Friday, May 30, 2008

Isaiah Speaks God's Word to King Hezekiah

Jerusalem Will Be Saved

2 Kings 19

1When King Hezekiah heard the message, he tore his clothes and put on
rough cloth to show how sad he was. Then he went into the Temple of the
LORD. 2Hezekiah sent Eliakim, the palace manager, and Shebna, the royal
secretary, and the older priests to Isaiah. They were all wearing rough cloth when
they came to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. 3They told Isaiah, “This is
what Hezekiah says: Today is a day of sorrow and punishment and disgrace, as
when a child should be born, but the mother is not strong enough to give birth to
it. 4The king of Assyria sent his field commander to make fun of the living God.
Maybe the LORD your God will hear what the commander said and will punish
him for it. So pray for the few of us who are left alive.”

5When Hezekiah’s officers came to Isaiah, 6he said to them, “Tell your
master this: The LORD says, ‘Don’t be afraid of what you have heard. Don’t be
frightened by the words the servants of the king of Assyria have spoken against
me. 7Listen! I am going to put a spirit in the king of Assyria. He will hear a report
that will make him return to his own country, and I will cause him to die by the
sword there.’”

8The field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. When
he went back, he found the king fighting against the city of Libnah.

9The king received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushite king of Egypt, was
coming to attack him. When the king of Assyria heard this, he sent messengers to
Hezekiah, saying, 10“Tell Hezekiah king of Judah: Don’t be fooled by the god
you trust. Don’t believe him when he says Jerusalem will not be handed over to
the king of Assyria. 11You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done. They
have completely defeated every country, so do not think you will be saved. 12Did
the gods of those people save them? My ancestors destroyed them, defeating the
cities of Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and the people of Eden living in Tel Assar.
13Where are the kings of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the kings of Sepharvaim,
Hena, and Ivvah?”

Hezekiah Prays to the Lord

14When Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went
up to the Temple of the LORD. He spread the letter out before the LORD 15and
prayed to the LORD: “LORD, God of Israel, whose throne is between the gold
creatures with wings, only you are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You
made the heavens and the earth. 16Hear, LORD, and listen. Open your eyes,
LORD, and see. Listen to the words Sennacherib has said to insult the living
God. 17It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed these countries
and their lands. 18They have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire, but
they were only wood and rock statues that people made. So the kings have
destroyed them. 19Now, LORD our God, save us from the king’s power so that all
the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, LORD, are the only God.”

God Answers Hezekiah

20Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah that said, “This is
what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer to me about
Sennacherib king of Assyria. 21This is what the LORD has said against

‘The people of Jerusalem

hate you and make fun of you.

The people of Jerusalem

laugh at you as you run away.

22You have insulted me and spoken against me;

you have raised your voice against me.

You have a proud look on your face,

which is against me, the Holy One of Israel.

23You have sent your messengers to insult the Lord.

You have said, “With my many chariots

I have gone to the tops of the mountains,

to the highest mountains of Lebanon.

I have cut down its tallest cedars

and its best pine trees.

I have gone to its farthest places

and to its best forests.

24I have dug wells in foreign countries

and drunk water there.

By the soles of my feet,

I have dried up all the rivers of Egypt.”

25“‘King of Assyria, surely you have heard.

Long ago I, the LORD, planned these things.

Long ago I designed them,

and now I have made them happen.

I allowed you to turn those strong, walled cities

into piles of rocks.

26The people in those cities were weak;

they were frightened and put to shame.

They were like grass in the field,

like tender, young grass,

like grass on the housetop

that is burned by the wind before it can grow.

27“‘I know when you rest,

when you come and go,

and how you rage against me.

28Because you rage against me,

and because I have heard your proud words,

I will put my hook in your nose

and my bit in your mouth.

Then I will force you to leave my country

the same way you came.’

29“Then the LORD said, ‘Hezekiah, I will give you this sign:

This year you will eat the grain that grows wild,

and the second year you will eat what grows wild from that.

But in the third year, plant grain and harvest it.

Plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

30Some of the people in the family of Judah

will escape.

Like plants that take root,

they will grow strong and have many children.

31A few people will come out of Jerusalem alive;

a few from Mount Zion will live.

The strong love of the LORD All-Powerful

will make this happen.’

32“So this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria:

‘He will not enter this city

or even shoot an arrow here.

He will not fight against it with shields

or build a ramp to attack the city walls.

33He will return to his country the same way he came,

and he will not enter this city,’

says the LORD.

34‘I will defend and save this city

for my sake and for the sake of David, my servant.’”

35That night the angel of the LORD went out and killed one hundred eighty-
five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up early the next
morning, they saw all the dead bodies. 36So Sennacherib king of Assyria left and
went back to Nineveh and stayed there.

