Table of Contents
Introduction to Isaiah 36:13-18
Rabshakeh had described in Isaiah 36:12 how the people would eat their dung and drink their urine in an attempt to provide the crudest, most shocking terms by which to describe the people’s attempts to resist the king of Assyria and his army. The point was to brutalize and terrorize the people emotionally to the maximum extent for the purpose of getting their surrender. Rabshakeh then uses this to contrast Hezekiah and Sennacherib. His point was that Hezekiah was unable to prevent their death and destruction, whereas submission to Sennacherib would result in life and prosperity for everyone. This discourse that Rabshakeh is giving provides us with a picture of how the evil one works, giving promises of prosperity, of peace, and pleasure. The outcome however is destruction, loss of home, loved ones, and most importantly the loss of a relationship with the Lord God of Israel. John in his epistle provides us with the reality of this situation according to 1 John 5:18-21.
1 John 5:18–21
5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (KJV, 1 John 5:18–21 (NA28): 18 Οἴδαμεν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐχ* ἁμαρτάνει,* ἀλλʼ ⸂ὁ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ⸃ τοῦ θεοῦ τηρεῖ ⸀ἑαυτὸν καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ.* 19 οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ* θεοῦ ἐσμεν καὶ ὁ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται.* 20 ⸂οἴδαμεν δὲ⸃ ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ἥκει καὶ ⸀δέδωκεν ἡμῖν διάνοιαν,* ἵνα ⸁γινώσκωμεν τὸν ἀληθινόν⸆, καὶ ἐσμὲν ἐν τῷ ἀληθινῷ, ἐν τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ. οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς θεὸς καὶ ⸄ζωὴ αἰώνιος⸅. 21 Τεκνία,* φυλάξατε ⸀ἑαυτὰ ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων. ⸆)
Here John writes that the one who is born of God does not sin. This is a very heavy teaching since we all sin. John goes on to say that if we are of God we will keep ourselves such that the evil one does not touch us. What does this mean? This means that we will guard our lives, our mind, eyes, ears, etc. such that we would not sin or allow the evil one to tempt us to sin. One of the greatest difficulties with these statements that John is making is when one is stuck in repetitive habitual sin where one is repenting daily for the same sin over and over again. The question then is repentance “real” for the one who commits a sin daily and is sorrowful for what he has done. The difficulty comes with how the NT handles this in regard to holiness coupled with warnings such as the following verses.
How the NT Handles Warnings on Holiness
- James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (KJV) This means that Faith without a changed life is dead.
- Without holiness we will not see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: KJV)
- Yeshua said “if you love me” you will obey my commands (John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. KJV)
- Many will say “Lord, Lord.” Yeshua will say, “I never knew you because you are a worker of iniquity” (see Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. KJV)
- Can one really walk in sin if he or she has died in Christ? (Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? KJV)
So the question is that does true repentance mean that I never have to ask the Lord again to be forgiven of the same sin? I think that this is a very important question. We note that sin is a condition where one’s heart is directed away from the Lord in preference for other things. Now we note something that Yeshua taught us on how to pray according to Matthew 6:11-12. Yeshua said, 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread. 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (KJV) What this reveals to us is that Yeshua spoke of the daily need for the forgiveness of sins which is our debt to God. We note that when we talk about sin, this is not just about murder, adultery, or stealing, but also relates to dishonesty and foul language, lying, etc. Some of these things can be very habitual and difficult to break. What we note about Teshuvah (Repentance) is this references a total change of attitude and mind that causes one to turn to take one’s entire life in a different direction to be aligned with God and His holy ways. John also wrote saying the following according to 1 John 1:8-9.
