18:3 And he did [that which was] a right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.
(a) Although they of Judah were given to idolatry and impiety, as they of Israel were, yet God for the sake of his promise was merciful to the throne of David, and yet by his judgment toward the other, provoked to repentance. 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it b Nehushtan.
(b) That is "a piece of brass": thus he calls the serpent by contempt, which even though it was set up by the word of God, and miracles were wrought by it, when it was used for idolatry this good king destroyed it, not thinking it worthy to be called a serpent, but a piece of brass. 18:8 He smote the Philistines, [even] unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, c from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
(c) Read ( 2 Kings 17:9 ). 18:14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, d I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
(d) As his zeal was before praised, so his weakness is here set forth, that no one should glory in himself. 18:17 And the king of Assyria sent e Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which [is] in the highway of the fullers field.
(e) After certain years, when Hezekiah ceased to send the tribute appointed by the king of the Assyrians, he sent his captains and army against him. 18:20 Thou sayest, (but [they are but] vain words,) [I have] f counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
(f) You think that words will serve to persuade your people, or to move my master. 18:21 Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, [even] upon g Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.
(g) Egypt will not only be unable to help you, but will be a detriment to you. 18:22 But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: [is] not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath h taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?
(h) Thus the idolaters think that Gods religion is destroyed, when superstition and idolatry are reformed. 18:23 Now therefore, I pray thee, give i pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
(i) Meaning, that it was best for him to yield to the king of Assyria because his power was so small that he did not have men to care for two thousand horses. 18:25 Am I now come up without the k LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
(k) The wicked always flatter themselves in their prosperity, that God favours them. Thus he speaks to scare Hezekiah into thinking that by resisting him he would be resisting God. 18:32 Until l I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.
(l) He makes himself so sure, that he will not grant them a truce, unless they give themselves to him to be led away as captives. 18:35 Who [are] they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the m LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?
(m) This is an execrable blasphemy against the true God, to make him equal with the idols of other nations: therefore God sharply punished him.