113-139 Isaiah Chapter 39
Hezekiah Shows His Treasures
After the recovery of Hezekiah and the addition of fifteen years of life the Lord gave him it was now up to him if he was to use this time wisely and for the glory of God. The King of Babylon who had heard of Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery sent him a gift. There probably was a further reason for the kindness of the King of Babylon. He may have wanted to extend his friendship to cause Hezekiah to aid him against the Assyrians. “To the Assyrians, Merodach-Baladan was a terrorist; to himself, he was a freedom-fighter with his life devoted to the liberation of his beloved Babylon from Assyrian tyranny.” (Motyer)
Hezekiah himself was worried about the Assyrian threat and was honored by the embassy of the Babylonians. Hezekiah gladly welcomed the Assyrian envoys. In their meeting and without consulting the Lord or Isaiah King Hezekiah showed the Babylonians his vast treasures, food stores, and his military might. “God had given Hezekiah great wealth, so the visitors were duly impressed (2Ch_32:27-29).” (Wolf)
In chapters 1 through 38 the book was concerned with the threat of the Assyrians Empire. The rest of the book of Isaiah chapters 39 through 66 prophetically speak of the threat of the Babylonian Empire. “This brief chapter is actually an introduction to the second half of Isaiah.” (Bultema)
To have the Babylonians visit Hezekiah must have been flattering to him. Judah itself was a lowly nation and had little power. Babylon was a superpower in that day. To be given notice by the King of Babylon must have made Hezekiah feel important. In Hezekiah’s effort to please the Babylonians he showed them his house of treasures. He wanted them to be impressed to believe that they had good reason to have his nation as a friend. Hezekiah does all that he can to impress his Babylonian visitors. On King Hezekiah’s part, this was complete foolishness. It is a dangerous place to be when we try to impress godless men. Hezekiah acted wrongly to the Babylonians and became trapped by their compliments and began to accept their praise too seriously.
Hezekiah wanting to please men caused him to no longer be a true servant of God. (Galatians 1:10) If we are living to please men, then we are really living to please our self. This is because what we are really valuing is the praise that we get from men. It is better to live to serve men but not live to please them. “Just as Samson revealed his strength to the whore, so Hezekiah revealed God’s glory to the devils as though he were their companion and had received favors from Babylon.” (Kohlbrugge, cited in Bultema)
Hezekiah should have told the Babylonians thank you for the gift but I have God’s divine promise to lean on and confirmed by the restoration of my health. I must remain faithful to my God.
Isaiah probably already knew the answer to his questions and was under God’s guidance to allow Hezekiah to answer honestly and to see the error of his way. Hezekiah in his pride told Isaiah that he had shown all his treasures in his house. The inflated ego of Hezekiah had made him blind to the truth.
Hezekiah was trying to impress the Babylonians but all he had done was to show them what the kings of Judah had. One day during the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonians would come and take all the treasure of Judah away. (2 Kings 24:1-13; 2 Kings 25:11-17) It would be more than a hundred years before the Babylonians came to take their treasure but they did come.
The Babylonians not only took the treasures of Judah but they also took the sons of the King of Judah, the true riches. Daniel and his companions were taken into captivity. Daniel was a descendant of the king. He was taken into the palace of the King of Babylon. (Daniel 1:1-4)
Hezekiah displays a sad heart in that he is relieved that this prophecy of Isaiah will not happen in his lifetime. Hezekiah shows the selfishness of one who is concerned only for his comfort and success. King Hezekiah started out as a godly king and one with outstanding goodness. (2 Kings 18:3-7) Hezekiah did not finish well and the added years to his life did not make him godlier.