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1 P. 102. 25.
2 Chr. 6. 40.
& Job 16. 4. Lam. 2.
14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand 20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezeof the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went kiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, up into the house of the Lord, and spread it before That which thou hast prayed to me againsi Senthe Lord.
nacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and 21 This is the word that the LORD bath spoken said, O Lord God of Israel, which rdwellest between concerning him: The virgin "the daughter of Zion the cherubims, thou 'art the God, even thou alone, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. heaven and earth.
22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed ? 16 LORD), bow "down thine ear, and hear: and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and open," Lord, thine eyes, and see; and hear the lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to re- One of Israel. proach the living God.
23 By thy messengers thou hast reproached 17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have the LORD, and hast said, With the multitude of my destroyed the nations and their lands,
chariots I am come up to the height of the moun18 And have "cast their gods into the fire: for tains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, the tall cedar-trees thereof, and the choice fir-trees wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his them.
borders, and into Sthe forest of his Carmel. 19 Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech 24 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the king with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the doms of the earth may know that thou art the rivers of besieged places. Lord God, even thou only.
25 Hast "thou not heard long ago horo I have 92 Chr. 32. 20. 2 Chr. 5. 7, 8. 1 Sam. 1. 4. . 1 Kings 18. 39. Is. 44. 6. c Ps. 20. 7. the tallness. $ or, the forest and his fruitful Seld, Is. 10. 18.
given to Ps. 115. 4, &c. 18. 44. tor, fenced. It or, Hast thou not heard Low I hare made it long ago, and foreid
: Lam. 2, 13. I 1 Kings y Rs. 2 13: 18. 5. A. Jer. 31.5. By the hand of.
it of ancient times ? should I not bring it to be laid waste, and fenced curia
to be ruinous heaps ? thee, v. 10. Those that have the God of Jacob for their help, and him. He is none of the gods whom men's hands have made, he whose hope is in the Lord their God, need not fear being deceived has himself made all things, Ps. 115. 3, 4. by him, as the heathen were by their gods.
4. He prays that God would now glorify himself in the defeat To terrify Hezekiah, and drive him from his anchor, he mag of Sennacherib, and the deliverance of Jerusalem out of his nibes himself and his own achievements. See how proudly he hands, v. 19," Now therefore sare us; for if we be conquered, boasts, 1. Of the lands he had conquered, (v. 11,) all lands; and as other lands are, they will say that thou art conquered, as the destroyed utterly! How are the mole-hills of his victories gods of those lands were: but, Lord, distinguish thyself, by swelled to mouniains! So far was be from destroying all lands, distinguishing us, and let all the world know, and be made to that, at this time, the land of Cush, and Tirhakah its king, were confess, that thou art the Lord God, the self-existent, sovereign a terror to him. What vast hyperboles may one expect in God, even thou only, and that all pretenders are vanity and a proud men's praises of themselves! 2. of the gods he had lie." Note, The best pleas in prayer are those which are conquered, v. 12. “Each vanquished nation had its gods, taken from God's honour; and therefore the Lord's prayer which were so far from being able to deliver them, that they fell begins with Hallowed be thy name, and concludes with Thine with them; and shall thy God deliver thee ?”. 3. Of the kings is the glory. he had conquered, (v. 13,) the king of Hamath, and the king of V. 20-34, We have here the gracious copious answer Arpad. Whether he means the prince or the idol, he means to which God gave to Hezekiab's prayer. The message which make himself appear greater than either, and therefore very he sent him by the same hand, v. 6, 7, one would think, had formidable, and the terror of the mighty in the land of the been an answer sufficient to his prayer; but, that he might have living.
strong consolation, he is encouraged by two immutable things, II. Hezekiah encloses this in another letter, a praying letter, in which it was impossible for God to lie, Heb. 6. 18. In general, a believing letter, and sends it to the King of kings, who judges God assures him that his prayer was heard, his prayer against among the gods. Hezekiah was not so haughty as not to re- Sennacherib, v. 20. Note, The case of those is iniserable, that ceive the letter, though we may suppose the superscription did have the prayers of God's people against them. For if the opnot give him his due titles; when he had received it, he was not pressed cry to God against ihe oppressor, he will hear, Er. so careless as not to read it; when he had read it, he was not in 22. 23. God hears and answers ; hears with the saving strength such a passion as to write an answer to it in the same pro- of his right hand, Ps. 20. 6. voking language; but he immediately went up to the temple, This message speaks two things : presented himself, and then spread the letter before the Lord, v. 14. I. Confusion and shame to Sennacherib and his forces. It is Not as if God needed to have letters showed him, (he knew here foretold that he should be humbled and broken. The prowhat was in it before Hezekiah did,) but hereby he signified phet elegantly directs his speech to him, as he does, Is. 10. 5, that he acknowledged God in all his ways, that he desired not O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger. Not that this message was to aggravate the injuries his enemies did him, or to make them sent to him, but what is here said to him he was made to know appear worse than they were, but desired they might be set in by the event ; Providence spake it to him with a witness; and a true light; and that he referred himself to God, and his righ- perhaps his own heart was made to whisper this to him; for teous judgment upon the whole matter. Hereby likewise he God has more ways than one of speaking to sinners in his wrath, would affect himself in the prayer he came to ihe temple to so as to ver them in his sore displeasure, Ps. 2. 5. make; and we have need of all possible helps to quicken us in Sennacherib is here represented, that duty.
1. As the scorn of Jerusalem, v. 21. He thought himself In the prayer which Hezekiah prayed over this letter, the terror of the daughter of Zion, that chaste and beautiful vir1. He adores the God
whom Sennacherib had blasphemed; sin, and that by his threats he could force her to submit to bim; (v. 15,) calls him the God of Israel, because Israel was his “But, being a virgin in her Father's house, and under his propeculiar people; and the God that dwell between the cherubims, tection, she defies thee, despises thee, laughs thee to scorn. because there was the peculiar residence of his glory upon Thine impotent malice is ridiculous; he that sits in heaven, earth; but gives glory to him as the God of the whole earth, and laughs at thee, and therefore so do those that abide under his not, as Sennacherib fancied him to be, the God of Israel only, shadow.” By this word God intended to silence the fears of and conhned to the temple. “Let them say what they will, Hezekiah and his people. Though to an eye of sense the thou arı sovereign Lord, for thou art the God, the God of gods; enemy looked formidable, to an eye of faith be looked despicable. sole Lord, even thou alone ; universal Lord of all the kingdoms 2. As an enemy to God; and that was enough to make him of the earth; and rightful Lord, for thou hast made heaven and miserable. Hezekiah pleaded this ; " Lord, he has reproached earth. Being Creator of all, by an incontestable title, thou art thee,” v. 16. “He has," saith God," and I take it as against Owner and Ruler of all."
myself," v. 22. Whom hast thou reproached? Is it not the 2. He appeals to God concerning the insolence and profane- Holy One of Israel, whose honour is dear to him, and who has ness of Sennacherib, u. 16, “ Lord, hear; Lord, see. Here it power to vindicate it, which the gods of the heathen have not? is under his own hand.” Had Hezekiah only been abused, he Nemo me impune lacesset-No one shall provoke me with impuwould have passed it by; but it is God, the living God, that is nity. reproached, the jealous God. Lord, what wilt thou do for thy 3. As a proud vainglorious fool, that spake great swelling great name?
words of vanity, and boasted of a false gift; by his boasts, as 3. He owns Sennacherib's triumphs over the gods of the well as by his threats, reproached the Lord. For, (1.) He heathen, but distinguishes between them and the God of Israel, magnified his own achievements out of measure, and quite above v. 17, 18. They have indeed cast their gods into the fire; for what really they were, v. 23, 24. This was not in the letter he they were no gods, unable either to help themselves or their wrote, but God lets Hezekiah know that he not only saw what worshippers, and therefore no wonder that they have destroyed was written there, but heard what he said elsewhere, probably them; and, in destroying them, though they know it not, they in the speeches he made to his councils or armies. Note, Go really served the justice and jealousy of the God of Israel, who takes notice of the boasts of proud men, and will call them to an has determined to extirpate all the gods of the heathen. But account, that he may look upon them, and abase them, Job 40.11. they are deceived, who think they can therefore be too hard for What a mighty figure doos Sennacherib think he makes! Driv.
I the .0.1.2.3.2, AC.
ddone it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? | house of Judah shall yet again take root downward,
26 Therefore their inhabitants were *of small nant, and $they that escape out of mount Zion:
city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it 27 But I know thy labode, and thy going out, with shield, nor cast a bank against it. and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
33 By the way that he came, by the same shall 28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult he return, and shall not come into this city, saith is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my the Lord. hook 'in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and 34 For "I will defend this city, to save it, for I will turn thee back by the way by which thou mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. camest.
35 And it came to pass that night, that the 29 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five in the second year that which springeth of the same; thousand : and when they arose early in the mornand in the third year sow ye and reap, and plant ing, behold, they were all dead corpses. vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof.
36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and 30 And the remnant that is escaped of the went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. dla. 45. 7. * short of hand. . Ps. 129. 6. tor, sitting. Ex. 33. 4.
