After the northern kingdom, Israel, has fallen to Assyria, Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, wishes to defeat Judah in the south. The leadership of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, pleases God, but this does not prevent Hezekiah from having to face the insults of Assyria’s chief prince, the Rabshakeh. Hezekiah’s initial actions to bargain with Assyria are disappointing, but Assyria will not accept anything short of complete surrender anyway. The events that follow, including the insulting speech by the Rabshakeh, are so important that two other books of the Bible record them (Isaiah and 2 Chronicles). As 2 Kings tells this story in different words, I simply want to note one of the Rabshakeh’s lies. In his extended speech demanding that Hezekiah and Judah surrender, the Rabshakeh declares, “The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it” (2 Kings 18:25).
A few years back it occurred to me that this blatant deception has the ring of demonic influence. As we will soon see, this is an outright lie delivered as complete truth by someone who cares little for and believes little in YHWH, God of earth and heaven. The Rabshakeh’s disregard and disrespect for Israel’s God echoes the serpent of Genesis 3.
It is important to sense that this conflict is not just between Judah and Assyria, but is rather a confrontation of demonic powers against Hezekiah, inviting him to distrust God and thus pit YHWH against Judah. Will God and Hezekiah become enemies due the Satanic deception of the Rabshakeh? Stay tuned for your answers.