|<< Isaiah 39 >>|
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
The Babylonish monarch sends letters of congratulation and a present to Hezekiah, on account of his recovery from his late dangerous illness, Isaiah 39:1. The king of Judah shows the messengers of Merodach-baladan all the treasures of his house and kingdom, Isaiah 39:2. The prophet takes occasion from this ostentatious display of the king to predict the captivity of the royal family, and of the people, by the Babylonians, Isaiah 39:3-8.
Hitherto the copy of this history in the second book of Kings has been much the most correct; in this chapter that in Isaiah has the advantage. In the two first verses two mistakes in the other copy are to be corrected from this: for הזקיהו hizkiyahu, read ויחזק vayechezek, and was recovered; and for וישמע vaiyishma, he heard, read וישמח vaiyismach, he rejoiced.
1At that time Merodachbaladan, 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.
At that time Merodach-baladan - This name is variously written in the MSS. Berodach, Medorach, Medarech, and Medurach.
"And ambassadors" - The Septuagint add here και πρεσβεις; that is, ומלאכים umalachim. and ambassadors; which word seems to be necessary to the sense, though omitted in the Hebrew text both here and in the other copy, 2 Kings 20:12. For the subsequent narration refers to them all along, "these men, whence came they?" etc.; plainly supposing them to have been personally mentioned before. See Houbigant.
2And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed 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 shewed them not.
3Then 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.
4Then 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 shewed them.
5Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts:
6Behold, 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 LORD.
To Babylon - בבלה babelah, so two MSS., (one ancient); rightly, without doubt as the other copy (2 Kings 20:17) has it. This prediction was fulfilled about one hundred and fifty years after it was spoken: see Daniel 1:2, Daniel 1:3-7. What a proof of Divine omniscience!
7And 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.
8Then 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.
Then said Hezekiah - The nature of Hezekiah's crime, and his humiliation on the message of God to him by the prophet, is more expressly declared by the author of the book of the Chronicles: "But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up; therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding, Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart." 2 Chronicles 32:25, 2 Chronicles 32:26, 2 Chronicles 32:30, 2 Chronicles 32:31.
There shall be peace and truth in my days - I rather think these words should be understood as an humble inquiry of the king, addressed to the prophet. "Shall there be prosperity, שלום shalom, and truth in My days? - Shall I escape the evil which thou predictest?" Understood otherwise, they manifest a pitiful unconcern both for his own family and for the nation. "So I be well, I care not how it may go with others." This is the view I have taken of the passage in 2 Kings 21:19. Let the reader judge whether this, or the former, should be preferred. See the concluding notes on 2 Kings 20.