2 Kings 19:25
Have you not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that you should be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Hast thou not heard . . .?Hast thou not heard? In the far past it I made; in the days of yore did I fashion it; now have I brought it to pass. The “it”—the thing long since foreordained by Jehovah—is defined by the words: “that thou shouldest be to lay waste,” &c. (Comp. Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 46:10-11; Isaiah 10:5-15.)

2 Kings 19:25. Hast thou not heard long ago, &c. — Hast thou not long since learned that which some of thy philosophers could have taught thee; that there is a supreme and powerful God, by whose decree and providence all these wars and calamities are sent and ordered; whose mere instrument thou art; so that thou hast no cause for these vain boastings? This work is mine, not thine. I have done it, &c. — I have so disposed of things by my providence, that thou shouldest be a great and victorious prince, and that thou shouldest be so successful as thou hast hitherto been, first against the kingdom of Israel, and now against Judah. Thus God answers the boastings of this proud prince, and shows him that all his counsel and power are nothing; since these events wholly depended on a superior cause; namely, on God’s sovereign decree and overruling providence, whereof he had made this Assyrian the instrument in his almighty hand.19:20-34 All Sennacherib's motions were under the Divine cognizance. God himself undertakes to defend the city; and that person, that place, cannot but be safe, which he undertakes to protect. The invasion of the Assyrians probably had prevented the land from being sown that year. The next is supposed to have been the sabbatical year, but the Lord engaged that the produce of the land should be sufficient for their support during those two years. As the performance of this promise was to be after the destruction of Sennacherib's army, it was a sign to Hezekiah's faith, assuring him of that present deliverance, as an earnest of the Lord's future care of the kingdom of Judah. This the Lord would perform, not for their righteousness, but his own glory. May our hearts be as good ground, that his word may strike root therein, and bring forth fruit in our lives.Hast thou not heard long ago ... - Rather, "Hast thou not heard, that from long ago I did this, from ancient times I fashioned it? etc." The former part of the verse refers to the secret divine decrees, whereby the affairs of this world are determined and ordered from the very beginning of things. Sennacherib's boasting, however, proved that he did not know this, that he did not recognize himself simply as God's instrument - "the rod of His anger" Isaiah 10:5 - but regarded his victories as gained by his own "strength and wisdom" Isaiah 10:13. 20. Then Isaiah … sent—A revelation having been made to Isaiah, the prophet announced to the king that his prayer was heard. The prophetic message consisted of three different portions:—First, Sennacherib is apostrophized (2Ki 19:21-28) in a highly poetical strain, admirably descriptive of the turgid vanity, haughty pretensions, and presumptuous impiety of the Assyrian despot. Secondly, Hezekiah is addressed (2Ki 19:29-31), and a sign is given him of the promised deliverance—namely, that for two years the presence of the enemy would interrupt the peaceful pursuits of husbandry, but in the third year the people would be in circumstances to till their fields and vineyards and reap the fruits as formerly. Thirdly, the issue of Sennacherib's invasion is announced (2Ki 19:32-34). Hast thou not long since learned that which some of thy philosophers could and did teach thee, that there is a supreme and powerful God, by whose decree and providence all these wars and calamities were sent and ordered, whose mere instrument thou art, so that thou hast no cause for these vain boastings? This work is mine, more than thine. Or, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, Hast thou not heard that (a particle oft understood) I have made (i.e. constituted, or purchased, or adorned, for all these ways is this Hebrew verb used) it (either Jerusalem, which he now threatened; or rather, the Jewish nation, which he endeavoured to root out; the relative pronoun being put without the antecedent, which is to be gathered out of the context; of which I have formerly given instances) long ago, and formed it

of ancient times? i.e. didst thou not hear what I did for this people many ages since, that I carried them out of Egypt in spite of Pharaoh and all his host; and through the Red Sea, where I overthrew the Egyptians; and through the vast howling wilderness; and then brought them into this land by a strong hand, by which I destroyed all their enemies, and planted them in their stead? By which thou mayest understand how dear this people are to me, and how easily I could destroy thee before them, if I saw it fit; and that the places which thou hast taken, and the conquest which thou hast made here, are not to be imputed to thy valour or numbers, but unto my providence, who for wise and just reasons have given them up into thy hands, as it here follows. This may seem to be the truest sense, because that barbarous prince and people were much more likely to hear the tidings of what God did for the Israelites in Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in Canaan, the fame of which was spread in all those parts, than to hear of or be instructed in the doctrine of God’s particular providence in the government of several nations, and all their counsels and actions of state and war. For though the Assyrian was indeed the rod in God’s hand, &c., Isaiah 10:5, yet he did not so understand it, nor was God in all his thoughts; but he minded only the enlargement of his own empire by the destruction of other kingdoms, as it there follows, 2 Kings 19:7,13-15.

