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Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that 22 The audacity of this reproach is trust on him. 22 But if ye say unparalleled. Hezekiah had reunto me, We trust in the established among his people the Lord our God : is not that
true religion. Rabshakeh holds him
up to their scorn as a reckless innohe, whose high places and
vator. So the enemies of God's whose altars Hezekiah hath faithful servants have ever recourse taken away, and hath said to falsehood and misrepresentation. to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye Truth would condemn them. shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem ? Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them. 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? Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it. Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rab-shakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language ; for we understand it : and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall. But Rab-shakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words ? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? Then Rab-shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria : thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand : neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. 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 then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern: 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, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die : and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria ? Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad ? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah ? have they delivered. Samaria out of mine hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word : for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not. Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the houshold, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rab-shakeh.
The blasphemy of Sennacherib hastened his downfall. He who had threatened Jerusalem, and taunted her king, and oppressed her people, and mocked her God, was soon to perish by the signal and just vengeance of that Jehovah whose name and honour he had blasphemed.
The thirteenth Sunday after Trinity.
. MORNING. 2 Kungs xix. 1 And it came to pass, when i When the king heard that his king Hezekiah heard it, that enemy was at hand, he sought the he rent his clothes, and co- Lord, humbly and with self-abase
ment. So let me act in my trouble, vered himself with sackcloth,
casting all my care upon God. and went into the house of the LORD. ? And he sent
2 When we can draw nigh to God,
and feel the comfort of his presence, Eliakim, which was over the our fears are allayed, our courage houshold, and Shebna the revives, and we go on our way rescribe, and the elders of the joicing. Your own heart knoweth priests, covered with sack- this. cloth, to Isaiah the prophet 3 Their state was one of extreme the son of Amoz. 3 And distress and terror-of weakness and they said unto him. Thus exhaustion, nigh unto death. saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring Surely it is so. The prayer of forth. It may be the LORD the righteous and the blasphemy of thy God will hear all the the wicked are alike heard by the words of Rab-shakeh, whom all-present God. the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God
hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Be- 7 It was of divine counsel that the hold, I will send a blast upon attention of Sennacherib should thus him, and he shall hear a be drawn away from God's people, rumour, and shall return to and his forces divided and weakened. his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying, * Thus shall ye speak to ne- 10 These awful scoffings recoiled zekiah king of Judah, saying, upon the Assyrians. True, Judah Let not thy God in whom was “the fewest of all people," but thou trustest deceive thee, God fought for them. Jerusalem saying. Jerusalem shall not was despised, but“ I will defend this
city" was the word of Omnipotence. be delivered into the hand of my the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly : and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar ? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Henah and I sah? 14 And Hezekiah re- 14 When tidings of approaching evil ceived the letter of the hand reach thee, do thou also seek counsel of the messengers, and read of the Lord in prayer. He will either
ward off the evil, or it: and Hezekiah went up
give thee up strength to bear it. into the house of the LORD, 15 Man draweth nigh unto Godand spread it before the the creature to his Creator! Blessed LORD. 15 And Hezekiah privilege of prayer! Prayer, 0 my prayed before the Lord, and reader, is thy comfort now. said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes and see : and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire : for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21 This is the word 21 The Church of God at last trithat the LORD hath spoken umphs, defying the malice of her concerning him ; The virgin enemies, since Jehovah is her dethe daughter of Zion hatb fence and her glory. despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her 22 When the wicked persecute the head at thee. 22 Whom hast righteous, they persecute not man, thou reproached and blas- but God. “Saul, Saul,” said Jesus phemed ? and against whom to the persecuting Pharisee, “why hast thou exalted thy voice. persecutest thou me?" and lifted up thine eyes on high ? even against the Holy One of Israel. By thy messengers thou hast reproached the LORD, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel. 24 Sennacherib had been mighty-he ? I have digged and drunk had passed deserts, he had dug wells strange waters, and with the for the support of his own armies, and
turned rivers that he might attack sole of my feet have 1 dried the armies of his enemies yet what up all the rivers of besieged was the end of all his might? It places. Hast thou not heard was cut down as grass. long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded ; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the house-tops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up. ” But 27 The wicked may justly fear, since I know thy abode, and thy God thus knows the secrets of man's going out, and thy coming in, ways ; but the good rejoice that God and thy rage against me. is ever present to them and to their
i Because thy rage against me mous
thoughts. and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way 29 As the things here foretold sucwhich thou camest. 2 And cessively came to pass, their fulfil
this shall be a sign unto thee. ment would be a continual testimony Ye shall eat this year such to the truth-an abiding sign that
God was with them. things as grow of themselves, " and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this. Therefore thus saith the LORD coneerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my ser- 35 Was the pride of the Assyrians vant David's sake. 35 And thus humbled before the nations ? it came to pass that night, Well are we taught that the pride of that the angel of the LORD man must fall before the power of God. went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand : and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword : and they escaped into the land of Armenia And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
Sennacherib the king fell by a cruel and bloody death; a death, signal for the time and place which marked it. The victim was slain as he worshipped in the house of Nisroch his god, and the hands which slew him were the hands of his sons-a dreadful fulfilment of the prophetic declaration in verse 7, that " he should fall by the sword in his oron land.”
EVENING. 2 Kings xxii. And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house 3 Let me follow king Josiah's wise of the LORD. 3 And the example ! let'me stand to my coveking stood by a pillar, and nant with God and his Christ.