Isaiah 37

CHAPTER XXXVII

Hezekiah is greatly distressed, and sends to Isaiah the prophet

to pray for him, 1-4.

Isaiah returns a comfortable answer, and predicts the

destruction of the king of Assyria and his army, 5-7.

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, 14-20.

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, 21-35.

That very night a messenger of God slays one hundred and

eighty-five thousand Assyrians, 36.

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

37, 38.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXVII

Verse 6. Thus shall ye say] ko tomerun, "thus shall

ye (explicitly, earnestly, and positively) say." The paragogic

nun deepens and increases the sense.

Verse 7. I will send a blast-"I will infuse a spirit into him"]

" nothen bo ruach never signifies any thing but putting

a spirit into a person: this was πνευμαδειλιας, the spirit of

deceit."-Secker. "I will send a blast"-I do not think that

Archbishop Secker has hit the true meaning of these words. I

believe ruach means here a pestilential wind, such as the

Arabs call simoom, that instantly suffocates both man and beast;

and is what is termed "the angel of the Lord," God's messenger of

death to the Assyrians, Isa 37:36.

Verse 8. Rabshakeh returned] From Isa 36:2, we learn that the

king of Assyria had sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem; now

it is likely that Rabshakeh had besieged that place, and that the

king of Assyria had taken his station before this city, and

despatched Rabshakeh against Jerusalem. But, as in the verse above

it is said, "he had departed from Lachish," probably he had been

obliged to raise the siege, and sat down before Libnah, which

promised an easier conquest.

Verse 9. He heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia] When

he heard that Tirhakah king of Ethiopia had come out against him,

then he sent that blasphemous manifesto which is contained in

Isa 37:10-13, to terrify Hezekiah into submission. How much was

this like, in words and spirit, to the manifesto sent to the

Parisians by the late Duke of Brunswick, from the plains of

Champaigne, in 1792, which was the forerunner of the mighty

torrents of human blood which was shed in the French revolution!

And what a blast of God fell upon him and his army-nearly like

that which fell on the army of Sennacherib!

He sent messengers-"He sent messengers again"] The word

vaiyishma, "and he heard," which occurs the second time in this

verse, is repeated by mistake from the beginning of the verse. It

is omitted in an ancient MS. It is a mere tautology, and

embarrasses the sense. The true reading instead of it is,

veyesheb, "and he returned," which the Septuagint read in this

place, απεστρεψε, and which is preserved in the other copy,

2Ki 19:9: "He returned and sent," that is, according to the

Hebrew idiom, "he sent again."

Verse 12. As Gozan, and Haran] Charan: but Haran

is the reading of four of Kennicott's MSS. and one of De

Rossi's.

Verse 14. And read it-"And read them"] vayikraem. So

MS. Bodl. in this place; and so the other copy; instead of

vaiyikraehu, "and read IT."

And spread it-"And spread them"] vaiyiphresehu.

hu is upon a rasure in a MS., which probably was at first mem.

The same mistake as in the foregoing note.

Verse 15. Unto the Lord-"Before JEHOVAH"] That is, in the

sanctuary. For el, the Syriac, Chaldee, and the other copy,

2Ki 19:15, read

liphney, "before the face."

Verse 18. The nations] haratsoth, "the lands;" instead

of this word, which destroys the sense, ten of Kennicott's and

five of De Rossi's MSS. (one ancient) have here goyim,

"nations;" which is undoubtedly the true reading, being preserved

also in the other copy; 2Ki 19:17. Another MS. suggests another

method of rectifying the sense in this place, by reading

malcam, "their king," instead of artsam, "their land;" but

it ought to be malcheyhem, "all the countries and their

kings."

Verse 20. Save us-"Save us, we beseech thee"] The supplicating

particle, na, is supplied here from eighteen MSS., three

ancient, of Dr. Kennicott, and ten of De Rossi, and from the

other copy; 2Ki 19:19.

That thou art the Lord, even thou only-"That thou JEHOVAH art

the only God."] The word Elohim, "God," is lost here in the

Hebrew text, but preserved in the other copy; 2Ki 19:19. The

Syriac and Septuagint seem here to have had in their copies

Elohim, instead of Yehovah.

Verse 21. Then Isaiah-sent unto Hezekiah] The Syriac and

Septuagint understand and render the verb passively, was sent.

Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib-"Thy prayer

unto me concerning Sennacherib-I have heard"] shamati; this

word, necessary to the sense, is lost in this place out of the

Hebrew text. One MS. of Dr. Kennicott's and one of De Rossi's

have it written above the line in a later hand. The Septuagint and

Syriac found it in their copies; and it is preserved in the other

copy; 2Ki 19:20.