Now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps: this translation seems better to agree both with the foregoing branch of this verse, and with the following verse, than the other interrogative translation in the margin; and the plain sense seems to be this: Great things I have done for this people, which thou canst not be ignorant of; but now I have changed my course towards them, resolved to punish them severely for their sins; and therefore now I have brought it to pass, i.e. I have so disposed of things by my providence, that thou shouldst be a great and victorious prince, and that thou shouldst employ thy forces against them to do my work upon them, that thou shouldst be (to wit, a person raised up and fitted and strengthened for this very purpose) to lay waste fenced cities (and to turn them) into ruinous heaps, i.e. that thou shouldst be so successful as thou hast hitherto been, first against the kingdom of Israel, and now against Judah. And it came to pass, when King Hezekiah heard it,.... The report of Rabshakeh's speech, recorded in the preceding chapter:

that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth; rent his clothes because of the blasphemy in the speech; and he put on sackcloth, in token of mourning, for the calamities he feared were coming on him and his people: and he went into the house of the Lord; the temple, to pray unto him. The message he sent to Isaiah, with his answer, and the threatening letter of the king of Assyria, Hezekiah's prayer upon it, and the encouraging answer he had from the Lord, with the account of the destruction of the Assyrian army, and the death of Sennacherib, are the same "verbatim" as in Isaiah 37:1 throughout; and therefore the reader is referred thither for the exposition of them; only would add what Rauwolff (t) observes, that still to this day (1575) there are two great holes to be seen, wherein they flung the dead bodies (of the Assyrian army), one whereof is close by the road towards Bethlehem, the other towards the right hand against old Bethel.

(t) Travels, par. 3. ch. 22. p. 317.

Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? {q} now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.

(q) He declares that as he is the author and beginning of his Church, he will never allow it to be completely destroyed, as other cities and kingdoms.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. This verse and the three following contain Jehovah’s response to Sennacherib. The boaster is told that in all he has done he has been but God’s instrument, and that the events in which he has played that part had been ordained by the divine counsels long before.

Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it] The R.V. puts ‘long ago’ at the end of this clause. The fame of God’s protection and leading of Israel might be expected to have penetrated to other nations. From their history the heathen might have learnt that the people of the world are under the rule of the Lord, and that their destinies are ordered by Him.

And of ancient times that I have formed it] R.V. and formed it of ancient times. The LXX. represents the two first clauses of this verse merely by ἔπλασα αὐτήν, συνήγαγον αὐτήν.

Now have I brought it to pass] It was ordained long ago, and now I have permitted it to become a fact. With the whole of these four verses may be compared the Lord’s address to the Assyrian (Isaiah 10:9-19). There that nation is described as the ‘rod of God’s anger’. It is God that sends him and gives him his charge to take spoil and prey. But hereafter the Lord will punish him also, and the glory of his high looks. For another rendering of this sentence see margin of A.V.Verse 25. - Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it? The strain suddenly changes - the person of the speaker is altered. It is no longer Sennacherib who reveals the thoughts of his own heart, but Jehovah who addresses the proud monarch. "Hast thou not heard, how from long ago I have acted thus? Hast thou never been taught that revolutions, conquests, the rise and fall of nations, are God's doing, decreed by him long, long age - ay, from the creation of the world? Art thou not aware that this is so, either from tradition, or by listening to the voice of reason within thine own heart?" It is implied that such knowledge ought to he in the possession of every man. And of ancient times that I have formed it? A rhetorical repetition of the previous question, needful for the balance of clauses, in which Hebrew poetry delights, but adding nothing to the sense. Now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps. The idea was very familiar to Isaiah and his contemporaries. Years before, when Assyria first became threatening, Isaiah, speaking in the person of Jehovah, had exclaimed, "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets" (Isaiah 10:5, 6). But the heathen kings whom God made his instruments to chasten sinful nations imagined that they conquered and destroyed and laid waste by their own strength (see Isaiah 10:7-14). After the challenge, to observe the blasphemies of Sennacherib, Hezekiah mentions the fact that the Assyrians have really devastated all lands, and therefore that it is not without ground that they boast of their mighty power; but he finds the explanation of this in the impotence and nothingness of the gods of the heathen. אמנם, truly, indeed - the kings of Asshur have devastated the nations and their land. Instead of this we find in Isaiah: "they have devastated all lands and their (own) land" - which is evidently the more difficult and also the more original reading, and has been altered in our account, because the thought that the Assyrians had devastated their own land by making war upon other lands, that is to say, had depopulated it and thereby laid it waste, was not easy to understand. "And have cast their gods into the fire, for they are not gods, but works of human hands, wood and stone, and have thus destroyed them." Hezekiah does not mention this as a sign of the recklessness of the Assyrians (Knobel), but, because Sennacherib had boasted that the gods of no nation had been able to resist him (vv. 12, 13), to put this fact in the right light, and attach thereto the prayer that Jehovah, by granting deliverance, would make known to all the kingdoms of the earth that He alone was God. Instead of ונתנוּ we have in Isaiah ונתון, the inf. absol.; in this connection the more difficult and more genuine reading. This also applies to the omission of אלהים (2 Kings 19:19) in Isaiah 37:20, since the use of Jehovah as a predicate, "that Thou alone art Jehovah," is very rare, and has therefore been misunderstood even by Gesenius. By the introduction of Elohim, the thought "that Thou Jehovah art God alone" is simplified.
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