Isaiah 39 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
II. Historic Interlude (prose), ch. 36-39
B. Captivity of Judah foretold, ch. 38, 39
  1. King Hezekiah's sickness, prayer, and healing, 38:1-22
  2. King Hezekiah's foolish pride and God's prophetic rebuke, 39:1-8
1. At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon,
sent letters and a present to Hezekiah:
for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered.
at that time...- This visit occurred shortly after Hezekiah's recovery,
and after Jerusalem's deliverance from Assyria (cp. 2Chr 32:22,23).
the king of Babylon, sent letters...-
The threatening letter from the king of Assyria had caused Hezekiah to seek the Lord (Isa 37:14).
     This sympathetic and flattering letter, from the king of Babylon, drew Hezekiah away from God. Hezekiah failed to lay this letter before the Lord, or seek His counsel. After all, it seemed friendly and well intentioned.
     Likewise, Satan may approach in either way, 'as a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy' or as 'an angel of light' whose emissaries appear to desire our welfare (1Pet 5:8; 2Cor 11:13-15). The latter approach requires greater vigilance on the part of the believer who would escape the snares of the enemy.
Merodach {'a rebel'} - baladan {'whose lord is Bel (Baal)'}... king of Babylon {'confusion'} -
The meaning of his name alone should have made Hezekiah wary.
2 And Hezekiah was glad of them,
and shewed them the house of his precious things,
the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment,
and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures:
there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion,
that Hezekiah shewed them not.
Hezekiah was glad...- Perhaps he saw Babylon as a future ally against the Assyrians.
Perhaps he thought the display of the treasures and resources of his kingdom would create an interest in the Babylonians for increased trade and mutual aid.
...and showed them... all his treasures...-
The ambassadors from Babylon came "to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land" (2Chr 32:31). Sadly, Hezekiah showed them his personal glory, rather than telling them of the glories of the God of Israel, who had accomplished those wonders. How often we fail the same test (Psa 107:2; 1Pet 3:15; Mat 6:21).
3 Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him,
What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee?
And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me,
[even] from Babylon.
4 Then said he, What have they seen in thine house?
And Hezekiah answered, All that [is] in mine house have they seen:
there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
5. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts:
6 Behold, the days come, that all that [is] in thine house,
and [that] which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day,
shall be carried to Babylon:
nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee,
which thou shalt beget, shall they take away;
and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
all that is in thy house... and of thy sons... shall they take away...-
About 120 years later, Jerusalem would fall to Babylon. Her treasures and people would be taken captive. Daniel and his three companions, princes of the Davidic line, were among the earliest captives, and were made eunuchs to serve their new masters (Dan 1:1-7).
     (The Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem took place in three waves, over a period of several years. Daniel was among the captives in the first wave. Ezekiel was taken in the second wave. The third wave of captivity also saw the destruction of the city and its Temple. 2Kings ch. 24-25)
"Hezekiah forgot the sharp lesson he had learned for putting his trust in the king of Egypt, and he forgot the overwhelming evidence of God's ability to shield him, by the destruction of the Assyrian host; and he forgot the wonders of his recovery and of the Ten Degrees; and almost immediately after, he hastened to make an alliance with the king of Babylon against the king of Assyria, with the result that he lost his treasures and his sons; Babylon swallowed both." [GWms]
...of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget...-
Hezekiah was apparently childless at the time of his illness. Here, God tells him a son (or sons) would be born to him during his 15 remaining years. This came to pass, since his son Manasseh began to reign, at the age of 12, upon his father's death. Although the Lord granted Hezekiah's request and extended his life, it may not have been His perfect will for him (cp. Psa 106:15), because this son became one of Jerusalem's most wicked kings (2Kin 20:21; 21:1-15).
8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah,
Good [is] the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken.
He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.
Hezekiah's concluding statement seems self-serving.
Was he really content with peace in his lifetime and unconcerned that trouble would overtake his grandchildren? According to 2Chr 32:26, "he humbled himself for the pride of his heart" and, therefore, was spared the consequences of the course set by his foolish pride, though he was powerless to alter the course of the nation.
     The nation would be carried away captive to Babylon (120 years later), not because of the lapse of Hezekiah (who was a godly king, 2Kin 18:5), but because of Israel's rebellion against the LORD. This deadly condition was pervasive, for generations before and after Hezekiah (eg., Amos 5:25-27), and would come to a head, like a boil, during the reign of his son Manasseh, who would undo all of his father's reforms (cp. 2Kin 18:1-7 with 2Chr 33:1-10).
     Yet, in the time of Hezekiah's desperate need, under the Assyrian threat, he had come to the end of his self-confidence and cast himself, in humble faith, upon the true and living God for deliverance (eg., Isa 37:15-20). In this, he foreshadows Israel's future return to the LORD, who alone can cure the disease of sin and save from the oppression of the enemy. Likewise, the LORD's gracious intervention, in Hezekiah's day, provides a foreview of His Grace toward the believing remnant of Israel in the latter days.

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