ver. 4. the escaping. I c. 20. 6. i 2 Chr. 32. 21. Is. 37. 36. & Gen. 10. U. escaping of the house of Judal that remaineth. ing his chariots to the tops of the highest mountains, forcing his their husbandry should return into its former channel, and they way through woods and rivers, breaking through all difficulties, should sow and reap as they used to do. making himself master of all he had a mind to : nothing could 2. The country was laid waste, families were broken up and stand before him, or be withheld from him, no hills too high for scattered, and all was in confusion; how should it be otherwise, him to climb, no trees too strong for him to fell, no waters too when it was overrun by such an army? As to this, it is prodeep for him to dry up, as if he had the power of a God, to speak mised that the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah, and it is done. (2.) He took to himself the glory of doing these that is, of the country people, shall yet again be planted in their great things, whereas they were all the Lord's doing, v. 25, 26. own habitations, upon their own estates, shall take root there, Sennacherib, in his letter, had appealed to what Hezekiah had shall increase and grow rich, v. 30. See how their prosperity heard, v. 11, Thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have is described; it is taking tool downward, and bearing fruit up. done ; hul, in answer to that, he is reminded of what God has ward, being well fixed, and well provided for themselves, and done for Israel of old, drying up the Red sea, leading them then doing good to others. Such is the prosperity of the soul ; through the wilderness, planting them in Canaan; “What are it is taking root downward by faith in Christ, and then being all thy doings to these? And as for the desolations thou hast fruitiul in fruits of righteousness. made in the earth, and particularly in Judah, thou art but the 3. The city was shut up, none went out or came in; but now instrument in God's hand, a mere tool: it is I that have brought the remnant in Jerusalem and Zion shall go forth freely, and il to pass; I gave thee thy power, gave thee thy success, there shall be none to hinder them, or make them afraid, v.31. and made thee what thou art; raised thee up to lay waste Great destruction had been made both in city and country, but fenced cities, and so to punish them for their wickedness, in both there was a remnant that escaped, which typified the and therefore their inhabitants were of small power." What a saved remnant of Israelites indeed, as appears by comparing foolish insolent thing was it for him to exalt himself above God, Is. 10. 22, 23, (which speaks of this very event,) with Rom. and against God, upon that which he had done by him and under 9. 27, 28; they shall go forth into the glorious liberty of the chilhim. Sennacherib's boasts here are expounded, Is. 10. 13, 14, dren of God. By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, 4. The Assyrians were advancing toward Jerusalem, and &c. and they are answered, v. 15, Shall the are boast itself would, in a little time, besiege it in form, and it was in great against him ihal heweth therewith? It is surely absurd for the danger of falling into their hands. But it is here promised that fly upon the wheel to say, What a dust do I make! Or for the the siege they feared should be prevented; though the enemy sword in the hand to say, What execution do I do! IfGod be were now (as it should seem) encamped before the city, yet the principal Agent in all that is done, boasting is for ever ex- they were never to come into the city, no, nor so much as to cluded.
shoot an arrow into it, v. 32, 33. He shall be forced to retire 4. As under the check and rebuke of that God whom he blas. with shame, and, a thousand times, to repent his undertaking. phemed. All his motions were, (1.) Under the divine cogni- God himself undertakes to defend the city, (v. 34,) and that zance, v. 27. I know thy abode, and what thou dost secretly person, that place, cannot but be safe, which he undertakes the devise and design ; thy going out and coming in, marches and protection of. counter-marches, and thy rage against me and my people, the 5. The honour and truth of God are engaged for the doing of tumult of thy passions, the tumult of thy preparations, the noise all this. These are great things, but bow will they be effected ? and bluster thou makest, I know it all.” That was more than Why, the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this, v. 31. He is Hezekiah did, who wished for intelligence of the enemy's mo- Lord of hosts, has all creatures at his beck, therefore he is able tjons; but what need, when the eye of God was a constant spy to do it; he is jealous for Jerusalem with great jealousy, (Zech. upon him? 2 Chr. 16. 9. (2.) Under the divine control, v. 28, 1. 14;) having espoused her a chaste virgin to himself, he will “I will put my hook in thy nose, thou great Leviathan ;" Job 41. not suffer her to be abused, v. 21. “You have reason to think 1, 2, “ My bridle in thy jav's, thou great Behemoth. I will yourselves unworthy that such great things should be done for restrain thee, manage thee, turn thee where I please, send thee you; but God's own zeal will do it." His zeal, (1.) For his home, re infecta-disappointed of thy aim." Note, It is a great own honour; (v. 34,) " I will do it for my own sake, to make me comfort to all the church's friends, that God has a hook in the an everlasting name." God's reasons of mercy are fetched nose, and a bridle in the jaws, of all her enemies; can make from within himself. (2.) For his own truth; "I will do it for even their wrath to serve and praise him, and then restrain the my servant David's sake; not for the sake of his merit, but the remainder of it: Here shall its proud waves be stayed.
promise made to him, and the covenant made with him, those II
. Salvation and joy to Hezekiah and his people. This sure mercies of David." Thus all the deliverances of the shall be a sign to them of God's favour, and that he is recon church are wrought for the sake of Christ, the Son of David, ciled to them, and his anger is turned away, (Is. 12. 1;) a won V. 35–39. Sometimes it was long ere prophecies were der in their eyes, (sor so a sign sometimes signifies,)'a token accomplished, and promises performed; but bere the word was for good, and an earnest of the further mercy God has in store no sooner spoken than tho work was done. for them, that a good issue shall be put to their present distress I. The army of Assyria was entirely routed. That night in every respeci.
which immediately followed the sending of this message to 1. Provisions were scarce and dear; and what should they Hezekiah, when the enemy was just set down before the city, do for fond ? The fruits of the earth were devoured by the Asand were preparing (as we now say) to open the trenches, that syrian army, Is. 32. 9, 10, &c. Why, they shall not only dwell night was the main body of their army slain upon the spot by in the land, but verily they shall be fed. If God save them, an angel, v. 35. Hezekiah had not force sufficient to sally ont will not starve them, nor let them die by famine, when they had upon them, and attack their camp, nor would God do it by escaped the sword : " Eat ye this year that which groueth of sword or bow; but he sent his angel, a destroying angel, in the itself, and you shall find enough of that. Did the Assyrians dead of the night, to make an assault upon them, which their reap what you sowed? You shall reap what you did not sow.'
