Isaiah 37:8
So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
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(8) Warring against Libnah . . . Lachish.—Both names occur in Joshua 15:39; Joshua 15:42, as belonging to Judah. The step would seem to indicate a strategic movement, intended to check the march of Tirhakah’s army; but in our ignorance of the topography, we can settle nothing further. By some writers Libnah has been identified with Pelusium, or some other town in the Delta of the Nile. The narrative seems, perhaps, to suggest something more than a transfer of the attack from one small fortress in Judah to another; but that is all that can be said.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19So Rabshakeh returned - Returned from Jerusalem to the camp of his master. He had received no answer to his insulting message Isaiah 36:21; he saw there was no prospect that the city would surrender; and he therefore returned again to the camp.

And found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah - He had departed from Lachish. Why he had done this is unknown. It is possible that he had taken it, though this is not recorded anywhere in history. Or it is possible that he had found it impracticable to subdue it as speedily as he had desired; and had withdrawn from it for the purpose of subduing other places that would offer a more feeble resistance. Libnah was a city in the south of Judah Joshua 15:42, given to the priests, and declared a city of refuge 1 Chronicles 6:54, 1 Chronicles 6:57. Eusebius and Jerome say it was in the district of Eleutheropolis (Calmet). It was about ten miles to the northwest of Lachish. This city was taken by Joshua, and all its inhabitants put to the sword After taking this. Joshua next assaulted and took Lachish Joshua 10:29-32.

8. returned—to the camp of his master.

Libnah—meaning "whiteness," the Blanche-garde of the Crusaders [Stanley]. Eusebius and Jerome place it more south, in the district of Eleutheropolis, ten miles northwest of Lachish, which Sennacherib had captured (see on [766]Isa 36:2). Libnah was in Judea and given to the priests (1Ch 6:54, 57).

No text from Poole on this verse. So Rabshakeh returned,.... To the king of Assyria his master, to give him an account how things went at Jerusalem, and that he could get no direct answer from the king of Judah, and to consult with him what was proper to be done in the present situation of things; leaving the army before Jerusalem, under the command of the other two generals. For that he should take the army with him does not seem reasonable, when Hezekiah and his people were in such a panic on account of it; besides, the king of Assyria's letters to Hezekiah clearly suppose the army to be still at Jerusalem, or his menacing letters would have signified nothing; and after this the destruction of the Assyrian army before Jerusalem is related:

and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah; a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 10:29, and lay nearer to Jerusalem than Lachish, where Rabshakeh left him; so that he seemed to be drawing his army towards that city, on which his heart was set. Josephus (u) makes him to be at this time besieging Pelusium, a city in Egypt, but wrongly; which has led some into a mistake that Libnah and Pelusium are the same:

for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish; where he was, when he sent him to Jerusalem, Isaiah 36:2, having very probably taken it.

(u) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 1. sect. 4.

So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against {g} Libnah: for he had heard that he had departed from Lachish.

(g) Which was a city toward Egypt, thinking by it to have stayed the force of his enemies.

8. Libnah] another of the “defenced cities” of Judah (Joshua 10:29). Its situation is not known.Verse 8. - Rabshakeh... found the King of Assyria warring against Libnah. Libnah was a town at no great distance from Lachish (Joshua 10:31; Joshua 15:39-42). It was also near Mareshah (Joshua 15:42-44), and must therefore have belonged to the more southern portion of the Shefeleh, and probably to the eastern region, where the hills sink down into the plain. The exact site is very uncertain, and still remains to be discovered. Sennacherib's object in moving upon Libnah is doubtful; but it would seem, from his monuments, that he had captured Lachish (Layard, 'Nineveh and Babylon,' pp. 149-152), and had gone on to Libnah, as the next stronghold on the way to Egypt. The 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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