Isaiah 39:2
And Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.
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(2) Shewed them the house of his precious things.—This fixes the date of the embassy at a time prior to the payment to Sennacherib (2Kings 18:15-16), unless we were to assume that the treasury had been replenished by the gifts that followed on the destruction of Sennacherib’s army; but this, as we have seen, is at variance with both the received and the rectified chronology. The display was obviously something more than the ostentation of a Crœsus showing his treasures to Solon (Herod. i. 3). It was practically a display of the resources of the kingdom, intended to impress the Babylonian ambassadors with a sense of his importance as an ally.

The spices, and the precious ointment . . .—The mention of these articles as part of the king’s treasures is characteristic of the commerce and civilisation of the time. “Spices”—probably myrrh, gumbenzoin, cinnamon—had from a very early period been among the gifts offered to princes (Genesis 43:11; 1Kings 10:10). The “ointment,” or perfumed oil, finds its parallel in the costly unguent of the Gospel history (Matthew 26:7; John 12:3). Esar-haddon’s account of the magnificence of his palace (Records of the Past, iii., 122) supplies a contemporary instance of like ostentation.

39:1-8 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 20:12-19.And Hezekiah was glad of them - Possibly he regarded himself as flattered by an embassage from so great a distance, and so celebrated a place as Babylon. It is certain that he erred in some way in regard to the manner in which he received them, and especially in the ostentatious display which he made of his treasures 2 Chronicles 32:31.

And showed them the house of his precious things - The Septuagint renders this, Νεχωθᾶ Nechōtha - 'The house of Nechotha,' retaining the Hebrew word. The Margin, 'Spicery.' The Hebrew word (נכתה nekotoh) properly means, according to Gesenius, a contusion, a breaking to pieces; hence, aromatic powder, or spices reduced to powder, and then any kind of aromatics. Hence, the word here may mean 'the house of his spices,' as Aquila, Symmachus, and the Vulgate translate it; or 'a treasury,' 'a storehouse,' as the Chaldee and the Syriac here render it. It was undoubtedly a treasure or store house; but it may have taken its name from the fact, that it was mainly employed as a place in which to keep spices, unguents, and the various kinds of aromatics which were used either in public worship, or for the purposes of luxury.

The silver and the gold - Possibly Hezekiah may have obtained no small quantity of silver and gold from what was left in the camp of the Assyrians. It is certain that after he was delivered from danger he was signally prospered, and became one of the most wealthy and magnificent monarchs of the east; 2 Chronicles 32:27-28 : 'And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honor; and he made himself treasuries for silver and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels; storehouses also for the increase of grain, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.' A considerable part of this wealth arose from presents which were made to him, and from gifts which were made for the service of the temple 2 Chronicles 32:23.

And the precious ointment - Used for anointing kings and priests. Or more probably the ointment here referred to was that which was in more common use, to anoint the body after bathing, or when they were to appear in public.

And all the house of his armor - Margin, 'Vessels,' or 'instruments,' or 'jewels.' The word כלי kelı̂y denotes any article of furniture, utensil, or vessel; any trapping, instrument, or tool; and any implement of war, weapon, or arms. Probably it here refers to the latter, and denotes shields, swords, spears, such as were used in war, and such as Hezekiah had prepared for defense. The phrase is equivalent to our word arsenal (compare 2 Chronicles 32:27). Solomon had an extensive arsenal of this description 1 Kings 10:16-17, and it is probable that these were regarded as a part of the necessary defense of the kingdom.

Nor in all his dominion - Everything that contributed to the defense, the wealth, or the magnificence of his kingdom he showed to them. The purpose for which Hezekiah thus showed them all that he had, was evidently display. In 2 Chronicles 32:25, it is stated that 'Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him, for his heart was lifted up;' and in 2 Chronicles 32:31, it is said, that in regard to this transaction, 'God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.' The result showed how much God hates pride, and how certainly he will punish all forms of ostentation.

2. glad—It was not the mere act, but the spirit of it, which provoked God (2Ch 32:25), "Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him, for his heart was lifted up"; also compare 2Ch 32:31. God "tries" His people at different times by different ways, bringing out "all that is in their heart," to show them its varied corruptions. Compare David in a similar case (1Ch 21:1-8).

precious things—rather, "the house of his (aromatic) spices"; from a Hebrew root, to "break to pieces," as is done to aromatics.

silver … gold—partly obtained from the Assyrian camp (Isa 33:4); partly from presents (2Ch 32:23, 27-29).

precious ointment—used for anointing kings and priests.

armour—or else vessels in general; the parallel passage (2Ch 32:27), "treasuries … for shields," favors English Version. His arsenal.

No text from Poole on this verse. And Hezekiah was glad of them,.... Not of the presents, for he was very rich, and stood in no need of them, nor does it appear that he was covetous; but of the ambassadors, and of the honour that was done him in having such sent to him from such a prince; his sin was vain glory; and because he might hope that such a powerful ally would be a security to him against any after attempt of the king of Assyria, in which he was guilty of another sin, vain confidence, or trusting in an arm of flesh; and being lifted up with pride that his name was become so famous abroad, and that he had got so good an ally: and in order to ingratiate himself the more into his esteem and favour, he "showed" these his ambassadors

the house of his precious things; where his jewels and precious stones lay, and where were