." sentinels, though never so wakeful, could neither discover nor But the next year was the sabbatical year, when the land was resist. It was not by the sword of a mighty man, or of a mean to rest, and they must neither sow nor reap. What must they man, that is, not of any man at all, but of an angel, that the do that year? Why, Jehovah-jireh, The Lord will provide; Assyrian army was to fall, Is. 31. 8, such an angel as slew God's blessing shall save them seed and labour, and, that year the first-born of Egypt. Josephus says it was done by a pestitoo, the voluntary productions of the earth shall serve to main- lential disease, which was instant death to them. The number tain them, to remind them tha: the carth brought forth before slain was very great, 185,000 men, and Rab-shakeh, it is likely, there was a man to till it, Gen. 1, 11. And then the third year, among the rest. When the besieged arose early in the morning,
I ver. 7.
• Ararat. Erra 4.2.
62 Chr. 32, 24, &c. Is. 38. 1, &c.
6 Neh, 13. 22.
e c. 18.
. 1 Sam. 9. A Deut. 32. 39
i c. 19. 34.
37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping 3 I beseech thee, O Lord, bremember now how in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech I have walked before thee in truth and with a perand Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword : fect heart, and have done that which is good in thy and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And sight. And Hezekiah wept tsore. Esarhaddon his mson reigned in his stead.
4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out
into the middle #court, that the word of the LORD CHAPTER XX.
came to him, saying, In this chapter, we have, I, Hezekiah's sickness, and his recovery from that, in
5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah, the captain of with a sig, 20. Hezekiah mim, and this recovery from that, we made my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David 19. lo boin these, Isaiah was God's messenger to him. in. The conclusion thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen of his reign, v. 20, 21.
thy tears behold, I will heal thee; on the third And the prophet son of Amoz came
I will add days fifteen years : to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand *Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for not live.
mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed 7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And unto the LORD, saying,
they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
d Gen. 17. 1. 1 Kings 3. 6. 1 with a grea! weeping: 1 or, city. charge concerning thine house, 2 Sam. 17. 23.
16. 10. 1. c. 19. 20. Ps. 66. 19, 20. Ps. 39. 12. 66.8. 126. 5. 3-6. behold, they were all dead corpses, scarcely a living man among kiah, lately favoured of heaven, above most men, yet is sick unto them. Some think the 76th Psalm was penned on this occa- death, in the midst of his days—under forty, and yet sick and sion, where we read that the sloul-hearted were spoiled, and dying; and perhaps he was the more apprehensive of its being slept their sleep, their last, their long sleep, v. 5. See how fatal to him, because his father died when he was about his age, great, in power and might, the holy angels are, when one angel, 2 or 3 years younger; “ In the midst of life we are in death. in one night, could make so great a slaughter. See how weak II. Warning brought him to prepare for death; it is brought the mightiest of men are before almighty God: who ever hard by Isaiah, who had been twice, in the former chapter, a mes. ened himself against him, and prospered? The pride and senger of good tidings to him; we cannot expect to receive from blasphemy of the king are punished by the destruction of his God's prophets any other than what they have received from army. All these lives are sacrificed to God's glory, and Zion's the Lord, and we must welcome that, be it pleasing or unsafely. The prophet shows that therefore God suffered this vast pleasing: he tells him, 1. That his disease was mortal, and, if rendezvous to be made, that they might be gathered as sheaves he were not recovered by a miracle of mercy, would be certainly into the floor, Mic. 4. 12, 13.
fatal; Thou shalt die, and not live. 2. That therefore he must, II. The king of Assyria was hereby put into the utmost con with all speed, get ready for death; this we should feel lightly fusion; ashamed to see himself, after all his proud boasts, thus concerned to do, when we are in health, but are most loudly defeated, and disabled to pursue his conquests, and secure what called to do, when we come to be sick ; set the heart in order by he had, (for this, we may suppose, was the flower of his army,) renewed acts of repentance, and faith, and resignation to God, and continually afraid of falling under the like stroke himself, he with cheerful farewells to this world, and welcomes to another departe!, and went, and returned. The manner of the expres- and if it be not done before, (which is the best and wisest course, ) sion intimates the great disorder and distraction of mind he was set the house in order, make thy will, settle thy estate, put thine in, (v. 36 ;) and it was not long before God cut him off too, by affairs in the best posture thou canst, for the ease of those that the hands of two of his own sons, v. 37. 1. They that did it, shall come after thee. Isaiah speaks not to Hezekiah of his were very wicked, to kill their own father, (whom they were kingdom, only of his house : David, being a prophet, had authorbound to protect,) and in the act of his devotion; monstrous ity to appoint who should reign after him, but other kings did villany! But, 2. God was righteous in it. Justly are the sons not pretend to bequeath their crowns as part of their goods and suffered to rebel against their father that begat them, when he chattels. was in rebellion against the God that made him. They whose III. His prayer hereupon; He prayed unto the Lord, v. 2. Is children are undutiful to them ought, to consider whether they any sick? Let hiin be prayed for, let bim he prayed with, and have not been so to their Father in heaven. The God of Israel | let him pray. Hezekiah had found, in the foregoing chapter, had done enough to convince him that he was the only true God, that it was not in vain to wait upon God, but that the prayers whom therefore he ought to worship; yet he persists in his idol- of faith bring in answers of peace; therefore will he call upon atry, and seeks to his false god for protection against a God of God as long as he lives. Happy returns of prayer are engageirresistible power. Justly is his blood mingled with his sacri ments and encouragements to continue instant in prayer; he fices, who will not be convinced by such a plain and dear-bought had now received the sentence of death within himself, and, demonstration of his folly in worshipping idols.
