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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 19

 

 

Verse 1

2 Kings 19:1 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.

Ver. 1. And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it.] And a great deal more, against the Lord and himself, than is recorded in the former chapter. See 2 Chronicles 32:16. It is easy to wag a wicked tongue; these dead dogs will be barking and blaspheming without measure, till God please to gag them. Hezekiah hasteth hereupon to God’s house, there to say, as Abisha once did to David, Why should these dead dogs curse my Lord the King of glory? As for Rabshakeh, he seems to say unto him, Sirrah, we will complain of you to one that shall shortly take you to task.


Verse 2

2 Kings 19:2 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.

Ver. 2. And he sent Eliakim.] This good Josiah did not, when Pharaohnechoh came up against him - though he had at hand the famous prophets Jeremiah and Zephaniah, besides a whole college of seers - and hence he fell, and with him the whole state of Israel.


Verse 3

2 Kings 19:3 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 forth.

Ver. 3. For the children are come to the birth.] We are greatly pained and perplexed, our hearts do even ache and quake within us, at the hearing of these horrid blasphemies; but we want strength to punish them: we humbly put them into God’s holy hands, and beseech him to take an order with them, for which end thy prayers are requested. Or, We are now in extreme danger, and do therefore earnestly implore Heaven’s help at a dead lift.


Verse 4

2 Kings 19:4 It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, 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.

Ver. 4. It may be.] We nothing doubt of it, but are well assured he will, for he is a jealous God, and thou canst do much with him. Be pleased to improve thine interest for us in this exigence.

Wherefore lift up thy prayer.] Pray to thine utmost; strive and strain, tug hard, and bestir thee all that may be. Prayer is a laborious exercise: and as a man that would be good at lifting must set his sides and shoulders to work, he must also often use himself to lifting; so here. This gets a dexterity, a handiness to the work.


Verse 5

2 Kings 19:5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

Ver. 5. So the servants of Hezekiah came.] They came, and did their master’s message. Acta legatorum laconice uno verbo (venerunt) proponuntur.


Verse 6

2 Kings 19:6 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 blasphemed me.

Ver. 6. With which the servants.] Heb., The lads, younkers, or striplings: so they are called by way of contempt.

Have blasphemed me.] By railing upon thee, which is blasphemy in the second table; besides the deep dishonour they have done me, by matching me with their base born idols. [2 Kings 18:35]


Verse 7

2 Kings 19:7 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.

Ver. 7. Behold, I will send a blast upon him.] A spirit, some render it. God "maketh his angels spirits." An evil messenger was sent against him, a spirit of trouble, a panic terror; a dreadful sound was in his ears, when his army was slaughtered by an angel.

He shall hear a rumour.] Rumours are not always to be credited, nor always to be condemned. What this rumour was, see 2 Kings 19:9.


Verse 8

2 Kings 19:8 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.

Ver. 8. So Rabshakeh returned.] But left his army, likely, still before Jerusalem.

That he was departed from Lachish.] Which he had taken; or, as some think, out of hope of taking it.


Verse 9

2 Kings 19:9 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,

Ver. 9. Of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia.] A potent prince. See 2 Chronicles 14:9. Strabo (a) called him Tearkon the Ethiopian; and further relateth out of Megasthenes, an old historian, that he passed into Europe, and advanced as far as to Hercules’s pillars.

King of Ethiopia.] Not of that Ethiopia, saith Drusius, which is above Egypt, and now the kingdom of the Abyssines, but of that which is part of Arabia, and is called Chusaea. The word here rendered Ethiopia is Cush.

Behold, he is come out to fight against thee.] Regnum Assyriorum invadit, saith Sulpitius, he invaded Assyria. Not so, saith Drusius, but he went to fight against Sennacherib, in favour of the Jews, while he lay before Libnah; or at least against Rabshakeh, who besieged Jerusalem.

He sent messengers.] And withal he gave them letters [2 Kings 19:14] to the same effect with his message; so eager was he upon Jerusalem, which yet he should never lick his lips with.


Verse 10

2 Kings 19:10 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.

Ver. 10. Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee.] Sennacherib and Rabshakeh are both in a song. Reckon these two, saith an author, among the first and chiefest kill-Christs, because ever an honest mind is more afflicted with words than blows. [Psalms 12:3]


Verse 11

2 Kings 19:11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered?

Ver. 11. Behold, thau hast heard.] See 2 Kings 18:33-35.

