Hezekiah's Error in the Display of His Riches
to the Babylonian Ambassador.
1. Merodach-baladan—For a hundred fifty
years before the overthrow of Nineveh by Cyaxares the Mede, a
succession of rulers, mostly viceroys of Assyria, ruled Babylon, from
the time of Nabonassar, 747 B.C. That
date is called "the Era of Nabonassar." Pul or Phallukha was then
expelled, and a new dynasty set up at Nineveh, under Tiglath-pileser.
Semiramis, Pul's wife, then retired to Babylon, with Nabonassar, her
son, whose advent to the throne of Babylon, after the overthrow of the
old line at Nineveh, marked a new era. Sometimes the viceroys of
Babylon made themselves, for a time, independent of Assyria; thus
Merodach-baladan at this time did so, encouraged by the Assyrian
disaster in the Jewish campaign. He had done so before, and was
defeated in the first year of Sennacherib's reign, as is recorded in
cuneiform characters in that monarchs palace of Koyunjik. Nabopolassar
was the first who established, permanently, his independence;
his son, Nebuchadnezzar, raised Babylon to the position which Nineveh
once occupied; but from the want of stone near the Lower Euphrates, the
buildings of Babylon, formed of sun-dried brick, have not stood the
wear of ages as Nineveh has.
Merodach—an idol, the same as the god
of war and planet Mars (Jer 50:2).
Often kings took their names from their gods, as if peculiarly under
their tutelage. So Belshazzar from Bel.
Baladan—means "Bel is his lord." The
chronicle of Eusebius contains a
fragment of Berosus, stating that
Acises, an Assyrian viceroy, usurped the supreme command at Babylon.
Merodach- (or Berodach-) baladan murdered him and succeeded to the
throne. Sennacherib conquered Merodach-baladan and left Esar-haddon,
his son, as governor of Babylon. Merodach-baladan would naturally court
the alliance of Hezekiah, who, like himself, had thrown off the yoke of
the Assyrian king, and who would be equally glad of the Babylonian
alliance against Assyria; hence arose the excessive attention which he
paid to the usurper.
sick—An additional reason is given
32:31). "The princes of
Babylon sent to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land";
namely, the recession of the shadow on Ahaz' sundial; to the Chaldean
astronomers, such a fact would be especially interesting, the dial
having been invented at Babylon.
2. glad—It was not the mere act, but the
spirit of it, which provoked God (2Ch 32:25), "Hezekiah rendered not again according
to the benefit done unto him, for his heart was lifted up"; also
compare 2Ch 32:31.
God "tries" His people at different times by different ways, bringing
out "all that is in their heart," to show them its varied corruptions.
Compare David in a similar case (1Ch 21:1-8).
precious things—rather, "the house of
his (aromatic) spices"; from a Hebrew root, to "break to
pieces," as is done to aromatics.
silver … gold—partly obtained
from the Assyrian camp (Isa 33:4);
partly from presents (2Ch 32:23, 27-29).
precious ointment—used for anointing
kings and priests.
armour—or else vessels in general; the
parallel passage (2Ch 32:27),
"treasuries … for shields," favors English Version.
3. What … whence—implying that any
proposition coming from the idolatrous enemies of God, with whom Israel
was forbidden to form alliance, should have been received with anything
but gladness. Reliance on Babylon, rather than on God, was a
similar sin to the previous reliance on Egypt (Isa 30:1-31:9).
far country—implying that he had done
nothing more than was proper in showing attention to strangers "from a
4. All—a frank confession of his
whole fault; the king submits his conduct to the scrutiny of a
subject, because that subject was accredited by God. Contrast Asa
5. Lord of hosts—who has all thy goods
at His disposal.
6. days come—one hundred twenty years
afterwards. This is the first intimation that the Jews would be carried
to Babylon—the first designation of their place of
punishment. The general prophecy of Moses (Le 26:33; De
28:64); the more particular
one of Ahijah in Jeroboam's time (1Ki 14:15), "beyond the river"; and of Am 5:27, "captivity beyond Damascus"; are
now concentrated in this specific one as to "Babylon" (Mic 4:10). It was an exact retribution in kind,
that as Babylon had been the instrument of Hezekiah and Judah's sin, so
also it should be the instrument of their punishment.
7. sons … from thee—The sons which
Hezekiah (as Josephus tells us) wished
to have (see on Isa 28:3, on "wept sore") will
be among the foremost in suffering.
eunuchs—fulfilled (Da 1:2, 3, 7).
8. peace … in my days—The
punishment was not, as in David's case (2Sa 24:13-15), sent in his time. True repentance
acquiesces in all God's ways and finds cause of thanksgiving in any