Isaiah 39

Isaiah 39

Envoys from Babylon

39 At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” Hezekiah said, “They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon.” He said, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.”


Isaiah 39 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The last verse of Chapter 39 is probably the most heavily scrutinized statement from Hezekiah. Many scholars are split on the correct interpretation of this verse. Surprising to me, most tend to agree that it should be read as a positive statement. Let’s review his words so we can analyze the context.

After the boneheaded decision to show off his treasure to Babylon’s prince, Isaiah has strong words for Hezekiah.

‘The time will certainly come when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until this day will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD.

Isaiah 39:6 HCSB

To which Hezekiah responds with…

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good,” for he thought: There will be peace and security during my lifetime.

Isaiah 39:8 HCSB

His response is somewhat baffling. Was he actually joyful in accepting the Lord’s rebuke, or was he just trying to sound holy? The fact that he includes “in my lifetime” to the end of his statement makes you wonder if he even cared about the future of Judah. It sounds like he doesn’t care if his descendants are ruined, as long as he is able to live the rest of his life in peace. However, as stated previously, this is the minority view.

So, here is the bad news. Even though many see Hezekiah’s words in positive light, I just can’t reconcile this as a positive statement, especially because Hezekiah’s response to his own suffering was much different. His attitude at the end of this chapter is selfish and weak.

Thankfully, there is good news. Hezekiah was not the Messiah. Judah was not dependent upon his perfect leadership. He proved himself human, just like the rest of us. Judah’s hope remained in the Lord alone, and He is the One to be trusted.

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People share too much. We have social media and we want our “friends” and followers to see how wonderful our lives are. Boasting about a new truck, or a 72” TV, showing intimate details about their dwelling. Then they post about the vacation they are on and people now know their home is left undefended. There is a certain foolishness to all of it. How many people say “At least I wasn’t home when someone broke in.” They think it was good they were gone, but it was for that reason the crime happened. Hezekiah said the same foolish thing “At least it won’t happen in my lifetime.” It’s a sort of short-sighted selfish thought.