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THE REIGN OF HEZEKIAH THE GOOD
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.—
2 Kings 18:1. Hezekiah the son of Ahaz began to reign—See Note on chap. 2 Kings 16:2 as to the age of Ahaz.
2 Kings 18:4. He removed the high places, and brake the images—His sweeping reformation, by which the land was purged of idols, and the true religion of Jehovah re-established, is more fully depicted in 2 Chronicles 29:0. The brazen serpent that Moses had made—For even that symbol of salvation by faith had become prostituted to idolatrous purposes, just as the symbol of the cross of Christ has become abused in degenerate Christendom. He called it Nehushtan—A thing of brass, or “the so-called brass god” (Ewald).
2 Kings 18:7. He rebelled against the king of Assyria—Emancipated Judah from the hateful yoke. At this time Shalmanezer was engaged in war with Tyre; and Hezekiah, acting out his noble faith in Jehovah as his nation’s Supreme King, threw off heathenish opp ession, and placed himself and people under the Theocracy again. 2 Kings 18:9-12. Record of Israel’s deportation by Shalmanezer—Interposed in the story to mark the date of its occurrence in Hezekiah’s reign. So that while this good king was restoring Judah to alliance with Jehovah, and recovering the independency of the kingdom, the debasing kingdom of Israel was falling into ruins.
HOMILETICS OF 2 Kings 18:1-12
A RESOLUTE RELIGIOUS REFORMER
I. Is characterised by the possession of a profound and genuine personal piety (2 Kings 18:5-6). The great movements that have blessed the world sprung from the religious spirit. Hezekiah’s piety was the actuating force in his reforming work. “He trusted in, he clave to, the Lord”: these words reveal the secret of his inspiration and power. We trace the beginning of his religious life to a similar source where many a great and good man received his best and most lasting impressions—the potent influence of a mother’s teaching. It is suggestively stated in the text—“His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah” (2 Kings 18:2): on which Wordsworth remarks—“The names of the mothers of all the later kings of Judah are mentioned in holy scripture, intimating the importance of a mother’s influence, especially in evil days. It needs a brave heart and vigorous hand to attack and reform abuses that have become chronic and popular, and only the man who is sustained by the most intense religious convictions will attempt it.
II. Is fearless and unhesitating in destroying all popular symbols of idolatry (2 Kings 18:4). As soon as the king began his reforming work he found there was plenty to do. His kingdom was studded with heathen shrines and idolatrous images. Among the rest was the brazen serpent of Moses, which would acquire a mysterious sanctity because of its antiquity and associations, and would readily be made an object of worship by a people so habituated to idolatry. To the practical eyes of the reformer this object of reverence was but a piece of brass, and he did not hesitate to snap it in pieces. It might seem sacrilege to break up such a relic, but it was idolatry to preserve it; it must share the same fate as the rest. The earnest reformer has a sharp definition in his own mind of what is essential and non-essential, and he makes a clean sweep of whatever balks the attainment of his loved object. He deals in what to him are stern realities. He cannot tolerate shams: away with them!
III. Secures the prospering blessing of Jehovah (2 Kings 18:7-8). God honours the man who is zealous for His glory. So Hezekiah soon realized. He withheld tribute from Assyria, and asserted the freedom and independence of his kingdom. He crushed the Philistines who, encouraged by the weakness of preceding rulers, had harassed the borders of Judah. “He prospered whithersoever he went forth.” His kingdom was small; no larger than the triangle in the North of England defined by the towns of Stockton-on-Tees, Whitehaven, and Berwick-on-Tweed—rather smaller than Yorkshire; but it had great natural resources for maintaining a considerable population. (For an interesting description of “Judah in Hezekiah’s day,” see Geikie’s “Hours with the Bible”). How, so insignificant a territory rose to such importance and affluence under Hezekiah is explained by the recorded fact—“The Lord was with him.”The man that works for God shall not go unblessed; and the most enriching blessing is the Divine Presence. It gives strength to weakness, grandeur to the insignificant, turns defeat into victory, and suffering into joy.
