Isaiah Chapter 36

  • Isaiah 36:1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.
  • 2 And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
  • 3 Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder.

We return here to the historical part of Isaiah of the actual events in that day. The king of Assyria came up against Judah and took them.

  • Isaiah 36:4 And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?
  • 5  I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?

The king of Assyria expected Hezekiah to yield to him and not resist. It amazed him that he rebelled and resisted the invasion of Assyria instead of immediately accepting it without a struggle.

  • Isaiah 36:6 Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

This part he said was literally true. If Hezekiah trusted in Egypt the trust would be in vain.

  • Isaiah 36:7 But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?

Here was the king of Assyria's mistake. He mocked Hezekiah's trust in the Lord. So many of us do not realize that God hears these things. He hears those that bless and hears those that curse.

We could do well to learn from this even in our day. Things may happen both bad and good and there will be those that mock and ask us why we still believe and trust in God. True faith however is not just supposed to be in us when we get everything we ask and when things are going good. True faith is "I'm going to believe, no matter what."

Daniel had true faith. He didn't know for sure that God was going to stop the mouths of those lions. Daniel was willing not to deny God and stop praying to God just to obey the king's commandment. He knew that he probably could die. This was true faith. He trusted God whether he died in that lion's den or whether he lived through it. True faith holds on to God no matter what. If we are going to deny our faith every time things do not go our way, then our faith is not worth much.

How would you like to have friends and family hang around when you are prosperous and have plenty and then depart when disaster and tragedy strikes? What kind of friendship would that be?

  • Isaiah 36:8 Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
  • 9 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
  • 10 And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

They claim that God sent them to destroy the land of Judah. There are many religions that do evil and claim God sent them. In fact this type of thing is mentioned by Jesus in the book of John.

  • John 16:1-3 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

We see in the Old Testament that God indeed does send and allow the enemies of Israel to defeat them when Israel is under judgment but in this particular case, God was not with king of Assyria in this incident.

  • Isaiah36:11 Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it; and speak not to us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall.
  • 12 But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?
  • 13 Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.

The enemy is imploring Hezekiah to yield to the enemy without a fight and he will be rewarded with horses.

  • Isaiah 36:14 Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you.
  • 15 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
  • 16 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern;

The king of Assyria goes to the people of Judah and warns them not to believe in the words of Hezekiah. He promises them peace and prosperity if they surrender to him instead of trusting in God to deliver them.

  • Isaiah 36:17 Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
  • 18 Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
  • 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
  • 20 Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?

He actually is challenging the God of Israel. He warns that other gods of other nations were not able to deliver the people out of the hands of the Assyrians, so why should they expect their God to be any different?

  • Isaiah 36:21 But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
  • 22 Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.

The ones listening to this speech of warning were commanded not to answer and held their peace. This was a true test of faith and loyalty. This was a test of loyalty both to the nation and to the Lord.

This is a little different from later years when Babylon comes to destroy the land of Judah. In later years they are instructed by the prophets of God to surrender to Babylon and not resist him. Here though God will stand with them and they are to resist the king of Assyria.

Why the difference?

Assyria was allowed to take over the land of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, because they had rebelled against God and served the gods of other nations. After sending prophets to warn and turn them back, they refused and continued to rebel against God. As a result God allowed the nations in whose gods they were trusting to come and take over. You can't make friends with the enemy and turn from God or else the enemy will eventually destroy.

In the days of Hezekiah, Judah also was rebelling against God and their judgment was also coming but king Hezekiah humbled himself and sought the Lord. He was a king who honored and feared God. As a result the judgment on Judah, the southern kingdom was delayed. God would much rather spare a nation than allow a nation to be destroyed. They actually destroyed themselves when they rebelled against God and chose to follow the ways of the surrounding nations. Those nations who serve not God would eventually be the means of their destruction.

Although the people of Judah here were told to trust in God and that He would deliver them, we see later that in the case of Babylon they were to accept the rule of Babylon and not resist. They were to accept it as judgment allowed of God for a season because of rebellion. Here though we see God will not allow the take over of Assyria and we see Godís deliverance.

Repentance and humbling themselves before God brought deliverance from the king of Assyria as we shall see in the next chapter just like repentance and humbling ourselves to God now will bring salvation. The message of repentance and change is taught in both the Old and New Testament. A changed repentant heart always moves the heart of God. We see God as a God of judgment but we also see Him as one who prefers to save, heal and forgive.

Isaiah 37

Isaiah Index