And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh.—The word is a title (the Rabshakeh) probably the chief officer or cup-bearer. In 2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 32, we have the previous history of the war. Hezekiah, on hearing Sennacherib’s reproach, began to strengthen the fortifications of Jerusalem, called his officers and troops together, and made an appeal to their faith and courage. In Isaiah 22 we have the prophet’s view of those preparations. Probably by Isaiah’s advice, who put no confidence in this boastful and blustering courage, Hezekiah sent to Sennacherib, who was then besieging Lachish, to sue for peace, acknowledging that he had offended. A penalty of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold was imposed and paid, Hezekiah being reduced to empty his own treasury and that of the Temple, and even to strip the Temple doors and pillars of the plates of gold with which they were overlaid. Peace, however, was not to be had even at that price. Encouraged, perhaps, by this prompt submission, and tearing up the treaty (the breach of covenant of which Isaiah complains in Isaiah 35:1), Sennacherib sent his officers, the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh (the names are all official titles) to demand an unconditional surrender.
He stood by the conduit of the upper pool.—The spot was the same as that at which Isaiah had addressed Ahaz thirty or more years before (Isaiah 7:3). It was probably chosen by the Rabshakeh as commanding one end of the aqueduct which supplied the city with water, and thus enabling him to threaten that he· would cut off the supply (Isaiah 36:12).2 Kings 18:17, it is said that he sent Tartan, and Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh. In regard to Tartan, see the note at Isaiah 20:1. It is probable that Rabshakeh only is mentioned in Isaiah because the expedition may have been mainly under his direction, or more probably because he was the principal speaker on the occasion to which he refers.
From Lachish - This was a city in the south of the tribe of Judah, and was southwest of Jerusalem Joshua 10:23; Joshua 15:39. It was situated in a plain, and was the seat of an ancient Canaanite king. It was rebuilt and fortified by Rehoboam 2 Chronicles 11:9. It was in some respects a border town, and was a defense against the incursions of the Philistines. It was therefore situated between Jerusalem and Egypt, and was in the direct way of Sennacherib in his going to Egypt, and on his return. It lay, according to Eusebius and Jerome, seven Roman miles from Eleutheropolis toward the south. No trace of the town, however, is now to be found (see Robinson's "Bib. Researches," vol. ii. pp. 388, 389).
With a great army - Sennacherib remained himself for a time at Lachish, though he followed not long after. It is probable that he sent forward a considerable portion of his immense army, retaining only so many forces as he judged would be necessary to carry on the siege of Lachish. In 2 Chronicles 32:9, it is said that Sennacherib, while he sent his servants to Jerusalem, 'laid siege to Lachish and all his power with him;' but this must mean that he retained with him a considerable part of his army, and doubtless all that contributed to his magnificence and splendor. The word 'power' in 2 Chronicles 32:9, means also 'dominion' (see the margin), and denotes all the insignia of royalty: and this might have been retained while a considerable part of his forces had been sent forward to Jerusalem.
And he stood - He halted; he encamped there; He intended to make that the point of attack.
By the conduit ... - (See the notes at Isaiah 7:3)
Lachish—a frontier town southwest of Jerusalem, in Judah; represented as a great fortified city in a hilly and fruitful country in the Koyunjik bas-reliefs, now in the British Museum; also, its name is found on a slab over a figure of Sennacherib on his throne.