IV. Is stimulated and encouraged in his reforming work by witnessing the disastrous results of apostacy (2 Kings 18:9-12). The destruction of the kingdom of Israel was regarded as an event of such significance that the sacred writer interrupts his narrative once more to refer to it, and to reiterate the truth that disobedience was the cause of its ruin. With the example of the fate of the neighbouring kingdom before his eyes, Hezekiah would be excited to fresh zeal in carrying out his reforming work. He saw unless he rooted out idolatry, it would root him out. It is related of a celebrated British ambassador to the Court of Berlin that at one time he possessed a huge boa constrictor, and interested himself in watching its habits. One day the monster escaped from the box where he supposed it was asleep, quietly wound itself around his body, and began gradually to tighten its folds. His position became extremely perilous; but the consummate coolness and self-possession which had enabled him to win many a diplomatic triumph, befriended him in this emergency. He remembered there was a bone in the throat of the serpent which, if he could find and break, he would save himself. He was aware that either he or the snake must perish. Not a moment must be lost in hesitation. He deliberately seized the head of the serpent, thrust his hand down its throat, and smashed the vital bone. The coils were relaxed, the victim fell at his feet, and he was free! So Hezekiah saw his kingdom enswathed in the deadly coils of idolatry, and that unless he acted with promptitude and vigour, both he and his kingdom would perish as Israel had done. He attacked the vulnerable part of the evil with such resolution that he and, for a time his people, were saved.
1. No man can be a reformer who has not deep religious convictions.
2. It is an important advantage when reform is championed by royalty.
3. Genuine reform arrests the progress of decay and ruin.
GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES
2 Kings 18:1-3. Israel is gone. Judah is left standing; or rather, some few sprigs of those two tribes. So we have seen, in the shredding of some large timber tree, one or two boughs left at the top to hold up the sap. Who can but lament the poor remainders of that languishing kingdom of David! Yet, even now, out of the gleeds of Judah, doth God raise up a glorious light to His forlorn Church; yea, from the wretched loins of Ahaz doth God fetch a holy Hezekiah. It had been hard to conceive the state of Judah worse than it was; neither was it more miserable than sinful, and, in regard of both, desperate. When beyond hope, God revives this dying stock of David, and, out of very ruins, builds up His own house. Good Hezekiah makes amends for his father’s impiety, and puts a new life into the heartless remnant of God’s people. The wisdom of our good God knows when His aid will be most seasonable, most welcome, which He then loves to give when He finds us left of our hopes. That merciful hand is reserved for a dead lift; then He fails us not.—Bp. Hall.
2 Kings 18:3. The conversion of Hezekiah was not due to Isaiah, but to a less famous contemporary. It would seem that the corrupt state of morals and religion, against which the prophets of the age of Uzziah complained, continued into Hezekiah’s reign. Suddenly, in the midst of an assembly, in which the king himself was present, there appeared the startling apparition, in the simplicity of his savage nakedness, of the prophet Micah. With the sharp, abrupt, piercing cry peculiar to his manner, he commanded each class to hear him. The people listened with awe to the bitter satire with which the nobles were described as preparing their cannibal feast out of the flesh and bones of the poor. They heard him denounce the unholy compact, then first begun, between the mercenary priests and the traitor prophets (Micah 3:0). There was a pause when he concluded. It would seem as if for a moment an indignant king and people would rise and crush the audacious seer. But Hezekiah was not a mere tool in the hands of nobles, or priests, or prophets. Micah was left unscathed. And even in the prophet’s own life-time—it may be almost immediately after his warning—succeeded the promise of a prosperity before unknown; when the nation should in peace be like the gentle dew, in war like the lion in forest and fold, or like a fierce bull treading down his enemies on the threshing-floor, with horns of iron and hoofs of brass. The wild dirge of Micah had been aimed against the moral evils of the nation. Of any moral reformation the chronicler tells us nothing. But the outward reformation which he describes was doubtless the expression of an inward change also.—Stanley.
—Hezekiah and Luther—a parallel.
1. Both had a personal realization of the truth.
2. They had a high regard and love for the Divine Word.
3. They were distinguished by strong faith. “Trusted in the Lord God of Israel.”
4. They were men of prayer. Chap. 2 Kings 19:15-19. Isaiah 37:6-20. Luther said he could not get on without spending three hours a day in prayer.
5. They had definite beliefs and convictions.
6. They had the courage of their convictions. Seen in definite and decisive action. Hezekiah attacked the idolatries of his time, and Luther the ecclesiastical corruptions of his day.
7. They enjoyed the guardian providence of God. How marvellously did God interfere in both histories.
8. They witnessed the success of their efforts. The Lord was with them and prospered them. Which of these traits of character do we possess in our sphere as reformers?—J. Holmes.
