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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah

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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 39: Hezekiah boasts to Envoys from Babylon

  

v.1,2 Envoys come from Babylon to enquire after Hezekiah's health

v.3-8 Isaiah rebukes the king and warns all this wealth will one day end up in Babylon

   

[Introductory Comment: The chapter is short and succinct but need to be seen in conjunction with the previous chapter: Hezekiah becomes seriously ill, prays, and is healed [previous chapter] and so now envoys come from Babylon to enquire after him [v.1]. Instead of just giving glory to God, he shows the envoys what a great man he must be having all these riches [v.2]. For this he is rebuked by the Lord who warns him that all this will eventually be taken to Babylon, as will some of his descendants [v.3-7]. As this appears in the distant future, Hezekiah is not worried about it [v.8] – and fails to repent or pray that it won't happen. A sad conclusion, perhaps, to this account.]

 

 

v.1,2 Envoys come from Babylon to enquire after Hezekiah's health

 

v.1  At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery.

v.2  Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses – the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil – his entire armoury and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

 

[Notes: The envoys from Babylon come to check out Hezekiah after his illness and Hezekiah proudly (and foolishly) shows them all his wealth. Clearly an act of pride.]

 

 

v.3-8 Isaiah rebukes the king and warns all this wealth will one day end up in Babylon

 

v.3  Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, ‘What did those men say, and where did they come from?'

‘From a distant land,' Hezekiah replied. ‘They came to me from Babylon.'

v.4  The prophet asked, ‘What did they see in your palace?'

‘They saw everything in my palace,' Hezekiah said. ‘There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.'

v.5  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord Almighty:

v.6  the time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord.

v.7  And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'

v.8 ‘The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,' Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my lifetime.'

 

[Notes: A short time has passed since his illness but Hezekiah has clearly not set his heart fully on his God but instead boasts to these envoys and is thus is now rebuked by the Lord with a warning of disciplinary judgments that will come, but as they seem distant to him, he is somewhat casual about them.]

         

   

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 40