1 John 1:8–9
1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV 8 ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἔχομεν,* ἑαυτοὺς πλανῶμεν καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια ⸆ ♦⸉οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἡμῖν⸊.* 9 ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος, ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ⸆ καὶ ⸀καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας.*)
Here John speaks of the importance of recognizing that we do sin, and for confessing our sins to the Lord God meaning that we acknowledge these things before God and seek His forgiveness. Confession should include guilt and sorrow for sinning along with every intention to make war against that sin and seeing God’s help to His presence in our lives to overcome. So, the idea that John writes saying that the one who is born of God does not sin and that is because he keeps himself so the evil one does not touch him, this is the idea of making war with sin from the sense of doing what it takes to turn from it, to put it to death. Note how again this implies having the right Kavanah (intention) to turn and not repeat. This means that we are not walking around with “premeditated” sin on our hearts, meaning that we are allowing the option to make the choice to sin at any given moment. So basically, this idea of premeditated sin is what is the danger to our souls that is being spoken of here by John. Note also how in Isaiah, the premeditated sin is what Isaiah was warning the people of to repent and turn to the Lord and His ways, not to the nations. We note that even Paul struggled with sin (Romans 7:16-19) but his sins were not premeditated. This means that he did not have the attitude that he could sin and get away with it because he could be forgiven. Premeditated sin is a terribly wrong attitude. The reason being is that this kind of attitude that “I will be forgiven” is an attitude of premeditated unrighteousness. This is the path that leads to destruction! We also note what John says in 1 John 5, 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (KJV) Here he speaks of this world being in wickedness, and that the Son of God was revealed to us so that we can have understanding, to know Him and our Father in heaven, and have eternal life that is found in the victory that we receive in Him. John also says keep yourselves from idols, and he uses the imperative for the word “keep” (φυλάσσω) meaning “to watch, guard, protect” and this is a command. Notice that sin functions as an idol in our lives! This is something that is from the world, and is the reason why John is so explicit in his description of who we are supposed to be. We note something that Samuel said when Israel asked to have a king over them as opposed to the Lord God of Israel.
ספר שמואל א פרק יב
יח וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל-יהֹוָה וַיִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה קֹלֹת וּמָטָר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיִּירָא כָל-הָעָם מְאֹד אֶת-יְהֹוָה וְאֶת-שְׁמוּאֵל: יט וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָל-הָעָם אֶל-שְׁמוּאֵל הִתְפַּלֵּל בְּעַד-עֲבָדֶיךָ אֶל-יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְאַל-נָמוּת כִּי-יָסַפְנוּ עַל-כָּל-חַטֹּאתֵינוּ רָעָה לִשְׁאֹל לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ: כ וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ אַתֶּם עֲשִֹיתֶם אֵת כָּל-הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת אַךְ אַל-תָּסוּרוּ מֵאַחֲרֵי יְהֹוָה וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֶת-יְהֹוָה בְּכָל-לְבַבְכֶם: כא וְלֹא תָּסוּרוּ כִּי | אַחֲרֵי הַתֹּהוּ אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יוֹעִילוּ וְלֹא יַצִּילוּ כִּי-תֹהוּ הֵמָּה: כב כִּי לֹא-יִטֹּשׁ יְהֹוָה אֶת-עַמּוֹ בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל כִּי הוֹאִיל יְהֹוָה לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶתְכֶם לוֹ לְעָם: כג גַּם אָנֹכִי חָלִילָה לִּי מֵחֲטֹא לַיהֹוָה מֵחֲדֹל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעַדְכֶם וְהוֹרֵיתִי אֶתְכֶם בְּדֶרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה וְהַיְשָׁרָה: כד אַךְ | יְראוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֹתוֹ בֶּאֱמֶת בְּכָל-לְבַבְכֶם כִּי רְאוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר-הִגְדִּל עִמָּכֶם: כה וְאִם-הָרֵעַ תָּרֵעוּ גַּם-אַתֶּם גַּם-מַלְכְּכֶם תִּסָּפוּ:
1 Samuel 12:18–25
12:18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. 12:19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. 12:20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 12:21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 12:22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. 12:23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 12:25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king. (KJV )
Here the people realized their sin, and Samuel said something that is very important! He said, “Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD but serve the LORD with all your heart.” (1 Samuel 12:20) This is very important since Samuel points out that we are to never turn aside from following the Lord and that we are to serve the Lord with all our heart. Notice 1 Samuel 12:21 how Samuel says do not turn to the side to go after vain things which cannot profit nor deliver. This is in reference to turning back to sin. Samuel also reassures us of the promise of God that he will not forsake His people (1 Samuel 12:22). In addition, he provides a warning, that if one continues to sin, he will be consumed (1 Samuel 12:25). This is an important warning for us today and speaks to all the more reasons why we should seek the Lord and follow Him with all our heart to turn from sin! The most important point is that we are to recognize the works of the evil one in this world, especially those things in our lives that keep us bound in sin. In addition, we are to seek the Lord with all our heart, and trust in Him, this is how Isaiah is directing us to the Lord. And to never turn from serving the Lord, to always seek to do His will in our lives! Look to Yeshua for how to live, walking in His footsteps, and offering our bodies as living sacrifices! We note how this is a daily struggle! The fact that we struggle with these things is evidence for our being a part of the kingdom of God.
