Isaiah 37:18
Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Of a truth, Lord . . .—The facts of Rabshakeh’s induction are admitted, but the inference denied, on the ground that the cases were not parallel. The gods of the nations had been cast into the fire (an alternative to their being taken as trophies for the temples of Asshur and Ishtar), but this could never happen to Jehovah, of whom there was no graven image, and He would show that He alone was ruler of the earth and of the heavens.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19Of a truth - It is as he has said, that all the nations had been subjected to the arms of the Assyrian. He now intends to add Jerusalem to the number of vanquished cities and kingdoms, and to boast; that he has subdued the nation under the protection of Yahweh, as he had done the nations under the protection of idol-gods.

Have laid waste all, the nations - Hebrew, as Margin, 'All the lands.' But this is evidently an elliptical form of expression, meaning all the inhabitants or people of the lands. In 2 Kings 19:17, it is thus expressed. 'The kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands.'

18. have laid waste—conceding the truth of the Assyrian's allegation (Isa 36:18-20), but adding the reason, "For they were no gods." No text from Poole on this verse. Of a truth Lord,.... This is a truth and will be readily owned what the king of Assyria has said that his ancestors have destroyed all lands, or at least have endeavoured to do it, and have had it in their hearts to do it:

the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries: or "all the lands and their land" (m); the Targum is,

"all provinces and their lands;''

the countries and town and villages in them, or the chief cities and villages round about them.

(m) "omnes terras, et terram eorum", Pagninus, Montanus; "vel terram inquam eorum", Vatablus.

Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and {m} their countries,

(m) Meaning, the ten tribes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. all the nations, and their countries] R.V., following the received text, has “all the countries (lit., lands) and their land.” But the true reading is preserved in the corresponding verse of 2 Kings, which A.V. has rightly followed here.

have laid waste] This verb is never used of nations, except in ch. Isaiah 60:12. It differs by a single letter from “laid under the ban” in Isaiah 37:11, and ought probably to be altered accordingly.Verse 18. - Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations. This was a stubborn fact, which it was impossible to deny. From the time of Asshur-izir-pal at any rate, about B.C. 880, Assyria had pursued for nearly two centuries a steady career of conquest, reducing the nations which were her neighbors, almost without exception, and gradually spreading her power from the tract immediately about Nineveh to the Persian Gulf on the south, the great plateau of Iran on the east, the Armenian Mountains (Niphates and Taurus) on the north, and on the west to Cilicia and the Mediterranean. Her progress towards the west alone is marked in Scripture, since there alone she came in contact with God's people. Under Pul (about B.C. 760) she attacked Samaria (2 Kings 15:19); under Tiglath-Pileser II. she carried off a portion of the ten tribes (2 Kings 15:29); under the same monarch she subjugated Damascus (2 Kings 16:9); under Shalmaneser she besieged (2 Kings 17:5), and under Sargon took, Samaria (2 Kings 17:6); under Sargon also she invaded Philistia and captured Ashdod (ch. 20:1). Now she was bent on subduing Judaea, and so preparing the way for the reduction of Egypt. Humanly speaking, it was most unlikely that the small and weak state of Judaea would be able to resist her. But God was all-powerful, and might be pleased to cast down, as he had been pleased to exalt (Isaiah 10:5-19). Hence Hezekiah's appeal. The message. "Thus shall ye say to Hizkiyahu king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Asshur. Behold, thou hast surely heard what (K. that which) the kings of Asshur have done to all lands, to lay the ban upon them; and thou, thou shouldst be delivered?! Have the gods of the nations, which my fathers destroyed, delivered them: Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the Benē-‛Eden, which are in Tellasar? Where is (K. where is he) the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of 'Ir-Sepharvaim, Hena', and 'Ivah?"Although ארץ is feminine, אותם (K. אתם), like להחרימם, points back to the lands (in accordance with the want of any thoroughly developed distinction of the genders in Hebrew); likewise אשׁר quas pessumdederunt. There is historical importance in the fact, that here Sennacherib attributes to his fathers (Sargon and the previous kings of the Derketade dynasty which he had overthrown) what Rabshakeh on the occasion of the first mission had imputed to Sennacherib himself. On Gozan, see p. 33. It is no doubt identical with the Zuzan of the Arabian geographers, which is described as a district of outer Armenia, situated on the Chabur, e.g., in the Merasid. ("The Chabur is the Chabur of el-Hasaniye, a district of Mosul, to the east of the Tigris; it comes down from the mountains of the land of Zuzan, flows through a broad and thickly populated country in the north of Mosul, which is called outer Armenia, and empties itself into the Tigris." Ptolemy, on the other hand (Isaiah 37:18, Isaiah 37:14), is acquainted with a Mesopotamian Gauzanitis; and, looking upon northern Mesopotamia as the border land of Armenia, he says, κατέχει δὲ τῆς ξηώρας τὰ μὲν πρὸς τῆ Αρμενία ἡ Ανθεμουσία (not far from Edessa) ὑφ ἥν ἡ Χαλκῖτις ὑπὸ δὲ ταύτην ἡ Γαυζανῖτις, possibly the district of Gulzan, in which Nisibin, the ancient Nisibis, still stands.

(Note: See Oppert, Expdition, i.60.)

For Hrn (Syr. Horon; Joseph. Charran of Mesopotamia), the present Harrn, not far from Charmelik, see Genesis, p. 327. The Harran in the Guta of Damascus (on the southern arm of the Harus), which Beke has recently identified with it, is not connected with it in any way. Retseph is the Rhesapha of Ptol. v. 18, 6, below Thapsacus, the present Rusafa in the Euphrates-valley of ez-Zor, between the Euphrates and Tadmur (Palmyra; see Robinson, Pal.). Telassar, with which the Targum (ii. iii.) and Syr. confound the Ellasar of Genesis 14:1, i.e., Artemita (Artamita), is not the Thelseae of the Itin. Antonini and of the Notitia dignitatum - in which case the Benē-‛Eden might be the tribe of Bt Genn (Bettegene) on the southern slope of Lebanon (i.e., the 'Eden of Coelesyria, Amos 1:5; the Paradeisos of Ptol. v. 15, 20; Paradisus, Plin. v. 19) - but the Thelser of the Tab. Peuting., on the eastern side of the Tigris; and Benē-‛Eden is the tribe of the 'Eden mentioned by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:23) after Haran and Ctesiphon. Consequently the enumeration of the warlike deeds describes a curve, which passes in a north-westerly direction through Hamath and Arpad, and then returns in Sepharvaim to the border of southern Mesopotamia and Babylonia. 'Ir-Sepharvaim is like 'Ir-Nchs, 'Ir-shemesh, etc. The legends connect the name with the sacred books. The form of the name is inexplicable; but the name itself probably signifies the double shore (after the Aramaean), as the city, which was the southernmost of the leading places of Mesopotamia, was situated on the Euphrates. The words ועוּה הנע, if not take as proper names, would signify, "he has taken away, and overthrown;" but in that case we should expect ועוּוּ הניעוּ or ועוּיתי הניעתי. They are really the names of cities which it is no longer possible to trace. Hena' is hardly the well-known Avatho on the Euphrates, as Gesenius, V. Niebuhr, and others suppose; and 'Ivah, the seat of the Avvı̄m (2 Kings 17:31), agrees still less, so far as the sound of the word is concerned, with "the province of Hebeh (? Hebeb: Ritter, Erdk. xi. 707), situated between Anah and the Chabur on the Euphrates," with which V. Niebuhr combines it.

(Note: For other combinations of equal value, see Oppert, Expdition, i. 220.)

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