2 Kings 18:18
And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
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(18) And when they had called to the king.—They demanded a parley with Hezekiah himself. The king sent out his chief ministers; as to whom see 1Kings 4:1-4. For Eliakim and Shebna see further, Isaiah 22:15; Isaiah 22:20 seq.

2 Kings 18:18. When they had called to the king — That is, had sent a message to him to come and treat with them; there went out to him Eliakim, &c. — Of whom see Isaiah 22:15; Isaiah 22:20.

18:17-37 Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is, therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiah's nobles held their peace. There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and fervent prayer.When they had called to the king - The ambassadors summoned Hezekiah, as if their rank were equal to his. Careful of his dignity, he responds by sending officers of his court.

Eliakim ... which was over the household - Eliakim had been promoted to fill the place of Shebna Isaiah 22:20-22. He was a man of very high character. The comptroller of the household, whose position 1 Kings 4:6 must have been a subordinate one in the time of Solomon, appears to have now become the chief minister of the crown. On the "scribe" or secretary, and the "recorder," see the 1 Kings 4:3 note.

18. when they had called to the king—Hezekiah did not make a personal appearance, but commissioned his three principal ministers to meet the Assyrian deputies at a conference outside the city walls.

Eliakim—lately promoted to be master of the royal household (Isa 22:20).

Shebna—removed for his pride and presumption (Isa 22:15) from that office, though still royal secretary.

Joah … the recorder—that is, the keeper of the chronicles, an important office in Eastern countries.

When they had called the king i.e. sent a message to him to come or send to treat with them.

Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; of whom see Isaiah 22:20, &c.

Over the household, Heb. over the house; either of God; or rather, of the king here mentioned; as appears from Isa 22.

Shebna the scribe; so called to distinguish him from an other Shebna who was over the house, Isaiah 22:15.

And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem,.... Notwithstanding he took the above large sum of money of him, so false and deceitful was he: these were three generals of his army, whom he sent to besiege Jerusalem, while he continued the siege of Lachish; only Rabshakeh is mentioned in Isaiah 36:2 he being perhaps chief general, and the principal speaker; whose speech, to the end of this chapter, intended to intimidate Hezekiah, and dishearten his people, with some circumstances which attended it, are recorded word for word in Isaiah 36:1 throughout; See Gill on Isaiah 36:1 and notes on that chapter. And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
18. And when they had called to the king] i.e. Had made it known in some way to the warders that they had a message for the king.

Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household] This is the man who is spoken of in such terms of praise by Isaiah (2 Kings 22:20-20). There God, by His prophet, calls him ‘my servant Eliakim’ and declares that ‘he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah’ and that ‘the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder’. The security of all things in his time is used by the prophet to prefigure a period of great blessing and peace. The office he held was a very dignified one, the highest under the king. It was held by Ahishar in Solomon’s days (1 Kings 4:6) and by Azrikam in the days of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:7), and the Hebrew word there employed to describe it (nagid) is one used of great rulers and princes, and marks the high position of the holder.

and Shebna [R.V. Shebnah] the scribe] The orthography of the name is varied in this chapter. In verse 37 it is written Shebna, but here and in 26 ‘Shebnah’. The R.V. in each case follows the Hebrew. This Shebnah had originally held the office which was at this time Eliakim’s (Isaiah 22:15-19) but had been put down because of his luxury and also because he was a favourer of the alliance with Egypt. This latter policy was always opposed by the prophets, and it was perhaps by Isaiah’s influence that Shebnah had been reduced to the lower post of royal secretary.

Joah the son of Asaph the recorder] Joah is only mentioned in this narrative and the parallel chapter in Isaiah. His office was that of ‘chronicler’, so that he was a necessary member of the deputation sent to confer with the Assyrian envoys. Thus a faithful statement would be put on record of all that took place.

Verse 18. - And when they had called to the king - i.e., when they had announced that they had a message to deliver to the king - there came out to them; by Hezekiah's order, doubtless. Learning that they were three of Sennacherib's highest officials, he sent out to them three of the chief officers of his own court. Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household. Recently promoted to that high position, instead of Shebna, according to the prophecy (Isaiah 22:19-22), and perhaps by the influence of Isaiah. And Shebna the scribe; or, secretary - the official employed to draw up documents, such as treaties, protocols, despatches, and the like. He had been removed to this inferior position, to make room for Eliakim, but had not yet suffered, the banishment with which Isaiah (Isaiah 22:18) had threatened him. And Joah the son of Asaph the recorder; or, remembrancer - the person whose chief duty it probably was to chronicle events as they occurred, and finally to draw up the memoir of each reign at its close. (For another view, see the comment on 1 Kings 4:3.) 2 Kings 18:18Hezekiah considered it beneath his dignity to negotiate personally with the generals of Sennacherib. He sent three of his leading ministers out to the front of the city: Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, the captain of the castle, who had only received the appointment to this office a short time before in Shebna's place (Isaiah 22:20-21); Shebna, who was still secretary of state (ספר: see at 2 Samuel 8:17); and Joach the son of Asaph, the chancellor (מזכּיר: see at 2 Samuel 8:16).

Rabshakeh made a speech to these three (2 Kings 18:19-25), in which he tried to show that Hezekiah's confidence that he would be able to resist the might of the king of Assyria was perfectly vain, since neither Egypt (2 Kings 18:21), nor his God (2 Kings 18:22), nor his forces (2 Kings 18:23), would be able to defend him.

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