Isaiah 37:37
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelled at Nineveh.
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(37) So Sennacherib . . .—We have to remember that the Assyrian king had been engaged in the siege of Libnah, probably also in an Egyptian expedition, which from some cause or other was unsuccessful. The course of events was probably this: that in Egypt he heard of the ravages of the pestilence, returned to find his army too weak to fight, and then, abandoning all further action in the south, withdrew to Nineveh.

Departed, and went and returned.—We are reminded by the three synonyms of the proverbial “abiit, evasit, erupit” of Cicero, in Catil. ii. (Del.).

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19So Sennacherib departed - Probably with some portion of his army and retinue with him, for it is by no means probable that the whole army had been destroyed. In 2 Chronicles 32:21, it is said that the angel 'cut off all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria.' His army was thus entirely disabled, and the loss of so large a part of it, and the consternation produced by their sudden destruction, would of course lead him to abandon the siege.

Went and returned - Went from before Jerusalem and returned to his own land.

And dwelt at Nineveh - How long he dwelt there is not certainly known. Berosus, the Chaldean, says it was 'a little while' (see Jos. Ant. x. 1. 5). Nineveh was on the Tigris, and was the capital of Assyria. For an account of its site, and its present situation, see the American Biblical Repository for Jan. 1837, pp. 139-159.

37. dwelt at Nineveh—for about twenty years after his disaster, according to the inscriptions. The word, "dwelt," is consistent with any indefinite length of time. "Nineveh," so called from Ninus, that is, Nimrod, its founder; his name means "exceedingly impious rebel"; he subverted the existing patriarchal order of society, by setting up a system of chieftainship, founded on conquest; the hunting field was his training school for war; he was of the race of Ham, and transgressed the limits marked by God (Ge 10:8-11, 25), encroaching on Shem's portion; he abandoned Babel for a time, after the miraculous confusion of tongues and went and founded Nineveh; he was, after death, worshipped as Orion, the constellation (see on [774]Job 9:9; [775]Job 38:31). No text from Poole on this verse. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went, and returned,.... Being informed of the destruction of his army in this miraculous manner, he departed from the place where he was in all haste, fearing lest he himself should be destroyed in like manner; and having no forces to pursue his designs, or wherewith to make an attempt elsewhere, he made the best of his way at once into his own country, whither he returned with great shame and confusion:

and dwelt at Nineveh; the metropolis of his kingdom; see Genesis 10:11.

So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at {c} Nineveh.

(c) Which was the chiefest city of the Assyrians.

37, 38. The flight of Sennacherib, and his death at Nineveh. If the passage be a combination of two parallel narratives, the second ends with Isaiah 37:36, while Isaiah 37:37-38 form the conclusion of the first. In the Hebrew, the first words of Isaiah 37:37 would be the correct continuation of “and when he heard it” in Isaiah 37:9.Verse 37. - So Sennacherib... departed; rather, broke up his camp. The word used for all the removals of the children of Israel in the wilderness (Numbers 33:3-48). The loss of even an entire corps d'armeee would not have caused an Assyrian king, at the head of an intact main army, to break up his camp and abandon his enterprise. And dwelt at Nineveh. Sennacherib lived some eighteen or twenty years from the probable date of his discomfiture, dying in B.C. 681. His ordinary residence was at Nineveh, which he greatly adorned and beautified ('Records of the Past,' vol. 11. pp. 55-57). His father, Sargon, on the contrary, dwelt commonly at Khorsabad (Dur-Sargina), and his son, Esarhaddon, dwelt, during the latter part of his reign, at Babylon. We must not suppose, however, that Sennacherib was shut up in Nineveh during the remainder of his life. On the contrary, he made frequent expeditions towards the south, the east, and the north. But he made no farther expedition to the south-west, no further attack on Jerusalem, or attempt on Egypt. The Jews had peace, so far as the Assyrians were concerned, from the event related in ver. 36 to a late date in the reign of Esarhaddon. Seventh turn, "And that which is escaped of the house of Judah, that which remains will again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For from Jerusalem will a remnant go forth, and a fugitive from Mount Zion; the zeal of Jehovah of hosts (K. chethib omits tsebhâ'ōth) will carry this out." The agricultural prospect of the third year shapes itself there into a figurative representation of the fate of Judah. Isaiah's watchword, "a remnant shall return," is now fulfilled; Jerusalem has been spared, and becomes the source of national rejuvenation. You year the echo of Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 9:6, and also of Isaiah 27:6. The word tsebhâ'ōth is wanting in Kings, here as well as in Isaiah 37:17; in fact, this divine name is, as a rule, very rare in the book of Kings, where it only occurs in the first series of accounts of Elijah (1 Kings 18:15; 1 Kings 19:10, 1 Kings 19:14; cf., 2 Kings 3:14).
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