Isaiah 36 – Prophetic Confirmation
This begins the prose section of Isaiah. The rest of the book is written in poetry in traditional Hebrew format, but this is prose. It is less poetic and is historical. The background to the prose sections of Isaiah are in 2 Kings 18-20 and 2 Chronicles 32.
In the first 35 chapters Isaiah gave both near prophecies and distant prophecies. In order for a prophet to be authentic his near prophecies must be fulfilled. Remember that Isaiah is written over the course of the prophet’s adult lifetime and spans many years. Chapter 36 begins a history of Isaiah’s prophecies that were already fulfilled which gives Isaiah prophetic credibility.
Isaiah 36 and 37 focus is on Assyria and Hezekiah. Remember, Hezekiah was supposed to allow the Assyrian captivity as a judgment by God on Ahaz. He rebelled and would not pay tribute which brought on the invasion. The invasion took place in 701 BC. Hezekiah makes an alliance with Egypt. The battle takes place in Israel. The Egyptians are defeated and Hezekiah is alone.
Vs. 1-3 Hezekiah’s delegation meets Sennacherib’s field commander and his army in the same spot that Isaiah met Ahaz to make the prophecy concerning the Assyrian invasion.
Vs. 4-10 The Assyrian field commander is making a couple of important points to the Jewish delegation. Their alliance with Egypt didn’t work. Pharaoh was an unreliable ally. The armies of Judah are totally unequipped to deal with Assyria. They are basically saying, “You want to fight? Great. We’ll give you 2,000 horses. Oh, but you don’t even have 2,000 riders. Too bad, so sad.” They prove that they don’t understand the Hebrew religion because they are wrong about why Hezekiah removed the high places. But they attribute their invasion of Israel and Judah to Yahweh. He says that Yahweh told him to do it. The problem is that Assyria overstepped the bounds that Yahweh set for them. That brings an even greater judgment on them. See Isaiah 10:5-11 and Isaiah 10:12-19.
Vs. 11-12 Is a discussion about diplomatic language. The Hebrew delegation wants them to speak in Aramaic, but it is to keep the people from overhearing the discussion. The Assyrians speak in Hebrew to reinforce their power and spread their message among the Jewish people.
Vs 13-20 He demands Jerusalem’s surrender. His big mistake is to say not to trust the Lord. He compares Yahweh to other gods. He compares Jerusalem to the land of captivity to which they will be sent.
Vs. 21-22 The people remained silent as ordered. The delegation returns to Hezekiah in distress.