2 Kings 19
Jerusalem's great distress we read of in the foregoing chapter, and
left it besieged, insulted, threatened, terrified, and just ready to be
swallowed up by the Assyrian army. But in this chapter we have an
account of its glorious deliverance, not by sword or bow, but by prayer
and prophecy, and by the hand of an angel.
I. Hezekiah, in great concern, sent to the prophet Isaiah, to desire
(2 Kings 19:1-5)
and received from him an answer of peace,
2 Kings 19:6,7.
II. Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah to fright him into a
2 Kings 19:8-13.
III. Hezekiah thereupon, by a very solemn prayer, recommended his case
to God, the righteous Judge, and begged help from him,
2 Kings 19:14-19.
IV. God, by Isaiah, sent him a very comfortable message, assuring him
2 Kings 19:20-34.
V. The army of the Assyrians was all cut off by an angel and
Sennacherib himself slain by his own sons,
2 Kings 19:35-37.
And so God glorified himself and saved his people.
|Hezekiah's Sends to Isaiah.
||B. C. 710.|
1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he
rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went
into the house of the LORD.
2 And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and
Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with
sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
3 And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a
day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children
are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring
4 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: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the
remnant that are left.
5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
6 And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your 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
7 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.
The contents of Rabshakeh's speech being brought to Hezekiah, one would
have expected (and it is likely Rabshakeh did expect) that he would
call a council of war and it would be debated whether it was best to
capitulate or no. Before the siege, he had taken counsel with his
princes and his mighty men,
2 Chronicles 32:3.
But that would not do now; his greatest relief is that he has a God to
go to, and what passed between him and his God on this occasion we have
here an account of.
I. Hezekiah discovered a deep concern at the dishonour done to God by
Rabshakeh's blasphemy. When he heard it, though at second hand, he
rent his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth,
2 Kings 19:1.
Good men were wont to do so when they heard of any reproach cast on
God's name; and great men must not think it any disparagement to them
to sympathize with the injured honour of the great God. Royal robes are
not too good to be rent, nor royal flesh too good to be clothed with
sackcloth, in humiliation for indignities done to God and for the
perils and terrors of his Jerusalem. To this God now called, and was
displeased with those who were not thus affected.
Behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, though
it was a day of trouble and perplexity in the valley of vision
(2 Kings 19:5),
which refers to this very event. The king was in sackcloth, but many of
his subjects were in soft clothing.
II. He went up to the house of the Lord, according to the
example of the psalmist, who, when he was grieved at the pride and
prosperity of the wicked, went into the sanctuary of God and
there understood their end,
He went to the house of God, to meditate and pray, and get his spirit
into a sedate composed frame, after this agitation. He was not
considering what answer to return to Rabshakeh, but refers the matter
to God. "Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me."--Herbert. In the
house of the Lord he found a place both of rest and refuge, a treasury,
a magazine, a council-chamber, and all he needed, all in God. Note,
When the church's enemies are very daring and threatening it is the
wisdom and duty of the church's friends to apply to God, appeal to him,
and leave their cause with him.
III. He sent to the prophet Isaiah, by honourable messengers, in token
of the great respect he had for him, to desire his prayers,
2 Kings 19:2-4.
Eliakim and Shebna were two of those that had heard the words of
Rabshakeh and were the better able both to acquaint and to affect
Isaiah with the case. The elders of the priests were themselves to pray
for the people in time of trouble
but they must go to engage Isaiah's prayers, because he could pray
better and had a better interest in heaven. The messengers were to go
in sackcloth, because they were to represent the king, who was so
1. Their errand to Isaiah was, "Lift up thy prayer for the remnant
that is left, that is, for Judah, which is but a remnant now that
the ten tribes are gone--for Jerusalem, which is but a remnant now that
the defenced cities of Judah are taken." Note,
(1.) It is very desirable, and what we should be desirous of when we
are in trouble, to have the prayers of our friends for us. In begging
to have them we honour God, we honour prayer, and we honour our
(2.) When we desire the prayers of others for us we must not think we
are excused from praying for ourselves. When Hezekiah sent to Isaiah to
pray for him he himself went into the house of the Lord to offer
up his own prayers.
(3.) Those who speak from God to us we should in a particular manner
desire to speak to God for us. He is a prophet, and he shall pray
The great prophet is the great intercessor.
