Front Matter The Story of a Beautiful Garden The First Baby in the World and His Brother The Great Ship That Saved Eight People The Tower That Was Never Finished The Story of a Long Journey How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing The Angel by the Well The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City The Boy Who Became an Archer How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life The Story of a Journey after a Wife How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing Jacob's Wonderful Dream A Midnight Wrestling Match The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave From the Prison to the Palace How Joseph's Dream Came True A Lost Brother Found From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River The Voice from the Burning Bush The River That Ran Blood The Night When a Nation Was Born How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It The Tent Where God Lived Among His People How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons The Scapegoat in the Wilderness The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land The Story of Job The Story of a Scarlet Cord How the River Jordan Became Dry The Story of a Wedge of Gold How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge The Story of an Altar Beside the River The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon How a Woman Won a Great Victory Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz The Little Boy with a Linen Coat How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark The Last of the Judges The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh The Brave Young Prince Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows Where David Found the Giant's Sword How David Spared Saul's Life The Last Days of King Saul The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King The Sound in the Treetops The Cripple at the King's Table The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah Solomon on This Father's Throne The Wise Young King The House of God on Mount Moriah The Last Days of Solomon's Reign The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom The King Who Led Israel to Sin The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount The Wounded Prophet and His Story What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard The Arrow That Killed a King Elijah's Chariot of Fire A Spring Sweetened by Salt The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison The Little Boy at Shunem How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper The Chariots of Fire around Elisha What the Lepers Found in the Camp Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh How the Ten Tribes Were Lost The First Four Kings of Judah The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King Three Kings and a Great Prophet The Good King Hezekiah The Lost Book Found in the Temple The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again The Writing upon the Wall Daniel in the Den of Lions The Story of a Joyous Journey The New Temple on Mount Moriah The Beautiful Queen of Persia The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem The Angel by the Altar The Manger of Bethlehem The Star and the Wise Men The Boy in his Father's House The Prophet in the Wilderness Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast The Stranger at the Well The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot A Net Full of Fishes The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea "Peace, Be Still" The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It The Answer to a Mother's Prayer The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus At the Feast of Tabernacles The Man with Clay on His Face The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan Lazarus Raised to Life Some Parables in Perea The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man Jesus at Jericho Palm Sunday The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple The Parables on the Mount of Olives The Last Supper The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall The Crown of Thorns The Darkest Day of All the World The Brightest Day of All the World The Stranger on the Shore The Church of the First Days The Man at the Beautiful Gate The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way Stephen with the Shining Face The Man Reading in the Chariot The Voice That Spoke to Saul What Peter Saw by the Sea How the Iron Gate Was Opened The Earliest Missionaries The Song in the Prison Paul's Speech on the Hill Paul at Corinth Paul at Ephesus Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem The Speech on the Stairs Two Years in Prison The Story That Paul Told to the King Paul in the Storm How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There The Throne of God The City of God

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

The Good King Hezekiah

After Ahaz, the wickedest of the kings of Judah, came Hezekiah, who was the best of the kings. He listened to the words of the prophet Isaiah, and obeyed the commands of the Lord. In the first month of his reign, when he was a young man, he called together the priests and the Levites, who had the charge of the house of the Lord, and he said to them:

"My sons, give yourselves once more to the service of the Lord, and be holy, as God commands you. Now open the doors of the house of the Lord, which have been shut for these many years; and take out of the house all the idols that have been placed in it; and make the place clean, and pure from all evil things. Because the people have turned away from the Lord, he has been angry with us, and has left us to our enemies; now let us go back to the Lord, and promise again to serve him. God has chosen you, my sons, to lead in his worship; do not neglect the work that the Lord has given you to do."

Then the Temple was opened as of old; the idols were taken away; the altar was made holy to the Lord, and the daily offering was laid upon it; the lamps were lighted in the holy place; the priest stood before the golden altar offering incense; the Levites in their robes sang the psalms of David, while the silver trumpets made music; and the people came up to worship in the Temple as they had not come in many years. (For an account of the services of worship see Part First, Story Twenty-eight.)

You remember that the great Feat of the Passover kept in mind how the children of Israel had come out of Egypt. (See Part First, Story Twenty-three.) For a long time the people had ceased to keep this feast, both in Judah and in Israel. King Hezekiah sent commands through all Judah for the people to come up to Jerusalem, and to worship the Lord in this feast. He also sent men through the land of Israel, the Ten Tribes, to ask the men of Israel also to come up with their brothers of Judah to Jerusalem, and to keep the feast. At that time Hoshea, the last king of Israel, was on the throne, the land was overrun by the Assyrians, and the kingdom was very weak, and nearing its end. (See Part Fourth, Story Eighteen.) Most of the people in Israel were worshippers of idols, and had forgotten God's law. They laughed at Hezekiah's messengers, and would not come to the feast. But in many places in Israel there were some who had listened to the prophets of the Lord, and these came up to worship with the men of Judah. For each family they roasted a lamb, and with it ate the unleavened bread made without yeast, and they praised the Lord who had led their fathers out of Egypt to their own land.

