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Saturday, May 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 36

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3

ISAIAH - CHAPTER 36

HISTORICAL NARRATIVE RELATIVE TO HEZEKIAH’S REIGN

(Isaiah 36:1 to Isaiah 39:8)

THE ASSYRIAN AT THE GATES OF JERUSALEM, Ch. 36-38

In the following four chapters one finds a brief historical addendum related to Hezekiah’s reign over Judah. Chapters 36-37 form a sort of conclusion to what the prophet has written, in chapters 1-35, relative to Judah’s relationship to Assyria. Chapters 38-39 form an introduction to Judah’s coming dealings with Babylon, as set forth in chapters 40-66.

Vs. 1-3: ASSYRIA INVADES JUDAH

1. Some time before the events recorded in this lesson, the northern kingdom of Israel had already been over-run by Assyria and her people led away into captivity.

2. Judah, along with a number of other small nations, had rebelled against Assyria - refusing to continue paying her tribute; thus, Sennacherib invaded Judah and quickly overran all her defensed cities, (vs. 1).

3. From Lachish he then sent Rabshakeh (a title designating one of his leading generals) to Jerusalem, with a great army, to demand the surrender of Hezekiah, (vs. 2).

4. The Assyrian officer stood at the head of his army, "by the conduit of the upper pool"; when he called for the king, he was met by a three-man delegation who represented king Hezekiah, (vs. 2b-3; comp. Isaiah 7:3; 2 Kings 18:17-18).

Verses 4-10

Vs. 4-10: THE RABSHAKEH TRIES TO UNDERMINE THE MORALE OF JERUSALEM

1. With rudeness the Assyrian emmisary refuses to address the Judean monarch as "king"; it is simply, "Say ye now to Hezekiah", (vs. 4a).

2. He expresses amazement that the king of Judah is so naive as to rebel against the great king of Assyria - seeing that his confidence is rooted only in empty words, (vs. 4b-5).

3. There is no help to be found in Egypt - a mere "broken reed" that can only pierce the hand that leans upon it; this is a truth on which Isaiah, the prophet, has long insisted, (vs. 6; Isaiah 31:1-3).

4. But Rabshakeh was quite mistaken in thinking that Jehovah was displeased with Hezekiah’s destruction of the "high places"; he knew far too little of Judah’s religion to speak of it intelligently -speaking of Jehovah as if he were a mere man-made god like the idols of other nations, (vs. 7; 2 Chronicles 32:19; comp. Deuteronomy 12:2-5; 2 Kings 18:1-6).

5. In mockery, he suggests that if Judah can guarantee 2,000 riders he will furnish as many horses - that they may stand a better chance of defending themselves against the host of Assyrian cavalrymen, (vs. 8; but see Deuteronomy 17:16; Psalms 20:7; Psalms 33:17; 2 Chronicles 32:7-8); if they cannot do that, how can they expect to turn away one of the least of Assyria’s officers with his mighty horsemen? (vs. 9)

6. Beside this, the Assyrian claims that JEHOVAH HAS SENT HIM against Judah to destroy it! (vs. 10; 1 Kings 13:18).

Verses 11-12

Vs. 11-12: THE ASSYRIAN ASKED TO SPEAK IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE

1. In essence, the representatives of king Hezekiah asked the Assyrian to speak to them in his own language (which they understood well enough) - conducting their discussions as diplomats, rather than attempting to drive the common people in insurrection, (vs. 11).

2. His haughty response was that Sennacherib had sent him to warn the citizens of Jerusalem lest they soon be forced to eat their own dung and drink their own urine along with the leaders of Judah, (vs. 12).

Verses 13-20

Vs. 13-20: THE ASSYRIAN APPEALS TO THE JEWS IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGES

1. The Assyrian warns the Jews against permitting king Hezekiah to deceive them into thinking he is able to protect them, (vs. 14).

2. Nor must they accept his word that Jehovah will deliver them, (vs. 15; Isaiah 37:10-11).

3. He urges them to ignore Hezekiah and make peace with him -promising that they will be permitted to enjoy the fruit of their own land until he has opportunity, at a later date, to return and take them to a land fully as delightful as their own, (vs. 16-17; comp. Genesis 47:21; 2 Kings 17:6).

4. Again, he warns against letting Hezekiah persuade them to trust in Jehovah for deliverance; no god has yet been able to deliver his people out of the hands of the great king of Assyria, (vs. 18-19; Isaiah 10:8-11; Isaiah 37:11-13).

5. He concludes that, since the gods of the captured nations (including Samaria) have made no significant resistance to Assyria’s onslaught, Jehovah will be just as helpless to defend Jerusalem, (vs. 20; comp. 1 Kings 20:23; 1 Kings 20:28).

Verses 21-22

Vs. 21-22: RESPONSE TO THE ASSYRIAN’S APPEAL

1. In obedience to the king’s command, the people "held their peace" - making no response to the haughty Assyrian, (vs. 21; Exodus 14:13-14; Judges 1:9).

2. In deep grief and horror, at the blasphemy of the Assyrian, Eliakim, Shebna and Joab make their report to the king of Judah, (vs. 22).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Isaiah 36". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/isaiah-36.html. 1985.
 
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