—Iconoclast. The first and second commandments make a full sweep of idolatry. We are not to worship any other god; we are not to worship the true God by the use of representative symbols. Our reformers acted well, and after a scriptural model, when they poured contempt upon the idols of Rome, and made a mockery of her saints, relics, images, masses, and priests. There was a deep meaning in their breaking of crosses and the burning of holy roods. Whenever we see superstition in any shape, we must not flatter the folly; but, according to our ability, act the iconoclast’s part and denounce it. First, we shall apportion a share of image-breaking work to believers; and secondly, prescribe another form of this same work for seeking souls.
I. We have much idol-breaking work for Christians to do.
1. There is much idol-breaking to be done in the church of God. We are all too apt as Christians to place some degree of reliance upon men whom God, in His infinite mercy, raises up to be leaders in the Christian Church. We must get beyond men, or else we shall be very babes in grace. We are not to exalt the pipes, but the fountain head; not the windows, but the sun must we thank for light; not the basket which holds the food, or the lad who brings the loaves and fishes, must we reverence, but the Divine master who blesses and multiplies the bread, and feeds the multitude. Love the ministers of Christ, but fall not into that form of brazen serpent worship which will degrade you into the servants of men. There is too much exaltation of talent and dependence upon education, especially in reference to ministers. On the slabs of stone which mark the burial places of the early Christians in the catacombs of Rome, the inscriptions are nearly all ill-spelt, grammar is forgotten, and orthography violated; a proof that the early Christians who thus commemorated the martyred dead, were many of them uneducated persons; but, for all that, they crushed the wisdom of the sages, and smote the gods of classic lands. We are not to select our pastors simply because of their talents and acquirements; we must regard their unction, we must look at their call, and see whether the spirit of God is with them. The same may be said of human eloquence. Let the men speak well—the truth ought to be delivered in the best of sentences; but the noblest language ever uttered by man never convinced a soul of sin, or bound up a wounded conscience, or raised a sinner from his death in sin, for oratory is but a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal if the Holy Ghost be not there.
2. Much superstition requires to be broken down in reference to a rigid adhesion to certain modes of Christian service. There is a class of persons who object to every holy project for evangelisation, however right and judicious, if it happens to be novel; and they will continue to object till the work has been long in action and has placed itself beyond fear of their opposition or need of their assistance. Fetters are none the less burdensome for being antique. Let the brazen serpent be broken if it become a barrier to the onward progress of the cross.
3. Let us turn to the temple of our own hearts, and we shall find much work to be done there. Are you congratulating yourself upon your advanced position? Do you think twenty years’ experience has changed your corruptions, that your tendencies to sin are not so strong as they were, that you have less need to watch, less need to depend simply on the merit of Christ and the work of His Spirit? I have heard that more horses fall at the bottom of the hill than anywhere else, and I know that more professors make shipwreck towards the close of life than at any other time. The falls recorded in the Old and New Testaments are the falls, not of young men in the heat of passion, but of old or middle-aged men. Lot was no boy when he disgraced himself. David was no young man when he transgressed with Bathsheba. Peter was no child when he denied his Lord. An old Puritan quaintly says, suppose a loving husband were to give to his wife many rings and jewels out of love to her, and she should come to think so highly of the love tokens that she sat and admired them and forgot her husband, would he not be rather inclined to take these things away to turn her love once again to himself? So with our graces and enjoyments; if we think too much of them, the iconoclastic hammer will come in, and these things will vanish because they have provoked the Lord to jealousy.
II. Those who are seekers of Jesus. There is some idol-breaking to be done for them. Many think they ought to be much better than they are; they have faults to be corrected; their minds are in a wrong condition, they must be put right, and they are trying to do this with the intention, when they feel better, to put their trust in Jesus. With some, the Nehushtan which they set up is their sense of sin; either they do not feel the need of Christ as they ought, or else they do feel their need, and therefore think they are in a fair condition. Many are resting in their fear of self-deception. Do you think that your being afraid of presumption is a better thing than believing God’s testimony concerning His Son? Many are resting in sermon hearing, or in reading the Bible regularly; others are making an idol of brass out of their prayers. Seekers of Christ continually start new difficulties. Their doubts, reasonings, and questions are like an endless chain: pull up one link, and it brings up another. Their suspicions are like a chain of dredging buckets that come up all full of mire, and over they go and empty themselves but to come up full again. If one-tenth part of the ingenuity they use in rebelling against the command of God, which bids them believe, were used in simply investigating what they are told to believe, they would come to faith and be saved from their doubts. Sinner, let thy artful doubts and reasonings be nailed to yonder tree: crucify them. God grant you grace to break up these idols of yours, and take your Saviour now.—C. H. Spurgeon.