1. If it were reversible, it must be reversed by prayer. When His sons that murdered him were suffered to escape, and no God purposes mercy, he will for this be inquired of, Ez. 36, pursuit made after them; his subjects perhaps being weary of 37. We have not, if we ask not, or ask amiss. 2. If not, the government of so proud a man, and thinking themselves well prayer is one of the best preparations for death, because by it rid of him. And his sons would be looked upon as the more ex we fetch in strength and grace from God to enable us to finish cusable in what they had done, if it be true (as Bishop Patrick well. Observe, suggests) that he was now vowing to sacrifice them to his god, (1.) The circumstances of this prayer. (1.) He turned his so that it was for their own preservation that they sacrificed fuce to the wall, probably, as he lay in his bed ; ihis he did, per, him. His successor was another son, Esarhaddon, who (as it haps, for privacy; he could not retire to his closet as he used should seem) did not aim, like his father, to enlarge his con to do, but he retired as well as he could, turned from the comquests, but rather to improve them; for he it was that first sent pany that were about him, to converse with God. When we colonies of Assyrians to inhabit the country of Samaria, though cannot be so privale as we would be, in our devotions, nor perit is mentioned before, ch. 17. 24, as appears, Ezra 4.2, where form them with the usual outward expressions of reverence and the Samaritans say it was Esarhaddon that brought them thither. solemnity, yet we must not therefore omit them, but compose
ourselves to them as well as we can; or, as some think, he
turned his face toward the temple, to show how willingly he V. 1-11. The historian, having showed us blaspheming would have gone up thither, to pray this prayer, (as he did, ch. Sennacherib destroyed in the midst of the prospects of life, here 19. 1, 14,) if he had been able ; and remembering what encoushows us praying Hezekiah delivered in the midst of the pros- ragements were given to all the prayers that should be made in pects of death, the days of the former shortened, of the latter or toward that house. Christ is our Temple; to him we must prolonged.
an eye in all our prayers, for no man, no service, comes to 1. Here is Hezekiah's sickness. In those days, that is, in the Father but by him. (2.) He wepl sore ; some gather from the same year in which the king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem, hence that he was unwilling to die; it is in the nature of man to for he reigning, in all, 29 years, and surviving this, 15 years, have some dread of the separation of soul and body, and it was this must be in his 14th year, and so was that, ch. 18. 13. Some not strange, if the Old Testament saints, to whom another world think it was at the time that the Assyrian army was besieging was but darkly revealed, were not so willing to leave this as St. the city, or preparing for it, because God promises, v. 6, I will Paul and other New Testament saints were ; there was also defend the city, which promise was afterward repeated, when something peculiar in Hezekiah's case, he was now in the midst the danger came to be most imminent, ch. 19. 34. Others think of his usefulness, had begun a good work of reformation, which it was soon after the defeat of Sennacherib; and then it shows he feared, if he should die, through the corruption of the people, us the uncertainty of all our comforts in this world : Hezekiah, would fall to the ground; if this was before the defeat of the in the midst of his triumphs in the favour of God, and over the Assyrian army, as some think, he might therefore be loath to forces of his enemies, is seized with sickness, and under the die, because his kingdom was in imminent danger of being arrest of death; we must therefore always rejoice with trembling. ruined; however, it does not appear that he had now any son. It should seem, he was sick of the plague, for we read of the boil, Manasseh, that succeeded him, was not born till three years or plague-sore, v. 7. The same disease which was killing to after, and if he die childless, both the peace of his kingdom, and the Assyrians, was trying to him; God took it from him, and the promise to David, would be in danger; but perhaps these put it upon his enemies. Neither greatness nor goodness can were only tears of importunity, and expressions of a lively affecexempt from sickness, from sore and mortal sicknesses. Heze- tion in prayer; Jacob wept and made supplication, and our
NOTES TO CHAPTER XX.
8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall 12 At mthat time Berodach-baladan, the son of be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day? unto Hezekiah; for he had heard that Hezekiah
9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have had been sick. of the LORD, that the Lord will do the thing that 13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and he hath spoken : shall the shadow go forward ten showed "them all the house of this precious things, degrees, or go back ten degrees?
the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the io And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing precious ointment, and all the house of his $armour, for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let and all that was found in his treasures : "there was the shadow return backward ten degrees.
nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD; Hezekiah showed them not. and 'he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, 14 Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Heby which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz. zekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? k Judg. 6. 37, 17. ls. 7. 11, 14.
tor, Merodach-baladan. * 2 Chr. 32. 27. or, spicery. vessels, or, jewels.
I Josh. 10. 12.
m 18. 39, I,
o Prov. 23. 5.
