« PreviousContinue »
to Gen. 32. 28.
a Deut. 10. 20.
34 Unto this day they do after the former man
CHAPTER XVIII. ners: they fear not the Lord, neither do they after when the prophet had condemned Ephraim for lies and deceie, he comforted him. their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the
self with this, the Judah yet ruled with God, and was faithful with the most
Auly, Hos. Il. 12. It was a very melancholy view wbich the last chapter gave law and commandment which the Lord commanded us of the desolations of Israel; but this chapter shows us the affairs of Judah the children of Jacob, "whom he named Israel;
in a good posture at the same time, that it may appear God has not quite cast
of the seed or Alraham, Ruun. 11. 1. Hezekiah is here upoo the throne', 1. Re35 With whom the Lord had made a covenant, forming his kingdom, v. 1-6. 11. Prospering in all his undertakings, (*.7, 8,)
and this, at the same time when the ten trites were led captive, v. 9-12. and charged them, "saying, Ye shall not fear other 11. Yet invaded by Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, v. 13. His country put gods, nor yow yourselves to them, nor serve them,
under contribution, v. 14-16. Jerusalem besiegeld, v. 17. God blasphemed,
himself reviled, and his people solicited to revolt, in a virulent speech made by nor sacrifice to them :
kabshakeh, v. 18–37. But how well it ended, and how much to the bodour 36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of
and comfort of our great reformer, we shall find in the next chapter.
it came to pass, out arm, him shall "ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.
son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and 2 Twenty and five years old was he when he the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was shall not fear other gods.
Abi,' the daughter of Zachariah. 38 And the covenant that I have made with you, 3 And he did that which was right in the sight ye 'shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods of the Lord, according to all that David his father
39 But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and did. he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your ene 4 He removed the high places, and brake the mies.
*images, and cut down the groves, and brake in 40 Howbeit dthey did not hearken, but they did pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made : after their former manner.
for unto those days the children of Israel did burn 41 So «these nations feared the LORD, and served incense to it: and he called it 'Nehushtan. their graven images, both their children and their 5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so dthat children's children: as did their fathers, so do they after him was none like him among all the kings of unto this day.
Judah, nor any that were before him.
2 Chr. 29. 27. 29. 1. He is called Ezekias, Matt. 1. 9. b 2 Chr. 29. 1, Abijah. 6 Degt, 5. 32. Deut. 1. 23. d Jer. 13. 23. e ver. 32, 33.
c Num. 21.9. ti.e. a piece of brass. & c. 23. 35. them, to teach them how they should fear the Lord; whether conditions of that covenant, especially that great article of it he taught them out of the book of the law, or only by word of which is here thrice repeated, because it had been so often mouth, is uncertain.
inculcated, and so much insisted on, that they should not fear 5. That, being thus taught, they made a mongrel religion of other gods. He had told them that if they kept close to him, he it, worshipped the God of Israel for fear, and their own idols would deliver them out of the hand of all their enemies, (v. 39;) for love ; (v. 33,) They feared the Lord, but they served their yet, when they were in the hand of their enemies, and stood in own gods, they all agreed to worship the God of the land, need of deliverance, they were so stupid, and had so little sense according to the manner, to observe the Jewish festivals and of their own interest, ihat they did after the former manner, riles of sacrificing, but every nation made gods of their own (v. 10,) they served both the true God, and false gods, as if besides, not only for their private use in their own families, but they knew no difference. Ephraim is joined to idols, let him to be put in the houses of their high places, v. 29. The idols of alone ; so they did, and so did the nations that succeeded them: each country are here named, v. 30, 31. The learned are at a well might the apostle ask, What then? Are we better than loss for the signification of several of these names, and cannot they? No, in no wise, for both Jews and Gentiles are all agree by what representations these gods were worshipped, under sin, Rom. 3. 9. If we may credit the traditions of the Jewish doctors, they tell us, that Succoth-Benoth was worshipped in a hen and chickens,
NOTES TO CHAPTER XVIII. Nergal in a cock, Ashima in a smooth goat, Nibhaz in a dog, V.1-8. We have here a general account of the reign of Tariak in an ass, Adrammelech in a peacock, Anammelech in Hezekiah; it appears, by comparing his age with his father's, a pheasant. Our own tell us, more probably, That Succoth-that he was born when his father was about 11 or 12 years old, Benoth, signifying the tents of the daughters, vas Venus ; Divine Providence so ordering that he might be of full age, and Nergal, being worshipped by the Cuthites or Persians, was the fit for business then, when the measure of his father's iniquity fire; Adrammelech and Anammelech were only distinctions should be full. Here is, of Moloch; see how vain idolaters were in their imaginations, 1. His great piety, which was the more wonderful, because and wonder at their sottishness. Our very ignorance concern his father was very wicked and vile, one of the worst of the ing these idols teaches us the accomplishment of that word kings, yet he one of the best, which may intimate to us, which God has spoken, That these false goods should all 1. That what good there is in any, is not of nature, but of perish, (Jer. 10. 11;) they are all buried in oblivion, while the grace, free grace, sovereign grace, which, contrary to nature, name of the true God shall continue for ever.
