37:1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard [it], that he a tore his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
(a) In sign of grief and repentance. 37:2 And he sent Eliakim, who [was] over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, to b Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
(b) To have comfort from him by the word of God, that his faith might be confirmed and so his prayer be more earnest: teaching by it that in all dangers these two are the only remedies to seek to God and his ministers. 37:3 And they said to him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day [is] a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the c birth, and [there is] not strength to bring forth.
(c) We are in as great sorrow as a woman in labour who cannot be delivered. 37:4 It may be the LORD thy God will d hear 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 e lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that is left.
(d) That is, will declare by effect that he has heard it: for when God defers to punish, it seems to the flesh, that he knows not the sin, or hears not the cause. 37:7 Behold, I will send a wind upon him, and he shall hear a f rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
(e) Declaring that the ministers office stands not only in comforting by the word, but also in praying for the people.
(f) Of the Egyptians and Ethiopians, who will come and fight against him. 37:8 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against g Libnah: for he had heard that he had departed from Lachish.
(g) Which was a city toward Egypt, thinking by it to have stayed the force of his enemies. 37:10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, h deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
(h) Thus God would have him utter a most horrible blasphemy before his destruction: as to call the author of all truth a deceiver: some gather by this that Shebna had disclosed to Sennacherib the answer that Isaiah sent to the king. 37:12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, [as] i Gozan, and k Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden who [were] in Telassar?
(i) Which was a city of the Medes. 37:16 O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that l dwellest [between] the cherubim, thou [art] the God, [even] thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
(k) Called also Charre a city in Mesopotamia, from which Abraham came after his fathers death.
(l) He grounds his prayer on Gods promise, who promised to hear them from between the Cherubims. 37:18 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and m their countries,
(m) Meaning, the ten tribes. 37:20 Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that n all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou [art] the LORD, [even] thou only.
(n) He declares for what cause he prayed, that they might be glorified by it through all the world. 37:22 This [is] the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The o virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised, [and] derided thee; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
(o) Whom God had chosen to himself as a chaste virgin, and over whom he had care to preserve her from the lusts of the tyrant, as a father would have over his daughter. 37:23 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted [thy] voice, and lifted thy eyes on high? [even] against the p Holy One of Israel.
(p) Declaring by this that they who are enemies to Gods Church fight against him whose quarrel his Church only maintains. 37:25 I have dug, q and drank water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places.
(q) He boasts of his policy in that he can find means to nourish his army: and of his power in that his army is so great, that it is able to dry up whole rivers, and to destroy the waters which the Jews had closed in. 37:26 Hast thou not heard long ago, [how] I have done it; [and] of ancient times, r that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fortified cities [into] ruinous heaps.
(r) Signifying that God did not make his Church to destroy it, but to preserve it: and therefore he says that he formed it of old, even in his eternal counsel which cannot be changed. 37:27 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 grain] blighted s before it is grown up.
(s) He shows that the state and power of most flourishing cities endures but a moment in respect to the Church, which will remain forever, because God is the maintainer of it. 37:28 But I know thy abode, and thy t going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
(t) Meaning, his counsels and enterprises. 37:29 Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into my ears, therefore I will put my u hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou x camest.
(u) Because Sennacherib showed himself as a devouring fish and furious beast, he uses these similarities to teach how he will take him and guide him. 37:30 And this [shall be] a y sign to thee, Ye shall eat
(x) You will lose your labour.
[this] year such as groweth of itself; and the (z) second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 37:31 And a the remnant that hath escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:
(y) God gives signs after two sorts: some go before the thing as the signs that Moses worked in Egypt, which were for the confirmation of their faith, and some go after the thing, as the sacrifice, which they were commanded to make three days after their departure: and these latter are to keep the blessings of God in our remembrance, of which sort this here is.
(z) He promises that for two years the ground would feed them of itself.
(a) They whom God has delivered out of the hands of the Assyrians will prosper: and this properly belongs to the Church. 37:35 For I will defend this city to save it for my own sake, and for my servant b Davids sake.
(b) For my promise sake made to David. 37:37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at c Nineveh.
(c) Which was the chiefest city of the Assyrians. 37:38 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 d Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
(d) Who was also called Sardanapalus, in whose days ten years after Sennacheribs death the Chaldeans overcame the Assyrians by Merodach their king.