The Word Made Fresh
1Merodach Baladan, son of Baladan king of Babylon, heard of Hezekiah’s illness and recovery and sent letters and gifts to him. 2Hezekiah welcomed them and showed them his treasure house, including all the silver, gold, spices, and precious oils. He also showed them his armory and all his storehouses. He kept nothing from them but showed them everything.
3Then the prophet Isaiah came to Hezekiah and asked, “What did these men tell you? Where did they come from?”
Hezekiah answered, “They have come from a far country – Babylon.”
4Isaiah said, “What did you show them?”
“They have seen everything there is to see in my house, and everything in my storage buildings. There is nothing I didn’t show them,” Hezekiah replied.
5Isaiah said, “Hear this word from the LORD Almighty: 6‘The day is coming when everything in your house and everything in your warehouses stored there by your ancestors will be carried away to Babylon. You’ll have nothing left. 7Some of your own sons will be taken away and be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”
8Hezekiah replied, “The LORD’s word that you have passed on to me is good.” He thought, “At least there will be peace and safety while I’m alive.”
1-8: Isaiah now returns to the earlier account, and this chapter is almost identical to 2 Kings 20:12-19. Envoys from a new empire called Babylon arrive with gifts from the emperor for Hezekiah upon his recovery. Hezekiah, eager to show these foreigners that he is a player on the world stage, shows off everything he thinks might impress them. The prophet Isaiah, who has really taken a keen interest in national affairs lately, comes to the king and asks him all about those visitors and their visit. Hezekiah brags that he has shown them everything. Isaiah tells him that those Babylonians will one day carry off all the stuff Hezekiah showed them, and that his sons will be castrated and forced to serve in the palace of the king of Babylon. Hezekiah is callously unconcerned, since he assumes it will happen after he is gone. But note that Isaiah has not actually said that.
Part of the responsibility we carry as God’s people is to do all we can to make sure the generations that follow us will know God. It is our job to teach our children about God’s love and grace. Prayers of blessing when we sit together for a meal, bedtime prayers, and early exposure to worship with God’s people are more important than we can imagine.