HEZEKIAH AND MANASSEH
THE fall of Samaria, however impressive as an object-lesson, made no great difference in the political condition of Judah. The house of David still possessed the throne, and even breathed more freely in that its neighbour was no longer an independent kingdom, but a province under an Assyrian governor. The revolt of 720 B.C., to which allusion has already been made, was a part of the general uneasiness in Palestine. Sargon, as we know, that year made a campaign in which Philistia was severely punished. Judah seems not to have taken part. Ahaz had, in fact, committed himself too deeply to the Assyrians to think of revolt so soon. The vassalage continued throughout his reign, and into that of his successor.
The situation was, however, a difficult one for the youthful Hezekiah, who came to the throne about this time. The tribute was oppressive; Assyria was remote; there was a party favourable to Egypt, looking for an opportunity to revolt; the ancient liberties of Judah were doubtless remembered, and made the watch- word of a party of zealots. Hezekiah, who thus inherited a situation not of his making, seems not to have been a man of steady purpose, and Isaiah's influence seems not to have been strong with him till toward the close of his life. We are not surprised that the reign was a time of disturbances and reverses. On the whole it is a credit to Hezekiah that he managed to keep his throne and to hand in on to his successor. Only a man of genius could have done more, and Hezekiah certainly was not a man of genius.
The chronology of our Hebrew sources is clearly at fault in regard to the accession of Hezekiah.1 This must have taken place____________________