Class Notes: 2/3/2013
It looks like the Jew's defeat by the Assyrians is inevitable so they try to propagandize them into giving up
In our study of the enmity between the serpent and his seed and the woman and her seed Gen 3:15; we are presently looking at the Assyrian attack on Hezekiah king of the nation of Judah at the time that Hezekiah was still childless.
We saw that his failure to utilize the faith-rest drill plus the human-viewpoint conclusion that a coalition with the heathen nation of Egypt was preferred to exclusive dependence upon God for defense indicates that Hezekiah and his cabinet's decisions are motivated by fear.
We see from this the principle that weak, frightened, doctrineless people who choose security over freedom are easy targets for psychological warfare.
This principle has been confirmed by our nation's continued involvement in a self-persecution created guilt complex, or the "blame America first" syndrome because we do not understand the source of our prosperity.
This is a perspective that is the direct result of a weakness of soul and fear combined with the idea that our culture is too authoritarian to atone for this alleged failure that we must become egalitarian. This self-condemnation sets the citizens up for being propagandized and deceived by Satan and his ambassador demons.
Encyclopedia Britannica:. 15th ed. (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1979), volume 15 page 38. under Propaganda.
Toward 300 b.c. in India, Kautilya, a Brahmin believed to have been chief minister to the emperor Candragupta Maurya reputedly wrote the "Principles of Politics" (Arthasastra), a book of advice for rulers that has often been compared with Plato's "Republic" and Machiavelli's much later work "The Prince".
Kautilya discussed, in some detail, the use of psychological warfare, both overt and clandestine. Overtly, he said, the propagandists of a king should proclaim that he can do magic, that God and the wisest men are on his side, and that all who support his war aims will reap benefits.
Covertly, his agents should infiltrate his enemies' and potential enemies' kingdoms, spreading defeatism and misleading news among their people, especially in capital cities, among leaders, and among the armed forces.
We will see many of these same ideas utilized by the Rabshakeh as he propagandizes Hezekiah's delegation in his attempt to deceive them.
Isa 36:4; Then the Rabshakeh said to them, "Now you tell this to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria,' "What is this confidence that you have?"
This official is trained in the tactics of intimidation and doesn't waste any time using it. His first comment is an imperative mood directed toward Hezekiah's representatives, "You tell this to Hezekiah!"
The Rabshakeh thinks he has the citizens of Judah right where he wants them. The Jews are in a very compromised position. Following the Battle of Eltekeh their alliance with Egypt is moot and the Assyrian army is poised at Lachish preparing for their siege of Jerusalem.
The principle here is that once you have your enemy in a compromised position there is no longer any need for diplomacy. The Rabshakeh doesn't bother with political niceties. He not only starts out with an intimidating statement but also insults Hezekiah.
He does this by refusing to recognize Hezekiah as king while at the same time referring to Sennacherib as not just the king of Assyria but the "great king" of Assyria.
The covert tactic that Kautilya recommended in n his book is used as an overt tactic by the Rabshakeh because of his perceived position of strength. Kautilya wrote that covertly the king's agents should "infiltrate his enemies' and potential enemies' kingdoms, spreading defeatism and misleading news among their people, especially in capital cities, among leaders, and among the armed forces
The people of Jerusalem, who have gathered on the walls to hear the discourse between the two groups of men, are aware that the Assyrians are bivouacked at Lachish which is just 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem.
They know that this army is renowned for its brutality, terrorism, and wanton cruelty. They also know that the army of Judah is no match for it.
By refusing to refer to Hezekiah as king but applying the title to Sennacherib, the Rabshakeh intends for the people to conclude that the Assyrian ruler is for all practical purposes already their king.
The message is that Hezekiah's days as king of Judah are numbered and the great and powerful king of Assyria is about to depose him. The Rabshakeh is counting on the fact that the people of Judah will lose faith in their leaders. He next attempts to have them lose faith in God.
Isa 36:5; "I say, 'Are empty words the strategy and power for war? On whom have you trusted that you have rebelled against me?"
