Things I Missed in Scripture

In 2 Kings 18, Hezekiah is beseiged by Assyria, whose rulers defy God and speak of Him as on par with other "gods" they have conquered in other nations. Hezekiah prays and God answers his prayer and sends Assyria packing, via a plague that kills 185,000 of their soldiers.

What I had missed was that before all these hostilities, but after the siege started, Hezekiah submitted to Assyria and paid a huge amount of gold and silver to get Assyria to leave them in peace (2 Kings 18:14-16).

Liberal scholars probably have a field day with this, saying that the plague wasn't real, that the buying off is what got Assyria to leave.

I have a different take.

God judges cultures corporately, besides judging individuals. Judah had for generations worshiped the bronze serpent Moses had made. They worshiped (God or pagan gods?) on high places instead of only at Jerusalem (18:4). God judges them for this, even if he spares them destruction and deportation at this point. God is judging Judah here, without total destruction. I believe the mainstream culture of Judah lamented Hezekiah's destruction of the high places and of Nehushtan. And God spanks them for it, to the tune of 22,500 pounds of silver, and 2250 pounds (not ounces) of gold.

When a culture is in spiritual decline, as ours is, God is patient and gives many opportunities to see how He is warning and penalizing us, so we will repent and turn back to Him. Apart from a miraculous revival, that culture does not turn around, but continues in its stubborn ways, richly deserving its demise eventually designed by the Lord.

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