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of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? the LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and. Shebna, and Joah, unto Rab-shakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall.
But Rab-shakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which set on the wall, that they may be punished with you? Then Rab-shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria: Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand.
Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Hearken not unto Hezekiah. For thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern? Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil-olive, and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying the LORD will deliver us.
Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of ITamath, and of Arpad? where are the
gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word. For the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It seems that Sennacherib, after he had laid the plan for the siege of Jerusalem, went back to Lachish, and sent three of his generals with a very great army to conduct it.
The speech, which Rab-shakeh made to Hezekiah's ministers, was an open insult to the LORD GOD of Israel.
It does not appear that Hezekiah had any intention of seeking succours from Egypt; but as the king of Israel had formed an alliance with that nation, Rab-shakeh supposed the king of Judah would do the same.
It is very remarkable, that notwithstanding Rabshakeh affected to despise the LORD, he pretended to have been sent by Him to destroy His land. This circumstance seems to indicate, that Isaiah's prophecy, which foretold that the Assyrian power should be the Scourge both of Israel and Judah, had been delivered so publicly, that Rab-shakeh had heard of it; and though he had no faith in the LORD, he might think proper to refer to the prophecy, in order to intimidate the king and people of Judah.
Rab-shakeh was a very eloquent man, and Eliakim had great reason to dread the effect of his plausible arguments, especially as the people of Judah had on so many occasions been persuaded to forsake the LORD and join with idolaters; and were in particular danger of being seduced at a time when such misfortunes threatened them as they could not by human means
avert: but the good example of their excellent sovereign, and a regular attendance on public worship, had produced such happy effects on their minds, that they readily obeyed the command which Hezekiah had previously given, and listened to the vain boastings of Rabshakeh with silent indignation. A great resemblance may be observed between the threats of the Assyrians, and those of the haughty power which is at this time "the rod of God's anger, the staff of his indignation."
HEZEKIAH'S HUMILIATION HIS PRAYER.
From 2 Kings, Chap. xviii, xix.
THEN came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the houshold, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the san of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their cloaths rent, and told him the words of Rab.shakeh.
And it came to pass when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his cloaths and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
And he sent Eliakim, which was over the houshold, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.
And they said to him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy.
It may be the LORD thy GOD will hear all the words of Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living GoD: and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: where-fore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.
So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.
Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land: and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
So Rab-shakeh returned and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
And when he heard say of Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy GOD in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden, which were in Thelazar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Henah, and Ivah?
And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD GOD of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the GOD, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine cyes and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, who hath sent him to reproach the living GoD.
Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed
the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore have they destroyed them.
Now therefore, O LORD our GOD, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD GOD, even thou only.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The behaviour of Hezekiah, when he received the in sulting message of the Assyrian king, was perfectly suited to the occasion, and expressive of the sorrow he felt at the indignity offered to the LORD GOD.
The answer which Isaiah returned in the name of the LORD, must have afforded great consolation to the good kind Hezekiah; and his prediction, that Sennacherib should hear a rumour, and return to his own land, was soon verified; for the Assyrian monarch was informed, that the king of Ethiopia intended to make war against him, on which he departed from Lachish to defend his own country, instead of going to the siege of Jerusalem, and when Rab-shakeh came to inform him of his late proceedings, he found Sennacherib fully engaged in another war; however he wrote a haughty letter to Hezekiah, in which he repeated the message which Rabshakeh had before delivered. Hezekiah justly con sidered this as a presumptuous defiance of the ALMIGHTY GOD, and prayed the LORD to take the cause into his own hands, and maintain the honour of his holy name, not doubting but that he could deliver him and his people from the power of the Assyrian king.