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A.M. 3291. B.C. 713.
Sennacherib invading Judah, Hezekiah fortifies himself, 2 Chronicles 32:1-8 . The insolent letters and messages sent by Sennacherib, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19 . The destruction of his army, 2 Chronicles 32:20-23 . Hezekiah’s sickness, riches, and death, 2 Chronicles 32:24-33 .
2 Chronicles 32:1. After these things, and the establishment thereof An emphatical preface, signifying, that notwithstanding all his zeal for God, God saw fit to exercise him with a sore trial. And God ordered it at this time, that he might have an opportunity of showing himself strong on the behalf of his returning people. It is possible we may be in the way of our duty, and yet meet with trouble and danger. God permits this, for the trial of our confidence in him, and the manifestation of his care over us. It was well ordered, however, by the Divine Providence, that this trouble did not come upon Hezekiah and his kingdom till the reformation was finished and established; for, if it had come sooner, it might, and probably would, have put a stop to that good work. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came, and entered into Judah He was now, as Nebuchadnezzar was afterward, the terror, and scourge, and great oppressor of that part of the world, who aimed to raise a boundless monarchy for himself, upon the ruins of all his neighbours. His predecessor, Shalmaneser, had lately made himself master of the kingdom of Israel, and carried the ten tribes captive; and Sennacherib thought, in like manner, to win Judah to himself. Thus pride and ambition put men upon grasping at universal dominion.
2 Chronicles 32:3-4. To stop the waters of the fountains To fill them up with earth and other things cast into them, that it might not be known there was any water there, and withal to draw the waters by secret passages and pipes to Jerusalem . And the brook that ran through the midst of the land The brook Kidron, which being but small, except when much rain fell, they easily filled up the spring of it. Saying, Why should the kings of Assyria find much water Which was scarce in that country, and the want of it might greatly distress the Assyrian army.
2 Chronicles 32:5. He built up all the wall that was broken Which Joash, king of Israel, had broken down, and which had not since been repaired. And raised it up to the towers Either as high as the towers, or tops of the wall; or from the gate of Ephraim as far as the two towers, which were at the corner-gate, having been raised there for the defence of it. So that the wall, that had been broken down, was all rebuilt. See 2 Chronicles 25:23. And repaired Millo Of which see note on 1 Kings 9:15.
2 Chronicles 32:9-10. After this did Sennacherib send his servants to Jerusalem
Of this and the following verses, see notes on 2 Kings 18:17, &c., and 2 Chronicles 19:10, &c. Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege, &c. Or rather, why do ye stay till Jerusalem is besieged; or, resolve to stand a siege? For the city was not yet besieged.
2 Chronicles 32:11-12. To give over yourselves to die by famine, &c. It appears by this he did not intend to storm the city, but to keep them pent up till they were starved. Hath not Hezekiah taken away his high places, &c. He speaks thus through his ignorance of the divine law, which enjoined them to worship only at Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 32:15. How much less shall your God deliver you Seeing I have destroyed so many nations, and some of them stronger than you, in spite of all their gods, it is not probable that your God should defend you?
inasmuch as none of the others could defend their worshippers.
2 Chronicles 32:18-19. That they might take the city By a surrender of it into their hands. They spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people They set the God of Israel, the Creator of heaven and earth, upon the same footing with the idols of the heathen.
2 Chronicles 32:21. The Lord sent an angel The Jewish comment, termed the Targum, says, The Word of the Lord (the Eternal Word) sent Gabriel to do this execution, and that it was done with lightning, and in the passover night, the same night wherein the firstborn in Egypt were slain. Which cut off the mighty men, and the leaders and captains With a vast number of common soldiers, 2 Kings 19:35. They that came forth of his own bowels slew him See 2 Kings 19:37. And with him the Assyrian empire began to fall, and never recovered its former strength. For the next year after Sennacherib’s death, the Medes revolted, being encouraged to it, no doubt, by this great loss at Jerusalem. And by their example, several other nations fell off from the Assyrians and asserted their independence.
2 Chronicles 32:22-23 . Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem By this work of wonder he was glorified as the Protector and Saviour of his people; from the hand of Sennacherib, and of all others For such a deliverance as this was an earnest of great mercy in store for them; and guided them on every side That is, defended them from all their enemies; just as a shepherd doth his sheep, which he leads into places of safety. And many brought gifts unto the Lord When they were convinced he had such wonderful power, having seen it exerted for the defence of his people, strangers were thereby induced to supplicate his favour, and those who had been enemies to him and his people, to deprecate his wrath; and both brought gifts to his temple, in token of their desire of the former, or fear of the latter. And presents to Hezekiah In token of the esteem and honour in which they held him, and to obtain an interest in him. So that he was magnified in the sight of all nations Or, of all those nations; namely, the nations which were not very remote from Canaan, and heard of these things.
2 Chronicles 32:25. Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done him Was not humble, grateful, and devoted to God, as in reason and duty he ought to have been, considering God’s marvellous interpositions in his favour, and the great and extraordinary deliverances he had wrought out for him and his kingdom; but God’s favour to him became the food and fuel of his pride. For his heart was lifted up On account of that prodigious victory over the Assyrians, his miraculous restoration from sickness, and the honour since done him by an embassy from the great king of Babylon. All which, probably, raised in him too great an opinion of himself, as if these things were done for his piety and virtues. And instead of walking humbly with God, and giving the glory of all to him, he took, in part at least, the honour to himself, and vainly showed his riches and precious treasures to the Babylonish ambassadors, 2 Kings 20:12, &c. Therefore there was wrath upon him For pride is a sin which God particularly hates, especially in his own people; and they that exalt themselves must expect to be abased, and put under humbling providences. Thus wrath came on David for his pride in numbering the people. And upon Judah and Jerusalem Who were justly punished for Hezekiah’s sin, because they imitated him in it, as they confess in the next verse.
2 Chronicles 32:26. Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart For the sins of the heart, though they should never show themselves in any external way, either by word or deed, must be acknowledged to God and repented of, if we would find mercy; and self-humiliation is a necessary branch of repentance. Both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem Who humbled themselves with Hezekiah, either because they were conscious they had been guilty of the same sin, or, at least, feared they might share in the punishment. So that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah In his days there were peace and truth; so much doth repentance avail to put by, or at least to put off, the tokens of God’s anger.
2 Chronicles 32:29. He provided him cities He repaired, fortified, and beautified them, for the honour and safety of his kingdom. And possessions of flocks and herds in abundance The riches of those countries consisted chiefly in abundance of cattle.
2 Chronicles 32:30. Hezekiah stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon A rivulet near Jerusalem, consisting of two streams, the upper, which was brought into one pool, called the upper pool, (Isaiah 7:3,) and the lower, which was brought into another, called the lower pool, Isaiah 22:9. The former he diverted, and brought by pipes into Jerusalem, which was a work of great art and labour. And brought it straight down to the city of David Whereas before it fetched a compass, and therefore might have been beneficial to the Assyrian host.
2 Chronicles 32:31. To inquire of the wonder done in the land Either the destruction of the Assyrians, or the going back of the sun. These miracles were wrought to alarm and awaken a stupid, careless world, and to turn them from dumb and lame idols to the living God. God left him To himself, and suffered Satan to try him, that he might know he had infirmities and sins as well as virtues. O, what need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own follies and infirmities, and to beg earnestly of God, that he would hide pride from them!
2 Chronicles 32:33. All Judah did him honour at his death They buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres, made as great burning for him as for Asa; or, which is a much greater honour, made great lamentation for him, as they afterward did for Josiah. Though it is to be feared that the generality of the people did not comply with those of their kings, who were pious, in their endeavours to reform the nation; yet they could not but praise those endeavours, and the memory of those kings was blessed among them. It is a debt we owe to those who have been eminently useful in their day, to do them honour at their death, when they are out of the reach of flattery, and we have seen the end of their conversation.
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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 32". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13