David & Goliath Redux

According to the Chronicler, Hezekiah is a new David. He “did right in the sight of Yahweh, according to all that his father David had done” (2 Chronicles 29:2). Like David in 1 Chronicles, Hezekiah organizes the priesthood and Levitical choir to reconsecrate the temple (2 Chronicles 29:3-36) and gathers contributions for the temple service (31:2-19). When Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem, he encourages the people with “Be strong and courageous,” which was David’s exhortation to Solomon (2 Chronicles 32:7; cf. 1 Chronicles 22:13).

This sets up an analogy between Hezekiah v. Assyria and David v. Goliath. Like Goliath, Sennacherib’s messengers try to intimidate Hezekiah and Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:13-19; cf. 1 Samuel 17:8-11). Hezekiah responds by reminding Jerusalem that Sennacherib has “an arm of flesh” but that Yahweh is with Israel to fight her battles (2 Chronicles 32:8), echoing David’s response to Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of Yahweh of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted” (1 Samuel 17:45). Against all odds, Sennacherib is defeated, as Goliath was, and Hezekiah doesn’t even have to sling a stone.

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