Isaiah 36:10
And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
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(10) Am I now come up without the Lord . . .—The words may be simply an empty boast. Possibly, however, Isaiah’s teaching that it was Jehovah who brought the King of Assyria into Judah, and used him as an instrument (Isaiah 7:17-18), had become known, or Sennacherib may have dreamt, or have said that he had dreamt, that the God of Judah, irritated with the destruction of the high places, had given him this mission. He assumes the character of a defender of the faith. The inscriptions of Sennacherib are, it may be noted, conspicuous for like assertions. He delights, apparently, to claim a Divine sanction for the wars in which he is engaged (Records of the Past, i. 25, 9:23).

36:1-22:See 2Ki 18:17-37, and the commentary thereon.And am I now come up without the Lord - Am I come up without his permission or command? Rabshakeh here speaks in the name of his master; and he means to say that he had the express command of Yahweh to inflict punishment on the Jews. It is possible that there had been conveyed to Sennacherib a rumour of what Isaiah had said (see Isaiah 10:5-6) that God would bring the Assyrians upon the Jewish people to punish them for their sins, and that Rabshakeh now pleads that as his authority, in order to show them that resistance would be vain. Or it may be that he uses the name Yahweh here as synonymous with the name of God, and means to say that he had been divinely directed to come up in that expedition. All the ancient warriors usually consulted the gods, and endeavored by auguries to obtain the divine approbation of their plans of conquest, and Rabshakeh may mean simply to say that his master came now under the divine sanction and direction. Or, which is more probable, he made use of this as a mere pretence for the purpose of influencing the people who heard him, and to whom he said he was sent Isaiah 36:12, in order to alienate their minds from Hezekiah, and to induce them to surrender. He knew that it was one of the principles of the Jews, however little they regarded it in practice, to yield to his authority. Wicked people will be glad to plead divine authority for their purposes and plans when they can have the slightest pretence for it. 10. A boastful inference from the past successes of Assyria, designed to influence the Jews to surrender; their own principles bound them to yield to Jehovah's will. He may have heard from partisans in Judah what Isaiah had foretold (Isa 10:5, 6). No text from Poole on this verse. And am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it?.... He would insinuate that he had a commission from the Lord God, and that it was by his will and order that he came up to destroy the land; which he said to intimidate Hezekiah and his subjects, as knowing that nothing was more likely to do it than that so far it was true, that he did not come up without the knowledge of the Lord, nor without his will to chastise, but not to destroy, as the event showed:

the Lord said unto me: by the impulse of his Spirit, or by one of his prophets, as he would suggest:

go up against this land, and destroy it; which was a lie of his own making; he knew that the Lord had said no such thing to him, nor had sent him on such an errand; unless he concluded it from his success in taking the fenced cities of Judah, and from Samaria, and the ten tribes, being delivered up in time past into the hands of the king of Assyria, and so was confident this would be the fate of Judah and Jerusalem.

And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said to me, {i} Go up against this land, and destroy it.

(i) Thus the wicked to deceive us, will pretend the Name of the Lord: but we must try the spirits, whether they are of God or not.

10. That the Assyrian should represent himself as commissioned by Jehovah to avenge the desecration of his sanctuaries is not by any means incredible. A precisely similar sentiment is put into the mouth of Cyrus in his account of the conquest of Babylon. It expresses no serious religious conviction (see Isaiah 36:20); and the resemblance to Isaiah’s teaching (ch. Isaiah 10:5 ff.) is either accidental, or is due to a Jewish colouring unconsciously imparted to the narrative by the writer.

