Isaiah 36:19
Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
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(19) Hamath and Arphad . . .—See Note on Isaiah 10:9. Looking to the practice of the Assyrians, the question would have had for its answer, not the echoing “Where?” which it suggests to modern ears, but “They are to be seen in the Temples of Assyria, as trophies of its victories.”

Sepharvaim.—The southernmost city of Mesopotamia, on the left bank of the Euphrates, probably the same as the “sun-city” Sippara, in which Xisuthros, the Noah of Chaldæan mythology, was said to have concealed the sacred books before the great flood (Records of the Past, vii. 143).

36:1-22:See 2Ki 18:17-37, and the commentary thereon.Where are the gods of Hamath ... - In regard to these places, see the notes at Isaiah 10:9-11.

Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? - Sepharvaim was probably in Mesopotamia. Ptolemy mentions a city there of the name of Sipphara, as the most southern city of Mesopotamia, which is probably the same. It is evident that it was in the vicinity of Hamath and Arphad, and these are known to have been in Mesopotamia. When Shalmaneser carried Israel away captive from Samaria, he sent colonies of people into Palestine in their stead, among whom were the Sepharvaim 2 Kings 17:24, 2 Kings 17:31.

And have they delivered Samaria - (See the note at Isaiah 10:11). The author of the Books of Chronicles expresses this in a more summary manner, and says, that Rabshakeh joined Yahweh with the gods of the nations in the same language of reproach: 'And he spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man,' 2 Chronicles 32:19.

19. Hamath … Arphad—(See on [764]Isa 10:9).

Sepharvaim—literally, "the two scribes"; now Sipphara, on the east of Euphrates, above Babylon. It was a just retribution (Pr 1:31; Jer 2:19). Israel worshipped the gods of Sepharvaim, and so colonists of Sepharvaim were planted in the land of Israel (thenceforth called Samaria) by the Assyrian conqueror (2Ki 17:24; compare 2Ki 18:34).

Samaria—Shalmaneser began the siege against Hoshea, because of his conspiring with So of Egypt (2Ki 17:4). Sargon finished it; and, in his palace at Khorsabad, he has mentioned the number of Israelites carried captive—27,280 [G. V. Smith].

No text from Poole on this verse. Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad?.... What is become of them? where are they to be found? where's their power to protect and defend the people they presided over? thus they might be justly derided, but not so the God at Israel; these places are mentioned in Isaiah 10:9. Hamath was a city in Syria, thought by some to be the same afterwards called Antiochia and Epiphania, from Antiochus Epiphanes: Arphad is joined with it in Jeremiah 49:23 as a city of Syria; perhaps originally founded and inhabited by the Arvadite, mentioned with the Hamathite, in Genesis 10:18,

where are the gods of Sepharvaim? another place in Syria, the city Sipphore; not the Sipphara of Ptolemy (n), in Mesopotamia, or that, near Babylon, Abydenus (o) makes mention of, but a city in Syro-Phoenicia, 2 Kings 17:24,

and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? the gods of the above places, which were worshipped in Samaria, or the gods peculiar to that place; though Samaria was not taken by the present king of Assyria, Sennacherib, but by a predecessor of his, Shalmaneser,

2 Kings 17:3,6, which yet is here boasted of as a conquest of the present king.

(n) Geograph. l. 5. c. 18. (o) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 41. p. 457.

Where are the gods of {m} Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?

(m) That is, of Antioch in Syria, of which these two other cities also were: by which we see how every town had its peculiar idol, and how the wicked make God an idol because they do not understand that God makes them his scourge, and punishes cities for sin.

19. On Hamath and Arphad, see ch. Isaiah 10:9. Sepharvaim has usually been identified with Sippar to the north of Babylon. Since, however, it is always mentioned along with Hamath and Arpad, it is more probable that a city in northern Syria is meant. Some consider it to be the same as Sibraim in Ezekiel 47:16 (between Damascus and Hamath). 2 Kings 18:34 adds Hena and Ivvah as in ch. Isaiah 37:13.

