2 Kings 19:36
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelled at Nineveh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) Departed, and went.Broke up camp, and marched. There should be a stop at returned.

And dwelt at Nineveh.—Or, and he abode in Nineveh, implying that he did not again invade the west. Sennacherib records five subsequent expeditions to the east, north, and south of his dominions, but these obviously were nothing to the peoples of Palestine. (See Notes on 2Kings 20:12.)

Nineveh.—The capital of Assyria, now marked by large mounds on the east bank of the Tigris, opposite Mosul. (The Arabic version has “the king of Mosul,” instead of “the king of Assyria.”) It is usually called Ninua in the inscriptions; sometimes Ninâ, seldom Ninû (Greek, Nîvos.)

2 Kings 19:36. So Sennacherib departed — Ashamed to see himself, after all his proud boasts, thus defeated, and disabled to pursue his conquests, or even to secure what he had gained, the flower of his army being cut off; nay, and continually afraid of falling under the like stroke himself. The manner of the expression, He departed, and went, and returned, intimates the great disorder and distraction of mind he was in.19:35-37 That night which followed the sending of this message to Hezekiah, the main body of their army was slain. See how weak the mightiest men are before Almighty God. Who ever hardened himself against Him and prospered? The king of Assyria's own sons became his murderers. Those whose children are undutiful, ought to consider whether they have not been so to their Father in heaven? This history exhibits a strong proof of the good of firm trust and confidence in God. He will afflict, but not forsake his people. It is well when our troubles drive us to our knees. But does it not reprove our unbelief? How unwilling are we to rest on the declaration of Jehovah! How desirous to know in what way he will save us! How impatient when relief is delayed! But we must wait for the fulfilling of his word. Lord, help our unbelief.Dwelt at Nineveh - The meaning is not that Sennacherib made no more expeditions at all, which would he untrue, for his annals show us that he warred in Armenia, Babylonia, Susiana, and Cilicia, during his later years; but that he confined himself to his own part of Asia, and did not invade Palestine or threaten Jerusalem anymore. Nineveh, marked by some ruins opposite Mosul, appears here unmistakably as the Assyrian capital, which it became toward the close of the 9th century B.C. It has previously been mentioned only in Genesis (marginal reference). Sennacherib was the first king who made it his permanent residence. Its great size and large population are marked in the description of Jonah Jon 3:2-3; Jonah 4:11, whose visit probably fell about 760 B.C. 36. So Sennacherib king of Assyria … went and returned—the same way as he came (2Ki 19:33). The route is described (Isa 10:28-32). The early chariot track near Beyrout is on the rocky edge of Lebanon, which is skirted by the ancient Lycus (Nahr-el Kelb). On the perpendicular face of the limestone rock, at different heights, are seen slabs with Assyrian inscriptions, which having been deciphered, are found to contain the name of Sennacherib. Thus, by the preservation of these tablets, the wrath of the Assyrian invaders is made to praise the Lord.

dwelt at Nineveh—This statement implies a considerable period of time, and his Annals carry on his history at least five years after his disastrous campaign at Jerusalem. No record of his catastrophe can be found, as the Assyrian practice was to record victories alone. The sculptures give only the sunny side of the picture.

God spared

Sennacherib, not in mercy, but in wrath, reserving him to a more dreadful and shameful death by the hands of his own children. 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.

So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. and dwelt at Nineveh] Apparently, and very naturally, deterred from any of his grander schemes by the terrible calamity which had befallen him, Sennacherib went to his own capital. How long a time elapsed between this overthrow around Jerusalem and the death of the king, spoken of in the next verse, we have not sufficient data to decide. The canon of Ptolemy fixes the accession of Sennacherib in b.c. 702, his death in b.c. 680. These dates cannot be made to harmonize with the Scripture chronology.Verse 36. - So Sennacherib King of Assyria departed, and went and returned. The, original is more lively, and more expressive of haste. Sennacherib, it is said, "decamped, and departed, and returned" - the heaping up of the verbs expressing the hurry of the march home (Keil); comp. 1 Kings 19:3. And dwelt at Nineveh. Nineveh was Sennacherib's favorite residence. He had built himself a palace, there, marked by the modern mound of Koyunjik. Sargon, his father, had dwelt mainly at Dur-Sargina or Khorsabad, Tiglath-pileser and Shalmaueser at Calah or Nimrod. Sennacherib's palace and his ether buildings at Nineveh are described in his annals at some length (see 'Records of the Past,' vol. 1. pp. 50-52). The expression, "dwelt at Nineveh," does not mean that he never quitted it, but merely implies that he dwelt there for some considerable time after his return, as he appears to have done by his annals. The Eponym Canon makes his last year B.C. 682. The 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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