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, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
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(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.

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. 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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