🔼The name Hezekiah in the Bible
The name Hezekiah or Hizkiah is spelled in four slightly different ways in the Hebrew Bible: Most often as חזקיהו (Hezekiahu) and almost as much in the future form יחזקיהו (Yehezekiahu). And both forms also occur in the truncated forms חזקיה (Hezekiah) and יחזקיה (Yehezekiah).
The name Hezekiah or Hizkiah is assigned to four different men in the Bible. The less known Hezekiah's are:
- The great-great-grandfather of the prophet Zephaniah (Zephaniah 1:1).
- A descendant of king Solomon through Neariah (1 Chronicles 3:23).
- A progenitor of a group of returnees (Nehemiah 7:21).
The most famous Hezekiah is the son and successor of king Ahaz of Judah (2 Kings 16:20) and Abi the daughter of Zechariah (18:2). He is known as one of the virtuous, reformer kings, cutting down Asheroth and destroying the centuries old Nehushtan (18:4). During the reign of Hezekiah of Judah and king Hoshea of Israel, Israel is taken into captivity by king Shalmaneser V of Assyria (18:9). Soon Assyria comes after Judah and Hezekiah gives the invaders all the silver of the temple, as well as some of its gold (v15-16). Much later, the Lord intervenes and strikes down 185,000 Assyrian soldiers (19:35).
When Hezekiah becomes mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah comes to see him and Hezekiah is promised another fifteen years of life (20:6). As an additional sign, the shadow on the stairway of Ahaz moves in the opposite direction (20:11). News of Hezekiah's miraculous recovery spreads far enough for king Merodach-baladan of Babylon to hear about it, and he sends a delegation to Judah to see what the deal is, and probably more so to investigate the strange behavior of the sun (2 Chronicles 32:31). Hezekiah proudly shows the Babylonians all his treasures, upon which Isaiah declares that the Babylonians will return to take his wealth by force (20:17).
There are probably quite a few meanings lodged in these proceedings but it's highly significant that the exile of the Jews to Babylon ties directly into Hezekiah's careless exposures, which ties directly into his miraculous recovery (see perhaps Matthew 7:6 and Matthew 8:4). An alternative, and possible preferable reading is that Hezekiah didn't goof up at all but brilliantly secured the Yahwistic tradition by enticing the Babylonians to absorb it (2 Kings 20:18). Something similar was undertaken by Paul (Acts 25:11) and the concept itself features predominantly in the story of Jonah (Jonah 1:17).
After twenty-nine years of rule, Hezekiah dies and is succeeded by his son Manasseh (18:2, 20:21). And since Hezekiah is an ancestor of Christ, he's also mentioned in the Greek New Testament, as Εζεκιας; Ezekias (Matthew 1:9).
🔼Etymology of the name Hezekiah
The name Hezekiah consists of two elements. The final part is formed by the appellative יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn is an abbreviated form of יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of the name Hezekiah comes from the verb חזק (hazaq), meaning to be or become strong:
For a meaning of the name Hezekiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Strengthens. BDB Theological Dictionary has the similar Yah Hath Strengthened and Yah Strengthens, to account for the two different tenses this name comes in. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Strength Of The Lord.