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. 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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