2 Kings 19:21
This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion has despised you, and laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you.
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(21) This is the word . . .—The prophecy which follows is well characterised by Cheyne as one “of striking interest, and both in form and matter stamped with the mark of Isaiah.”

Concerning him.—Or, against him.

The virgin the daughter of Zion.—A poetic personification of place. Zion here, as Jerusalem in the next line, is regarded as mother of the people dwelling there. (Comp. 2Samuel 20:19.) The term Virgin naturally denotes the inviolable security of the citadel of Jehovah.

Hath shaken her head at thee.—Or, hath nodded behind thee. (Comp. Psalm 22:8.) The people of Jerusalem nod in scorn at the retiring envoys of Sennacherib.

2 Kings 19:21. The daughter of Zion — That is, Jerusalem; which is called the daughter of Zion, say some, because the hill of Zion, as being the strongest and safest part, was first inhabited, and by the increase of inhabitants, Jerusalem arising around, as it were, sprang from it, and might therefore properly enough be termed its daughter. But it is more probable that the people of Zion, or of Jerusalem, (Zion, an eminent part of the city, being put for the whole,) are here termed its daughter, cities and countries being often called mothers, and their inhabitants daughters. Thus we read of the daughter of Babylon, the daughter of Tyre, &c., Psalm 137:8; Psalm 45:13. Zion or Jerusalem is termed a virgin, because she was pure in good measure from that gross idolatry wherewith other people were defiled, which is called spiritual whoredom; and to signify that God would defend her from the rape which Sennacherib intended to commit upon her, with no less care than parents do their virgin daughters from those who seek to force and deflour them. The image is extremely fine, whereby the contempt of Sennacherib’s threats is expressed.19:20-34 All Sennacherib's motions were under the Divine cognizance. God himself undertakes to defend the city; and that person, that place, cannot but be safe, which he undertakes to protect. The invasion of the Assyrians probably had prevented the land from being sown that year. The next is supposed to have been the sabbatical year, but the Lord engaged that the produce of the land should be sufficient for their support during those two years. As the performance of this promise was to be after the destruction of Sennacherib's army, it was a sign to Hezekiah's faith, assuring him of that present deliverance, as an earnest of the Lord's future care of the kingdom of Judah. This the Lord would perform, not for their righteousness, but his own glory. May our hearts be as good ground, that his word may strike root therein, and bring forth fruit in our lives.Concerning him - i. e., "concerning Sennacherib." 2 Kings 19:21-28 are addressed to the great Assyrian monarch himself, and are God's reply to his proud boastings.

The virgin, the daughter of Zion, - Rather, holy eastern city, is here distinguished from Jerusalem, the western one, and is given the remarkable epithet "virgin," which is not applied to her sister; probably because the true Zion, the city of David, had remained inviolable from David's time, having never been entered by an enemy. Jerusalem, on the other hand, had been taken, both by Shishak 1 Kings 14:26 and by Jehoash 2 Kings 14:13. The personification of cities as females is a common figure (compare marginal references).

Hath shaken her head at thee - This was a gesture of scorn with the Hebrews (compare the marginal references; Matthew 27:39).

20. Then Isaiah … sent—A revelation having been made to Isaiah, the prophet announced to the king that his prayer was heard. The prophetic message consisted of three different portions:—First, Sennacherib is apostrophized (2Ki 19:21-28) in a highly poetical strain, admirably descriptive of the turgid vanity, haughty pretensions, and presumptuous impiety of the Assyrian despot. Secondly, Hezekiah is addressed (2Ki 19:29-31), and a sign is given him of the promised deliverance—namely, that for two years the presence of the enemy would interrupt the peaceful pursuits of husbandry, but in the third year the people would be in circumstances to till their fields and vineyards and reap the fruits as formerly. Thirdly, the issue of Sennacherib's invasion is announced (2Ki 19:32-34). The virgin; so he calls Zion, or Jerusalem; partly, because she was pure in good measure from that gross idolatry wherewith other people were defiled, which is called spiritual whoredom; partly, to signify that God would defend her from that rape which Sennacherib intended to commit upon her, with no less care and zeal than parents do their virgin daughters from those who seek to force and deflour them; and partly, to intimate, that as she had not yet been forced and taken by her barbarous enemies, so she should still retain her virginity, in spite of his attempts against her.

The daughter of Zion, i.e. the people of Zion, i.e. as it follows, of Jerusalem; so called synecdochically from the mountain and city of Zion, which was an eminent part of it. Cities and countries are oft called mothers, as 2 Samuel 20:19; and their inhabitants daughters, as Numbers 21:25 Joshua 17:16 Judges 1:27 Psalm 45:13 Psalm 137:8.

