2 Kings 18:25 MEANING

2 Kings 18:25
(25) The Lord said to me.--Michaelis supposed that Sennacherib had consulted some of the captive priests of the Northern kingdom. Others think some report of the menaces of the Hebrew prophets may have reached Assyrian ears. Thenius makes Rab-shakeh's words a mere inference from the success which had hitherto attended the expedition; but the language is too definite for this. In the annals of Nabuna'id, the last king of Babylon, a remarkable parallel occurs. The Persian Cyrus there represents himself as enjoying the special favour of Merodach the chief god of Babylon; Merodach foretells his march upon the city, and accompanies him thither. Cyrus even declares that he has daily offered prayers to Bel and Nebo, that they might intercede with Merodach on his behalf. From all this it would appear to have been customary with invaders to seek to win the gods of hostile countries to the furtherance of their schemes of conquest. (Comp. the account of the taking of Veii in Livy, v. 21, especially the sentence beginning "Veientes ignari se jam ab suis vatibus, jam ab externis oraculis proditos;" and Macrob. Sat. iii. 9.) It is not impossible that there was some renegade prophet of Jehovah in the Assyrian camp. At all events, the form of the oracle, "Go up against this land, and destroy it," is thoroughly authentic. Comp. the oracle of Chemosh to Mesha: "And Chemosh said unto me, Go thou, seize Nebo against Israel" (Moabite Stone, 1. 14). Meanwhile, Isaiah 10:5 seq. shows how true was the boast of the arrogant invader, in a sense which lay far above his heathenish apprehension.

Verse 25. - Am I now come up without the Lord against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it. The Assyrian monarchs constantly state that Asshur, their "great god," directs them to make war against this or that nation ('Records of the Past,' vol. 1. pp. 48, 60, 70, 71, 82, etc.), but not that the god of the country to be attacked does so. It is difficult to account for Sennacherib's very exceptional boast, "Jehovah said to me. Go up against this laud." Perhaps he identifies "Jehovah" with "Asshur." Perhaps he has heard of prophecies, uttered in the name of Jehovah, by Jewish prophets, which threatened the land with desolation at the hand of the Assyrians (e.g., Isaiah 7:17-24; Isaiah 10:5-12; Joel 2:1-11, etc.). Or he may have made the statement in mere bravado, as one that might frighten some, and at any rate could not be contradicted.

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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