|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:9-16 The descent Sennacherib made upon Judah, was a great calamity to that kingdom, by which God would try the faith of Hezekiah, and chastise the people. The secret dislike, the hypocrisy, and lukewarmness of numbers, require correction; such trials purify the faith and hope of the upright, and bring them to simple dependence on God.
Verse 14. - And Hezekiah King of Judah sent to the King of Assyria to Lachish, saying. (On the position of Lachish, see the comment upon 2 Kings 14:19.) A bas-relief in the British Museum is thought to represent Sennacherib at the siege of Lachish. He is seated on a highly ornamented throne, and is engaged in receiving prisoners. The city is represented as strongly fortified, and as attacked with sealing-ladders and battering-rams. The surrender is taking place, and the captives of importance are being conducted from one of the tower-gates to the presence of the conqueror. An accompanying inscription is to the following effect: "Sennacherib, the great king, the King of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judgment before the city of Lakhisha (Lachish). I give permission for its destruction." It would seem that while Sennacherib was personally engaged in this siege, a portion of his army had invested Jerusalem, and were pressing the siege (see Isaiah 22:1-7). I have offended; return from me. The tone of the submission is abject. In vain had Isaiah counseled resistance, and promised deliverance if trust were placed in God (Isaiah 8:9-15; Isaiah 10:24-26; Isaiah 14:24, 25). When the siege commenced, all was dismay within the walls - it was "a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity (Isaiah 22:5). Some of the rulers fled (Isaiah 22:3); others gave themselves up for lost, and resolved on "a short life and a merry one" (Isaiah 22:13). Hezekiah found no encouragement to resist in any of his counselors except Isaiah, and was therefore driven to despair - acknowledged himself in the wrong for rebelling, and besought Sennacherib to "return from him" - i.e. in retire and withdraw his troops. That which thou puttest on me will I bear. Whatever burden Sennacherib chooses to put upon him, Hezekiah says he will bear, be it tribute, be it cession of territory, be it indignity of any sort or kind. He makes no reservation; but of course he assumes that the terms about to be offered him will be such as, according in the usages of war at the time, would be regarded as reasonable. And the King of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah King of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Sennacherib says that the payment made him by Hezekiah was thirty talents of gold and eight hundred talents of silver ('Records of the Past,' vol. 1. p. 39, line 34). He has, perhaps, exaggerated, or he may have counted in all the silver that he carried off from the whole of Judaea; or, possibly, the payment to purchase peace was eight hundred talents, the fixed tribute three hundred. We learn from Sennacherib's inscription that, besides making this money payment, Hezekiah had to consent to
(1) a cession of territory towards the south-west, which was apportioned between Gaza, Ekron, and Ash-deal;
(2) the surrender of an Assyrian vassal king, detained in Jerusalem; and
(3) the contribution to the harem at Nineveh of two if not more of his daughters.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish,.... A city in the tribe of Judah, about twenty miles from Jerusalem, towards the southwest (q); which the king of Assyria was now besieging, 2 Chronicles 32:9 at first Hezekiah made provision to defend himself, and encouraged his people not to be afraid of the king of Assyria, 2 Chronicles 32:1, but understanding he had taken his fortified cities, and made such progress with his arms, he was disheartened, and sent an embassy to him to sue for peace; judging it more advisable to buy it than to expose his capital to a siege; in which he betrayed much weakness and distrust of the power and providence of God:
saying, I have offended; not the Lord, but the king of Assyria by rebelling against him, or refusing to pay the yearly tribute to him; he owned he had acted imprudently, and had given him, just occasion to invade his land:
return from me; from his land, from proceeding to Jerusalem, which he seemed to have a design upon, and go back to his own country with his army, and make no further conquests:
that which thou puttest on me I will bear; what mulct or fine he should lay upon him, or tribute he should impose upon him, or whatever he should demand of him, he would submit to:
and the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold; to be paid to him directly; which, according to Brerewood (r), amounted to 247,500 pounds.
(q) Bunting's Travels, &c. p. 99. (r) De Ponder. & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 5.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14-16. Hezekiah … sent to Lachish, saying, … that which thou puttest on me will I bear—Disappointed in his expectations of aid from Egypt, and feeling himself unable to resist so mighty a conqueror who was menacing Jerusalem itself, Hezekiah made his submission. The payment of 300 talents of silver, and 30 talents of gold—£351,000—brought a temporary respite; but, in raising the imposed tribute, he was obliged not only to drain all the treasures of the palace and the temple, but even to strip the doors and pillars of the sacred edifice of the gold that adorned them.
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