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Isa 39:1-8. 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.
2. glad--It was not the mere act, but the spirit of it, which provoked
"Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him,
for his heart was lifted up"; also compare
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
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
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.