The Isaiah 36:13-18 Text
Isaiah goes on with the narrative from Rabshakeh saying the following according to Isaiah 36:13-14.
ספר ישעיה פרק לו
יג וַיַּעֲמֹד רַבשָׁקֵה וַיִּקְרָא בְקוֹל-גָּדוֹל יְהוּדִית וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְעוּ אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר: יד כֹּה אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אַל-יַשִּׁא לָכֶם חִזְקִיָּהו כִּי לֹא-יוּכַל לְהַצִּיל אֶתְכֶם:
Isaiah 36:13 states, “Then 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. (וַיַּעֲמֹד רַבשָׁקֵה וַיִּקְרָא בְקוֹל-גָּדוֹל יְהוּדִית וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְעוּ אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר)” Isaiah 36:14 “Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you. (כֹּה אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אַל-יַשִּׁא לָכֶם חִזְקִיָּהו כִּי לֹא-יוּכַל לְהַצִּיל אֶתְכֶם)” Here again Rabshakeh is speaking to the people and Isaiah points out that He is speaking in יְהוּדִית which means that he was speaking in Hebrew in the language the people understood. He calls out to the people to not place their trust in Hezekiah to deliver you. Note that again here the emphasis is upon human deliverance. The point is that the Lord God Almighty is the deliverer, and it is only in Him that we can trust!
Notice how Rabshakeh states, וַיֹּאמֶר שִׁמְעוּ אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר “and said, Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria” when he was speaking about Assyria. He then mentions Hezekiah saying, אַל-יַשִּׁא לָכֶם חִזְקִיָּהו “Hezekiah cannot save you.” There are differences here in the titles, Rabshakeh makes for the king of Assyria a great title, whereas for Hezekiah he just says “Hezekiah.” Again he is trying to demoralize the people in their faith, asking how they could trust in Hezekiah and his God for deliverance. Persistence in faith is absolutely necessary here, and in our daily lives today, no matter what happens, we are to remain persistent in our faith to bring glory to God!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 36:15.
