Isaiah 37:2
And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Unto Isaiah the prophet.—At last, then, the people did “see their teacher” (Isaiah 30:20). In that supreme hour of calamity the prophet, who had been despised and derided, was their one resource. What could he do to extricate them from the evil net which was closing round them, and to vindicate the honour of his God?

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19And he sent Eliakim - (See the note at Isaiah 36:3).

And the elders of the priests - It was a case of deep importance, and one that pertained in a special manner to the interests of religion; and he, therefore, selected the most respectable embassage that he could to present the case to the prophet.

Covered with sackcloth - Religion had been insulted. The God whom the priests served had been blasphemed, and the very temple was threatened, and it was proper that the priests should go with the habiliments of mourning.

Unto Isaiah - It was customary on occasions of danger to consult prophets, as those who had direct communication with God, and seek counsel from them. Thus Balak sent messengers to Balaam to consult him in a time of perplexity (Numbers 22:5 ff); thus Jehoshaphat and the king of Israel consulted Micaiah in time of danger from Syria 1 Kings 22:1-13; thus Ahaziah, when sick, sent to consult Elijah 2 Kings 1:1-9; and thus Josiah sent an embassage to Huldah the prophetess to inquire in regard to the book which was found in the temple of the Lord 2 Kings 22:14)

2. unto Isaiah—implying the importance of the prophet's position at the time; the chief officers of the court are deputed to wait on him (compare 2Ki 22:12-14). No text from Poole on this verse.

And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe,.... Two of the commissioners sent to Rabshakeh, and who heard his insolence and blasphemy, and were capable of giving a full account of it, to Isaiah the prophet:

and the elders of the priests; as the chief of those that were concerned in civil affairs, so the chief of those that were employed in sacred things, were sent: this was a very honourable embassy; and it was showing great respect to the prophet, to send such personages to him:

covered with sackcloth; as the king himself was, following his example; and this is to be understood not of the elders of the priests only, but of Eliakim and Shebna also. These, so clad, were sent by the king

unto Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz; to give him an account of the present situation of affairs, of the distress he was in, and to desire his prayers: a very proper person to apply to, a prophet, one highly dear to God, and honoured by him, had near access unto him, and knew much of his mind.

And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, to {b} Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.

(b) To have comfort from him by the word of God, that his faith might be confirmed and so his prayer be more earnest: teaching by it that in all dangers these two are the only remedies to seek to God and his ministers.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. The embassy consists of the two chief ministers, and the “elders of the priests.” The appearance of Shebna on such an errand was a striking evidence of the completeness of Isaiah’s moral victory (ch. Isaiah 22:15 ff.).

Verse 2. - He sent Eliakim... and Shebna... and the elders of the priests. A dignified embassy, showing how much Isaiah was held in honour (comp. 2 Kings 22:14 and Jeremiah 38:3; and contrast, on the other hand, the rudeness of Ahab in sending a single eunuch to bring Micaiah into his presence, 1 Kings 22:9). The prophets, as representatives of Jehovah, were entitled to respect and observance even from kings. Isaiah 37:2The 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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