2 Kings 19:32
Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32-34) This may be, as Mr. Cheyne supposes, an after addition to the original prophecy. Isaiah may have spoken it a little later, in which case it was quite natural for an editor to append it here, as belonging to the same crisis. But it seems better to see here a return to the subject of the king of Assyria, after the parenthetic address to Hezekiah. The repetition of 2Kings 19:28 in 2Kings 19:33 favours this view.

(32) Into this city.—Or, unto this city. Sennacherib shall not come hither to make his intended attack.

Nor shoot an arrow there (at it).—In open assault.

Nor come before it with shield.—As a storming party advances to the walls under cover of their shields.

Nor cast a bank against it.—In regular siege. Comp. 2Samuel 20:15; Habakkuk 1:10). The incidents of warfare here specified may be seen represented on the Assyrian sculptures from Khorsâbad and elsewhere.

2 Kings 19:32. Thus saith the Lord, He shall not come to this city — The king of Assyria shall be so far from possessing himself of the city at this time, that he shall not shoot so much as an arrow into it, much less raise any bulwarks to besiege it. There is a gradation in the words, says Dr. Dodd, as is usual with Isaiah. The first declaration is, that Sennacherib, if he shall attempt to besiege the city, shall never be able to succeed; he shall not come into this city. The second is, that he shall not bring his army so near the city as to come before it with shields, wherewith to defend themselves from those on the wall, or raise a bank against it. The third, that he shall not even shoot an arrow into the city, which might be done from far. It seems the army sent with Rab-shakeh did not form a close siege against it, but only disposed themselves so as to block it up at some distance; possibly waiting till the king of Assyria had taken Libnah and Lachish, (which they presumed he would speedily do.)

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.Nor come before it with shield - The "shields" of the Assyrians are very conspicuous in the sculptures, and were of great importance in a siege, since the assailing archers were in most instances defended, as they shot their weapons, by a comrade, who held before himself and his friend a shield of an enormous size. It was made of a framework of wood, filled in with wattling, and perhaps lined with skin; it was rested upon the ground, and it generally curved backward toward the top; ordinarily it somewhat exceeded the height of a man. From the safe covert afforded by these large defenses the archers were able to take deliberate aim, and deliver their volleys with effect.

Nor cast a bank against it - "Mounds" or "banks" were among the most common of the means used by the Assyrians against a besieged town. They were thrown up against the walls, and consisted of loose earth, trees, brushwood, stones, and rubbish. Sometimes the surface of the mound was regularly paved with several layers of stone or brick, which formed a solid road or causeway capable of bearing a great weight. The intention was not so much to bring the mounds to a level with the top of the walls, as to carry them to such a height as should enable the battering-ram to work effectively. Walls were made very solid toward their base, for the purpose of resisting the ram; halfway up their structure was comparatively weak and slight. The engines of the assailants, rams and catapults, where therefore far more serviceable if they could attack the upper and weaker portion of the defenses; and it was to enable them to reach these portions that the "mounds" were raised.

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). Which was true, though he sent Rab-shakeh and others with a great host against Jerusalem, 2 Kings 18:17; either because that host went away with Rab-shakeh to Libnah, above, 2 Kings 19:8; or rather, because that army did not form a close siege against it, but only marched towards it, and disposed themselves so as to block it up at some distance; possibly waiting till the king of Assyria had taken Libnah and Lachish, (which they presumed he would speedily do,) and should come up with the rest of his forces, when they intended to fall more vigorously to their work.

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.

Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
32. Therefore] The LXX. makes the same error here with regard to the word ‘therefore’ as was noticed above on 2 Kings 1:3, and renders the Hebrew by οὐχ οὑτῶς. See former note.

He shall not come into [R.V. unto] this city] The R.V. renders the preposition correctly, and makes the same change in the next verse. We have no mention of Sennacherib’s personal approach nearer than Libnah. (See above verse 8.)

Nor [R.V. neither shall he] come] The change relieves the verse from the monotony of several clauses commencing in exactly the same way.

nor cast a bank [R.V. mount] against it] ‘Mount’ is the correct term for an embankment thrown up for the purposes of a siege, and occurs in the A.V. of Jeremiah 6:6; Jeremiah 32:24; Jeremiah 33:4; Ezekiel 4:2; Ezekiel 21:22.

