Class Notes: 2/6/2013
The Rabshakea verbally assaults Hezekiah's cabinet while the people are listening
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.
Last time we ran out of time when we were discussing the chariot corps that were the military armaments of choice at the time of the Assyrian invasion. We saw that after the division of the Northern and Southern kingdoms that the majority of Israel's chariot corps went with 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;).
These armaments came from Egypt, where Judah had once more turned in quest of an ally (Isa 31:1-3;), and (Isaiah) seems to be condemning this recourse to armaments as something new.
The country did not benefit from this because in 701 Sennacherib captured every town in Judah except Jerusalem without fighting a single battle in which chariots were engaged. It seems that chariot troops were never again raised after this time.
About 1000 b.c. mounted cavalry made its first timid appearance in the Near East. Warriors on horseback are represented on the bas-reliefs of Tell Halaf (Gozan) at the beginning of the ninth century b.c., and some elements of cavalry were introduced into the Assyrian army about the same time.
The Egyptian army never had any cavalry except for mounted scouts. Nor did the Israelites; Sennacherib's envoy made the ironic proposal to (Eliakim) that he would give him 2,000 horses if he could find horsemen to ride them.
What this tells us is that although well-supported and well-trained armies of the eighth century b.c. possessed corps of charioteers and cavalry, Judah under Hezekiah had neither. The Rabshakeh knew this and he therefore taunted Hezekiah's national security advisor about this fact.
He proposes a wager to Eliakim: I will give you 2,000 horses if you can provide the riders. The people of Judah and Jerusalem are seated on the wall observing this exchange. They know they have no cavalry and thus no cavalrymen.
The Rabshakeh uses satirical sarcasm to discredit Judah's military. The definition of this rhetorical device adds insight to the technique as a form of propaganda.
A Greek-English Lexicon by Henry Liddell, and Robert Scott. . Revised by Henry Stuart Jones. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), page 1584: sarkazo, ( sarx: flesh) tear the flesh like dogs. sarkasmos, mockery, sarcasm. The Greek word sarx is translated "flesh" in English. The word sarkazo refers to the tearing of the flesh, by an attack such as in an attack by wild dogs.
Figuratively, the Rabshakeh uses sarcasm as a verbal attack on the leadership of Judah in order to discredit them in the minds of the people who are listening from the walls of Jerusalem.
An American Dictionary of the English Language. By Noah Webster (New York: S. Converse, 1828. Reprint. San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1995), volume 2: page 63: Sarcasm. A reproachful expression; a satirical remark or expression, uttered with some degree of scorn or contempt; a taunt; a gibe.
The Rabshakeh taunts Hezekiah's delegation for Judah's lack of a cavalry and in doing so makes it clear to the citizens who are listening that they are at a serious disadvantage against the Assyrian army.
Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, sarcasm: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.
The Rabshakeh mocks Hezekiah by suggesting in a conditional sentence that he place a bet with Sennacherib. The Rabshakeh gives the apodosis or main clause first: "I will give you two thousand horses." The delegation may have hurriedly assumed that some kind of arrangement might be possible instead of armed conflict.
But the Rabshakeh then hits them with the protasis or subordinate clause, " if you are able on your part to set riders on them." The Assyrian implies that Hezekiah has riders that he knows the he does not have but the proposal asserts that he does.
This is a sarcastic way of stating the obvious in verse 9, "How can you turn away one of the least of my cavalry commanders?" The Rabshakeh then drives the insult home by asking them if instead they intend to rely on the Egyptian army that at the moment is retreating back to Egypt.
With the use of the conditional sentence the truth of Judah's circumstance is brought to light by deliberate obscurity. This is sarcasm with satire for it exposes to the delegation and the people Judah's folly in first not having a cavalry of its own, secondly the ill-advised dependence on that of Egypt's, and finally the reality that Assyria has the best cavalry in the Middle East, that is mounted and ready to ride the 25 miles from Lachish.
The proposal mocks Hezekiah since it drew a sharp distinction between military preparedness in Assyria and Judah. The reality is that Judah is unprepared and this is made obvious by the Rabshakeh suggesting that if Judah had two thousand riders, he'd give them 2,000 horses.
The implication that Judah could defend herself if she just had the horses really meant that was that she couldn't defend herself against one of Sennacherib's junior officers even if she did have the horses.
The people of Judah were fully aware of the Assyrian army's reputation. It was well-trained, well-armed, and vicious. Assyria had the superior chariot and cavalry corps in all the Fertile Crescent.
They had just defeated the Egyptians whose chariot corps was enlisted by Judah as a means of protection from them. And Judah had no cavalry or horses and even if they did they didn't have any riders to put upon.