For this land, in the first half of the verse, we read in 2 Kings 18:25 “this place,” i.e. Jerusalem.Verse 10. - The Lord said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it; literally, Jehovah said unto me, Go up, etc. (camp. 2 Chronicles 35:21, where Necho tells Josiah that "God commanded" his expedition against Carchemish). The heathen monarchs frequently represented themselves as directed to make war on a nation by God, or by some particular god. Piankhi Mer-amman says, "I am born of the loins. created from the egg, of the Deity... I have not acted without his knowing; he ordained that I should act" ('Records of the Past,' vol. 2. p. 91). Mesha, King of Moab, declares, "Chemosh said to me, Go and take Nebo [in war] against Israel" (ibid., vol. 11. p. 166). Asshur is generally represented as commanding the expeditions of the Assyrian kings (ibid., vol. 1. pp. 21, 48, 60, etc.). Still, it is surprising that Sennacherib should mention "Jehovah" as the God from whom he had received the order to attack Hezekiah, and we may suspect that the term which he actually employed was Ilu, "God," and that either Rahshakeh, or the reporter of the speech, substituted "Jehovah" as more intelligible to the Jews. Hezekiah's confidential ministers go there also. Isaiah 36:3 (K. "And they called to the king), and there went out to him (K. to them) Eliakim son of Hilkiyahu, the house-minister, and Shebna the chancellor, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder." On the office of the house-minister, or major-domo, which was now filled by Eliakim instead of Shebna (שׁבנא, K. twice שׁבנה), see Isaiah 22:15.; and on that of sōphēr and mazkı̄r. Rabshakeh's message follows in Isaiah 36:4-10 : "And Rabshakeh said to them, Say now to Hizkiyahu, Thus saith the great king, the king of Asshur, What sort of confidence is this that thou hast got? I say (K. thou sayest, i.e., thou talkest), vain talk is counsel and strength for war: now, then, in whom dost thou trust, that thou hast rebelled against me? (K. Now) Behold, thou trustest (K. לּך) in this broken reed-staff there, in Egypt, on which one leans, and it runs into his hand and pierces it; so does Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. But if thou sayest to me (K. ye say), We trust in Jehovah our God; is it not He whose high places and altars Hizkiyahu has removed, and has said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before the altar (K. ads, in Jerusalem)? And now take a wager with my lord (K. with) the king of Asshur; I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou art able for thy part to give horsemen upon them. And how couldst thou repel the advance of a single satrap among the least of the servants of my lord?! Thou puttest thy trust then in Egypt for chariots and riders! And (omitted in K.) now have I come up without Jehovah against this land to destroy it (K. against this place, to destroy it)? Jehovah said to me, Go up to (K. against) this land, and destroy it." The chronicler has a portion of this address of Rabshakeh in 2 Chronicles 32:10-12. And just as the prophetic words in the book of Kings have a Deuteronomic sound, and those in the Chronicles the ring of a chronicle, so do Rabshakeh's words, and those which follow, sound like the words of Isaiah himself. "The great king" is the standing royal title appended to the names of Sargon and Sennacherib upon the Assyrian monuments (compare Isaiah 10:8). Hezekiah is not thought worthy of the title of king, ether here or afterwards. The reading אמרתּ in Isaiah 36:5 (thou speakest vain talk) is not the preferable one, because in that case we should expect דּבּרתּ, or rather (according to the usual style) אך דּבּרתּ. The meaning is, that he must look upon Hezekiah's resolution, and his strength (וּגבוּרה עצה connected as in Isaiah 11:2) for going to war, as mere boasting ("lip-words," as in Proverbs 14:23), and must therefore assume that there was something in the background of which he was well aware. And this must be Egypt, which would not only be of no real help to its ally, but would rather do him harm by leaving him in the lurch. The figure of a reed-staff has been borrowed by Ezekiel in Isaiah 29:6-7. It was a very appropriate one for Egypt, with its abundance of reeds and rushes (Isaiah 19:6), and it has Isaiah's peculiar ring (for the expression itself, compare Isaiah 42:3; and for the fact itself, Isaiah 30:5, and other passages). רצוּץ does not mean fragile (Luzz. quella fragil canna), but broken, namely, in consequence of the loss of the throne by the native royal family, from whom it had been wrested by the Ethiopians (Isaiah 18:1-7), and the defeats sustained at the hands of Sargon (Isaiah 20:1-6). The construction cui quis innitur et intrat is paratactic for cui si quis. In Isaiah 36:7 the reading תאמרוּן commends itself, from the fact that the sentence is not continued with הסירת; but as Hezekiah is addressed throughout, and it is to him that the reply is to be made, the original reading was probably תאמר. The fact that Hezekiah had restricted the worship of Jehovah to Jerusalem, by removing the other places of worship (2 Kings 18:4), is brought against him in a thoroughly heathen, and yet at the same time (considering the inclination to worship other gods which still existed in the nation) a very crafty manner. In Isaiah 36:8, Isaiah 36:9, he throws in his teeth, with most imposing scorn, his own weakness as compared with Asshur, which was chiefly dreaded on account of its strength in cavalry and war-chariots. נא התערב does not refer to the performance and counter-performance which follow, in the sense of "connect thyself" (Luzz. associati), but is used in a similar sense to the Omeric μιγῆναι, though with the idea of vying with one another, not of engaging in war (the synonym in the Talmud is himrâh, to bet, e.g., b. Sabbath 31a): a bet and a pledge are kindred notions (Heb. ערבון, cf., Lat. vadari). On pechâh (for pachâh), which also occurs as an Assyrian title in Ezekiel 23:6, Ezekiel 23:23. אחד פּחת, two constructives, the first of which is to be explained according to Ewald, 286, a (compare above, Isaiah 36:2, כבד חיל), form the logical regens of the following servorum dominin mei minimorum; and hēshı̄bh penē does not mean here to refuse a petitioner, but to repel an antagonist (Isaiah 28:6). The fut. consec. ותּבטח deduces a consequence: Hezekiah could not do anything by himself, and therefore he trusted in Egypt, from which he expected chariots and horsemen. In Isaiah 36:10, the prophetic idea, that Asshur was the instrument employed by Jehovah (Isaiah 10:5, etc.), is put into the mouth of the Assyrian himself. This is very conceivable, but the colouring of Isaiah is undeniable.
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