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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 39:3

 

 

Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, "What did these men say, and from where have they come to you?" And Hezekiah said, "They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon."

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Then came Isaiah - Isaiah was accustomed to declare the will of God most freely to monarchs (see Isaiah 7)

What said these men? - What proposition have they made? What is the design of their coming? It is implied in the question that there had been some improper communication from them. To this question Hezekiah returned no answer.

And from whence came they? - It was doubtless known in Jerusalem that ambassadors had come, but it would not be likely to be known from what country they had come.

From a far country - Probably this was said in order to palliate and excuse his conducts, by intimating to the prophet that it was proper to show respectful attention to foreigners, and that he had done nothing more than was demanded by the laws of hospitality and kindness.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-39.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 39:3

Then came Isaiah the prophet unto King Hezekiah

The prophet higher than the king

It is well to have Isaiahs in society, for Hezekiahs could never keep it together.
This is the tone we want. The prophet should be higher than the king. The Christian teacher should stand upon the topmost place
. (J. Parker, D. D.)


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 39:3". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-39.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"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. Then said he, What have they seen in thy house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in my house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them."

It seems nearly incredible that Hezekiah should have been so naive as to have turned his palace wrong-side out to display it to any foreign power, much less to one such as Babylon. There seems to be a very pleased vanity exhibited by Hezekiah here as he tells Isaiah that "This embassy has come all the way from Babylon to see me!" "Thus the faith of Hezekiah, proof against the heaviest blows, melts at the touch of flattery; and the world claims another victim by its friendship."[11]


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/isaiah-39.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then came Isaiah the prophet unto King Hezekiah,.... Quickly after the ambassadors had been with the king, and he had shown them all his treasures; the prophet did not come of himself, but was sent by the Lord, though he was not sent for by the king; in the time of his distress and illness he could send for him, but now being well, and in prosperity, he forgot the prophet, to send for him, and have his advice, how he should behave towards these men, as not to offend the Lord:

and said unto him, what said these men? what was their errand to thee, and their business to thee? what did they communicate to thee, or request of thee?

and from whence came they unto thee? from what country? these questions the prophet put to the king, not as ignorant of the men, and their business, and country, but in order to have everything from the king himself, and to lead on to further conversation with him on these things:

and Hezekiah said, they are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon; he makes no answer to the first question, but at once replies to the second, as being what his heart was lifted up with; that ambassadors should come to him from a very distant country, and from so famous and renowned a place as Babylon; which showed that his name was great in foreign parts, and was in high esteem in distant countries, and even so great a prince as the king of Babylon courted his friendship.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-39.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

What … whence — implying that any proposition coming from the idolatrous enemies of God, with whom Israel was forbidden to form alliance, should have been received with anything but gladness. Reliance on Babylon, rather than on God, was a similar sin to the previous reliance on Egypt (Isaiah 30:1-31:9).

far country — implying that he had done nothing more than was proper in showing attention to strangers “from a far country.”


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-39.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.Then came Isaiah the Prophet He continues the same narrative, but likewise adds doctrine. Although he does not say that God had sent him, yet it is certain that he did this by the influence of the Holy Spirit and by the command of God; and, therefore, he bestows on himself the designation of the Prophet, by which he intimates that he did not come as a private individual, but to perform an office which God had enjoined on him, that Hezekiah might clearly see that he had not to deal with a mortal man.

Now, when he says that he came, we ought to infer that he was not sent for, but was allowed to remain quietly at home, while Hezekiah was making’ a boastful display of his treasures; for prophets are not usually invited to consultations of this sort. But formerly, while he was weighed down by extreme distress, while Rabshakeh insulted him so fiercely, and uttered such daring’ blasphemies against God, he sent, to Isaiah, and requested him to intercede with God, and to soothe his anguish by some consolation. (Isaiah 37:2.) Thus in adversity and distress the prophets are sought, but in prosperity are disregarded or even despised; because they disturb our mirth by their admonitions, and appear to give occasion of grief. But Isaiah came, though he was not invited; and in this we ought to observe and praise his steadfastness, and are taught by his example that we ought not to wait till we are sent for by men who need the discharge of our duty, when they flatter themselves amidst the heaviest distresses, and bring danger on themselves either by levity, or by ignorance, or even by malice; for it is our duty to gather the wandering sheep, and we ought to do this diligently, even though we be not requested by any person.

