
Hezekiah's time may have been selected by the author of the title (or by the tradition which he represents) as being the next great literary period in Judah after Solomon, the time of Micah and Isaiah, or the selection may have been suggested by the military glory of the period (the repulse of the Assyrian army) and by the fame of Hezekiah as a pious monarch and a vigorous reformer of the national religion.
Judah, towards the close of the 8th century, was obviously very closely bound up with Philistia, Edom and Egypt; and this and Hezekiah's dealings with the anti-Assyrian party at Ekron do not indicate that any feeling of national exclusiveness, or any abhorrence of the 4 W.
The brief account of the Assyrian invasion, Hezekiah's submission, and the payment of tribute in 2 Kings xviii.
It is not certain whether Hezekiah's conflict with the Philistines as far as Gaza or his preparations to secure for Jerusalem a good water supply (xviii.