2 Kings 18:4. The preservation of this remarkable relic of antiquity (the brazen serpent) might, like the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod, have remained an interesting and instructive monument of the Divine goodness and mercy to the Israelites in the wilderness; and it must have required the exercise of no small courage and resolution to destroy it. But in the progress of degeneracy it had become an object of idolatrous worship; and as the interests of true religion rendered its demolition necessary, Hezekiah, by taking this bold step, consulted both the glory of God and the good of his country. Amongst the numerous hypotheses advanced to account for the origin of this singular reverence, not the least likely is, that it arose from vague and distorted rumours of the miraculous healing of the Israelites in the wilderness; and the image of a serpent became the deified symbol of something good and beneficent. The prevalence of ophiolatry in Egypt, Phoenicia, Syria, and Assyria, could scarcely fail to arrest the attention and impress the minds of the Hebrew people, till in times of ignorance and idolatry they adopted the same superstition; and, although the brazen serpent in the wilderness had no symbolic import, but was merely an external sign, selected, probably, for the general ground of removing all ideas of the natural accomplishment of the cure, yet the tradition concerning the animal, the sight of which had restored the wounded Hebrews, and the reverence felt for it by the neighbouring nations, naturally produced similar sentiments in the minds of the Israelites, till admiration for a venerable relic of antiquity, combined with the contagion of contemporary usages, had, in the degenerate times of the monarchy, gradually led to the worship of the brazen serpent.—Jamieson.
2 Kings 18:5. The character and life of Hezekiah. I. His public life.
1. The spiritual was in his estimation the foundation of the political.
2. Was indebted for his religious training to a pious mother. II. His great characteristics.
1. Strong faith in God.
2. Generous ideas.
3. Great zeal in carrying out great movements.
4. Penitent submission under affliction.
5. Vanity which proved fatal.—H. Kendall.
2 Kings 18:5-8. Religion, the strength of a ruler.
1. When founded in a deep and firm trust in God.
2. Is evidenced by practical obedience.
3. Ensures the mighty help of Jehovah.
4. Enhances the prestige and authority of the throne.
5. Promotes national freedom and prosperity.
2 Kings 18:5-6. True piety.
1. Consists of a faith which is at once trust and confidence (Hebrews 11:1).
2. Clinging to the Lord in adversity and in prosperity without departing from him (Psalms 73:25).
3. Keeping the commandments of God (James 2:17; 1 John 5:3).—Lange.
2 Kings 18:7. Pursuing the policy of a truly theocratic sovereign, he was, through the Divine blessing, which rested on his government, raised to a position of great public and national strength. Besides the revived activity and moral vigour of the people of Judah, connected with the material prosperity of the country, and the religious reforms carried on by Hezekiah, and which, doubtless, was the primary motive that encouraged him to shake off the Assyrian yoke, it is necessary to take into account the secret influence of Egypt upon the councils of the king. Against this, Isaiah all along raised a decided and earnest protest (Isaiah 30:1-5; Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 31:3). In counselling Hezekiah, he did not advocate either revolt or submission; he proceeded upon a principle entirely different from that of ordinary politics—that of urging an unwavering faith in the protection of the Divine King and Head of the nation, by an immediate and universal re-establishment of the worship and law of God. This step he recommended to the king as, in the first instance, the most becoming a theocratic ruler, and the most certain of realizing the fulfilment of the promises made to his people. Acting in this way, the prophet assured him he would find that, with the Divine favour, “one would chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight:” whereas, without help from above, all his military preparations and strategic manœuvres would not secure the deliverance of his kingdom.—Jamieson.
2 Kings 18:9-12. The fate of nations.
1. Is in the hands of God.
2. The ruin of one nation recorded as a warning to others.
3. The potent cause of national decay and extinction is neglect of God.
—Hoshea and Hezekiah. The former came to the throne by conspiracy and murder, and he did not do what was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he perished with his people. The latter trusted in the Lord and clung to Him, and therefore he came out with his people victoriously from the peril.—Lange.