(4.) Those are likely to prevail with God that lift up their
prayers, that is, that lift up their hearts in prayer.
(5.) When the interests of God's church are brought very low, so that
there is but a remnant left, few friends, and those weak and at a loss,
then it is time to lift up our prayer for that remnant.
2. Two things are urged to Isaiah, to engage his prayers for them:--
(1.) Their fears of the enemy
(2 Kings 19:3):
"He is insolent and haughty; it is a day of rebuke and
blasphemy. We are despised. God is dishonoured. Upon this account
it is a day of trouble. Never were such a king and kingdom so trampled
on and abused as we are: our soul is exceedingly filled with the
contempt of the proud, and it is a sword in our bones to
hear them reproach our confidence in God, and say, Where is now your
God? and, which is worst of all, we see not which way we can help
ourselves and get clear of the reproach. Our cause is good, our people
are faithful; but we are quite overpowered with numbers. The children
are brought to the birth; now is the time, the critical moment, when,
if ever, we must be relieved. One successful blow given to the enemy
would accomplish our wishes. But, alas! we are not able to give it:
There is not strength to bring forth. Our case is as deplorable,
and calls for as speedy help, as that of a woman in travail, that is
quite spent with her throes, so that she has not strength to bear the
child. Compare with this
We are ready to perish; if thou canst do any thing, have compassion
upon us and help us."
(2.) Their hopes in God. To him they look, on him they depend, to
appear for them. One word from him will turn the scale, and save the
sinking remnant. If he but reprove the words of Rabshakeh (that is,
2 Kings 19:4)--
if he undertake to convince and confound the blasphemer--all will be
well. And this they trust he will do, not for their merit's sake, but
for his own honour's sake, because he has reproached the living
God, by levelling him with deaf and dumb idols. They have reason to
think the issue will be good, for they can interest God in the quarrel.
Arise O God! plead thy own cause. "He is the Lord thy God," say
they to Isaiah--"thine, whose glory thou art concerned for, and
whose favour thou art interested in. He has heard and known the
blasphemous words of Rabshakeh, and therefore, it may be, he will hear
and rebuke them. We hope he will. Help us with thy prayers to bring the
cause before him, and then we are content to leave it with him."
IV. God, by Isaiah, sent to Hezekiah, to assure him that he would
glorify himself in the ruin of the Assyrians. Hezekiah sent to Isaiah,
not to enquire concerning the event, as many did that sent to the
prophets (Shall I recover? or the like), but to desire his
assistance in his duty. It was this that he was solicitous about; and
therefore God let him know what the event should be, in recompence of
his care to do his duty,
2 Kings 19:6,7.
1. God interested himself in the cause: They have blasphemed me.
2. He encouraged Hezekiah, who was much dismayed: Be not afraid of
the words which thou hast heard; they are but words (though
swelling and fiery words), and words are but wind.
3. He promised to frighten the king of Assyria worse than Rabshakeh had
frightened him: "I will send a blast upon him (that pestilential
breath which killed his army), upon which terrors shall seize him and
drive him into his own country, where death shall meet him." This short
threatening from the mouth of God would do execution, when all the
impotent menaces that came from Rabshakeh's mouth would vanish into
|Sennacherib Sends to Hezekiah.
||B. C. 710.|
8 So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring
against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from
9 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,
10 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.
11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done
to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be
12 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 Thelasar?
13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and
the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?
14 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.
15 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.
16 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes,
and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him
to reproach the living God.
17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the
nations and their lands,
18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no
gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they
have destroyed them.
19 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.