The Rabshakeh is using a very condescending tone to Hezekiah's delegation. He is deriding the king's motivational speech to the people as noting more than the hot air of a pep talk. He is referring to his speech in:
2Chron 32:7; "Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria, nor because of all the multitude which is with him; for the One with us is greater than the one with him.
v8 "With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles." And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
The intent here is to erode the confidence of the people in their government and their God. Hezekiah had encouraged the people to place their faith in the God of Israel and the power of His Word.
Hezekiah had recovered from his reversionism. He had sought forgiveness and grace from God and had received it. He had implored the people to join him as one behind the Lord God as their first line of defense.
The only true source of security for a client nation is for the believers within its borders to place their total faith in God's power and His grace to defend and deliver them.
Rabshaka's initial objective is to use propaganda to break down public confidence in all duly-appointed establishment authority and in the immutability of the Word of God.
The Soviet Propaganda Machine. By Martin Ebon (St. Louis: McGraw-Hill Book C., 1987), page 408:
Harold Lassell, in "World Politics and Personal Insecurity", made this observation: "Revolutionary propaganda selects symbols which are calculated to detach the affection of the masses from the existing symbols of authority and to attach their affections to challenging symbols (of authority and then) to direct hostilities toward existing symbols of authority."
Isa 36:6; "Behold, you have trusted in a crutch that is a crushed reed, even on Egypt, a crutch if on which any man leans it will skewer his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to all who depend on him."
The reed or cane plant is used by the Rabshakeh to illustrate how foolish it was for Judah to depend on Egypt for help. The Book of Isaiah by Edward Young, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1969), vol 2: page 461: describes this.
Rabsakeh characterizes Egypt as a staff that is a broken reed. What is in mind is a reed or cane plant that grows in damp soils. To trust in a reed is foolish for it cannot support one; but to rely upon a reed that is bruised is more foolish, for it is no support at all.
Such was Egypt and Pharaoh. When it breaks the reed would only go into one's hand piercing it, so that the one who trusted in Egypt would end up worse than the were before.
The technique the Rabshakeh employs here is to use the truth to set up a lie. It is true that the Egyptian army has been neutralized. However, the Rabshakeh knows that Hezekiah has given an inspirational speech to the people and that many of them are now placing their trust in the Lord God of Israel.
For his propaganda to work he is counting on a large number of the population remaining in reversionism and as a result remaining susceptible to fear. He hopes that by reminding them of Egypt's defeat they will consider it a harbinger of the fall of Judah. Using the reed or cane plant to illustrate this is an excellent analogy since it grows in abundance throughout the Jordan Valley.
The Jews used them to make walking canes but are familiar with what happens when it is bent. A bent reed loses all its supportive strength and if you lean your weight upon a "crushed reed" it will break and puncture your hand and be no support at all.
Rabshakeah's second propaganda objective is to convince them that since the Assyrian army has already defeated their allies, they will likewise be defeated. His objective is to get them to think that their faith in some religious system the face of historical reality is misplaced. It will therefore be better for them to surrender to the Assyrian army rather than fight and face certain death."
Isa 36:7; "But if you should say to me, 'In Jehovah, or Elohim we have trusted,' then I will say to you, 'Is it not Jehovah, whose high places and altars Hezekiah has destroyed and kept saying to Judah and Jerusalem, 'Before this one altar you shall worship'?
One of the tactics of ambassador demons is to use religious differences to cause tension and division in a client nation. However, the Rabshakeh is confused about Hezekiah's program of ridding the land of all the sites of Baal worship and its idols.
2 Kings 18:1-6; documents these efforts and the Rabshakeh falsely interprets this as an affront to the Lord God. It's possible that the syncretism of the worship of Baal and the worship with that of the Lord God in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms confused the Assyrian Secretary of State.
Nevertheless, his confusion of the two could be effective if there was a large number of Baal enthusiasts in the land who were still supporters of the syncretism. Both the Baal cult and Judaism were very ritualistic. One of big the problems with ritual in Christianity are that ritual is a large part of all heathen systems of worship.
When Christian denominations or churches emphasize ritual over doctrine then their parishioners will begin to place primary emphasis on the ritual rather then the Word.
Lazy and unprofessional, clergymen become disreputable because of their failure to study the Word and teach its content. When they are constantly caught without an explanation for biblical passages they try to place restraints on their parishioners' access to the Scripture.
