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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 39

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-8

Isaiah 39:1 . Merodach-Baladan. He is called Berodach in 2 Kings 20:12; and being the son of Baladan, he joined his father’s name to his own. Merodach is the name of an idol, and Baladan the name of a country. Bel or Baal was also an idol. Isaiah 46:1. Daniel 5:1. Adan is found in 2 Kings 25:8, being the latter part of a general’s name. This prince is supposed to have been tributary to the Assyrians, and to have taken advantage of the destruction of their army, and of the death of Sennacherib, to shake off the yoke. Baladan his father was Belesis, governor of Babylon, who on successfully revolting against Nineveh, ascended the throne under the title of Nabonassar.

Isaiah 39:2 . The house of his precious things. The treasury where the regalia was kept; the crown, the trophies, gifts, and works of art.

And the spices, botanic gardens.

The precious ointment, imported, as is likely, from India.

The house of his armour. This was a very splendid arsenal, for after the destruction of the Assyrians, their armour was added to all that king Uzziah had prepared. Nations rising from the simplicity of pastoral habits, to the splendour of empire, must have assortable establishments. But the king is severely censured, because he rendered not again to the Lord for this salvation and national glory, by public acts of mercy and of gratitude. 2 Chronicles 32:25. He greatly fell away from the spirit of religion, which might be a cause of Manasseh’s early depravity and apostasy. Be careful, ye rich, not to ruin your children.

Isaiah 39:7 . Thy sons shall be eunuchs. The word is compounded of ευνη , chamber, and εχω , to have the charge of the chambers, containing the dresses and riches of the matrons and the virgins. For the most part, those men were cruelly castrated. Isaiah foresaw these humiliations seven generations before the event; he foresaw also that Babylon, now throwing off the yoke of Nineveh, would succeed, and be the ruin of the Jews. These complicated objects of distant vision all came true; and by consequence, this most illustrious man must have been divinely inspired.


All these riches, all this glory, said the prophet, shall go to Babylon! What a stroke at human pride, and what an obscuration of Judah’s sun. Surely man walketh in a vain shadow: he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them. And this stroke happened when the court were elated with an embassy from the king of Babylon.

Similar sentiments animated the breasts of both the kings, with regard to the rejection of Sennacherib’s yoke. Hezekiah therefore, swelled with hope, and too forgetful that all his prosperity was the special gift of God, shows the embassy all the armour of the Assyrians, all the valuable curiosities which his fathers had laid up, and all his vessels of silver and gold. Ah, so it is that one vain mortal will show strangers his mansion, his pleasure-grounds, and all his noble pride; a merchant with equal vanity will show his ships, his warehouse, his factory, and all his wealth; and the pendant will show his library, and talk of his knowledge, and works, till he has wearied the ears of his friends.

A vain forgetful temper which ascribes praise to ourselves, is highly displeasing to God. When Nebuchadnezzar said, Is not this great Babylon which I have built for the honour and glory of my majesty; he was deprived of the reason which he had abused; and Hezekiah was sentenced to lose the riches which he had ostentatiously displayed. When man misapplies the trusts of providence, it is just in the Giver of all good to put his treasures into other hands.

God very often conveys his admonitions so as to wound and mortify the pride in which mortals place their glory. Scarcely had the king entertained the strangers with a sight of all his wealth, than Isaiah apprized his master that those very men were come in fact to make an inventory of all those stores, arsenals and riches, for the king of Babylon. Oh what a check to vain glory, and forgetfulness of God! Let us ever recollect that we must leave this house and land to posterity, and perhaps to strangers: and let us know that the poorest beggar will enter with us the invisible world, on equal terms, and perhaps be applauded at the bar of God, when we shall be reproved. What can we do under the dark gloom of every earthly loss, but spring into the arms of Christ, with the prophet who in the next words cries out, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 39". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/isaiah-39.html. 1835.
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