36:1 Now it came to pass a in the b fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, [that] Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah, and took them.
(a) This history is rehearsed because it is as a seal and confirmation of the doctrine before, both for the threatenings and promises: that is, that God would permit his Church to be afflicted, but at length would send deliverance. 36:3 Then came forth to him Eliakim, Hilkiahs son, who was c over the house, and Shebna d the scribe, and Joah, Asaphs son, the recorder.
(b) When he had abolished superstition, and idolatry, and restored religion, yet God would exercise his Church to try their faith and patience.
36:4 And e Rabshakeh said to them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence [is] this in which thou trustest?
(c) For he was now restored to his office, as Isaiah had prophesied in ( Isaiah 22:20 ).
(d) This declares that there were few godly to be found in the kings house, when he was driven to end this wicked man in such a weighty matter.
(e) Sennacheribs chief captain. 36:5 I say, f [sayest thou], (but [they are but] vain words) [I have] counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
(f) He speaks this in the person of Hezekiah, falsely charging him that he put his trust in his wit and eloquence, while his only confidence was in the Lord. 36:6 Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; on which if a man lean, it will enter his hand, and pierce it: so [is] g Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
(g) Satan laboured to pull the godly king from one vain confidence to another: that is, from trust in the Egyptians, whose power was weak and would deceive them, to yield himself to the Assyrians, and so not to hope for any help from God. 36:9 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the h least of my masters servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
(h) He reproaches Hezekiahs small power, which is not able to resist one of Sennacheribs least captains. 36:10 And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said to me, i Go up against this land, and destroy it.
(i) Thus the wicked to deceive us, will pretend the Name of the Lord: but we must try the spirits, whether they are of God or not. 36:11 Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah to Rabshakeh, k Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand [it]: and speak not to us in the Jews language, in the ears of the people that [are] on the wall.
(k) They were afraid, lest by his words, he should have stirred up the people against the king, and also pretended to grow to some appointment with him. 36:16 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make l [an agreement] with me [by] a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern;
(l) The Hebrew word signifies blessing, by which this wicked captain would have persuaded the people, that their condition would be better under Sennacherib than under Hezekiah. 36:19 Where [are] the gods of m Hamath and Arphad? where [are] the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
(m) That is, of Antioch in Syria, of which these two other cities also were: by which we see how every town had its peculiar idol, and how the wicked make God an idol because they do not understand that God makes them his scourge, and punishes cities for sin. 36:21 But they n held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the kings commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
(n) Not that they did not show by evident signs that they detested his blasphemy: or they had now rent their clothes, but they knew it was in vain to use long reasoning with this infidel, whose reign they would have so much more provoked.