Isaiah 37:19
And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19And have cast their gods into the fire - This appears to have been the usual policy of the Assyrians and Babylonians. It was contrary to the policy which the Romans afterward pursued, for they admitted the gods of other nations among their own, and even allowed them to have a place in the Pantheon. Their design seems not to have been to alienate the feelings of the vanquished, but to make them feel that they were a part of the same people. They supposed that a vanquished people would be conciliated with the idea that their gods were admitted to participate in the honors of those which were worshipped by the conquerors of the world. But the policy of the Eastern conquerors was different. They began usually by removing the people themselves whom they had subdued, to another land (see the note at Isaiah 36:17). They thus intended to alienate their minds as much as possible from their own country. They laid everything waste by fire and sword, and thus destroyed their homes, and all the objects of their attachment. They destroyed their temples, their groves, and their household gods. They well knew that the civil policy of the nation was founded in religion, and that, to subdue them effectually, it was necessary to abolish their religion. Which was the wisest policy, may indeed admit of question. Perhaps in each case the policy was well adapted to the particular end which was had in view.

For they were no gods - They were not truly gods, and therefore they had no power of resistance, and it was easy to destroy them.

19. cast … gods into … fire—The policy of the Assyrians in order to alienate the conquered peoples from their own countries was, both to deport them elsewhere, and to destroy the tutelary idols of their nation, the strongest tie which bound them to their native land. The Roman policy was just the reverse. No text from Poole on this verse. And, have cast their gods into the fire..... And burnt them; and it may well be asked, where are they? Isaiah 36:19,

for they were no gods, but the works of men's hands, wood and stone; they were made of wood or of stone, and therefore could not be called gods; nor could they save the nations that worshipped them, nor themselves, from the fire:

therefore they have destroyed them; the Assyrian kings were able to do it, and did do it, because they were idols of wood or stone; but it did not therefore follow, that they were a match for the God of Israel, the true, and living God.

And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. the work of men’s hands] Cf. ch. Isaiah 2:20, Isaiah 17:8, Isaiah 31:7.

wood and stone] Deuteronomy 4:28; Deuteronomy 28:36; Deuteronomy 28:64; Deuteronomy 29:17; Ezekiel 20:32.Verse 19. - And have cast their gods into the fire. The more valuable of the foreign idols were usually carried off by the Assyrians, and placed in the shrines of their own gods as trophies of victory; but no doubt great numbers of the inferior idols. which were of wood, not even coated with metal - the ξόανα of the Greeks - were burnt. For they were no gods (temp. Jeremiah 2:11; Jeremiah 5:7; Jeremiah 16:20, etc.). Isaiah's favourite word for "idols" is elilim, which is, etymologically, "not-gods" (Isaiah 2:8, 18, 20; Isaiah 10:10, 11; Isaiah 19:1, 3; Isaiah 31:7). The work of men's hands (see Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 41:7, etc.). The absurdity of men's worshipping as gods what their own hands had made is ever increasingly ridiculed by the religious Jews (comp. Psalm 115:4-8; Isaiah 44:9-20; Jeremiah 10:3-15; 'Ep of Jeremy,' 8-73). 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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