blessed Saviour, though most willing to die, yet offered up strong disease was come, and how suddenly it was checked, the cure cries, with tears, to him whom he knew to be able to save him, was no less than miraculous. Note, 1. It is our duty, when we Heb. 5. 7. Let Hezekiah's prayer interpret his tears, and in are sick, to make use of such means as are proper to help nathat we find nothing that intimates him to have been under any ture, else we do not trust God, but lempt him. 2. Plain and of that fear of death, which has either bondage or torment. ordinary medicines must not be despised, for many such God
(2.) The prayer itself; “ Remember now, Lord, how I have has graciously made serviceable to man, consideration of the walked before thee in truth; and either spare me to live, that I poor. 3. What God appoints, he will succeed and make effectual. may continue thus to walk, or, if my work be done, receive me VI. The sign which was given for the encouragement of his to that glory which thou hast prepared for those that have thus faith. 1. He begged it; not in any distrust of ihe power or walked.' Observe here, (1. The description of Hezekiah's promise of God, or as if he staggered at that, but because he piety; he had had his conversation in the world with right looked upon the things promised to be very great things, and intentions, “I have walked before thee, as under thine eye, worthy to be so confirmed, and because it had been usual with and with an eye ever toward thee; from a right principle, in God thus to glorify himself, and favour his people; and he truth, and with an uprighe heart; and by a right rule, I have remembered how much God was displeased with his father for done that which is good in thy sight.” (2.) The comfort he refusing to ask a sign, Is. 7.10—12. Observe, Hezekiah asked, now had in retlection upon it; it made his sick bed easy. Note, | What is the sign, not that I shall go up to the thrones of judgment, The testimony of conscience for us, that we have walked with or up to the gate, but up to the house of the Lord; therefore he God in our integrity, will be much our support and rejoicing when desired to recover, that he might glorify God in the gates of the we come to look death in the face, 2 Cor. 1. 12. (3.) The daughter of Zion. It is not worth while to live for any other humble mention he makes of it to God, Lord, remember il now; purpose than to serve God. 2. It was put to his choice, whether mot as if God needed to be put in mind of any thing by us, he is the sun should go back or go forward, for it was equal to Omgreater than our hearts, and knows all things; or, as if the re- nipotence, and it would be the more likely to confirm his faith, ward were of debt, and might be demanded as due; it is Christ's if he chose that which he thought the more difficult of the two; righteousness only that is the purchase of mercy and grace; perhaps, to this, that of this prophet may refer, Is. 45. 11, Ask but our own sincerity may be pleaded as the condition of the me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work covenant which God has wrought in us; “ It is the work of of my hands command ye me. It is supposed that the degrees thine own hands, Lord, own it.” Hezekiah does not pray; were half hours, and that it was just noon when the proposal “ Lord, spare me," or, “Lord, take me, God's will be done;" was made, and the question is, “Shall the sun go back to its but, Lord, remember me ; whether I live or die, let me be thine. place at seven in the morning, or forward to its place at five in
IV. The answer which God immediately gave to this prayer the evening ?" 3. He humbly desired the sun might go back ten of Hezekiah's; the prophet was got but to the middle court, degrees, because, though either would be a great miracle, yet, it when he was sent back with another message to Hezekiah, being the natural course of the sun to go forward, its going back (v. 4, 5,) to tell him that he should recover: not that there is would seem more strange, and would be more significant of Hezewith God yea or nay, or that he ever says and unsays; but, upon kiah's returning to the days of his youth, Job 33, 25, and the Hezekiah's prayer, which he foresaw, and which his Spirit in- lengthening out of the day of his life. It was accordingly done, clined him to, God did that for him, which otherwise he would upon the prayer of Isaiah, v. 11; he cried unto the Lord by spenot have done. God here calls Hezekiah the caplain of his peo-cial warrant and direction, and God brought the sun back ten ple, to intimate that he would reprieve him for his people's sake, degrees, which appeared to Hezekiah, (for ihe sign was intended because, in this time of war, they could ill spare such a captain : for him,) by the going back of the shadow upon the djal of Ahaz, he calls himself the God of David, to intimate that he would which, it is likely, he could see through his chamber window: reprieve him, out of a regard to the covenant made with David, and the same was observed upon all other dials, even in Babylon, and the promise that he would always ordain a lamp for him. 2 Chr. 32. 31. Whether this retrograde motion of the sun
In this answer, 1. God honours his prayers by the notice he was gradual, or per saltum-suddenly; whether it went back at takes of them, and the reference he has to them in this message, the same pace that it used to go forward, which would make the I have heard thy prayers, I have seen thy tears ; prayers that have day ten hours longer than usual ; or whether it darted back on much life and affection in them, are, in a special manner, a sudden, and, after continuing a little while, was restored again pleasing to God. 2. God exceeds his prayers; he only begged to its usual place, so that no change was made in the state of ihat God would remember his integrity, but God here promises, the heavenly bodies, (as the learned Bishop Patrick thinks.) we (1.) To recover him from his illness, I will heal thee: diseases are not told: but this work of wonder shows the power of God are his servants ; as they go whither he sends them, so they in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of prayer, come when he remands them, Matt. 8. 8, 9. I am the Lord that and the great favour he bears to his chosen. The most plausihealeth thee, Ex. 15. 26. (2.) To restore bim to such a degree ble idolatry of the heathen was theirs that worshipped the sun, of health, that on the third day, he should go up to the house of yet that was hereby convicted of the most egregious folly and the Lord, to return thanks; God knew Hezekiah's heart, how absurdity, for by this it appeared that their god was under the dearly he loved the habitation of God's house, and the place check of the God of Israel. Dr. Lightfoot suggests that the where his honour dwelt, and that as soon as he was well, he fifteen songs of degrees, Ps. 120. &c. might, perhaps, be so would go to attend on public ordinances; thitherward he turned called, because selected by Hezekiah to be sung to his stringed his face when he was sick, and thitherward he would turn his instruments, Is. 38. 20, in remembrance of the degrees on feet when he was recovered ; and therefore, because nothing the dial which the sun went back, and the fifteen years added to would please him better, he promises him this, Let my soul live, his life; and he observes how much of these psalms is applicaand it shall praise thee; the man whom Christ healed, was, ble to Jerusalern's distress and deliverance, and Hezekiah's soon after, found in the temple, John 5. 14. (3.) To add 15 sickness and recovery. years to his life would not bring him to be an old man, it would V. 12-21. Here is, reach but to 54 or 55: yet that was longer than he bad lately I. An embassy sent to Hezekiah by the king of Babylon, to expected to live. His lease was renewed, which he thought congratulate him on his recovery, v. 12. The kings of Babylon was expiring; we have not the instance of any other, that was had hitherto been only deputies and tributaries to the kings of told beforehand just how long he should live; that good man, Assyria, and Nineveh was the royal city: we find Babylon no doubt, made a good use of it, but God has wisely kept us at subject to the king of Assyria, ch. 17. 24. But this king of uncertainties, that we may be always ready. (4.) To deliver Babylon began to set up for himself, and, by degrees, things Jerusalem from the king of Assyria, v. 6. This was the thing were so changed, that Assyria became subject to the kings of which Hezekiah's heart was upon as much as his own recovery, Babylon. This king of Babylon sont to compliment Hezoand therefore the promise of ihis is here repeated; if this was kiah, and ingratiate himself with him upon a double account. after the raising of the siege, yet there was cause to fear Sen 1. Upon the account of religion. The Babylonians worshipped nacherib's rallying again; No, says God, I will defend this city. the sun, and, perceiving what honour their god had done to
V. The means which were 10 be used for his recovery, v. 7. Hezekiah, in going back for his sake, they thought themselves Isajah was his physician; he ordered an outward application, obliged to do honour to him likewise. It is good having those a very cheap and common thing, “ Lay a lump of figs to the our friends, whom we perceive to be the favourites of Heaven. boil, to ripen it, and bring it to a head, that the matter of the 2. Upon the account of civil interest. If the king of Babylon disease may be discharged that way;" this might contribute was now meditating a revolt from the king of Assyria, it was something to the cure, and yet, considering to what a height the policy to get Hezekiah into his interest, in answer to whose
thes shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Mbegan to reign, and reigned fifty and five
Lev. 26. 19. c. 24. 13. 25. 13. Jer. 27. 21. 52. 17.
rc. 24. 12. 2 Chr.
P ver. 13. 33. 11.
and from whence came they unto thee? And He 20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and zekiah said, They are come from a far country, all his might, and how he made a pool," and a coneven from Babylon.
duit, and brought water vinto the city, are they not 15 And he said, What have they seen in thine written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of house? And Hezekiah answered, All Pthe things Judah? that are in mine house have they seen : there is 21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers : and nothing among my treasures that I have not showed Manasseh his son reigned in his stead, them. 16 And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the
CHAPTER XXI. word of the LORD.
In this chapter, we have a short but sad accoant of the reigns of two of the kings
of Judah, Manasseh and Amon. I. Concerning Manassch, all the account we 17 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine
have of him here is, 1. That he devoted himsell to sin, to all manner of wicked. house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in ness, idolatry and murder, v. 1--9, and v. 16. 2. That therefore (od devoted
him, and Jerusalem for his sake, to ruin, v. 10-18. In the book of Chronicles, store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: we have an account of his troubles, and his repentance. II. Concerning Amen
we are only told that he lived in sin v. 19-22. Died quickly by the sword, and nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.
left good Josiah his successor, v. 23-26. By these two reigns Jerusalem was 18 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, much debauched, and much weakened, and so hastened apace toward il destruc
tion, which slurabered mut. which thou shalt beget, shall they take away;" and Babylon.
19 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good 'is the years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was word of the Lord which thou hast spoken. And Hephzi-bah. he said, *Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my 2 And he did that which was evil in the sight days?
of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen,
Shall there nol be peace and truth. u Neh. 3. 16. » 2 Chr. 32. 30. a 2 Chr. ; Dan. 1. 3. i Job 1.21.
33. I, &c. b c. 16.3. prayers, and for whose protection, Heaven had given that fatal this sin, that that judgment should be brought upon them: the blow to the king of Assyria. He found himself obliged to Heze- sins of Manasseh, his idolatries and murders, were the cause kiah, and his God, for the weakening of the Assyrian forces, of that calamity; but il is now foretold to Hezekiah, to convince and had reason to think he could not have a more powerful and him of the folly of his pride, and of the value he had for the valuable ally, than one that had so good an interest in the upper king of Babylon, and to make him ashamed of it. Hezekiah world. He therefore made his court to him with all possible was fond of assisting the king of Babylon to rise, and to reduce respect, by ambassadors, letters, and a present.