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.—
2 Kings 18:13. In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah did Sennacherib, &c.—Comp. Isaiah 36:0. This mighty Assyrian was with his vast army on his way to war with his hated and dreaded rival, Egypt. Judah lay in the line of his march, and its conquest was essential to his safe advance to Egypt. Hezekiah trembled as this terrible foe swept down upon the land; and being without support from Egypt, he purchased temporary respite by a heavy tribute valuing £351,000, to raise which he had to empty the palace, and even strip the gold from the temple (2 Kings 18:16).
2 Kings 18:14. The king of Assyria to Lachish—A strongly fortified town south-west of Jerusalem on the way to Egypt. One of the Assyrian bas-reliefs recently discovered represents the seige of a town; shows the figure of an Assyrian king conducting it, and a string of captives whose physiognomy is unmistakably Jewish. Over the head of the king runs this inscription: “Sennacherib, the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throns of judgment before the city of Lachish: I give permission for its slaughter.”
2 Kings 18:17. Tartan and Rabsaris … against Jerusalem—Sennacherib himself marched forward against Egypt, where he found himself engaged in a three years’ campaign, ending in defeat. Tartan was general; Rabsaris, chief of the eunuchs; Rab-shakeh, chief cup-bearer. The general’s insolent message to Hezekiah was met with the silence (2 Kings 18:36) which the king had imposed on his delegates (2 Kings 18:18). and which the people also maintained. This avoided provocation to the Assyrian general. The am bassadors, grieved at the menacing and insulting language to their king, and the blasphemies against Jehovah to which they had listened, returned to Hezekiah covered with the signs of humiliation and mourning.—W. H. J.
HOMILETICS OF 2 Kings 18:13-37
A BOASTFUL AND ARROGANT SPIRIT
I. Is the offspring of military success (2 Kings 18:13-16). The Assyrian king invaded Judah, captured the fenced cities, compelled Hezekiah to pay a heavy tribute, and now his victorious legions surrounded Jerusalem and threatened it with immediate destruction. Flushed with success and with unlimited confidence in the power of their arms, the captains of the great king indulge in a spirit of proud vaunting. It is the tendency of all military success—especially as war was carried on in those days—to inspire an arrogant and self-confident spirit. Few men know how to behave themselves in the moment of victory. Some soldiers are so elated with triumph, that their bounce and vanity are intolerable. It is forgotten that, in the changing fortunes of warfare, the winners of the fight to-day may be the vanquished of to-morrow.
II. Is plausible in speech and lavish in promises (2 Kings 18:17-32). There is a sort of cleverness in this speech of Rabshakeh’s—the cleverness of craft and guile and flattery. He rallies Hezekiah on his trust in Egypt and in Jehovah, as though they were one and the same in the Assyrian estimation. He promises 2,000 horses if the Jews will come out and fight, though by their inability to find a sufficient number of horsemen he thus shows off the superiority of his attacking forces. He claims to have the authority of Jehovah for his enterprise, and, turning to the people who crowded the city walls, he entices them to submission by promises of peace and plenty. A boastful and arrogant spirit has endless inflexibility; it can adapt itself to anything to gain a purpose. It can hide the most sinister designs under a mask of bewitching plausibility, like certain birds which imitate in their attitudes the forms of the grasses and flowers where they watch for their prey.
III. Hesitates not to insult and defy the only true God (2 Kings 18:33-35). Rabshakeh boasts that none of the gods of the vanquished nations have been able to deliver their worshippers from the invincible power of the Assyrian arms; and in insulting and defiant terms he charges Jehovah with similar helplessness. But ah! Rabshakeh, thou dost not know the God of the Jews, or thou wouldst not so speak. Thou art carried away with the bombast of pride; and thy mind shaded with the dark screen of idolatrous ideas, thou canst not conceive the superlative greatness and grandeur of Jehovah. Ere long thou shalt be startled with His presence and awed with the ghastly evidences of His desolating power.
IV. Is best treated with dignified silence (2 Kings 18:36). Silence is what a proud man least can bear. It irritates and annoys him. He does not know whether you are laughing at him or are afraid of him. And yet what better answer than silence can we give to the threats and coaxings of the arrogant? Euripides was wont to say silence was an answer to a wise man; but we seem to have greater occasion for it in our dealing with fools and unreasonable persons; for men of breeding and sense will be satisfied with reason and fair words.
