Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, Whereas you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then Isaiah the son of Amoz . . .—According to the rectified chronology, the grand burst of prophecy which follows was the last of Isaiah’s recorded utterances. As such, it will be interesting to note any points of contact that present themselves either with his earlier prophecies or with the great prophetic poem (Isaiah 40-66) traditionally ascribed to him. The prayer of Hezekiah, if he was not present at its utterance, was reported to him, and in the name of Jehovah he was commissioned to reply to it.2 Kings 19:20, it is, 'That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, I have heard.'
thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Hezekiah had been praying to him under that title and character, Isaiah 37:16,
whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria: or, "what thou hast prayed", &c. (n); the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, supply, "I have heard". It is bad for any to have the prayers of good men against them.Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. The construction of the verse is entirely altered in 2 Kings 19:20 by the introduction of the words “I have heard.” It then reads “That which thou hast prayed … I have heard.” But the addition is unnecessary; and the text in Isaiah is to be preferred.
21–35. The answer to the prayer comes in the form of a message from Isaiah. The message as here given really consists of two distinct oracles: (1) a poem, on the pride and the approaching humiliation of Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:22-29); to which is appended a short passage in a different rhythm addressed to Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:30-32); (2) a definite prediction, in a less elevated style, of the deliverance of Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:33-35). The lyrical passage (Isaiah 37:22-32) appears to have been inserted in the narrative from some independent source. Although probably a genuine work of Isaiah, the recitation of a somewhat elaborate poem is hardly a natural form for a prophetic communication to take at so critical a juncture. A terse and pregnant oracle, such as we have in Isaiah 37:33-35 suits the situation better, and since these verses contain a complete and direct answer to the prayer of Hezekiah, we need not hesitate to regard them as the actual message of the prophet on this occasion. A slight indication of the original connexion of the narrative may possibly be found in the “therefore” of Isaiah 37:33, referring back to the “whereas” of Isaiah 37:21.Verse 21. - Then Isaiah... sent to Hezekiah, saying. It seems most natural to understand that the prophet was at once supernaturally informed of Hezekiah's prayer, as Ananias was of Saul's (Acts 9:11), and instructed what reply to make to it. But still, it is no doubt possible that some of the facts have been omitted for the sake of brevity. Psalm 18:11 and Psalm 80:2. הוּא in אתּה־הוּא is an emphatic repetition, that is to say a strengthening, of the subject, like Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 51:12; 2 Samuel 7:28; Jeremiah 49:12; Psalm 44:5; Nehemiah 9:6-7; Ezra 5:11 : tu ille (not tu es ille, Ges. 121, 2) equals tu, nullus alius. Such passages as Isaiah 41:4, where הוּא is the predicate, do not belong here. עין is not a singular (like עיני in Psalm 32:8, where the lxx have עיני), but a defective plural, as we should expect after pâqach. On the other hand, the reading shelâchō ("hath sent him"), which cannot refer to debhârı̄m (the words), but only to the person bringing the written message, is to be rejected. Moreover, Knobel cannot help giving up his preference for the reading venâthōn (compare Genesis 41:43; Ges. 131, 4a); just as, on the other hand, we cannot help regarding the reading ואת־ארצם את־כּל־הארצות as a mistake, when compared with the reading of the book of Kings. Abravanel explains the passage thus: "The Assyrians have devastated the lands, and their own land" (cf., Isaiah 14:20), of which we may find examples in the list of victories given above; compare also Beth-arbel in Hosea 10:14, if this is Irbil on the Tigris, from which Alexander's second battle in Persia, which was really fought at Gaugamela, derived its name. But how does this tally with the fact that they threw the gods of these lands - that is to say, of their own land also (for אלהיהם could not possibly refer to הארצות, to the exclusion of ארצם) - into the fire? If we read haggōyı̄m (the nations), we get rid both of the reference to their own land, which is certainly purposeless here, and also of the otherwise inevitable conclusion that they burned the gods of their own country. The reading הארצות appears to have arisen from the fact, that after the verb החריב the lands appeared to follow more naturally as the object, than the tribes themselves (compare, however, Isaiah 60:12). The train of thought is the following: The Assyrians have certainly destroyed nations and their gods, because these gods were nothing but the works of men: do Thou then help us, O Jehovah, that the world may see that Thou alone art it, viz., God ('Elōhı̄m, as K. adds, although, according to the accents, Jehovah Elohim are connected together, as in the books of Samuel and Chronicles, and very frequently in the mouth of David: see Symbolae in Psalmos, pp. 15, 16).
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