ספר ישעיה פרק לו
טו וְאַל-יַבְטַח אֶתְכֶם חִזְקִיָּהוּ אֶל-יְהֹוָה לֵאמֹר הַצֵּל יַצִּילֵנוּ יְהֹוָה לֹא תִנָּתֵן הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בְּיַד מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר:
Isaiah 36:15 states, “Neither 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. (וְאַל-יַבְטַח אֶתְכֶם חִזְקִיָּהוּ אֶל-יְהֹוָה לֵאמֹר הַצֵּל יַצִּילֵנוּ יְהֹוָה לֹא תִנָּתֵן הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בְּיַד מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר)” What we note about this statement here in Isaiah 36:15 is that this one sentence sums up the entire book of Isaiah until this point how the evil one wants us to turn from our faith in the Lord and in His Messiah Yeshua. These words take us all the way back to the beginning in the Creation which states:
ספר בראשית פרק ג
א וְהַנָּחָשׁ הָיָה עָרוּם מִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר עָשָֹה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל-הָאִשָּׁה אַף כִּי-אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן: ב וַתֹּאמֶר הָאִשָּׁה אֶל-הַנָּחָשׁ מִפְּרִי עֵץ-הַגָּן נֹאכֵל: ג וּמִפְּרִי הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹךְ-הַגָּן אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא תִגְּעוּ בּוֹ פֶּן תְּמֻתוּן: ד וַיֹּאמֶר הַנָּחָשׁ אֶל-הָאִשָּׁה לֹא-מוֹת תְּמֻתוּן: ה כִּי יֹדֵעַ אֱלֹהִים כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְכֶם מִמֶּנּוּ וְנִפְקְחוּ עֵינֵיכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם כֵּאלֹהִים יֹדְעֵי טוֹב וָרָע:
Bereshit / Genesis 3:1–5
3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (KJV 1900)
Notice how the evil one through the serpent called into question what God said. This is how the evil one operates, asking the question of whether God can be trusted, or is strong enough, or merciful enough, or faithful enough to trust. We note how the Scriptures respond to this question in many ways, and here Rabshakeh who is on the side of the evil one says that the king of Assyria can be trusted as opposed to God. Notice how he claims that the king of Assyria can be trusted more than God and says that if they lay down their arms and open their gates that they will be safe. (Isaiah 36:16-17) This reveals to us how God’s Word that we believe in will be put to the test, will the people stand their ground and hold tight to the word of God through the prophet Isaiah?
Isaiah continues saying the following according to Isaiah 36:16-17.
ספר ישעיה פרק לו
טז אַל-תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-חִזְקִיָּהוּ כִּי כֹה אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר עֲשֹוּ-אִתִּי בְרָכָה וּצְאוּ אֵלַי וְאִכְלוּ אִישׁ-גַּפְנוֹ וְאִישׁ תְּאֵנָתוֹ וּשְׁתוּ אִישׁ מֵי-בוֹרוֹ: יז עַד-בֹּאִי וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אֶל-אֶרֶץ כְּאַרְצְכֶם אֶרֶץ דָּגָן וְתִירוֹשׁ אֶרֶץ לֶחֶם וּכְרָמִים:
Isaiah 36:16 states, “Hearken 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; (אַל-תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-חִזְקִיָּהוּ כִּי כֹה אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר עֲשֹוּ-אִתִּי בְרָכָה וּצְאוּ אֵלַי וְאִכְלוּ אִישׁ-גַּפְנוֹ וְאִישׁ תְּאֵנָתוֹ וּשְׁתוּ אִישׁ מֵי-בוֹרוֹ)” Isaiah 36:17 “Until 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. (עַד-בֹּאִי וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אֶל-אֶרֶץ כְּאַרְצְכֶם אֶרֶץ דָּגָן וְתִירוֹשׁ אֶרֶץ לֶחֶם וּכְרָמִים)” Notice how the evil one likes to paint a beautiful picture of peace and the pleasures of life. Rabshakeh states that if the people open their gates and let them in, they can return to their own land and be at peace for a time until they return to deport them to a foreign country which also has corn, bread, wine, and pleasantries of life. This is a description of the people losing the covenantal promises of God by being forced to leave the land to be taken to a foreign country. Here the enemy is making a promise of blessing, which is evidently an idiom for the submission of the people. This is synonymous to making a covenant with the king of Assyria as opposed to keeping the covenant of God! The point of moving the people out of the land and to a distant place is for the purpose of taking the influential leaders away so the people can be dominated. The idea is to dilute the populace so that patriotism can be nullified. Do we note any parallels that are taking place today? Notice how the US government is allowing millions of people to come into the USA through the Mexican border. This is for the purpose of diluting the population and diluting patriotism. This is the point of globalism, to nullify patriotism, to make people docile, to remove faith in God, to destroy the nuclear family, to put an end to traditional values, and the list could go on. This is why the evil one is pushing LGBTQ alphabet lifestyles, gender confusion, and woke liberal ideologies, to destroy people’s lives! So here Rabshakeh paints these things with a pretty face, just as we see going on today in our modern world! Don’t be deceived! Trust in the Lord, get into God’s Word, and grab hold and don’t let go!