The fourth objective of Rabshakeh's propaganda is to discredit the leadership of Judah and its military in the minds of the people through humiliation. He demonstrates to the people using sarcasm that they are in an untenable situation and their only option for escape is capitulation and surrender.
Isa 36:10; And now without Jehovah's approval have I invaded this land to destroy it? Jehovah said to me, 'Invade this land and destroy it!'"
The Rabshakeh now moves from sarcasm to lying. The Lord has not had a word to say to the heathen Rabshakeh. There was no way that there was any divine communication to Sennacherib or the Rabshakeh for the Assyrian army to attack Judah.
This is pure power politics whereby the Rabshakeh seeks to propagandize for the purpose of instilling fear into the people who are assembled on the wall.
In verse 7 the Rabshakeh asserted that the people would not be able to depend on God for protection since Hezekiah had insulted Him by tearing down His sacred altars throughout Judah.
Then in verse 10 the Rabshakeh goes even farther and claims that the God of Israel is not only on the side of Assyria but that God Himself had instructed him to invade Judah.
As an unbeliever the Rabshakeh could not know or understand the doctrines that enable believers to evaluate the will of God. It is true that the permissive will of God had permitted the Assyrian army to invade client nation Judah just as it had allowed it to do so into the Northern Kingdom under Shalmaneser V and Sargon II in 721 B.C.
In fact, idolatry had become so prevalent in Israel that the God had permitted the cycles of discipline to run their course and to remove the Northern Kingdom from history in the fifth cycle of discipline.
This was the same course that the Southern Kingdom was headed on when Sennacherib decided upon his campaign through the Levant. Hezekiah was in reversionism and was about to die the sin unto death.
Further, in all probability, Judah would have suffered the fifth cycle when the Assyrian army arrived at Jerusalem. In fact, this is what the Rabshakeh assumes is about to occur.
Since he was under the impression that the gods of the Assyrian pantheon had sanctioned the campaign he concluded that the God of Israel must also approve of it as well.. His rationale was a good piece of human viewpoint but he had no way of comprehending the power of rebound and revival.
When Hezekiah recovered his spiritual life through rebound he then went into action by fortifying Jerusalem and inspiring the people. Where they were not functioning under the spiritual life of their dispensation before, the recovery of their king led to a national revival.
This means that the Rabshakeh's analysis is incorrect since the faith-rest drill had been restored as the spiritual life of client nation Judah. The Rabshakeh tries to terrorize both the leadership and the people with the assertion that Jehovah had personally informed him that the Assyrian army would be victorious over Judah.
God had done no such thing. Isaiah's prophecy had warned the people that the Assyrians would attack but this prophecy did not go so far as to reveal the outcome. God in His omniscience knew the eventual outcome and had permitted the attack to occur.
It served as a wake-up call for client nation Judah that Hezekiah and the majority of the people had responded to positively even though the delegation that had been sent from the palace to meet the Assyrian Secretary of State had not.
In making his claim, the Rabshakeh violated the Third Commandment: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain" (Exod 20:7;).
The Rabshakeh therefore purposefully uses the name of the Lord for purely propaganda purposes in order to terrify a population he assumed had by now developed a guilt complex resulting in their becoming susceptible to the suggestion that they were deserving of divine punishment.
But God had promised Hezekiah that He would deliver Judah from the Assyrians and Hezekiah had not only believed Him but also successfully motivated the people to rebound and recover their spiritual lives through the application of the faith rest drill.
Nevertheless, the Rabshakeh sought to override Hezekiah's influence by asserting that the God of Israel had personally sponsored the invasion and defeat of Judah. His implication to the people of Judah is for them to "Surrender, because it is God's will."
The Rabshakah's fifth propaganda objective is to remove all objects of faith and confidence from the people. Invoke the name of God to allegedly give validity to his assertions in order to justify his actions.
Isa 36:11; Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, "Speak now to your servants in the Aramaic language because we are the ones listening to you, and do not speak to us in the Hebrew language, in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.
When a government is ruled by weak and frightened people they do not want their constituency to know what's going on.
The reason for the fear in the souls of Hezekiah's cabinet was their failure to believe the doctrine. They did not believe Isaiah's prophecy given by the Lord God of Israel, nor did they have confidence in Hezekiah as king.
These three cabinet members are afraid of dying at the hands of the vicious Assyrians. Their only hope was that the people would remain loyal to Hezekiah long enough for them to buy enough time to figure out what to do to save their own lives.
This is not unlike the motivation of the political discourse today that is primarily designed to save the political lives of politicians. The greater majority of all statements made to the press are written by hired writers whose job is to determine which way the political wind is blowing and then enable their bosses to gain and maintain momentum by riding the waves of popular opinion.
The country is being ruled by the popular opinion of the mob rather then rational thought. The rational republic has become an irrational democracy resulting in a continuous stream of bad decisions being made.
