Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 20:13

Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and the house of his armor and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Condolence;   Curiosity;   Hezekiah;   Isaiah;   Ointment;   Pride;   Rich, the;   Spices;   Temptation;   Treasure-Houses;   Thompson Chain Reference - Spices;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Anointing;   Arms, Military;   Pride;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Hezekiah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Babylon;   Oil;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Babylon, Kingdom of;   Spices;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Manasseh (2);   Spices;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Assyria, History and Religion of;   Babylon, History and Religion of;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Merodach-Baladan;   Ointment;   Treasure, Treasury;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Isaiah, Book of;   Israel;   Spice, Spices;   Text, Versions, and Languages of Ot;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Merodachbaladan ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Hezekiah;   Manasseh;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hezekiah;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Flies;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Alliance;   Hezekiah (2);   Sennacherib;   Spice;   Treasure;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Hezekiah;   Merodach-Baladan;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Hezekiah hearkened unto them - Instead of וישמע vaiyishma, he hearkened, וישמח vaiyismach, he rejoiced or was glad, is the reading of twelve of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., the parallel place, Isaiah 39:2, the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Arabic, some copies of the Targum, and the Babylonian Talmud.

All the house of his precious things - Interpreters are not well agreed about the meaning of the original נכתה nechothoh, which we here translate precious things, and in the margin spicery or jewels. I suppose the last to be meant.

There was nothing in his house - He showed them through a spirit of folly and exultation, all his treasures, and no doubt those in the house of the Lord. And it is said, 2 Chronicles 32:31, that in this business God left him to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart; and this trial proved that in his heart there was little else than pride and folly.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them - The Jewish king lent a favorable ear to the proposals of the ambassadors, and exhibited to them the resources which he possessed, in order to induce them to report well of him to their master.

All the house of his precious things - literally, the “spice-house;” the phrase had acquired the more generic sense of “treasure-house” from the fact that the gold, the silver, and the spices were all stored together.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-20.html. 1870.

Geneva Study Bible

And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and [all] the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his k dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

(k) Being moved by ambition and vain glory, and also because he seemed to rejoice in the friendship of him who was God's enemy and an infidel.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-20.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

His treasures — For though his country had lately been harassed by the Assyrians, yet he had reserved all his treasures and precious things, which he and his fathers had gathered in Jerusalem. Besides, he had considerable spoils out of the Assyrian camp. Also he had many presents sent to him, 2 Chronicles 32:23.

Shewed — Which he did through pride of heart, 2 Chronicles 32:25,26, being lifted up by the great honour which God had done him, in working such glorious miracles for his sake, and by the great respects rendered to him from divers princes, and now by this great Babylonian monarch. So hard a matter is it even for a good man to be high and humble.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "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 20:13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and [all] the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Ver. 13. And Hezekiah hearkened unto them.] Ad quos intentus, Ezechiah? He was taken and tickled with their company and courtship, gratifying them in that they came about, and proud of the honour they had done him. [2 Chronicles 32:25; 2 Chronicles 32:31] As there be white teeth in the blackest blackamoor, so there is a black bill in the whitest swan - a rotten kernel or two in the fairest pomegranate, &c.

And showed them the house of his precious things.] Superbe simul et stulte. This was proudly and foolishly done; for now gold thirsty Babylon knew where to have her draught, where to fetch a fat and fit booty. By the imperial law (a) of the Romans, the exporting of wine, oil, and other delicious liquors was flatly forbidden, and this reason given, Ne Barbare gustu illecti promptius invaderent fines Romanorum, Lest the barbarians tasting thereof, should be the rather drawn thereby to invade the Roman empire, as the Gauls did when once they had tasted of the grapes that grew in Italy. (b) Of the Chinese it is reported that they suffer not any foreigner to come into the heart of their kingdom, but only to trade with them on the seacoasts. It was doubtless impoliticly done at best by Hezekiah, to show these strangers his wealth and treasure: yea, it was sinfully done of him - had his storehouse been as rich as the earth - to be lifted up with those heavy metals. (c)

The silver and the gold.] Which he had partly by the spoil of Sennacherib’s camp, and partly by the many gifts brought by all nations unto him, as the world’s wonder for the sun’s going backward for his sake.

And the spices.] Galen (d) writeth that in his time cinnamon was very rare and hard to be found, except in the storehouses of great princes.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". 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

Hearkened unto them, i.e. granted their desires of a league and amity with them.

The silver and the gold, & c.; for though his country had lately been harassed by the Assyrians, yet he had reserved all his treasures and precious things which he and his fathers had gathered in Jerusalem. Besides, he had considerable spoils out of the Assyrian camp. Also he had many presents sent to him, 2 Chronicles 32:23, which doubtless were things of considerable worth.

Nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not; which he did through vain ostentation and pride of heart, 2 Chronicles 32:25,26, being lifted up by the great honour which God had done him, in working such glorious miracles for his sake, and by the great respects and presents rendered to him from divers princes and people, and now by this great Babylonian monarch. So hard a matter is it even for a good man to be high and humble.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". 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

13.Hezekiah hearkened unto them — Many manuscripts and versions here read, was glad of them, or rejoiced over them, (ישׂמח עליהם,) as in Isaiah 39:2; but this is no sufficient proof that our text is corrupt. שׁמע is, indeed, seldom construed with על, but examples are to be found in chapter 2 Kings 22:13, and Genesis 41:15. The king hearkened unto the proposal to form an alliance with Merodach-baladan; and to convince them that he was not so feeble and destitute of resources as the king of Assyria might pretend, he showed them his treasures.

House of his precious things — Better, as the margin, house of spicery, or spice house. So the word is rendered at Genesis 37:25. Spices were regarded as very precious things.

The spices — Rather, the aromatics, or perfumes; all sorts of fragrant plants or spices which create a pleasant smell.

The precious ointment — “Not fine olive-oil,” says Keil, “but, according to the rabbies and Movers, the valuable balsam oil which was obtained in the royal gardens; for olive oil, which was obtained in all Judea, was not stored in the treasure-chambers along with the gold, silver, and perfumes, but in special storehouses.” 1 Chronicles 27:28.

House of his armour — The armory, or arsenal.

In all his dominion — He made known to them the whole extent of his resources, whether of wealth, luxuries, or power.

Those expositors who understand this embassy to have visited Hezekiah after the Assyrian invasion, and after Sennacherib had taken away all the silver of the temple and the palace, (2 Kings 18:15,) are put to it to account for all those treasures of gold and silver and precious things yet in possession of the Jewish king. They argue that Sennacherib took only silver and gold, not spices or arms, and that Hezekiah preferred to strip the doors and pillars of the temple for gold and silver, rather than give up that which was concealed in his treasuries. They also suppose that the treasury of Jerusalem had been replenished by the gifts mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32:23. But if, as we have assumed, (2 Kings 20:12, note,) this embassy came before Hezekiah had given all his silver and gold to Sennacherib, this accumulation of treasure is the more easily accounted for.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "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 20:13. Hezekiah hearkened unto them, &c. — He was so pleased, or rather, transported with joy, at the honour the king of Babylon had done him, that he not only gave his ambassadors a gracious audience, and granted them a league and amity, but ordered his officers to show them all the rarities and precious things which he had in his treasures, with his spices, costly ointments, and the house of his armour — For though his country had been lamentably harassed and plundered by the king of Assyria, and he had endeavoured to appease him with large sums of money and other gifts; yet he had reserved much gold and silver, and many curiosities and valuable things, which he and his fathers had gathered in Jerusalem. Besides, no doubt, he had got considerable spoils out of the Assyrian camp. Also many presents had been sent him since the stroke from heaven on Sennacherib’s army, and his own miraculous recovery from sickness, and the astonishing sign which God had previously given him of it. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, which Hezekiah showed them not — In this he was influenced by pride of heart and vain ostentation, (2 Chronicles 32:25-26,) being lifted up, it seems, by the great honour God had done him, in working such glorious miracles for his sake, and by the great respect rendered to him by divers princes, and now by this great Babylonian monarch. So hard a matter it is even for a good man to be high and humble. Although no particular mention is made of Hezekiah’s showing these strangers the temple, yet, as it was by far the most sumptuous and splendid building in Jerusalem, and the greatest curiosity in his dominions, there can be no doubt but it was shown them, as far as it was permitted to heathen, who were not proselytes to the Jewish religion, to see it; but whether he took any pains to make them acquainted with the great Being who was worshipped there, and who, by his almighty power, had wrought the miracles which had excited their attention, or with his laws, and the ordinances of his service, may well be doubted. Although, certainly, he had a very fair opportunity of doing this, and of demonstrating to them the unreasonableness and folly of idolatry in all its branches, and especially of their worship of the sun, which the late miracle had shown to be no more than the creature and servant of the God of Israel.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Rejoiced, at being honoured by so great a prince, (Menochius) who afterwards defeated Asarhaddon. (Tirinus) --- Hebrew, "hearkened unto them." But the sense of the Vulgate is preferable, and the construction of the original seems to require it, as it is also understood by the Septuagint and Syriac, and by Isaias xxxix. 2. --- Spices. Hebrew, "precious things," (Montanus) "treasures," (Chaldean; Syriac) "cabinet" of jewels, &c. (Vatable) --- Vessels, or armour, and all this fine furniture. St. Jerome says, that Ezechias also displayed before them the treasures of the temple, which chiefly drew upon him God's displeasure. (Calmet) --- He might be guilty only of a venial sin of vanity and of ingratitude: (Menochius) and God took occasion, from this offence to admonish the king of the impending ruin. (Du Hamel)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

hearkened. He did not pray as in 2 Kings 20:2, or as in 2 Kings 19:15. See the notes and Isaiah 39:2, "was glad".

all. Some codices, with Syriac and Vulgate, omit this "all".

his. The depletion of 2 Kings 18:15, 2 Kings 18:16 was not of "his" house, but of the house of Jehovah as well as "the king"s house".

and. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton (App-6) emphasizing each item.

