|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19
Verse 26. - Hast thou not heard, etc.? An abrupt transition, such as is common in Isaiah. From speaking in the person of Sennacherib, the prophet without warning breaks off, and returns to speaking in the person of Jehovah, as his mouthpiece. "Hast thou not heard," he says, long ago; or rather, "that from long ago! have done this?" Art thou so ignorant, so devoid of that light of nature, which should "lighten every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), as not to know God's method of governing the world? How that "from long ago," in his eternal counsels, he designs the rise and fall of nations, and the mode in which their destruction is to be brought about? Art thou not aware that conquerors are mere instruments in God's hands - "the rods of his anger" (Isaiah 10:5) - to work his will, and then to have his will worked upon them in turn (see Isaiah 10:6-19)? Sennacherib seems to be really reproached for not knowing what he ought to have known, and might have known, if he had listened to the voice of conscience and reason. Now have brought it to pass, etc. All that Sennacherib had done, he had done as God's instrument, by his permission - nay, by his aid. He had been the axe in the hand of the hewer (Isaiah 10:15), the saw, the rod, the staff, of God's indignation (Isaiah 10:5), the executor of his vengeance. The very purpose of his being was that he should "lay waste (certain) defenced cities into ruinous heaps."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hast thou not heard long ago?.... By report, by reading the history of ancient times, or by means of the prophets; these are the words of the Lord to Sennacherib. The Targum adds,
"what I did to Pharaoh king of Egypt;''
how I have done it; and of ancient times that I have formed it? meaning either the decree in his own breast from all eternity, and which he had published by his prophets, of raising up him, this wicked prince, to be the scourge of nations; or by the "it" are meant the people of the Jews, God's Israel, whom he had made, formed into a body politic, and into a church state, and had done great things for, in bringing them out of Egypt, leading them through the Red sea, providing for them, and protecting them in the wilderness, subduing nations under them, and settling them in the land of Canaan;
now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps (t); which some render interrogatively,
now should I bring, it to be laid waste, and fenced cities to be ruinous heaps? that is, the people of the Jews, the city of Jerusalem, and other fenced cities? no, I will not: or the meaning is, that that decree, which he had framed and formed in his own mind from all eternity, he was now bringing to pass; which was, that this king of Babylon should be a waster and destroyer of fortified cities, which he should reduce to heaps of ruin; wherefore he had no reason to vaunt as he had done, for he was only an instrument of executing the purposes and designs of God, though it was not in his heart, nor did he so mean.
(t) "in acervos et flores", "into heaps and flowers", that is, into heaps of dust, which being moved, and raised by the wind, fly away like flowers and blossoms of trees; so Gussetius, "in acervos volantes, aut ad volandum excitatos, scil. dum redacti in pulveres, magna ex parte, volant, excitati a ventis", Comment. Ebr. p. 502.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. Reply of God to Sennacherib.
long ago—join, rather, with "I have done it." Thou dost boast that it is all by thy counsel and might: but it is I who, long ago, have ordered it so (Isa 22:11); thou wert but the instrument in My hands (Isa 10:5, 15). This was the reason why "the inhabitants were of small power before thee" (Isa 37:27), namely, that I ordered it so; yet thou art in My hands, and I know thy ways (Isa 37:28), and I will check thee (Isa 37:29). Connect also, "I from ancient times have arranged ('formed') it." However, English Version is supported by Isa 33:13; 45:6, 21; 48:5.
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