Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 20:12

At that time Berodach-baladan a son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambassadors;   Condolence;   Hezekiah;   Isaiah;   Merodach-Baladan;   Rich, the;   Temptation;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Babylon;   Presents;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Merodach;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Hezekiah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Babylon;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Assyria;   Babylon, Kingdom of;   Baladan;   Berodach-Baladan;   Hezekiah;   Merodach-Baladan;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Manasseh (2);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Assyria, History and Religion of;   Babylon, History and Religion of;   Berodach Baladan;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Letter;   Merodach;   Merodach-Baladan;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hezekiah;   Isaiah, Book of;   Israel;   Merodach-Baladan;   Text, Versions, and Languages of Ot;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon ;   Merodachbaladan ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Baladan;   Hezekiah;   Manasseh;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hezekiah;   Merodach-baladan;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ber'odach-Bal'adan;   Mero'dach-Bal'adan;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Alliance;   Babylonia;   Baladan;   Epistle;   Hezekiah (2);   Isaiah;   Judah, Kingdom of;   Sennacherib;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Babylonia;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Hezekiah;   Merodach-Baladan;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

At that time Berodach-baladan - He is called Merodach-Baladan, Isaiah 39:1, and by the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and by several of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS.; and also by the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. The true reading seems to be Merodach; the מ mem and ב beth might be easily interchanged, and so produce the mistake.

Sent letters and a present - It appears that there was friendship between the king of Babylon and Hezekiah, when the latter and the Assyrians were engaged in a destructive war. The king of Babylon had not only heard of his sickness, but he had heard of the miracle; as we learn from 2 Chronicles 32:31.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Berodach-baladan - The correct form of this name, Merodach-baladan, is given in Isaiah Isaiah 39:1. It is a name composed of three elements, Merodach, the well-known Babylonian god Jeremiah 50:2, but (pal) “a son;” and iddin, or iddina, “has given;” or Baladan may be a form of Beliddin. This king of Babylon is mentioned frequently in the Assyrian inscriptions, and he was not unknown to the Greeks. He had two reigns in Babylon. First of all, he seized the throne in the same year in which Sargon became king of Assyria, 721 B.C., and held it for 12 years, from 721 B.C. to 709 B.C., when Sargon defeated him, and took him prisoner. Secondly, on the death of Sargon and the accession of Sennacherib, when troubles once more arose in Babylonia, be returned there, and had another reign, which lasted six months, during a part of the year 703 B.C. As the embassy of Merodach-Baladan followed closely on the illness of Hezekiah, it would probably be in 713 B.C.

The son of Baladan - In the inscriptions Merodach-Baladan is repeatedly called the son of Yakin or Yagin. This, however, is a discrepancy which admits of easy explanation. The Assyrians are not accurate in their accounts of the parentage of foreign kings. With them Jehu is “the son of Omri.” Yakin was a prince of some repute, to whose dominions Merodach-baladan had succeeded. The Assyrians would call him Yakin‘s son, though he might have been his son-in-law, or his grandson.

The embassy was not merely one of congratulation. Its chief object was to inquire with respect to the going back of the shadow, an astronomical marvel in which the Chaldaeans of Babylon would feel a keen interest 2 Chronicles 32:31. A political purpose is moreover implied in the next verse. Merodach-baladan was probably desirous of strengthening himself against Assyria by an alliance with Judaea and with Egypt.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-20.html. 1870.

Geneva Study Bible

At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a i present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

(i) Moved by the favour that God showed to Hezekiah, and also because he had declared himself an enemy of Sennacherib who was now destroyed.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-20.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

Berodach-baladan — He seems to have been the king of Assyria's vice-roy in Babylon, and upon that terrible slaughter in the Assyrian host, and the death of Sennacherib, and the differences among his sons, to have usurped absolute sovereignty over Babylon. And either himself or his son destroyed the Assyrian monarchy, and translated the empire to Babylon.

Sent — Partly, for the reasons mentioned, 2 Chronicles 32:31, and partly, to assure himself of the assistance of Hezekiah against the Assyrians, their common enemy.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-20.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 20:12 At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

Ver. 12. At that time Berodach-baladan.] (a) Baladan signifieth a lordless or masterless man, saith Pagnine. This Berodach - or Merodach [Isaiah 39:1] - Baladan is thought to be the first Babylonian monarch, after that he had first rebelled against Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, and then afterwards slain him. Hence we read no more in Scripture of the kings of Assyria, but of Babylon.

