And the LORD was with him; and he prospered wherever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And he prospered . . . went forth.—Whithersoever he would go forth he would prosper. (The italicised and is needless here, as in 2Kings 18:6.)
He rebelled against the king of Assyria—i.e., refused the tribute which Ahaz his father had paid. In this matter also it is implied that Hezekiah succeeded. The mention of Hezekiah’s revolt here does not imply that it happened at the beginning of his reign, for 2Kings 18:1-12 are a preliminary sketch of his entire history. The subject here glanced at is continued at large in 2Kings 18:13 seq.2 Kings 18:7. The Lord was with him, and he prospered, &c. — He adhered to God and his service, and therefore God was with him; and, having the special presence of God with him, he had wonderful success in all his enterprises, in his wars, his buildings, and especially his reformation; which good work was carried on with less difficulty than he could have expected. Thus we have in him an instructive and encouraging example, teaching us that they who do God’s work with an eye to his glory, and with confidence in his strength, may expect to prosper in it: for great is the truth, and will prevail. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria — That is, he threw off that yoke of subjection to him to which his father had basely submitted, and re-assumed that full and independent sovereignty which God had settled in the house of David. This, though here called rebelling against him, was really no more than asserting the just rights of his crown. For his case differed much from that of Zedekiah, who is blamed for rebellion against the king of Babylon. Zedekiah had engaged himself by a solemn oath and covenant, which we do not read that Ahaz had done, much less had Hezekiah. Zedekiah had broke the covenant which himself had made; and God had actually given the dominion of the land and people to the king of Babylon, and commanded both Zedekiah and his subjects to submit to him. But God had not given any such dominion to the king of Assyria, nor had he commanded either Hezekiah or his people to be subject to him. And as to the word rebel here used, it means no more than to depart from that subjection which had been performed to another, which sometimes may be justly done, and certainly might in this case. Indeed, that Hezekiah did not sin in revolting from the king of Assyria seems evident, because God owned and assisted him in it, and did not at all reprove him for it in that message which he sent to him by Isaiah, nor afterward, though he did particularly reprove him for his vain-glory and ostentation, 2 Chronicles 32:25-26.2 Chronicles 32:23, 2 Chronicles 32:27-29. His great influence among the nations bordering on the northern kingdom, was the cause of the first expedition of Sennacherib against him, the Ekronites having expelled an Assyrian viceroy from their city, and delivered him to Hezekiah for safe keeping: an expedition which did not very long precede that of 2 Kings 18:13, which fell toward the close of Hezekiah's long reign. 2 Kings 16:7, and reassumed that full and independent sovereignty which God had settled in the house of David, which Ahaz could not alienate further than for his own time. And Hezekiah’s case differs much from that of Zedekiah, who is blamed for rebellion against the king of Babylon, both because he had engaged himself to him by a solemn oath and covenant, which we do not read of Ahaz; and because he broke the covenant which he himself had made; and because God had actually given the dominion of his own land and people to the king of Babylon, and commanded both Zedekiah and his people to submit to him. And whereas Hezekiah is here said to rebel, that word implies only a defection from that subjection which had been professed and performed to another: which sometimes may be justly done, and sometimes may not; and therefore that word doth not necessarily prove this action to be a sin. And these words,
he rebelled, & c., are explained by the next following words,
and he served him not. And that it was not a sin in him seems most probable because God did own and assist him therein; and did not at all reprove him for it in that message which he sent to him by Isaiah about this matter, 2 Kings 19:20, &c., nor afterwards, though he did particularly reprove him for that which might seem a less fault, for his vain-glory and ostentation, 2 Chronicles 32:25,26. For what he saith, I have offended, See Poole "2 Kings 18:14".
and he prospered whithersoever he went forth; that is, to war:
and he rebelled against the king of Assyria: which is explained in the next clause:
and served him not; he refused to be his servant, as his father Ahaz had been, 2 Kings 16:7, to which he was not obliged by any agreement of his; and, if it was in his power, might lawfully shake off his yoke, which is all that is meant by rebelling against him; he refused to be tributary to him.And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. and he prospered whithersoever he went forth] By placing the last four words at the beginning of the sentence, the R.V. again gets rid of the italic and.