the exorbitant power of the kings of Assyria ; but he is told, II. The kind entertainment Hezekiah gave to these ambas- that the snake he is cherishing, will, ere long, sting the bosom sadors, v. 13. It was his duty to be civil to them, and receive that cherishes it, and that his royal seed shall become the king them with the respect due to ambassadors; but he exceeded, of Babylon's slaves; which was fulfilled, Dan 1. 1, &c. Heand did it to a fault. 1. He was too fond of them. He hearkened zekiah could not have been more mortified than by such a unto them. Though they were idolaters, yet he became inti-thought. Babylon will be the ruin of those that are fond of mate with them, was forward to come into a confederacy with Babylon. Wise therefore and happy are they that come out the king their master, and granted them all they came for. from her, Rev. 18. 4. He was more open and free than he should have been, and V. Hezekiah's humble and patient submission to this sedstood not so much upon his guard. What reason had he that tence, v. 19. Observe how he argues himself into this submiswas in covenant with God, so eagerly to catch at an alliance sion, 1. He lays it down for a truth, that good is the word of with a heathen prince, or to value himself at all upon his the Lord, even this word, though a threatening, for every word respectful notice? What honour could this embassy add to of his is so. It is not only just, but good; for as he does no one whom God had so highly favoured, that he should please wrong to any, so he means no hurt to good men." It is good : himself so much with it? 2. He was too fond of showing for he will bring good out of it, and do me good by the foresight them his palace, his treasures, and his magazines, that they of it." We should believe this concerning every providence, might see, and might report to their master, what a great king that it is good, is working for good. 2. He takes notice of he was, and how well worthy of the honour their master did that in this word, which was good, that he should not live to him. It is not said that he showed them the temple, the book see this evil, much less to share in it. He makes the best of of the law, and the manner of his worship, that he might the bad; "Is it not good? Yes, certainly it is, and better proselyte them to the true religion, which he had now a fair than I deserve." Note, (1.) True penitents, when they are opportunity of doing; but, in compliment to them, lest that under divine rebukes, call them not only just, but good; not should affront them, he waived that, and showed them the rich only submit to, but accept of, the punishment of their inifurniture of his closet, that house of his precious things, the quity. So Hezekiah did, and by this it appeared, that he was wealth he had heaped up since the king of Assyria had emptied indeed humbled for the pride of his heart.” (2.) When, at any his coffers, his silver, and gold, and spices. All the valuable time, we are under dark dispensations, or have dark prospects, things he had, he showed them, either himself or by his officers. public or personal, we must take notice of what is for us, as And what harm was there in this? What is more commonly, well as of what is against us, that we may, by thanksgiving, and (as we think), more innocently, done, than to show stran- honour God, and may in our patience possess our own souls. gers the riches and rarities of a country? To show our friends (3.) As to public affairs, it is good, and we are bound to think our houses and their furniture, our gardens, stables, and it so, if peace and truth be in our days. That is, (1.) Whatlibraries? But if we do this in the pride of our hearis, as ever else we want, it is good if we have peace and iruth; if Hezekiah did, to gain applause from men, and not giving praise we have the true religion professed and protected, bibles and to God, it turns into sin to us, as it did to him.
ministers, and enjoy these in peace, not terrified with the III. The examination of Hezekiah concerning this matter, alarms of war or persecution. (2.) Whatever trouble may v. 14, 15. Isajah, who had often been his comforter, is now his come when we are gone, it is good if all be well in our days. reprover. The blessed Spirit is both, John 16. 7, 8. Ministers Not that we should be unconcerned for posterity, it is a grief to must be both, as there is occasion. Isaiah spake in God's foresee evils ; but we should own that the deferring of judg. name, and therefore called him to account as one having au ments is a great favour in general; and to have them deferred thority: “Who are these? Whence come they? What so long as that we may die in peace, is a particular favour to is their business? What have they seen ?" Hezekiah not us, for charity begins at home. We know not how we shall only submitted to the examination, (did not ask him, “Why bear the trial, and therefore have reason to think it well, if we should you concern yourself, and question me about this affair?") may but get safe to heaven before it comes. but made an ingenuous confession, There is nothing among my Lastly, Here is the conclusion of Hezekiah's life and story, treasures that I have not showed them. Why then did he not v. 20, 21. In 2 Chronicles, Book 2, ch. 29. 30. and 31. much bring them to Isaiah, and show him to them, who was, without more is recorded of Hezekiah's work of reformation than is in doubt, the best treasure he had in his dominions, and who, hy this book of Kings : and it seems that in the civil chronicles, his prayers and prophecies, had been instrumental in all those not now extant, there were many things recorded of his might, wonders, which these ambassadors came to inquire into ? i and the good offices he did for Jerusalem, particularly his hope Hezekiah had the same value for Isajah now, that he had bringing water by pipes into the city. To have water in in his distress; but it had become him to show it, by bringing plenty, without striving for it, and without being terrified with these ambassadors to him in the first place, which might have the noise of archers in the drawing of it, to have it at hand, prevented the false step he took.
and convenient for us, is to be reckoned a great mercy, for the IV. The sentence passed upon him for his pride and vanity, want of water would be a great calamily. But here this hisand the too great relish he had of the things of the world, after torian leaves him asleep with his fathers, and a son in his that intimate acquaintance he had so lately been admitted into throne that proved very untoward; for parents cannot give with divine things. The sentence is, (v. 17, 18,) 1. That the grace to their children. Wicked Ahaz was the son of a godly treasures he was so proud of, should hereafter become a prey, father, and the father of a godly son; holy Hezekiah was the and his family should be robbed of them all. It is just with son of a wicked father, and the father of a wicked son. When God, to take that from us, which we make the matter of our the land was not reformed, as it should have been, by a good pride, and in which we put our confidence. 2. That the king reign, it was plagued and ripened for ruin by a bad one; yet of Babylon, he was so fond of an alliance with, should be the then tried again with a good one, that it might appear how enemy that should make a prey of them. Not that it was for I loath God was to cut off his people.