grafts into the good olive, that which was wild by nature, This medley superstition is here said to continue until this Rom. 11. 24. 2. That that grace gets over the greatest dif day, (v. 41,) till the time when this book was written, and long ficulties and disadvantages: Ahaz, it is likely, gave his son after, above 300 years in all, till the time of Alexander the a bad education as well as a bad example; Urijah, his priest, Great, when Manasse, brother to Jaddus the high priest of the perhaps, had the tuition of him; his attendants and compaJews, having married the daughter of Sanballat, governor of nions, we may suppose, were such as were addicted to idolatry ; the Samaritans, went over to them, got leave of Alexander to and yet Hezekiah became eminently good; when God's grace build a temple in mount Gerizzim, drew over many of the Jews will work, what can hinder it? to him, and prevailed with the Samaritans to cast away all (1.) He was a genuine son of David, who had a great many their idols, and to worship the God of Israel only; yet their degenerate ones, v. 3. He did that which was right, according worship was mixed with so much superstition, that our Saviour to all that Darid his father did, with whom the covenant was tells them they knew not what they worshipped, John 4. 22. made, and therefore he was entitled to the benefit of it.
We II. Concerning the Israelites that were carried into the land have read of some of them, who did that which was right, but of Assyria ; the historian has occasion to speak of them, v. 33, not like David, (ch. 14. 3 ;) they did not love God's ordinances, showing that their successors in the land did as they had done, nor cleave to them, so as he did; but Hezekiah was a second (after the manner of the nations whom they carried away,) they David, had such a love for God's word, and God's house, as he worshipped both the God of Israel and those other gods ; but had, Let us not be frightened with an apprehension of the what did the captives do in the land of their affliction?
continual deray of virtue, as if, when times and men are bad, they reformed, and brought to repentance, by their troubles? | they must needs, of course, grow worse and worse ; that does No, they do after the former manner, v. 31. When the two not follow, for, after many bad kings, God raised up one that tribes were afterward carried into Babylon, they were cured by was like David himself. it of their idolatry, and therefore, after 70 years, they were (2.) He was a zealous reformer of his kingdom, and as, we brought back with joy; but the ten tribes were hardened in the find, (2 Chr. 29. 3,) he began betimes to be so, fell to work furnace, and therefore were justly lost in it, and left to perish. as soon as ever he came to the crown, and lost no time; he,
This obstinacy of theirs is here aggravated by the consider found his kingdom very corrupt, the people in all things too ation, 1. Of the honour God had put upon them, as the seed superstitious; they had always been so, but in the last reign of Jacob, whom he named Israel, and from him they were so worse than ever ; by the influence of his wicked, father, a denamed, but were a reproach to that worthy name by which they luge of idolatry had overspread the land; his spirit was stirred were called. 2. Of the covenant he made with them, and the against is, we may suppose, as Paul at Athens, while his charge he gave them upon that covenant, which is here very fully father lived, and therefore, as soon as ever he had power in his recited, that they should fear and serve the Lord Jehovah only, hands, he set himself to abolish it, (v. 4,) though, considering who had brought them up out of Egypt, (v. 36 ;) that, having how the people were wedded to it, he might think it could not received his statues and ordinances in writing, they should be done without opposition. observe to do them for evermore, (w. 37,) and never forget that [1.] The images and the groves were downright idolatrous, covenant which God had made with them, the promises and and of heathenish original ; those he brake and destroyed;
6 For he clave to the LORD, and departed not | Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of from *following him, but kept his commandments, the Medes; which the Lord commanded Moses.
12 Because they obeyed not the voice of the 7 And the Lord was with him; and he pros- Lord their God, bút transgressed his covenant, and pered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebel- all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, led against the king of Assyria,' and served him not. and would not hear them, nor do them.
8 He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and 13 Now, min the fourteenth year of king Hethe borders thereof, from the tower of the watch- zekiah, did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up men to the fenced city.
against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took 9 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king them. Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea 14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged return from me: that which thou puttest on me it.
will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed 10 And at the end of three years they took it: unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents even in the sixth year of Hezekiah (that is, the of silver and thirty talents of gold. ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel) Samaria was 15 And "Hezekiah gave him all the silver that taken.
was found in the house of the LORD, and in the 11 And the king of Assyria did carry away Is- treasures of the king's house. rael unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in 16 At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold . Deut. 10. 20. Josh. 23.8. after him, 2 Chr. 15. 2. 1 Sam. 18. 14. & Ps. ki Chr. 5. 26. I Neh. 9. 26, 27. Ps. 107. 17. Dan. 9. 6, 10. m 2 Chr. 32, 1, &c. 60. 12. Rom. 8. 31. h c. 16.7.1 Aszah. I c. 17. 3, &c.
