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Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my command. ments, and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their GoD.
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
After the death of Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmanezar succeeded to the throne of Assyria, who obliged Hoshea to become tributary to him. So, king of Egypt, was originally an Ethiopian, but he had lately invaded Egypt and taken the king of that country prisoner, whom he caused to be burnt alive, and then seizing his kingdom, reigned there in his stead. So soon became powerful, and Hoshea, king of Israel, notwithstanding the warnings of Isaiah, entered into a confederacy with him, hoping, by his assistance, to free himself from Assyrian bondage; and in consequence of this, he withdrew his subjection from Shalmanezar, and would pay him no more tribute; and on this account it was, that the king of Assyria invaded Samaria. The people of Israel had so repeatedly rebelled against the LORD, and were become so incorrigibly wicked, that God deserted them, and they were left a prey to the Assyrians as they had been threatened.
Had the Israelites repented like the Ninevites at the preaching of the prophet, there is no doubt but that they
also would have been saved from destruction. The LORD would have restrained the fierce wrath of the Assyrian king, who was, though he knew it not, the rod of Divine anger*. But as neither kindness nor severity could reform this rebellious nation, they were justly exposed to the consequences of their disobedience, and the Israelitish kingdom was brought to an end, after it had stood divided from that of Judah two hundred and fifty-four years. A great number of the Israelites escaped with their lives; some into Egypt, but more into the kingdom of Judah, where they weaned themselves by degrees from their idolatries, and became subjects to Hezekiah, and his successors. It is needless to mention the various conjectures of different authors respecting the countries to which the captive Jews were transported, as it is a point of no importance to us, and impossible to be exactly ascert ai ned.
THE CONTINUATION OF THE REIGN OF HEZEKIAH KING OF JUDAH.
From 2 Kings, Chap. xviii.—2 Chron. Chap. xxxii.
AND Hezekiah trusted in the LORD GOD of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.
For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD Commanded Moses.
And the LORD was with him; and he prospered
whithersoever he went forth, and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.
He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
And Hezekiah king of Judalı sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended: return from me: that which thou puttest on me, I will bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold.
And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house.
At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
After these things and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came once more, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
"It appears, that whilst the king of Assyria was em ployed against Samaria, Hezekiah took the opportunity of recovering what had been lost from his kingdom in his father's reign; and had such success against the Philistines in particular, that he not only regained the cities of Judah, which they had seized during the time that Pekah king of Israel, and Rezin king of Syria, distressed
the land, but he even dispossessed them of almost all their own country, except Gaza and Gath" these successes encouraged Hezekiah to refuse the tribute which Ahaz, his father, had agreed to pay to the king of Assyria, who, it is thought, was diverted from his purpose of invading him at this time, by a war in which he was engaged with the king of Tyre, and who died before the conclusion of it. Shalmanezar was succeeded by his son Sennacherib, who renewed the demand, and on Hezekiah's refusal, came against him with a very powerful army, and took from him a great number of fortified cities, in so short a time, as seemed to threaten the total ruin of his whole kingdom. Hezekiah was terrified by these losses, into a speedy submission, and sent an embassy acknowledging himself in fault, and promising to submit to whatever terms the conqueror should impose. Sennacherib was by these means induced to withdraw his army for the present, and to give up the cities he had taken. The penalty he inflicted amounted to 350,0001. of our money. This Hezekiah could not pay without taking some of the treasures devoted to the LORD, and even stripping the temple of the ornaments which his own piety had dedicated. We may suppose, that he took this measure inconsiderately, and not presumptuously like Ahaz; but it certainly was a very wrong one for him, as king of Judah, to have recourse to, nor did it go unchastised. The respite Hezekiah had so dearly bought, lasted but a short time, for the treacherous Assyrian king, who was still at Lachish, soon after sent his army again to besiege the cities of Judah.
It was foretold in the reign of Ahaz, by the prophet Isaiah, that the Assyrian king should be the instrument of inflicting God's judgments on the people of Israel, of all ranks and denominations. We have already seen
how truly this prediction was fulfilled in respect to those of Samaria; and we now find the divine threatenings operating against those of Jerusalem. That the people might regard the Assyrian monarch as the scourge of Divine vengeance, the prophet Isaiah was commissioned to proclaim him as such.
PART OF THE PROPHECY OF ISAIAH.
From Chap. x.
O ASSYRIAN, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
Howbeit, he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so but it is in heart to destroy, and cut off nations not a few. For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno as Carchemish; is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus? As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the LORD hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a