and have they delivered] Others translate “how much less have they (the gods of Samaria) delivered.” The Hebrew is peculiar.Verse 19. - Where are the gods of Hamath? (comp. Isaiah 10:9). Sargon had reduced Hamath in his third year, B.C. 720. He had "swept the whole land of Hamath to its extreme limit," taken the king prisoner, and carried him away captive to Assyria, where he flayed and burned him; removed most of the inhabitants, and replaced them by Assyrians; plundered the city of its chief treasures, and placed an Assyrian governor over it (see 'Eponym Canon,' pp. 126-128). Among the treasures taken were, no doubt, the images of the Hamathite gods, which were uniformly carried off by the Assyrians from a conquered city. And Arphad. Arphad, or Arpad (Isaiah 10:9), had joined with Hamath in the war against Assyria, and was taken by Sargon in the same year ('Eponym Canon,' p. 127). Of Sepharvaim. Scpharvaim, or Sippara, was besieged and captured by Sargon in his twelfth year, B.C. 710. A severe example was made of the inhabitants (G. Smith, 'History of Babylonia,' p. 122). A discovery made by Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, in 1881, is thought to prove that Sippara was situated at Abu-Habbah, between Baghdad and the site of Babylon, about sixteen miles from the former city (see the 'Transactions of the Society of Bibl. Archaeology,' vol. 8. pp. 164, 173). "Hena" and "Ivah," joined with Sepharvaim by the author of Kings (2 Kings 18:31), seem to be omitted by Isaiah as unimportant. They are thought to have been towns upon the Euphrates, not very distant from Babylon, and have been identified respectively with Anah and Hit. But the identification is in both cases uncertain. Have they delivered Samaria? Delitzsch and Mr. Cheyne translate, "How much less have they delivered Samaria?" Kay, "Verily have they delivered," regarding the sentence as ironical. Sennacherib can see no distinction between the cities where Jehovah was worshipped, and those which acknowledged any other tutelary god. As Samaria fell, why should not Jerusalem fall? After Rabshakeh had refused the request of Hezekiah's representatives in this contemptuous manner, he turned in defiance of them to the people themselves. "Then Rabshakeh went near, and cried with a loud voice in the Jewish language (K. and spake), and said, Hear the words (K. the word) of the great king, the king of Asshur. Thus saith the king, Let not Hizkiyahu practise deception upon you (יסה, K. יסהיא)); for he cannot deliver you (K. out of his hand). And let not Hizkiyahu feed you with hope in Jehovah, saying, Jehovah will deliver, yea, deliver us: (K. and) this city will not be delivered into the hand of the king of Asshur. Hearken not to Hizkiyahu: for thus saith the king (hammelekh, K. melekh) of Asshur, Enter into a connection of mutual good wishes with me, and come out to me: and enjoy every one his vine, and every one his fig-tree, and drink every one the water of his cistern; till I come and take you away into a land like your land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread-corn and vineyards (K. a land full of fine olive-trees and honey, and live and do not die, and hearken not to Hizkiyahu); that Hizkiyahu to not befool you (K. for he befools you), saying, Jehovah will deliver us! Have the gods of the nations delivered (K. really delivered) every one his land out of the hand of the king of Asshur? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? where the gods of Sepharvayim (K. adds, Hena‛ and ‛Ivah)? and how much less (וכי, K. כּי) have they delivered that Samaria out of my hand? Who were they among all the gods of these (K. of the) lands, who delivered their land out of my hand? how much less will Jehovah deliver Jerusalem out of my hand!? The chronicler also has this continuation of Rabshakeh's address in part (2 Chronicles 32:13-15), but he has fused into one the Assyrian self-praise uttered by Rabshakeh on his first and second mission. The encouragement of the people, by referring to the help of Jehovah (2 Chronicles 32:6-8), is placed by him before this first account is given by Isaiah, and forms a conclusion to the preparations for the contest with Asshur as there described. Rabshakeh now draws nearer to the wall, and harangues the people. השּׁיא is construed here with a dative (to excite treacherous hopes); whereas in 2 Chronicles 32:15 it is written with an accusative. The reading מיּדו is altered from מיּדי in Isaiah 36:20, which is inserted still more frequently by the chronicler. The reading את־העיר with תנּתן is incorrect; it would require ינּתן (Ges. 143, 1a). To make a berâkhâh with a person was equivalent to entering into a relation of blessing, i.e., into a state of mind in which each wished all prosperity to the other. This was probably a common phrase, though we only meet with it here. יצא, when applied to the besieged, is equivalent to surrendering (e.g., 1 Samuel 11:3). If they did that, they should remain in quiet possession and enjoyment, until the Assyrian fetched them away (after the Egyptian campaign was over), and transported them to a land which he describes to them in the most enticing terms, in order to soften down the inevitable transportation. It is a question whether the expansion of this picture in the book of Kings is original or not; since ועוּה הנע in Isaiah 36:19 appears to be also tacked on here from Isaiah 37:13 (see at this passage). On Hamath and Arpad (to the north of Haleb in northern Syria, and a different place from Arvad equals Arad), see Isaiah 10:9. Sepharvayim (a dual form, the house of the Sepharvı̄m, 2 Kings 17:31) is the Sipphara of Ptol. v. 18, 7, the southernmost city of Mesopotamia, on the left bank of the Euphrates; Pliny's Hipparenum on the Narraga, i.e., the canal, nehar malkâ, the key to the irrigating or inundating works of Babylon, which were completed afterwards by Nebuchadnezzar (Plin. h. n. vi. 30); probably the same place as the sun-city, Sippara, in which Xisuthros concealed the sacred books before the great flood (see K. Mller's Fragmenta Historicorum Gr. ii.-501-2). פּן in Isaiah 36:18 has a warning meaning (as if it followed לכם השּׁמרו ); and both וכי and כּי in Isaiah 36:19, Isaiah 36:20, introduce an exclamatory clause when following a negative interrogatory sentence: and that they should have saved," or "that Jehovah should save," equivalent to "how much less have they saved, or will He save" (Ewald, 354, c; comp. אף־כּי, 2 Chronicles 32:15). Rabshakeh's words in Isaiah 36:18-20 are the same as those in Isaiah 10:8-11. The manner in which he defies the gods of the heathen, of Samaria, and last of all of Jerusalem, corresponds to the prophecy there. It is the prophet himself who acts as historian here, and describes the fulfilment of the prophecy, though without therefore doing violence to his character as a prophet.
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