Though Hezekiah may be justly blamed for having been corrupted by the flatteries of the king of Babylon so as not to ask counsel of God, yet it is a manifestation of no ordinary modesty, that he does not drive away or despise the Prophet, as if he had found fault without reason, but replies gently, and at length receives calmly and mildly a very severe reproof. It would have been better that he had, from the beginning’, inquired at the mouth of God, as it is said in the psalm,

“Thy commandments are the men of my counsel,”
(
Psalms 119:24;)

but, having committed a mistake, it was his next duty to receive submissively the remedy for the fault.

What did those men say? The Prophet does not immediately inflict on him the pain of a severe reproof, but wounds him gently, so as to lead him to a confession of his sin; for Hezekiah flattered himself, and thought that all was going well with him, and, therefore, needed to be gradually aroused from his slothfulness. Still these words gave a sharp wound; as if he had said, “What have you to do with those men? Ought you not to keep at the greatest distance from a plague so contagious?” He likewise inquires about the contents of the message, in order to make Hezekiah ashamed of not having perceived the deceit that was practiced on him; for there is reason to believe that he would not have censured the congratulation, if there had not been some poison mingled with it, but he points out those snares in which the Babylonians wished to entangle him.

And yet it is evident from the reply, that Hezekiah was not yet struck by that gentle reproof; for he is still on good terms with himself, and boasts that those men came from a distant country, from Babylon There is reason to believe that Isaiah was not ignorant of that country, so that Hezekiah did not need to express the distance in such magnificent language; but he boasts in this manner, because he was under the influence of ambition. It was therefore necessary that he should be more keenly pressed, and that sharper spurs should be applied.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-39.html. 1840-57.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Then Isaiah the prophet came to king Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come to me from a far country, even from Babylon.”

Isaiah had seen these rich and powerful lords, and knew that mischief was afoot. But he was unable to do anything until they had gone. No doubt a great deal of secrecy had been preserved. (If there is one thing men love more than showing off it is being involved in intrigue, and to feel that they are a part of the inner circle). But then, once they had departed, he immediately sought the king’s presence and asked who they were and where they had come from. It is, however, probable that he already had a good idea what the answer would be.

As we read Hezekiah’s reply we can sense the great pride that he felt at the visit. These men had come a long way from a great king of a mighty city and country, who had proved his power in the past by at times achieving independence from the Assyrians, and they had come to see him.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/isaiah-39.html. 2013.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

What said these men ... whence name they? - implying that any proposition coming from the idolatrous enemies of God, with whom Israel was forbidden to form alliance, should have been received with anything but gladness. Reliance on Babylon, rather than on God, was a similar sin to the previous reliance on Egypt, (Isaiah 30:1-33 and Isaiah 31:1-9.)

They are come from a far country - implying that he had done nothing more than was proper in showing attention to strangers "from a far country."


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-39.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Then came Isaiah . . .—The words that follow, like those in Isaiah 7:3, are spoken with the authority at once of age and of a Divine mission, perhaps also of a master speaking to one who had been his pupil. No sooner does the arrival of the embassy from Babylon reach his ear than he goes straight to the king to ask him what it all meant. The king’s answer seems to plead that they came “from a far country” as an excuse. Could he refuse to admit those who had taken so long a journey in his honour? Could intercourse with a land so distant bring any moral or political danger? It was not like the alliance with Egypt, to which Isaiah was so strenuously opposed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-39.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
came Isaiah
38:1,5; 2 Samuel 12:1; 2 Kings 20:14,15; 2 Chronicles 16:7; 19:2; 25:15; Jeremiah 22:1,2
They are
Deuteronomy 28:49; Joshua 9:6,9; Jeremiah 5:15

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 39:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-39.html.

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