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AFTER these things, and this truth, Sennacherib king of the Assyrians came and entered into Juda, and besieged the fenced cities, desiring to take them.

Ver. 1.  Truth, and sincere piety of the king, God was pleased to put him to trial; (T.  M.  D.) or, "after these things were established."  Jun.

 

--- Sennacherib attacked Juda when Ezechias had been fifteen years on the throne, and till that time had paid the stipulated tribute.  4 K. xviii. 13.  C.

 

--- He now probably refused to pay it any longer.  Salien, A. 3319.  M.



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2 And when Ezechias saw that Sennacherib was come, and that the whole force of the war was turning against Jerusalem,

Ver. 2.  Jerusalem; as many cities had fallen.  The king entered into an agreement with the Assyrians, who soon broke it.




3 He took counsel with the princes, and the most valiant men, to stop up the heads of the springs, that were without the city: and as they were all of this mind,

Ver. 3.  City.  The torrent Cedron afforded the only good supply of water.  It was often dry, and was only three steps across, when full of melted snow or rain.  The waters of Siloe and Gihon were collected in it.  Yet it was no difficult enterprise for the king to turn the stream, and introduce the waters through the rock into a large reservoir, in the city, by the canal, which is mentioned 2 Esdras ii. 14.  Eccli. xlviii. 19.  The besieged were more frequently deprived of water.  Judith vii. 6.  Babylon was taken by Semiramis, Cyrus, and Alexander, after they turned aside the waters of the Euphrates; and Cæsar obliged the town of Cahors to surrender, by intercepting the springs.  Frontin. iii. 7.  C.


4 He gathered together a very great multitude, and they stopped up all the springs, and the brook, that ran through the midst of the land, saying: Lest the kings of the Assyrians should come, and And abundance of water.

Ver. 4.  Land, Cedron, on the east; (C.  M.) or it may be the Gihon, which supplies Siloe, v. 30.  T.


5 He built up also with great diligence all the wall that had been broken down, and built towers upon it, and another wall without: and he repaired Mello in the city of David, and made all sorts of arms and shields:

Ver. 5.  Without, of less strength.

 

--- Mello, the palace, which was strongly situated, and Ezechias added fresh fortifications.  2 K. v. 9.

 

--- Arms.  Heb. "darts."




6 And he appointed captains of the soldiers of the army: and he called them all together in the street of the gate of the city, and spoke to their heart, saying:

Ver. 6.  Gate, where there was a room for assemblies.  2 K. xviii. 24.  C.

 

--- Heart, in the most affectionate and pathetic manner.  H.


7 Behave like men, and take courage: be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of the Assyrians, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there are many more with us than with him.

Ver. 7.  More: God and his angels, from whom he expected relief, and was not disappointed.  4 K. vi. 16. and xix. 35.  C.


8 For with him is an arm of flesh: with us the Lord our God, who is our helper, and fighteth for us. And the people were encouraged with these words of Ezechias king of Juda.


9 After this, Sennacherib king of the Assyrians sent his servants to Jerusalem, (for he with all his army was besieging Lachis,) to Ezechias king of Juda, and to all the people that were in the city, saying:

Ver. 9.  Lachis, whence he sent Rabsaces.  Other blasphemous letters were dispatched from Lobna, (v. 17) when Sennacherib was forced to go to meet Tharaca.  4 K. xix. 9.




10 Thus saith Sennacherib king of the Assyrians: In whom do you trust, that you sit still besieged in Jerusalem?


11 Doth not Ezechias deceive you, to give you up to die by hunger and thirst, affirming that the Lord your God shall deliver you from the hand of the king of the Assyrians? 12 Is it not this same Ezechias, that hath destroyed his high places, and his altars, and commanded Juda and Jerusalem, saying: You shall worship before one altar, and upon it you shall burn incense?

Ver. 12.  His altars.  Rabsaces was ignorant of the law, and  upbraids the king for a commendable action.  C.

 

--- Thus our adversaries foolishly blame us for keeping holy days and abstinence.  H.




13 Know you not what I and my fathers have done to all the people of the lands? have the gods of any nations and lands been able to deliver their country out of my hand? 14 Who is there among all the gods of the nations, which my fathers have destroyed, that could deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of this hand? 15 Therefore let not Ezechias deceive you, nor delude you with a vain persuasion, and do not believe him. For if no god of all the nations and kingdoms, could deliver his people out of my hand, and out of the hand of my fathers, consequently neither shall your God be able to deliver you out of my hand. 16 And many other things did his servants speak against the Lord God, and against Ezechias his servant. 17 He wrote also letters full of blasphemy against the Lord the God of Israel, and he spoke against him: As the gods of other nations could not deliver their people out of my hand, so neither can the God of Ezechias deliver his people out of this hand.

