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Wednesday, October 4th, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 37

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-20

The Effect of Sennacherib's Boast upon Hezekiah

v. 1. And it came to pass, when King Hezekiah heard it, namely, the report of his envoys, that he rent his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth, the depth of his grief and distress being shown by the fact that he wrapped himself in the vestments of mourning, and went into the house of the Lord, seeking help in the place in which God had promised to hear the prayers of His faithful people, 1 Kings 8:29.

v. 2. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, the royal chamberlain, and Shebna, the scribe, a high state officer, and the elders of the priests, a committee of priests selected on account of their age and experience, covered with sackcloth, in the same garments of mourning as the king had donned, unto Isaiah, the prophet, the son of Amoz, thus indicating the importance of the prophet's position at that time.

v. 3. And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, of great affliction, and of rebuke, the king recognizing here a reproof of the Lord on account of the sins of his people, and of blasphemy, namely, of the blasphemous utterances of Rabshakeh; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth, the mother's labor being inadequate to complete the birth, the reference being to the situation in the nation, which was threatened with destruction on account of its own weakness.

v. 4. It may be the Lord, thy God, will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria, his master, hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the Lord, thy God, hath heard, namely, the blasphemous statements that Jehovah, after all, was no more than the gods of the surrounding nations, a mistake which others had made before, 1 Kings 20:23; wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left, namely, Jerusalem and its inhabitants, everything else having been conquered by the invaders.

v. 5. So the servants of King Hezeikiah came to Isaiah.

v. 6. And Isaiah said unto them, when they had presented their message, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants, literally, "the youths," a disparaging designation characterizing their empty boasting, of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me, that being the real and grievous offense committed by Rabshakeh's embassy.

v. 7. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, influence his judgments and actions by a spirit which will guide him according to the plans of the Lord, and he shall hear a rumor, an evil report, and return to his own land, instead of attacking Jerusalem, as he evidently intended to do; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land, by the hand of assassins, as related at the end of the chapter.

v. 8. So Rabshakeh returned, marching back to the camp of his master without having accomplished his end, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, a fortified city somewhat nearer to Jerusalem; for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish, withdrawing before the Egyptian advance.

v. 9. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, at that time master of the entire country of Egypt, He is come forth to make war with thee, this being the report which, according to Isaiah's promise, was to influence Sennacherib to abandon his campaign. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, in a second attempt to get possession of Jerusalem and thus to strengthen his cause against Egypt,

v. 10. Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah, king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. His attempt to intimidate the inhabitants of Jerusalem having failed, Sennacherib hoped to influence Hezekiah himself and cause him to yield.

v. 11. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly, this being a typical example of the boastfulness which characterizes the royal tablets of the Assyrian kings; and shalt thou be delivered?

v. 12. Have the gods of the nations, namely, those subdued up to that time, delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, a province and city on the boundary of Mesopotamia and Armenia, and Haran, in Mesopotamia proper, and Reseph, in the valley of the Euphrates, on the western side, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? a Mesopotamian locality on the east side of the Tigris.

v. 13. Where is the king of Hamath and the king of Arphad and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Isaiah 30:19, Hena, and Ivah? the latter being cities in Babylonia.

v. 14. And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, that is, the sheets upon which the message was penned. and read it. And Hezekiah went up unto the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord, unrolled the parchment-scroll of writing. He thus brought the blasphemy to the attention of the Lord.

v. 15. And Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying,

v. 16. O Lord of hosts, Commander of the heavenly armies, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubim, for that was the place from which the Lord communed with Moses, where He dwelt in the midst of His people, Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth, the one and only supreme Ruler of the universe; Thou hast made heaven and earth, and by virtue of His creation they are subject to Him.

v. 17. Incline Thine ear, O Lord, in the gesture of close attention, and hear; open Thine eyes, O Lord, and see, both of them, as it were, being focused upon conditions as they obtained in Judah at that time, and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God, to heap contempt upon Him.

v. 18. Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their countries, the nations and their land,

v. 19. and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone, dead and helpless idols; therefore they have destroyed them, this fact explained the easy victory of the As-Syrians.

v. 20. Now, therefore, O Lord, our God, upon whom Hezekiah and his people based their firm trust for deliverance, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the Lord, even Thou only, the appeal thus being that the Lord should rescue His honor. That is the strongest argument which we may plead before the Lord in prayer, that lie must hear us for the sake of His holy name, lest His honor be attacked with a show of right by the enemies.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Isaiah 37". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/isaiah-37.html. 1921-23.
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