After the feast, when the people had given themselves once more to the service of God, King Hezekiah began to destroy the idols that were everywhere in Judah. He sent men to break down the images, to tear in pieces the altars to the false gods, and to cut down the trees under which the altars stood. You remember that Moses made a serpent of brass in the wilderness. (See Part First, Story Thirty-two.) This image had been brought to Jerusalem, and was still kept there in the days of Hezekiah. The people were worshipping it as an idol; and were burning incense before it. Hezekiah said, "It is nothing but a piece of brass," and he commanded that it should be broken up. Everywhere he called upon his people to turn from the idols, to destroy them, and to worship the Lord God.

When Hezekiah became king, the kingdoms of Israel, and Syria, and Judah, with all the lands near them, were under the power of the great kingdom of the Assyrians. Each land had its own king, but he ruled under the king of Assyria; and every year a heavy tax was laid upon the people, to be paid to the Assyrians. After a few years, Hezekiah thought that he was strong enough to set his kingdom free from the Assyrian rule. He refused to pay the tax any longer, and gathered an army, and built the walls of Jerusalem higher, and made ready for a war with the Assyrians. But Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, came into the land of Judah with a great army, and took all the cities in the west of Judah, and threatened to take Jerusalem also. Then Hezekiah saw that he had made a mistake. He was not able to fight the Assyrians, the most powerful of all the nations in that part of the world. He sent word to the king of Assyria, saying:

"I will no more resist your rule; forgive me for the past, and I will pay whatever you ask."

Then the king of Assyria laid upon Hezekiah and his people a tax heavier than before. To obtain the money, Hezekiah took all the gold and silver in the temple, all that was in his own palace, and all that he could find among the people, and sent it to the Assyrians. But even then the king of Assyria was not satisfied. He sent his princes to Jerusalem with this message:

"We are going to destroy this city, and to take you away into another land, a land far away; as we have taken the people of Israel away, and as we have carried captive other peoples. The gods of other nations have not been able to save those who trusted in them against us, and your God will not be able to save you. Now give yourselves up to the great king of Assyria, and go to the land where he will send you."

When King Hezekiah heard this, he was filled with fear. He took the letter into the house of the Lord, and spread it out before the altar, and called upon the Lord to help him and to save his people. Then he sent his princes to the prophet Isaiah, to ask him to give them some word from the Lord. And Isaiah said:

"Thus saith the Lord, 'The king of Assyria shall not come to this city, nor shall he shoot an arrow against it. But he shall go back to his own land by the same way that he came. And I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. For I will defend this city, and will save it for my own sake and for my servant David's sake.'"

Just at that time, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, heard that a great army was marching against him from another land. He turned away from the land of Judah, and went to meet these new enemies. And the Lord sent upon the army of the Assyrians a sudden and terrible plague, so that in one night nearly two hundred thousand of them died in their camp. Then King Sennacherib hastened back to his own land, and never again came into the land of Judah; nor did he again send an army there. And years after this, while he was worshipping his idol-god in his temple at Nineveh, his chief city, two of his sons came upon him, and slew him with the sword. They escaped into a distant land, and Esar-haddon, another of his sons, became king over the lands ruled by the Assyrians. Thus did God save his city and his people from their enemies, because they looked to him for help. At the time while the Assyrians were in the land, and the kingdom was in great danger, King Hezekiah was suddenly stricken with a deadly disease. It was tumor or a cancer, which no physician could cure; and the prophet Isaiah said to him:

"Thus saith the Lord, 'Set your house in order, and prepare to leave your kingdom, for you shall die, and not live.'"

But King Hezekiah felt that in a time of such trouble to the land he could not be spared, especially as at that time he had no son who could take charge of the kingdom. Then Hezekiah upon his bed prayed to the Lord that he might live; and he said:

"O Lord, I beseech thee, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which was good in thy sight. Let me live and not die, O Lord!"

Pool of Hezekiah at Jerusalem


The Lord heard Hezekiah's prayer, and before Isaiah had reached the middle of the city, on his way home, the Lord said to him, "Turn again, and say to Hezekiah the prince of my people, 'Thus saith the Lord, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will heal you; and in three days you shall go up to the house of the Lord. I will add to your life fifteen years, and I will save this city from the king of Assyria.'"

Then Isaiah the prophet came again to Hezekiah, and spoke to him the word of the Lord; and he said, also, "Lay on the tumor a plaster made of figs, and he shall be cured."

When Hezekiah heard the words of Isaiah, he said, "What sign will the Lord give, to show that he will cure me, and that I shall again go up to the house of the Lord?"

And Isaiah said, "The Lord will give you a sign, and you shall choose it yourself. Shall the shadow on the dial go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?" Near the palace was standing a sun-dial, by which the time of the day was shown, for there were no clocks in those years. And Hezekiah said, "It is easy for the shadow to go forward ten degrees. Let it go back ten degrees."

Then Isaiah the prophet called upon the Lord, and the Lord heard him; and caused the shadow to go backward on the sun-dial ten degrees. And within three days Hezekiah was well, and went to worship in the house of the Lord. After this Hezekiah lived fifteen years in honor. When he died all the land mourned for him as the host of the kings.

The shadow on the dial goes back