Lectionary Calendar
Friday, April 12th, 2024
the Second Week after Easter
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 37

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-38

Chapter 37

And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes ( Isaiah 37:1 ),

Yeah, man, it is bad. Rip, you know.

and he covered himself with sackcloth ( Isaiah 37:1 ),

Now sackcloth was something that they put upon themselves to more or less afflict themselves. It was whenever you were in mourning you would put on sackcloth. Sackcloth, as you can well imagine, against the skin must be very irritating. And so the king himself put on sackcloth.

and he went into the house of the LORD ( Isaiah 37:1 ).

Or he went into the temple. And they said unto him... let's see,

And then he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, and they came to Isaiah the prophet. And they said to Isaiah, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and the mothers do not have enough strength to bring them foRuth ( Isaiah 37:2-3 ).

Actually, they were beginning to suffer from the ravages of being closed in by the Assyrian forces. And so with the shortage of food, the strength of the mothers was ebbing and they didn't have enough strength when it came time for a child to be delivered. They'd be in labor, and yet they didn't have enough strength to bring the children forth. He said,

It may be that Yahweh thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left ( Isaiah 37:4 ).

So it's really a request to Isaiah, "Pray. This guy has been down here and we're in trouble. Pray."

So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that you have heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land ( Isaiah 37:5-7 ).

So God's answer to these threats of Sennacherib is that he is going to return to his own land and there fall by the sword.

So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom you trust, deceive you, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and you think you're going to be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD ( Isaiah 37:8-14 ).

I like this. He gets a threatening letter. It is a disturbing letter. And what does he do with it? He goes into the house of the Lord. He just spreads it out before the Lord. He said, "Look, Lord, what they're saying about You now. Take care of them, God." And so he spreads this thing out before the Lord.

If we would only learn to take our problems and our troubles to the Lord. Just spread it out before the Lord. "Lord, look what's going on." What a wise thing to do. Just take your problems and spread them out before the Lord.

And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwells between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made the heaven and the eaRuth ( Isaiah 37:15-16 ).

God is above all gods. There are many gods. For a god is the master passion of a person's life. The Bible speaks that the gods of the heathen are vain. There is only one true and living God. Francis Schaeffer said the time has come when we as Christians must really just... we can't just talk about God anymore, because God is so many things to so many people. You talk about God, and to some person it's an essence of love. It's so many things. So he said the time has come when we need to more or less qualify the term God and not just use the term God, but qualify it by saying, "The eternal living God who created the heavens and the earth." Then we know what God we're talking about. For there is only one eternal, living God who has created the heavens and the earth. Though there are many gods that people bow down to worship, yet there's only one true, eternal, living God. Creator of heaven and earth.

So here of all of the kingdoms of the earth and gods of all of the kingdoms, You're the only One who is really the Creator of heaven and earth.

Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent [which he has sent, actually] to reproach the living God ( Isaiah 37:17 ).

So here he is. He addresses Him as the living God who has made heaven and earth, the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel who dwells between the cherubims. Now he acknowledges a certain truthfulness to this threatening letter,

Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries ( Isaiah 37:18 ),

Surrounding territories.

And they have cast their gods into the fire: because they were not true gods, but the work of men's hands, they were gods of wood and stone: therefore they were able to destroy them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, and you only ( Isaiah 37:19-20 ).

Marvelous prayer. A prayer and the recognizing of the greatness of God, who He is. A prayer in which he lays out the facts as he understands them. And then asks God's help in the situation.

Then Isaiah sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Inasmuch as you have prayed to me against Sennacherib the king of Assyria: This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee ( Isaiah 37:21-22 ),

Talking about Sennacherib now, this powerful Assyrian king. Hey, our little girls despised thee.

and they've laughed thee to scorn; the daughters of Jerusalem just shake their heads at thee ( Isaiah 37:22 ).

Which is a sort of a reproachful kind of a thing.

Who have you reproached and blasphemed? and against whom have you exalted your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel. By your servants you've reproached the Lord [the Adonai] and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come in to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel. I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places. Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defensed cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn that is blasted before it is grown up. But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in your nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which you came. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall eat ( Isaiah 37:23-30 )

And this is unto the children of Hezekiah.

You shall eat this year ( Isaiah 37:30 )

In other words, God has declared, "I'm going to turn you back and by the way you came is where you'll go." This is the end of the message to Sennacherib. Now to Hezekiah, this shall be the sign that God is going to fulfill this.

this year you will eat that which just grows of itself out of the ground; and the second year [the same thing] that which springs from the same: and in the third year you're going to sow the land, and reap, and you'll plant the vineyards, and you'll eat the fruit thereof ( Isaiah 37:30 ).

God is going to restore and remove the enemy entirely out of the land.

And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: for the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake ( Isaiah 37:31-35 ).

This is the word of the Lord through Isaiah to king Hezekiah. Now if you were king and the prophet of God gave you this message, how would you react to it? Here you're facing the strongest army in the world. And you are admittedly weak. The guy has said, "Hey, we gave you two thousand horses, you don't have enough men to put on them." They've wiped out all of the enemy, all of the other lands which were, many of them, stronger and more powerful than you are. Now the word of the Lord comes from the prophet Isaiah saying, "Don't worry about it. They'll never step inside of this city. They won't shoot an arrow in. By the way they came they're going to turn back."

Well, really what can you do? You're really sort of defenseless anyhow. You might as well just hope that the prophet's right 'cause you can't do much else. Fortunately in this case, the prophet is right, for we read,

Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand: and when they [that is, the children of Judah] awoke early in the morning, behold, the Assyrian army were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and he went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh ( Isaiah 37:36-37 ).

Which is the capital of Assyria. He returned to Nineveh in defeat, his armies destroyed by an angel of the Lord.

And it came to pass ( Isaiah 37:38 ),

Remember, he said he's going to go back to his land and there he would fall by the sword.

It came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead ( Isaiah 37:38 ).

So God's word was fulfilled. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 37". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/isaiah-37.html. 2014.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile