That He Might Know All that Was in His Heart

Isaiah 39

In my initial reading of this chapter, assuming that I am reading correctly, there are four things that strike me as curious and odd about this passage:

  1. My understanding is that Hezekiah is a righteous king. If being righteous, why did he share with his Babylonian visitors a display of all his wealth? (The action seems neither righteous nor wise.)
  2. Isaiah subsequently prophesies that all these treasures of Judah will be taken by the Babylonians and that his posterity will be made servants in Babylon. (That’s kind of alarming!)
  3. Hezekiah’s response is that the word of the Lord is good.
  4. Finally, Hezekiah concludes that in his days there will be peace and truth.

How does Hezekiah justify his own actions here ? What good does he see in the word of Isaiah that foretell the captivity of his family and the loss of the treasures of his kingdom?

There is an almost verbatim account of chapter 39 found in 2 Kings 20, and one additional verse of insight in 2 Chronicles 32:31.

Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to atry him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

2 Chronicles 32:31

In my opening prayer to my morning study this morning, I was brought to consider a profound connecting point that is not expressed in these verses. Isaiah, the prophet who testified of Jesus Christ and His gospel, might have very meaningfully chose to highlight Hezekiah’s actions in this particular account because of how well it personified Christ’s Gospel:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:31-33

Perhaps what we have here is evidence of a king who has not placed his heart upon his riches, though “God had given him substance very much.” (2 Chronicles 32:29) So when Isaiah prophesies the removal of all his possessions by the Babylonians in the future, this is not of concern to Hezekiah because his heart was not upon his riches.

I still have questions at the end of this study that are unresolved, but I’m choosing to move on presently.

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