Is. 36. 1, &c. Sanherib. nc. 16.8. though his own father had set them up, and showed an affection and will prevail. Finding himself successful, 1. He threw off for them, that should not protect them. We must never dis the yoke of the king of Assyria, which his father had basely honour God, in honour to our earthly parents.
submitted to; this is called rebelling against him, because so the [2.] The high places, though they had sometimes been used king of Assyria called it: but it was really an asserting of the by the prophets upon special occasions, and had been hitherto | just rights of his crown, which it was not in the power of Ahaz connived at by the good kings, yet, (because they were an af to alienate. If it was imprudent to make this bold struggle front to the temple, and a breach of the law which required so soon, yet I see not that it was, as some think, unjust; when them to worship there only, and being from under the inspec. he had thrown out the idolatry of the nations, he might well tion of the priests, gave opportunity for the introducing of idola- throw off the yoke of their oppression. The surest way to trous usages,) Hezekiah, who made God's word his rule, not liberty, is, to serve God. 2. He made a vigorous attack upon the exainple of his predecessors, removed them, made a law for the Philistines, and smote them even unto Gaza, both the counthe removal of them, the demolishing of the chapels, taberna- try villages and the fortified towns, the tower of the watchmer, cles, and altars, there erected, and the suppressing of the use and the fenced cities, reducing those places which they had of them, which law was put in execution with vigour: and, it made themselves masters of in his father's time, 2 Chr. 28. is probable, the terrible judgments which the kingdom of Israel 18. When he had purged out the corruptions his father had was now under for their idolatry, made Hezekiah the more brought in, he might expoct to recover the possessions his father zealous, and the people the more willing to comply with him. had lost; of his victories over the Philistines Isaiah prophesied, It is well, when our neighbours' harms are our warnings. ch. 14. 28, &c.
(3.) The brazen serpent was originally of divine institution, V. 9–16. The kingdom of Assyria was now grown consiand yet, because it had been abused to idolatry, he brake it to derable, though we never read of it will the last reign ; such pieces. The children of Israel had brought that with them to changes there are in the affairs of nations and families; those Canaan; where they set it up, we are not told, but, it seems, that have been despicable, become formidable, and those, on the it had been carefully preserved, as a memorial of God's good contrary, are brought low, that have made a great noise and ness to their fathers in the wilderness, and a traditional evi- figure. We have here an account, dence of the truth of that story, Num. 21. 9, for the encourage
I. Of the success of Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, against ment of the sick to apply themselves to God for a cure, and of Israel; his besieging Samaria, (v, 9,) taking it, (v. 10,) and penitent sinners to apply themselves to him for mercy. But, in carrying the people into captivity, (v. Il;) with the reason why process of time, when they began to worship the creature more God brought this judgment upon them, (v. 12,) Because they than the Creator, they that would not worship images borrowed obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God. This was related from the heathen, as some of their neighbours did, were drawn more largely in the chapter before, but it is here repeated, in by the tempter to burn incense to the brazen serpent, because 1. As that which stirred up Hezekiah and his people to purge out that was made by order from God himself, and had been an in- idolatry with so much zeal, because they saw the ruin which it strument of good to them. But Hezekiah, in his pious zeal for brought upon Israel : when their neighbour's house was on fire, God's honour, not only forbade the people to worship, it, but, and their own in danger, it was time to cast away the accursed that it might never be so abused any more, he showed the peo- thing. 2. As that which Hezekiah much lamented, but had ple that it was Nehushtan, nothing else but a piece of brass, and not strength to prevent: though the ten tribes bad revolted from that therefore it was an idle wicked thing to burn incense to it; he and often been vexations to, the house of David, no longer ago then brake it to pieces; that is, as Bishop Patrick expounds it, than in his father's reign, yet being of the seed of Israel, he ground it to powder, which he scattered in the air, that no frag- could not be glad at their calamities. 3. As that which laid ment of it might remain. If any think that the just honour of Hezekiah and his kingdom open to the king of Assyria, and made the brazen serpent was hereby diminished, they will find it it much more easy for him to invade him ; it is said of the ten abundantly made up again, John 3. 14, where our Saviour tribes here, that they would neither hear God's commandments, makes it a type of himself; good things, when idolized, are nor do them, v. 12. Many will be content to give God the hearbetter parted with than kept.
ing, that will give him no more, (Ez. 33. 31,) but these, being .(3.) Herein he was a nonsuch, (v. 5;) none of all the kings resolved not to do their duty, did not to hear of it. of Judah were like him, either before or after him. Two things II. Of the attempt of Sennacherib, the succeeding king of he was eminent for, in his reformation; (1.) Courage and con- Assyria, against Judah, in which he was encouraged by his fidence in God: in abolishing idolatry, there was danger of dis- predecessor's success against Israel, whose honours he would obliging his subjects, and provoking them to rebel; but he trusted vie with, and whose victories he would push forward. The dein the Lord God of Israel to bear him out in what he did, and scent he made upon Judah was a great calamity to that kingsave him from harm: a firm belief of God's all-sufficiency to dom, by which God would try the faith of Hezekiah, and protect and reward us, will conduce much to make us sincere, chastise the people, who are called a hypocritical nation, (Is. bold, and vigorous, in the way of our duty, like Hezekiah; 10. 6,) because they did not heartily comply with Hezekiah's when he came to the crown, he found his kingdom compassed reformation, nor willingly part with their idols, but kept them with enemies, but he did not seek for succour to foreign aids, as up in their hearts, and, perhaps, in their houses, though their his father did, but trusted the God of Israel to be the keeper of high placos were removed. Even times of reformation may Israel. [2.] Constancy and perseverance in his duty; for this, prove troublous times, made so by those that oppose it, and there was none like him, that he clave to the Lord with a fixed then the blame is laid upon the reformers ; this calamity will resolution, and never departed from following him, v. 6. Some appear great upon Hezekiah, if we consider, of his predecessors that began well, fell off, but he, like Caleb, 1. How much he lost of his country, v. 13. The king of Asfollowed the Lord fully; he not only abolished all idolatrous syria took all, or most, of the fenced cities of Judah, the fronusages, but kept God's commandments, and, in every thing, ljer towns, and the garrisons; and then all the rest fell into made conscience of his duty.
