Isaiah – Chapter 39

"What Was THAT All About?"

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

This chapter, like the last one, corresponds to events in II Kings chapter 20.

When he heard that Chizkiyahu had been ill and recovered, the king of Babylonia sent messengers with a gift to him. Chizkiyahu was excited to have these guests and he gave them the “grand tour” – his treasury, the palace, even the Temple. He showed them all the wealth of his kingdom.

Isaiah went to Chizkiyahu and asked, “What was that all about?” Chizkiyahu replied, “I had some very important guests from Babylonia – I showed them everything!” His response was little too proud. He should have taken the opportunity to praise G-d to his guests, rather than to show off. Isaiah said, “You blew it. All the stuff you showed them will be carried off by Babylonia, as will your sons, who will be officers in the court of the king of Babylonia.” (Rashi says this refers to Chananya, Mishael and Azariah, also known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the Book of Daniel.)

Chizkiyahu acknowledged that G-d’s word is just, and he was relieved to hear that this would not come to pass in his lifetime.

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