Isaiah 39:6
Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
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(6, 7) Behold, the days come . . .—The words, it may be noted, received a two-fold fulfilment, under widely different conditions. Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, at the time when Isaiah spoke unborn, was carried as a prisoner to Babylon by Esar-haddon, king of Assyria (2Chronicles 33:11). The last lineal heir of the house of David, Jehoiachin, died there after long years of imprisonment (2Kings 25:27). Daniel and his three companions were “of the king’s seed and of the princes,” and were, probably, themselves reduced to that state, placed under the care of the master of the ennuchs” (Daniel 1:3). The actual treasures which Hezekiah showed were probably handed over to Sennacherib (2Kings 18:15-16); but looking to the fact that that king records his capture of Babylon, after defeating Merodach-baladan, and established his son Esar-haddon there (Lenormant, Ancient History, i., p. 400), it is probable enough that the treasures may have been taken thither, and displayed, as if in irony, to the king and the counsellors, who had hoped to profit by them. Sennacherib indeed boasts that he had carried off not only the king’s treasures, and his musicians to Nineveh, but his daughters also (Records of the Past, vii. 63).

39:1-8 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 20:12-19.Behold, the days come - The captivity of the Jews in Babylon commenced about one hundred and twenty years after this prediction (compare Jeremiah 20:5).

That all that is in thine house - That is, all the treasures that are in the treasure-house Isaiah 39:2.

And that which thy fathers have laid up in store - In 2 Kings 18:15-16, we are told that Hezekiah, in order to meet the demands of the king of Assyria, had cut off even the ornaments of the temple, and taken all the treasures which were in 'the king's house.' It is possible, however, that there might have been other treasures which had been accumulated by the kings before him which he had not touched.

Nothing shall be left - This was literally fulfilled (see 2 Chronicles 36:18). It is remarkable, says Vitringa, that this is the first intimation that the Jews would be carried to Babylon - the first designation of the place where they would be so long punished and oppressed. Micah M1 Corinthians 4:10, a contemporary of Isaiah, declares the same thing, but probably this was not before the declaration here made by Isaiah. Moses had declared repeatedly, that, if they were a rebellious people, they should be removed from their own to a foreign land; but he had not designated the country Leviticus 26:33-34; Deuteronomy 28:64-67; Deuteronomy 30:3. Ahijah, in the time of Jeroboam 1 Kings 14:15, had predicted that they should be carried 'beyond the river,' that is, the Euphrates; and Amos Amo 5:27 had said that God would carry them 'into captivity beyond Damascus.' But all these predictions were now concentrated on Babylon; and it was for the first time distinctly announced by Isaiah that that was to be the land where they were to suffer so long and so painful a captivity.

6. days come—one hundred twenty years afterwards. This is the first intimation that the Jews would be carried to Babylon—the first designation of their place of punishment. The general prophecy of Moses (Le 26:33; De 28:64); the more particular one of Ahijah in Jeroboam's time (1Ki 14:15), "beyond the river"; and of Am 5:27, "captivity beyond Damascus"; are now concentrated in this specific one as to "Babylon" (Mic 4:10). It was an exact retribution in kind, that as Babylon had been the instrument of Hezekiah and Judah's sin, so also it should be the instrument of their punishment. No text from Poole on this verse.

Behold, the days come,.... Or, "are coming (e)"; and which quickly came; after a few reigns more, even in Jehoiakim's time:

that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; as it was, when Jehoiakim king of Judah, his mother, servants, princes, and officers, were taken by the king of Babylon, and carried captive, and along with them the treasures of the king's house, and also all the treasures of the house of the Lord, 2 Kings 24:12,

nothing shall be left, saith the Lord; this was, as Jarchi says, measure for measure; as there was nothing that was not shown to the ambassadors, so nothing should be left untaken away by the Babylonians.

(e) "venientes", Montanus; "venturi sunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Behold, the days come, that all that is in thy house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be {e} carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.

(e) By the grievousness of the punishment is declared how greatly God detested ambition and vain glory.

6, 7. This is the only occasion on which a prophecy of the Babylonian Exile appears to be attributed to Isaiah. It is not easy to reconcile such a prediction with the particular circumstances in which it is reported to have been uttered. The announcement naturally left on Hezekiah’s mind the impression that his own days would be spent in peace, whereas in reality the most critical juncture of his reign still lay before him, and it is hardly credible that Isaiah should have disclosed to him the remote fate of his descendants, without warning him of the more immediate and personal consequences of his folly. This difficulty would be removed if we could hold that the prophecy was uttered after the deliverance from Sennacherib; but we have seen that this supposition is inadmissible on historical grounds. A more serious consideration is that Isaiah’s Messianic ideal leaves no room for a transference of the world-power from Assyria to Babylon, or the substitution of the latter for the former as the instrument of Israel’s chastisement. He uniformly regards the intervention of Jehovah in the Assyrian crisis as the supreme moment of human history and the turning point in the destinies of the kingdom of God, to be succeeded immediately by the glories of the Messianic age. The prediction, moreover, is without a parallel in the prophetic literature of Isaiah’s age (in Micah 4:10 the clause “and thou shalt go to Babylon” is inconsistent with the context, and in all probability a gloss). These objections are partly neutralised by the hypothesis that some nearer and more limited judgment is referred to, such as the imprisonment of Manasseh in Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:11) in the reign of Asshurbanipal. The terms of the prophecy fall short of a deportation of the people and a destruction of the city, only the fate of the treasures and the royal family being indicated. No great stress, however, can be laid on this limitation (comp. a somewhat similar case in Amos 7:17) and the suggestion fails to harmonise the prediction with Isaiah’s known anticipation of the course of events. It is possible that the prophet’s actual communication had reached the late writer of this narrative in a form coloured by subsequent events.

