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Book of Isaiah
Chapter 39 is an extremely short chapter giving us the final warning and shows that despair can be implanted within even the best of men.
Kind Hezekiah was a great man but he fell head first into the enticing temptation of pride and success. Judah and Jerusalem’s end was just off the horizon. The things King Hezekiah did were good, but what he did was not sufficient. So many look over the horizon, expecting misery yet hoping there might be that ray of light giving hope to mankind.
This chapter tells of Hezekiah's fall into sin after his miraculous recovery, and the correction he had for it. The king of Babylon sent messengers to him to congratulate him upon his recovery (vs.1). Hezekiah received them with great joy, and in his foolish pride, he showed them all his treasures (vs.2). Isaiah questioned him about it, which he readily owned (vs.3), upon which the Babylon captivity is foretold, when all his riches and his people would be carried into that land (vs.5), to which sentence he quietly and patiently submitted to (vs.8).
Theme: Hezekiah and Babylon.
The enemy of Judah now transfers from Assyria to Babylon, and is one of the outstanding features in this section. At this time Babylon was a struggling city on the banks of the Euphrates, unable to overcome Assyria. Nevertheless, Babylon was to become the great head of gold in the times of the Gentiles (Dan.Ch.2), and that makes this chapter very important.
This chapter reveals the great mistake of Hezekiah's life and also his human frailty and weakness. It seems that our greatest defeats always follow the hour of our greatest spiritual victory. We should be very careful never to turn our backs on the Lord, for it is only God that can give us true victory.
Hezekiah Receives the Babylon Ambassadors (39:1-8)
Isaiah 39:1 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. (KJV)
At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon . . . the same is called Berodach (2 Ki.20:12), Merodachbaladan is a meaningless king to us, but his name is full of meaning. Merodach means a rebel and baladan means not the Lord. Behind this king, is Nimrod, the founder of Babylon (Gen.10:9-10), and Satan, who is the arch-rebel against God (Isa.14:12-14) and is the god of this world (2 Cor.4:4).
He sent letters and a present to Hezekiah . . . by his ambassadors, which was common practice in embassies, and still is in the eastern countries. The purpose of that embassy was to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery, and to inquire concerning the miracle that was brought about in his land; either the destruction of the Assyrian army in one night by one lone angel (Isa.37:36), or the sun's going back ten degrees (Isa.38:8), and, as Josephus says, to enter into an alliance with him; and which seems to be the true reason for sending these ambassadors.
For he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered . . . which both gives a reason of the embassy, and points to the time when it was; most likely the same year of his sickness and recovery.
*****These ambassadors brought a letter to sweet-talk (butter up) Hezekiah. They said, the king of Babylon has been concerned about you. He heard that you were sick and have recovered. He sends a gift to express his joy that you are well.
Isaiah 39:2 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. (KJV)
And Hezekiah was glad of them . . . not because of the presents, for he was very rich, and did not need them, nor does it ever appear that he was covetous for wealth . . . but he did fall for the temptation of the honor that was done him in having such an important message sent to him from such a prince. Hezekiah’s sin was vain glory (pride); and too, because he might hope that such a powerful ally would be a security to him against any after attempt of the king of Assyria . . . in which he was guilty of yet another sin, vain confidence, or trusting in an arm of flesh; and being lifted up with pride that his name had become so famous abroad, and that he had acquired so good an ally . . . and in order to cozy up himself all the more into his regard and favor, he showed his riches to these ambassadors. How stupid can a person get???
And shewed them the house of his precious things . . . where his jewels and precious stones lay, and where was,
The silver and the gold . . . large quantities of not only what he and his predecessors had laid up, which had been very recently greatly exhausted by the demand of three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold, by the king of Assyria (2 Ki.18:14); to answer which Hezekiah had given all the silver in the Temple, and in the treasures of the king's house, and was so driven by necessity, that he cut off the gold from the doors and pillars of the Temple (2 Ki. 18:16). SO, where did he get all this treasure so soon? Possibly he might have since received presents from his own nobles, and from foreign princes; but what seems more likely is, this was mainly from the spoils found in the Assyrian camp, after the angel had made such a slaughter of them (2 Ki.19:35).
And the spices, and precious ointment . . . which some say were oil of olives; others the balsam which grew in Jericho; great quantities of this, with other spices, were laid up in store for use, as occasion would have need of.
And all the house of his armour . . . where were all his military stores, shields, swords, spears, arrows, etc.
And all that was found treasures in his. . . and in other places,
There was nothing in his house . . . in his royal palace,
Nor in all his dominion . . . that was rare, curious, and valuable.
That Hezekiah showed them not. . . even the book of the law, as one says. Again, how stupid can one person be???