he rebelled against the king of Assyria] Ahaz had purchased Assyrian help against Rezin and Pekah [2 Kings 16:7-9] and had become the vassal of Tiglath-pileser. No doubt the terms between the two nations were meant to continue in the reigns of the successors of Ahaz and Tiglath-pileser. The revolt of Hezekiah seems to have been made regardless of these terms. For when Sennacherib comes to attack him, he feels he must admit (verse 14) that he has offended, ‘I have offended, return from me, that which thou puttest on me will I bear’.Verse 7. - And the Lord was with him. Of no other King of Judah or Israel is this said, except only of David (2 Samuel 5:10). It was the promise made to Moses (Exodus 3:12), repeated to Joshua (Joshua 1:5, 7), and by implication given in them to all those who would rule his people faithfully (comp. 2 Chronicles 15:2). And he prospered whithersoever he went forth; rather, in all his goings - in cunctis ad quae procedebat (Vulgate). Hezekiah's prosperity is enlarged upon by the writer of Chronicles, who says (2 Chronicles 32:27-30), "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, add for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels; storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks. Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much.... And Hezekiah prospered in all his works." Many brought presents to him to Jerusalem, and he was magnified in the sight of all the surrounding nations (see 2 Chronicles 32:23). And he rebelled against the King of Assyria, and served him not. Hezekiah's "rebellion" probably took place at the very commencement of his reign, B.C. 727, in the year that Shalmaneser ascended the throne. Most likely it consisted simply in his withholding his tribute, and neither going in person nor sending representatives to Nineveh, to congratulate the new monarch on his accession. This would be understood as an assertion of independence. That it was not at once resented must be ascribed to Shalmaneser's difficulties with Samaria and with Tyre, which were more pressing, as they lay nearer to Assyria. Before these were over, Sargon usurped the crown. There is reason to believe that he made at least one expedition against Hezekiah; but the date of it is uncertain. Rebellion met him on all sides, and had to be crushed near home before he could venture to deal with it on the remote outskirts of his empire. Meanwhile Hezekiah strengthened himself and built up a considerable power.
(Note: On comparing the account of Hezekiah's reign given in our books (2 Kings 18-20) with that in 2 Chronicles 29-32, the different plans of these two historical works are at once apparent. The prophetic author of our books first of all describes quite briefly the character of the king's reign (2 Kings 18:1-8), and then gives an elaborate description of the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib and of his attempt to get Jerusalem into his power, together with the destruction of the proud Assyrian force and Sennacherib's hasty return to Nineveh and death (2 Kings 18:13-19, 2 Kings 18:37); and finally, he also gives a circumstantial account of Hezekiah's illness and recovery, and also of the arrival of the Babylonian embassy in Jerusalem, and of Hezekiah's conduct on that occasion (2 Kings 20). The chronicler, on the other hand, has fixed his chief attention upon the religious reformation carried out by Hezekiah, and therefore first of all describes most elaborately the purification of the temple from all idolatrous abominations, the restoration of the Jehovah-cultus and the feast of passover, to which Hezekiah invited all the people, not only the subjects of his own kingdom, but the remnant of the ten tribes also (2 Chronicles 29-31); and then simply gives in 2 Kings 32 the most summary account of the attack made by Sennacherib upon Jerusalem and the destruction of his army, of the sickness and recovery of Hezekiah, and of his great riches, the Babylonian embassy being touched upon in only the most casual manner. The historical character of the elaborate accounts given in the Chronicles of Hezekiah's reform of worship and his celebration of the passover, which Thenius follows De Wette and Gramberg in throwing doubt upon, has been most successfully defended by Bertheau as well as others. - On the disputed question, in what year of Hezekiah's reign the solemn passover instituted by him fell, see the thorough discussion of it by C. P. Caspari (Beitrr. z. Einleit. in d. B. Jesaia, pp. 109ff.), and our Commentary on the Chronicles, which has yet to appear.)
2 Kings 18:1, 2 Kings 18:2. In the third year of Hoshea of Israel, Hezekiah became king over Judah, when he was twenty-five years old. According to 2 Kings 18:9, 2 Kings 18:10, the fourth and sixth years of Hezekiah corresponded to the seventh and ninth of Hoshea; consequently his first year apparently ran parallel to the fourth of Hoshea, so that Josephus (Ant. ix. 13, 1) represents him as having ascended the throne in the fourth year of Hoshea's reign. But there is no necessity for this alteration. If we assume that the commencement of his reign took place towards the close of the third year of Hoshea, the fourth and sixth years of his reign coincided for the most part with the sixth and ninth years of Hoshea's reign. The name הזקיּה or הזקיּהוּ (2 Kings 18:9, 2 Kings 18:13, etc.) is given in its complete form יהזקיּהוּ, "whom Jehovah strengthens," in 2 Chronicles 29ff. and Isaiah 1:1; and והזקיּה in Hosea 1:1 and Micah 1:1. On his age when he ascended the throne, see the Comm. on 2 Kings 16:2. The name of his mother, אבי, is a strongly contracted form of אבי (2 Chronicles 29:1).
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