2 Kings 18

* Good reign of Hezekiah in Judah, Idolatry. (1-8) Sennacherib

invades Judah. (9-16) Rabshakeh's blasphemies. (17-37)

1-8 Hezekiah was a true son of David. Some others did that

which was right, but not like David. Let us not suppose that

when times and men are bad, they must needs grow worse and

worse; that does not follow: after many bad kings, God raised

one up like David himself. The brazen serpent had been carefully

preserved, as a memorial of God's goodness to their fathers in

the wilderness; but it was idle and wicked to burn incense to

it. All helps to devotion, not warranted by the word of God,

interrupt the exercise of faith; they always lead to

superstition and other dangerous evils. Human nature perverts

every thing of this kind. True faith needs not such aids; the

word of God, daily thought upon and prayed over, is all the

outward help we need.
9-16 The descent Sennacherib made upon Judah, was a great

calamity to that kingdom, by which God would try the faith of

Hezekiah, and chastise the people. The secret dislike, the

hypocrisy, and lukewarmness of numbers, require correction; such

trials purify the faith and hope of the upright, and bring them

to simple dependence on God.
17-37 Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no

purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this

wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to

the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is,

therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to

contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in

who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this

speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice,

falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiah's nobles held their peace.

There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and

there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or

rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made

Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave

such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of

abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must

be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing

ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and

fervent prayer.

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