Sent letters with a present.] A rich and royal one, no doubt, according to the state of him who sent it, but whether comparable to that of King Ferdinand, sent to Solyman the Turk, I cannot tell - viz., a wonderful globe of silver of most rare and curious device, daily expressing the hourly passing of the time and the motions of the planets, the change and full of the moon, &c., ever moving by certain wheels and weights curiously conveyed within the same, and exactly keeping due time and motion. (b) Such a present would have been most welcome to good Hezekiah, especially if he were a mathematician, as the Rabbis make him, telling us that he restored the year by the intercalation of a day every third year, in the month Adar, which answereth to our February.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-20.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Berodach-baladan, called Merodach-baladan, Isaiah 39:1, whose name Josephus found in that famous Chaldean historian, Berosus. He seems to have been the king of Assyria’s viceroy in Babylon; and upon that terrible slaughter of one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian host, and the death of Sennacherib, and the differences among his sons, to have usurped an absolute sovereignty over Babylon; and either himself or his son destroyed the Assyrian monarchy, and translated the empire to Babylon.

Sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah; partly for the reasons mentioned 2 Chronicles 32:31; and partly to assure himself of the friendship and assistance of Hezekiah against the Assyrians, their common, and as yet powerful, enemy.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-20.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE BABYLONIAN EMBASSY, AND THE PROPHECY OF THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY, 2 Kings 20:12-19.

12.At that time — Soon after his recovery. It seems from 2 Chronicles 32:31, that the “princes of Babylon” had heard of “the wonder that was done in the land,” and sent to inquire about it. If the dial were a Babylonian invention, (see note on 2 Kings 20:11,) the men of Babylon might naturally be interested in the wonderful sign that had been given in connexion with it.

Berodach-baladan — Better written, as in Isaiah 39:1, Merodach. This king of Babylon was for a long time the great champion of Babylonian independence, and the head of the popular party in that country which long resisted the aggressions of Assyria. His name often occurs on the Assyrian monuments, from which it appears that he was twice defeated and driven from Babylon, once by Sargon, and again by Sennacherib. So unsettled are the principal authorities respecting the chronology of his rule at Babylon, that it seems impossible at present to decide, from sources aside from the Scriptures, the exact date of his sending this embassy to Hezekiah. The Scriptures, however, clearly make it synchronize with Sennacherib’s first invasion of Palestine, (see 2 Kings 20:1, note,) and until more certain and controlling evidence is gathered from the monuments, or from some other source, we prefer to adhere to this opinion. The absence of Sennacherib from his capital may have furnished an occasion for Merodach to seek an alliance with Judea, and perhaps also with Egypt, to resist the Assyrian power. And these very efforts of Babylonia to form a great league against Assyria may have caused Sennacherib to content himself for the time with Hezekiah’s silver and gold, (2 Kings 18:14,) and to return at once and vanquish Merodach-baladan. Afterwards, according to our note on 2 Kings 18:17, Sennacherib made a second campaign westward, presuming to complete the conquest of Judea and Egypt. It should here be noted that, as we have elsewhere shown, the sacred writers do not always record events with reference to their chronological sequence, and therefore the placing of this account of Hezekiah’s sickness and of this embassy after that of Sennacherib’s retreat is no certain evidence as to the order of the events.

Letters and a present — According to Josephus, Merodach wished to form an alliance with Hezekiah, and these letters and the present were doubtless to prepare the way.