Verse 23. Against the Holy One of Israel.] For el, to, the

other copy has al, against, rather more properly.

Verse 24. By thy servants-"By thy messengers"] The text has

abdeycha, thy servants; but the true reading seems to be

malacheycha, thy messengers, as in the other copy,

2Ki 19:23; and as the

Septuagint and Syriac found it in their copies in this place.

Reproached the Lord] Adonai: but one of my MSS. has

Yehovah Adonai, Jehovah the Lord. This reading is not

found, I think, in any other MS., but several have Yehovah

for Adonai.

I will enter into the height of his border-"I will penetrate

into his extreme retreats"] The text has marom, the height

which seems to have been taken by mistake from the line but one

above. Two MSS. have here malon, the lodge or retreat;

which is the word in the other copy, 2Ki 19:23, and I think is

the true reading.

The forest of his Carmel.] The forest and his fruitful field;

that is, I will possess myself of the whole country.

Verse 25. Water-"Strange waters"] The word zarim, strange,

lost out of the Hebrew text in this place, is supplied from the

other copy. A MS. supplies the word rabbim, many, instead of

it.

With the sole of my feet] With my infantry.

All the rivers of the besieged places-"All the canals of fenced

places."] The principal cities of Egypt, the scene of his late

exploits, were chiefly defended by deep moats, canals, or large

lakes, made by labour and art, with which they were surrounded.

See Harmer's Observ. ii. p. 304. Claudian introduces Alaric

boasting of his conquests in the same extravagant manner:-

"Subsidere nostris

Sub pedibus montes; arescere vidimus amnes.__

Fregi Alpes, galeisque Padum victricibus hausi."

De Bello Getic. 526.

"The mountains have passed away under our feet; we have seen the

rivers dried up. I have broken the Alps, and laden out the Po with

our victorious helmets."

Verse 26. Lay waste defended cities into ruinous heaps-"Lay

waste warlike nations; strong fenced cities."] gallim

nitstsim. It is not easy to give a satisfactory account of these

two words, which have greatly embarrassed all the interpreters,

ancient and modern. For gallim I read goyim, as

the Septuagint do in this place, εθνη. The word netsim

the Vulgate renders in this place compugnantium; in the parallel

place, 2Ki 19:25,

pugnantium; and the Septuagint μαχιμων, fighting, warlike.

This rendering is as well authorized as any other that I know of;

and, with the reading of the Septuagint, perfectly clears up the

construction. See the margin on all the preceding verses.

Verse 27. Corn blasted] shedemah, parched: it does not

appear that there is any good authority for this word. The true

reading seems to be shedephah, blasted, as it is in six MSS.

(two ancient) here, and in the other copy.

Verse 29. Will I put my hook in thy nose] Et fraenum meum:

Jonathan vocem metheg, interpretatus est zemam,

i.e., annulum, sive uncum, eumque ferreum, quem infigunt naribus

camelae: eoque trahitur, quoniam illa feris motibus agitur: et hoc

est, quod discimus in Talmude; et camela cum annulo narium:

scilicet, egreditur die sabbathi. "And my bridle: Jonathan

interprets the word metheg by zemam, a ring, or that iron hook

which they put in the nostrils of a camel to lead her about, check

her in her restiveness, &c. And this is what we mean in the

Talmud, when we say, And the camel with the ring of her

nostrils shall go out on the Sabbath day."-Jarchi in 2Ki 19:28.

Ponam circulum in naribus tuis. "I will put a ring in thy

nostrils."-Jerome. Just as at this day they put a ring into the

nose of the bear, the buffalo, and other wild beasts, to lead

them, and to govern them when they are unruly. Bulls are often

ringed thus in several parts of England. The Hindoos compare a

person who is the slave of his wife to a cow led by the ring in

her nose.

Verse 36. Then the angel] Before "the angel," the other copy,

2Ki 19:35, adds "it came to pass the same night, that"...

The Prophet Hosea, Ho 1:7, has given a plain prediction of the

miraculous deliverance of the kingdom of Judah:-

"And to the house of Judah I will be tenderly merciful:

And I will save them by JEHOVAH their God.

And I will not save them by the bow;

Nor by sword, nor by battle;

By horses, nor by horsemen."-L.

Verse 38. His sons smote him] What an awful punishment of his

blasphemy! Who can harden his neck against God, and be successful?

God does not lightly pass by blasphemy against himself, his

government, his word, his Son, or his people. Let the profligate

take care!

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