Isaiah 37:12 Commentaries: Did the gods of those nations which my fathers have destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar?
Isaiah 37:12
Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Gozan . . .—The induction drawn from the enumeration of conquered nations is continued. Strictly speaking, Sargon, the father of Sennacherib, was the founder of a new dynasty; but the “fathers” are, as commonly in the formulæ of Eastern kings, the predecessors of the reigning king. The position of Gozan is defined by 2Kings 17:6 as being on the Habor, or Khabûr, which flows into the Tigris from the east, above Mosul. Haran is probably identical with Abraham’s resting-place (Genesis 11:31), and the Charran of Josephus and St. Stephen’s speech (Acts 7:4). “Rezeph” is identified with the Rhesepher of Ptolemy (Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 5:6) below Thapeacus, between the ’Euphrates and Tadmor (= Palmyra). Telassar is probably an altered form of Tel-Assur (the hill of Assur), and was probably a new name given to a conquered city, after the manner in which Shalmaneser records that he gave names to cities that he had taken belonging to Akhuni, the son of Adini (Records of the Past, iii. 87, v. 30). In the patronymic we may trace the sons of Eden of this verse. In Amos 1:5 we have a Beth-Eden named as connected with Damascus; and in Ezekiel 27:23 an “Eden” connected with Haran and Asshur, as carrying on traffic with Tyre. The latter is probably identical with that named by Sennacherib.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19My fathers - My predecessors on the throne.

Gozan - This was a region or country in the northern part of Mesopotamia, and on the river Chaboras. There was a river of the name of Gozan in Media, which ran through the province, and gave it its name. The river fell probably into the Chaboras. This region is known to have been under the dominion of Assyria, for Shalmaneser, when he had subdued the ten tribes, carried them away beyond the Euphrates to a country bordering on the river Gozan 2 Kings 17:6. According to Gesenius, the river which is referred to, is the Chaboras itself. He translates the passage in 2 Kings 17:6, thus: 'And placed them in Chaleitis (Halah), and on the Chabor (Habor), a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.' According to this, the river was the Chaboras, the Chabor of Ezekiel, and the region was situated on the Chaboras. This river falls into the Euphrates from the east. Ptolemy calls the region lying between the Chaboras and Laocoras by the name of Gauzanitis, which is doubtless the same as the Hebrew Gozan. Gozan is usually mentioned in connection with cities of Mesopotamia 2 Kings 19:12; 1 Chronicles 5:26.

And Haran - This was a city of Mesopotamia, to which Abraham went after he left Ur of the Chaldees. His father died here; and from this place he was called to go into the land of promise (Genesis 11:31-32; compare the notes at Acts 7:4). It is now called Harran, and is situated in latitude 36 degree 52 minutes north; longitude 39 degrees 5 minutes east, in a flat and sandy plain, and is only populated by a few wandering Arabs, who select it as the place of residence on account of the delicious waters it contains. It belonged by conquest to the Assyrian Empire.

And Rezeph - According to Abulfeda, there were many towns of this name. One, however, was more celebrated than the others, and is probably the one here referred to. It was situated about a day's journey west of the Euphrates, and is mentioned by Ptolemy by the name of Ῥησαφα Rēsapha (Resapha).

And the children of Eden - Eden was evidently a country well known in the time of Isaiah, and was, doubtless, the tract within which man was placed when he was created. The garden or Paradise was in Eden, and was not properly itself called Eden Genesis 2:8. It is probable that Eden was a region or tract of country of considerable extent. Its situation has been a subject of anxious inquiry. It is not proper here to go into an examination of this subject. It is evident from the passage before us that it was either in Mesopotamia, or in the neighborhood of that country, since it is mentioned in connection with cities and towns of that region. It is mentioned by Amos (787 b.c.), as a country then well known, and as a part of Syria, not far from Damascus:

I will break also the bar of Damascus,

And cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven,

And him that holdeth the scepter from the house of Eden,

And the people of Syria shall go into captivity to Kir,

Saith the Lord.

12. Gozan—in Mesopotamia, on the Chabour (2Ki 17:6; 18:11). Gozan is the name of the district, Chabour of the river.

Haran—more to the west. Abraham removed to it from Ur (Ge 11:31); the Carroe of the Romans.

Rezeph—farther west, in Syria.

Eden—There is an ancient village, Adna, north of Baghdad. Some think Eden to be the name of a region (of Mesopotamia or its vicinity) in which was Paradise; Paradise was not Eden itself (Ge 2:8). "A garden in Eden."

Telassar—now Tel-afer, west of Mosul [Layard]. Tel means a "hill" in Arabic and Assyrian names.

No text from Poole on this verse. Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed,.... They have not. But what then? is the God of Israel to be put upon a level with such dunghill gods? so Sennacherib reckoned him, as Rabshakeh before, in his name, Isaiah 36:18,

as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden, which were in Telassar. Gozan was the same, it may be, with the Gausanitis of Ptolemy (z) which he makes mention of in his description of Mesopotamia; and the rather, since Haran or Chapman was a city of Mesopotamia, Genesis 11:31 called by Ptolemy by the name of Carrae (a); and who also, in the same place, makes mention of Rezeph, under the name of Rhescipha; though he likewise speaks of another place in Palmyrene in Syria, called Rhaesapha (b), which some think to be the place here intended. Eden was also in Mesopotamia, in the eastern part of which was the garden of Eden; and this Telassar, inhabited by the children of Eden, was a city in that country, which is by Ptolemy (c) called Thelda; though Hillerus (d) is of opinion that the city Thalatha is meant, which is placed (e) near the river Tigris, a river of paradise. A very learned (f) men is of opinion, that the Eden, Isaiah here speaks of, belongs either to Syria of Damascus, and to the Lebanon and Paneas from whence Jordan arose; or to Syro-Phoenicia, and the Mediterranean sea, which the name Thalassar shows, as if it was the Syrians being used to derive not a few of their words from the Greeks: and certain it is, that there is now a village called Eden on Mount Lebanon, which Thevenot (g) mentions; and another, near Damascus, Mr. Maundrell (h) speaks of; see Amos 1:5 and Tyre in Phoenicia is called Eden, Ezekiel 28:13.