An example of this is that very few politicians regardless of political party have the courage to expose the environmentalist wacko movement for its responsibility in high energy prices because of it's opposition to all forms of energy production, processing, and distribution, wildfires in the west because of the opposition to prudent forest management, flooding in the east and midwest because of their opposition to proper river and shore maintenance, etc.
To oppose the worshipers of the "mother earth god" would bring down the wrath the green monsters and a majority of congress who are being paid off. To oppose them would be to lose easy money and, worst of all, their cherished seat of power.
Hezekiah's delegation does not want the people to hear any more of the Rabshakeh's threats, innuendos, and assertions. Therefore, they request that he stop speaking Hebrew and converse with them in Aramaic.
After listening to the Rabshakeh deliver his first five propaganda messages in Hebrew, all in earshot of the people on the walls, Eliakim appealed to him to stop speaking Hebrew and to continue with Aramaic, the official language of diplomacy.
Eliakim makes his appeal by saying, "Speak now to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it." The clause "Speak now to your servants" does not indicate that he has submitted to the Rabshakeh as his authority.
The word translated servant is "ebed" and it is correctly translated "servant," but it is also used diplomatically as a polite and humble reference to oneself. Eliakim was simply being politically correct.
The reason for his concern is summarized in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament by John Walvoord, and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 1087:
Realizing the seriousness of their situation the three Judahite negotiators requested that the negotiations be carried on in Aramaic rather then Hebrew. Aramaic, a major diplomatic language in that day, is similar to Hebrew.
But it is different enough that many of the common people would have had difficulty understanding negotiations spoken in it. The three leaders were concerned that panic would spread throughout the city if the people heard the Assyrian's demands in Hebrew.
But the people were solid; it was the politicians, Eliakim and his fellow diplomats who were worried.
Rabshaka's sixth Propaganda Objective was to go directly to the general population in their own language so that their leadership cannot spin the message.
Isa 36:12; But the Rabshakeh replied, "Has my master ( Sennacherib ) sent me only to your master ( Hezekiah ) and to you three to speak these words? Has he not sent me to speak to those sitting on the wall who are in danger of eating their own dung and drinking their own urine with you?"
The Rabshakeh continues to assault the souls of the people. His efforts are to turn their allegiance away from Hezekiah by means of the emotional sin of fear and convince them to mentally submit to an inevitable defeat.
This propaganda is not only designed to deny Eliakim's request that the Rabshakeh speak to him in Aramaic but also to imply that Eliakim's intent is to hide the truth from the people.
The Rabshakeh continues his rapid-fire sequence of verbally launched missiles designed to tear down leadership, instill fear, and sway public opinion:
In verse 4 he insults Hezekiah by failing to address him as king. In verses 5 and 6 he illustrates the failure of the defense treaty with the Pharaoh of Egypt with the "broken reed" metaphor.
In verse 7 he attacks Hezekiah's campaign to remove worship sites of the Baal cult and those of the Lord God outside the Temple in Jerusalem asserting that it showed a lack of faith and was an insult to God.
In verses 8 and 9 he resorts to sarcasm to demonstrate that the army of Judah is incapable of prosecuting a war with Assyria. And in verse 10 he tells the lie that God told him to attack Judah.
In verse 12 the Rabshakeh rejects Eliakim's appeal that he speak to him and his fellow diplomats in Aramaic so that the people on the walls would not become alarmed.
The Rabshakeh's propaganda is useless if the target audience cannot comprehend it so the Rabshakeh rejects this idea. He boldly states that his message was not only intended for Judah's political officials but also for the people.
His intention of fomenting fear and dread is expressed in the clause that predicts the people of Judah are "doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine."
This crass expression is idiomatic for famine as is indicated in The Book of Isaiah
By Edward J Young, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1969), page 465:
(The Rabshakeh) makes an allusion to men ready to defend the city, and so suggests that the cruelest kind of famine and hardship will overtake them. Ordinary food will be so lacking that the men will be compelled to eat their own filth. The expressions are revolting but the Rabshakeh probably chose them purposely to paint the famine in its most revolting and disgusting form.
The Rabshakeh however insisted on speaking in Hebrew because he wants to frighten and intimidate the people into submission. He implies that peace will result and war will be averted if they will simply surrender but if they resist then the most desperate famine will overtake them.
His seventh propaganda objective is to use hyperbole to convince the target audience of the worse conceivable scenario in order to intimidate them into agreeing with your proposals.
Politicians consistently utilize this tactic today. They allege that if you slow down spending increases for school lunches then children will starve; if your don't teach sex education as early as kindergarten then children will get STDs and get pregnant.
