Isaiah 37:4
It may be the LORD your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD your God has heard: why lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.
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(4) Lift up thy prayer for the remnant . . .—Isaiah’s characteristic words (Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 10:21) had impressed itself on the king’s mind. Now that town after town of Judah had fallen into Sennacherib’s hands (forty-six, according to his inscriptions—Records of the Past, i. 38), those who were gathered within the walls of Jerusalem were as a mere remnant of the people.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19It may be the Lord thy God - The God whom thou dost serve, and in whose name and by whose authority thou dost exercise the prophetic office.

Will hear the words - Will come forth and vindicate himself in regard to the language of reproach and blasphemy which has been used. See a similar use of the word 'hear' in Exodus 2:24; Exodus 3:7.

To reproach the living God - The revilings of Rabsbakeh were really directed against the true God. The reproach of the 'living God' consisted in comparing him to idols, and saying that be was no more able to deleted Jerusalem than the idol-gods had been able to defend their lands (see the note at Isaiah 36:18). The phrase 'the living God' is often applied to Yahweh in contradistinction from idols, which were mere blocks of wood or stone.

For the remnant that is left - For those who survive; or probably for those parts of the land, including Jerusalem, that have not fallen into the hands of the Assyrian. Sennacherib had taken many towns, but there were many also that had not yet been subdued by him.

4. hear—take cognizance of (2Sa 16:12).

reprove—will punish him for the words, &c. (Ps 50:21).

remnant—the two tribes of the kingdom of Judah, Israel being already captive. Isaiah is entreated to act as intercessor with God.

No text from Poole on this verse. It may be the Lord thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh,.... He had heard them; but the sense is, that it might be that he would take notice of them, and resent them in a public manner, and punish for them; and this is said, not as doubting and questioning whether he would or not, but as hoping and encouraging himself that he would: and it may be observed, that Hezekiah does not call the Lord "my God", or "our God", because he and his people were under the chastening hand of God for their sins, and were undeserving of such a relation; but "thy God", whose prophet he was, whom he served, and to whom he was dear, and with whom he had an interest; and therefore it might be hoped his prayer to him would be heard and accepted, and that through his interposition God would be prevailed upon to take notice of the railing speech of Rabshakeh:

whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; who has life in and of himself, and is the fountain, author, and giver of life to all others; him he reproached by setting him on a level with the lifeless idols of the Gentiles:

and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard; reprove him for his words, take vengeance upon him, or punish him for the blasphemous words spoken by him against the Lord and in his hearing: to this sense is the Targum; and so the Syriac and Arabic versions:

wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left; lift up thy voice, thy hands, and thine heart, in prayer to God in heaven; pray earnestly and fervently for those that are left; the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the other ten having been carried captive some time ago; or the inhabitants of Jerusalem particularly, the defenced cities of Judah having been already taken by the Assyrian king. The fewness of the number that remained seems to be made use of as an argument for prayer in their favour. In times of distress, men should not only pray for themselves, but get others to pray for them, and especially men of eminence in religion, who have nearness of access to God, and interest in him.

It may be the LORD thy God will {d} hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore {e} lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.

(d) That is, will declare by effect that he has heard it: for when God defers to punish, it seems to the flesh, that he knows not the sin, or hears not the cause.

(e) Declaring that the ministers office stands not only in comforting by the word, but also in praying for the people.

4. It may be] Or “Peradventure.” The one hope is that Jehovah will take notice of the dishonour done to His name by the threats and blasphemies of the Assyrian king. the Lord thy God] See ch. Isaiah 7:13. The prophet stands nearer to God than other men. Jehovah is the living God, as opposed to the dead idols to whose level the boast of the Assyrian had degraded Him. (Cf. 1 Samuel 17:26; 1 Samuel 17:36.)

wherefore lift up] Or perhaps “and that thou wilt lift up,”—still dependent on “It may be.” The efficacy of intercessory prayer is taught and assumed throughout the Old Testament: see Genesis 18:23 ff.; Exodus 32:31 ff.; 1 Samuel 12:19; Amos 7:2; Amos 7:5; Jeremiah 14:11; Jeremiah 15:1, &c.

the remnant that is left] Cf. Isaiah 37:32. The idea is Isaiah’s; but the word is not that used elsewhere by the prophet himself.Verse 4. - It may be the Lord... will hear; i.e. "will notice," or "will punish." If Isaiah laid the matter before God, and prayed earnestly, it was possible that God would intervene to save Judah, and punish the blapshemous words uttered. The living God. In opposition to the dead idols of the heathen, which had neither life, nor breath, nor perception (see Psalm 115:4-8; Psalm 135:15-18). The remnant that is left. It is usual to explain this of Judah generally, which still survived, although Israel had been carried away captive. But perhaps the contrast is rather between the numerous Judaean captives who had been taken and conveyed to Assyria by Sennacherib when he took the "fenced cities" (Isaiah 36:1), and the portion of the nation which still remained in the land. Sennacherib says, in his annals, that he took "forty-six" cities, and carried captive to Assyria above two hundred thousand persons ('Records of the Past,' vol. 1. p. 38). 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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