Isaiah 37:17 Commentaries: "Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God.
Isaiah 37:17
Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which has sent to reproach the living God.
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37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19Incline thine ear - This is evidently language taken from what occurs among people. When they are desirous of hearing distinctly, they incline the ear or apply it close to the speaker. Similar language is not unfrequently used in the Scriptures as applicable to God 2 Kings 19:16; Psalm 86:1; Psalm 31:2; Psalm 88:2; Daniel 9:18.

Open thine eyes - This is similar language applied to God, derived from the fact that when we wish to see an object, the eyes are fixed upon it (compare Job 14:3; Job 27:19).

And hear all the words - That is, attend to their words, and inflict suitable punishment. This was the burden of the prayer of Hezekiah, that God would vindicate his own honor, and save his name from reproach.

Which he hath sent - In the letters which he had sent to Hezekiah, as well as the words which he had sent to the people by Rabshakeh Isaiah 36:18-20.

To reproach the living God - (See the note at Isaiah 37:4).

17. ear … eyes—singular, plural. When we wish to hear a thing we lend one ear; when we wish to see a thing we open both eyes. No text from Poole on this verse. Incline thine ear, O Lord, and hear,.... The prayer which Hezekiah was now presenting to him, as also the reproach of the enemy:

open thine eyes, O Lord, and see; the letter he spread before him, and take notice of the blasphemies in it; and punish for them. Both these clauses are to be understood after the manner of men, and in a way becoming the being and perfections of God, to whom ears and eyes are not properly to be ascribed, and so likewise the bowing of the one, and the opening of the other; but both denote the gracious condescension of God, to take notice of things on earth, and vindicate the cause of his people, which is his own:

and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he hath sent to reproach the living God; the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, understand it of the words which Sennacherib sent in the letter to reproach the Lord; but in 2 Kings 19:16, it is, "which hath sent him"; the messenger, Rabshakeh, or whoever was the person that brought the letter to Hezekiah. The Targum paraphrases the latter part thus,

"to reproach the people of the living God;''

both God and his people were reproached, and both carry in them arguments with the Lord to hear and avenge himself and them; and the king prays that he would "hear", take notice of and observe all the words and give a proper answer, by inflicting just punishment.

Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.
17. open thine eyes … and see] The Hebr. has “thine eye,” which is probably a better reading than “thine eyes” in 2 Kings 19:16. So “who hath sent” is more correct than “who hath sent him” (the messenger).

to reproach the living God] as in Isaiah 37:4.Verse 17. - Incline thine ear... open thine eyes. This is a conscious pleading of the promise made to Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:15). The message. "Thus shall ye say to Hizkiyahu king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Asshur. Behold, thou hast surely heard what (K. that which) the kings of Asshur have done to all lands, to lay the ban upon them; and thou, thou shouldst be delivered?! Have the gods of the nations, which my fathers destroyed, delivered them: Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the Benē-‛Eden, which are in Tellasar? Where is (K. where is he) the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of 'Ir-Sepharvaim, Hena', and 'Ivah?"Although ארץ is feminine, אותם (K. אתם), like להחרימם, points back to the lands (in accordance with the want of any thoroughly developed distinction of the genders in Hebrew); likewise אשׁר quas pessumdederunt. There is historical importance in the fact, that here Sennacherib attributes to his fathers (Sargon and the previous kings of the Derketade dynasty which he had overthrown) what Rabshakeh on the occasion of the first mission had imputed to Sennacherib himself. On Gozan, see p. 33. It is no doubt identical with the Zuzan of the Arabian geographers, which is described as a district of outer Armenia, situated on the Chabur, e.g., in the Merasid. ("The Chabur is the Chabur of el-Hasaniye, a district of Mosul, to the east of the Tigris; it comes down from the mountains of the land of Zuzan, flows through a broad and thickly populated country in the north of Mosul, which is called outer Armenia, and empties itself into the Tigris." Ptolemy, on the other hand (Isaiah 37:18, Isaiah 37:14), is acquainted with a Mesopotamian Gauzanitis; and, looking upon northern Mesopotamia as the border land of Armenia, he says, κατέχει δὲ τῆς ξηώρας τὰ μὲν πρὸς τῆ Αρμενία ἡ Ανθεμουσία (not far from Edessa) ὑφ ἥν ἡ Χαλκῖτις ὑπὸ δὲ ταύτην ἡ Γαυζανῖτις, possibly the district of Gulzan, in which Nisibin, the ancient Nisibis, still stands.

(Note: See Oppert, Expdition, i.60.)

For Hrn (Syr. Horon; Joseph. Charran of Mesopotamia), the present Harrn, not far from Charmelik, see Genesis, p. 327. The Harran in the Guta of Damascus (on the southern arm of the Harus), which Beke has recently identified with it, is not connected with it in any way. Retseph is the Rhesapha of Ptol. v. 18, 6, below Thapsacus, the present Rusafa in the Euphrates-valley of ez-Zor, between the Euphrates and Tadmur (Palmyra; see Robinson, Pal.). Telassar, with which the Targum (ii. iii.) and Syr. confound the Ellasar of Genesis 14:1, i.e., Artemita (Artamita), is not the Thelseae of the Itin. Antonini and of the Notitia dignitatum - in which case the Benē-‛Eden might be the tribe of Bt Genn (Bettegene) on the southern slope of Lebanon (i.e., the 'Eden of Coelesyria, Amos 1:5; the Paradeisos of Ptol. v. 15, 20; Paradisus, Plin. v. 19) - but the Thelser of the Tab. Peuting., on the eastern side of the Tigris; and Benē-‛Eden is the tribe of the 'Eden mentioned by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:23) after Haran and Ctesiphon. Consequently the enumeration of the warlike deeds describes a curve, which passes in a north-westerly direction through Hamath and Arpad, and then returns in Sepharvaim to the border of southern Mesopotamia and Babylonia. 'Ir-Sepharvaim is like 'Ir-Nchs, 'Ir-shemesh, etc. The legends connect the name with the sacred books. The form of the name is inexplicable; but the name itself probably signifies the double shore (after the Aramaean), as the city, which was the southernmost of the leading places of Mesopotamia, was situated on the Euphrates. The words ועוּה הנע, if not take as proper names, would signify, "he has taken away, and overthrown;" but in that case we should expect ועוּוּ הניעוּ or ועוּיתי הניעתי. They are really the names of cities which it is no longer possible to trace. Hena' is hardly the well-known Avatho on the Euphrates, as Gesenius, V. Niebuhr, and others suppose; and 'Ivah, the seat of the Avvı̄m (2 Kings 17:31), agrees still less, so far as the sound of the word is concerned, with "the province of Hebeh (? Hebeb: Ritter, Erdk. xi. 707), situated between Anah and the Chabur on the Euphrates," with which V. Niebuhr combines it.

(Note: For other combinations of equal value, see Oppert, Expdition, i. 220.)

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