Rabshakeh, having delivered his message and received no answer (whether
he took this silence for a consent or a slight does not appear), left
his army before Jerusalem, under the command of the other generals, and
went himself to attend the king his master for further orders. He found
him besieging Libnah, a city that had revolted from Judah,
2 Kings 8:22.
Whether he had taken Lachish or no is not certain; some think he
departed from it because he found the taking of it impracticable,
2 Kings 19:8.
However, he was now alarmed with the rumour that the king of the
Cushites, who bordered upon the Arabians, was coming out against him
with a great army,
2 Kings 19:9.
This made him very desirous to gain Jerusalem with all speed. To take
it by force would cost him more time and men than he could well spare,
and therefore he renewed his attack upon Hezekiah to persuade him
tamely to surrender it. Having found him an easy man once
(2 Kings 18:14),
when he said, That which thou puttest on me I will bear, he
hoped again to frighten him into a submission, but in vain. Here,
I. Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah, a railing letter, a
blaspheming letter, to persuade him to surrender Jerusalem, because it
would be to no purpose for him to think of standing it out. His letter
is to the same purport with Rabshakeh's speech; there is nothing new
offered in it. Rabshakeh had said to the people, Let not Hezekiah
2 Kings 18:29.
Sennacherib writes to Hezekiah, Let not thy God deceive thee,
2 Kings 19:10.
Those that have the God of Jacob for their help, and whose hope is
in the Lord their God, need not fear being deceived by him, as the
heathen were by their gods. To terrify Hezekiah, and drive him from his
anchor, he magnifies himself and his own achievements. See how proudly
1. Of the lands he had conquered
(2 Kings 19:11):
All lands, and destroyed utterly! How are the mole-hills of his
victories swelled to mountains! So far was he from destroying all lands
that at this time the land of Cush, and Tirhakah its king, were a
terror to him. What vast hyperboles may one expect in proud men's
praises of themselves!
2. Of the gods he had conquered,
2 Kings 19:12.
"Each vanquished nation and its gods, which were so far from being able
to deliver them that they fell with them: and shall thy God deliver
3. Of the kings he had conquered
(2 Kings 19:13),
the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad. Whether he means the
prince or the idol, he means to make himself appear greater than
either, and therefore very formidable, and the terror of the mighty
in the land of the living.
II. Hezekiah encloses this in another letter, a praying letter, a
believing letter, and sends it to the King of kings, who judges among
the gods. Hezekiah was not so haughty as not to receive the letter,
though we may suppose the superscription did not give him his due
titles; when he had received it he was not so careless as not to read
it; when he had read it he was not in such a passion as to write an
answer to it in the same provoking language; but he immediately went up
to the temple, presented himself, and then spread the letter before
(2 Kings 19:14),
not as if God needed to have the letter shown to him (he knew what was
in it before Hezekiah did), but hereby he signified that he
acknowledged God in all his ways,--that he desired not to aggravate the
injuries his enemies did him nor to make them appear worse than they
were, but desired they might be set in a true light,--and that he
referred himself to God, and his righteous judgment, upon the whole
matter. Hereby likewise he would affect himself in the prayer he came
to the temple to make; and we have need of all possible helps to
quicken us in that duty. In the prayer which Hezekiah prayed over this
1. He adores the God whom Sennacherib had blasphemed
(2 Kings 19:15),
calls him the God of Israel, because Israel was his peculiar
people, and the God that dwelt between the cherubim, because
there was the peculiar residence of his glory upon earth; but he gives
glory to him as the God of the whole earth, and not, as
Sennacherib fancied him to be, the God of Israel only, and
confined to the temple. "Let them say what they will, thou art
sovereign Lord, for thou art the God, the God of gods, sole Lord, even
thou alone, universal Lord of all the kingdoms of the earth, and
rightful Lord, for thou hast made heaven and earth. Being
Creator of all, by an incontestable title thou art owner and ruler of
2. He appeals to God concerning the insolence and profaneness of
(2 Kings 19:16):
"Lord, hear; Lord, see. Here it is under his own hand; here it
is in black and white." Had Hezekiah only been abused, he would have
passed it by; but it is God, the living God, that is reproached, the
jealous God. Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name?
3. He owns Sennacherib's triumphs over the gods of the heathen, but
distinguishes between them and the God of Israel
(2 Kings 19:17,18):
He has indeed cast their gods into the fire; for they were no
gods, unable to help either themselves or their worshipers, and
therefore no wonder that he has destroyed them; and, in destroying
them, though he knew it not, he really served the justice and jealousy
of the God of Israel, who has determined to extirpate all the gods of
the heathen. But those are deceived who think they can therefore be too
hard for him. He is none of the gods whom men's hands have made, but he
has himself made all things,
4. He prays that God will now glorify himself in the defeat of
Sennacherib and the deliverance of Jerusalem out of his hands
(2 Kings 19:19):
"Now therefore save us; for if we be conquered, as other lands
are, they will say that thou art conquered, as the gods of those lands
were: but, Lord, distinguish thyself, by distinguishing us, and let all
the world know, and be made to confess, that thou art the Lord
God, the self-existent sovereign God, even thou only, and
that all pretenders are vanity and a lie." Note, The best pleas in
prayer are those which are taken from God's honour; and therefore the
Lord's prayer begins with Hallowed be thy name, and concludes
with Thine is the glory.
|Sennacherib's Fall Predicted.
||B. C. 710.|
20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus
saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me
against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
21 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him;
The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed
thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at
22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom
hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high?
even against the Holy One of Israel.
23 By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast
said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the
height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut
down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees
thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and
into the forest of his Carmel.
24 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of
my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places.
25 Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of
ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to
pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into
26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were
dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field,
and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as
corn blasted before it be grown up.
27 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in,
and thy rage against me.
28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into
mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my
bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which
29 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year
such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that
which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and
reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof.
30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall
yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that
escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall
32 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of
Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow
there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against
33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and
shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.
34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake,
and for my servant David's sake.
We have here the gracious copious answer which God gave to Hezekiah's
prayer. The message which he sent him by the same hand
(2 Kings 19:6,7),
one would think, was an answer sufficient to his prayer; but, that he
might have strong consolation, he was encouraged by two immutable
things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,
In general, God assured him that his prayer was heard, his prayer
2 Kings 19:20.
Note, The case of those that have the prayers of God's people against
them is miserable. For, if the oppressed cry to God against the
oppressor, he will hear,
God hears and answers, hears with the saving strength of his right
This message bespeaks two things:--
I. Confusion and shame to Sennacherib and his forces. It is here
foretold that he should be humbled and broken. The prophet elegantly
directs his speech to him, as he does,
O Assyrian! the rod of my anger. Not that this message was sent
to him, but what is here said to him he was made to know by the event.
Providence spoke it to him with a witness; and perhaps his own heart
was made to whisper this to him: for God has more ways than one of
speaking to sinners in his wrath, so as to vex them in his sore
Sennacherib is here represented,
1. As the scorn of Jerusalem,
2 Kings 19:21.
He thought himself the terror of the daughter of Zion, that chaste and
beautiful virgin, and that by his threats he could force her to submit
to him: "But, being a virgin in her Father's house and under his
protection, she defies thee, despises thee, laughs thee to scorn. Thy
impotent malice is ridiculous; he that sits in heaven laughs at thee,
and therefore so do those that abide under his shadow." By this word
God intended to silence the fears of Hezekiah and his people. Though to
an eye of sense the enemy looked formidable, to an eye of faith he
2. As an enemy to God; and that was enough to make him miserable.
Hezekiah pleaded this: "Lord, he has reproached thee,"
2 Kings 19:16.
"He has," saith God, "and I take it as against myself
(2 Kings 19:22):
Whom hast thou reproached? Is it not the Holy One of Israel,
whose honour is dear to him, and who has power to vindicate it, which
the gods of the heathen have not?" Nemo me impune lacesset--No one
shall provoke me with impunity.
3. As a proud vainglorious fool, that spoke great swelling words of
vanity, and boasted of a false gift, by his boasts, as well
as by his threats, reproaching the Lord. For,
(1.) He magnified his own achievements out of measure and quite above
what really they were
(2 Kings 19:23,24):
Thou hast said so and so. This was not in the letter he wrote,
but God let Hezekiah know that he not only saw what was written there,
but heard what he said elsewhere, probably in the speeches he made to
his councils or armies. Note, God takes notice of the boasts of proud
men, and will call them to an account, that he may look upon them
and abuse them,
What a mighty figure does Sennacherib think he makes! Driving his
chariots to the tops of the highest mountains, forcing his way through
woods and rivers, breaking through all difficulties, making himself
master of all he had a mind to. Nothing could stand before him or be
withheld from him; no hills too high for him to climb, no trees too
strong for him to fell, no waters too deep for him to dry up; as if he
had the power of a God, to speak and it is done.
