Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)THE INVASION OF SENNACHERIB.
(13) In the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah.—The fall of Samaria is dated 722-721 B.C. , both by the Bible and by the Assyrian inscriptions. That year was the sixth of Hezekiah, according to 2Kings 18:10. His fourteenth year, therefore, would be 714-713 B.C. Sennacherib’s own monuments, however, fix the date of the expedition against Judah and Egypt at 701 B.C. (See the careful discussion in Schrader’s Keilinschriften, pp. 313-317.) This divergence is remarkable, and must not be explained away. It must be borne in mind that the Assyrian documents are strictly contemporary, whereas the Books of Kings were compiled long after the events they record, and have only reached us after innumerable transcriptions; while the former, so far as they are unbroken, are in exactly the same state now as when they first left the hands of the Assyrian scribes.
Sennacherib.—Called in his own annals Sin-ahî-erib, or Sin-ahî-erba, i.e., “Sin (the moon-god) multiplied brothers.” He was son and successor of Sargon, and reigned from 705-681 B.C. He invaded Judah in his third campaign.
All the fenced cities . . . took them.—See Sennacherib’s own words, quoted in the Note on 2Chronicles 32:1.2 Kings 18:13. Sennacherib king of Assyria — Who succeeded Shalmaneser, probably his son. He was encouraged to make this attempt against Judah by his predecessor’s success against Israel, whose honours he wished to emulate, and whose victories he would push forward. This invasion of Judah was a great calamity to that kingdom, by which God tried the faith of Hezekiah, and chastised the people, who are called a hypocritical nation, (Isaiah 10:6,) because they did not heartily concur with Hezekiah in effecting a reformation, nor willingly part with their idols; much less did they give up all their sins, and turn to God in true repentance. Against the fenced cities of Judah, and took them — That is, most of them: for that they were not all taken appears from 2 Kings 19:8. When he had made himself master of the frontier towns and garrisons, most of the others fell into his hands of course. By this success he was lifted up to his own greater and more shameful destruction, and an eminent occasion was afforded for the manifestation of God’s power and glory in that miraculous deliverance which he designed to effect for his people.
Sennacherib - This is the Greek form of the Sinakhirib of the inscriptions, the son of Sargon, and his immediate successor in the monarchy. The death of Sargon (705 B.C.) had been followed by a number of revolts. Hezekiah also rebelled, invaded Philistia, and helped the national party in that country to throw off the Assyrian yoke.
From Sennacherib's inscriptions we learn that, having reduced Phoenicia, recovered Ascalon, and defeated an army of Egyptians and Ethiopians at Ekron, he marched against Jerusalem.
The fenced cities - Sennacherib reckons the number taken by him at "forty-six." He seems to have captured on his way to the holy city a vast number of small towns and villages, whose inhabitants he carried off to the number of 200, 000. Compare Isaiah 24:1-12. The ground occupied by his main host outside the modern Damascus gate was thenceforth known to the Jews as "the camp of the Assyrians." Details connected with the siege may be gathered from Isaiah 22 and Chronicles (marginal reference "s"). After a while Hezekiah resolved on submission. Sennacherib 2 Kings 18:14 had left his army to continue the siege, and gone in person to Lachish. The Jewish monarch sent his embassy to that town.
all the fenced cities of Judah—not absolutely all of them; for, besides the capital, some strong fortresses held out against the invader (2Ki 18:17; 2Ki 19:8). The following account of Sennacherib's invasion of Judah and the remarkable destruction of his army, is repeated almost verbatim in 2Ch 32:1-33 and Isa 36:1-37:38. The expedition seems to have been directed against Egypt, the conquest of which was long a leading object of ambition with the Assyrian monarchs. But the invasion of Judah necessarily preceded, that country being the key to Egypt, the highway through which the conquerors from Upper Asia had to pass. Judah had also at this time formed a league of mutual defense with Egypt (2Ki 18:24). Moreover, it was now laid completely open by the transplantation of Israel to Assyria. Overrunning Palestine, Sennacherib laid siege to the fortress of Lachish, which lay seven Roman miles from Eleutheropolis, and therefore southwest of Jerusalem on the way to Egypt [Robinson]. Among the interesting illustrations of sacred history furnished by the recent Assyrian excavations, is a series of bas-reliefs, representing the siege of a town, which the inscription on the sculpture shows to be Lachish, and the figure of a king, whose name is given, on the same inscription, as Sennacherib. The legend, sculptured over the head of the king, runs thus: "Sennacherib, the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judgment before the city of Lachish [Lakhisha], I give permission for its slaughter" [Nineveh and Babylon]. This minute confirmation of the truth of the Bible narrative is given not only by the name Lachish, which is contained in the inscription, but from the physiognomy of the captives brought before the king, which is unmistakably Jewish.Sennacherib, the son or successor of Shalmaneser.
