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2Ki 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
Ver. 1. Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea. ] Reckoning as 2 Kings 17:1 . See Trapp on " 2Ki 17:1 "
2Ki 18:2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also [was] Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
Ver. 2. Twenty and five years old was he, &c. ] And therefore born in the eleventh year of his father Ahaz - who was twenty years old when he began, and reigned sixteen years. 2Ki 16:2 A thing not impossible: Rehoboam was begotten by Solomon about the same age, as some do gather from 1 Kings 14:21 .
His mother’s name also was Abi.] A woman famous in those times, saith Vatablus, for her goodness. Her son Hezekiah was no sooner in the throne but he began to reform, so well she had principled him.
The daughter of Zachariah. ] The king of Israel mentioned in 2 Kings 14:29 , say some; or more probably, of that Zachariah, the seer. 2Ch 26:5
2Ki 18:3 And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.
Ver. 3. And he did that which was right. ] See 1 Kings 14:8 .
2Ki 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.
Ver. 4. He removed the high places. ] He neglected no time, but in the very first month of the first year of his reign he did great matters; 2Ch 29:3 yea, the same day that he began to reign he spake to his Levites to purge the temple, which also they did. a
The brazen serpent that Moses had made. ] Not for an object of worship, but for a means of cure, though some write that it is deadly for them that are stung with a serpent to look upon brass. God worketh oft by contraries, to show his power. This brazen serpent good Hezekiah brake in pieces when abused to idolatry, multis Iudaeorum frementibus et reclamantibus, to the great discontent of those idolaters, no doubt, and not without some danger to those that did it. We read in the life of our king Edward VI, b that as one Mr Body, a commissioner was pulling down images in Cornwall, he was suddenly stabbed into the body by a priest with a knife. Theodosius, the emperor, was so offended with the Antiochians, only for throwing down the brazen portraiture of his beloved wife Placilla, that he disprivileged the city, and intended to have burnt it. How hugely displeased, we may welt think, were the superstitious Jews, when they saw their gods thus dealt with!
The children of Israel did burn incense unto it. ] Such was the venom of the Israelitish idolatry, that the brazen serpent stung worse than the fiery.
And he called it Nehushtan. ] Aenulum, so Pagnine rendereth it; aeniculum, so Marinus - a poor paltry piece of brass, Haec dictio non minorein contemptum prae se fert quam Nescio quid, aut pulvisculum saith another learned man; a name of scorn and contempt, to shame such as had so doted upon it. c Anastasius Nicaenus out of Eusebius addeth further, that Hezekiah abolished certain books written by Solomon concerning the nature of plants, and all kinds of creatures, and concerning the cure of all kinds of diseases, because thought these the people sought medicines for their various maladies, and not of God. But of this there is nothing recorded in Scripture, neither is it very likely: Abusus non tolleret usum.
a Jerome, De Trad. Hebr.
b Sir John Heywood.
c Thesaurus lingua sancta per diminutionem aut contemptum.
2Ki 18:5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor [any] that were before him.
Ver. 5. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel ] His confidence was the cause of his courage - faith feareth no colours; his motto might have been that of the Roman emperor, Ut fiat iustitia ruat caelum; Heaven and earth will be blended together ere I will be wanting to the work of reformation. He had not his name for nought, but fully answered it; as also did Probus the emperor. Hezekiah signifieth, The Lord is my strength, a quasi hoc eius fuerit lemma et symbolum. Such another zealous reformer was good Josiah, who trusted in God, and took away the horses of the sun, with other mawmets and monuments of idolatry, never standing to cast perils. And such also was our English Josiah, king Edward VI: b witness his peremptory denial to grant the Lady Mary the free exercise of the mass - though boldly demanded by the emperor’s ambassador; his slighting of the emperor’s proud threats thereupon; and his stout answer to the rebels of Devonshire, which ran thus: Assure you most surely, that we of no earthly thing under heaven make such reputation as of this one, to have our law (for the putting down of Popery) obeyed, and this cause of God, which we have taken in hand, to be thoroughly maintained: from the which we will never remove one hair breadth, or give place to any creature living, much less to any subject: wherein we will spend our own royal person, our crown, treasure, realm, and all our state; whereof we assure you of our high honour. c And of the like temper was his sweet sister - Temperance, as he used to call her, - Fortitude, he might as well, - Queen Elizabeth: witness her reformations at home; her protecting the Netherlands against the Spaniard; her help extended to Henry King of Navarre, to Geneva, and other Protestant churches, &c.
So that after him was none like him, ] sc., Everything considered. Os. Nemo, id est, fore nemo: He outdid others in piety, as far as Omri and his son Ahab did in iniquity. 1 Kings 16:25 ; 1Ki 16:30
a Fortitudo mea Dominus. - Pagnin.
b Sir John Heywood’s Life of Edward VI.
c Act. and Mon., 1189.
2Ki 18:6 For he clave to the LORD, [and] departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.
Ver. 6. For he clave to the Lord. ] Indivulse: and this he knew to be his duty, from Deuteronomy 4:4 ; Deuteronomy 10:20 ; Joshua 23:8 , sc., to embrace the Lord with faith and love: to adhere unto him as his head and husband, with all his heart and soul. He "departed not from following him," as it is here expounded, "but kept his commandments," the best proof of his love.
2Ki 18:7 And the LORD was with him; [and] he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.
Ver. 7. And the Lord was with him. ] The Lord is with all those that are with him. 2Ch 15:3 Ezr 8:22
And he prospered. ] Or, He dealt prudently.
And he rebelled against the king of Assyria. ] That is, He cast off his yoke, and refused to stand to his father’s wicked covenant. This the Assyrian counted and called rebellion.
2Ki 18:8 He smote the Philistines, [even] unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
Ver. 8. He smote the Philistines. ] A warlike people, and therefore his glory was the greater: as Plutarch praiseth the Romans above Alexander, because he subdued Asiatics that were pusillanimous and effeminate; but these, the Germans, Spaniards, Britons, hardy and headstrong nations.
From the tower of the watchmen. ] See 2 Kings 17:9 .
2Ki 18:9 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which [was] the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it.
Ver. 9. In the fourth year, &c. ] See on 2 Kings 18:1 .
That Shalmaneser, &c. ] At which time Hezekiah sat in safety, and might keep a passover for his preservation. To teach us thus much it is, saith Pellican, that Israel’s ruin is here repeated.
2Ki 18:10 And at the end of three years they took it: [even] in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that [is] the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.
Ver. 10. And at the end of three years. ] See 2 Kings 17:6 .
2Ki 18:11 And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor [by] the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:
Ver. 11. And the king of Assyria, &c. ] See 2 Kings 17:6 .
2Ki 18:12 Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, [and] all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear [them], nor do [them].
Ver. 12. Because they obeyed not. ] See 2 Kings 17:7-17 .
2Ki 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.
Ver. 13. Now in the fourteenth year, &c. ] Not long after Hezekiah’s great sickness and signal recovery: whereupon he received that gracious promise, 2Ki 20:6 "And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria," &c.
Did Sennacherib. ] The son of Salmaneser, called by Herodotus king of the Assyrians and Arabians.
Come up against all the fenced cities. ] After that he had invaded Egypt, and made foul work there: "leading away prisoners, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt." Isa 20:4
And took them. ] This great war with Hezekiah is set forth - as one well observeth - in manner of a comedy, having (1.) Its προθεσις in this and the three next following verses; (2.) Its επιτασις , containing four different acts, in this and the next chapter; (3.) Its καταστροφη : 2Ki 19:1-37 where we have, [1:] Solamen, comfort promised; [2.] Levamen, help vouchsafed.
2Ki 18:14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
Ver. 14. And Hezekiah king of Judah sent. ] This showed his weakness and pusillanimity. Had he still kept up his trust in God, this had never been done; but the best have their frailties, and the strongest faith may sometimes seem to fail; adeo nihil est in nobis magnum, quod non potest minui.
Return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear.] Hezekiah held it good policy to make his enemy a golden bridge to go over: so to be rid of him.
2Ki 18:15 And Hezekiah gave [him] all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house.
Ver. 15. And Hezekiah gave him. ] See on 2 Kings 18:14 .
2Ki 18:16 At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of the LORD, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
Ver. 16. At that time did Hezekiah cut off. ] If Ahaz, that church robber, had done this, it would better have become him. Hezekiah for doing it lost his cost. 2Ki 18:16
2Ki 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.
Ver. 17. And the king of Assyria sent Tartan. ] Notwithstanding that great present, worth two hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds: all of which this Cerberus swallowed, and yet was not satisfied; but demanded also the city to be delivered to him.
And Rabsaris and Rabshakeh. ] Some think that these were names of office: for Rabsaris signifieth chief of the eunuchs, and Rabshakeh chief of the cupbearers. That is an odd conceit of the Jewish doctors, that Rabshakeh was son to the prophet Isaiah, who fell from the true religion, and ran away to the Assyrians, by whom he was therefore now employed. a
By the conduit of the upper pool. ] Whereof see also Isaiah 7:3 ; as of the lower pool, Isaiah 22:9 .
a Jerome, De Tradit. Hebr.
2Ki 18:18 And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which [was] over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
Ver. 18. Eliakim … which was over the household.] In the place of false Shebna, who had been controller in Ahaz’s days, but was now made secretary, a place of honour, but less power, and not of so great pains; fitter therefore for a man now grown old. Isa 36:3 See Jun. on Isaiah 22:15 .
2Ki 18:19 And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence [is] this wherein thou trustest?
Ver. 19. Thus saith the great king. ] An expression that savoureth of intolerable pride, and, as some think, uttered in way of deriding the prophets of Israel, who usually prefaced, Thus saith the Lord God. Hezekiah might well have replied, as afterward Agesilaus, king of Sparta, did upon a like occasion, Nemo me maior nisi qui iustior: or, as Seneca, Anime magno nihil magnum. But empty spirits affect swelling titles: the Grand Signor, for instance, and great John O’Neal.
2Ki 18:20 Thou sayest, (but [they are but] vain words,) [I have] counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
Ver. 20. Thou sayest (but they are but vain words).] Heb., Words of the lips, i.e., frothy and fruitless, forasmuch as thou hast neither counsel nor strength for the war, but dost only word it, as Philip afterwards said the Athenians did. Some read the text not in a parenthesis, and thus paraphrase it: What can Hezekiah say to embolden him? What? I say, saith Hezekiah, I have words of my lips, that is, Prayer, prayer! Saith Rabshakeh: These are empty words, an airy nothing: for counsel and strength are for the war; but of these Hezekiah makes no reckoning, as thinking to do all by prayer, which I hold no better than prittle prattle.
2Ki 18:21 Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, [even] upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.
Ver. 21. Now thou trustest upon the staff, &c. ] This Hezekiah did not, that we read of: but Rabshakeh thought he would, as Hoshea had done before.
2Ki 18:22 But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: [is] not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?
Ver. 22. But if ye say unto me, We trust in the Lord our God. ] Thus he thinks to beat them off all their holds, that he may bring them to the bent of his bow. Satan doth the like: "whom resist steadfast in the faith."
Is not that he whose high places, &c.? ] This Rabshakeh took for sacrilege and impiety: as Papists still do our Reformation, and rejection of their needless ceremonies and endless superstitions. Some infer from this text that Rabshakeh was no Jew; the Rabbis make him to be a renegade Jew, because he spake Hebrew.
2Ki 18:23 Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
Ver. 23. Give pledges. ] Pignora certa. Tremellius rendereth it, Misce bellum, fight with my master, the king of Assyria, if thou darest. Lacessentis atque insultantis, verba.
If thou be able on thy part. ] A bitter scoff, whereby he mocketh at Hezekiah’s boldness, being no better able.
2Ki 18:24 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
Ver. 24. And put thy trust in Egypt. ] See on 2 Kings 18:21 .
2Ki 18:25 Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
Ver. 25. Am I now come up without the Lord? ] Without his secret impulse, as 2 Samuel 16:10 . The villainous gunpowder plotters pretended that God set them to work to punish this sinful nation. So the Jesuits tell the people that the devil stirred up Luther: and that God sent forth them to oppose him.