To all lands, by destroying them utterly.] Not all, nor utterly neither; but the tongue, that little member, boasteth great things. [James 3:5] He talketh here like some Pyrgopolynices or Therapontigonoplatagidorias in Plautus. (a)


Verse 12

2 Kings 19:12 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?

Ver. 12. Have the gods of the nations, &c.] See on 2 Kings 19:10.

Which my fathers have destroyed.] God was not in all this man’s thoughts. Hic Deus nihil fecit; but he should have known that he and his fathers or predecessors, those scourges of mankind, were but as rods in God’s hand, which, when worn to the stump, he cast into the fire.


Verse 13

2 Kings 19:13 Where [is] the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?

Ver. 13. Where is the king of Hamath, &c.?] See 2 Kings 18:33. Only there it is gods of those places, and here kings. The heathens commonly called their gods kings - as Fοιβε αναξ, βασιλευς ανδρων τε θεων τε, &c. - and they reckoned, that whatsoever their gods could do, their kings should be sure of. We have not so served the gods, said that Roman emperor, that they should serve us no better than to give the enemy the better of us. (a)


Verse 14

2 Kings 19:14 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.

Ver. 14. And read it.] Heb., Them: and spread it. That which had the blasphemies in it: or, if it was all but one letter, he spread that part of it that was most reproachful to the just and jealous God.


Verse 15

2 Kings 19:15 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.

Ver. 15. And Hezekiah prayed.] He made intercession to God against Sennacherib, as once Elias did against Israel, [Romans 11:2] the Christian Church against Julian the apostate, and against Arius the heretic; whose death was precationis opus, non morbi, saith Socrates Scholasticus; (a) the effect of prayers, not of any disease.

Thou art the God.] "Thou," here, is emphatical and exclusive.


Verse 16

2 Kings 19:16 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.

Ver. 16. Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open thine eyes, &c.] This is to pray with utmost intention of spirit, and extension of speech; this is prayer with a force, such as prevaileth much with God. [James 5:16] See the like in Daniel. [Daniel 9:18-19]


Verse 17

2 Kings 19:17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,

Ver. 17. Of a truth, Lord.] See how this good king filleth his mouth with arguments, and learn to do the like when we come before the Lord in prayer.


Verse 18

2 Kings 19:18 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.

Ver. 18. Wood and stone.] Olim truncus eram ficulnus, &c. What strange stupidity, therefore, was it to set up such! See Isaiah 44:16-17.


Verse 19

2 Kings 19:19 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.

Ver. 19. Save us out of his hand.] Hezekiah had a promise before; but he knew that he was to put it in suit, as here he doth very notably.

May know that thou art the Lord God.] It is the ingenuity of saints in all their desired and expected mercies, to study God’s ends more than their own. This is to come before God with a true heart. [Hebrews 10:22]


Verse 20

2 Kings 19:20 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.

Ver. 20. Then Isaiah the son of Amos.] God suffered him not to stay for an answer, but prevented his sending again to the prophet, by causing the prophet to send to him. So the angel Gabriel came with weariness of flight to praying Daniel. [Daniel 9:23]

Which thou hast prayed unto me against Sen.] See 2 Kings 19:15.


Verse 21

2 Kings 19:21 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 thee.

Ver. 21. The virgin, the daughter of Zion.] A weak virgin she may seem; but she hath a strong champion who will maintain her cause and quarrel, and hence it is that she thus outfaceth so formidable an enemy.


Verse 22

2 Kings 19:22 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.

Ver. 22. Against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high?] God is "jealous for Jerusalem with a great jealousy." [Zechariah 1:14] He soon took notice of Cain’s frowns; [Genesis 4:6] Laban’s lowerings; [Genesis 31:2] Rabshakeh’s outcries here; those miscreants lolling out the tongue; [Isaiah 57:3-4] their wagging the head at Christ on the cross. [Matthew 27:39]


Verse 23

2 Kings 19:23 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.

Ver. 23. And hast said.] Not in so many words that we anywhere read of; but it is said, in 2 Chronicles 32:16, that his messengers spake more than is expressed. Or, Thou hast said, that is, thou hast thought all this, and I will therefore justly punish thee and thine army wherein thou gloriest, and wherewith thou intendest to destroy Jerusalem and my temple there. Polybius, a heathen historian, could say that Antiochus came to an ill end, only for purposing to spoil the temple of Apollo at Delphos.