upper pool—the side on which the Assyrians would approach Jerusalem coming from the southwest (see on Isa 7:3).2 Kings 18:17 though they are not mentioned, only Rabshakeh, because he was the principal person, however the chief speaker. Lachish was a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:39, which Sennacherib was now besieging, 2 Chronicles 32:9. This message was sent, Bishop Usher says, three years after the former expedition:
and he stood by the conduit of the upper pool, in the highway of the fullers' field; where they spread their clothes, as the Targum, having washed them in the pool, of which see Isaiah 7:3. Ben Melech thus describes the pool, conduit, and highway: the pool is a ditch, built with stone and lime, where rainwater was collected, or where they drew water from the fountain, and the waters were gathered into this pool; and there was in this pool a hole, which they stopped, until the time they pleased to fetch water, out of the pool: and the conduit was a ditch near to the pool, and they brought water out of the pool into the conduit, when they chose to drink, or wash garments: the highway was a way paved with stones, so that they could walk upon it in rainy days; and here they stood and washed their garments in the waters of the conduit, and in the field they spread them to the sun. This pool lay outside the city, yet just by the walls of it, which showed the daring insolence of Rabshakeh to come so very nigh, for he was in the hearing of the men upon the walls, Isaiah 36:12, this Rabshakeh is by the Jewish writers thought to be an apostate Jew, because he spoke in the Jews' language; and some of them, as Jerome says, will have him to be a son of the Prophet Isaiah's, but without any foundation, Procopius, in 2 Kings 18:18, thinks it probable that he was a Hebrew, who either had fled on his own accord to the Assyrians, or was taken captive by them.And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. Rabshakeh is not a proper name, but an official designation, like the Tartan (see ch. Isaiah 20:1) and the Rab-saris (chief eunuch) who are mentioned along with him in 2 Kings 18:17. The Assyrian word is Rab-saq, said to mean “chief of the officers.”
from Lachish] The most important Judæan fortress in the Shephelah, commanding the road from Egypt. Recent excavations by Mr Flinders Petrie have identified its site with Tell-el-Hesy, a few miles distant from the modern Umm Lakis.
the conduit of the upper pool …] See on ch. Isaiah 7:3.Verse 2. - And the King of Assyria sent Rabshakeh... with a great army (comp. 2 Kings 18:13-17, where we find sufficient ground for believing that this expedition is entirely distinct from that of ver. 1, which was conducted by Sennacherib in person, and led to Hezekiah's submission and the payment of a large tribute). It is inconceivable that, immediately after the grant of terms of peace and their acceptance, Sennacherib should have renewed the war; there must have been an interval, and a fresh provocation. The interval can have been only a short one, since Hezekiah died in B.C. 697. It may have been a couple of years, or perhaps no more than a year, or possibly only a few months. The fresh provocation probably consisted in an application for aid, made by Hezekiah to Tir-hakah, or to the subordinate Egyptian kings, which is glanced at in ver. 6. The Assyrian annals, which never record any reverse or defeat, are wholly silent as to this second expedition. The only profane confirmation of it is to be found in Herodotus (2:141). From Lackish. Laehish, an ancient city of the Amorites (Joshua 10:5), was assigned by Joshua to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:39), and seems to have been still a Jewish possession (2 Kings 14:19). It occupied "a low round swell or knoll" in the Shefelch, or low tract between the Judaean highland and the Mediterranean, and lay near, if not directly on, the direct route which armies commonly followed in their march from Syria into Egypt. The site is now known as Um-Lakis; it lies between Gaza and Ajlan (Eglon), about two miles west of the hitter. Sennacherib represents himself as engaged in its siege on a bas-relief in the British Museum (see Layard, 'Monuments of Nineveh," second series, pl. 21). The conduit of the upper pool (see the comment on ch. 7:3). The spot was that at which Isaiah had been commanded to meet Ahaz some forty years previously. It was probably on the north side of Jerusalem, not tar from the Damascus gate. Isaiah 32:3-4). And so, also, the change of the desert into a field abounding with water is not a mere poetical ornament; for in the last times, he era of redemption, nature itself will really share in the doxa which proceeds from the manifested God to His redeemed. Shârâb (Arab. sarâb) is essentially the same thing as that which we call in the western languages the mirage, or Fata morgana; not indeed every variety of this phenomenon of the refraction of light, through strata of air of varying density lying one above another, but more especially that appearance of water, which is produced as if by magic in the dry, sandy desert
(Note: See. G. Rawlinson, Monarchies, i. p. 38.)
(literally perhaps the "desert shine," just as we speak of the "Alpine glow;" see Isaiah 49:10). The antithesis to this is 'ăgam (Chald. 'agmâ', Syr. egmo, Ar. agam), a fish-pond (as in Isaiah 41:18, different from 'âgâm in Isaiah 19:10). In the arid sandy desert, where the jackal once had her lair and suckled her young (this is, according to Lamentations 4:3, the true explanation of the permutative ribhtsâh, for which ribhtsâm would be in some respects more suitable), grass springs up even into reeds and rushes; so that, as Isaiah 43:20 affirms, the wild beasts of the desert praise Jehovah.
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