Listen not to Hezekiah: for thus said the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat you every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink you every one the waters of his cistern:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Make an agreement with me by a present.—Literally, make with me a blessing, i.e. (according to the Targum and Syriac), “make peace with me.” The phrase does not elsewhere occur. Perhaps it is grounded on the fact that the conclusion of peace was generally accompanied by mutual expressions of goodwill. (Gesenius says peace is a conception akin to blessing, weal.)
And then eat ye.—Omit then. The country-folk who had taken refuge in Jerusalem are invited to return to their farms, and dwell in peace, “until Sennacherib has brought his Egyptian campaign to a close; then, no doubt, they will be removed from their home, but a new home will be given them equal to the old” (Cheyne). We might, however, render, according to a well-known Hebrew idiom, so shall ye eat, every man of his own vine, &c., i.e., If ye surrender at once, no harm shall befall you; but ye shall enjoy your own land, until I remove you to a better. (Comp. 1Kings 5:5.) Thenius denies the reference to the Egyptian campaign, and makes Sennacherib pose as a father who wishes to make the necessary preparations for the reception of his dear children (!).
eat ... drink - A picture of a time of quiet and prosperity, a time when each man might enjoy the fruits of his land, without any fear of the spoiler's violence. The words are in contrast with the latter part of 2 Kings 18:27.
Cistern - Rather, "well" Deuteronomy 6:11. Each cultivator in Palestine has a "well" dug in some part of his ground, from which he draws water for his own use. "Cisterns," or reservoirs for rain-water, are comparatively rare.Make an agreement with me by a present, to redeem yourselves from all the calamities of a close siege, and that death which certainly will follow on them. Or, procure, or purchase a blessing from me, i.e. a blessed peace; whereby you may be delivered out of your distressed and cursed condition, and receive from me the blessings of protection and provision, which your king cannot give you.
Then eat ye every man of his own vine; upon these terms I will give you no disturbance, but quietly suffer each of you to enjoy his own possessions. 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. Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)31. Make an agreement with me by a present] R.V. make your peace with me. The noun is that which is often rendered ‘blessing’ in the sense of a ‘present’ (see note on 2 Kings 5:15 above). And there is no example in the Bible exactly parallel to this. But the cognate verb is used of salutations (e.g. 2 Kings 4:29), ‘If any man salute thee’, literally ‘bless thee’, ‘wish thee peace’. Hence it is not difficult to see how such a noun would come to have the sense of ‘peace’, exactly like shalôm, which is the more usual word in such salutations.
and come out to me] i.e. Open your gates and submit yourselves instead of staying within to die of starvation.
and then [R.V. omits then] eat ye every man [R.V. one] of his own vine] Cf. above 1 Kings 4:25 where the description applies to the most prosperous days of the reign of Solomon.
cistern] This was a pit or well dug for collecting water, not the sort of manufactured tank to which the name is now usually given.Verse 31. - Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the King of Assyria. Rabshakeh, before concluding, tries the effect of blandishments. The King of Assyria is no harsh lord, as he has been represented to them. He will be a kinder master than Hezekiah. Hezekiah condemns them to all the hardships of a siege; and then, if they survive it, to a wasted land, ruined homes, broken cisterns. Sennacherib, if they will but yield to him, promises them peace and prosperity, a time of quiet enjoyment in their own land, and then removal to another equally good, where they will "live and not die," be happy and not miserable. It will be observed that none but material inducements are held out to them. They are expected to barter freedom, independence, religious privileges, country, home, for the sake of creature comforts - for ease, quiet, and security. Setting aside the question whether they could count on the performance of the promises made them, it will be felt that they did well not to be tempted. Better vigorous national life, with any amount of hardship, struggle, and suffering, than the gilded chains of the most peaceful servitude. Make an agreement with me by a present - rather, make peace with me, or "make terms with me" (Knobel, Thenius, Keil, Bahr); in other words, give in your submission - and come out to me; i.e. quit the town, surrender it (see 1 Samuel 11:3; Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 38:17), place yourselves at my mercy, "and then" see what great things I will do for you." The tone, as Bahr says, is one of "wheedling" and cajolement. And then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree. Proverbial expressions for a peaceful, happy time (see 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10), when there are no inroads, no ravages, no disturbances. Rabshakeh promises, in the name of Sennacherib, that they shall rest in their own land for a term - an indefinite term - in a blissful state of peace and quietness before any new resolution is taken about them. And drink ye every one the waters of his cistern; rather, of his well (בר). Every man who had a field or a vineyard was sure to have a well in it. Cisterns for the storage of rain-water were comparatively uncommon.
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