Hath shaken her head at thee; laughed at all thy proud and impotent threatenings. This is a gesture of contempt and derision; of which see Psalm 22:7 44:14 Jeremiah 18:16 Matthew 27:39. And it came to pass, when King Hezekiah heard it,.... The report of Rabshakeh's speech, recorded in the preceding chapter:

that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth; rent his clothes because of the blasphemy in the speech; and he put on sackcloth, in token of mourning, for the calamities he feared were coming on him and his people: and he went into the house of the Lord; the temple, to pray unto him. The message he sent to Isaiah, with his answer, and the threatening letter of the king of Assyria, Hezekiah's prayer upon it, and the encouraging answer he had from the Lord, with the account of the destruction of the Assyrian army, and the death of Sennacherib, are the same "verbatim" as in Isaiah 37:1 throughout; and therefore the reader is referred thither for the exposition of them; only would add what Rauwolff (t) observes, that still to this day (1575) there are two great holes to be seen, wherein they flung the dead bodies (of the Assyrian army), one whereof is close by the road towards Bethlehem, the other towards the right hand against old Bethel.

(t) Travels, par. 3. ch. 22. p. 317.

This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The {n} virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

(n) Because as yet Jerusalem had not been taken by the enemy therefore he calls her virgin.

21. The virgin the [R.V. omits the] daughter of Zion hath despised thee] The first part of the prophetic word is addressed to Sennacherib. Jerusalem is called ‘daughter of Sion’ because her inhabitants may be counted poetically as the offspring of Sion. She is also called ‘virgin’ because hitherto, since David’s time, when the chosen people first obtained complete possession of the place, it had never been conquered. And by opening the prophecy with this word it seems to be foretold that it shall still he saved from conquest. Some have preferred to take the three words as all in apposition, rendering ‘The virgin-daughter Sion’, with much the same sense. In the original the first two words are both in the construct form, but instances are found of such forms standing as if only in apposition.

The daughter of Jerusalem] i.e. The people dwelling in the city.

hath shaken her head at thee] This was a gesture of scorn. Cf. Job 16:4, ‘I could heap up words against you and shake mine head at you’. See also Psalm 22:7; Psalm 44:15; Psalm 109:25 and other parallel passages.Verse 21. - This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him. "Him" is, of course, Sennacherib. It adds great liveliness and force to the opening portion of the oracle, that it should be addressed directly by Jehovah to Sennacherib, as an answer to his bold challenge. The only address at all similar in Scripture is that to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:31, 32), spoken by "a voice from heaven" But the present passage is one of far greater force and beauty. The virgin the daughter of Zion; rather, the virgin daughter of Zion, or the virgin daughter, Zion. Cities were commonly personified by the sacred writers, and represented as "daughters" (see Isaiah 23:10, 12; Isaiah 47:1, 5, etc.). "Virgin daughter" here may perhaps represent "the consciousness of impregnability" (Drechsler); but the phrase seems to have been used rhetorically or poetically, to heighten the beauty or pathos of the picture (Isaiah 23:12; Isaiah 47:1; Jeremiah 46:11; Lamentations 2:13), without any reference to the question whether the particular city had or had not been previously taken. Jerusalem certainly had been taken by Shishak (1 Kings 14:26), and by Joash (2 Kings 14:13); but Zion, if it be taken as the name of the eastern city (Bishop Patrick, ad lee.), may have been still a "virgin fortress." Hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; or, despises thee and laughs thee to scorn. The Hebrew preterite has often a present sense. Whatever was the case a little while ago (see Isaiah 22:1-14), the city now laughs at thy threats. The daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee; or, wags her head at thee - in scorn and ridicule (comp. Psalm 22:7). In opposition to the delusion of the Assyrians, he describes Jehovah, the God of Israel, as the only God of all the kingdoms of the earth, since He was the Creator of heaven and earth. הכּרבים ישׁב (see at 1 Samuel 4:4 and Exodus 25:22) indicates the covenant-relation into which Jehovah, the almighty Creator and Ruler of the whole world, had entered towards Israel. As the covenant God who was enthroned above the cherubim the Lord was bound to help His people, if they turned to Him with faith in the time of their distress and entreated His assistance; and as the only God of all the world He had the power to help. In Isaiah, צבאות, which is very rare in historical prose, but very common in prophetical addresses, is added to the name יהוה, and thus Jehovah at the very outset is addressed as the God of the universe. On the meaning of צבאות, see at 1 Samuel 1:3. On האלהים הוּא אתּה, see 2 Samuel 7:28 and 1 Kings 18:39.
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