2 Chronicles 32:31
However, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) Howbeit.—Literally, And thus; that is, and when things were thus prosperous with him. In the midst of Hezekiah’s prosperity, God left him for a moment to himself, by way of putting him to the proof.

The princes of Babylon.—The same vague plural which we have already noticed in 2Chronicles 28:16; 2Chronicles 30:6, and 2Chronicles 32:4, supra. The king who “sent letters and a present “to Hezekiah, with congratulations on his recovery from Sickness, and overtures of alliance against the common enemy, Assyria, was Merodach-baladan (Maruduk-abla-iddina, “Merodach gave a son”). (See the account in 2Kings 20:12, seq.; Isaiah 39)

Who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder (Hebrew, the sign, as in 2Chronicles 32:24).—This is not mentioned in the parallel passage of Kings and Isaiah. But such an inquiry is quite in harmony with what we know of the Babylonians from their own monuments. Babylon was the home of the arts of divination and augury, from observation of all kinds of signs and portents in every department of nature. Moreover, the sign given to Hezekiah would have a special interest for the astrologers and astronomers of the Babylonian temple-towers.

God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.—“To try,” the same word as “to tempt” (Isaiah 7:12; Psalm 95:9; and often).

That he might knowi.e., in order to bring out and make manifest the latent possibilities of Hezekiah’s character. The Searcher of hearts knew the issue beforehand; but we can only conceive of His dealings with man by means of human analogies, such as that of the chemist, who subjects an imperfectly known substance to various combinations of circumstances, by way of ascertaining its nature and affinities. The remark is peculiar to the chronicler.

2 Chronicles 32:31. To inquire of the wonder done in the land — Either the destruction of the Assyrians, or the going back of the sun. These miracles were wrought to alarm and awaken a stupid, careless world, and to turn them from dumb and lame idols to the living God. God left him — To himself, and suffered Satan to try him, that he might know he had infirmities and sins as well as virtues. O, what need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own follies and infirmities, and to beg earnestly of God, that he would hide pride from them!32:24-33 God left Hezekiah to himself, that, by this trial and his weakness in it, what was in his heart might be known; that he was not so perfect in grace as he thought he was. It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited, or self-confident, but may always live in dependence upon Divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leaves us to ourselves. His sin was, that his heart was lifted up. What need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves; but beg earnestly of God, that he will always keep them humble! Hezekiah made a bad return to God for his favours, by making even those favours the food and fuel of his pride. Let us shun the occasions of sin: let us avoid the company, the amusements, the books, yea, the very sights that may administer to sin. Let us commit ourselves continually to God's care and protection; and beg of him never to leave us nor forsake us. Blessed be God, death will soon end the believer's conflict; then pride and every sin will be abolished. He will no more be tempted to withhold the praise which belongs to the God of his salvation.See 2 Chronicles 32:3 note. Either then or afterward, Hezekiah conducted the water of this spring by an underground channel down the Tyropoeon valley to a pool or reservoir (marginal reference). 31. in the business of the ambassadors who sent … to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, &c.—They brought a present (2Ch 32:23; see on [470]2Ki 20:12, 13), and a letter of congratulation on his recovery, in which particular enquiries were made about the miracle of the sun's retrocession—a natural phenomenon that could not fail to excite great interest and curiosity at Babylon, where astronomy was so much studied. At the same time, there is reason to believe that they proposed a defensive league against the Assyrians.

God left him, to try him, &c.—Hezekiah's offense was not so much in the display of his military stores and treasures, as in not giving to God the glory both of the miracle and of his recovery, and thus leading those heathen ambassadors to know Him.

God left him, to wit, to himself, and his own impotency and corruption. God withdrew from him those supplies and assistances of his Spirit which would certainly and effectually have kept him from that sin, and suffered Satan to tempt him, and him to fall into the sin of pride and ostentation.

That he might know; either,

1. That God might know it. So it is spoken of God after the manner of men; whereof we have had many instances. Or,

2. That Hezekiah might know that he had infirmities and sins as well as virtues; and therefore that the great mercies which he had received were not the effects of his own merits, as he might be prone to believe, but of God’s free grace. Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire the wonder that was done in the land,.... Not to see the two tables of stone which were in the ark, with the other two that were broken because of the sin of the calf, as the Targum; nor to ask about the destruction of the Assyrian army, and the manner of it, as Grotius; but to be informed of the miracle of the sun's going back ten degrees, when Hezekiah was recovered from his sickness; the Chaldeans being a people much given to astrology, and curious in their observations of that kind:

God left him to try him; by showing him all his treasures:

that he might know all that was in his heart; not that God might know, who knows all things, unless spoken of him after the manner of men; but rather that Hezekiah might know the pride lurking in his heart, and other sins which escaped his notice, Jeremiah 17:9 or that it might be known by others; that the children of men might know it, as Kimchi; and take warning by it, and observe the frailty and infirmity of the best of men.

Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to {u} try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

(u) Here we see the reason why the faithful are tempted, which is to determine whether they have faith or not, and that they may feel the presence of God who does not allow them to be overcome by temptations, but in their weakness administers strength.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. ambassadors] Lit. “interpreters.”

to inquire of the wonder] According to 2 Kings 20:12; Isaiah 39:1, the ostensible reason of the embassy was to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery. The real object was to gain over Judah to an alliance against Assyria, against which Babylon was in a chronic state of revolt.

to try him, that he might know, etc.] The phrase is based on Deuteronomy 8:2.Verse 31. - Howbeit; literally, and thus. The italic type dispensed with, the verse may be rendered, And thus with or among the ambassadors of the princes... God left him to, etc. The princes. This plural may be the pluralis excellentiae, and designate the king himself, who doubtless issued the official command to the messengers to visit Hezekiah with gifts, etc., but not necessarily so. The word may betray the inquiries and curiosity of the princes of Babylon, under the king, the expression of which led to the embassy, so to call it. "But Hezekiah rendered not according to the benefit unto him, for his heart was proud." In his sickness he had promised to walk in humility all his days (Isaiah 38:15): yet he became proud after his recovery; and his pride showed itself especially in his showing all his treasures to the Babylonian embassy, in idle trust in them and in the resources at his command (cf. 2 Kings 20:12-15; Isaiah 39:1-4). "And there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem," which participated in the king's sentiments (cf. 2 Chronicles 19:10; 1 Chronicles 27:24). Isaiah proclaimed this wrath to him in the prophecy that all the treasures of the king would be carried away to Babylon, and that some of his sons should become courtiers of the king of Babylon (2 Kings 20:16-18; Isaiah 39:5-7), to which we should perhaps also reckon the threatening prophecy in Micah 3:12.
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