If today’s reading seems familiar, it’s because it is – most of it a repeat of what we saw in Isaiah 37 – 39. Remember, we are attempting to read the Bible chronologically. The prophets we have looked at – Isaiah, Micah, Nahum – were all contemporaries of one another and of the kings, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. We left Hezekiah in the middle of his story to look at the prophets, and now we are back to continue the story.
What did Hezekiah do wrong in 2 Kings 20? Why does God find his actions so reprehensible?
We might well ask: “Why did Hezekiah, miraculously recovered from a terminal illness, feel the need to show the “congratulations and best wishes” committee from Babylon “all his treasures?”
It surely was not in praise to God who provided the healing. The focus was not on the Lord, but on Hezekiah. I believe Hezekiah wanted at least to show how great he was. Perhaps, and I think this is just as credible, Hezekiah wanted the respect of Babylon. And therein lay the problem. Hezekiah sought the favor and admiration of the world. It was the very thing that had caused Israel to embrace gods and ways of conduct that were reprehensible to the Lord. The result was, the Lord said, in essence, “If you want to appeal to the Babylonians, you might as well live among them.”
And Judah would.