2 Kings 19 Angelic mass execution


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2 Kings 19:35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

37 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.​

In the silence of the night.... 185,000 troops were put to death... silently. When the king saw it... he just broke camp and went home. Then two of his sons killed him.... just like Isaiah said. I have to admit... I was looking for something a little more flamboyant when the king was murdered. Instead.... God embarrassed him... and then his boys did the job. I think that's quite appropriate. After all, he allowed his field commander to try to embarrass God.

This is from the easy English site.

Many people believe that the soldiers in the army died because of a serious disease. Sennacherib returned to his own country. There, two of his own sons rebelled against him. They killed him. Then they escaped. A third son became the king after Sennacherib. Nisroch may be another name for the god Marduk, whom people worshipped in Babylon.

This is from enduringworld.com.

Now it came to pass: Between 2 Kings 19:36 and 2 Kings 19:37, 20 years passed. Perhaps Sennacherib thought he had escaped the judgment of God, but he hadn’t. He met the bitter end of death at the end of swords held by his own sons.

An old Jewish legend – and nothing more than a legend – says how it was that Sennacherib’s sons came to kill him. Sennacherib was troubled at how God seemed to bless the Jews so much, and tried to find out why. Someone told him it was because Abraham had loved God so much that he was willing to sacrifice his son unto the LORD. Sennacherib thought he would be even more favored by God, and decided to kill two of his sons in sacrifice to the LORD, becoming even more blessed than Abraham and his descendants. But his two sons learned of the plan, and killed him before he could kill them, thus fulfilling the word of the LORD.​

This is from GodVine.

The camp of the Assyrians - Which was now moved to Pelusium, if we may trust Herodotus; or which, at any rate, was at some considerable distance from Jerusalem.

When they arose early in the morning, behold ... - These words form the only trustworthy data that we possess for determining to any extent the manner of the destruction now worked. They imply that there was no disturbance during the night, no alarm, no knowledge on the part of the living that their comrades were dying all around them by thousands. All mere natural causes must be rejected, and God must be regarded as having slain the men in their sleep without causing disturbance, either by pestilence or by that "visitation" of which English law speaks. The most nearly parallel case is the destruction of the first-born, Exodus 12:29.

The Egyptian version of this event recorded in Herodotus is that, during the night, silently and secretly, an innumerable multitude of field-mice spread themselves through the Assyrian host, and gnawed their quivers, bows, and shield-straps, so as to render them useless. When morning broke, the Assyrians fled hastily, and the Egyptians pursuing put a vast number to the sword.​

Wow.... So little is made of the event in the Bible.... but the historians from other nations recorded their version. The news was horrific... 185,000 dead.... silently, without warning, no alarm.... dead....

For those of us who have a few minutes to look, there's quite a discussion at a site called data-city.com. This was the beginning of that thread.

I'm critical of a lot of Jewish Old Testament stories, calling them myths--but one story that cannot be explained historically is Sennacherib suddenly withdrawing from his siege of Jerusalem just as he seemed to have it within his grasp.

Quick history lesson: Hezekiah refuses to pay any tribute to Sennacherib so Sennacherib lays siege to Jerusalem. At the time the Assyrians were the most powerful empire in the world so it was a cinch for them to mass 185,000 troops outside Jerusalem. But Isaiah delivers a prophecy that the angel of the Lord will slay them all and according to Kings and Chronicles 185,000 troops are killed in one night. Sennacherib withdraws with his tail between his legs and is later killed by his own sons.

There is no rational explanation for Sennacherib, on the cusp of a victory over Jerusalem, suddenly withdrawing. The artifact, Sennacherib's Prism--discovered in the early 19th century--relays mostly victorious propaganda of his siege as we would expect it to, but the actual results speak otherwise.

I am a deist in matters like this. I don't believe God intervenes in men's wars, but until a good historical explanation comes along, I think the supernatural account of 2 Kings has to win the day--God literally did slay 185,000 troops in one night. There are attempts to explain it in natural terms: a pestilence of cholera; a pestilence of rodents gnawing the quivers of all the troop's bows, making them unable to shoot arrows, but that wouldn't explain their mysterious deaths; the Hebrews allying with Egyptian troops to overcome the Assyrian army.

There is no historical evidence for any of the naturalistic explanations. Until there is, it seems the supernatural explanation of Yahweh's angel of death intervening is the most plausible. If anyone has any input as to why Sennacherib would give up a sure victory over Jerusalem to return to Nineveh in total disgrace and without an army in tow I'd be curious to hear it.​

I knew there would be quite a story. I expected the part about the two sons killing the king to be a little more involved.... but it turns out, making the king turn tail and run was more fun. Then the boys can finish the job. An angelic mass execution to save the Temple in Jerusalem is quite appropriate.

And some say there is no God....

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