all the house of his armour = all his armoury.

treasures = treasuries.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "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

And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Hezekiah hearkened unto them, [ yishma` (Hebrew #8085); but the parallel passage, Isaiah 39:2, has yismach (Hebrew #8055), was glad. The latter must, from the tenor of the context, be regarded as the proper reading, because the Babylonians came not as suppliants for a favour, but as the bearers of a congratulatory message. It is confirmatory of the correctness of this view that the Septuagint has echaree ep' autois in both passages]. The king of Judah, flattered with this honour, showed the ambassadors [ beeyt (Hebrew #1004) keelaayw (Hebrew #3627)

... kaal (Hebrew #3605)] all the house of his precious things-his store-house containing the regalia and hereditary treasures belonging to the crown, his armoury (see 2 Kings 22:8) and warlike stores; and his motive for this was, evidently, that the Babylonian deputies might be the more induced to prize his friendship.

The silver, and the gold. He had paid so much tribute to Sennacherib as exhausted his treasury (2 Kings 18:16). But after the destruction of Sennacherib, presents were brought him from various quarters, out of respect to a king who, by his faith and prayer, saved his country (2 Chronicles 32:23); and, besides, it is by no means improbable that from the corpses in the Assyrian camp, all the gold and silver he had paid might be recovered. The vain display, however, was offensive to his divine liege-lord, who sent Isaiah to reprove him. The answer he gave the prophet (2 Kings 20:14) shows how he was elated by the compliment of their visit; but the display was wrong, as making a vain exhibition, for his own aggrandizement, of what had been offered him from reverence and respect to his God, and at the same time presenting a bait for the cupidity of these rapacious foreigners, who, at no distant period, would return from the same city of Babylon, and pillars his country, and transfer all the possessions he ostentatiously displayed to Babylon, as well as his posterity, to be court attendants in that country (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 32:31). Besides, it was wrong in a higher point of view still, as all alliances with foreign or pagan states were at variance with the fundamental principle of the theocratic kingdom of Judah.

This passage affords a strong argument as to the prophecy respecting the captivity to Babylon, showing that the words must have been spoken very long before the event. 'The folly of the king and the reproof of the prophet must stand or fall together; the one prompts the other; the truth of the one sustains the truth of the other; the date of the one fixes the date of the other. Thus the period of Hezekiah's display of his finances being determined to a period soon after the downfall of the Assyrians, this rebuke of the prophet, which springs out of it, is determined to the same. Then the rebuke was a prophecy; because as yet it remained for Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib to annex Babylon to Assyria by conquest; it remained for the two kingdoms to continue united for two generations more; it remained for Nabopolassar, the satrap of Babylon, to revolt from Assyria, and set up that kingdom for itself; and it remained for Nebuchadnezzar his son to succeed him, and by carrying away the Jews to Babylon, accomplish the words of Isaiah. But this interval occupied a hundred years and upwards; and so far therefore, must the spirit of prophecy have carried him forward into futurity, and that, too, contrary to all present appearances. For Babylon was as yet but a name to the people of Jerusalem; it was a far country, and was to be swallowed up in the great Assyrian empire, and recover its independence once more, before it could be brought to act against Judah' (Blunt's 'Undesigned Coincidences,' p. 222) (cf. Micah 2:10; Micah 4:10).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "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

(13) Hearkened unto.—A scribe’s error for “was glad of them” (Isaiah, and many MSS. and the versions here).

The silver, and the gold.—This, as well as the phrase in 2 Kings 20:17, “that which thy fathers have laid up,” appears to contradict 2 Kings 18:15-16. Schrader regards this as an indication that Hezekiah’s illness and the embassy of Merodach-baladan belong to the time preceding Sennacherib’s invasion. Thenius, however, supposes that Hezekiah simply gave all the money in his treasury to Sennacherib’s envoys, and stripped off the gold plating of the Temple before them that they might suppose his resources exhausted, when, in fact, he had not touched his real treasures, which were concealed in subterranean chambers. Thenius also refers to the “credible” statement of the chronicler, that presents were made to Hezekiah from all quarters after the retreat of Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32:23). Professor Robertson Smith agrees with Schrader in referring the embassy of Merodach-baladan to the years 704-703 B.C.

The precious ointment.—The fine oil (Cheyne). Perfumed oil used for anointing.

All that was found in his treasures.—See 2 Chronicles 32:27-28. Storehouses beyond the precincts of the palace, and beyond Jerusalem. (Comp. the phrase “in all his dominion,” which alludes to the resources of Hezekiah in the country, statistics of which he might show to the envoys.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
shewed
2 Chronicles 32:27; Isaiah 39:2
precious things
or, spicery.
1 Kings 10:2,10,15,25
armour
or, jewels. Heb. vessels. there was nothing.
2 Chronicles 32:25,26; Proverbs 23:5; Ecclesiastes 7:20
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 20:15 - All the things;  2 Chronicles 32:31 - in the business;  2 Chronicles 36:18 - treasures;  Ezekiel 23:40 - to come

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-20.html.