Rabbinic Commentary on Isaiah 36:13-18
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a valuable resource for continuing to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק לו:יג-יז
יג וְקָם רַב שָקֵי וְאַכלִי בְקָל רַב יְהוּדַת וַאְמַר שְמַעוּ יָת פִתגָמֵי מַלכָא רְרַבתָנָא מַלכָא דְאַתוּר׃ יד כִדנָן אְמַר מַלכָא לָא יַטעֵי לְכֹון חִזקִיָה אְרֵי לָא יִכֹול לְשֵיזָבָא יָתְכֹון׃ טו וְלָא יַרחֵיץ יָתְכֹון חִזקִיָה עַל מֵימְרָא דַיוי לְמֵימַר שֵיזָבָא יְשֵיזְבִנַנָא יוי וְלָא תִתמְסַר קַרתָא הָדָא בְיַד מַלכָא דְאַתוּר׃ טז לָא תְקַבְלוּן מִן חִזקִיָה אְרֵי כִדנָן אְמַר מַלכָא דְאַתוּר עְבִידוּ עִמִי שְלָמָא וּפוּקוּ לְוָתִי וַאְכוּלוּ גְבַר פֵירֵי גֻפנֹוהִי וּגבַר פֵירֵי תֵינֹוהִי וּשתֹו גְבַר מֵי גוּבֵיה׃ יז עַד מֵיתַא וְאַדבַר יָתְכֹון לַאְרַע טָבָא כַאְרַעכֹון אְרַע עְבוּר וַחְמַר אְרַע חַקלִין וְכַרמִין׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 36:13-18
36:13 Then Rabshakeh stood forth, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, Hear ye the words of our great king, the king of Assyria. 36:14 Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah cause you to err: for he shall not be able to deliver you. 36:15 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the WORD of the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. 36:16 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make peace with me, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of the fruit of his vine, and every one of the fruit of his fig tree, and drink ye every one of the waters of his cistern: 36:17 Until I come and take you away to a good land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of fields and vineyards. (TgJ)
The Targum translates Isaiah saying the following, יג וְקָם רַב שָקֵי וְאַכלִי בְקָל רַב יְהוּדַת וַאְמַר שְמַעוּ יָת פִתגָמֵי מַלכָא רְרַבתָנָא מַלכָא דְאַתוּר׃ 36:13 Then Rabshakeh stood forth, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, Hear ye the words of our great king, the king of Assyria. יד כִדנָן אְמַר מַלכָא לָא יַטעֵי לְכֹון חִזקִיָה אְרֵי לָא יִכֹול לְשֵיזָבָא יָתְכֹון׃ 36:14 Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah cause you to err: for he shall not be able to deliver you. טו וְלָא יַרחֵיץ יָתְכֹון חִזקִיָה עַל מֵימְרָא דַיוי לְמֵימַר שֵיזָבָא יְשֵיזְבִנַנָא יוי וְלָא תִתמְסַר קַרתָא הָדָא בְיַד מַלכָא דְאַתוּר׃36:15 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the WORD of the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. טז לָא תְקַבְלוּן מִן חִזקִיָה אְרֵי כִדנָן אְמַר מַלכָא דְאַתוּר עְבִידוּ עִמִי שְלָמָא וּפוּקוּ לְוָתִי וַאְכוּלוּ גְבַר פֵירֵי גֻפנֹוהִי וּגבַר פֵירֵי תֵינֹוהִי וּשתֹו גְבַר מֵי גוּבֵיה׃ 36:16 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make peace with me, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of the fruit of his vine, and every one of the fruit of his fig tree, and drink ye every one of the waters of his cistern: (TgJ) Here Rabshakeh makes the claim that he has something of value to the people, if they surrender the Assyrians will leave, and then they will come back to deport them to a land that has vineyards, fig trees, water, etc. What is coupled to this promise is the call for the people to forsake their faith in God. Isn’t it interesting that this is how it always works, the evil one comes and wants us to depart from our faith in the Lord God Almighty. The Lord God seeks for us to make a commitment to Him and to forsake the world. Note how the world calls to forsake the Lord and commit oneself to the world. The Scriptures describe what is acceptable and what is forbidden in respect to the world, in relation to who we are as the children of God. God wants us to commit our lives to Him and to live by His Words. When Assyria calls the people to forsake their God, they are telling them to seek after sin, since the way of the world is sin. Notice how the Scriptures described these things according to 2 Chronicles 28:16, 28:22-23.
