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.
Rent his cloaths, … — Great men must not think it any disparagement to them, to sympathize with the injured honour of the great God.
 And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.
The children — We are like a poor travailing woman in great extremity, having no strength left to help herself, and to bring forth her infant into the world. We have attempted to deliver ourselves from the Assyrian yoke; and had carried on that work to some maturity, and as we thought, brought it to the birth; but now we have no might to finish. We have begun an happy reformation, and are hindered by this insolent Assyrian, from bringing it to perfection.
 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.
For the remnant — For Judah, which is but a remnant, now the ten tribes are gone: for Jerusalem, which is but a remnant, now the defenced cities of Judah are taken.
 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
Returned — To the king, to give him an account of the treaty; leaving behind him the army under the other commanders.
 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
O Lord God of Israel, … — He calls him the God of Israel, because Israel was his peculiar people; but yet the God of the whole earth, not as Sennacherib fancied, the God of Israel only. Let them say what they will, thou art sovereign Lord, the God of gods, even thou alone: Universal Lord of all the kingdoms of the earth; and rightful Lord; for thou hast made heaven and earth. Being creator of all, by an incontestable title thou art owner and ruler of all.
 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.
Him — Rabshakeh: he would not do him the honour to name him.
 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
Virgin — So he calls Zion, or Jerusalem; because she was pure in good measure from that gross idolatry wherewith other people were defiled, which is called spiritual whoredom: and to signify, that God would defend her from the rape which Sennacherib intended to commit upon her with no less care than parents do their virgin daughters from those who seek to force and deflower them.
 By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel.
Mountains — I have brought up my very chariots to those mountains which were thought inaccessible by my army.
Lebanon — An high hill, famous for cedars and fir-trees.
Cut down — I will cut down the trees that hinder my march, and plane the way for my numerous army and chariots.
Lodgings — Those cities (which he calls lodgings in way of contempt) which are in his utmost borders. I am come into the land of Canaan at one border, Lebanon, and I resolve to march on to the other border, and so destroy the whole country, from one border to the other.
Carmel — The forest of mount Carmel, which may seem to be another inaccessible place, like Lebanon.
 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places.
Strange waters — Such as were never discovered by others.
Dried up — And as I can furnish my army with water digged out of the earth; so I can deprive my enemies of their water, and can dry up their rivers, and that with the sole of my feet; with the march of my vast and numerous army, who will easily do this, either by marching through them, and each carrying away part with them: or by making new channels, and driving the waters of the river into them.
 Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.
Hast thou not, … — Hast thou not long since learned, that which some of thy philosophers could teach thee; that there is a supreme and powerful God, by whose decree and providence all these wars and calamities were sent, and ordered; whose mere instrument thou art, so that thou hast no cause for these vain boastings? This work is mine, not thine.
I have, … — I have so disposed of things by my providence, that thou shouldest be a great and victorious prince, and that thou shouldest be so successful as thou hast hitherto been, first against the kingdom of Israel, and now against Judah.
 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.
Therefore — Because I had armed thee with my commission and strength, and taken away their spirit and courage.
 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
I know — Though thou dost not know me, yet I throughly know thee, and all thy designs and actions, all thy secret contrivances in the place of thy abode, in thy own kingdom and court; and the execution of thy designs abroad, what thou intendest in thy going out, and with what farther thoughts thou comest in, or returnest to thy own land.
 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
My hook, … — What a comfort is it, that God has a hook in the nose and a bridle in the jaws of all his and our enemies?
 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof.
A sign — Of the certain accomplishment of the promises here made: that God will not only preserve the city from his present fury, but also, bless his people with a durable prosperity, verse 30,31.
The third year — This was an excellent sign; especially, considering the waste and havock which the Assyrians had made in the land; and that the Jews had been forced to retire into their strong hold, and consequently to neglect their tilling, and sowing, and reaping; and yet this year they should have sufficient provision from those fruits of the earth which the Assyrians left; and the second year, which was the year of release, in which they might neither sow, nor reap, from such fruits as the earth brought forth of its own accord; and so in the third year.
And eat — You shall not sow, and another reap, as lately you did; but you shall enjoy the fruit of your own labours.
 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
The remnant, … — They shall be well fixt and provided for themselves, and then do good to others.
 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.
Go forth — That handful of Jews who were now gathered together, and shut up in Jerusalem, shall go out of their several habitations, and by my singular blessing increase exceedingly.
The zeal — Although when you reflect upon yourselves, and consider either your present fewness, and weakness, or your great unworthiness, this may seem too great a blessing for you to expect; yet God will do it from the zeal which he hath, both for his own name, and for the good of his undeserving people.
 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
He shall not — The army sent with Rabshaketh did not form a close siege against it, but only disposed themselves so as to block it up at some distance; possibly waiting 'till the king of Assyria had taken Libnah and Lachish, (which they presumed he would speedily do.)
 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
Angel — Such an angel as destroyed the first-born of Egypt.
Arose — The few that were left alive: all their companions were dead.
 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
So Sennacherib, … — The manner of the expression intimates the great disorder and distraction of mind he was in.
 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
Was worshipping, … — The God of Israel had done enough to convince him, that he was the only true God. Yet he persists in his idolatry. Justly then is his blood mingled with his sacrifices, who will not be convinced by so dear-bought a demonstration, of his folly in worshipping idols.