Isaiah (Ch 35-36)

Many believe Russia was and still is the main threat to the United States. Others, like warmonger John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, give incredible speeches around the world saying China is the main enemy.

And Mearsheimer brilliantly emphasizes the United States are protected by fish to the left and fish to the right, but foolishly negates to address America’s broken border in the South; and that the Scriptures say that America’s main “enemy” comes from the unprotected and porous South! (for more, click here)

Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. — this is a continuation of Isaiah the 34th chapter; the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, either for the wild beasts, satyrs, owls and vultures, that shall inhabit Edom or Petra and because it shall be an habitation for them; or they shall be glad for them, the Edomites and for the destruction of them; that is, as the Targum paraphrases it, “they that dwell in the wilderness, in the dry land, shall rejoice.”

It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. — the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; the wilderness shall be as pleasant and fruitful as Lebanon, Carmel and Sharon; which were eminent parts of the land of Canaan as hath been oft noted.

— they, who are understood by the wilderness shall see the glory of the Lord; the glorious discoveries and effects of God’s power and goodness to his people.

Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. — strengthen ye the weak hands; ye prophets and shepherds of God, comfort and encourage his people who are now ready to faint with hopes of that salvation which in due time he will work for them. The prophet mentions hands and knees because the strength or weakness of any man eminently appears in those parts.

Say to them that are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you.” — say to them that are of a fearful heart; who because of their own weakness and the strength of their enemies are discouraged and cast down:

— be strong, fear not, resist your fears, confide in the power, love and faithfulness of God who has promised to deliver those that trust in him and has engaged that as your day is your strength shall be, and you shall become strong. Behold, your God will come though he seem to be absent and to have departed from you, he will come and abide with you.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. — then the eyes of the blind shall be opened; the images are of joy and exultation, the times of happiness when God would come to save them from their foes;

— this passage is a description of what the Messiah, the Lord Jesus did that it doubtless refers to the miracles which he would perform. In not a few instances did he in fact restore the blind to sight, giving thus the most unequivocal proof that he was the Messiah sent from God;

— and for the house of Israel, their blind would see their idolatry worship; such as (1) Astarte, the queen of heaven; from whom Easter is derived; and (2) Mithra, worshipping the sun-god, when a mystical white Christmas of Babylon have been worshipped without their knowing.

Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. — an hart demoting the stag, or male deer; sometimes refers to any species of deer or antelope and this is referred to here from its quick and sprightly nature;

— and the tongue of the dumb sing; shall be able to sing and to praise God. On the restoration of the dumb to the benefits of language.

And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. — and the parched ground shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs of water; such persons who have been like the parched earth, barren and unfruitful or like the earth scorched with the sun shall be comforted and refreshed; shall now enjoy peace and prosperity.

And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. — God shall be with them walking in the way; that is, he shall be their companion and guide in the way. Hence though fools they shall not err therein; the way shall be so plain and straight that even the most foolish travellers cannot easily mistake it.

No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; it shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. — no lion shall be there; lions abounded in all the countries adjacent to Palestine; they are objects of dread and alarm. The prophet Isaiah therefore suggests that there should be no cause for such dread and alarm as they walk there.

10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. — and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away;

— sorrow and sighing shall flee away; which expressions are too magnificent and emphatical to be satisfied by the return of the Jews from Babylon to their own land; and from another captivity of 190/40 years just before the Millenium.

Isaiah 36

1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. — the fourteenth year of Hezekiah was BC 714 or 713. Sargon was then King of Assyria and continued king till BC 705. Sennacherib did not ascend the throne till that year and he did not lead an expedition into the land of Judea till BC 701.

And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto King Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the Fuller’s Field. — Rabshakeh; a name or a title, probably the chief officer or cup-bearer;

— a penalty of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold was imposed and paid, Hezekiah being reduced to empty his own treasury and that of the Temple and even to strip the Temple doors and pillars of the plates of gold with which they were overlaid.

Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah’s son, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph’s son, the recorder. — Eliakim; it is significant that Eliakim now fills the office which, a short time before had been filled by Shebna while the latter is reduced to the inferior position of a scribe (Isaiah 22:15-25). The change is clearly traceable to Isaiah’s influence. The “scribe” was the secretary who formulated despatches and degrees; the “recorder” probably the registrar of the official annals.

And Rabshakeh said unto them, “Say ye now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria: What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? — say ye now to Hezekiah; tell him what follows; he does not call him king as he does his own master: thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria; this he said boastingly of his master and in order to terrify Hezekiah and his subjects; whom he would represent as little in comparison of him who had subdued many kingdoms and aimed at universal monarchy.

I say, thou sayest (but they are but vain words), “I have counsel and strength for war.” Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? — the first part of the words are Hezekiah’s, “I say (sayest thou)”; and the latter, Rabshakeh’s note upon them; though they may be understood as Hezekiah’s or what he is made to speak by Rabshakeh.

Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, in Egypt, whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. — Lo, thou trust in the staff of this broken reed on Egypt his ally and auxiliary; and which is rightly called “the staff of a broken reed” if trusted to and leaned upon the banks of the river Nile in Egypt.

But if thou say to me, “We trust in the Lord our God,” is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, “Ye shall worship before this altar”? — Rashid: Whose high places… has removed: He abolished all the pagan temples and the altars and the high places and has coerced all Judah to prostrate themselves before one altar.

Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them. — there was something absurd in the idea of Judah coming out as strong in its cavalry. Had they two thousand men who could manage their horses if they had them?

How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? — how then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? that is, he reproaches Hezekiah’s small power which is not able to resist one of Sennacherib’s least captains.

10 And have I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? The Lord said unto me: “Go up against this land, and destroy it.”’” — Rabshakeh would insinuate that he had a commission from the Lord God, a boastful inference from the past successes of Assyria, designed to influence the Jews to surrender.

11 Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, “Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; and speak not to us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people who are on the wall.”

12 But Rabshakeh said, “Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? Hath he not sent me to the men who sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you?” — Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants; the king’s officers, knowing the “little faith” of their people are not, perhaps without misgivings of their own and listening eagerly on the wall, recognise in Rabshakeh’s words an echo of Isaiah’s and lose courage as feeling that they were fighting against the God who was chastising them?

— the Syrian or Aramaic was a common ground for the ambassadors on both sides as being the language of commerce and diplomacy. Rabshakeh, it would seem, could speak three languages, Assyrian, Syrian and Hebrew; Hezekiah’s ministers the two latter; the “people on the wall” only the last.

13 Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, “Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! — then Rabshakeh stood, indicating the posture of a man who intends to speak to them at a distance. And cried with a loud voice so that those on the wall could hear.

14 Thus saith the king: ‘Let not Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you. — thus saith the king, the king of Assyria, whom he personated, whose general and ambassador he was; so he spoke to command the greater awe of the people and the more to terrify them:

— let not Hezekiah deceive you; with fair words, promising protection and safety, making preparations for the defence of the city and to oblige the besiegers to break up the siege of it: for he shall not be able to deliver you.

15 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us; this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.” — neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord; Hezekiah trusted in the Lord himself and he endeavoured, both by his own example and by arguments to persuade his people to do so likewise; of this Rabshakeh was sensible and was more afraid of this than of any thing else and therefore laboured this point more than any other;

— saying, the Lord will surely deliver us, this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria: which he might say with the greatest confidence; since the Lord had promised to defend it, Isaiah 31:5 since it is expressly promised by the Lord that he would deliver him and the city out of the hand of the king of Assyria.

16 Hearken not to Hezekiah, for thus saith the king of Assyria: Make 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, — Hearken not to Hezekiah, to his exhortations and persuasions to trust in the Lord; nor would he have them obey him in things civil any more than hearken to him in things sacred, and so the Targum says, “do not obey Hezekiah” or receive any orders from him, or pay any regard to them:

— Make an agreement with me, that is, “make peace with me” and the Septuagint version is, “if ye would be blessed” or happy, come out to me; forsake your king, throw off your allegiance to him, surrender yourselves and city to me.

17 until 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. — until I come; these are the words of the king of Assyria delivered by Rabshakeh. It was proposed that they should remain safely in Jerusalem until Sennacherib should himself come and remove them to his own land.

18 Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? — beware lest Hezekiah persuade you; to trust in the Lord, stand up in your own defence and not listen to these proposals; or lest he “deceive you” with vain words;

— hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land; over whom he presided and to whom the people of it were devotees: out of the hand of the king of Assyria? this reasoning would have had some weight in it had the Lord God of Israel been like the gods of the nations but he is not.

19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? And have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? — where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? What become of them? where are they to be found? where’s their power to protect and defend the people they presided over?

— and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? the gods of the above places which were worshipped in Samaria or the gods peculiar to that place; though Samaria was not taken by the present king of Assyria, Sennacherib but by a predecessor of his, Shalmaneser.

20 Who are they among all the gods of these lands that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’” — who are they amongst all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand? Not one of them, it is suggested; wherefore then should it be thought practicable;

— that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? thus blasphemously setting the Lord God of Israel upon a level with the fictitious gods of the Gentiles; though these could not, the Lord could, being the Lord God Almighty. If Rabshakeh was an apostate Jew he must have known better but the malice of such is usually the greatest.

21 But they held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, saying, “Answer him not.” — but they held their peace; Hezekiah seems to have commanded silence as if distrustful either of the wisdom of the ambassadors or of the effect which any chance words might have upon the garrison and people of Jerusalem.

22 Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh. — with their clothes rent the act was the natural expression of their horror at the blasphemy of Rabshakeh’s words; they would not reply to that blasphemy and trusted to the effect of this silent protest on the minds of the people who had heard it.

~ by Joel Huan on March 18, 2022.

One Response to “Isaiah (Ch 35-36)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 35 and 36 HERE ~ —— […]

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