Come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them, i.e. against many of them; universal particles being frequently so used, both in Scripture and other authors; for that all were not taken appears from 2 Kings 19:8. And his success God gave him, partly, to lift him up to his own greater and more shameful destruction; partly, to humble and chastise his own people for their manifold sins, and afterwards to raise them up with more comfort and glory; and partly, to gain an eminent opportunity to advance his own honour and service by that miraculous deliverance which he designed for his people.
did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them; many of them, the frontier towns, and proceeded as far as Lachish; ambitious of enlarging his dominions, his father having subdued the kingdom of Israel, and being also provoked by Hezekiah's refusing to pay him tribute. Mention is made of this king by name, by Herodotus and other Heathen writers, see the note on Isaiah 36:1 in the Apocryha:"Now when Enemessar was dead, Sennacherib his son reigned in his stead; whose estate was troubled, that I could not go into Media.'' (Tobit 1:15)he is called Sennacherib, and is said to be son of Enemassat, that is, Shalmaneser; however, he succeeded him in his kingdom; though some (o) take him to be the same with Shalmaneser: he is said by Metasthenes (p) to reign seven years, and was succeeded by Assaradon, who, according to him, reigned ten years.Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13–16. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invades Judah. Hezekiah submits, and pays a large tribute (2 Chronicles 32:1; Isaiah 36:1)
13. Sennacherib king of Assyria] Sennacherib was the son of Sargon, but as it seems not the eldest, and only became heir to the throne in the year before his father’s death. He is said to have begun his reign b.c. 705 and to have been murdered in 681. The operations against Hezekiah seem to have been only part of a larger campaign, which appears to have been directed against those states which were in alliance with Egypt. For the Assyrian troops had gone beyond Jerusalem, and were at Lachish when Hezekiah sent in his submission. According to the inscriptions Sennacherib had overrun Phœnicia and advanced along the coast to attack the cities of the Philistines. We can see from 2 Kings 19:8-9 that the Egyptian power was advancing from the south, and eventually caused more pressure to be put on Jerusalem by the Assyrians that they might reduce it if possible, before aid arrived from Egypt. For we may be sure that Hezekiah in his attempt to shake himself free from Assyria had, like his neighbours, sought the friendship of the Egyptians.
all the fenced cities of Judah] These were subjugated first, that there might be no chance of help from them if it became necessary to assault the capital. With some cities of the Philistines already in his hands, it would be easy for Sennacherib to overrun Judæa and capture the less fortified places.Verses 13-16. - FIRST EXPEDITION OF SENNACHERIB AGAINST HEZEKIAH. The writer now, as is his manner, omitting as comparatively unimportant all Hezekiah's dealings with Sargon, which were without positive result, proceeds to give a brief account of Sennacherib's first expedition against him, and of its unfortunate, if not disgraceful, issue:
(1) the capture of all the important cities except Jerusalem;
(2) the submission of Hezekiah to any terms which Sennacherib chose to impose; and
(3) the purchase of peace by the payment of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold out of the treasures of the temple and of the royal palace. The narrative obtains copious illustration from the inscriptions of Sennacherib. Verse 13. - Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah did Sennacherib King of Assyria come up. It is impossible to accept this note of time as genuine without rejecting altogether the authority of the Assyrian inscriptions. Sargon took Samaria in his first year, B.C. 722, and then had a reign of between seventeen and eighteen years, for fifteen of which we have his annals. He certainly did not associate Sennacherib with him on the throne, nor did the latter exercise any authority at all until B.C. 705, when, "on the 12th of Ab (July), he the throne ascended" ('Eponym Canon,' p. 67). Sennacherib places his first expedition against Hezekiah in his fourth year, B.C. 701. Thus, according to the Assyrian records, which are very ample, and of which we have the actual originals, twenty years intervened between the capture of Samaria and the attack of Sennacherib on Hezekiah; according to the present passage, compared with vers. 9, 10, eight years only intervened. No contradiction can be more absolute. It has been proposed to alter the date from "the fourteenth year" to "the twenty-sixth year; ' but it seems most probable that the original writer inserted no date, but simply said, "And Sennacherib, King of Assyria, came up," etc., just as he had said, without a date, "Pul the King of Assyria came up against the land" (2 Kings 15:19); and "against him (Hoshea) came up Shalmaneser" (2 Kings 17:3); and, with a very vague date, if it may be called a date, "In the days of Pekah King of Israel came Tiglath-pileser King of Assyria" (2 Kings 15:29. Comp. also 2 Kings 24:1, 11). Later on, a redactor - perhaps the same who inserted the whole series of synchronisms - introduced the words, "In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah," having obtained the number from 2 Kings 20:6, which he assumed to belong to the time of Sennacherib's attack. Against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. Sennacherib himself says, "And of Hezekiah of Judah, who did not submit to my yoke, forty-six strong cities, fortresses, and smaller cities round about them without number, by the march of my troops... by the force of battering-rams, mining, and missiles, I besieged, I captured" ('Eponym Canon,' p. 134, lines 6-12. Comp. also 2 Chronicles 32:1 and Isaiah 36:1). 1 Kings 2:3), and even in his rebellion against the king of Assyria, whom he no longer served, i.e., to whom he paid no more tribute. It was through Ahaz that Judah had been brought into dependence upon Assyria; and Hezekiah released himself from this, by refusing to pay any more tribute, probably after the departure of Salmanasar from Palestine, and possibly not till after the death of that king. Sennacherib therefore made war upon Hezekiah to subjugate Judah to himself again (see 2 Kings 18:13.).
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