Bible Commentaries

Isaiah 36

Verses 1-22

This chapter is the first of four which constitute a brief historical interlude. All have to do with Hezekiah and Isaiah. The first two are related to the prophecies of judgment so far as they are of local application. They deal with the invasion under Sennacherib. The last two are related to the prophecies of peace. They deal with Hezekiah's sickness and ultimate folly, and form the historic background to the great utterances which set forth the ultimate purpose of God.

In this first of the four, the story of Sennacherib's invasion and Rabshakeh's mission to the city is chronicled. He first met three representatives of Judah: Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah. He taunted them with their weakness, desiring to bully them into submission by telling them that it was useless for them to trust in Egypt; moreover, that it was useless for them to trust in God, because they were there by His commission, which, of course, was a daring and blasphemous lie. The deputation from Judah attempted to persuade him to speak in Aramaic, as they were afraid that the Jews, hearing such words in their own language, would be filled with panic. He immediately seized on the suggestion, and spoke to the people assembled on the wall in their own language, warning them against trusting in Hezekiah, promising them plenty in another land, and declaring to them that God was unable to deliver them. The loyalty of the people is manifest in the fact that they remained silent.