Dave Burnette's Commentary

Isaiah Chapter 36

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Isaiah
Date Penned: (700-681 BC)
Overview: To Tell of God's Salvation through the Messiah (c 1-66)
Theme: Words of Judgment (c 1-39)
Message: Assyria threatens Judah (v 1-21)

Isaiah 36 Commentary 

(36:4-6) Taunting Judah - Isaiah 19 describes Isaiah's prophecy of judgment upon Egypt, while Isaiah 30 and 31 pronounce woe on those from Judah who allied themselves with Egypt in the face of Assyria's impending attack. Sennacherib of Assyria was taunting Judah for trusting in Egypt--even the Assyrians knew that Egypt could not help Judah. 

(36:5) Neglecting God - Hezekiah put great trust in Pharaoh's promise to help Israel against the Assyrians, but promises are only as credible as the person making them. It was Pharaoh's word against God's. How quickly we make plans based on human advice when dealing with our problems and neglect God's eternal promises. When choosing between God's word and someone else's, whose will you believe? 

(36:7) Confusion - The Assyrian king's field commander (in Hebrew, rabshakeh) falsely claimed that Hezekiah had insulted God by tearing down his altars and making the people worship only in Jerusalem. But Hezekiah's reform had sought to eliminate idol worship (which occurred mainly on high hills) so the people would worship only the true God. Either the Assyrians didn't understand the religion of the true God or they wanted to raise doubt and confuse the people into thinking they had angered a powerful god. In the same way, Satan tries to confuse or deceive us. He doesn't need us to be wild sinners in order to be ineffective for God; he just needs to confuse us about who God is and what God wants. To avoid Satan's deceit, study God's Word carefully and regularly. Keep your eyes on the goal (Philippians 3:12-14). When you know what God says, you will not fall for Satan's lies. 

(36:10) Trusting the Lord - Sennacherib continued his demoralization campaign by sending his representative to try to convince the people of Judah that God had turned against them. The Assyrians hoped to convince the people of Judah to surrender without fighting. But Isaiah had already said that the Assyrians would not destroy Jerusalem, so the people did not need to be afraid of them (10:24=27; 29:5-8). 

(36:10) Check Your Sources - Did the Lord really tell the king to go against the land and destroy it? How were the people of Judah to know whether he was telling them the truth or just telling a lie to drain their courage? For the residents of Jerusalem, this claim was proven false by the rest of the king's words and by the testimony of Isaiah the prophet. It's not always so easy for us. We should be very cautious before believing what someone tells us God told him or her to do until we have verified that it lines up with God's Word, the Bible. 

(36:11) Aramaic - The Syrian language (Aramaic) was an international language at this time. See also 22:15-25 for Isaiah's prophecies concerning Eliakim and Shebna. 

(36:17) Resettle the Inhabitants - Sennacherib's representative tried yet another ploy to demoralize the people. He appealed to the starving city under siege by offering to take them to a land with plenty of food if they surrendered. The Assyrian policy for dealing with conquered nations was to resettle the inhabitants and then to move other conquered peoples into the recently conquered areas. This provided manpower for their armies and prevented revolts in conquered territories. 

(36:19-20) In Name Only - The Assyrian king's representative said that the gods of the other cities he had conquered had not been able to save their people, so why would they think that the God of Jerusalem could save them? The Lord was supposed to be the God of Samaria (the northern kingdom), and it had fallen. He was not their God, however, because they worshiped him in name only. For that reason, the prophets foretold the fall of Samaria. But for the Lord's own sake and for the sake of David, the Lord would rescue Jerusalem from the Assyrian army.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Remove the Idols in Your Life

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we continue in the Book of Isaiah with Chapter 36. In our text today, we see the events during the reign of Hezekiah, such as removing the altars of idol worship placed on the hill and calling on all to worship in Jerusalem alone. In making an application, we see that we, too, tend to allow idols in our lives that rob us of true worship in our Jerusalem, the house of God. We, too, need to follow the example of Hezekiah and remove these alterations that we can allow in our lives. How about you? Do you allow other things to rob you of true worship? Let us learn from our text today and the example of Hezekiah to drive out the idols in our lives and worship the one true God, who needs to be on the throne of our hearts.


Isaiah 36

Isaiah 36

 1Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.

 2And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.

 3Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder.

 4And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?

 5I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?

 6Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

 7But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?

 8Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.

 9How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

 10And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

 11Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall.

 12But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

 13Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.

 14Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you.

 15Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

 16Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern;

 17Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.

 18Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, the LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?

 20Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?

 21But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.

 22Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.