So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)So Rab-shakeh returned.—This takes up the narrative from 2Kings 18:37. It is not said, but is probably to be understood, that Tartan and Rabsaris and the “great host” (2Kings 18:17) departed with him, having been foiled of their purpose.
Libnah.—See Note on 2Kings 8:22. The great King had taken Lachish. (See Note on 2Chronicles 32:9.) Its position is not yet determined. Schrader thinks it may be Tell-es-Sâfieh, west of Lachish, and north north-west of Eleutheropolis; in which case Sennacherib had already begun his retreat.2 Kings 19:8. Rab-shakeh returned — To the king, to give him an account of what had been done, and to receive further orders; leaving behind him the army under the other commanders, mentioned 2 Kings 18:17. For it seems most probable, from the other threatening message here following, that the siege was not raised. He was departed from Lachish — Not being able to take it.Joshua 10:3, note; Joshua 10:29, note. The phrase, "he was departed from Lachish" is suggestive of successful resistance.
8. So Rab-shakeh … found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah—Whether Lachish had fallen or not, is not said. But Sennacherib had transferred his battering-rams against the apparently neighboring fortress of Libnah (Jos 10:29; compare Jos 10:31; 15:42), where the chief-cup-bearer reported the execution of his mission.Rab-shakeh returned to the king, to give him an account of the treaty, and to advise with him what was further to be done; leaving behind him the army under the other commanders, mentioned 2 Kings 18:17, as is most probable from the other threatening message here following; which would have been very unsuitable, if his siege had been raised.
He was departed from Lachish; not being able to take it.
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.So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8–13. Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:17; Isaiah 37:8-13)
8. So Rab-shakeh returned] i.e. Southward, towards Lachish, but during his absence Sennacherib had undertaken to attack Libnah, and there Rab-shakeh found him.
Libnah] See above on 2 Kings 8:22. Libnah was almost in a direct line eastward from Lachish.Verse 8. - So Rabshakeh returned. Rabshakeh's embassy came to an end with the retirement of Hezekiah's officers from their conference with the three envoys of Sennacherib. No further communication was held with him. He had outraged all propriety by his appeal to the "men upon the wall" (2 Kings 18:27-35); and it seems to have been thought most dignified to give him no answer at all. He had offered no terms - he had simply delivered a summons to surrender, and the closed gates and guarded walls were a sufficient reply. So he felt, and returned to his master, re infecta. And found the King of Assyria warring against Libnah. The position of Libnah relatively to Lachish is uncertain. The site of Lachish may be regarded as fixed to Um-Lakis; but that of Libnah rests wholly on conjecture. It has been placed at Tel-es-Safieh, twelve miles northeast of Um-Lakis; at Arak-el-Menshiyeh, about five miles nearly due east of the same; and near Umm-el-Bikar, four miles south-east of Um-Lakis. A removal from Um-Lakis to Tel-el-Safieh would mean a retreat. A march from Um-Lakis to either of the other sites would he quite compatible with an intention to push on to Egypt. For he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. Whether Lachish had been taken or not cannot be determined from these words. But we can scarcely suppose that a place of such slight strength can have defied the Assyrian arms successfully. It is beat therefore to suppose, with Keil and Thenius, that Lachish had been taken. 2 Kings 19:4), put on mourning clothes as a sign of the trouble of his soul and went into the temple, and at the same time sent Eliakim and Shebna with the oldest of the priests in mourning costume to the prophet Isaiah, to entreat him to intercede with the Lord in these desperate circumstances.
(Note: "But the most wise king did not meet his blasphemies with weapons, but with prayer, and tears, and sackcloth, and entreated the prophet Isaiah to be his ambassador." - Theodoret.)
The order of the words: Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, is unusual (cf. 2 Kings 14:25; 2 Kings 20:1; 1 Kings 16:7, etc.), and is therefore altered in Isaiah into Isaiah the son of Amoz, the prophet.
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