The story of this chapter likewise we had before,
2 Kings 20:12,
&c. It is here repeated, not only as a very memorable and improvable
passage, but because it concludes with a prophecy of the captivity in
Babylon; and as the former part of the prophecy of this book frequently
referred to Sennacherib's invasion and the defeat of that, to which
therefore the history of that was very fitly subjoined, so the latter
part of this book speaks much of the Jews' captivity in Babylon and
their deliverance out of that, to which therefore the first prediction
of it, with the occasion thereof, is very fitly prefixed. We have here,
I. The pride and folly of Hezekiah, in showing his treasures to the
king of Babylon's ambassadors that were sent to congratulate him on his
II. Isaiah's examination of him concerning it, in God's name, and his
confession of it,
III. The sentence passed upon him for it, that all his treasures
should, in process of time, be carried to Babylon,
IV. Hezekiah's penitent and patient submission to this sentence,
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1 At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of
Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard
that he had been sick, and was recovered.
2 And Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of
his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices,
and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and
all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his
house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.
3 Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said
unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto
thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto
me, even from Babylon.
4 Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And
Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen:
there is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them.
Hence we may learn these lessons:--
1. That humanity and common civility teach us to rejoice with our
friends and neighbours when they rejoice, and to congratulate them on
their deliverances, and particularly their recoveries from sickness.
The king of Babylon, having heard that Hezekiah had been sick, and had
recovered, sent to compliment him upon the occasion. If Christians be
unneighbourly, heathens will shame them.
2. It becomes us to give honour to those whom our God puts honour upon.
The sun was the Babylonians' god; and when they understood that it was
with a respect to Hezekiah that the sun, to their great surprise, went
back ten degrees, on such a day, they thought themselves obliged to do
Hezekiah all the honour they could. Will all people thus walk in the
name of their God, and shall not we?
3. Those that do not value good men for their goodness may yet be
brought to pay them great respect by other inducements, and for the
sake of their secular interests. The king of Babylon made his court to
Hezekiah, not because he was pious, but because he was prosperous, as
the Philistines coveted an alliance with Isaac because they saw the
Lord was with him,
The king of Babylon was an enemy to the king of Assyria, and therefore
was fond of Hezekiah, because the Assyrians were so much weakened by
the power of his God.
4. It is a hard matter to keep the spirit low in the midst of great
advancements. Hezekiah is an instance of it: he was a wise and good
man, but, when one miracle after another was wrought in his favour, he
found it hard to keep his heart from being lifted up, nay, a little
thing then drew him into the snare of pride. Blessed Paul himself
needed a thorn in the flesh, to keep him from being lifted up with
the abundance of revelations.
5. We have need to watch over our own spirits when we are showing our
friends our possessions, what we have done and what we have got, that
we be not proud of them, as if our might or our merit had purchased and
procured us this wealth. When we look upon our enjoyments, and have
occasion to speak of them, it must be with humble acknowledgments of
our own unworthiness and thankful acknowledgments of God's goodness,
with a just value for the achievements of others and with an
expectation of losses and changes, not dreaming that our mountain
stands so strong but that it may soon be moved.
6. It is a great weakness for good men to value themselves much upon
the civil respects that are paid them (yea, though there be something
particular and uncommon in them) by the children of this world, and to
be fond of their acquaintance. What a poor thing was it for Hezekiah,
whom God has so dignified, to be thus over proud of the respect paid
him by a heathen prince as if that added any thing to him! We ought to
return the courtesies of such with interest, but not to be proud of
7. We must expect to be called to an account for the workings of our
pride, though they are secret, and in such instances as we thought
there was no harm in; and therefore we ought to call ourselves to an
account for them; and when we have had company with us that have paid
us respect, and been pleased with their entertainment, and commended
every thing, we ought to be jealous over ourselves with a godly
jealousy lest our hearts have been lifted up. As far as we see cause to
suspect that this sly and subtle sin of pride has insinuated itself
into our breasts, and mingled itself with our conversation, let us be
ashamed of it, and, as Hezekiah here, ingenuously confess it and take
shame to ourselves for it.
|Hezekiah's Vanity Punished.
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5 Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of
6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and
that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day,
shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the
7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt
beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the
palace of the king of Babylon.
8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD
which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be
peace and truth in my days.
Hence let us observe,
1. That, if God love us, he will humble us, and will find some way or
other to pull down our spirits when they are lifted up above measure. A
mortifying message is sent to Hezekiah, that he might be humbled for
the pride of his heart, and be convinced of the folly of it; for though
God may suffer his people to fall into sin, as he did Hezekiah here, to
prove him, that he might know all that was in his heart, yet he
will not suffer them to lie still in it.
2. It is just with God to take that from us which we make the matter of
our pride, and on which we build a carnal confidence. When David was
proud of the numbers of his people God took a course to make them
fewer; and when Hezekiah boasts of his treasures, and looks upon them
with too great a complacency, he is told that he acts like the foolish
traveller who shows his money and gold to one that proves a thief and
is thereby tempted to rob him.
3. If we could but see things that will be, we should be ashamed of
our thoughts of things that are. If Hezekiah had known that the seed
and successors of this king of Babylon would hereafter be the ruin of
his family and kingdom, he would not have complimented his ambassadors
as he did; and, when the prophet told him that it would be so, we may
well imagine how he was vexed at himself for what he had done. We
cannot certainly foresee what will be, but are told, in general, All
is vanity, and therefore it is vanity for us to take complacency
and put confidence in any thing that goes under that character.
4. Those that are fond of an acquaintance or alliance with irreligious
men will first or last have enough of it, and will have cause to repent
it. Hezekiah thought himself very happy in the friendship of Babylon,
though it was the mother of harlots and idolatries; but Babylon, who
now courted Jerusalem, in process of time conquered her and carried her
captive. Leagues with sinners, and leagues with sin too, will end thus;
it is therefore our wisdom to keep at a distance from them.
5. Those that truly repent of their sins will take it well to be
reproved for them and will be willing to be told of their faults.
Hezekiah reckoned that word of the Lord good which discovered
sin to him, and made him sensible that he had done amiss, which before
he was not aware of. The language of true penitents is, Let the
righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness; and the law is
therefore good, because, being spiritual, in it sin appears sin,
and exceedingly sinful.
6. True penitents will quietly submit, not only to the reproofs of the
word, but to the rebukes of Providence for their sins. When Hezekiah
was told of the punishment of his iniquity he said, Good is the word
of the Lord, not only the mitigation of the sentence, but the
sentence itself; he has nothing to object against the equity of it, but
says Amen to the threatening. Those that see the evil of sin,
and what it deserves, will justify God in all that is brought upon them
for it, and own that he punishes them less than their iniquities
7. Though we must not be regardless of those that come after us, yet we
must reckon ourselves well done by if there be peace and truth in
our days, and better than we had reason to expect. If a storm be
coming, we must reckon it a favour to get into the harbour before it
comes, and be gathered to the grave in peace; yet we can never be
secure of this, but must prepare for changes in our own time, that we
may stand complete in all the will of God, and bid it welcome whatever