|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19
Verse 24. - By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord (see Isaiah 36:15-20). And hast said. Sennacherib had not actually uttered these words with his mouth; but the prophet clothes in his own highly poetic language the thoughts which the Assyrian king had cherished in his heart. He had regarded "the multitude of his chariots" as irresistible; he had considered that the mountains which guarded Palestine would be no obstacle to his advance; he had contemplated ravaging and despoiling of its timber the entire country; he had meant to penetrate into every region that was lovely and fertile. The emphatic "I" of the original - ani - twice repeated, marks the proud egotism of the monarch. By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains; rather, with the multitude; or, according to another reading, with chariots upon chariots. The Assyrian kings contrived to cross with their chariots mountain chains of great difficulty, and frequently boast of the achievement. Tiglath-Pileser I. says, "I assembled my chariots and warriors. I betook myself to carts of iron in order to overcome the rough mountains and their difficult marches. I made the wilderness thus practicable for the passage of my chariots and warriors" ('Records of the Past,' vol. 5. pp. 9, 10). Asshur-izir-pal, "The rugged hill country, unfitted for the passage of chariots and armies, with instruments of iron I cut through, and with metal rollers I beat down the chariots and troops I brought over" (ibid., vol. 3. p. 58). Shalmaneser II., "Trackless paths, difficult mountains, which like the point of an iron sword stood pointed to the sky, on wheels of iron and bronze I penetrated. My chariots and armies I transported over them" (ibid., p. 85). In the less rough parts, while the warders dismounted, tire horses drew the chariots, which were assisted over obstacles by attendants ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 74); but, in regions of greater difficulty, they were conveyed across the mountain ranges in waggons of rude and strong construction ('Records of the Past,' vol. 5. p. 13) The chariot-force was regarded as so important that the Assyrians never made any distant expedition without it. To the sides of Lebanon. It was not necessary to cross either Libanus or Anti-Libanus in order to invade Judaea, since the natural route was along the Coele-Syrian valley and across the spurs of Hermon to the Jordan; but an Assyrian army was intent on plunder and devastation, no less than upon conquest, and would ascend mountain regions that did not lie on its direct line of march for either or both of these objects. It was customary for the soldiers to cut clown the tall cedars and choice fir trees of Lebanon on their Syrian campaigns, in order to transport the timber to Nineveh and other great cities, where it was used for building (see the comment on Isaiah 14:8, and compare Layard, 'Nineveh and Babylon,' pp. 356, 357, and 'Records of the Past,' vol. 3. pp. 40, 47, 83, 90; vol. 5. p. 119; vol. 9. p. 16, etc.). It was also customary to destroy the trees in an enemy's country, simply in order to inflict injury upon the foe ('Ancient Monarchies.' vol. 2. p. 84). I will enter into the height of his border; rather, I will enter into its uttermost height; i.e. I will penetrate through the entire mountain region of Palestine, called roughly "Lebanon," to the furthest height of any importance - that on which Jerusalem stood - and thus occupy the whole land. The parallel passage of 2 Kings has "lodging" for "height," in apparent allusion to the palace of Hezekiah. And the forest of his Carmel; or, the forest of its pleasure-garden; i.e. the rich plantation tracts, covered with vines, olives, and fig trees, which formed the special glory of Judaea (see Isaiah 36:16, 17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord,.... Particularly by Rabshakeh, and the other two that were with him, who, no doubt, assented to what he said; not content to reproach him himself, he set his servants to do it likewise; he made use of them as instruments, and even set them, as well as himself, above the Lord:
and hast said, by the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains; not only with his foot soldiers, but with his chariots, and a great number of them, he had travelled over hills and mountains, as Hannibal over the Alps, and was now upon the high mountains which were round about Jerusalem, and very near the mountain of the Lord's house; of which Jarchi interprets the words:
to the sides of Lebanon; meaning either the mountain of Lebanon, which was on the borders of the land of Israel, famous for cedars and fir trees, later mentioned; or, the temple made of the wood of Lebanon, near which his army now lay; so the Targum and Jarchi understand it:
and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof; to make way for his army, and to support himself with materials for the siege; to make tents with for his soldiers to lie in, or wooden fortresses from whence to annoy the city. The cedars of Lebanon were very large and tall. Mr. Maundrell (p) says he measured one of the largest, and
"found it six and thirty feet and six inches thick; its branches spread a hundred and eleven feet; its trunk from the ground was about fifteen or sixteen feet, and then divided into five branches, each of which would make a large tree.''
Monsieur Thevenot (q) says, now there are no more nor less that, twenty three cedars on Mount Lebanon, great and small: or it may be, these metaphorically intend the princes, and nobles, and chief men of the Jewish nation, he threatens to destroy; so the Targum,
"and I will kill the most beautiful of their mighty ones, and the choicest of their princes:''
and I will enter into the height of his border; some think the tower of Lebanon, which stood on the east part of it towards Syria, is meant; but it seems rather to design Jerusalem, the metropolis of the nation, which he thought himself sure of entering into, and taking possession of; and this was what his heart was set upon; so the Targum,
and I will subdue the city of their strength; their strong city Jerusalem, in which they placed their strength:
and the forest of his Carmel: or "the forest and his fruitful field" (r); the same city, which, for the number of its houses and inhabitants, was like a forest, and was Hezekiah's fruitful field, where all his riches and treasure were. The Targum interprets it of his army,
"and I will consume the multitude of their army.''
(p) Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 179. (q) Travels, part 1. B. 2. ch. 60. p. 221. (r) "sylvas, arva ejus", Junius & Tremellius; "sylvas et arva ejus", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. said—virtually. Hast thou within thyself?
height—imagery from the Assyrian felling of trees in Lebanon (Isa 14:8; 33:9); figuratively for, "I have carried my victorious army through the regions most difficult of access, to the most remote lands."
sides—rather, "recesses" [G. V. Smith].
fir trees—not cypresses, as some translate; pine foliage and cedars are still found on the northwest side of Lebanon [Stanley].
height of … border—In 2Ki 19:23, "the lodgings of his borders." Perhaps on the ascent to the top there was a place of repose or caravansary, which bounded the usual attempts of persons to ascend [Barnes]. Here, simply, "its extreme height."
forest of … Carmel—rather, "its thickest forest." "Carmel" expresses thick luxuriance (see on Isa 10:18; Isa 29:17).
Isaiah 37:24 Parallel Commentaries
Isaiah 37:24 NIV
Isaiah 37:24 NLT
Isaiah 37:24 ESV
Isaiah 37:24 NASB
Isaiah 37:24 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible