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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 18

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-37

2 Kings 18:1 to 2 Kings 20:21 The Reign of Hezekiah Over Judah (715-686 B.C.) 2 Kings 18:1 to 2 Kings 20:21 records the account of the reign of Hezekiah over Judah. He was one of Judah’s good kings.

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

2 Kings 18:4 “brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made” - Comments - Moses has made this brass serpent approximately five hundred and fifty (550) years earlier in order to heal those children of Israel who had been bitten by serpents as an act of divine judgment (Numbers 21:8-9).

Numbers 21:8-9, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”

2 Kings 18:4 Word Study on “Nehushtan” Strong says the Hebrew word Nehushtan (H5180) literally, “something made of copper.”

2 Kings 18:13 to 2 Kings 20:19 The Prophecies of Isaiah to Hezekiah 2 Kings 18:13 to 2 Kings 20:19 tells the story of Hezekiah’s confrontation with Sennacherib, who tried to conquer Jerusalem, and God’s miraculous deliverance. This passage of Scripture is almost the same in content to Isaiah 36:1 to Isaiah 39:8. Thus, the same author probably penned both two passages and one served as a copy of the other.

Note the proposed outline:

Sennacherib Besieges Jerusalem 2 Kings 18:13 to 2 Kings 19:37

Hezekiah’s Illness 2 Kings 20:1-11

The Visit of the Babylonians 2 Kings 20:12-21

If we compare the narrative material of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:1 - 2 Kings 9:37), there is a similarity in structure in that they both bear witness to the testimony of the prophets of the Lord. This becomes evident by the fact that both passages end with a testimony of the fulfillment of the words of the prophets Elijah and Isaiah. For example, the story of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem ends with the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of 2 Kings 19:7 (2 Kings 19:37). The story of Hezekiah’s illness ends by reflecting upon the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (2 Kings 20:11). The story of the visit of the Babylonians closes by noting the fulfillment of prophecy (2 Kings 20:19).

2 Kings 18:13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.

2 Kings 18:13 Comments - Sennacherib recorded his campaign against Judah on a hexagonal (six-sided) clay prism written in cuneiform. This stone was made around 700 B.C. and found at Nineveh, Assyria. The section of this text referring to Hezekiah reads, “As for Hezekiah, the Judean, I besieged forty-six of his fortified walled cities and surrounding smaller towns, which were without number. Using packed-down ramps and applying battering rams, infantry attacks by mines, breeches, and siege machines,  I conquered (them). I took out 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, cattle, and sheep, without number, and counted them as spoil. He himself, I locked up within Jerusalem, his royal city, like a bird in a cage.  I surrounded him with earthworks, and made it unthinkable for him to exit by the city gate. His cities which I had despoiled I cut off from his land and gave them to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, Padi, king of Ekron and Ṣilli-bel, king of Gaza,  and thus diminished his land. I imposed dues and gifts for my lordship upon him, in addition to the former tribute, their yearly payment.” [67]

[67] William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, Jr., Context of Scripture, vol. 2 (Leiden; Brill, 2000), In Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004, 303.

2 Kings 18:17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field.

2 Kings 18:17 “Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh” Comments - The Hebrew text for “Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh” is ( רַב־סָרִיס אֶת־תַּרְתָּן וְאֶת־רַב־שָׁקֵה ). Many scholars see these names as titles rather than proper names. Adam Clarke refers to Calmet as saying that these are not the names of persons, but of offices: Tartan signifies “he who presides over gifts or tribute;” Rabsaris, “the chief of the eunuchs;” and Rabshakeh, “the chief cup-bearer.” [68] F. F. Bruce translates Rabshakeh as “the chief noble.” [69] Strong translates Rabshakeh as “the chief butler.” The view of these words being titles and not proper names is seen in a number of modern translations, although the meanings of these titles differ.

[68] Adam Clarke, 2 Kings, in Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v. 3.1 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc., 1993-2000), notes on 2 Kings 18:17.

[69] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 49.

AmpBible, “And the king of Assyria sent [the high officials] the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem with a great army. They went up to Jerusalem, and when they arrived, they came and stood by the canal of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the fuller’s field.”

BBE, “Then the king of Assyria sent the Tartan and the Rab-saris and the Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem, to King Hezekiah, with a strong force. And they went up and came to Jerusalem, and took up their position by the stream of the higher pool, by the highway of the washerman's field.”

NAB, “The king of Assyria sent the general, the lord chamberlain, and the commander from Lachish with a great army to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up, and on their arrival in Jerusalem, stopped at the conduit of the upper pool on the highway of the fuller's field.”

NIV, “The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field.”

YLT, “And the king of Asshur sendeth Tartan, and the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the butlers , from Lachish, unto king Hezekiah, with a heavy force, to Jerusalem, and they go up and come in to Jerusalem, and they go up, and come in and stand by the conduit of the upper pool that is in the highway of the fuller's field.”

2 Kings 18:26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.

2 Kings 18:26 Comments - F. F. Bruce tells us that Aramaic became the language of diplomatic intercourse in the eight century B.C., when the Assyrian Empire adopted it as such. The Assyrians usually spoke Aramaic when they communicated by mouth or by letter to their subjects and tributaries in Western Asia. In 2 Kings 18:26, the Jews ask this delegation to speak in their normal diplomatic language of Aramaic, to which the Assyrians refused, because they wanted to instil fear into the hearts of the common people by speaking in the Hebrew language. [70]

[70] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 48-50.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Kings 18". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/2-kings-18.html. 2013.
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