What does it say?
Besides David and Solomon, Hezekiah is one of the largest figures among the monarchs of Judah. The story of his life spreads out across 2Kings, 2Chronicles and Isaiah. In our reading today we revisit Hezekiah and the stories of God’s miraculous deliverance from the Assyrians, the healing from his fatal illness and his reception of Babylonian ambassadors. One important piece of historical information appears here and not in other passages. Hezekiah builds a conduit to bring water from the Gihon Springs into Jerusalem (32:30).
Hezekiah’s wicked son Manasseh is the focus of 2Chronicles 33. His horrible cultic and demonic activities are also documented in the parallel passages already mentioned. What appears here and nowhere else is the story of this evil man’s transformation (33:12-13). The chapter ends with Manasseh’s death, his son Amon’s ascension to the throne and his assassination at the hands of his own servants.
What does it mean?
Comparing all the passages about Hezekiah, Manasseh and Amon, we arrive at a more complete understanding of their lives and times. The additional information in today’s passage, however, is very important. When Jerusalem was under siege by Assyria, Hezekiah properly went to the temple, poured out his heart to God and listened to God’s prophet. But he also took some very practical steps. Jerusalem has not natural water source, and water was piped in from the Gihon Springs. Hezekiah built an underground tunnel as a conduit to bring the water into Jerusalem secretly and keep the enemy from discovering it and cutting it off. In a very practical sense, God used this tunnel to answer the prayer for protection. One of the greatest discoveries of biblical archaeology in 1838 was to find Hezekiah’s Tunnel, also called the Siloam Tunnel because it empties into the Pool of Siloam. Committing something to prayer is not an excuse for ignoring practical steps to deal with life’s realities.
The detail about Manasseh’s conversion is also an important addition we discover in our passage today. No matter how evil an individual may be, there is always hope and God always has mercy and grace available for those that humble themselves and put their faith in him.
How will I respond?
Have I committed something to prayer and not been willing to take practical action steps to be part of the answer to my own prayer? What “tunnel” should I dig today? Is there someone so hard and evil I had ceased to pray for and believe that can come to faith? I’ll commit them to God anew today.