his hands, of course; the confusion which the country was II. His great prosperity, (v.7, 8;) he was with God, and put into by this invasion, is described by the prophet, Is. 10. then God was with him, and, having the special presence of 28-32. God with him, he prospered whithersoever he went, had wonder 2. How dear he paid for his peace; he saw Jerusalem itself ful success in all his enterprises, in his wars, his buildings, and in danger of falling into the enemies hands, as Samaria had especially his reformation, for that good work was carried on done, and was willing to purchase its safety at the expense, with less difficulty than he could have expected. They that (1.) of a mean submission; "I have offended in denying the do God's work, with an eye to his glory, and with confidence in usual tribute, and am ready to make satisfaction as shall be his strength, may expect to prosper in it; great is the truth, demanded," v. 14. Where was Hezekiah's courage? Whera
from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from | said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had over- before this altar in Jerusalem? laid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
23 Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledgest to 17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan, and my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee Rabsaris, and Rab-shaken, from Lachish to king two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to Hezekiah, with a great host against Jerusalem : set riders upon them. and they went up, and came to Jerusalem. And 24 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one when they were come up, they came and stood by captain of the least of my master's servants, and the conduit of the upper pool, which Pis in the high-put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horseway of the fuller's field.
men? 18 And when they had called to the king, there 25 Am I now come up without the Lord against came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which this place to destroy it?' The LORD 'said to me, Go was over the household, and Shebna the iscribe, up against this land, and destroy it. and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and 19 And Rab-shakeh said unto them, Speak ye Shebna, and Joah, unto Rab-shakeh, Speak, I pray now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language for king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' thou trustest?
language, in the ears of the people that are on the 20 Thou & sayest, (but they are but Ivain words,) wall. I have counsel and strength for the war. Now, on 27 But Rab-shakeh said unto them, Hath my whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak me?
these words ? hath he not sent me to the men which 21 Now, behold, thou **trustest upon the staff of sit on the wall, that 'they may eat their own dung, this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a and drink their own piss, with you? man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so 28 Then Rab-shakeh stood, and cried with a is Pharoah king of Egypt unto all that trust on him. loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying,
22 But if ye say unto me, We trust in the Lord Hear the word of the great king, the king of Asour God: is not that he, wliose high places and syria : whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away; and hath 29 Thus usaith the king, Let not Hezekiah de
3.6. John 19. 10,11.
11 or, hostages.
then. ols. 20. 1. heary.
pls, 7. 3
tor, seer elary, 8 # words of the lipe. I or, But counsel and strength are for the war. thee.
talkee!. .. trustest
ver. 4. 2 Chr. 31. 1.
t Lam. 4.5. Ez. 4. 15.
Is. 10.5, 6. Am. 11 the water of their feel.
4 Ps, 73. 8, 9,
his confidence in God? Why did he not advisc with Isaiah thing be inade public; but Hilkiah did not consider what an before he sent this crouching message ? (2.) Of a vast sum of unreasonable man he had to deal with, clse he would not have money; 300 talents of silver, and 30 of gold; not to be paid made this request, for it did but exasperate Rab-shakeh, and annually, but as a present ransom, above 200,000 pounds: to make hiin the more rude and boisterous, v. 27. Against all the raise this sum, he was forced not only to empty the public trea- rules of decency and honour, instead of treating with the comsures, (v. 15,) but to take the gold plates off from the doors of missioners, he menaces the soldiery, persuades them to desert the temple, and from the pillars, 0. 16. Though the temple or mutiny, threatens if they held out to reduce them to the last sanctified the gold which he had dedicated, yet, the necessity extremities of famine, and then goes on with his discourse, the being urgent, he thought that he might make as bold with that, scope of which is, to persuade Hezekiah, and his princes and as his father David (whom he took for his pattern) did with people, to surrender the city. Observe how, in order to this, the show-bread, and that it was neither impious nor imprudent 1. He magnifies his master the king of Assyria ; once and to give a part for a preservation of the whole; his father Ahaz again he calls him, That great king, the king of Assyria, v. 19, had plundered the temple in contempt of it, (2 Chr. 28. 24;) 28. What an idol did he make of that prince whose creature he had repaid with interest what his father took, and now, with he was! God is the great King, but Sennacherib was, in his all due reverence, he only begs leave to borrow it again in an eye, a little god, and he would possess them with the same veneexigence, and for a greater good, with a resolution to restore it ration for him that he had, and thereby frighten them into a in full, as soon as he should be in a capacity to do it.
