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intense apprehension, and the invasion of Sennacherib would fill the land with sudden alarm and general distress. This event Isaiah had thus vividly described:
"He come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; At Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:
They are gone over the passage:
They have taken up their lodging at Geba;
Gibeah of Saul is fled.
Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim!
Cause it to be heard unto Laish,
O poor Anathoth!
Madmenah is removed;
The inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
As yet shall he remain at Nob that day:
He shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion,
At length the dreaded hour arrived; the Assyrian armies re-enter the Hebrew kingdom, and pour along the country like an inundation, multiplying their conquests with such rapidity that Hezekiah, with all his preparations and with all his fortitude, becomes alarmed for his kingdom, relents his rashness, and abandons his purpose of resistance. Anxious to obtain a peace at any price, he now humbly submits to the exorbitant demands of the conqueror, to pay "three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold," or about one million two hundred and ninety-one thousand five hundred and fifty-four dollars.
But this purchased peace was of short duration. Sennacherib was bent upon an expedition against Egypt; and probably not thinking it safe to leave the kingdom of Judah in his rear with so many motives to revolt, he renews the war and lays siege to Lachish, a strong city in the southwest of Judah. From thence he sent a powerful detachment of his army to Jerusalem, to summon a surrender. 'Hezekiah saw at once that the policy of Sennacherib was to reduce Judah to the condition of an Assyrian province, as Shalmaneser had done to the kingdom of Israel, and with a resolute courage and a firm reliance upon the arm of Jehovah, he now prepared for the fearful extremity. The messengers of Sennacherib arrived before the wall
of Jerusalem, and, in the most insulting and blasphemous language, harangued the officers of Hezekiah, in the hearing of the people. Neither officers nor men, however, made the least reply, but the haughty summons was reported to the king by Eliakim and Hilkiah. "And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, 'Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria, his master, hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.' So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, "Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."" Read 2 Kings xvi, xvii, xviii and xix, 1–7; 2 Chronicles xxviii, xxix, xxx, xxxi and xxxii, 1–20.
WHEN HEZEKIAH HAD RECEIVED THE BLASPHEMOUS MESSAGE OF RABSHAKEH.
The memory of former providences encourages to continued hope, 1-8; present miseries of the nation rehearsed, 9–12; particularly the insulting and reproachful words of the enemy, 13–15; yet the Psalmist professeth the piety and integrity of the nation, 16-22; he earnestly prays for help, 23-26.
To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil, [or, a Psalm giving instruction, a didactic poem.]
1 We have heard with our ears, O God!
Our fathers have told us,
What work thou didst in their days,
In the times of old.
2 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, And plantedst them;
How thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
3 For they got not the land in possession by their own
Neither did their own arm save them:
But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance,
Because thou hadst a favour unto them.
4 Thou art my king, O God!
Command deliverances for Jacob.
5 Through thee will we push down our enemies: Through thy name will we tread them under that rise
up against us.
6 For fI will not trust in my bow,
Neither shall my sword save me.
a Exod. 12. 26, 27.
b Exod. 15. 17.
c Deut. 8. 17. Jos. 24. 12.
d Deut. 4. 37. and 7. 7, 8.
e Dan. 8. 4.
f Psa. 33. 16. Hos. 1. 7.
7 But thou hast saved us from our enemies,
9 But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; And goest not forth with our armies.
10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy;
And they which hate us spoil for themselves. 11 Thou hast given us 'like sheep appointed for meat; And hast 'scattered us among the heathen. 12 Thou sellest thy people 'for naught,
And dost not increase thy wealth by their price. 13 Thou "makest us a reproach to our neighbours,
A scorn and a derision to them that are round about us. 14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, A Pshaking of the head among the people.
15 My confusion is continually before me,
And the shame of my face hath covered me, 16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; By reason of the enemy and avenger.
17 All this is come upon us;
Yet have we not forgotten thee,
Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.
18 Our heart is not turned back,
Neither have our 'steps declined from thy way;
19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of
And covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we have forgotten the name of our God,
Or stretched out our hands to a strange god; 21 Shall not God search this out?
For he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
Psa. 34. 2. Jer. 9. 24.
Rom. 2. 17.
h Psa. 60. 1, 10.
i Lev. 26. 17.
k Rom. 8. 36.
1 Heb. as sheep of meat.
1 Deut. 4. 27.
m Isa. 52. 8, 4. Jer. 15. 18.
2 Heb. without riches.
a Deut. 28. 87.
• Jer. 24. 9.
P Job 16. 4.
q Dan. 9. 13.
3 Or, goings.
r Jer. 17. 10.
22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; We are counted as sheep for the slaughter,
Awake-why sleepest thou, O LORD? Arise-cast us not off forever.
24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face,
And forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust:
Our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
26 Arise for our help,.
And redeem us for thy mercies' sake!
Rom. 8. 86.
4 Heb, a help for us.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS LXXIII, XCII, AND XCIII.
PSALMS OF ASAPH.
The messengers of Sennacherib surveyed the fortifications of Jerusalem, and made every effort to induce Hezekiah to capitulate, but in vain. He was fixed in his purpose to sustain a siege, and to make a final effort to check the progress of the haughty Assyrian. As they returned to their master to report the fruitless result of their embassy, they found Sennacherib besieging Libnah, another powerful city of the plain on the southwest border of Judah. At this juncture a report was spread through the country that Tirhakah, (Taracos or Tearcon,) a powerful monarch and conqueror, who ruled not only over Egypt, but over Ethiopia and the Arabian Cush, was on his march through Arabia to attack Sennacherib and relieve Hezekiah. This intelligence quickened the movements of the Assyrian monarch, and made it imperative on him to reduce Jerusalem without loss of time. He now despatched his messengers to Hezekiah the second time with a written letter, and a repetition of his former arrogance and blasphemies. "And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, and