2 Kings 19

CHAPTER XIX

Hezekiah is greatly distressed, and sends to Isaiah to pray for

him, 1-4.

Isaiah returns a comfortable answer, and predicts the

destruction of the king of Assyria and his army, 5-8.

Sennacherib, hearing that his kingdom was invaded by the

Ethiopians, sends a terrible letter to Hezekiah, to induce

him to surrender, 9-13.

Hezekiah goes to the temple, spreads the letter before the

Lord, and makes a most affecting prayer, 14-19.

Isaiah is sent to him to assure him that his prayer is heard;

that Jerusalem shall be delivered; and that the Assyrians

shall be destroyed, 20-34.

That very night a messenger of God slays one hundred and

eighty-five thousand Assyrians, 35.

Sennacherib returns to Nineveh, and is slain by his own sons,

36, 37.

NOTES ON CHAP. XIX

Verse 2. To Isaiah the prophet] His fame and influence were at

this time great in Israel; and it was well known that the word of

the Lord was with him. Here both the Church and the state unite in

fervent application to, and strong dependence upon, God; and

behold how they succeed!

Verse 3. The children are come to the birth] The Jewish state is

here represented under the emblem of a woman in travail, who has

been so long in the pangs of parturition, that her strength is now

entirely exhausted, and her deliverance is hopeless, without a

miracle. The image is very fine and highly appropriate.

A similar image is employed by Homer, when he represents the

agonies which Agamemnon suffers from his wound:-

οφραοιαιμετιθερμονανηνοθενεξωτειλης

λυταρεπειτομενελκοςετερσετοπαυσατοδαιμα

οξειαιοδυναιδυνονμενοςατρειδαο

ωςδοτανωδινουσανεχηβελοςοξυγυναικα

δριμυτοτεπροεισιμογοστοκοιειλειθυιαι

ηρηςθυγατερεςπικραςωδιναςεχουσαι

ωςοξειοδυναιδυνονμενοςατρειδαο

Il. xi., ver. 266.

This, while yet warm, distill'd the purple flood;

But when the wound grew stiff with clotted blood,

Then grinding tortures his strong bosom rend.

Less keen those darts the fierce Ilythiae send,

The powers that cause the teeming matron's throes,

Sad mothers of unutterable woes.

POPE.

Better translated by Macpherson; but in neither well: "So long

as from the gaping wound gushed forth, in its warmth, the blood;

but when the wound became dry, when ceased the blood to flow

amain, sharp pains pervade the strength of Atrides. Racking pangs

glide through his frame; as when the Ilythiae, who preside over

births, the daughters of white armed Juno, fierce dealers of

bitter pains, throw all their darts on hapless women, that

travail with child. Such pains pervade the strength of Atrides."

Verse 4. The remnant that are left] That is, the Jews; the ten

tribes having been already carried away captive by the kings of

Assyria.

Verse 7. Behold, I will send a blast-and he shall hear a rumour]

The rumour was, that Tirhakah had invaded Assyria. The blast was

that which slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand of them in

one night, see 2Ki 19:35.

Cause him to fall by the sword] Alluding to his death by the

hands of his two sons, at Nineveh. See 2Ki 19:35-37.

Verse 8. Libnah-Lachish.] These two places were not very distant

from each other; they were in the mountains of Judah, southward of

Jerusalem.

Verse 10. Let not thy God in whom thou trustest] This letter is

nearly the same with the speech delivered by Rab-shakeh. See

2Ki 18:29.

Verse 14. Spread it before the Lord] The temple was considered

to be God's dwelling-place; and that whatever was there was

peculiarly under his eye. Hezekiah spread the letter before the

Lord, as he wished him to read the blasphemies spoken against

himself.

Verse 15. Thou art the God, &c.] Thou art not only God of

Israel, but God also of Assyria, and of all the nations of the

world.

Verse 21. The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee,

and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken

her head at thee.] "So truly contemptible is thy power, and empty

thy boasts, that even the young women of Jerusalem, under the

guidance of Jehovah, shall be amply sufficient to discomfit all

thy forces, and cause thee to return with shame to thy own

country, where the most disgraceful death awaits thee."

When Bishop Warburton had published his Doctrine of Grace, and

chose to fall foul on some of the most religious people of the

land, a young woman of the city of Gloucester exposed his

graceless system in a pamphlet, to which she affixed the above

words as a motto!

Verse 23. The tall cedar trees-the choice fir trees] Probably

meaning the princes and nobles of the country.