Verse 32. - Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the King of Assyria. The oracle concludes with a general announcement, addressed to all whom it may concern, not to any one individually, concerning the existing distress. First, it is laid down what shall not be the issue. He - i.e. Sennacherib - shall not come into - rather, unto - this city - i.e. Jerusalem - nor shoot an arrow there - i.e., he shall not begin the attack, as was usually done, with discharges of arrows, to clear the walls of their defenders, and make it safe for the sappers and miners and the siege artillery to draw near - nor come before it with shield - i.e. advance close, to raise the scaling-ladders, or mine the walls, or fire the gates, under the protection of huge shields - nor east a bank against it. Much less shall he proceed to the last extremity of raising mounds against the walls, and planting upon them his balistae and his battering-rams, with the object of effecting a breach. Each of the successive stages of a siege is touched, and negatived. None of these things shall be done. There shall be no siege. (For representations of the Assyrian sieges, banks, and engines, see Layard, 'Monuments of Nineveh,' second series, plates 21, 31, 39, 43, etc.; and Rawlinson, 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. p. 303; vol. 2. p. 81.) 2 Kings 19:32The sign is followed in 2 Kings 19:30, 2 Kings 19:31 by the distinct promise of the deliverance of Judah and Jerusalem, for which Isaiah uses the sign itself as a type. "And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah will again strike roots downwards and bear fruit upwards; for from Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and that which is escaped from Mount Zion; the zeal of Jehovah will do this." שׁרשׁ יסף, to add roots, i.e., to strike fresh roots. The meaning is, that Judah will not succumb to this judgment. The remnant of the nation that has escaped from destruction by the Assyrians will once more grow and flourish vigorously; for from Jerusalem will a rescued remnant go forth. פּליטה denotes those who have escaped destruction by the judgment (cf. Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 10:20, etc.). The deliverance was attached to Jerusalem or to Mount Zion, not so much because the power of the Assyrians was to be destroyed before the gates of Jerusalem, as because of the greater importance which Jerusalem and Mount Zion, as the centre of the kingdom of God, the seat of the God-King, possessed in relation to the covenant-nation, so that, according to Isaiah 2:3, it was thence that the Messianic salvation was also to proceed. This deliverance is traced to the zeal of the Lord on behalf of His people and against His foes (see at Exodus 20:5), like the coming of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 to establish an everlasting kingdom of peace and righteousness. The deliverance of Judah out of the power of Asshur was a prelude and type of the deliverance of the people of God by the Messiah out of the power of all that was ungodly. The צבאות of Isaiah is omitted after יהוה, just as in 2 Kings 19:15; though here it is supplied by the Masora as Keri. - In 2 Kings 19:32-34 Isaiah concludes by announcing that Sennacherib will not come to Jerusalem, nor even shoot at the city and besiege it, but will return disappointed, because the Lord will defend and save the city for the sake of His promise. The result of the whole prophecy is introduced with לכן: therefore, because this is how the matter stands, viz., as explained in what precedes. אל־מלך, with regard to the king, as in 2 Kings 19:20. מגן יקדּמנּה לא, "he will not attack it with a shield," i.e., will not advance with shields to make an attack upon it. קדּם with a double accusative, as in Psalm 21:4. It only occurs here in a hostile sense: to come against, as in Psalm 18:19, i.e., to advance against a city, to storm it. The four clauses of the verse stand in a graduated relation to one another: not to take, not even to shoot at and attack, yea, not even to besiege the city, will he come. In 2 Kings 19:33 we have 2 Kings 19:28 taken up again, and 2 Kings 19:32 is repeated in 2 Kings 19:33 for the purpose of strengthening the promise. Instead of בּהּ יבוא we have in Isaiah בּהּ בּא: "by which he has come." The perfect is actually more exact, and the imperfect may be explained from the fact that Sennacherib was at that very time advancing against Jerusalem. In 2 Kings 19:34 we have אל גּנּותי instead of the על גּנּותי of Isaiah: על is more correct than אל. "For my sake," as Hezekiah had prayed in v. 19; and "for my servant David's sake," because Jehovah, as the unchangeably true One, must fulfil the promise which He gave to David (sees at 1 Kings 11:13).
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