(2.) He took to himself the glory of doing these great things, whereas
they were all the Lord's doing,
2 Kings 19:25,26.
Sennacherib, in his letter, had appealed to what Hezekiah had heard
(2 Kings 19:11):
Thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done; but, in
answer to that, he is reminded of what God has done for Israel of old,
drying up the Red Sea, leading them through the wilderness, planting
them in Canaan. "What are all thy doings to these? And as for the
desolations thou hast made in the earth, and particularly in Judah,
thou art but the instrument in God's hand, a mere tool: it is I that
have brought it to pass. I gave thee thy power, gave thee thy
success, and made thee what thou art, raised thee up to lay waste
fenced cities and so to punish them for their wickedness, and
therefore their inhabitants were of small power." What a foolish
insolent thing was it for him to exalt himself above God, and against
God, upon that which he had done by him and under him. Sennacherib's
boasts here are expounded in
By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom,
&c.; and they are answered
(2 Kings 19:15),
Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? It
is surely absurd for the fly upon the wheel to say, What a dust do I
make! or for the sword in the hand to say, What execution I do! If God
be the principal agent in all that is done, boasting is for ever
4. As under the check and rebuke of that God whom he blasphemed. All
his motions were,
(1.) Under the divine cognizance
(2 Kings 19:27):
"I have thy abode, and what thou dost secretly devise and
design, thy going out and coming in, marches and
counter-marches, and thy rage against me and my people, the
tumult of thy passions, the tumult of thy preparations, the noise and
bluster thou makest: I know it all." That was more than Hezekiah did,
who wished for intelligence of the enemy's motions; but what need was
there for this when the eye of God was a constant spy upon him?
2 Chronicles 16:9.
(2.) Under the divine control
(2 Kings 19:28):
"I will put my hook in thy nose, thou great Leviathan
my bridle in thy jaws, thou great Behemoth. I will restrain
thee, manage thee, turn thee where I please, send thee home like a fool
as thou camest, re infecta--disappointed of thy aim."
Note, It is a great comfort to all the church's friends that God has a
hook in the nose and a bridle in the jaws of all her enemies, can make
even their wrath to serve and praise him and then restrain the
remainder of it. Here shall its proud waves be stayed.
II. Salvation and joy to Hezekiah and his people. This shall be a sign
to them of God's favour, and that he is reconciled to them, and his
anger is turned away
a wonder in their eyes (for so a sign sometimes signifies), a token for
good, and an earnest of the further mercy God has in store for them,
that a good issue shall be put to their present distress in every
1. Provisions were scarce and dear; and what should they do for food?
The fruits of the earth were devoured by the Assyrian army,
&c. Why, they shall not only dwell in the land, but verily they
shall be fed. If God save them, he will not starve them, nor let
them die by famine, when they have escaped the sword: "Eat you this
year that which groweth of itself, and you shall find enough of
that. Did the Assyrians reap what you sowed? You shall reap what you
did not sow." But the next year was the sabbatical year, when the land
was to rest, and they must neither sow nor reap. What must they do that
year? Why, Jehovah-jireh--The Lord will provide. God's blessing
shall save them seed and labour, and, that year too, the voluntary
productions of the earth shall serve to maintain them, to remind them
that the earth brought forth before there was a man to till it,
And then, the third year, their husbandry should return into its former
channel, and they should sow and reap as they used to do.
2. The country was laid waste, families were broken up and scattered,
and all was in confusion; how should it be otherwise when it was
over-run by such an army? As to this, it is promised that the
remnant that has escaped of the house of Judah (that is, of the
country people) shall yet again be planted in their own habitations,
upon their own estates, shall take root there, shall increase and grow
2 Kings 19:30.
See how their prosperity is described: it is taking root
downwards, and bearing fruit upwards, being well fixed and
well provided for themselves, and then doing good to others. Such is
the prosperity of the soul: it is taking root downwards by faith in
Christ, and then being fruitful in fruits of righteousness.
3. The city was shut up, none went out or came in; but now the remnant
in Jerusalem and Zion shall go forth freely, and there shall be none to
hinder them, or make them afraid,
2 Kings 19:31.
Great destruction had been made both in city and country, bit in both
there was a remnant that escaped, which typified the saved remnant of
Israelites indeed (as appears by comparing
which speaks of this very event, with
and they shall go forth into the glorious liberty of the children of
4. The Assyrians were advancing towards Jerusalem, and would in a
little time besiege it in form, and it was in great danger of falling
into their hands. But it is here promised that the siege they feared
should be prevented,--that, though the enemy had now (as it should
seem) encamped before the city, yet they should never come into the
city, no, nor so much as shoot an arrow into it
(2 Kings 19:32,33),--
that he should be forced to retire with shame, and a thousand times to
repent his undertaking. God himself undertakes to defend the city
(2 Kings 19:34),
and that person, that place, cannot but be safe, the protection of
which he undertakes.
