2 Kings 18:17 MEANING

2 Kings 18:17
(17) And the king of Assyria sent . . .--Apparently in careless violation of his word, as Josephus states.

Tartan.--Rather, the commander-in-chief; called in Assyrian tur-ta-nu, a word of Sumerian origin, imitated in the Hebrew tart?n here and in Isaiah 20:1.

Rabsaris and Rab-shaken.--Two other official titles. The Rabsaris has not been identified on the Assyrian monuments. The Hebrew word suggests "chief eunuch," or "courtier." (Comp. Jeremiah 39:3.) Such an official would accompany the tartan as scribe The term Rab-shakeh, as a Hebrew expression, signifies "chief cup-bearer;" but it is really only a Hebraised form of the Assyrian title rab-sak, "chief officer," applied to superior military commanders or staff officers. In Isaiah 36:2 only the Rabshakeh is mentioned; in 2 Chronicles 33:9 the three foreign titles are naturally displaced by the general expression, "his servants."

And they went up and came--i.e., the Assyrian army-corps under the tartan, &c.

And when they were come up, they came.--Literally, as before, And they went up and came. This is omitted in LXX., Syriac, Vulg., and Arabic, but the phrase refers this time specially to the three principals, who came within speaking distance of the walls.

The conduit . . . field.--Isaiah 7:3. The upper pool (called Gihon in 1 Kings 1:33) on the "highway of the fuller's field," i.e., the Joppa road, on the west side of the city, is different from the upper pool in the Tyrop?on, which is also called "the artificial pool" (Nehemiah 3:16), and "the old pool" (Isaiah 22:11). Below this latter was a pool, dug in Hezo-kiah's time, called in Isaiah 22:9 "the lower pool," and in Nehemiah 3:15 "the pool of Siloah."

Verses 17-37. - SECOND EXPEDITION OF SENNACHERIB. This section and 2 Kings 19. form one continuous narrative, which can only have been divided on account of its great length (fifty-eight verses). The subject is one throughout, viz. Sennacherib's second expedition against Hezekiah. The narrative flows on without a break. It consists of

(1) an account of the embassy of Rabshakeh (2 Kings 18:17-37; 2 Kings 19:1-8);

(2) an account of an insulting letter written by Sennacherib to Hezekiah, and of Hezekiah's "spreading it before the Lord" (2 Kings 19:9-14);

(3) the prayer of Hezekiah, and God's answer to it by the mouth of Isaiah (2 Kings 19:15-34);

(4) the destruction of Sennacherib's host, his flight to Nineveh, and his murder by two of his sons. The Assyrian inscriptions are absolutely silent with respect to this expedition and its result - it being a fixed rule with the historiographers of Assyria to pass over without notice all defeats and disasters. Verse 17. - And the King of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. Sennacherib appears, by his great inscription, to have returned to Nineveh, with his Judaean captives (more than two hundred thousand in number) and his rich booty, towards the close of the year B.C. 701. In the following year he was called into Babylonia, where troubles had broken out, and Hezekiah, left to himself, seems to have made up his mind to revolt, and to have called in the assistance of Egypt (Isaiah 30:4; 2 Kings 18:21). Sabatok was probably the nominal sovereign, but Tirhakah, who held his court at Meres, was lord paramount. An alliance was made; and hopes held out that, if Sennacherib again marched into Judaea, Hezekiah would receive effectual aid, especially in chariots and horsemen (ver. 24). Under these circumstances, Sennacherib made his second expedition, probably in B.C. 699. Regarding Egypt as his main enemy, and Judaea as of small account, he led his army by the ordinary route into the Philistian plain, pressing southward, while he detached a moderato force to hold Jerusalem in check, to threaten it, and, if an opportunity offered, to seize it. At the head of this force were three commanders, who seem to have borne, all of them, official titles; viz. the Tartan, or "commander-in-chief;" the Rabsaris, or "chief eunuch;" and the Rabshakeh, or "chief cupbearer." The Tartan was the highest of all the officials of the empire, and ranked next to the king. Sennacherib detached this force from Lachish, which seems to have revolted, and to have been undergoing a second siege. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool. It was, perhaps, this army which Isaiah saw in vision, advancing on Jerusalem from the pass of Michmash (Isaiah 10:28-32), and "shaking its hand" at the city from the northern plateau outside the walls - the traditional "camp of the Assyrians." At any rate, the "upper pool" and the" fuller's field" were in this direction (see the comment on Isaiah 7:3). Which is in the highway of the fuller's field.

18:17-37 Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is, therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiah's nobles held their peace. There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and fervent prayer.And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem,.... Notwithstanding he took the above large sum of money of him, so false and deceitful was he: these were three generals of his army, whom he sent to besiege Jerusalem, while he continued the siege of Lachish; only Rabshakeh is mentioned in Isaiah 36:2 he being perhaps chief general, and the principal speaker; whose speech, to the end of this chapter, intended to intimidate Hezekiah, and dishearten his people, with some circumstances which attended it, are recorded word for word in Isaiah 36:1 throughout; See Gill on Isaiah 36:1 and notes on that chapter.
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