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her utter destruction, and with introducing the nations she had oppressed, exulting with joy at her fall *.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE REIGN OF HEZEKIAH
From 2 Chron. Chap. xxxii.-2 Kings, Chap. xx.
AND Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels: Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.
Moreover, he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for GOD had given him substance very much.
This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon: and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.
Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the
* A great part of the foregoing Annotations are copied from a very useful work lately published, to which I am glad to direct my readers, as it will greatly facilitate the study of the prophecies. Iṭ is entitled, A Summary View and Explanation of the Writings of the Prophets, &c. by John Smith, D. D. Printed at Edinburgh, 1786.
princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, GOD left him to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
For at that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered.
And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? and Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.
Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts.
Behold the days come, that all that is in thinę house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt have, shall they take away; and they shall be slaves in the palace of the king of Babylon.
Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken: he said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.
And Hezekiah slept with his fathers and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David. And all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Hezekiah, though in his general character a very good man, was not proof against such a tide of prosperity as flowed in upon him. He gloried in his wealth and greatness, as if they had been acquired by his own abilities, forgetful of the hand of the LORD, which had wrought so wonderful a deliverance for him and his people; and made an ostentatious display of the riches and strength of his kingdom to the Babylonian ambassadors.
BABYLON is supposed to have been originally founded by Nimrod, and to have been the first kingdom in the world; but there is little said about it in Scripture till the time of Hezekiah, from which some learned authors: suppose, "that if this kingdom rose to any great. height after it was first founded, it had sunk again as others had done, and was therefore inconsiderable at the time of the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel. It appears very probable, that the Assyrian and Babylonian kings were two branches of the same family, and that PUL, the first Assyrian conqueror, left two sons, Tiglath-pilesar and Nabonassar; to the former of whom he bequeathed the kingdom of Assyria, and the Babylonian to the latter. Tiglath-pilesar, the elder, resided at Nineveh, the original seat of the empire; while Nabonassar, who was the younger brother, held his residence at Babylon. As the two kingdoms were go* Sir Isaac Newton's Chronology-Universal History..
verned by princes of the same family, it is likely that there was great harmony between them, and that the younger branch at Babylon acknowledged a kind of superiority in, and subjection to, the elder in Nineveh : and this affinity accounts for the Assyrian king's forbearing to molest Babylon, whose situation would otherwise have attracted his first attention, when he had formed a design of extending his dominions."
Of the kings that succeeded Nabonassar in Babylon, nothing is recorded in Scripture till the reign of Berodach, or Merodach-baladan, who sent the embassy to Hezekiah. He is supposed to have had a double motive for sending, first to inform himself concerning the prodigy of the sun's retrogression, and also to express his friendly disposition towards a king who seemed to be favoured by the idol, to whom the Babylonians paid adoration; for they worshipped the sun, and were very skilful in the science of astronomy.
The conduct of Hezekiah was highly blameable, but the dreadful message he received by the prophet, brought him to a sense of his error; therefore no farther punishment was inflicted, than informing him, that the Babylonians would, in a short time, not only strip his kingdom of all that was most valuable in it, but would even reduce some of his family to a state of slavery this must doubtless have been a great mortification to Hezekiah, but it was his duty to acquiesce in the dispensations of infinite wisdom and goodness; and he comforted himself with the thoughts, that peace and truth would remain in his days; and doubtless depended on the promises of GoD, repeatedly made by the prophets, that He would protect and sustain all those who served Him with a perfect heart and willing mind, even if they were reduced to a state of captivity; and the sequel shews, that his hopes were well-grounded.
In the days of Hezekiah lived the prophet MICAH, "His prophecies concerned both Israel and Judah. He reproved them for their sins with great warmth and indignation; and, for the comfort of the godly, delivered many things concerning the Messiah," which will be noticed in a subsequent part of this history.
THE REIGN OF MANASSEH KING OF JUDAH.
From 2 Chron. Chap. xxxiii.
MANASSEH was twelve years old when he began to reign.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
For he built up again the high places which Heze. kiah his father had destroyed: and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven, in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used inchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits, and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD to provoke him to anger.
And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusa.
* Dr. Smith's Summary View