5. The honour and truth of God are engaged for the doing of all this.
These are great things, but how will they be effected? Why, the zeal
of the Lord of hosts shall do this,
2 Kings 19:31.
He is Lord of hosts, has all creatures at his beck, therefore he is
able to do it; he is jealous for Jerusalem with great jealousy
having espoused her a chaste virgin to himself, he will not suffer he
to be abused,
2 Kings 19:21.
"You have reason to think yourselves unworthy that such great things
should be done for you; but God's own zeal will do it." His zeal,
(1.) For his own honour
(2 Kings 19:34):
"I will do it for my own sake, to make myself an everlasting name."
God's reasons of mercy are fetched from within himself.
(2.) For his own truth: "I will do it for my servant David's sake; not
for the sake of his merit, but the promise made to him and the covenant
made with him, those sure mercies of David." Thus all the deliverances
of the church are wrought for the sake of Christ, the Son of David.
|The Assyrian Army Destroyed.
||B. C. 710.|
35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD
went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred
fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the
morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and
returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of
Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him
with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And
Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
Sometimes it was long ere prophecies were accomplished and promises
performed; but here the word was no sooner spoken than the work was
I. The army of Assyria was entirely routed. That night which
immediately followed the sending of this message to Hezekiah, when the
enemy had just set down before the city and were preparing (as we now
say) to open the trenches, that night was the main body of their army
slain upon the spot by an angel,
2 Kings 19:35.
Hezekiah had not force sufficient to sally out upon them and attack
their camp, nor would God do it by sword or bow; but he sent his angel,
a destroying angel, in the dead of the night, to make an assault upon
them, which their sentinels, though ever so wakeful, could neither
discover nor resist. It was not by the sword of a mighty man or of
a mean man, that is, not of any man at all, but of an angel, that
the Assyrians army was to fall
such an angel as slew the first-born of Egypt. Josephus says it was
done by a pestilential disease, which was instant death to them. The
number slain was very great, 185,000 men, and Rabshakeh, it is likely,
among the rest. When the besieged arose, early in the morning,
behold they were all dead corpses, scarcely a living man among
them. Some think the
was penned on this occasion, where we read that the stout-hearted
were spoiled and slept their sleep, their last, their long sleep,
See how great, in power and might, the holy angels are, when one angel,
in one night, could make so great a slaughter. See how weak the
mightiest of men are before almighty God: who ever hardened himself
against him and prospered? The pride and blasphemy of the king are
punished by the destruction of his army. All these lives are sacrificed
to God's glory and Zion's safety. The prophet shows that
therefore God suffered this vast rendezvous to be made, that
they might be gathered as sheaves into the floor,
II. The king of Assyria was hereby put into the utmost confusion.
Ashamed to see himself, after all his proud boasts, thus defeated and
disabled to pursue his conquests and secure what he had (for this, we
may suppose, was the flower of his army), and continually afraid of
falling under the like stroke himself, He departed, and went, and
returned; the manner of the expression intimates the great disorder
and distraction of mind he was in,
2 Kings 19:36.
And it was not long before God cut him off too, by the hands of two
of his own sons,
2 Kings 19:37.
1. Those that did it were very wicked, to kill their own father (whom
they were bound to protect) and in the act of his devotion; monstrous
2. God was righteous in it. Justly are the sons suffered to rebel
against their father that begat them, when he was in rebellion against
the God that made him. Those whose children are undutiful to them ought
to consider whether they have not been so to their Father in heaven.
The God of Israel had done enough to convince him that he was the only
true God, whom therefore he ought to worship; yet he persists in his
idolatry, and seeks to his false god for protection against a God of
irresistible power. Justly is his blood mingled with his sacrifices,
since he will not be convinced by such a plain and dear-bought
demonstration of his folly in worshipping idols. His sons that murdered
him were suffered to escape, and no pursuit was made after them, his
subjects perhaps being weary of the government of so proud a man and
thinking themselves well rid of him. And his sons would be looked upon
as the more excusable in what they had done if it be true (as bishop
Patrick suggested) that he was now vowing to sacrifice them to his god,
so that it was for their own preservation that they sacrificed him. His
successor was another son, Esarhaddon, who (as it should seem)
did not aim, like his father, to enlarge his conquests, but rather to
improve them; for he it was that first sent colonies of Assyrians to
inhabit the country of Samaria, though it is mentioned before
(2 Kings 17:24),
where the Samaritans say it was Esarhaddon that brought them