37One day as Sennacherib was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch,
his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword. Then they escaped
to the land of Ararat. So Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon became king of Assyria.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version

Title: Adam Clarkes Commentary on the Old Testament

Author: Clarke, Adam

2 Kings 19

Hezekiah as greatly distressed, and sends to Isaiah to pray for him, vv. 1-4. Isaiah
returns a comfortable answer, and predicts the destruction of the king of Assyria and his
army, vv. 5-8. Sennacherib, hearing that his kingdom was invaded by the Ethiopians,
sends a terrible letter to Hezekiah, to induce him to surrender, vv. 9-13. Hezekiah goes to
the temple, spreads the letter before the Lord, and makes a most affecting prayer, vv. 14-
19. Isaiah is sent to him to assure him that his prayer is heard; that Jerusalem shall be
delivered; and that the Assyrians shall be destroyed, vv. 20-34. That very night a
messenger of God slays one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians, v. 35.
Sennacherib returns to Nineveh, and is slain by his own sons, vv. 36, 37.


2 Kings 19:2

To Isaiah the prophet—His fame and influence were at this time great in
Israel; and it was well known that the word of the Lord was with him. Here both
the Church and the state unite in fervent application to, and strong dependence
upon, God; and behold how they succeed!

2 Kings 19:3

The children are come to the birth—The Jewish state is here represented
under the emblem of a woman in travail, who has been so long in the pangs of
parturition, that her strength is now entirely exhausted, and her deliverance is
hopeless, without a miracle. The image is very fine and highly appropriate.

A similar image is employed by Homer, when he represents the agonies which
Agamemnon suffers from his wound:—

Ïöñá ïj ájìåôé èåñìïí áíçíïèåí åî ùôåéëçò·

Ëõôáñ åðåé ôï ìåí eëêïò åôåñóåôï ðáõóáôï äájìá,

Ïîåéáé ïäõíáé äõíïí ìåíïò Áôñåéäáï·

Ùò ä¿ôáí ùäéíïõóáí å÷w âåëïò ïîõ ãõíáéêá,

Äñéìõ, ôï ôå ðñïúåéóé ìïãïóôïêïé Åéëåéèõéáé

FÇñçò èõãáôåñåò ðéê ñáò ùäéíáò å÷ïõóáé·

FÙò ïîåéïäõíáé äõíïí ìåíïò Áôñåéäáï.

Il. xi., ver. 266.

This, while yet warm, distill’d the purple flood;

But when the wound grew stiff with clotted blood,

Then grinding tortures his strong bosom rend.

Less keen those darts the fierce Ilythiae send,

The powers that cause the teeming matron’s throes,

Sad mothers of unutterable woes.


Better translated by Macpherson; but in neither well:

“So long as from the gaping wound gushed forth, in its warmth,
the blood; but when the wound became dry, when ceased the
blood to flow amain, sharp pains pervade the strength of Atrides.
Racking pangs glide through his frame; as when the Ilythiae, who
preside over births, the daughters of white armed Juno, fierce
dealers of bitter pains, throw all their darts on hapless women, that
travail with child. Such pains pervade the strength of Atrides.”

2 Kings 19:4

The remnant that are left—That is, the Jews; the ten tribes having been
already carried away captive by the kings of Assyria.

2 Kings 19:7

Behold, I will send a blastand he shall hear a rumor—The rumor was,
that Tirhakah had invaded Assyria. The blast was that which slew one hundred
and eighty-five thousand of them in one night, see 2 Kings 19:35.

Cause him to fall by the sword—Alluding to his death by the hands of his
two sons, at Nineveh. See 2 Kings 19:35-37.

2 Kings 19:8

LibnahLachish—These two places were not very distant from each other;
they were in the mountains of Judah, southward of Jerusalem.

2 Kings 19:10

Let not thy God in whom thou trustest—This letter is nearly the same with
the speech delivered by Rab-shakeh. See 2 Kings 18:29.

2 Kings 19:14

Spread it before the Lord—The temple was considered to be God’s dwelling-
place; and that whatever was there was peculiarly under his eye. Hezekiah spread
the letter before the Lord, as he wished him to read the blasphemies spoken
against himself.

2 Kings 19:15

Thou art the God, etc.—Thou art not only God of Israel, but God also of
Assyria, and of all the nations of the world.

2 Kings 19:21

The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to
scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee—“So truly
contemptible is thy power, and empty thy boasts, that even the young women of
Jerusalem, under the guidance of Jehovah, shall be amply sufficient to discomfit
all thy forces, and cause thee to return with shame to thy own country, where the
most disgraceful death awaits thee.” When Bishop Warburton had published his
Doctrine of Grace, and chose to fall foul on some of the most religious people of
the land, a young woman of the city of Gloucester exposed his graceless system
in a pamphlet, to which she affixed the above words as a motto!

