|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-8 Hezekiah was a true son of David. Some others did that which was right, but not like David. Let us not suppose that when times and men are bad, they must needs grow worse and worse; that does not follow: after many bad kings, God raised one up like David himself. The brazen serpent had been carefully preserved, as a memorial of God's goodness to their fathers in the wilderness; but it was idle and wicked to burn incense to it. All helps to devotion, not warranted by the word of God, interrupt the exercise of faith; they always lead to superstition and other dangerous evils. Human nature perverts every thing of this kind. True faith needs not such aids; the word of God, daily thought upon and prayed over, is all the outward help we need.
Verse 5. - He trusted in the Lord God of Israel. Unlike Hoshea (see homiletics on 2 Kings 17:1-4), unlike Ahaz (2 Kings 16:7-10), Hezekiah discarded trust in man, and - it may be after some hesitation - put his trust wholly in God. This was exactly what God required as the condition on which he would give his aid (Isaiah 30:1-7), and what no previous king since the Assyrian troubles began could bring himself to do. So that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. It has been concluded from this statement that, "when the merits of the kings were summed up after the fall of the monarchy, Hezekiah was, by a deliberate judgment, put at the very top" (Stanley 'Lectures on the Jewish Church,' vol. 2. p. 397); but, as exactly the same words are used of Josiah in 2 Kings 23:25, the true conclusion would seem to be rather that Hezekiah and Josiah were selected from the rest, and placed upon a par, above all the others. At first sight there may seem to be contradiction between the two passages, since absolute pre-eminence over all the other kings is ascribed to Hezekiah in one of them, to Josiah in the other; but the context shows that the pre-eminence is not the same in the two cases. To Hezekiah is ascribed pre-eminence in trust; to Josiah, pre-eminence in an exact observance of the Law: one excels in faith, the other in works; Josiah's whole life is one of activity, Hezekiah's great merit lies in his being content, in the crisis of his fate, to "stand still, and see the salvation of God."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He trusted in the Lord God of Israel,.... To be his protector and defender, and had no dependence on idols as an arm of flesh; the Targum is, he trusted in the Word of the Lord God; not in Nehushtan, but in him the brasen serpent was a type of, even in the Word and Son of God, his alone Saviour and Redeemer:
so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah: for though Josiah was like him in some things, yet not in all:
nor any that were before him; from the times of the division of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and Ben Gersom and Abarbinel think that David and Solomon are not to be excepted; David sinning in the case of Uriah, and Solomon falling into idolatry, crimes that Hezekiah was not guilty of.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5, 6. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel—without invoking the aid or purchasing the succor of foreign auxiliaries like Asa (1Ki 15:18, 19) and Ahaz (2Ki 16:17; Isa 7:1-25).
so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah—Of course David and Solomon are excepted, they having had the sovereignty of the whole country. In the petty kingdom of Judah, Josiah alone had a similar testimony borne to him (2Ki 23:25). But even he was surpassed by Hezekiah, who set about a national reformation at the beginning of his reign, which Josiah did not. The pious character and the excellent course of Hezekiah was prompted, among other secondary influences, by a sense of the calamities his father's wicked career had brought on the country, as well as by the counsels of Isaiah.
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