In my last post, we begin a new mini-series on Yerushalayim’s Deliverance Foretold ~ Part 1 in Yesha’hayu 37:1-10. In this post, we continue to learn about Yerushalayim’s Deliverance Foretold ~ Part 2 in Yesha’hayu 37:11-20.
11 You have heard what the kings of Ashur have done to all lands — they have completely destroyed them. So how will you be delivered?12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them? No, my ancestors destroyed them — Gozan, Haran, Retzef, and the people of ‘Eden who were in Tel’asar. 13 Where is the king of Hamat? the king of Arpad? the king of the city of S’farvayim, of Hena and ‘Ivah?’”
Verses 11-13 repeat the thrust of the threat we saw in Yesha’yahu 36:18-20. Sancheriv again told Hizkiyahu that he should not trust Adonai. After all, the gods of other nations and cities conquered by Ashur in the past had been unable to help them.
14 Hizkiyahu took the letter from the messengers’ hands and read it. Then Hizkiyahu went up to the house of Adonai and spread it out before Adonai. 15 This is the prayer that Hizkiyahu prayed to Adonai:
Hizkiyahu took this threatening letter to the house of the Adonai and spread it out before Him. That’s always a good thing to do with threatening letters that come your way or bills too big to pay. Just spread them out and say, “Adonai, help!” Logically and militarily, Yerushalayim was no match for Ashur. But that didn’t stop Hizkiyahu from calling out to the only One who could save them.
16 “Adonai-Tzva’ot, God of Isra’el, who dwells above the k’ruvim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms on earth. You made heaven and earth.
Hizkiyahu addressed his prayer to Adonai-Tzva’ot, God of Isra’el whom he described as enthroned above the k’ruvim. The k’ruvim were among the most powerful of Adonai’s heavenly creatures and are often represented at places close to the divine presence. In particular, this refers to the two k’ruvim whose wings covered the ark of the covenant as it rested in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and temple. Hizkiyahu appealed to Adonai as the One who made the heavens and the earth – the One who is sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth, not just Y’hudah – since Sancheriv had mocked Adonai as a mere local deity.
17 Turn your ear, Adonai, and hear! Open your eyes, Adonai, and see! Hear all the words that Sancheriv sent to taunt the living God. 18 It is true that the kings of Ashur have laid waste all the countries and their lands 19 and have thrown their gods into the fire. For those were nongods, merely the products of people’s hands, wood, and stone; this is why they could destroy them. 20 Now, therefore, Adonai our God, save us from his power— so that all the kingdoms on earth will know that you are Adonai – you only.”
Sancheriv had dared to compare the Adonai to mere idols and suggested that he would defeat Adonai’s people as quickly as he had defeated the gods of the other countries. This is a prayer that produces power because the motivation was not for Hizkiyahu‘s protection but Adonai’s glorification. If Y’hudah should be defeated, then the nations, and in particular Ashur, would believe that Adonai was just like the false gods of all the other nations.
21 Then Yesha‘yahu, the son of Amotz, sent this message to Hizkiyahu: “Adonai the God of Isra’el says: ‘You prayed to me against Sancheriv king of Ashur.’ 22 Here is Adonai’s answer concerning him: “‘The virgin daughter of Tziyon despises you; she laughs you to scorn. The daughter of Yerushalayim shakes her head at you. ~ Isaiah 37:11-22 (CJB)
Adonai responded to Hizkiyahu through His divinely chosen prophet, Yesha’yahu. As Yesha’yahu spoke, he spoke in the name of Adonai.
Daughter Tziyon is a personification of Tziyon, the holiest location in Y’hudah. This reminds the reader of the intimate relationship Adonai enjoyed with His people. The response was addressed to none other than Sancheriv, so the use of this title for Adonai’s people shows from the start how important they were to Adonai.
In my next post, we continue to unpack this exciting encounter in Yerushalayim’s Deliverance Foretold ~ Part 3 in Yesha’yahu 37:21-38.