the silver and the gold; large quantities of not only which he and his predecessors had laid up, which had been very lately greatly exhausted by the demand of three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold, by the king of Assyria; to answer which Hezekiah had given all the silver in the temple, and in the treasures of the king's house, and was so drove by necessity, that he cut off the gold from the doors and pillars of the temple, 2 Kings 18:14, so that it might be reasonable to ask, how came he so soon by all this treasure? it is possible that some part of the royal treasure might be unalienable, and he might have since received presents from his own nobles, and from foreign princes; but this was chiefly from the spoils found in the Assyrian camp, after the angel had made such a slaughter of them, 2 Kings 19:35, as a learned (d) man observes:

and the spices, and precious ointment; which, as Jarchi notes, some say were oil of olives; others the balsam which grew in Jericho; great quantities of this, with other spices, were laid up in store for use, as occasion should require:

and all the house of his armour; where were all his military stores, shields, swords, spears, arrows, &c.:

and all that was found in his treasures; in other places:

there was nothing in his house; in his royal palace:

nor in all his dominion; that was rare, curious, and valuable:

that Hezekiah showed them not; even the book of the law, as Jarchi says.

(d) Nicolai Abrami Pharus Vet. Test. l. 6. c. 17. p. 164.

And Hezekiah was {c} glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasuries: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah did not show them.

(c) Read 2Ki 20:13, 2Ch 32:25,31.

2. And Hezekiah was glad of them] Not only was his vanity flattered, but the arrival of the envoys fell in with political projects to which he was even then too ready to lend his ear. The reading is decidedly preferable to the flat and meaningless “heard of them” in 2 Kings 20:13 (not LXX.).

the house of his precious things] R.V. marg. has “house of his spicery,” identifying the word with one found in Genesis 37:25; Genesis 43:11. But this rendering has only an apparent justification in the “spices” mentioned below. The right meaning is given by the Targ. and Peshito: treasure-house. According to the younger Delitzsch it is the Assyrian bit nakanti. It is obvious that Hezekiah’s treasury was still full, which could not have been the case after the ruinous fine exacted by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14-16).

the spices, and the precious ointment] the spices and the fine oil. (Cf. 2 Chronicles 32:27.) These natural products of the land were probably stored for commerce and are mentioned as a source of wealth.

the house of his armour] better: his armoury. It is probably the same as the “house of the forest (of Lebanon)” in ch. Isaiah 22:8.Verse 2. - Hezekiah was glad of them. A more pregnant phrase than that which replaces it in 2 Kings, "hearkened unto them." Hezekiah, like Merodach-Baladan, was looking out for allies, and "was glad," thinking that in Babylon he had found one which might render him important service. Sargon's promptness, however, frustrated his hopes. In B.C. 709 that prince, regarding Merodach-Baladan's proceedings as constituting a real danger to his kingdom, made a great expedition into Babylonia, defeated Merodach-Baladan, and took him prisoner, after which he had himself crowned King of Babylon, and during the remainder of his life ( B.C. 709 to 705) ruled both countries. Showed them the house of his precious things; i.e. his treasury, or store-house. The treasuries of ancient monarchs were actual store-chambers, in which large quantities of the precious metals and valuable objects of various kinds were deposited (see Herod., 2:121; Arrian, 'Exp. Alex.,' 3:16, 18, etc.). The flourishing state of the treasury is an indication that the events here narrated are anterior to the great surrender of treasure to Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:15; 'Epenym Canon,' p. 135). All the house of his armour (comp. Isaiah 22:8). If a warlike alliance was contemplated, it was as important to show the possession of arms as of treasures. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not. We must allow for Oriental hyperbole. The meaning is, that, without any reserve, Hezekiah showed all that he could show. In strophe 4 he rejoices in the preservation of his life as the highest good, and promises to praise God for it as long as he lives.

"For Hades does not praise Thee; death does not sing praises to Thee:

They that sink into the grave do not hope for Thy truth.

The living, the living, he praises Thee, as I do today;

The father to the children makes known Thy truth.

Jehovah is ready to give me salvation;

Therefore will we play my stringed instruments all the days of my life

In the house of Jehovah."

We have here that comfortless idea of the future state, which is so common in the Psalms (vid., Psalm 6:6; Psalm 30:10; Psalm 88:12-13, cf., Psalm 115:17), and also in the book of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 9:4-5, Ecclesiastes 9:10). The foundation of this idea, notwithstanding the mythological dress, is an actual truth (vid., Psychol. p. 409), which the personal faith of the hero of Job endeavours to surmount (Comment. pp. 150-153, and elsewhere), but the decisive removal of which was only to be effected by the progressive history of salvation. The v. is introduced with "for" (kı̄), inasmuch as the gracious act of God is accounted for on the ground that He wished to be still further glorified by His servant whom He delivered. לא, in Isaiah 38:18, is written only once instead of twice, as in Isaiah 23:4. They "sink into the grave," i.e., are not thought of as dying, but as already dead. "Truth" ('ĕmeth) is the sincerity of God, with which He keeps His promises. Isaiah 38:19 reminds us that Manasseh, who was twelve years old when he succeeded his father, was not yet born (cf., Isaiah 39:7). The להושׁיעני יהוה, μέλλει σώζειν με, is the same as in Isaiah 37:26. The change in the number in Isaiah 38:20 may be explained from the fact that the writer thought of himself as the choral leader of his family; ay is a suffix, not a substantive termination (Ewald, 164, p. 427). The impression follows us to the end, that we have cultivated rather than original poetry here. Hezekiah's love to the older sacred literature is well known. He restored the liturgical psalmody (2 Chronicles 29:30). He caused a further collection of proverbs to be made, as a supplement to the older book of Proverbs (Proverbs 25:1). The "men of Hezekiah" resembled the Pisistratian Society, of which Onomacritos was the head.

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