2Ki 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.
Ver. 26. Speak, I pray thee, … in the Syrian language.] This was no wise motion: but they were frightened; and some think it was wicked Shebna rather than good Eliakim that made it, purposely to provoke Rabshakeh to rail the more, and to lay open that whereby the people might be moved to yield up the city.
2Ki 18:27 But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? [hath he] not [sent me] to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?
Ver. 27. Hath he not sent me to the men that sit on the wall? ] The soldiers and common sort, of whom your master and you take little care what extremities they undergo, as they are shortly sure to do by a long siege.
2Ki 18:28 Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:
Ver. 28. Hear the word of the great king. ] See on 2 Kings 18:19 .
2Ki 18:29 Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:
Ver. 29. Let not Hezekiah deceive you. ] He warneth them to beware of Hezekiah as an impostor, and to make sure work for themselves, by yielding up all to Sennacherib, and accepting of him for their liege lord.
2Ki 18:30 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Ver. 30. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord. ] Of whom these pagans had the like base and bald conceits as they had of the dunghill deities of other countries. "But our God is in heaven," saith the psalmist; "he doeth whatsoever he willeth in heaven and in earth": and "those that trust in him shall never be confounded." "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in men" or means.
2Ki 18:31 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make [an agreement] with me by a present, and come out to me, and [then] eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:
Ver. 31. Make an agreement, &c. ] Heb., Make with me a blessing. The Chaldee hath it, Pacem recipite, Accept of peace upon my terms.
2Ki 18:32 Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.
Ver. 32. To a land like your own land. ] Which was a land that God himself had "espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands." Eze 20:6 Sumen totius orbis, in quo saxa durissima mel et oleum sudabant Deu 32:13 Exo 3:17 This Rabshakeh here acknowledgeth, and is therein more ingenuous than Strabo the geographer ( strabus et pravus nimium), who traduceth Judea for dry and barren, nec satis dignam de qua magnopere pugnetur, not worth striving for. a
And hearken not unto Hezekiah. ] This is a string that he much harpeth upon. It is our faith that Satan chiefly striketh at; Luk 22:32 hold fast this shield. Eph 6:16
a Tacitus uber solum Iudaeis attribuit.
2Ki 18:33 Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
Ver. 33. Hath any of the gods of the nations. ] These were no gods, and Hezekiah might better say than that heathen once did, Contemno minutulos istos deos, modo, Iovem (Iehovam) mihi propitium habeam; Let the Lord arise, and his enemies shall be scattered.
2Ki 18:34 Where [are] the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where [are] the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?
Ver. 34. Where are the gods? ] Os ferreum! This is a most insolent insultation, and might well become an Aiax flagellifer, who knew no god but his own weapons.
Have they delivered? ] i.e., Have the gods of Samaria?
2Ki 18:35 Who [are] they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?
Ver. 35. Who are they among all the gods? ] See 2 Kings 18:30 .
2Ki 18:36 But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
Ver. 36. But the people held their peace. ] They punished him with silence, as Isaac did Ishmael. Sile, et funestam dedisti plagam, saith Chrysostom. Silence is the best answer to words of scorn and petulancy, saith learned Hooker. Convitia spreta exolescunt, saith Tacitus. It is best to stop an open mouth with saying nothing, saith Basil. a "But I as a deaf man heard not: yea, I was as one dumb, in whose mouth there is no reproof." Psa 38:14 Princes use to punish the indecencies of ambassadors by denying them audience. Rabshakeh could not be more spited than with no answer. This sulphurous flask therefore dieth in his own smoke, only leaving a hateful stench behind it.
a Sιωπη τον ονειδον πνιγειν δει . - Bas., Eph 72.
2Ki 18:37 Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which [was] over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with [their] clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.
Ver. 37. With their clothes rent. ] To show how deeply they were affected with and offended at Rabshakeh’s blasphemies. Should not we be as much at the Ranters? See Matthew 26:65 .
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 18". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany