The Book of Isaiah in Summary chs 36 to 40
Isaiah Summary chs 36 to 40
Isaiah Prophecies: The Assyrians under Sennacherib beseige Jerusalem. The Assyrian emissary Rabshakeh is an apostate son of King Hezekiah. 185,000 Assyrian soldiers are killed at night by the Angel. Sennacherib returns to Nineveh and is assassinated by his sons. The enemies of Judah are the enemies of the Almighty. God will watch over His people.
Below is presented an overall impression of the Book of Isaiah (chapters 36 to 40) from a Brit-Am point of view.Â
For more details see our Brit-Am Commentary to the Book of Â IsaiahÂ
and our other writings.
Isaiah Summary chs.36 to 40
Isaiah (ch.36) describes the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib the King of Assyria. Sennacherib sent Rabshakeh to speak to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Rabshakeh by tradition was a renegade Jew possibly the brother or half-brother of King Hezekiah himself? Likewise in WW2 the Royal Family of Britain was patriotic and their relatives on the Continent (such as the mother of Prince Philip in Greece who hid Jews in her residence) were pro-Jewish but there was one possible exception whom the Nazis hoped to exploit. Rabshakeh stood before the walls of Jerusalem and called out in Hebrew for the city to surrender. Rabshakeh accused the rebellious Jews of relying on Pharaoh of Egypt for help. He described Egypt as a broken cane (reed) that would cut into the hand of anyone trying to support themselves on it (36:6). King Hezekiah had undertaken to uproot idolatry as well as wrong religious practices (such as not worshipping in the Temple but at high places) that were not necessarily idolatrous but neither were they "Kosher". Rabshakeh accuses King Hezekiah of being wrong in this matter and bringing the wrath of the Almighty down on the people (36:7). Rabshakeh threatens the city of Jerusalem with destruction (36:10). The servants of Hezekiah ask Rabshakeh to speak in Aramaic which they understood and not in Hebrew so as not to dishearten the people (36:11). Rabshakeh refuses since that is precisely what he wants (36:12), to dishearten the people and undermine their morale. Rabshakeh threatens the people with death and famine. He offers them the chance of surrendering and being transferred to another place where they can rehabilitate themselves in agricultural settlements (36:17). When King Hezekiah hears what has happened he mourns, fasts, and prays (37:1). A deputation from the King goes to the Prophet Isaiah who tells them to take a message back saying, Fear Not for the King of Assyria will hear a rumor and return to his own land (37:6-7). This is what happens. Sennacherib indeed hears reports of Tirhakah King of Cush (translated as Ethiopia) coming against him (37:9) so he made to move against him. The Assyrians leave but Rabshakeh (2-Kings 19:9) sends a dire threat to Hezekiah that they will still carry out their evil designs (37:10-13). Hezekiah receives the letter, goes into the Temple, and prays before the God of Israel to save the people of Jerusalem (37:15-20). Isaiah the son of Amoz sends a message to Hezekiah in the name of the God of Israel (37:21). Sennacherib had blasphemed against the God of Zion and Jerusalem, the Holy One of Israel (37:23). The Assyrians will not succeed but will be turned back in disaster (37:24-28). The attack on Judah is the same as an attack on the Almighty (37:29). All hatred of the Jews is War against God. The small number of survivors from Judah will produce a large population in a relatively short time (37:31). Despite everything, We could have been much bigger and greater than we are. We still can rectify the situation if we wish. Even if Judah is not worthy at some stage or other God will intervene onf behalf of Jerusalem and in memory of David (37:35).
T he Assyrians later returned to the siege of Jerusalem. The angel of God then went forth at night and slew 185,000 Assyrians (37:36). Sennacherib went back to Nineveh where he was assassinated by two of his sons who then fled to Ararat (Urartu translated as "Armenia" in the KJ, 2-Kings 19:37, Isaiah 37:38). Hezekiah becomes sick and almost dies. Isaiah tells Hezekiah to put his house in order for he shall not live (Isaiah 38:1). Hezekiah however prays to God (38:2) and is answered that an additional 15 years of life have been given to him (38:5). The promise is confirmed by the shadow of the sun turning back on the stairway-sundial by 10 degrees (38:8).
Did this signify a change in the Calendar?
Hezekiah composes a prayer of thanksgiving (38:9-20). Isaiah applies a plaster of figs upon the boil (cancerous growth?) that was killing Hezekiah (38:21) and Hezekiah is cured.
[Do figs have curative properties? Could they be a cure for cancer? See the numerous entries in "Google" under "figs, cancer cure"].
Merodach Baladan the King of Babylon who had achieved a degree of independence from Assyria sent emissaries to Hezekiah (39:1). Hezekiah showed them all his treasures (39:2). Isaiah tells Hezekiah that he had done wrong by flattering the Babylonians and punishment would come upon his kingdom and his house as a result after his death (39:4-7).
God tells HIS people to be comforted (40:1). God will rule over HIS people (40:9-10). HE will gather HIS flock (40:11). God is All-Powerful and does as HE wills (40:12-24) and can be likened unto none (40:25). He knows all the stars by name for HE created them (40:26). Jacob and Israel are addressed. Jacob is told not to think that God does not watch over him and Israel is told not to say that God will not execute judgment (40:27). "Judah and Israel" in juxtaposition means Judah (the Jews) and the Ten Tribes. The meaning of "Jacob and Israel" however in juxtaposition is disputed: one opinion says it means Judah (the Jews as Jacob) and the Ten Tribes (as Israel) while another (see The Commentary of Malbim) says the opposite and that in this case the Ten Tribes are represented by "Jacob" and "Judah" by Israel. God understands (40:28). Young men may faint with weakness but God gives strength and power (40:29).