Isaiah 37:1
And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
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(1) Covered himself with sackcloth.—The king was probably accompanied by his ministers, all in the penitential sackcloth of mourners (Joel 1:8-13; Jonah 3:5-6).

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19When king Hezekiah heard it - Heard the account of the words of Rabshakeh Isaiah 36:22.

That he rent his clothes - (See the note at Isaiah 36:22).

He covered himself with sackcloth - (See the note at Isaiah 3:24).

And went into the house of the Lord - Went up to the temple to spread out the case before Yahweh Isaiah 37:14. This was in accordance with the usual habit of Hezekiah; and it teaches us that when we are environed with difficulties or danger and when the name of our God is blasphemed, we should go and spread out our feelings before God, and seek his aid.


Isa 37:1-38. Continuation of the Narrative in the Thirty-sixth Chapter.

1. sackcloth—(See on [765]Isa 20:2).

house of the Lord—the sure resort of God's people in distress (Ps 73:16, 17; 77:13).Hezekiah mourneth, and sendeth to Isaiah to pray for them, Isaiah 37:1-5. He comforteth them, Isaiah 37:6,7. Sennacherib, called away against the king of the Ethiopians, sendeth a blasphemous letter to Hezekiah, Isaiah 37:8-13. His prayer, Isaiah 37:14-20. Isaiah’s prophecy, Isaiah 37:21-35. An angel slayeth the Assyrians, Isaiah 37:36. Sennacherib is slain at Nineveh by his own sons, Isaiah 37:37,38.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And it came to pass, when King Hezekiah heard it,.... The report that his ministers made to him of the blasphemies and threatenings of Rabshakeh, the general of the Assyrian army:

that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth; the one because of the blasphemies he heard; the other cause of the destruction he and his people were threatened with:

and went into the house of the Lord; the temple, to pray to him there: he could have prayed in his own house, but he chose rather to go to the house of God, not so much on account of the holiness of the place, but because there the Lord promised, and was used to hear the prayers of his people,

1 Kings 8:29,30 as also because it was more public, and would be known to the people, and set them an example to follow him in. Trouble should not keep persons from, but bring them to, the house of God; here the Lord is to be inquired of, here he is to be found; and from hence he sends deliverance and salvation to his people. Nothing is more proper than prayer in times of affliction; it is no ways unbecoming nor lessening the greatest king on earth to lay aside his royal robes, to humble himself before God, in a time of distress, and pray unto him. Hezekiah does not sit down to consider Rabshakeh's speech, to take it in pieces, and give an answer to it, but he applies unto God.

And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he {a} tore his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.

(a) In sign of grief and repentance.

1. went into the house of the Lord] See Isaiah 37:14-15. Cf. 1 Kings 8:33-34.

Verse 1. - When King Hezekiah heard it; rather, heard them; i.e. the "words of Rabshakeh," which his officials reported to him. He rent his clothes. He did as they had done (Isaiah 36:22; see the comment on that verse). But he went further, showing a deeper sense of horror and affliction than the officials had shown by being covered with sackcloth (on the combination of the two modes of showing grief or horror, see Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31; 1 Kings 21:27; Esther 4:1, etc.). And went into the house of the Lord. The temple was not only a place for offering praise and sacrifice, but also a "house of prayer" (infra, Isaiah 56:7; comp. 1 Kings 8:28-30). Hezekiah can, on this occasion, have gone up to the house of the Lord only to pray. Isaiah 37:1The king and the deputation apply to Isaiah. "And it came to pass, when king Hizkiyahu had heard, he rent his clothes, and wrapped himself in mourning linen, and went into the house of Jehovah. And sent Eliakim the house-minister, and Shebna (K. omits את) the chancellor, and the eldest of the priests, wrapped in mourning linen, to Isaiah son of Amoz, the prophet (K. has what is inadmissible: the prophet son of Amoz). And they said to him, Thus saith Hizkiyahu, A day of affliction, and punishment, and blasphemy is this day; for children are come to the matrix, and there is no strength to bring them forth. Perhaps Jehovah thy God will hear the words (K. all the words) of Rabshakeh, with which the king of Asshur his lord has sent him to revile the living God; and Jehovah thy God will punish for the words which He hath heard, and thou wilt make intercession for the remnant that still exists." The distinguished embassy is a proof of the distinction of the prophet himself (Knobel). The character of the deputation accorded with its object, which was to obtain a consolatory word for the king and people. In the form of the instructions we recognise again the flowing style of Isaiah. תּוכחה, as a synonym of מוּסר, נקם, is used as in Hosea 5:9; נאצה (from the kal נאץ) according to Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 52:5, like נאצה (from the piel נאץ), Nehemiah 9:18, Nehemiah 9:26 (reviling, i.e., reviling of God, or blasphemy). The figure of there not being sufficient strength to bring forth the child, is the same as in Isaiah 66:9. משׁבּר (from שׁבר, syn. פּרץ, Genesis 38:29) does not signify the actual birth (Luzzatto, punto di dover nascere), nor the delivering-stool (Targum), like mashbēr shel-chayyâh, the delivering-stool of the midwife (Kelim xxiii. 4); but as the subject is the children, and not the mother, the matrix or mouth of the womb, as in Hosea 13:13, "He (Ephraim) is an unwise child; when it is time does he not stop in the children's passage" (mashbēr bânı̄m), i.e., the point which a child must pass, not only with its head, but also with its shoulders and its whole body, for which the force of the pains is often not sufficient? The existing condition of the state resembled such unpromising birth-pains, which threatened both the mother and the fruit of the womb with death, because the matrix would not open to give birth to the child. לדה like דּעה in Isaiah 11:9. The timid inquiry, which hardly dared to hope, commences with 'ūlai. The following future is continued in perfects, the force of which is determined by it: "and He (namely Jehovah, the Targum and Syriac) will punish for the words," or, as we point it, "there will punish for the words which He hath heard, Jehovah thy God (hōkhı̄ach, referring to a judicial decision, as in a general sense in Isaiah 2:4 and Isaiah 11:4); and thou wilt lift up prayer" (i.e., begin to offer it, Isaiah 14:4). "He will hear," namely as judge and deliverer; "He hath heard," namely as the omnipresent One. The expression, "to revile the living God" (lechârēph 'Elōhı̄m chai), sounds like a comparison of Rabshakeh to Goliath (1 Samuel 17:26, 1 Samuel 17:36). The "existing remnant" was Jerusalem, which was not yet in the enemy's hand (compare Isaiah 1:8-9). The deliverance of the remnant is a key-note of Isaiah's prophecies. But the prophecy would not be fulfilled, until the grace which fulfilled it had been met by repentance and faith. Hence Hezekiah's weak faith sues for the intercession of the prophet, whose personal relation to God is here set forth as a closer one than that of the king and priests.
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