For he had heard — Not only that he had been sick, but also that he had been miraculously saved, and that his dial had given a miraculous sign. 2 Chronicles 32:31.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-20.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 20:12. Berodach-baladan — He seems to have been the king of Assyria’s viceroy in Babylon; and, upon the terrible slaughter in the Assyrian host, and the death of Sennacherib, and the differences among his sons, to have usurped absolute sovereignty over Babylon: and either himself or his son destroyed the Assyrian monarchy, and translated the empire to Babylon. Sent letters and a present to Hezekiah — Congratulating him on his happy restoration to health, and assuring him of his esteem and friendship. According to 2 Chronicles 32:31, one end he had in view in doing this was, that he might inquire of, or concerning, the wonder done in the land, namely, the shadow going back on the dial of Ahaz. And it is probable another was, that he might obtain assistance from Hezekiah against the king of Assyria, their common enemy.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Berodach, or Merodac Baladan, Isaias xxxix. 1. (Calmet) --- The latter was his father; the famous Nabonassar. (Du Hamel) --- Letters, or books, Isaias. --- Sick. They came to congratulate him on his recovery, and also (Menochius) to inquire of the wonder that had happened upon the earth. God left him that he might be tempted, and all things might be made known that were in his heart, 2 Paralipomenon xxxii. 31. (Haydock) --- If this embassage took place after the fall of Sennacherib, the king of Babylon might thank Ezechias for having stopped the career of that ambitious monarch, from whom the former had every thing to fear. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Berodaeh. Some codices, with Septuagint and Syriac, read "Merodach". Compare Isaiah 39:1.

king of Babylon. First occurrence of this title. Babylon and Nineveh the two great cities competing henceforward for supremacy in Assyria. Finally settled by Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar, "the head of gold" (Daniel 2:37, Daniel 2:38).

sent letters and a present. These did what the king of Assyria and the king of terrors could not do.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

At that time Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, [ B

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

THE EMBASSY OP MERODACH-BALADAN
(2 Kings 20:12-19).

(12) At that time Berodach-baladan.—As to the name, Berodach is a transcriber’s error for Merodach (Jeremiah 1:2). Some MSS. of Kings, and the LXX., Syriac, and Arabic, as well as Isaiah 39:1, and the Talmud, spell the name with m, a letter easily confused with b in Hebrew. Above all, the cuneiform inscriptions present Marduk (or, Maruduk)-abla-iddina (“Me-rodaeh gave a son”). A king of this name occupied the throne of Chaldea at intervals, during the reigns of the four Assyrian sovereigns Tiglath Pileser, Shalma-neser, Sargon, and Sennacherib. He is called in the inscriptions “son of Yâkin,” an expression which, like “Jehu son of Omri,” is territorial rather than genealogical. Bît- Yâkin was the name of the tribal domain of the “sons of Yâkin,” just as Bît-Humria was that of the territory of which Jehu was king. He is further designated as king of “the land of the sea” (mât tihâmtim), i.e., the country at the head of the Persian Gulf, and of “the land of Chaldea” (mât Kaldi). He did homage to Tiglath Pileser in 731 B.C. In the first year of Sargon, Merodach-baladan established himself as king of Babylon, and was eventually recognised as such by the Assyrian sovereign. He reigned about twelve years contemporaneously with Sargon, who in 710 and 709 B.C. defeated and captured him, and burnt his stronghold Dûr-Yâkin. On the death of Sargon, Merodach-baladan once more gained possession of the throne of Babylon; and perhaps it was at this time (so Schrader) that he sent his famous embassy to seek the alliance of Hezekiah and other western princes. After a brief reign of six months, he was defeated by Sennacherib, and driven back to his old refuge in the morasses of South Chaldea. Belibus was made Assyrian viceroy of Babylon. These events belong to the beginning of Sennacherib’s reign. (He says, ina ris sarrutiya, “in the beginning of my sovereignty.”) There was yet another outbreak before Merodach-bala-dan was finally disheartened; and later still Esarhaddon mentions that he slew Nabu-zir-napisti-sutesir, son of Mardak-abla-iddina, and made his brother Na’id-Maruduk king of “the land of the sea” in his stead.

Son of Baladan.—The name of Merodach-baladan’s father is not mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions.

He had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.—The ostensible business of the embassy was to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery, and to inquire about the sign that had been vouchsafed him (sec 2 Chronicles 32:31, and Note); but the Assyrian records make it pretty clear that the real object was to ascertain the extent of Hezekiah’s resources, and to secure his alliance against the common enemy.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
A. M. 3292. B.C. 712. Berodach-baladan
Isaiah 39:1-8
Merodach-baladan
king.
2 Chronicles 32:31
Babylon
Genesis 10:10; 11:9; Isaiah 13:1,19; 14:4
sent letters
2 Samuel 8:10; 10:2
for he had heard
Isaiah 39:1
Reciprocal: Genesis 43:11 - carry down;  Isaiah 14:32 - shall one;  Isaiah 23:13 - the Assyrian

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-20.html.