- Hezekiah reforms his kingdom, verse 1-6.
- Prospers in all his undertakings, even at the time the ten tribes are led captive, verse 7-12.
- Yet is invaded, and his country put under contribution by Sennacherib, verse 13-16.
- Jerusalem is besieged, verse 17.
- The virulent speech of Rabshakeh, verse 18-25.
- He incites the people to revolt, verse 26-37.
To reign - It is not certain that Ahaz lived only thirty six years, for those sixteen years which he reigned, may be computed, not from the first beginning of his reign, when he reigned with his father; which was at the twentieth year of his age, but from the beginning of his reigning alone.
Serpent - The most of them, or such as the people most frequented: for all were not taken away, chap. 23:13,14, tho' his own father had set them up. We must never dishonour God, in honour to our earthly parents. Brazen serpent - Which had been hitherto kept as a memorial of God's mercy; but being now commonly abused to superstition, was destroyed. To it - Not doubtless as to a god, but only as to an instrument of God's mercy, by and through which, their adoration was directed to God, and given to that only for God's sake. Nehushtan - He said, this serpent, howsoever formerly honoured, and used by God as a sign of his grace, yet now it is nothing but a piece of brass which can do you neither good nor hurt.
Trusted - Without calling in foreign succours to establish or help him; which his father Ahaz did; and before him Asa. Before him - Of the kings of Judah only; for David and Solomon were kings of all Israel. The like is said of Josiah, chap. 23:25. Each of them, excelled the other in several respects. Hezekiah in this, that he fell upon this work in the beginning of his reign, which Josiah did not, and with no less resolution, undertaking to do that which none of his predecessors durst do, even to remove the high places, wherein Josiah did only follow his example.
Rebelled - He shook off that yoke of subjection, to which his father had wickedly submitted, and reassumed that full and independent sovereignty which God had settled in the house of David. And Hezekiah's case differs much from that of Zedekiah, who is blamed for rebellion against the king of Babylon, both because he had engaged himself by a solemn oath and covenant, which we do not read of Ahaz; and because he broke the covenant which he himself had made; and because God had actually given the dominion of his own land and people to the king of Babylon, and commanded both Zedekiah and his people to submit to him. And whereas Hezekiah is here said to rebel; that word implies, only a defection from that subjection which had been performed to another; which sometimes may be justly done, and therefore that word doth not necessarily prove this to be a sin. And that it was not a sin in him, seems certain, because God owned and assisted him therein; and did not at all reprove him for it, in that message which he sent to him by Isaiah, nor afterwards, though he did particularly reprove him, for his vain-glory, and ostentation, 2 Chronicles 32:25,26.
Them - Many of them; universal particles being frequently so used both in scripture, and other authors; and this success God gave him; to lift him up to his own greater and more shameful destruction: to humble and chastise his own people for their manifold sins, and, to gain an eminent opportunity to advance his own honour by that miraculous deliverance which he designed for his people.
Three hundred talents, &c. - Above two hundred thousand pounds.
Sent - Having received the money, upon which he agreed to depart from Hezekiah and his land, he breaks his faith with Hezekiah, thereby justifying his revolt, and preparing the way for his own destruction.
Thus saith, &c. - But what are the greatest men when they come to compare with God, or when God comes to contend with them?
This broken reed - Whoever trusts in man, leans on a broken reed: but God is the rock of ages.
Is not, &c. - Thus boldly he speaks of the things which he understood not, judging of the great God, by their petty gods; and of God's worship by the vain fancies of the Heathens, who measured piety by the multitude of altars.
Am I, &c. - He neither owned God's word, nor regarded his providence; but he forged this, to strike a terror into Hezekiah and the people.
To the men - To tell them to what extremities and miseries he will force them.
Jews language - The tradition of the Jews is, that Rabshaketh was an apostate Jew. If so, his ignorance of the God of Israel was the less excusable, and his enmity the less strange: for apostates are usually the most bitter and spiteful enemies.
A present - Upon which terms, I will give you no disturbance; but quietly suffer each of you to enjoy his own possession.