1. Few men can bear with becoming modesty and dignity the power which success brings.
2. The flatteries and promises of a boastful man are unworthy of credence.
3. Neither threats nor flatteries should seduce us from our trust in Jehovah.
GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES
2 Kings 18:13-16. Submission.
1. Distasteful to a liberty-loving king.
2. Inevitable in the face of superior force.
3. May prevent or postpone more serious consequences.
4. Often a heavy drain on national resources.
—The gold of faith can only be made to appear through the fires of adversity. If thy faith is not a mere notion, or opinion, or feeling, or sensation, then it will not diminish in time of trial, but grow and become stronger and purer. Whence should we have had David’s Psalms, if he had not been tried?
2 Kings 18:14-16. Hezekiah held it good policy to make his enemy a golden bridge to go over: so to be rid of him. If Ahaz, that church-robber, had done this, it would better have become him. Hezekiah, for doing it, lost his cost (2 Kings 18:17).—Trapp.
2 Kings 18:17-37. Diplomatic rhetoric.
1. Is a dangerous weapon in the hands of an unscrupulous orator.
2. Is often a specious mixture of truth and falsehood.
3. Seeks to weaken allegiance by flattering promises.
4. Awakens grave anxiety with its tone of confidence and power.
5. Sometimes best answered with dignified silence.
2 Kings 18:17-35. Rabshakeh, the wolf in sheep’s clothing.—I. He appears to warn against Egypt as a power which neither can nor will help, just as Isaiah himself does, while he himself comes to destroy and devour (Matthew 7:15; Matthew 1 John 4:1). II. He represents what had been ordained by Hezekiah, according to the law of the Lord and for His honour, as a sin and a breach of religion, while he himself cared nothing whatever for the law of the Lord or the true and right worship. Beware of those who represent as weakness and folly that which is Divine wisdom and strength. III. He claims that the Lord is with him, and has commanded to do what he is doing, whereas, in fact, he is only the rod of God’s wrath, the staff of His anger, a “hired razor”; and ambition, lust for gold and land, desire for glory and plunder, are his only motives (Matthew 7:22). Be not deceived by the prosperity and the victory of the godless. They are like chaff which the wind scatters, and their way disappears.—Lange.
2 Kings 18:17. O lamentable and in sight desperate condition of distressed Jerusalem! Wealth it had none; strength it had but a little; all the country around about was subdued to the Assyrian; that proud victor has begirt the walls of it with an innumerable army, scorning that such a shovelful of earth should stand out but one day. Poor Jerusalem stands alone, blocked up with a world of enemies, helpless, friendless, comfortless, looking for the worst of a hostile fury, when Tartan and Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh, the great captains of the Assyrians, call to a parley. Lord! what insolent blasphemies does that foul mouth of Rabshakeh belch out against the living God, against His anointed servant!—Bp. Hall.
—We can never rely upon the fidelity of a man who is simply bought with money. Want of courage in one’s self invites an enemy to arrogance. The more humbly one approaches an enemy, the more insolent he becomes. Peace and quiet which are bought with money have no duration.—Lange.
2 Kings 18:21. A false friend compared to the reed of an Egyptian bulrush.
1. Because though it appears outwardly strong, it is brittle and hollow.
2. Because it fails when we most depend upon it.
3. Because it injures us when we expected it would help us.
2 Kings 18:30. “The Lord will deliver us.” I. A noble saying in the mouth of a king speaking to his people. He thereby admits that his own power is insufficient and vain. He leads his people in that faith which is a confidence in what is hoped for, and which admits no doubt of what is not seen. How well it would be for all princes, and people if they had such faith. II. In this saying, all the hope of the Christian life is expressed. With God we overcome the world, for the Lord will at length deliver us from all evil, and bring us to His heavenly kingdom. The blasphemer and boaster wanted to remove these words of the king from the heart of the people, because he knew he should then have won. Now-a-days, also, these words are laughed at and scorned. Let them not be torn from your heart!—Lange.
2 Kings 18:36. Silence.
1. Is the wisest answer to provocation and threatening.
2. Increases the perplexity of a proud and cruel aggressor.
3. Implies confidence in the help which has been so grossly maligned.
—They punished him with silence, as Isaac did Ishmael. Silence is the best answer to words of scorn and petulency. It is best to stop an open mouth with saying nothing. Princes used to punish the indecencies of ambassadors by denying them audience. Rabshakeh could not be more spited than with no answer. This sulphurous flask therefore died in his own smoke, only leaving a hateful stench behind it.—Trapp.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 2 Kings 18". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany