2 Chronicles 32:31 MEANING

2 Chronicles 32:31
(31) Howbeit.--Literally, And thus; that is, and when things were thus prosperous with him. In the midst of Hezekiah's prosperity, God left him for a moment to himself, by way of putting him to the proof.

The princes of Babylon.--The same vague plural which we have already noticed in 2 Chronicles 28:16; 2 Chronicles 30:6, and 2 Chronicles 32:4, supra. The king who "sent letters and a present "to Hezekiah, with congratulations on his recovery from Sickness, and overtures of alliance against the common enemy, Assyria, was Merodach-baladan (Maruduk-abla-iddina, "Merodach gave a son"). (See the account in 2 Kings 20:12, seq.; Isaiah 39)

Who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder (Hebrew, the sign, as in 2 Chronicles 32:24).--This is not mentioned in the parallel passage of Kings and Isaiah. But such an inquiry is quite in harmony with what we know of the Babylonians from their own monuments. Babylon was the home of the arts of divination and augury, from observation of all kinds of signs and portents in every department of nature. Moreover, the sign given to Hezekiah would have a special interest for the astrologers and astronomers of the Babylonian temple-towers.

God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.--"To try," the same word as "to tempt" (Isaiah 7:12; Psalm 95:9; and often).

That he might know--i.e., in order to bring out and make manifest the latent possibilities of Hezekiah's character. The Searcher of hearts knew the issue beforehand; but we can only conceive of His dealings with man by means of human analogies, such as that of the chemist, who subjects an imperfectly known substance to various combinations of circumstances, by way of ascertaining its nature and affinities. The remark is peculiar to the chronicler.

Verse 31. - Howbeit; literally, and thus. The italic type dispensed with, the verse may be rendered, And thus with or among the ambassadors of the princes... God left him to, etc. The princes. This plural may be the pluralis excellentiae, and designate the king himself, who doubtless issued the official command to the messengers to visit Hezekiah with gifts, etc., but not necessarily so. The word may betray the inquiries and curiosity of the princes of Babylon, under the king, the expression of which led to the embassy, so to call it.

32:24-33 God left Hezekiah to himself, that, by this trial and his weakness in it, what was in his heart might be known; that he was not so perfect in grace as he thought he was. It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited, or self-confident, but may always live in dependence upon Divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leaves us to ourselves. His sin was, that his heart was lifted up. What need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves; but beg earnestly of God, that he will always keep them humble! Hezekiah made a bad return to God for his favours, by making even those favours the food and fuel of his pride. Let us shun the occasions of sin: let us avoid the company, the amusements, the books, yea, the very sights that may administer to sin. Let us commit ourselves continually to God's care and protection; and beg of him never to leave us nor forsake us. Blessed be God, death will soon end the believer's conflict; then pride and every sin will be abolished. He will no more be tempted to withhold the praise which belongs to the God of his salvation.Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire the wonder that was done in the land,.... Not to see the two tables of stone which were in the ark, with the other two that were broken because of the sin of the calf, as the Targum; nor to ask about the destruction of the Assyrian army, and the manner of it, as Grotius; but to be informed of the miracle of the sun's going back ten degrees, when Hezekiah was recovered from his sickness; the Chaldeans being a people much given to astrology, and curious in their observations of that kind:

God left him to try him; by showing him all his treasures:

that he might know all that was in his heart; not that God might know, who knows all things, unless spoken of him after the manner of men; but rather that Hezekiah might know the pride lurking in his heart, and other sins which escaped his notice, Jeremiah 17:9 or that it might be known by others; that the children of men might know it, as Kimchi; and take warning by it, and observe the frailty and infirmity of the best of men.

Courtesy of Open Bible