The forest of his Carmel.] Better in the margin: the forest and

his fruitful field.

Verse 24. I have dipped and drunk strange waters] I have

conquered strange countries, in which I have digged wells for my

army; or, I have gained the wealth of strange countries.

With the sole of my feet] My infantry have been so numerous that

they alone have been sufficient to drink up the rivers of the

places I have besieged.

Verse 25. Hast thou not heard] Here Jehovah speaks, and shows

this boasting king that what he had done was done by the Divine

appointment, and that of his own counsel and might he could have

done nothing. It was because God had appointed them to this civil

destruction that he had overcome them; and it was not through his

might; for God had made their inhabitants of small power, so that

he only got the victory over men whom God had confounded,

dismayed, and enervated, 2Ki 19:26.

Verse 28. I will put my hook in thy nose] This seems to be an

allusion to the method of guiding a buffalo; he has a sort of ring

put into his nose, to which a cord or bridle is attached, by which

he can be turned to the right, or to the left, or round about,

according to the pleasure of his driver.

Verse 29. This shall be a sign unto thee] To Hezekiah; for to

him this part of the address is made.

Ye shall eat this year] Sennacherib had ravaged the country, and

seed-time was now over, yet God shows them that he would so bless

the land, that what should grow of itself that year, would be

quite sufficient to supply the inhabitants and prevent all famine;

and though the second year was the sabbatical rest or jubilee for

the land, in which it was unlawful to plough or sow; yet even then

the land, by an especial blessing of God, should bring forth a

sufficiency for its inhabitants; and in the third year they should

sow and plant, &c. and have abundance, &c. Now this was to be a

sign to Hezekiah, that his deliverance had not been effected by

natural or casual means; for as without a miracle the ravaged

and uncultivated land could not yield food for its inhabitants, so

not without miraculous interference could the Assyrian army be cut

off and Israel saved.

Verse 30. The remnant-shall yet again take root] As your corn

shall take root in the soil, and bring forth and abundantly

multiply itself, so shall the Jewish people; the population

shall be greatly increased, and the desolations occasioned by the

sword soon be forgotten.

Verse 31. Out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant] The Jews

shall be so multiplied as not only to fill Jerusalem, but all the

adjacent country.

And they that escape out of Mount Zion] Some think that this

refers to the going forth of the apostles to the Gentile world,

and converting the nations by the preaching of the Gospel.

Verse 32. He shall not, &c.] Here follow the fullest proofs that

Jerusalem shall not be taken by the Assyrians. 1. He shall not

come into this city; 2. He shall not be able to get so near as to

shoot an arrow into it; 3. He shall not be able to bring an army

before it, 4. Nor shall he be able to raise any redoubt or mound

against it; 5. No; not even an Assyrian shield shall be seen in

the country; not even a foraging party shall come near the city.

Verse 33. By the way that he came] Though his army shall not

return, yet he shall return to Assyria; for because of his

blasphemy he is reserved for a more ignominious death.

Verse 35. That night] The very night after the blasphemous

message had been sent, and this comfortable prophecy delivered.

The angel of the Lord went out] I believe this angel or

messenger of the Lord was simply a suffocating or pestilential

WIND; by which the Assyrian army was destroyed, as in a moment,

without noise confusion or any warning. See Clarke on 1Ki 20:30.

Thus was the threatening, 2Ki 19:7, fulfilled,

I will send a BLAST upon him; for he had heard the rumour that

his territories were invaded; and on his way to save his empire,

in one night the whole of his army was destroyed, without any one

even seeing who had hurt them. This is called an angel or

messenger of the Lord: that is, something immediately sent by

him to execute his judgments.

When they arose early] That is, Sennacherib, and probably a few

associates, who were preserved as witnesses and relaters of this

most dire disaster. Rab-shakeh, no doubt, perished with the rest

of the army.

Verse 36. Dwelt at Nineveh.] This was the capital of the

Assyrian empire.

Verse 37. Nisroch his god] We know nothing of this deity; he is

nowhere else mentioned.

Smote him with the sword] The rabbins say that his sons had

learned that he intended to sacrifice them to this god, and that

they could only prevent this by slaying him.

The same writers add, that he consulted his wise men how it was

that such miracles should be wrought for the Israelites; who told

him that it was because of the merit of Abraham who had offered

his only son to God: he then said, I will offer to him my two

sons; which when they heard, they rose up and slew him. When a

rabbin cannot untie a knot, he feels neither scruple nor

difficulty to cut it.

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