ספר דברי הימים ב פרק כח
טז בָּעֵת הַהִיא שָׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ אָחָז עַל-מַלְכֵי אַשּׁוּר לַעְזֹר לוֹ: יז וְעוֹד אֲדוֹמִים בָּאוּ וַיַּכּוּ בִיהוּדָה וַיִּשְׁבּוּ-שֶׁבִי:
2 Chronicles 28:16
28:16 At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. (KJV)
ספר דברי הימים ב פרק כח
כב וּבְעֵת הָצֵר לוֹ וַיּוֹסֶף לִמְעוֹל בַּיהֹוָה הוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ אָחָז: כג וַיִּזְבַּח לֵאלֹהֵי דַרְמֶשֶֹק הַמַּכִּים בּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֱלֹהֵי מַלְכֵי-אֲרָם הֵם מַעְזְרִים אוֹתָם לָהֶם אֲזַבֵּחַ וְיַעְזְרוּנִי וְהֵם הָיוּ-לוֹ לְהַכְשִׁילוֹ וּלְכָל-יִשְֹרָאֵל:
2 Chronicles 28:22–23
28:22 And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. 28:23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. (KJV)
The first worldly approach is to seek help from the nations. Here we note what Ahaz did, seeking the kings of Assyria for help in his wars against Judah. The disagreement with Judah, their brothers, led to war rather than peace, and Ahaz sought to do what Isaiah has been warning the people about. They need to trust in the Lord and to seek Him only. Ahaz then sought the gods of the kings of Assyria in the hopes of obtaining their favor. Little did he know that there are no other gods besides the God of Israel. These false gods of the nations are demon gods who seek to destroy the people and not for their blessing. Forsaking God to go after the world is turning to sin. When the people turn from the Lord God he sends trials so that through suffering the one who turned from the Lord will realize the error of their ways and turn back to the Lord God for help! Note how Akeidat Yitzchak references these verses from Isaiah saying the following:
Akeidat Yitzchak 7:1 Part 16
There are three levels of knowledge of good and evil. 1) Complete comprehension; 2) Completely erroneous conclusions; 3) A mixture of the previous two. Anyone who falls into category two is like a beast, not knowing left from right. Such people are pere, wild, unbridled, not Adam. Compare Deut. 1,39, “And your children who do not know this day either good or evil.” Category One is he who knows correctly he is nolad betzelem, born in G-d’s image, as G-d Himself has testified, “Here man has become like one of Us” (Genesis 3,22). Category Three, i.e. those who have only partial understanding, confused knowledge, are the people who delve into the source of knowledge, making research an end in itself, as did the builders of the tower of Babel. This category comprises most of the human species. The tree of knowledge, though adjacent to the tree of life, was also close to all the other trees. The observer of the scene in the garden of Eden had three choices then. He could ignore the tree completely, and be termed sub-human. Or, he could notice it and all its attractive features, gain valuable insights through smelling it, touching it, and maybe even tasting it, though not eating its fruit. The result would be G-d like appreciation of good and evil. However, the exclusive preoccupation with it called “eating,” consuming it while being consumed by its charm, was forbidden and would result in mortality, abandoning oneself to the material, physical. We find in halachah, Jewish law, that whenever “eating” is forbidden, tasting may be permissible, since the principle is that tasting is not something of substance (Berachot 14). The deep involvement in eating from that tree produces as a corollary the result that such a person is no longer receptive to the purely spiritual/ intellectual such as represented by the tree of life. Thus one loses one’s anchor in the “higher” world (called by our sages chut shel chessed). What happened to Adam when he abused the tree of knowledge is similar to what happened to King Saul after his failure to kill Agag king of Amalek, when hashgachah peratit, G-d’s Personal Providence, was withdrawn, and His kingdom was no longer considered G-d’s kingdom. When Isaac had said to Esau, “Whenever he (Jacob) will reject the yoke of the Torah, you (Esau) will break the bond” (Genesis 27,40), he also referred to the fact that G-d would then withdraw His hashgachah peratit from the people of Israel. Israel’s descent to Egypt, a result of what the brothers had done to Joseph, or the survivors of the generation of spies in the desert, are all examples of the results of failures similar to what had occurred in the garden of Eden. “Mot-Tamut,” you will surely die. The tragedy, according to Bereshit Rabbah 16, was that the mortality incurred by Adam was automatically conferred upon his entire offspring, i.e. upon the entire human species. This is the reason the word mot tamut is repeated. All the other trees, the tree of life excepted, contained life’s necessities, therefore eating from those trees was permitted.
