2 Kings 19:4
It may be the LORD your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD your God has heard: why lift up your prayer for the remnant that are left.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) It may be.—The old commentator Clericus well remarks: “Non est dubitantis sed sperantis.”

And will reprove the words.—See Note on 2Kings 19:3. The LXX. and Vulg. read, “and to rebuke with the words which the Lord,” &c, but the Syriac and Targum agree with the Authorised Version as regards the construction.

Lift up.—Heavenwards (2Chronicles 32:2). Or we might compare the phrase “to lift up the voice” (Genesis 27:38), and render, “to utter” (Numbers 23:7.)

Thy prayer.A prayer.

The remnant that are left.The existing (or, present) remnant. Sennacherib had captured most of the strong cities of Judah, and “the daughter of Zion was left as a hut in a vineyard” (Isaiah 1:8). (Comp. Note on 2Chronicles 32:1.)

2 Kings 19:4. It may be, &c. — He speaks doubtfully, because he knew not whether God would not deliver them all up into the hands of the Assyrians, as he knew he and his people deserved. That the Lord thy God — To whom thou art dear and precious, and who will regard thy petitions: will hear all the words of Rab-shakeh — Will show by his actions that he hath heard them with just indignation. Hezekiah does not say our God, because God seemed to have forsaken and rejected them; and they, by their sins, had forfeited all their interest in him. And will reprove the words — Or rather, will reprove him for the words, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Chaldee render it. Wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant — For Judah, which is but a remnant, now the ten tribes are gone: for Jerusalem, which is but a remnant, now the defenced cities of Judah are taken.19:1-7 Hezekiah discovered deep concern at the dishonour done to God by Rabshakeh's blasphemy. Those who speak from God to us, we should in a particular manner desire to speak to God for us. The great Prophet is the great Intercessor. Those are likely to prevail with God, who lift up their hearts in prayer. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. While his servants can speak nothing but terror to the profane, the proud, and the hypocritical, they have comfortable words for the discouraged believer.Will hear - i. e., "will show that he has heard - will notice and punish."

The living God - See 1 Samuel 17:26 note.

And will reprove the words - Rather, "will reprove him for the words."

The remnant - i. e., for the kingdom of Judah, the only remnant of God's people that was now left, after Galilee and Gilead and Samaria had all been carried away captive.

4. the living God—"The living God" is a most significant expression taken in connection with the senseless deities that Rab-shakeh boasted were unable to resist his master's victorious arms. It may be; he speaks doubtfully, because he knew not whether God would not deliver them all up into the Assyrian’s hand, as he and his people deserved. But sometimes this is not a word of doubt, but of good hope; as Numbers 22:33 Joshua 14:12.

The Lord thy God, to whom thou art dear and precious. He saith not our God, because he seemed to have forsaken and rejected them; and they by their designs had forfeited all their interest in him.

Will hear, i.e. will show by his actions that he hath heard them with just indignation.

Will reprove the words, or rather, will reprove him (an ellipsis of the pronoun, which is frequent in the Hebrew tongue) for the words, as the Syria, and Arabic, and Chaldee render it.

Lift up thy prayer for the remnant: this he mentions as an argument to stir up Isaiah to pray, and to move God’s compassion towards them; that they were but a small remnant, either of God’s people, of whom ten tribes were now lost; or of the kingdom of Judah, which had been greatly wasted and depopulated in the days of Ahaz, and now lately by this Assyrian, 2 Kings 19:13. 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.

It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the {c} remnant that are left.

(c) Meaning, for Jerusalem which only remained of all the cities of Judah.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. It may be] The Hebrew word introduces expressions of uncertainty but yet of hope. Cf. Numbers 23:3 where Balaam says to Balak, ‘Peradventure the Lord will come and meet me’; and Joshua 14:12 where Caleb entreats for the possession of Hebron, in hope to drive out the Anakim, ‘If so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out’. Hezekiah is sending to the only source of hope.

and will reprove R.V. [rebuke] the words] The verb is cognate with the noun rendered ‘rebuke’ in the previous verse. The ground on which Hezekiah pleads that God should interpose is not that he and his people have deserved such mercy, but that in what they suffer God’s name and honour are blasphemed.

wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are [R.V. is] left] The cities round about had been for the most part reduced by Sennacherib’s army. The feeble remnant is Jerusalem and its people. For these Hezekiah entreats Isaiah to intercede. The king knew from the experience of his father’s reign how Isaiah had been chosen by God as His messenger. His prayer therefore he thinks will be of much efficacy. As to send to a mighty king by one who has near access to him is the surest way of making a want known, and obtaining relief.Verse 4. - It may be the Lord thy God - still "thy God," at any rate, if he will not condescend to be called ours, since we have so grievously offended him by our many sins and backslidings - will hear all the words of Rabshakeh. "The words of Rabshakeh" (Isaiah 37:4); but the expression here used is more emphatic. Hezekiah hoped that God would "hear" Rabshakeh's words, would note them, and punish them. Whom the King of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God (For the "reproaches" intended, see 2 Kings 18:30-35. For the expression, "the living God," ךאלחִים חַי, see Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; 1 Samuel 17:26; Psalm 42:2; Psalm 84:2; Hosea 1:10, etc.) A contrast is intended between the "living" God, and the dead idols whom Rabshakeh has placed on a par with him. And will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard. The "words of Rabshakeh," his contemptuous words concerning Jehovah (2 Kings 18:33-35) and his lying words (2 Kings 18:25), constituted the new feature in the situation, and, while a ground for "distress," were also a ground for hope: would not God in some signal way vindicate his own honor, and "reprove" them? Wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left. Sennacherib, in his former expedition, wherein he took forty-six of the Judaean cities, besides killing vast numbers, had, as he himself tells us ('Eponym Canon,' p. 134), carried off into captivity 200,150 persons. He had also curtailed Hezekiah's dominions, detaching from them various cities with their territories, and attaching them to Ashdod, Gaza, and Ekron (ibid., p. 135). Thus it was only a "remnant" of the Jewish people that was left in the land (comp. Isaiah 1:7-9). 2 Kings 18:35 contains the conclusion drawn from the facts already adduced: "which of all the gods of the lands are they who have delivered their land out of my hand, that Jehovah should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?" i.e., as not one of the gods of the lands named have been able to rescue his land from Assyria, Jehovah also will not be able to defend Jerusalem.
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