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These chapters are a dividing line between what may be called Parts 1 and 2 of this book. They deal with Hezekiah’s reign whose history has been considered in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.
The chapters are not arranged chronologically, as the event of chapter 38, Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery, occurred prior to the siege of Sennacherib (chaps. 36-37).
The prophecies preceding these chapters predict the rise of the Assyrian power as the enemy of Judah and God’s rod of punishment for them, which were fulfilled in Hezekiah’s time; while those following look upon the nation as in captivity to Babylon, the successor to Assyria. It is in connection with Hezekiah’s pride (chap. 39) that this captivity is first definitely announced.
While the chapters following look upon the nation as already in Babylon, they do so chiefly for the purpose of assuring the faithful remnant of ultimate deliverance not only from the Babylonian captivity, but from all the nations whither the Lord has driven them, in the latter days.
In brief, chapter 36 reveals the Assyrian army before Jerusalem, and the effect upon the Jewish people. Chapter 37 shows the king in supplication to Jehovah with the effect on the invaders. Chapter 38 is the story of the king’s sickness and healing, in which the prediction of the king’s death alarms him because at this time he had no heir. Had he died thus, the messianic hope would have died with him.
In chapter 39 we have the circumstance of Hezekiah’s boasting to the Babylonian ambassadors exalting himself rather than Jehovah. It is in this connection that the prophecy of Babylonian supremacy is given. This is impressive, when we recall that Babylon had not yet risen into the place of power which was still held by Assyria. Only supernatural power could have revealed this to Isaiah. The reason why these Babylonians visited Jerusalem at this time may have been connected with their subsequent overthrow of that sacred city. Had the king glorified His God instead of himself might not the result have been different?
1. To whose history does this parenthesis allude?
2. What is the relation of these chapters in Kings and Chronicles?
3. Have you reviewed the chapters in Kings and Chronicles?
4. Where is Judah supposed to be historically, in the latter part of Isaiah?
5. Why do those later prophecies so regard Judah?
6. Give a brief outline of each chapter of the lesson.
7. What special cause of alarm was there in the announcement of the king’s death?
8. What is the supernatural feature about the prophecy of Babylon’s supremacy?
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Gray, James. "Commentary on Isaiah 38". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany