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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Isaiah 39

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. XXXIX.

Merodach-baladan, sending to visit Hezekiah because of the wonder, hath notice of his treasures. Isaiah, understanding thereof, foretelleth the Babylonish captivity.

Before Christ 714.


Verse 1

Isaiah 39:1. Merodach-baladan Merodach was the name of an idol worshipped by the Babylonians, and Bel another; add these two idols, with the addition of אדן Adan or Adon, which signifies Lord, gave name to this king. Baladan is generally supposed to be the same person who is called Belesis or Belesus, and Nabonassarus; from whom the famous computation of time, called AEra Nabonassari, took its name. He is called, 2 Kings 20:12, Berodach-Baladan. One reason for his sending this embassy, as appears from 2 Chronicles 32:31, was, to satisfy himself with regard to the miracle of the shadow's going backward on the king's recovery; for the Babylonians were, from all antiquity, famous for their astronomical knowledge.


Verse 2

Isaiah 39:2. And Hezekiah was glad, &c.— This action of Hezekiah favoured of great weakness, as nothing more strongly excites the enmity of neighbouring states, than such an unseasonable display of riches: it favours of ostentation and vanity, both of them vices very unsuitable to that temper of mind, which his late cure, and the miracle that he had seen, should have wrought in him; and perhaps it favours something of impiety, since Hezekiah seems to have displayed his treasures as his own acquisitions, without ascribing the possession of them to the goodness and power of God. See Vitringa.


Verse 6

Isaiah 39:6. Behold, the days come Whoever considers the state of things at this time, the small power the Assyrian had, and that their king was tributary to the king of Babylon, must acknowledge that this was a striking instance of the divine omniscience; and, when he finds that this prediction was verified, at the distance of 150 years after it was pronounced, he cannot desire a stronger instance of the divine authority and prophetical spirit wherewith Isaiah was endowed. See 2 Kings 24:13.


Verse 7

Isaiah 39:7. They shall be eunuchs, &c. The Hebrew word סריסים sarisim, rendered eunuchs, signifies great officers employed about the person of the sovereign; and, as eunuchs were generally invested with these offices, the word eunuch, and a great officer, became frequently synonymous terms in the East, though they convey perfectly different ideas in our language. See Parkhurst on the word סדס and Daniel 1:3; Daniel 1:21.


Verse 8

Isaiah 39:8. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah Hezekiah, convinced of his error, and perceiving that he had justly provoked the divine indignation, acknowledges his fault, and humbles himself greatly for his pride, as is recorded to his praise, 2 Chronicles 32:26. And these words afford us a strong proof of his humility; wherein he acknowledges the divine justice, and at the same time extols the great lenity and goodness of God, in sparing him, and delaying for a season that punishment which he might so justly have inflicted upon him. Calmet and others would render and understand the passage thus: "What thou hast told me from the Lord is good: I willingly submit to it; but shall peace and truth continue in my time? May I flatter myself with the hope of so much indulgence and mercy?"

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Though nothing could appear more promising than Hezekiah's late professions, and in general he did approve himself faithful, yet in some things he failed, as in the history here recorded, where his pride and vanity reduced him; so that, as it is observed by the sacred historian, 2 Chronicles 32:25, He rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him.

This history we have had before, 2 Kings 20:12; 2 Kings 20:21 and may just add to what has been already observed, [1.] How hard it is to be kept humble under distinguished mercies and this world's wealth. [2.] They will be courted in prosperity, who in adversity would be despised. [3.] When it becomes their interest, the enemies of religion will caress God's people; but their kisses are commonly deceitful. [4.] An affectation of displaying our improvements, wealth, buildings, &c. to strangers, and taking a secret pleasure in doing so, evinces the vanity of the heart, and often that most, when we affect to call them trifles. [5.] God will not see his children puffed up, without sending them the needful rebuke: it is well if, like Hezekiah, we take shame to ourselves, and confess our folly.

2nd, It was a mortifying message which the prophet brought him; but it was a blessed symptom of Hezekiah's gracious spirit, that so humbly he acquiesced in the divine judgment. It may teach us, [1.] That it is just in God to take from us the gifts that we abuse. [2.] Not to be desirous of, or value ourselves upon, the respect paid us by the children of this world: our intimacy and connections with them usually in their issue prove our plague. [3.] True prophets of God must not spare the faithful reproof; and true penitents will, so far from being offended, receive it with thankfulness. [4.] When God is pleased to resume his gifts which we have abused, or to punish us by afflictions in world for our sins, it becomes us to bear the rod with quietness, and justify him in his judgments. While we are out of hell, all our sufferings are infinitely less than we deserve. [5.] Though we cannot but be concerned about the evils which we foresee, yet every moment's respite is a mercy to be acknowledged.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/isaiah-39.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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