submission to him; but to those who, by faith, see the King of V. 17-37. Here is,
kings in his power and glory, even the king of Assyria looks I. Jerusalem besieged by Sennacherib's army, (v. 17:) he mean and little. What are the greatest of men, when either sent three of his great generals with a great host against Jeru- they come to compare with God, or God comes to contend with salem. Is this the great king, the king of Assyria? No, never call them? Ps. 82.6, 7. him so; he is a base, false, perfidious man, and worthy to be 2. He endeavours to make them believe that it would be much made infamous to all ages; let him never be named with ho- for their advantage to surrender ; if they held out, they must exnour, that could do such a dishonourable thing as this, to take pect no other than to cat the resuse of all herbs, by reason of the Hezekiah's money, which he gave him upon condition he should want of provisions, which would be entirely cut off from them withdraw his army, and then, instead of quitting his country, by the besiegers; but if they would capitulate, seek his favour according to the agreement, to advance against his capital city, with a present, and cast themselves upon his mercy, he would and not send him his money again neither. Those are wicked give them very good treatment, v. 31. I wonder with what men indeed, and, let them be ever so great, we will call them face Rab-shakeh could speak of making an agreement with a do, whose principle it is, not to make their promises binding, present, when his master had so lately broken the agreement any further than is for their interest; now Hezekiah had too Hezekiah made with him, with that great present, v. 14. Can much reason to repent his treaty with Sennacherib, which had those expect to be trusted, that have been so grossly perfidious ? made him much the poorer, and never the safer.
But, Ad populum phaleras–But gild the chain, and the vulgar 11. Hezekiah, and his princes and people, railcd upon by will let you bind them. He thinks to sooth up all with a proRah-shakeh, the chief speaker of the three generals, and that mise, that if they would surrender upon discretion, though they had the mosi satirical genius; he was instructed, no doubt, hy must expect to be prisoners and captives, yet it would really be Sennacherib, what to say, who intended hereby to pick a new happy for them to be so. One would wonder he should ever quarrel with Hezekiah; he had promised, upon the receipt of think to prevail by such gross suggestions as these, but that the Hezekiah's money, to withdraw his army, and therefore cannot devil does thus impose upon sinners every day by his temptafor shame make a forcible attack upon Jerusalem immediately, tions. He will needs persuade them, (1.) That their imprisonbut he sends Rab-shakeh to persuade Hezekiah to surrender it, ment would be to their advantage, for ihey should cal every and if he refuse, that shall serve him for a pretence, (and a man of his own vine, v. 31. Though the property of their estates very poor one,) to besiege it, and, if it hold out, to take it by would be vested in the conquerors, yet they should have the free storm. Rab-shakeh has the impudence to desire audience of use of them; but he does not explain it now to them as he would the king himself at the conduit of the upper pool, without the afterward, that it must be understood just as much, and just as walls ; but Hezekiah has the prudence to decline a personal long, as the conqueror pleases. (2.) That their captivity would treaty, and sends three commissioners, (the prime ministers of be much more to their advantage, I will take you away to a land state,) to hear what he had to say, but with a charge to them, like your own land; and what the better would they be for that, not to answer that fool according to his folly, (v. 36,) for they when they must have nothing in it to call their own? could not convince him, but would certainly provoke him; and 3. That which he aims at, especially, is, to convince them Hezekiah had learned of his father David to believe that then that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out; What conGod would hear, when he, as a deaf man, heard not, Ps. 38.13— fidence is there wherein thou trustest? So he insults over Heze15. One interruption they gave him in his discourse, which was kiah, v. 19. To the people he says, (v. 29,) “Lel not Hezekiah only to desire him that he would speak to them now in the deceive you into your own ruin, for he shall not be able to deliver Syrian language, and they would consider of what he said, and you, you must either bend or break." It were well, if sinners report it to the king, and if they did not give him a satisfactory would submit to the force of this argument, in making their peace answer, then he might appeal to the people, by speaking in the with God-That it is therefore our wisdom to yield to hiin, beJews' language, v. 26. This was a reasonable request, and cause it is in vain to contend with him: what contidence is that agreeable to the custom of treaties, which is, that the plenipo which those trust in, who stand it out against him? Are we tentiaries should settlo matters between themselves, before any stronger than he? Or what shall we get by setting briers and
at ili bistand out of the hand of the king of Assyria A parátie, amat he rent his clothes, and covered
2 Thea. 2, 4, 8.
c. 17. 24, Aoch.
4, called Eraias,
ceive you; for he shall not be able to deliver you 36 But the people held their peace, and answered out of his hand :
him not a word : for the king's commandment was, 30 Neither "let Hezekiah make you trust win the saying, Answer him not. Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and 37 "Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the was over the bousehold, and Shebna the scribe, and king of Assyria.
Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah, 31 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the 'with their clothes rent, and told him the words of king of Assyria, "Make an agreement with me by Rab-shakeh. a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig
CHAPTER XIX. tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his teistern;
Jerusalem's great distress we read of in the foregoing chapter, and left it besieged,
insultel, threatrnect, terrified, and just ready to be swallowed up, by the Abay. 32 Until I come and take you away to a land
But in this chapter, we have an account of its glorious deliverance, like your own land; a land of corn and wine, a not by sword or bow, but by prayer and prophecy, and by be band of an angel,
1. Hezekiah, in a great concern, sent to the prophet Isaiah, lo desire his prayers, land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil-olive and (v. 1-5,) and received from hiin an answer of peace, v. 6, 7. 11. Sepoacherib
seut a letter to Hezekiah to frighten him into a surrender, v. 8–13. III. Hezekiah, of honey, that ye may live and not die : and hearken
thereupon, by a very solemn prayer, recommended his case to God, the righteous not unto Hezekiah, when he ipersuadeth you, say
Judge, and begged help from him, v.14-19. IV. God, by Isaiah, sent him a
very comfortable message, assuring him of deliverance, v. 26–34. V. The army ing, The Lord will deliver us.
of the Assyrians was all cut off by an angel, and Sennacherib bimreli slain by 33 Hath yany of the gods of the nations delivered
his own sons, v. 35–37. And so God glorihed himself and saved his people.
ND it came , 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah ?a himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand. the Lord.
35 Wbubare they among all the gods of the coun 2 And he sent Eliakim which was over the housetries, that have delivered their country out of mine hold, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah "the proof mine hand?
phet the son of Amoz.
b c. 19. 17, 18. or, Seek my farour, Gen. 32. 20. 33. 11. Prov. 18. 16. for, pit. Deut. 8. 7, 8. Dan. 3. 15. « Prov. 26. 4. Am. 5. 13. dl.. 33.7. a Is. 37. I, &c. b Luke 3. 1 or, deccioeth. thorns before a consuming fire? But Hezekiah was not so inany that have fought against God, have pretended commishelpless and defenceless as Rab-shakeh would here represent sions from him. him.
(3.] That if Jehovah, the God of Israel, should undertake to Three things he supposes Hezekiah might trust to, and he protect them from the king of Assyria, yet he was not able to endeavours to make out the insufficiency of each.
do it; with this blasphemy he concludes his speech, (v.33——35,) (1.) His own military preparations ; Thou sayest, I have comparing the God of Israel with the gods of the nations whom counsel and strength for the war; and we find that so he had, he had conquered, and putting him upon the level with them, 2 Chr. 32. 3. But this Rab-shakeh turns off with a slight, and concluding that because they could not defend and deliver " They are but vain words, thou art an unequal match for us,' their worshippers, the God of Israel could not defend and deliver v. 20. With the greatest haughtiness and disdain imaginable, bis. See here. First, His pride ; when he conquered a city, he challenges him to produce 2000 men of all his people that he reckoned himself to have conquered its gods, and valued knew how to manage a horse, and will venture to give him 2000 bimself mightily upon it; bis high opinion of the idols, made horses if he can; he falsely insinuates that he had no men, or none him have a high opinion of himself as too hard for them. Sea fit to be soldiers, (v. 23;) thus he thinks to run him down with conilly, His profaneness; the God of Israel was not a local confidence and banter, and will lay him any wager that one cap. deity, but the God of the whole earth, the only living and true tain of the least of his master's servants is able to baille him and God, the Ancient of days, and had often proved himself to be all his forces.
above all gods; yet he makes no more of Him than of the up(2.) His alliance with Egypt; he supposes that he trusted start fictitious gods of Hamath and Arpad, unfairly arguing that to Egypt for chariots and horsemen, (v. 24,) because the king the gods, (as some now say the priests,) of all religions are the of Israel had done so, and of this confidence he truly says, It same, and bimself above them all. The tradition of the Jews is a broken reed, (v. 21;) it will not only fail a man when he is, that Rab-shakeh was an apostate Jew, which made him so leans on it, and expects it to bear his weight, but it will run into ready in the Jews' language ; if so, his ignorance of the God of his hand and pierce it, and rend his shoulder, as the prophet Israel was the less excusable, and his enmity the less strange, further illustrates this similitude, with application to Egypt; for apostates are commonly the most bitter and spiteful enemies, (Ez. 29. 6,7,) so is the king of Egypt, says he; and truly so witness Julian. A great deal of art and management, it must had the king of Assyria been to Ahaz, who trusted in him, be owned, there is in this speech of Rab-shakeh, but, wjihal, a but he distressed him, and strengthened him not, 2. Chr. 28. 20. great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy; one grain They that trust to any arm of flesh, will find it no better than a of sincerity would have been worth all this wit and rhetoric. broken reed; but God is the Rock of ages.
Lastly, We are told what the commissioners on Hezekiah's (3.) His interest in God, and relation to him ; this was indeed part did. 1. They held their peace; not for want of something the confidence in which Hezekiah trusted, (v. 22 ;) he support to say both on God's behalf and Hezekiah's, they might easily ed himself by depending on the power and promise of God, and justly have upbraided him with his master's treachery, and with this he encouraged himself and his people; (v. 30,) The breach of faith, and have asked him, What religion encourages Lord will surely deliver us ; (and again, v. 32,) this, he was you to hope that that will prosper? At least, they might have sensible, was their great stay, and therefore he is most large in given him that grave hint which Ahab gave to Ben-hadad's like his endeavours to shake this, as David's enemies, who used all insolent demands; (Let not him that girdeth on the harness, boast the arts they had, to drive him from his confidence in God, (Ps. as though he had put it off ; (but the king had commanded them 3. 2.-11.1,) and thus did Christ's enemies, Matt. 27. 13. not to answer bim, and they observed their instructions. There
Three things Rab-shakeh suggests to discourage their confi- is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak, and there dence in God, and they are all false.
are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to [1.] That Hezekiah had forfeited God's protection, and cast pearls before swine. What can be said to a madman? thrown himself out of it, by destroying the high places and the It is probable that their silence made Rab-shakeh yel more proud altars, v. 22. Here he meusures the God of Israel by the gods and secure, and so his heart was lifted up and hardened io his of the heathen, who delighted in the multitude of altars and destruction. 2. They rent their clothes, in detestation of his temples, and concludes that Hezekiah had given a great offence blasphemy, and in grief for the despised afflicted condition to the God of Israel, in obliging his people to offer at one altar; of Jerusalem, the reproach of which was a burden to them. this is one of the best deeds he ever did in his life, misconstrued 3. They faithfully reported the matter to the king, their master, as impious and profane, by one that did not, or would not, know and told him the words of Rab-shakeh, that he might consider the law of the God of Israel; if that be represented by ignorant what was to be done, what course they should take, and what and malicious mon as evil and a provocation to God, which is answer they should retum to Rab-shakch's summons. really good and pleasing to him, we must not think it strange ; if this was to be sacrilegious, Hezekiah would ever be so.
NOTES TO CHAPTER XIX, [2.] That God had given orders for the destruction of Jeru V.1-7. The contents of Rab-shakeh's speech being brought salem, at this time; (v. 25,) Am I now come up without the Lo Hezekiah, one would have expected (and it is likely RabLord ? This is all an empty boast; he did not himself think he shakeh did expect) that he should have called a council of war, had any commission from God to do what he did, (By whom and it should have been debated, whether it was best to capitushould he have it?) but he makes this pretence, to amuse and late or no. Before the siege, he had taken counsel with his terrify the people that were on the wall. If he had any colour at princes, and his mighty men, (2 Chr. 32.3,) but that would not all for what he said, it might be taken from the notice which, do now; his greatest relief is, that he has a God to go to, and perhaps, he had had, by the writings of the prophets, of the hand what passed between bim and his God on this occasion, we of God, in the destruction of the ten tribes, and he thought he had have here an account of. as good a warrant for the scizing of Jerusalem as of Samaria ; I. Hezekiah discovered deep concern at the dishonour dona
c Jer. 30. 7.
"or, propocation. d c. 18. 11. . Rom. 9. 27. I found, A c. 18 35.
e Ps. 74. 18.
3 And they said unto him, 'Thus saith Hezekiah, 8 So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard *blasphemy : for the children are come to the birth, that he was depared from Lachish. and there is not strength to bring forth.
9 And mwhen he heard say of Tirhakah king of 4 It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against words of Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his thee; he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, master hath sent dto reproach the living God; and saying, will reprove the words which the Lord thy God 10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustremnant that are left.
est "deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be 5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Isaiah.
11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of 6 And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? the words which thou hast heard, with which "the 12 Have "the gods of the nations delivered them servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and me.
Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden 7 Behold, I iwill send a blast "upon him, and he ?which were in Thelasar? shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own 13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of his own land.
Hena, and Ivah?
33, 34. p Ez. 27. 23. to God by Rab-shakeh's blasphemy. When he heard it, though the children are brought to the birth, now is the time, the at second hand, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with critical moment, when, if ever, we must be relieved; one sucsackcloth, v. 1. Good men were wont to do so, when they cessful blow given to the enemy, would accomplish our wishes. heard of any reproach cast on God's name; and great men But alas, we are not able to give it; there is not strength to bring must not think it any disparagement to them, to sympathize forth. Our case is as deplorable, and calls for as speedy help, with the injured honour of the great God. Royal robes are not as that of a woman in iravail, that is quite spent with her too good to be rent, nor royal flesh too good to be clothed with throes, so that she has not strength to bear the child. Comsackcloth, in humiliation for indignities done to God, and for pare with this Hos. 13. 13, We are ready to perish; if thou the perils and terrors of his Jerusalem. This, God now called canst do any thing, have compassion upon us, and help us.' to, and was displeased with those who were not thus affected; (2.) Their hopes in God. To him they look, on him they (Is. 22. 12–14,) Behold joy and gladness, slaying oren and depend, to appear for them; one word from him will turn the killing sheep, though it was a day of trouble and perplerity in scale, and save the sinking remnant; if he but reprove the the valley of vision, (v. 5;) which refers to this very event. words of Rab-shakeh, that is, disprove them, (v. 4,) if he underThe king in sackcloth, but many of his subjects in soft take to convince and confound the blasphemer, all will be well. clothing.
