The reign of King Hezekiah in Judah (716-687 BCE) (2 Kings 18:1-18:4)

“In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, King Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign. He reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, just as his ancestor King David had done. He removed the high places, broke the pillars, and cut down the sacred poles. Then he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made. Until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it. It was called Nehushtan.”

According to most archeological reports, the fall of Samaria took place during the reign of King Ahaz of Judah, not under King Hezekiah, who was a good king. He followed King David rather than his father, King Ahaz, who was not as good in the sight of Yahweh. Finally, he removed all the foreign god high places and broke the foreign god’s sacred pillars and poles. Perhaps the fall of Samaria contributed to the unification of the Yahweh cult. He also got rid of Nehushtan, the bronze serpent of Moses. Although this is the only time that this name appears in the biblical literature, there is a question as to whether it refers to the serpent or the bronze that it was made of. Certainly it had some connection to Moses and yet was a bronze image of a serpent.

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