With the multitude of my chariots I am come up, &c.] We may say of this proud and arrogant speech, as the historian doth in a like case, No man could deliver so bad matter in better words and more quaint phrases.


Verse 24

2 Kings 19:24 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places.

Ver. 24. I have digged and drunk strange waters,] (a) i.e., Newly found waters, though thou hast endeavoured to stop from me and mine army the waters of the fountains. [2 Chronicles 32:3-4]

And with the sole of my feet.] Thrasonica hyperbole; he proudly boasteth of his numerous army, and that with the trampling of his horse and horsemen he could dry up the pools about Jerusalem.


Verse 25

2 Kings 19:25 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] ruinous heaps.

Ver. 25. Hast thou not heard?] Here God himself taketh Sennacherib in hand, and schooleth him concerning the divine providence and decree whereby he was now sent against a "hypocritical nation, a people of God’s wrath, to take the spoil," &c. "Howbeit he meant not so, neither did his heart think so; but it was in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few." [Isaiah 10:6-7]

That thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities.] This is all done by my determinate counsel, ordering the world’s disorders to mine own glory, and the good of my people. Tamerlane was wont to say, Ira De; ego sum, et orbis vastitas. Attilas called himself Metum mundi et flagellum Dei. Sennacherib was God’s scourge, and the sword in his hand. [Isaiah 10:5]


Verse 26

2 Kings 19:26 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.

Ver. 26. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power.] Heb., Short of hand; helpless and shiftless, because I gave them up into thy power. It is God that strengtheneth or weakeneth the arms of either party in battle. [Ezekiel 30:24]


Verse 27

2 Kings 19:27 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.

Ver. 27. But I know thine abode, &c.] Figurative terms taken from huntsmen, saith Diodate; the meaning is, I know all thy designs, and do overrule them.


Verse 28

2 Kings 19:28 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 thou camest.

Ver. 28. Because thy rage against me and thy tumult.] Such as was also that of the proud Spaniard in 1588, when, as learned Beza sang,

Straverat innumeris Iberus classibus aequor, &c.

The seas were turreted with such a navy of ships, as her swelling waves could hardly be seen for their multitude, or heard for their tumult: the flags, streamers, and ensigns were so spread in the wind, that they seemed to darken even the sun, &c. These were all soon sunk and sent packing; which made the Zetlanders stamp a new coin, having on the one side the arms of their country with this inscription, Glory be to God alone; and on the other side the Spanish fleet with this motto, Venit, Vidit, Fugit, It came, it saw, it fled. The Hollanders also stamped new moneys with the Spanish fleet, having this word, Impius fugit nemine sequente, The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth him. Of the English there were not a hundred lacking, and but one small ship lost. Their impress was, the navy confounded, and in honour of the queen inscribed, Dux femina facti. (a)

Is come up into mine ears.] So were the Spanish brags of an invincible armada, and their confident triumph before the victory, vainly and falsely printed by Don Bernardin Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in France in that time. (b)

Therefore I will put my hook into thy nose, &c.] I will tame thee, and take thee a link lower, as they say, leading thee by the nose to the slaughter house, as they do the wild ox and other fierce creatures.

And my bridle in thy lips.] As men deal by sturdy steeds.

And I will turn thee back by the way, &c.] So in 1588 God did not those Spaniards the honour to return the same way; who, coming by southeast, a way they knew, went back by south-west, a way they sought; chased by our ships past the fifth degree of northern latitude, then and there to be pursued after by hunger and cold; and to fall into the hands of the wild Irish, and others more savage and barbarous than they.


Verse 29

2 Kings 19:29 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.

Ver. 29. Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves.] Saphiach, hoc est, sponte nature; and in the second year, Sachish, i.e., sponte renatum, that which springeth of the same, haply increasing the more, because it had been so beaten down the year before by the Assyrian army. God’s plenty in the land, notwithstanding the sabbatical year, the fifteenth jubilee, say some, and the enemy’s abode and waste there made, should be a sign for confirmation of the truth of God’s promise.


Verse 30

2 Kings 19:30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

Ver. 30. And the remnant that is escaped,] sc., From the sword of the Assyrian, which had devoured much flesh, and drunk much blood amongst them.