They insist that knowledge and interpretation of Scripture must be left only to the clergy and they will issue mandates for the people to follow and enable them to become spiritual. This results in the false idea that what is necessary to be a "good Christian' is simply doing what the clergy says without regard to Biblical accuracy.
The Rabshakeh implies that Hezekiah is guilty of doing away with the rituals that are required to please the God of Israel. He hopes that in their fear the reversionists will buy his lie.
The third objective of his propaganda is to redefine spirituality in such a way that when spiritual things are discussed they must be defined in Satan's terms and not God's.
Religion is Satan's counterfeit of Christianity. If you discredit the messenger, you discredit his message. This is the intended consequence of attacking legitimate authority. If the authority figure can be discredited then his message will be rejected.
The Rabshakeh scoffed at Judah's attempt to gain an advantage by looking to Egypt or to the Lord God for help and then he uses sarcasm by making a facetious proposal to Hezekiah's delegation.
Isa 36:8; "Now therefore, come, make a bet if you please with my master the king of Assyria. I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them.
v 9 "How will you turn away one of the least of my cavalry division commanders? Or have you placed your confidence in Egypt for chariot corps and cavalry?
To better understand this insult we need to understand something about the advent of the horse cavalry and chariots in the Middle East and Israel.
Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions. By Roland de Vaux, Translated by John McHugh. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; Livonia: Dove Booksellers, 1977), pages 222-224:
From about 1500 b.c., chariotry had become the essential, and sometimes the principle, arm in the military forces of the Near East. The Indo-Europeans who helped to build the state of Mitanni in Northern Mesopotamia first introduced it; they were men skilled in breeding horses, and in the art of making light but strong two-wheeled chariots.
The new weapon was quickly copied by the Hittites, and was soon adopted throughout Mesopotamia, Egypt and Syria-Palestine. Every little Canaanite state had its chariots and its charioteers, and they were known by the Indo-European name of maryannu. The Philistines and the other 'Peoples of the Sea' who lived along the coast of Palestine soon had their charioteers, too.
To set up and to maintain a chariot corps was an expensive undertaking, and in the early days the Israelites were poor; hence they were unable to adopt this new and important weapon for some time.
Solomon's great military innovation was the establishment of a strong chariot force. The King bought chariots in Egypt and horses in Cilicia). As a result, he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses, according to 1Kings 10:26;
These troops were quartered in Jerusalem, where there was a 'Horses Gate' and in the 'Chariot towns' (mentioned in 1Kings 10:26;. These 'Towns for chariots and horses' or garrison towns, that are listed in 1Kings 9:15-19; include Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Lower Beth-Horon , Baalath , and Tamar.
Fortified by conscripts of the national labor forces (according to 1Kings 9:15;), these places formed a defense network that straddled the main roads leading to the heart of the kingdom, and all lay close to level country where the chariots could maneuver.
Excavations in Megiddo have shown what these 'chariot towns' looked like: part of the town was given over to enormous stables with a separate stall for each horse. In the middle was an open courtyard with drinking troughs; the courtyard was used to exercise and to train the horses. The stables discovered at Megiddo could hold 450 horses.
In Egyptian chariots, there were two riders, one to hold the reins and one to fight. In Assyria, at the time of the Israelite monarchy, the team had three men; this number was raised to four at some date between Tiglath-Pileser III and Ashrbanipal, but afterwards they reverted to a three-man team.
The 'third' was called, in Assyrian, shalshu or tashlishu. Israelite chariots also carried three men, the driver (called simply rakkab or 'charioteer' in 1Kings 22:34;), the combatant and the 'captain' (shalish): 1Kings 9:22;).
When the kingdom was split after the death of Solomon, the principle chariot garrisons (Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer and probably Lower Beth-Horon) fell into the hands of the Israel (the Northern Kingdom).
Judah had very few chariot troops left, and we do not know whether (Rehoboam) posted any in the new towns he fortified. The chariot force of Judah seems to have been increased in the eighth century, when (Isaiah) says: 'It's a land full of horses, and of chariots too numerous to count' (Isa 2:7;), and curses those who place their trust in horses and a large chariot force (Isa31:1;).
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