Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.
And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
A. M. 3294. B.C. 710. sent
Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder.
And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?
Assyria proper, now Kourdistan, was bounded by Armenia on the north, Media and Persia on the east, Babylonia on the south, and the Tigris, which divides it from Mesopotamia, on the west, between 33 degrees and 38 degrees N. lat. and 42 degrees and 46 degrees E. long. But the Assyrian empire, the bounds of which were different at different times, in its most flourishing state, according to the descriptions of the Greek and Roman writers, comprehended all the countries and nations between the Mediterranean on the west, and the Indus on the east, and between the deserts of Scythia on the north, and the Indian ocean on the south.
I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
Heb. a word of lips. I have counsel and strength for war. or, but counsel and strength are for the war.
Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?
is it not
Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall.
in the Syrian
But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?
that they may
Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words 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.
Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern;
Make an agreement with me by a present
or, Seek my favour by a present. Heb. Make with me a blessing.
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 corn
Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
The variation of Arphad and Arpad exists only in the translation; the original being uniformly
Calmet is of opinion that Sepharvaim was the capital of the Saspires, who, according to Herodotus, were the only people that inhabited between the Colchians and Medes; and probably the Sarapases, whom Strabo places in Armenia. Hiller considers the name as denoting Sephar of the Parvaim, i.e., Mount Sephar adjacent to the regions of Arabia called Parvaim. But it is more probable, as Wells and others suppose, that Sepharvaim is the [Sipphara] Sipphara, of Ptolemy, the [Sipparenon polis] the city of the Sippareni, mentioned by Abydenus, and probably the Hipparenum of Pliny, a city of Mesopotamia, situated upon the Euphrates, near where it is divided into two arms, by one of which, it is probable, it was divided into two parts.
Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
that the Lord
But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.
33:7 37:1,2 2 Kings 5:7 Ezra 9:3 Matthew 26:65 The history of the invasion of Sennacherib, observes Bp. Lowth, and the miraculous destruction of his army, which makes the subject of so many of Isaiah's prophecies, is very properly inserted here, as affording the best light to many parts of these prophecies; and as almost necessary to introduce the prophecy in the 37th chapter, being the answer of God to Hezekiah's prayer, which could not be properly understood without it. Sennacherib succeeded his father Shalmaneser on the throne of Assyria, A.M. 3290, B.C. 714, and reigned only about eight years.