Akeidat Yitzchak writes that there are three levels of knowledge of good and evil. 1) Complete comprehension; 2) Completely erroneous conclusions; 3) A mixture of the previous two. He writes that the one who knows correctly is nolad betzelem “born of God’s image.” Notice how this parallels what Yeshua said according to John 3:1-5. This further illustrates how what Yeshua taught is consistent with the rabbis.
ספר יוחנן פרק ג
ג אַחַד הַפְּרוּשִׁים מִמַּנְהִיגֵי הַיְּהוּדִים, נַקְדִּימוֹן שְׁמוֹ, 2 בָּא אֶל יֵשׁוּעַ בַּלַּיְלָה וְאָמַר אֵלָיו׃ ״רַבִּי, אֲנַחְנוּ יוֹדְעִים כִּי מֵאֵת אֱלֹהִים בָּאתָ לִהְיוֹת מוֹרֶה, שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין אִישׁ יָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת הָאוֹתוֹת שֶׁאַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן אֱלֹהִים אִתּוֹ.״ 3 הֵשִׁיב יֵשׁוּעַ וְאָמַר אֵלָיו׃ ״אָמֵן אָמֵן אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לְךָ, אִם לֹא יִוָּלֵד אָדָם מִלְמַעְלָה, לֹא יוּכַל לִרְאוֹת אֶת מַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִים.״ 4 שָׁאַל נַקְדִּימוֹן׃ ״אֵיךְ יָכוֹל אָדָם לְהִוָּלֵד בִּהְיוֹתוֹ זָקֵן? הַאִם הוּא יָכוֹל לְהִכָּנֵס שֵׁנִית לְרֶחֶם אִמּוֹ וּלְהִוָּלֵד?״ 5 הֵשִׁיב יֵשׁוּעַ׃ ״אָמֵן אָמֵן אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לְךָ, אִם לֹא יִוָּלֵד אִישׁ מִן הַמַּיִם וְהָרוּחַ לֹא יוּכַל לְהִכָּנֵס לְמַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִים. (יחזקאל לו׳ כה׳–כז׳)
3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (KJV)
Here Yeshua uses the phrase אִם לֹא יִוָּלֵד אָדָם מִלְמַעְלָה “if a man is not born from above” this means that he is as Akeidat Yitzchak is describing, nolad betzelem “born in God’s image” this is an important concept. Notice how according to Sefer Bereshit (Genesis) we are all made in God’s image, having creativity and uniqueness among God’s creation. The difference here is not that one knows that he is created uniquely, but that he is born in God’s image. This implies a spiritual component beyond that of just having knowledge of what the Scriptures say concerning us. Yeshua states that if one is not born from above, לֹא יוּכַל לִרְאוֹת אֶת מַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִים “you will not be able to see the kingdom of God.” The rabbis say that when one has a preoccupation with evil, this is synonymous to eating or consuming it, being consumed by its pleasures, and abandoning one’s self to the material and physical world. Solomon also says something similar in Sefer Mishley (the book of Proverbs). Rashi writes the following according to his commentary on Isaiah 36:16.
