Read: Isaiah 36:1-22
But they were silent and answered him not a word . . . (v. 21)
Isaiah 36-39 is an account of key events during the reign of Hezekiah. These chapters form a bridge between the two major sections of Isaiah.
The perceptive question in the title above was posed by the field commander of the powerful Assyrian army in a dramatic conversation with three key leaders of Judah just outside Jerusalem. The Assyrian army had conquered all the outlying cities. Jerusalem was the last line of defense.
The field commander was making forceful arguments for Jerusalem to simply surrender. He scornfully stressed that Judah’s army was no match for the mighty Assyrian forces. To rely on Egypt was futile, echoing what Isaiah had said earlier. He even made a religious claim, that God was using Assyria as his instrument of judgment on Judah. Then the field commander sought to incite revolt against Hezekiah by reminding the people who were listening that Hezekiah had destroyed their shrines, suggesting that they would be much better off by surrendering.
How deceptive partial and distorted truths can be! God was seeking reform and renewal; he had not abandoned Judah. But the words of the field commander must have reflected the fears of the people. The three leaders tore their clothes, a symbol of despair, and reported to Hezekiah. How will he respond? —Gordon Van Wylen
As you pray, ask our loving God to guide you when you face difficulties, temptations and distortions of truth.