The Puzzling Portrait of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:24–31

In: Vetus Testamentum
Gregory Goswell Christ College, an affiliated college of the Australian College of Theology Sydney Australia

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2 Chronicles 32:24–31 provides an early reading of Isa 38–39, but the brevity of the account in Chronicles makes its interpretation challenging. There is an additional motif of pride that is not easy to interpret (32:25–26). In this article I suggest that it might have been added by the Chronicler because he had noticed the admission of fault by the sick king in the psalm in Isa 38. Building on the portrait of Hezekiah found in Isa 38, the Chronicler depicts Hezekiah acknowledging that he was not worthy of the benefit received and humbling himself. Hezekiah models for the reader the Chronistic ethic of repentance. When Hezekiah is tested by God (32:31), the statement that “God left him to himself” reflects the Chronicler’s interpretation of what is found in Isa 39, where the king responded as best he could to the arrival of Babylonian envoys without the benefit of prophetic guidance. The glowing depiction of Hezekiah’s achievements in the surrounding verses implies that the Chronicler believed that Hezekiah passed this test.

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