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1AND 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. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. 3 And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the LORD thy God will 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 lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 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 given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
1 When king Hezekiah heard that Sennacherib was about to invade the kingdom, he sought the Lord. So, when troubles threaten, let me too seek the Lord in earnest and humble prayer. So may I compose my mind against calamity. Worship in God's house clears the eye of faith. David found trials "too hard for him" till he went up into the house of the Lord. He then "feared not evil tidings." He felt that God was with him.
3 Their state, one of extreme distress, and weakness, and exhaustion.
7 This rumour of an attack from un
expected foes served to draw off the attention of Sennacherib; dividing his forces, and confusing his counsels. The event was of God's ordering.
10 All these scornful taunts recoiled upon the scoffers. Because they had subdued mighty nations, they thought that Judah could not escape. But the word of the Almighty was their defence, though "the fewest of all people"-" I will defend this city."
Behold, thou hast heard
14 And where is that which can harm thee, O reader, if the same God be thy defence ? Seek him earlythou shalt find him late.
what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? 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 Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah ? 14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, 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. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria: 22 this is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him ; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. 23 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. By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon ; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the
16 Blessed privilege of prayer! Our God is not what the Assyrians termed him, only the God of Israel. He is God of all the kingdoms of the earth.
23 Zion and Jerusalem, which are the Church of God, in their turn now defy thee, O Assyrian: they now shake their head at thee; because God is their helper and defender.
laughed thee to scorn; the 23 When the wicked persecute the righteous, they persecute God. "Saul, Saul," said the blessed Jesus to the persecuting Pharisee, "why persecutest thou me?"
choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his
border, and the forest of his Carmel. 25 I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places. 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 defenced cities into ruinous heaps. 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
25 What was the end of his might! in passing deserts, he had dug wells for the support of his own armies, and turned rivers, to lay open to his attacks the armies of his enemies? All was at last cut down as grass.
28 What a happy thought to a good man, that God does know his going out and his coming in. He trusts for divine protection in all his ways.
be grown up. But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I 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. 30 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: 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. 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 shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 36 Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand : and when they arose early in
30 Gracious signs, whereby their faith in God as their deliverer was from time to time powerfully sus tained. They would see all things come to pass, as God had declared.
36 Thus was the pride of the Assyrian humbled before the nations. Sennacherib the king fell by a cruel and bloody death; a death, signal for the time and place which marked it. The victim was slaughtered as he worshipped in the house of Nisroch
his god, and the hands which slew him were the hands of his sons. A dreadful fulfilment of the prophetic declaration in verse 7, "that he should fall by the sword in his own land."
the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 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 Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.
EVENING. ISAIAH XXXViii.
1 Such watchful care befits us all! how much more the aged and the sick? He is the truly wise who has his house always in order-his soul always ready to meet his God!
thou shalt die, and not live.
'IN those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, 3 and said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good wept sore.
3 These expressions are not the language of presumption, but of a good conscience. Hezekiah's whole life is proof that all his dependence was not upon himself, but upon his God. in thy sight. And Hezekiah Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, say
ing, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria and I will defend this city. And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; be8 Who shall wonder that God, who hold, I will bring again the created time itself, should regulate it shadow of the degrees, which at his pleasure? The miracle is reis gone down in the sun dial corded to strengthen our faith. of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. degrees, by which degrees it was gone down. The writing of Hezekiah king of
5 Glorious instance of the efficacy life, but a life of peace, relieved from of prayer! Not only lengthened that fear of the Assyrians which, as a secondary cause, had contributed to his former sickness, by wearing him down with anxiety.
So the sun returned ten
9 What a noble hymn of gratitude for life restored! O my soul! wilt thou be less grateful for life preserved?
Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness: I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove : mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul. 16 O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live. "Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: sins behind thy back. 18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. 19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day the father to the children shall make known thy truth. me therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD. 21 For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.
16" By these things," viz. by thy precious words, do men live. "Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live." 17 The Christian's heaviest sorrows,
however, are his sins; and these a reconciled God will mercifully cast away from him.
for thou hast cast all my
18 How pathetically does he mourn the prospect of death, as calling him "from the Lord's service in the congregation of the faithful !”
19 A noble resolve! that a recovered life should be an amended life, a new life, more and more active in every good word and work.
The LORD was ready to save
21 The recovery was miraculous ; yet God chose that intermediate means, though in themselves inadequate, be adopted. Our blessed Saviour, on many occasions, when he worked a miracle, acted in the same way *.
22 Thus is it ever with the faithful servant of God after deliverance
* John ix. 6.