Verse 6. - Behold, the days come; literally, the days [are] coming, or [are] approaching. Of the exact "times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7), the prophets generally knew nothing. They were mouth-pieces, to declare the Divine will, not keen-witted politicians, forecasting results by the exercise of sharp-sightedness and sagacity. To suppose that Isaiah foresaw by mere human wisdom the Babylonian conquest of Judaea, as Charles the Great did the ravages of the Northmen (R. Williams, 'Hebrew Prophets,' vol. 1. p. 429), is to give him credit for a sagacity quite unexampled and psychologically impossible. The kingdom of Babylon was one among many that were struggling hard to maintain independence against the grasping and encroaching Assyria. From the time of Tiglath-Pileser IX. she had been continually losing ground. Both Sargon and Sennacherib trampled her underfoot, overran her territory, captured her towns, and reduced her under direct Assyrian government. Till Assyria should be swept away, a Babylonian conquest of Palestine was impossible. To suppose it was like supposing a Russian conquest of Holland, while Germany bars the way. Nothing short of the true prophetic afflatus, which is God the Holy Ghost speaking by the mouth of his servants, could have made such an anticipation. And with Isaiah, as Mr. Cheyne says, it is "not a mere presentiment; it is a calm and settled conviction, based on a direct revelation, and confirmed by a deep insight into the laws of the Divine government." All that is in thine house. Not, of course, exactly all that was there when Isaiah spoke, but all the wealth that should be in the royal palace when the time of the Babylonian captivity arrived. (For the fulfilment, see 2 Chronicles 36:18.) That which thy fathers have laid up in store. A portion of this was carried off by Sennacherib in his first expedition (2 Kings 18:14-16); but the bulk of the temple treasures - the gifts of many kings - remained untouched until they were removed to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:2; Daniel 5:2; 2 Kings 24:13; 2 Kings 25:13-17). Isaiah 39:6The consequences of this coqueting with the children of the stranger, and this vain display, are pointed out in Isaiah 39:3-8 : "Then came Isaiah the prophet to king Hizkiyahu, and said to him, What have these men said, and whence come they to thee? Hizkiyahu said, They came to me from a far country (K. omits to me), out of Babel. He said further, What have they seen in thy house? Hizkiyahu said, All that is in my house have they seen: there was nothing in my treasures that I had not shown them. Then Isaiah said to Hizkiyahu, Hear the word of Jehovah of hosts (K. omits tsebhâ'ōth); Behold, days come, that all that is in thy house, and all that thy fathers have laid up unto this day, will be carried away to Babel (בּבל, K. בּבלה): nothing will be left behind, saith Jehovah. And of thy children that proceed from thee, whom thou shalt beget, will they take (K. chethib, 'will he take'); and they will be courtiers in the palace of the king of Babel. Then said Hizkiyahu to Isaiah, Good is the word of Jehovah which thou hast spoken. And he said further, Yea (כּי, K. אם הלוא), there shall be peace and stedfastness in my days." Hezekiah's two candid answers in vv. 3 and 4 are an involuntary condemnation of his own conduct, which was sinful in two respects. This self-satisfied display of worthless earthly possessions would bring its own punishment in their loss; and this obsequious suing for admiration and favour on the part of strangers, would be followed by plundering and enslaving on the part of those very same strangers whose envy he had excited. The prophet here foretells the Babylonian captivity; but, in accordance with the occasion here given, not as the destiny of the whole nation, but as that of the house of David. Even political sharp-sightedness might have foreseen, that some such disastrous consequences would follow Hezekiah's imprudent course; but this absolute certainty, that Babylon, which was then struggling hard for independence, would really be the heiress to the Assyrian government of the world, and that it was not from Assyria, which was actually threatening Judah with destruction for its rebellion, but from Babylon, that this destruction would really come, was impossible without the spirit of prophecy. We may infer from Isaiah 39:7 (cf., Isaiah 38:19, and for the fulfilment, Daniel 1:3) that Hezekiah had no son as yet, at least none with a claim to the throne; and this is confirmed by 2 Kings 21:1. So far as the concluding words are concerned, we should quite misunderstand them, if we saw nothing in them but common egotism. כּי (for) is explanatory here, and therefore confirmatory. אם הלוא, however, does not mean "yea, if only," as Ewald supposes (324, b), but is also explanatory, though in an interrogative form, "Is it not good (i.e., still gracious and kind), if," etc.? He submits with humility to the word of Jehovah, in penitential acknowledgement of his vain, shortsighted, untheocratic conduct, and feels that he is mercifully spared by God, inasmuch as the divine blessings of peace and stability (אמת a self-attesting state of things, without any of those changes which disappoint our confident expectations) would continue. "Although he desired the prosperity of future ages, it would not have been right for him to think it nothing that God had given him a token of His clemency, by delaying His judgment" (Calvin).

Over the kingdom of Judah there was now hanging the very same fate of captivity and exile, which had put an end to the kingdom of Israel eight years before. When the author of the book of Kings prefaces the four accounts of Isaiah in 2 Kings 18:13-20, with the recapitulation in 2 Kings 18:9-12 (cf., Isaiah 17:5-6), his evident meaning is, that the end of the kingdom of Israel, and the beginning of the end of the kingdom of Judah, had their meeting-point in Hezekiah's time. As Israel fell under the power of the Assyrian empire, which foundered upon Judah, though only through a miraculous manifestation of the grace of God (see Hosea 1:7); so did Judah fall a victim to the Babylonian empire. The four accounts are so arranged, that the first two, together with the epilogue in Isaiah 37:36., which contains the account of the fulfilment, bring the Assyrian period of judgment to a close; and the last two, with the eventful sketch in Isaiah 39:6-7, open the way for the great bulk of the prophecies which now follow in chapters 40-66, relating to the Babylonian period of judgment. This Janus-headed arrangement of the contents of chapters 36-39 is a proof that this historical section formed an original part of the "vision of Isaiah." At any rate, it leads to the conclusion that, whoever arranged the four accounts in their present order, had chapters 40-66 before him at the time. We believe, however, that we may, or rather, considering the prophetico-historical style of chapters 36-39, that we must, draw the still further conclusion, that Isaiah himself, when he revised the collection of his prophecies at the end of Hezekiah's reign, or possibly not till the beginning of Manasseh's, bridged over the division between the two halves of the collection by the historical trilogy in the seventh book.

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