The ambassadors of Merodach (Isa 39:1-39:1)

“At that time,

King Merodach-baladan,

Son of Baladan of Babylon,

Sent envoys with letters

Also with a present

To King Hezekiah.

He had heard

That King Hezekiah had been sick.

He had heard

That King Hezekiah had recovered.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 20. King Merodach-baladan was the king of Babylon. He was trying to prevent the king of Assyria from taking over his land, so that he wanted to make an alliance with the king of Judah. Thus he sent ambassadors to the King Hezekiah to see how he felt after his illness and recovery. He also sent a letter and a present for King Hezekiah. This seems like a nice gesture.

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The king of Assyria will not attack Jerusalem (Isa 37:33-37:35)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh

Concerning the king of Assyria.

‘He shall not come into this city.

He shall not shoot an arrow there.

He shall not come before it with a shield.

He shall not cast up a siege ramp against it.

By the way that he came,

By the same,

He shall return.

He shall not come into this city.

I will defend this city.

I will save it

For my own sake

As well as for the sake

Of my servant David.’”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. In a clear statement without any ambiguity, the king of Assyria will not come into Jerusalem. He will not shoot an arrow or put up a siege ramp. He will instead return home because Yahweh will defend this city. He will save it for the sake of David and for himself.

Rabshakeh says that gods cannot help you (Isa 36:18-36:20)

“Do not listen to King Hezekiah

Mislead you by saying.

‘Yahweh will save us.’

Has any of the gods of the nations

Saved their land

Out of the hands of the king of Assyria?

Where are the gods of Hamath?

Where are the gods of Arpad?

Where are the gods of Sepharvaim?

Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?

Who among all the gods of these countries

Have delivered their countries

Out of my hand?

Why should Yahweh save Jerusalem

Out of my hand?’”

Once again in the same words as 2 Kings, chapter 18, Rabshakeh went on to point out that no god has helped anyone against the king of Assyria. He pointed out that the gods of Hamath, Arpad, and Sepharvaim were all unsuccessful against the king of Assyria. Hamath and Arpad were in Syria in an alliance with Damascus, but taken over by the Assyrians. Sepharvaim was near Babylon, on the Euphrates River. Hena and Ivvah are not mentioned here but were in 2 Kings. All of these places were taken over by king of Assyria. Why should Yahweh and Jerusalem be any different?

The role of the king of Assyria (Isa 10:5-10:7)

“O Assyria!

The rod of my anger!

The club in their hands

Is my fury!

Against a godless nation,

I send him.

Against the people of my wrath,

I command him

To take spoil.

I command him

To seize plunder.

I command him

To tread them down

Like the mire of the streets.

This is not what he intends.

He did not have this in mind.

But in his heart,

He wanted to destroy.

He wanted to cut off

Not a few nations.”

It seems like Yahweh is sending the king of Assyria as his rod and club to work out God’s plans. Thus, King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE) of Assyria wanted to deport people, so that they would not lead a revolt against him. This Assyrian king was to be the stick of Yahweh’s anger to make the northern Israelites like sludge in the streets. He would take the plunder and the spoils of the people of Yahweh, the northern Israelites. The Assyrian king controlled a great part of the Middle East from the Tigris River, including Babylon, during this time of Isaiah. However, the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III did not intend to do the will of Yahweh. He really wanted to destroy and cut up many nations with his deportation and plunder policies.