If you don't cut the defense budget then old people won't get their social security checks; if you cut taxes for the rich then the budget deficit will increase; if we don't stop using carbon fuels then global warming will destroy the planet; the only way to stop the rampant murders is to take all the guns away from law abiding citizens.
Once the people buy the idea they are going to die if something is not done and done in a hurry then you turn them against whatever their current object of trust happens to be.
Isa 36:13; Then the Rabshakeh turned and spoke loudly in Hebrew, "Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.
v14; "Thus says the king, 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you because he is not able to deliver you;
v15 do not let Hezekiah cause you to trust in Jehovah, saying, "The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria."'"
After setting them up by suggesting that the most grotesque circumstances famine can impose are in their immediate future, the Rabshakeh turns his attack back on Hezekiah.
Before people can be turned against their own belief system their trust in that system must be destroyed. We have already seen that the Rabshakeh has already insulted Hezekiah on a number of issues.
Now he boldly addresses the people with three imperative moods: (1) "Listen to the words of the king of Assyria!" (2) "Don't let Hezekiah deceive you!" (3) "Do not let Hezekiah cause you to trust in the Lord God!"
Again he refers to Sennacherib as the "great king" while still refusing to assign the title to Hezekiah. He then accuses Hezekiah of misleading them with the most despicable duplicity. He tells them that Hezekiah simply cannot be trusted to deliver them from Assyria's army.
This is duplicity on the part of the Rabshakeh because Hezekiah never did tell the people that he could deliver them but that the Lord God would. This last point is true and the Rabshakeh attacks it next by commanding them not to trust in Hezekiah's appeal to trust in the Lord God.
This is an assault upon the integrity of God and the Word of God because the Lord had spoke to Hezekiah through Isaiah in Isa 38:4; Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying,
v5 Go and say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.
v6 "And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city."'
With this knowledge, Hezekiah is able to say with confidence to the people gathered in Jerusalem that the Lord will deliver them from Sennacherib and the Assyrian army 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 Rabshakeh not only impugns the word of Hezekiah but in doing so he also blasphemes the Word of God.
His eighth Propaganda Objective is to attack the person who delivers the message. And once the messenger is discredited then attack his message itself.
When the attack is designed to tear down deeply held belief systems then the attack must be emboldened by hyperbole as illustrated earlier in verse 12 or camouflaged by the invention of a new vocabulary.
The preset day manipulators of the American culture who are experts at this approach are the proponents of Frankfurt philosophy. Under "What Is the Frankfurt School?" In Cultural Marxism at the U.S. Naval Academy. Gerald L Atkinson, (Clinton: Atkinson Associates Press, 1999),
It is important to realize that this movement, 'cultural Marxism,' exists, understand where it came from, and what its objectives were: the complete destruction of Western Civilization in America. That is, these 'cultural Marxists' aimed to destroy, slowly but surely from the bottom up, the entire fabric of American Civilization.
By the end of World War II, almost all the original Frankfurt School members had become American citizens. This meant the beginning of a new English speaking audience for the school.
Since the 1940s, subtle changes appeared in the Frankfurt School's descriptions of their work. For example, the opposite of the 'authoritarian personality' was no longer the 'revolutionary,' as it had been in previous studies aimed at Europeans. In America, it was now the 'democratic' who opposed the 'authoritarian personality.'
Thus, their language matched more closely liberal language. Education for tolerance, rather than for revolutionary change, was the ostensible goal of their research. They were cleverly merging their language with the mainstream of liberal left thought in America while maintaining their 'cultural Marxist' objectives.
Toleration had never been an end in itself for the Frankfurt School, and yet the non-authoritarian (utopian) personality … was posited as a person with a tolerance for diversity. This thought is dominant in today's "ruling class" the power elite of the Boomer generation, the New Totalitarians.
Isa 36:16; "Do not listen to Hezekiah because this is what the king of Assyria says, 'Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each and every one of you will enjoy his own vine and fig tree and all will drink from his own cistern,
v17 until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.'"
This could be correctly described as the "Maleficent Deception". The Rabshakeh uses rhetorical veils to advance while concealing his hidden agenda.
Maleficent. The act of committing harm or evil. Productive of disaster or evil. Latin: maleficus, wicked.
Deception. To cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. Telling a lie to gain an end.
After again demanding that Hezekiah be ignored, the Secretary of State offers a deal too good to be true. He paints a rosy picture of a future life in a land of milk and honey if only the people of Judah quietly surrender to the benevolent offers of Sennacherib.
His hidden agenda is to keep the masses in a state of mental bliss until the Egyptians are properly dealt with and then the Israelites will be deported to Assyria where their lives will be spent in slavery.
What politicians say in order to convince the masses to agree to their schemes for a better tomorrow is decidedly different from what they intend to do once compliance is obtained.
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