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OLD TESTAMENT TIMES

2. Who altered these relations for a time? How? With what consequences for Judah's politics and religion?

3. Who was Joash, and how did he come to the throne?

4. What was the occasion of Judah's first intimate contact with Assyria? Discuss Ahaz's policy in the light of Isa. 7: 1-9.

5. What were the stages in the downfall of the Northern Kingdom? What became of the conquered people, and who replaced them? See II Kings, ch. 17.

LESSON XI

Judah, from Hezekiah to the Exile

II Kings, Chapters 18 to 25; II Chronicles, Chapters 29 to 36; Isaiah (in part); Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah; Jeremiah; Lamentations; Ezekiel, Chapters 1 to 32

Although outwardly Judah appeared to be the same after the fall of the Northern Kingdom as before, it was not so. A very different situation confronted Hezekiah from that which had confronted his father Ahaz when he called on Assyria for help against Syria and Israel. Now there were no "buffer states" between Assyria's empire and little Judah. And it was only a score of years after Samaria fell when Jerusalem felt the full force of Assyria. Sennacherib, fourth in that remarkable list of the six kings[1] who made Nineveh mistress of Asia, sent an army to besiege Jerusalem, with a summons to Hezekiah to surrender his capital.

A different spirit ruled this king. Isaiah, the same great prophet who had counseled Ahaz to resist Pekah and Rezin but had failed to move him to faith in Jehovah, found now in Ahaz's son a vital faith in the God of Israel in this far sorer crisis. In reponse to that faith Isaiah was commissioned by God to assure king and people of a great deliverance. The case, to all human seeming, was hopeless. But the resources at God's disposal are boundless, and at one blow "the angel of Jehovah" reduced the proud Assyrian host to impotency and drove them away in retreat. II Kings 19:35. Scribes who record the achievements of ancient monarchs are not accustomed to betray any of the failures of their royal heroes. But between the lines of Sennach-

  1. Tiglath-pileser, 745-727 b.c.; Shalmaneser, 727-722; Sargon, 722-705; Sennacherib, 705-681; Esar-haddon, 680-668; Ashurbanipal, 668-626.