Sennacherib’s Death Is. 37:1-38 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Isaiah 37 recounts Hezekiah’s servants’ appeal to Isaiah, Isaiah’s assurance of Sennacherib’s defeat, Rabshakeh’s letter blaspheming God, Hezekiah’s prayer, Isaiah’s prophetic response, the death of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and Sennacherib’s death. The overarching truth of this passage is the Lord’s miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib’s threatened attack. This deliverance gives prophetic assurance to Israel that Jesus will deliver Jerusalem from the antichrist at the end of the Tribulation.
Hezekiah’s Servants’ Appeal to Isaiah – Is 37:1-5 – Eliakim, Shebna and the elders went to Isaiah to inform him of Rabshakeh’s words and to entreat him to pray that the Lord would reprove the words of Rabshakeh. Notice that Hezekiah humbled himself [v.1], turned to the Lord [v.1], recognized his weakness [v.3], and sought the Lord [v.4]. These are all vital in getting the Lord’s help against Assyria [2 Chr 14:11-12; 15:2; 20:2-4, 15-17]. The statements the “day of trouble,” “the children are come to the birth,” and “the remnant that is left” foreshadow the Tribulation [Is 66:7-10, for example].
Isaiah’s Assurance of Sennacherib’s Defeat – Is 37:6-7 – Isaiah sends word to Hezekiah to “be not afraid.” The Lord said, “I will send a blast upon him,” [v.8] “he shall hear a rumour,” [v.9] and “return to his own land,” [v.37] and “fall by the sword in his own land” [v.38]. These all came to pass absolutely in accordance with God’s word.
Rabshakeh’s Letter Blaspheming God – Is 37:8-13 – Rabshakeh wrote to Hezekiah so that Hezekiah wouldn’t assume that Sennacherib’s retreat was a show of weakness. But Rabshakeh’s letter was blasphemous. He accused the Lord of deception [v.10, comp Matt 27:63], and he boasted of Assyria’s preeminence above all nations [v.11], all gods [v.12] and all kings [v.13]. See 2 Chr 32:15-17. As Solomon said, “Pride goeth before destruction,” [Prov 16:18].
Hezekiah’s Prayer – Is 37:14-20 – Notice these elements in Hezekiah’s prayer. It was in “the house of the Lord” [v.14, according to Solomon’s prayer of dedication, 2 Chr 6:20-21, 28-31]. He acknowledged the Lord as the only God [v.16, Is 43:10-11], the God of all the kingdoms of the earth [v.16, Is 40:15-17] and the Creator [v.16, Is 40:28]. He acknowledged that the gods of the nations were just idols [v.19, Is 44:8-20]. He prayed that the Lord would be glorified in Sennacherib’s defeat [v.20, Ps 50:15].
Isaiah’s Prophetic Response – Is 37:21-35 – Jerusalem laughs Sennacherib to scorn [v.22] because of Assyria’s blasphemy against the Lord [v.23] and their boastful claims [v.24-25]. The Lord reminds Assyria that they were successful in the prior battles because the very God they blasphemed is the one who strengthened them [v.26-27]. Because of their rage against the Lord, he turns against them.
Then he gives a sign to Judah in v. 30-32 that they will eat for two years without sowing and in the third year they will again sow and reap. But the references here all foreshadow the restoration of Israel following the Tribulation [2 Pet 3:8, 2 years = 2,000 years between Christ’s first and second comings and the 3rd year = the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth]. The remnant that escapes is the remnant from Rom 9:27.
Again the Lord reassures Hezekiah that Sennacherib won’t come in and that he will defend Jerusalem for himself and for David [due to the covenant of 2 Sam 7:12-16].
The Death of 185,000 Assyrian Soldiers – Is 37:36 – the angel of the Lord in one night killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers at Libnah, which defeat caused Sennacherib to return to his own land.
Sennacherib’s Death – Is 37:37-38 – Sennacherib went back to Nineveh and when he went into the house of his false god, he was killed with a sword by two of his sons who then escaped to Armenia. Sennacherib’s son, Esarhaddon, reigned in his stead.