(z) Geograph, l. 5. c. 18. (a) Ibid. (b) Ibid. c. 15. (c) lbid. c. 18. (d) Onomast. Sacr. p. 945. (e) Geograph. l. 5. c. 20. (f) Nichol. Abrami Pharus Vet. Test. l. 2. c. 16. p. 57. (g) Travels, part 1. B. 2. ch. 60. p. 221. (h) Journey from Aleppo, p. 119, 120. Ed. 7th.

Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as {i} Gozan, and {k} Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar?

(i) Which was a city of the Medes.

(k) Called also Charre a city in Mesopotamia, from which Abraham came after his fathers death.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. my fathers here means “my predecessors”; for the dynasty to which Sennacherib belonged had been founded by his father Sargon. The place-names in this verse are all found on the Assyrian monuments. (See Schrader, Cuneiform Inscriptions, on 2 Kings 19:12.) Gozan (Assyr. Guzana) is one of the places to which the Northern Israelites were exiled (2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11); it lay on the river Chaboras, a northern affluent of the Euphrates. Haran is the well-known commercial emporium of northern Mesopotamia, on another tributary (the Belikh) west of the Chaboras. Rezeph (Assyr. Raṣappa) is about 20 miles south of the Euphrates on the route from Haran to Palmyra. Telassar is in Assyrian Til-Assuri (“Hill of Asshur”), a name likely to be of frequent occurrence. The place here can hardly be the Babylonian Til-Assuri mentioned in the monuments; it may rather have been one of the cities of Eden, i.e. the small kingdom called Bit-Adini on the Upper Euphrates.Verse 12. - My fathers. The Assyrian monarchs call all those who have preceded them upon the throne their "fathers," without intending to claim any blood-relation-ship. Sargon, Sennacherib's father, though a usurper and the first king of a new dynasty, frequently speaks of "the kings his fathers" ('Records of the Past,' ch. 7. pp. 39, 51, etc.). Gozan... Haran ... Rezeph... Telassar. "Gozan" is, beyond all doubt, the region known to the Greeks as Gauzanitis, which was the eastern portion of Upper Mesopotamia, or the country about the sources of the Khabour river. The Assyrian conquest of this tract is indicated by the settlement of the Israelites in the region (2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11; 1 Chronicles 5:26). "Harsh" is the well-known "city of Nahor" (Genesis 24:10), called in Acts 7:2 "Charran," and by the Greeks and Romans, Carrhae. It has now recovered its old designation, and is known as Hurrah. "Rezeph" was in the neighborhood of Haran, and is mentioned as belonging to Assyria as early as B.C. 775 ('Eponym Canon,' p. 82). It had probably revolted and been reduced at a later date. "Telassar," "the Hill of Asshur," is not mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions, but was probably the Assyrian name of a town on or near the Euphrates, in the country of the Bent-Eden, which was not far from Carche-mish (see 'Records of the Past,' ch. 3. pp. 90-92). The children of Eden. The Assyrian inscriptions mention a "Bit-Adini" (comp. Amos 1:5), and a chief who is called "the son of Adini;" both belonging to the Middle Euphrates region. The "children of Eden" (Beni-Eden) were probably the people of the tract about Bit-Adini. Isaiah's reply. "And the servants of king Hizkiyahu came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said to them (אליהם, K. להם), Speak thus to your lord, Thus saith Jehovah, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Asshur have blasphemed me! Behold, I will bring a spirit upon him, and he will hear a hearsay, and return to his land; and I cut him down with the sword in his own land." Luzzatto, without any necessity, takes ויּאמרוּ in Isaiah 37:3 in the modal sense of what they were to do (e dovevano dirgli): they were to say this to him, but he anticipated them at once with the instructions given here. The fact, so far as the style is concerned, is rather this, that Isaiah 37:5, while pointing back, gives the ground for Isaiah 37:6 : "and when they had come to him (saying this), he said to them." נערי we render "servants" (Knappen)

(Note: Knappe is the same word as "Knave;" but we have no word in use now which is an exact equivalent, and knave has entirely lost its original sense of servant. - Tr.)

after Esther 2:2; Esther 6:3, Esther 6:5; it is a more contemptuous expression than עבדי. The rūăch mentioned here as sent by God is a superior force of a spiritual kind, which influences both thought and conduct, as in such other connections as Isaiah 19:14; Isaiah 28:6; Isaiah 29:10 (Psychol. p. 295, Anm.).

The external occasion which determined the return of Sennacherib, as described in Isaiah 37:36-37, was the fearful mortality that had taken place in his army. The shemū‛âh (rumour, hearsay), however, was not the tidings of this catastrophe, but, as the continuation of the account in Isaiah 37:8, Isaiah 37:9, clearly shows, the report of the advance of Tirhakah, which compelled Sennacherib to leave Palestine in consequence of this catastrophe. The prediction of his death is sufficiently special to be regarded by modern commentators, who will admit nothing but the most misty figures as prophecies, as a vaticinium post eventum. At the same time, the prediction of the event which would drive the Assyrian out of the land is intentionally couched in these general terms. The faith of the king, and of the inquirers generally, still needed to be tested and exercised. The time had not yet come for him to be rewarded by a clearer and fuller announcement of the judgment.

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