Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
18:2 To reign - It is not certain that Ahaz lived only thirty six years, for those sixteen years which he reigned, may be computed, not from the first beginning of his reign, when he reigned with his father; which was at the twentieth year of his age, but from the beginning of his reigning alone.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.
He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
18:4 Serpent - The most of them, or such as the people most frequented: for all were not taken away, chap.23:13,14, tho' his own father had set them up. We must never dishonour God, in honour to our earthly parents. Brazen serpent - Which had been hitherto kept as a memorial of God's mercy; but being now commonly abused to superstition, was destroyed. To it - Not doubtless as to a god, but only as to an instrument of God's mercy, by and through which, their adoration was directed to God, and given to that only for God's sake. Nehushtan - He said, this serpent, howsoever formerly honoured, and used by God as a sign of his grace, yet now it is nothing but a piece of brass which can do you neither good nor hurt.
He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.
18:5 Trusted - Without calling in foreign succours to establish or help him; which his father Ahaz did; and before him Asa. Before him - Of the kings of Judah only; for David and Solomon were kings of all Israel. The like is said of Josiah, chap.23:25. Each of them, excelled the other in several respects. Hezekiah in this, that he fell upon this work in the beginning of his reign, which Josiah did not, and with no less resolution, undertaking to do that which none of his predecessors durst do, even to remove the high places, wherein Josiah did only follow his example.
For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.
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.
18:7 Rebelled - He shook off that yoke of subjection, to which his father had wickedly submitted, and reassumed that full and independent sovereignty which God had settled in the house of David. 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 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 performed to another; which sometimes may be justly done, and therefore that word doth not necessarily prove this to be a sin. And that it was not a sin in him, seems certain, because God owned and assisted him therein; and did not at all reprove him for it, in that message which he sent to him by Isaiah, nor afterwards, though he did particularly reprove him, for his vain - glory, and ostentation, 2Chron 32:25,26.
He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it.
And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.
And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:
Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.
Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
18:13 Them - Many of them; universal particles being frequently so used both in scripture, and other authors; and this success God gave him; to lift him up to his own greater and more shameful destruction: to humble and chastise his own people for their manifold sins, and, to gain an eminent opportunity to advance his own honour by that miraculous deliverance which he designed for his people.
And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
18:14 Three hundred talents, and c. - Above two hundred thousand pounds.
And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house.
At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field.
18:17 Sent - Having received the money, upon which he agreed to depart from Hezekiah and his land, he breaks his faith with Hezekiah, thereby justifying his revolt, and preparing the way for his own destruction.
And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?
18:19 Thus saith, and c. - But what are the greatest men when they come to compare with God, or when God comes to contend with them?
Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.
18:21 This broken reed - Whoever trusts in man, leans on a broken reed: but God is the rock of ages.
But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?
18:22 Is not, and c. - Thus boldly he speaks of the things which he understood not, judging of the great God, by their petty gods; and of God's worship by the vain fancies of the Heathens, who measured piety by the multitude of altars.
Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
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.
18:25 Am I, and c. - He neither owned God's word, nor regarded his providence; but he forged this, to strike a terror into Hezekiah and the people.
Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.
But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?
18:27 To the men - To tell them to what extremities and miseries he will force them.
Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:
18:28 Jews language - The tradition of the Jews is, that Rabshaketh was an apostate Jew. If so, his ignorance of the God of Israel was the less excusable, and his enmity the less strange: for apostates are usually the most bitter and spiteful enemies.
Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:
Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:
18:31 A present - Upon which terms, I will give you no disturbance; but quietly suffer each of you to enjoy his own possession.
Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.
Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?
Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?
But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.