Verse 31

2 Kings 19:31 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 do this.

Ver. 31. And out of Jerusalem shall go forth.] Those that are now cooped and pent up in the besieged city, shall freely and fearlessly walk whither they please.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.] Nimius amor, the very much love, the free grace of our good God shall effect it, and not their own merits, as Lyra well noteth. (a)


Verse 32

2 Kings 19:32 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 it.

Ver. 32. He shall not come into this city.] Because dear to God, who had appointed salvation for walls and bulwarks. [Isaiah 26:1] Semblably, of all that huge fleet three years a-rigging and furnishing, not one Spaniard set foot on English ground, but under the notion of a prisoner. See on 2 Kings 19:28.

Nor shoot an arrow there, &c.] See Psalms 48:12. {See Trapp on "Psalms 48:12"}


Verse 33

2 Kings 19:33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.

Ver. 33. By the way that he came, &c.] See on 2 Kings 19:28.


Verse 34

2 Kings 19:34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

Ver. 34. For I will defend this city.] I will cover it as with a shield, - so the word signifieth see 2 Kings 19:32, - I will fence and protect it. The like God hath done for Geneva, a small city besieged with enemies, and barred out from aid of friends. It had long since been undone, saith one, but because it had so many enemies to undo it; rather because it had so gracious and powerful a God to defend this city, to save it.

For mine own sake.] That my power and care of my people may appear to all.

And for my servant David’s sake.] To whom I passed my word, and wilt keep it. Here A Lapide hath a good note out of Glycas, and commendeth it; Optime Glycas, Haec verba, inquit, ita divinitus prolata sunt, &c. (a) These words are thus uttered by God, lest Hezekiah should think that his prayer was heard for his own righteousness’ sake.


Verse 35

2 Kings 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses.

Ver. 35. That night.] When the Assyrians were fitting themselves to assault Jerusalem, when in their conceits and hopes they had already devoured it, and were even fetching their blow at all the Jews at once, as if they had all had but one neck to cut off.

That the angel of the Lord.] One of God’s mighties. [Isaiah 10:34]

Went out, and smote.] By a plague, as 2 Samuel 24:16; the Hebrews say, by a fire burning in their breasts and stifling them; and that Sennacherib himself hardly escaped, having his head and beard singed, according to Isaiah 33:11-12. Sure it is that his leaders and chief captains were cut off, [2 Chronicles 32:21] and Rabshakeh, likely, among, if not above the rest, for his abominable blasphemies against the God of Israel.

A hundred fourscore and five thousand.] By a like dreadful hand of God, fifty-two thousand men of Heraclius the Greek Emperor’s army were found dead in one night, without any apparent executioner, after that he had turned Monothelite, and incestuously married Martius, his own brother’s daughter, making a law that others might do the like, Anno Christi 610. Herodotus in his second book relates of Sennacherib’s defeat and death, something like this here related: but, either through ignorance of the full truth, or else by the instigation of the devil, to elude and impair the credit of the holy Scriptures, he applieth that to Sethon king of Egypt and priest of Vulcan, which properly belongeth to Hezekiah king of Judah, servant and favourite of the true God. Diabolus operum Dei Mimus est, et Momus.

And when they arose, &c.] Such as escaped and survived. The Vulgate hath it, When he (Sennacherib) arose in the morning, he saw. It is said of Heraclius, that upon that sad sight of his soldiers, so slain as above, he presently fell sick and died: though others write that his incest was punished with a strange priapism, which, together with a dropsy, ended his days


Verse 36

2 Kings 19:36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

Ver. 36. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed.] Being glad he had escaped with the skin of his teeth, with the safeguard of his life. But his preservation was but a reservation only; and the rather, because he ascribed it to Nisroch his tutelar god, worshipping him still, notwithstanding his army’s overthrow.

And dwelt at Nineveh.] Where he had not lived fifty-five days before he was butchered, saith Tobit; {/APC Tob 1:21} who also telleth us, {/APC Tob 1:18} that at his return he in a rage slew many of the Israelites in Nineveh. The like whereunto we read of Selymus II, that in revenge of his loss at the battle of Lepanto, he would have put to death all the Christians in his dominions, and did many.


Verse 37

2 Kings 19:37 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.

Ver. 37. In the house of Nisroch his god.] Jupiter Belus haply, whom Sennacherib worshipped under this name, which signifieth Tender to those that flee and escape out of battle.

That Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him.] Upon what discontent, is uncertain. Some say, because he preferred their younger brother Esarhaddon to the kingdom; others, because he vowed to sacrifice these his two sons, in imitation of Abraham’s sacrificing his Isaac, and purchasing thereby God’s favour and protection to his progeny, &c. (a)

 


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 19:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-19.html. 1865-1868.

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