Isaiah 37 Commentary

Assyria defeated (37:1-38)

Hezekiah now realized his mistake in ignoring Isaiah and relying on Egypt. In a humble but open acknowledgment that Judah’s plight was desperate, he sent to ask Isaiah to appeal to God for help (37:1- 4). Isaiah reassured Hezekiah that God would not tolerate Assyria’s mockery of him (5-7).

When the Assyrians temporarily withdrew from Jerusalem to deal with an enemy attack to the south- west, they sent a letter renewing their threats. They reminded the Jerusalemites that none of the gods of the nations had been able to save those nations from Assyria (8-13).

Hezekiah then presented the whole matter to God in complete trust (14). Although he wanted deliverance from the Assyrians, he was concerned also for the honour of God’s name. He did not deny that the Assyrians had conquered many nations, but he objected to their insults against Yahweh. He wanted to be saved from the Assyrians in such a way that people everywhere would see that Yahweh was the only true God (15-20).

Isaiah, being God’s spokesman, brought God’s reply to Hezekiah. God knew what had happened, and he condemned Assyria for insulting him and despising his people (21-23). Assyria boasted of its achievements, when in fact it had been no more than God’s instrument to carry out his judgments (24-27). Because of Assyria’s blasphemy, God would now punish Assyria and save Jerusalem (28-29). The area around Jerusalem, where fields had not been farmed because of the besieging armies, would be sown afresh and become productive again. But more important than agricultural increase would be the increase in the number of truly faithful believers in Judah (30-32).

God showed that he could save Jerusalem from the Assyrians without the people of Jerusalem needing to carry out any military activity at all (33-35). Having announced his plans, God acted. He inflicted the Assyrian army with a deadly plague, so that it suffered heavy losses and was forced to flee. Some time later, back in Assyria, Sennacherib was assassinated (36-38).

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