Isaiah 36:1-40:8

Isaiah 36‑40  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 12
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After the lovely picture of blessedness on earth in the millennial age, presented to us in chapter 35, there is a break in the prophecy. The four chapters, 36-39, give us details of history in Hezekiah’s reign, which are recounted also in 2 Kings, chapters 18-20, and again more briefly in 2 Chronicles 32.
Remembering that we have no needless repetitions in Scripture, we may ask why these chapters should be inserted here? The answer, we think, is twofold.
First, the personal piety of Hezekiah is recorded, so different from the state of the nation at large as depicted in the earlier chapters, and particularly chapter 1; and then how God answered his faith in the destruction of the Assyrian. Second, though his faith and dependence on God was so genuine, and his prayer for recovery so strikingly answered, these very mercies led to his failure in the matter of the Babylonian envoys which is recorded. This indicated that the more immediate judgments already pronounced could not be delayed.
Rabshakeh’s words were very specious. He knew the weakness of Egypt, in which the Jews were inclined to trust, as verse 6 shows; and as to which the people had already been warned by Isaiah. He completely mistook, however, Hezekiah’s action in destroying the high places, for this, instead of being an offense against the Lord, was entirely in obedience to His word in Deuteronomy 12:1-61These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. 2Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: 3And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. 4Ye shall not do so unto the Lord your God. 5But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: (Deuteronomy 12:1‑6). So many previous kings, even the good ones, had overlooked this commandment of the Lord, but Hezekiah had been obedient and faithful.
Moreover, Rabshakeh falsely asserted that the Lord had told the Assyrian king to destroy Jerusalem, and then he appealed against Hezekiah to the citizens within hearing, for he evidently had a shrewd knowledge of their idolatrous tendencies, so different to their King. Many of them were secretly trusting in false gods and not in the Lord, so the reminder of the fact that the gods of many other cities had failed to deliver, was calculated to have weight in their minds. Still Hezekiah’s command to the men to keep silence prevailed, and they answered him not a word.