Isaiah 36:16 Commentaries: 'Do not listen to Hezekiah,' for thus says the king of Assyria, 'Make your peace with me and come out to me, and eat each of his vine and each of his fig tree and drink each of the waters of his own cistern,
Isaiah 36:16
Listen not to Hezekiah: for thus said the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat you every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink you every one the waters of his own cistern;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
36:1-22:See 2Ki 18:17-37, and the commentary thereon.Hearken not to Hezekiah - Do not listen to his entreaties to confide in him, and in Yahweh; do not unite with him in endeavoring to make any resistance or opposition to us.

Make an agreement with me by a present - The Septuagint read this, Ει ̓ βούλεσθε εὐλογηθῆναι Ei boulesthe eulogēthēnai - 'If you wish to be blessed, or happy, come out to me.' The Hebrew is literally, 'Make with me a blessing' (ברכה berâkâh). The idea of its being done 'by a present,' is not in the Hebrew text. The word 'blessing' here probably means the same as peace. 'Make peace with me,' perhaps because peace was regarded as a blessing; and perhaps the word is used with a reference to one of the significations of: ברך bārak, which is to kneel down, and this word may refer to their kneeling down; that is, to their offering allegiance to the king of Assyria. The former is, however, the more probable sense, that the word means peace, because this was an evident blessing, or would be the source of rich blessings to them. It is not, however, used in this sense elsewhere in the Bible. The Chaldee renders it, 'Make peace (שׁלמא shālâmâ') with me.'

And come out to me - Surrender yourselves to me. It is evident, however, that he did not mean that be would then remove them from their city and country, but he demanded a surrender, intending to come and remove them at some other period Isaiah 36:17.

And eat ye every one of his own vine - An emblem of safety, when every man might be permitted to partake of the fruit of his own labor. All that he now professed to desire was, that they should surrender the city, and give up their means of defense, and then he would leave them in security and quietness, until it should please his master to come and remove them to a land as fertile as their own.

And drink ye every one - Another emblem of security and happiness. This promise was made to induce them to surrender. On the one hand, he threatened them with the dreadful evils of famine if they refused and allowed their city to be besieged Isaiah 36:12; and on the other, he promised them, for a time at least, a quiet and secure residence in their own city, and then a removal to a land not inferior to their own.

16. agreement … by … present—rather, "make peace with me"; literally, "blessing" so called from the mutual congratulations attending the ratification of peace. So Chaldee. Or else, "Do homage to me" [Horsley].

come out—surrender to me; then you may remain in quiet possession of your lands till my return from Egypt, when I will lead you away to a land fruitful as your own. Rab-shakeh tries to soften, in the eyes of the Jews, the well-known Assyrian policy of weakening the vanquished by deporting them to other lands (Ge 47:21; 2Ki 17:6).

No text from Poole on this verse. Hearken not to Hezekiah,.... To his exhortations and persuasions to trust in the Lord; nor would he have them obey him in things civil, any more than hearken to him in things sacred, though their liege lord and sovereign; for his view and endeavour were to stir them up to mutiny and rebellion; and so the Targum,

"do not obey Hezekiah:''

or receive any orders from him, or pay any regard to them:

for thus saith the king of Assyria, make an agreement with me by a present; or, "make a blessing with me" (i); either send a large and liberal gift to secure his favour, and their happiness; a most insolent and unrighteous demand this, when he had already received three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold, to withdraw his army; or make a blessed peace with me; suggesting that it would turn more to their account to give up themselves to him, than to be in the condition they were; so the Targum,

"make peace with me:''

this sense Ben Melech gives; and the Septuagint version is, "if ye would be blessed" (k), or happy,

come out to me; forsake your king, throw off your allegiance to him, surrender yourselves and city to me:

and eat ye everyone of his vine, and everyone of his fig tree: and drink ye everyone the waters of his own cistern; promising liberty and property, but does not tell them how long they should enjoy them; he signifies that they should enjoy everything that was necessary, convenient, and delightful; vines and fig trees are mentioned, because common in Judea, and all had cisterns near them for their use; unless this last clause is to be understood of everyone having their own wives; see Proverbs 5:15 as the other clauses may design the enjoyment of their estates and possessions, without any molestation or infringement of them; see Micah 4:4.

(i) "facit mecum benedictionem", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus. (k) , Sept.

Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make {l} an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern;

(l) The Hebrew word signifies blessing, by which this wicked captain would have persuaded the people, that their condition would be better under Sennacherib than under Hezekiah.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Make an agreement with me by a present] R.V. Make peace with me. Lit. “Make to me a blessing” (see R.V. marg.). The expression does not occur elsewhere, and its exact sense is doubtful. Probably “make peaceful submission to me.”

come out to me] The ordinary phrase for the surrender of a city (1 Samuel 11:3; Jeremiah 21:9, &c.). and eat] that ye may eat. If they will but yield now, they may at once resume the cultivation of their fields and orchards.Verse 16. - Make an agreement with me by a present; literally, make a blessing with me. Delitzsch paraphrases, "Enter into a connection of mutual good wishes with me." Vance Smith translates boldly, "Make peace with me;" and Mr. Cheyne, "Make a treaty with me." There seems to be no doubt that b'rakah, besides its primary sense of "blessing," had two secondary senses, "present" and "treaty." Here "treaty" is no doubt intended. Come out to me; i.e. "come out of Jerusalem, and surrender yourselves" (comp 1 Samuel 11:3; Jeremiah 38:17). And eat ye... drink ye. Peace being made, the Jews could leave the protection of their walled cities, and disperse themselves over their lands, where they could live in plenty and security (comp. 1 Kings 4:25), at any rate for a time. They would be safe front the terrible extremities hinted at in ver. 12, and might confidently await the great king's ultimate disposal of them, which would be determined widen the war in these parts was over. The waters of his own cistern; rather, of his own well. All cultivators had wells in their plots of ground. Cisterns, or reservoirs, in which the rain-water was stored, were comparatively uncommon. 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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