Rashi on Isaiah 36:16 Parts 1-3
עשו אתי ברכה. צאו אלי לשלום וברכוני והביאו אלי תשורת שלום:
Make peace with me (בְרָכָה, lit., a blessing.) Come out to me for peace and greet me and bring me a gift of peace.
ברכה. שלו”ד בלע”ז כמו ויברך יעקב את פרעה (בראשית מז י):
בְּרָכָה is saloud in O.F., salutation. Comp. (Gen. 47:10) “And Jacob greeted Pharaoh.”
ואכלו איש גפנו. ואלך מעליכם ושבו בשלום עד שאמצא ארץ טובה כארצכם ואגלה אתכם שם כי כן דרכו להעביר האומות מארץ אל ארץ כמה שנאמר (לעיל י) ואסיר גבולות עמים:
and each man will eat of his vine And I will leave you, and dwell in peace until I find a land as good as your land, and I will exile you there, for so is my wont, to transfer nations from land to land, as it is said
Isaiah 36:16 states, אַל-תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-חִזְקִיָּהוּ כִּי כֹה אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר עֲשֹוּ-אִתִּי בְרָכָה וּצְאוּ אֵלַי וְאִכְלוּ אִישׁ-גַּפְנוֹ וְאִישׁ תְּאֵנָתוֹ וּשְׁתוּ אִישׁ מֵי-בוֹרוֹ “Hearken 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.” Here Rashi draws out עֲשֹוּ-אִתִּי בְרָכָה “make with me a brachah (blessing)” Here it is translated to make peace with me. We note again how Rabshakeh calls for the people to make peace with the nations, this alludes to making peace with sin, or being at peace with sin and consequently turning away from the God of Israel. Could these statements be synonymous to one calling sin a blessing? You note what and how the LGBTQ community, the media, our government, all consider this lifestyle blessing, when in fact it is a curse from the pit of hell! Notice the outcome of sin is to change our way of life, to take us out of God’s blessing, and to turn us to another direction and another land, another place or way to dwell. All of these concepts illustrate what making peace with sin does in our lives. The Lord God however wants to best for us from the sense that He wants to bless us as opposed to sending hardships and difficulties for the purpose of drawing us back. The point is that we should always be focused upon seeking the Lord and repenting from our sins! Isaiah continues saying the following, יז עַד מֵיתַא וְאַדבַר יָתְכֹון לַאְרַע טָבָא כַאְרַעכֹון אְרַע עְבוּר וַחְמַר אְרַע חַקלִין וְכַרמִין׃ 36:17 Until I come and take you away to a good land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of fields and vineyards. (TgJ) Rashi on Isaiah 36:17 Part 1 states, “to a land like your land Said Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai: Was this one (Sennacherib) a fool? This is an example of a king, etc. in Sifre, parshath Ekev (Deut. 7:12). He should have said, ‘to a land better than your land,’ but he could not denigrate it.” This is an interesting point that Rashi states, that Rabshakeh could have said “to a land better than your land” but instead he said “to a land like yours land” meaning that he would not denigrate the Land of Israel. This is important, since the Land of Israel represents the blessing of God, this is a truth of the Scriptures according to the Torah. In addition, the Midrash Vayikra Rabbah 17:6 and the Jerusalem Talmud Sheviit 6:1:13 speak of the nations making peace with Israel. The Midrash writes that the way to make peace for the nations is to obey the Noahide laws. This suggests there are expectations for our lives, and for the lives of the nations if they want to make peace with God. Note the Noahide laws require one to turn from idolatry, and from immorality, etc. These things are expected of all people by the Almighty Creator God! This is obvious by what we read according to the book of revelation, and the purpose of the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth. (See Revelation 16) The point is that these scriptures are calling all men, women, and children to repent and turn from their sins, to seek the God of Israel and believe in the Messiah Yeshua! We note these things being offered to us demonstrate the mercy and grace of God upon us! This is how much God loves us, that He provides us with a way to turn from this world and turn towards Him and His holy ways! What an Awesome God we serve!