Chapter 36

The prophet Isaiah is, in this and the three following chapters, an historian; for the scripture history, as well as the scripture prophecy, is given by inspiration of God, and was dictated to holy men. Many of the prophecies of the foregoing chapters had their accomplishment in Sennacherib’s invading Judah and besieging Jerusalem, and the miraculous defeat he met with there; and therefore the story of this is here inserted, both for the explication and for the confirmation of the prophecy. The key of prophecy is to be found in history; and here, that we might have the readier entrance, it is, as it were, hung at the door. The exact fulfilling of this prophecy might serve to confirm the faith of God’s people in the other prophecies, the accomplishment of which was at a greater distance. Whether this story was taken from the book of the Kings and added here, or whether it was first written by Isaiah here and hence taken into the book of Kings, is not material. But the story is the same almost verbatim; and it was so memorable an event that it was well worthy to be twice recorded, 2 Kgs. 18:1-19:37; and here, and an abridgment of it likewise, 2 Chron. 32:1-33 We shall be but short in our observations upon this story here, having largely explained it there. In this chapter we have, I. The descent which the king of Assyria made upon Judah, and his success against all the defenced cities, Isa. 36:1. II. The conference he desired to have with Hezekiah, and the managers on both sides, Isa. 36:2, 3. III. Rabshakeh’s railing blasphemous speech, with which he designed to frighten Hezekiah into a submission, and persuade him to surrender at discretion, Isa. 36:4-10. IV. His appeal to the people, and his attempt to persuade them to desert Hezekiah, and so force him to surrender, Isa. 36:11-20. V. The report of this made to Hezekiah by his agents, Isa. 36:21, 22.