*****One commentator says that at this time Hezekiah had not lost very many of the riches that David and Solomon had gathered. Hezekiah made the huge mistake of showing his silver and gold, for he was immensely wealthy. 2 Chronicles 32:27-28 And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;
28 Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks. (KJV)
If we consider how Hezekiah received the ambassadors from Babylon, we can see his downfall. They brought him a gift and a get-well message from the king . . . but instead of taking the letter and opening it before the Lord like he did the letter from the Assyrians (Isa.37:14), he just laid it aside. They had buttered him up, and he fell for it, hook, line and sinker! So he gave his visitors the VIP tour of Jerusalem. Solomon had cornered the world's gold market, and he had also cornered the market on quite a few other things (1 Ki.10:14, 23). All of it was stored away in Jerusalem. Hezekiah had stupidly showed this great wealth to his visitors, who went back to their king. Hezekiah made a big mistake, and Isaiah heard about what he had done.
Wealth of Solomon: (1 Ki. Ch.9; 1 Ki.Ch.10; 2 Chron.1:15; 2 Chron.Ch.9; Ecc.1:16).
Isaiah 39:3 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. (KJV)
Then came Isaiah the prophet unto King Hezekiah . . . soon after the ambassadors had been with Hezekiah, and he had shown them all his treasures; Isaiah was sent by the Lord to Hezekiah, even though he was not sent for by the king . . . in the time of his distress and illness he had sent for the prophet, but now Hezekiah was well and prosperous . . . Hezekiah forgot all about the prophet. He did not send for him, because he did not think he needed his advice as to how he should act towards these men, as not to offend the Lord. He was wrong!
And said unto him, what said these men? . . . Isaiah asked Hezekiah what the ambassadors wanted with him and what their errand to him was. He wanted to know what they wanted with him, what did they ask of him?
And from whence came they unto thee?. . . from what country? these questions the prophet put to the king, not as ignorant of the men, and their business, and country, but in order to have everything from the king himself, and to lead on to further conversation with him on these things:
And Hezekiah said, they are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon . . . he gives no answer to the first question, but quickly replies to the second, as being what his heart was lifted up with . . . that the ambassadors had come to him from a very distant country, and from such a famous and well-known a place like Babylon. This showed that Hezekiah’s name was known in foreign places and that he was in high esteem in distant countries, that even such a great a prince as the king of Babylon courted his friendship.
*****Hezekiah thought it was wonderful, but Isaiah clearly saw the danger.
Isaiah 39:4 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. (KJV)
Then said he, what have they seen in thine house? . . . Isaiah then asks . . . what did they see in your house? Hezekiah had shown them things that he should NOT have shown to them.
And Hezekiah answered . . . without delay, very openly, not suspecting that the prophet had come with a rebuke to him, to blame him for what he had done.
All that is in my house have they seen . . . several royal apartments, and the furniture of them.
There is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them . . . the treasures which were more secret, his gold, silver, jewels, precious stones, spices and ointments. One commentator thinks he showed them the furniture and vessels of the Temple, though Hezekiah does not mention them.
****What Hezekiah had done was extremely irresponsible!
Isaiah 39:5 Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: (KJV)
Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah . . . Isaiah now lets him know that he came not of himself, and that he did not ask these questions to gratify his own curiosity, but that he came from the Lord, and the rebuke was from the Lord!
Hear the word of the Lord of hosts . . . the Almighty Lord is a much greater King than you are! You are far too overjoyed with your riches, grandeur and fame. The KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev.19:16), is well able to make good every Word that is spoken by Him, and therefore should be seriously considered. We ALL should take note of this!
Isaiah 39:6 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. (KJV)
Behold, the days come . . . are coming . . . and which did quickly come; in Jehoiakim's time (Dan.1:1-2).
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 . . . as it was, when Jehoiakim king of Judah, his mother, servants, princes, and officers, were taken by the king of Babylon, and carried captive, and along with them the treasures of the king's house, and also all the treasures of the House of the Lord (2 Ki.24:12).
Nothing shall be left, saith the Lord . . . this was, as some say, measure for measure; as there was nothing that was not shown to the ambassadors, so nothing would be left not taken away by the Babylonians. Hezekiah’s pride done him in! There is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them (vs.5).
Isaiah 39:7 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. (KJV)
And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away . . . . Manasseh, Hezekiah’s own son was taken and carried to Babylon (2 Chron.33:11), although afterwards released; nor does it appear that he was made a eunuch or an officer there.
And they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon . . . or chamberlains; and who very often were castrated for that purpose, although it does not necessarily signify such, being used of officers in general. One version says princes, and such a one was Daniel in the court of the king of Babylon; and his three companions were also promoted (Dan.2:48).
This prophecy in Isaiah (vs.5-7), was fulfilled (2 Ki.Ch.24 & 25; 2 Chron.Ch.36; Dan. Ch.1).
Two predictions (vs.6-7) would be fulfilled:
#1. All the treasures of Judah will be carried to Babylon (Isa.39:5-6; 2 Ki.Ch.25; 2 Chron.Ch.36; Dan.5:2-3).
#2. Your sons will be taken away and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (Isa.39:7; Dan.Ch.1).
In verses 5-7, Hezekiah played the fool. He never should have shown his treasures to strangers. Isaiah's prophecy was literally fulfilled.
*****If God loves us, He will humble us, and will find some way to pull down our pride when we are lifted up above measure. Isaiah brings a humiliating message to Hezekiah, that he might be humbled for the pride of his heart, and see the folly of it. We all have a free will to do as we see fit, and sometimes God may allow His people to fall into sin, as He did Hezekiah, yet He will not allow them to have peace in it.
It is just and right with God to take that from us which we allow to build up our pride, and on those things which we allow to build up a carnal (worldly) confidence. Our confidence should always lie with the Lord! When David was proud of the numbers of his people God took a course to make them fewer (2 Sam.24:1), and when Hezekiah boasts of his treasures, and looks upon them with too much satisfaction, he is told that he acts like the foolish traveler who shows his money and gold to one that proves a thief and is thereby tempted to rob him.
If we could only see things that will be, we would be ashamed of our thoughts of things that are. If Hezekiah had known that the seed and successors of this king of Babylon would afterward be the ruin of his family and kingdom, he would not have admired those ambassadors as he did; and, when Isaiah told him what would be, we can well imagine how he was provoked at himself for what he had done. We cannot foresee what will be, but in God’s Word, we are told: Ecc. 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. (KJV) . . . All is vanity, and therefore it is vanity for us to take satisfaction and put confidence in anything that is not of God!
Hezekiah's Penitent and Patient Submission to This Sentence (39:8)
Isaiah 39:8 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. (KJV)
Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken . . . Hezekiah was immediately convinced of his sin. He acknowledged (admitted, agreed) it and repented of it (turned away from it) and knew that the sentence pronounced was just and right; and that there was a mixture of mercy and goodness in it, because of the time given, and that it was not immediately carried out.
He said moreover, for there shall be peace and truth in my days . . . or a confirmed peace, long lasting prosperity, peace in the state, Truth in the church, abundant temporal mercies, and the Truth of doctrine and worship, which he understood by the prophet would continue in his days, and for which he was thankful. He looked upon it as a mercy to him that there was a delay of it to future times; or it may be considered as a prayer, O that there were peace.
This chapter concludes the historic section of Isaiah.
Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible
Isaiah Ch.1 . . Isaiah Ch.2 . . Isaiah Ch.3 . . Isaiah Ch.4 . . Isaiah Ch.5 . . Isaiah Ch.6 . . Isaiah Ch.7 . . Isaiah Ch.8 . . Isaiah Ch.9 . . Isa.Ch.10 . . Isa.Ch.11 . . Isa.Ch12 . . Home Page
JUDGMENT ON THE NATIONS . . . . . Isaiah Ch.13 . . Isaiah Ch.14 . . Isaiah Ch.15 . . Isaiah Ch.16 . . Isaiah Ch.17 . . Isaiah Ch.18 . . Isaiah Ch.19 . . Isaiah Ch.20 . . Isaiah Ch.21 . . Isaiah Ch.22 . . Isaiah Ch.23 . . Home Page
ISAIAH’S APOCALYPSE . . . . . Isaiah Ch.24 . . Isaiah Ch.25 . . Isaiah Ch.26 . . Isaiah Ch.27 . . Home Page
ISAIAH'S SIX WOES . . . Isaiah Ch.28 . . Isaiah Ch.29 . . Isaiah Ch.30 . . Isaiah Ch.31 . . Isaiah Ch.32 . . Isaiah Ch.33 . . Isaiah Ch.34 . . Isaiah Ch.35 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Historic Part . . Isaiah Ch.36 . . Isaiah Ch.37 . . Isaiah Ch.38 . . Isaiah Ch.39 . . Home Page
Isaiah Speaks of Messiah's Incarnation. . Isaiah Ch.40 . . Isaiah Ch.41 . . Isaiah Ch.42 . . Isaiah Ch.43 . . Isaiah Ch.44 . . Isaiah Ch.45 . . Isaiah Ch.46 . . Isaiah Ch.47 . . Isaiah Ch.48 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant
Isaiah's Suffering Servant Prophecy. . . Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Isaiah's Redemption Through the Suffering Servant . . . Isaiah Ch.49 . . Isaiah Ch.50 . . Isaiah Ch.51 . . Isaiah Ch.52 . . Isaiah Ch.53 . . Isaiah Ch.54 . . Isaiah Ch.55 . . Isaiah Ch.56 . . Isaiah Ch.57 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Vision of the Dispersion . . . Isaiah Ch.58 . . Isaiah Ch59 . . Isaiah Ch.60 . . Isaiah Ch.61 . . Isaiah Ch.62 . . Isaiah Ch.63 . . Isaiah Ch.64 . . Isaiah Ch.65 . . Isaiah Ch.66 . . Home Page