2 Kings 19:23

The tall cedar treesthe choice fir trees—Probably meaning the princes and
nobles of the country.

The forest of his Carmel—Better in the margin: the forest and his fruitful

2 Kings 19:24

I have dipped and drunk strange waters—I have conquered strange
countries, in which I have digged wells for my army; or, I have gained the wealth
of strange countries.

With the sole of my feet—My infantry have been so numerous that they alone
have been sufficient to drink up the rivers of the places I have besieged.

2 Kings 19:25

Hast thou not heard—Here Jehovah speaks, and shows this boasting king that
what he had done was done by the Divine appointment, and that of his own
counsel and might he could have done nothing. It was because God had
appointed them to this civil destruction that he had overcome them; and it was
not through his might; for God had made their inhabitants of small power, so that
he only got the victory over men whom God had confounded, dismayed, and
enervated, 2 Kings 19:26.

2 Kings 19:28

I will put my hook in thy nose—This seems to be an allusion to the method of
guiding a buffalo; he has a sort of ring put into his nose, to which a cord or bridle
is attached, by which he can be turned to the right, or to the left, or round about,
according to the pleasure of his driver.

2 Kings 19:29

This shall be a sign unto thee—To Hezekiah; for to him this part of the
address is made.

Ye shall eat this year—Sennacherib had ravaged the country, and seed-time
was now over, yet God shows them that he would so bless the land, that what
should grow of itself that year, would be quite sufficient to supply the inhabitants
and prevent all famine; and though the second year was the sabbatical rest or
jubilee for the land, in which it was unlawful to plough or sow; yet even then the
land, by an especial blessing of God, should bring forth a sufficiency for its
inhabitants; and in the third year they should sow and plant, etc. and have
abundance, etc. Now this was to be a sign to Hezekiah, that his deliverance had
not been effected by natural or casual means; for as without a miracle the ravaged
and uncultivated land could not yield food for its inhabitants, so not without
miraculous interference could the Assyrian army be cut off and Israel saved.

2 Kings 19:30

The remnantshall yet again take root—As your corn shall take root in the
soil, and bring forth and abundantly multiply itself, so shall the Jewish people;
the population shall be greatly increased, and the desolations occasioned by the
sword soon be forgotten.

2 Kings 19:31

Out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant—The Jews shall be so multiplied
as not only to fill Jerusalem, but all the adjacent country.

And they that escape out of Mount Zion—Some think that this refers to the
going forth of the apostles to the Gentile world, and converting the nations by the
preaching of the Gospel.

2 Kings 19:32

He shall not, etc.—Here follow the fullest proofs that Jerusalem shall not be
taken by the Assyrians.

1.He shall not come into this city;

2.He shall not be able to get so near as to shoot an arrow into it;

3.He shall not be able to bring an army before it,

4.Nor shall he be able to raise any redoubt or mound against it;

5.No; not even an Assyrian shield shall be seen in the country; not even a
foraging party shall come near the city.

2 Kings 19:33

By the way that he came—Though his army shall not return, yet he shall
return to Assyria; for because of his blasphemy he is reserved for a more
ignominious death.

2 Kings 19:35

That night—The very night after the blasphemous message had been sent, and
this comfortable prophecy delivered.

The angel of the Lord went out—I believe this angel or messenger of the
Lord was simply a suffocating or pestilential WIND; by which the Assyrian army
was destroyed, as in a moment, without noise confusion or any warning. See the
note 1 Kings 20:30. Thus was the threatening, 2 Kings 19:7, fulfilled, I will send
a BLAST upon him; for he had heard the rumor that his territories were invaded;
and on his way to save his empire, in one night the whole of his army was
destroyed, without any one even seeing who had hurt them. This is called an
angel or messenger of the Lord: that is, something immediately sent by him to
execute his judgments.

When they arose early—That is, Sennacherib, and probably a few associates,
who were preserved as witnesses and relaters of this most dire disaster. Rab-
shakeh, no doubt, perished with the rest of the army.

2 Kings 19:36

Dwelt at Nineveh—This was the capital of the Assyrian empire.

2 Kings 19:37

Nisroch his god—We know nothing of this deity; he is nowhere else

Smote him with the sword—The rabbins say that his sons had learned that he
intended to sacrifice them to this god, and that they could only prevent this by
slaying him.

The same writers add, that he consulted his wise men how it was that such
miracles should be wrought for the Israelites; who told him that it was because of
the merit of Abraham who had offered his only son to God: he then said, I will
offer to him my two sons; which when they heard, they rose up and slew him.
When a rabbin cannot untie a knot, he feels neither scruple nor difficulty to cut it.

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