Ver. 17.  He (Sennacherib) wrote, when he was going towards Egypt.  Both master and servant employed the same fallacious argument; as if the true God and idols were all upon a level, and as if past success were a sure proof of future victories, v. 19.  H.


18 Moreover he cried out with a loud voice, in the Jews' tongue, to the people that sat on the walls of Jerusalem, that he might frighten them, and take the city.


19 And he spoke against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, the works of the hands of men.


20 And Ezechias the king, and Isaias the prophet the son of Amos, prayed against this blasphemy, and cried out to heaven. 21 And the Lord sent an angel who cut off all the stout men and the warriors, and the captains of the army of the king of the Assyrians: and he returned with disgrace into his own country. And when he was come into the house of his god, his sons that came out of his bowels, slew him with the sword.

Ver. 21.  Army.  Heb. "camp."

 

--- Disgrace.  The Jews pretend that he was deprived of his beard and hair, (S. Jer. Trad.) misapplying the text of Isai. vii. 20.  C.

 

--- Sword, to prevent their being offered as victims, to appease the idol and the people.  R. Solomon.  Lyran.

 

--- This happened some months after the king's return to Ninive, when he had cruelly oppressed the captive Jews and Tobias, i. 24.  T.



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22 And the Lord saved Ezechias and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of the hand of Sennacherib king of the Assyrians, and out of the hand of all, and gave them treasures on every side.


23 Many also brought victims, and sacrifices to the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Ezechias king of Juda: and he was magnified thenceforth in the sight of all nations.

Ver. 23.  Many; probably strangers.  3 K. viii. 41.




24 In those days Ezechias was sick even to death, and he prayed to the Lord: and he heard him, and gave him a sign.

Ver. 24.  Sign.  See 4 K. xx.



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25 But he did not render again according to the benefits which he had received, for his heart was lifted up: and wrath was enkindled against him, and against Juda and Jerusalem.

Ver. 25.  Up, by riches, and the splendid embassy from Babylon.  C.

 

--- Prosperity is more dangerous than adversity.  W.

 

--- Few are able to bear good fortune with moderation.  H.




26 And he humbled himself afterwards, because his heart had been lifted up, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and therefore the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Ezechias.


27 And Ezechias was rich, and very glorious, and he gathered himself great treasures of silver and of gold, and of precious stones, of spices, and of arms, of all kinds, and of vessels of great price.

Ver. 27.  Arms.  Heb. "shields."  Sept. "arsenals."


28 Storehouses also of corn, of wine, and of oil, and stalls for all beasts, and folds for cattle. 29 And he built himself cities: for he had docks of sheep, and herds without number, for the Lord had given him very much substance. 30 This same Ezechias was, he that stopped the upper source of the waters of Gihon, and turned them away underneath toward the west of the city of David: in all his works he did prosperously what he would.

Ver. 30.  Underneath the walls of the city, making them run westward.  C. xxxiii. 14.



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31 But yet in the embassy of the princes of Babylon, that were sent to him, to inquire of the wonder that had happened upon the earth, God left him that he might be tempted, and all things might be made known that were in his heart.

Ver. 31.  Wonder, at the defeat of Sennacherib; (Grot.  D.) or rather the retrogradation of the sun, as the Chaldees studied astronomy with diligence.  M.  T.  C.

 

--- Left him, in punishment of his vanity.  H.

 

--- Heart.  How feeble is man when destitute of the divine assistance!  M.

 

--- God permitted, therefore, the king to be tempted, (C.) that he might know himself, and that others might have a true idea of him.  D.




32 Now the rest of the acts of Ezechias, and of his mercies are written in the book of the kings of Juda and Israel.


33 And Ezechias slept with his fathers, and they buried him above the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Juda, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem celebrated his funeral: and Manasses his son reigned in his stead.

Ver. 33.  Above, for distinction's sake: (C.) meriti prærogativâ.  S. Jer. Trad.  M.

 

--- The cell was either higher than the rest, or a sort of pyramid was erected over the tomb of Ezechias.  C.



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