And this they trust he will do, not for their merit's sake, but for II. He went up to the house of the Lord, according to the his own honour's sake, because he has reproached the living God, example of the psalmist, who, when he was grieved at the pride by levelling him with deaf and dumb idols. They have reason and prosperity of the wicked, went into the sanctuary of God, to think the issue will be good, for they can interest God in the and there understood their end, Ps. 73. 17. He went to the quarrel ; Ps. 74.22, Arise, o God, plear thine own cause. “He house of God, to meditate and pray, and get his spirit into a is the Lord thy God," say they to Isaiah," thine, whose glory sedate composed frame, after this agitation. He was not con- thou art concerned for, and whose favour thou art interested sidering what answer to return to Rab-shakeh, but refers him- in. He has heard and known the blasphemous words of Rabself to God, Thou shall answer, Lord, for me; Herbert. In the shakeh, and therefore, may be, he will hear and rebuke house of the Lord he found a place both of rest and refuge, a them. We hope he will. Help us with thy prayers to bring treasury, a magazine, a council-chamber, and all he needed, all the cause before him, and then we are content to leave it with in God. Note, When the church's enemies are very daring him.” and threatening, it is the wisdom and duty of the church's IV. God, by Isajah, sent to Hezekiah, to assure him that he friends to apply themselves to God, appeal to him, and leave would glorify himself in the ruin of the Assyrians. Hezekiah their cause with him.
sent to Isaiah, not to inquire concerning the event, as many III. He sent to the prophet Isaiah, by honourable messen- did that sent io the prophets, (Shall I recover? or the like) gers, in token of the great respect he had for him, to desire but to desire his assistance in his duty: It was this that he his prayers, v, 2–4. Eliakim and Shebna were two of those was solicitous about; and therefore God let him know what the that had heard the words of Rab-shakeh, and were the better event should be, in recompense of his care to do his duty, v. 6,7. able both to possess and to affect Isaiah with the case. The 1. God interests himself in the cause ; They have blasphemed elders of the priests were themselves to pray for the people, in 2. He encourages Hezekiah, who was much dismayed ; time of trouble, Joel 2.17, but they must go to engage Isaiah's Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard: they are but prayers, because he could pray better, and had a better interest words, (though swelling and fiery words,) and words are but in heaven. The messengers were to go in sackcloth, because wind. 3. He promised to frighten the king of Assyria worse, they were to represent the king, who was so clothed. Their than Rab-shakeh had frightened him; I will send a blast upon errand to Isaiah was, Lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is him, that pestilential breath which killed his army, upon which, left, that is, for Judah, which is but a remnant now that the ten terrors shall seize him, and drive him into his own country, tribes are goue ; for Jerusalem, which is but a remnant now where death shall meet him. This short threatening from the that the defenced cities of Judah are taken. Note, 1. It is very mouth of God, would do execution, when all the impotent desirable, and what we should be desirous of when we are in menances that came from Rab-shakeh's mouth, would vanish trouble, to have the prayers of our friends for us. In begging into air. it, we honour God, we honour prayer, and we honour our bre V.8—19. Rab-shakeh, having delivered his message, and thren. 2. When we desire the prayers of others for us, that received no answer, (which silence, whether he took it for a must not excuse us from praying for ourselves. When Heze- consent or a slight, does not appear,) left his army before Jerukiah sent to Isaiah to pray for him, he himself went into the house salem, under the command of the other generals, and went himof the Lord, to offer up his own prayers. 3. Those who speak self to attend the king his master for further orders. He found from God to us, we should in a particular manner desire to him besieging Libnah, a city that had revolted from Judah, speak to God for us. He is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, ch. 8. 22. Whether he had taken Lachish or no, is not cerGen. 20. 7. The great Prophet is the great Intercessor. rain; some think he departed from it, because he found the 4. Those are likely to prevail with God, that lift up their taking of it impracticable, v. 8. However, he was now alarmed prayers, that is, that lift up their hearts in prayer. 5. When the with the rumour that the king of the Cushites, who bordered interests of God's church are brought very low, so that there is upon the Arabians, was coming out against him with a great but a remnant left, few friends, and those weak, and at a loss, army, v. 9. This made him very desirous to gain Jerusalem then it is time to lift up our prayer for that remnant.
with all speed. To take it by force would cost him more time Two things are urged to Isaiah, to engage his prayers for and men than he could well spare, and therefore he renews his them.
attack upon Hezekiah, to persuade him tamely to surrender it. (1.) Their fears of the enemy, v. 3. “He is insolent and Having found him an easy man once, ch. 18. 14, when he said, haughty, it is a day of rebuke and blasphemy, we are despised, That which thou puttest on me I will bear, he hoped again to God is dishonoured, upon this account it is a day of trouble, frighten him into a submission, but in vain. Here, never were such a king and kingdom so trampled on and abused I. Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah, a railing letter, a as we are ; our soul is erceedingly filled with the contempt of the blasphemous letter, to persuade him to surrender Jerusalem, proud ; and it is a sword in our bones, to hear them reproach our because it would be to no purpose for him to think of standing confidence in God, and say, Where is now your God? And, it out. His letter is to the same purport with Rab-shakeh's which is worst of all, we see not which way we can help our speech; there is nothing new offered in it. Rab-shakeh had selves, and get clear of the reproach. Our cause is good, our said to the people, Lel not Hezekiah deceive you, ch. 18. 29. people are faithful, but we are quite overpowered with numbers; ] Sennacherib writes to Hezekiah, Lel not thy God deceive VOL. I.-116
( 921 )