And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Kings 20:16. Isaiah said, Hear the word of the Lord — Hear what his judgment is of this, and how wide his thoughts are from thy thoughts! Thou wast transported when the messengers of the king of Babylon arrived; to thy eye it appeared the most favourable conjuncture that could have happened to thee; thou madest a parade of all thy riches, and of thy armoury, to induce them to enter into an alliance with thee against the king of Assyria. Thou thoughtest if thou couldest secure their friendship and alliance, thou wouldest be safe; even safer than in putting thy trust in the Lord God of Israel. But hear the word of the Lord; see the foolishness of thy thoughts: This very nation, in whom thou thinkest to find security, is the nation that shall take away all these treasures, and carry away thy sons into captivity.
Babylon now for the first time became revealed to the Jews as an actual power in the world, which might effect them politically. As yet even the prophets had spoken but little of the great southern city; up to this time she had been little more to them than Tyre, or Tarshish, or any other rich and powerful idolatrous city. Henceforth, all this was wholly changed. The prophetic utterance of Isaiah on this occasion 2 Kings 20:16-18 never was, never could be, forgotten. He followed it up with a burst of prophecy Isaiah 40-66, in which Babylon usurps altogether the place of Assyria as Israel's enemy, and the captivity being assumed as a matter of certainty, the hopes of the people are directed onward beyond it to the Return. Other prophets took up the strain and repeated it Habakkuk 1:6-11; Habakkuk 2:5-8; Micah 4:10. Babylon thus became henceforth, in lieu of Assyria, the great object of the nation's fear and hatred.Isaiah 39:1, so here in the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions; See Gill on Isaiah 39:1; and by Metasthenes (z) his father is called Merodach, and he Ben Merodach, who reigned twenty one years, and his father fifty two; from hence to the end of 2 Kings 20:12 the same account is given in the same words as in Isaiah 39:1 throughout, except in 2 Kings 20:13, where it is, "hearkened unto them", and there, "glad of them"; heard the letter the ambassadors brought with pleasure; see the notes there. See Gill on Isaiah 39:1 and following. And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 16. - And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord. This is a phrase of warning very common in the mouth of the prophets, when they are about to deliver a rebuke or solemn condemnation (comp. 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18; Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 28:14; Jeremiah 7:2; Jeremiah 9:20; Jeremiah 10:1; Jeremiah 19:3, etc.; Ezekiel 15:35; 34:9; Hosea 4:1; Amos 3:1, etc.).
(Note: Hitzig and Knobel would therefore read הלך, though without furnishing any proofs that the inf. abs. is used for the future in the first clause of a double question, especially if the ה interrog. is wanting, and there is no special emphasis upon the verbal idea.)
According to this answer, "it is easy for the shadow to decline (i.e., to go farther down) ten degrees; no (sc., that shall not be a sign to me), but if the shadow turn ten degrees backwards," Isaiah seems to have given the king a choice as to the sign, namely, whether the shadow should go ten degrees forward or backward. But this does not necessarily follow from the words quoted. Hezekiah may have understood the prophet's words וגו הצּל הלך hypothetically: "has the shadow gone (advanced) ten degrees, whether it should," etc.; and may have replied, the advance of the shadow would not be a sure sign to him, but only its going back.
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