And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee,.... This is directed to Sennacherib king of Assyria, as the Targum expresses it; and so Jarchi and Kimchi; and signifies the decree of God concerning him, what he had determined to do with him, and how things would be ordered in Providence towards him, agreeably to his design and resolution:
that no more of thy name be sown; which is not to be understood that he should have no son and heir to succeed him; for Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead, 2 Kings 19:37; and after him, according to Ptolemy's canon, Saosduchinus and Chyniladanus but the memory of his name should no be spread in the earth; or the fame of it, with any marks of honour and glory, but of shame and disgrace. So the Targum,
"neither shall be any memory of thy name any more:'
out of the house of thy gods will I cut of the graven image and the molten image; called "the house of Nisroch his god", 2 Kings 19:37; where he was slain; and some say that after that it ceased to be a place of worship, being polluted with his blood. JosephusF20Antiqu. l. 10. c. 1. sect. 5. calls it his own temple, where he usually worshipped, for which he had a peculiar regard, and for his god Nisroch; but who this deity was is not certain. Selden saysF21De Dis Syris, Syntagm. 2. c. 10. p. 329. , he knew nothing, nor had read anything of him, but what is mentioned in the Scripture. Some of the Jewish writersF23Vid. Jarchi in Isaiam, c. 37, 38. take it to be a plank of Noah's ark; and Mr. BasnageF24In Calmet's Dictionary, in the word "Samaritans". is of opinion that it is Janus represented by Noah's ark, who had two faces, before and behind; a fit emblem of Noah, who saw two worlds, one before, and another after the flood. Some say Dagon the god of the Philistines is meant, which is not likely; See Gill on Isaiah 37:38; but, be he who he will, there were other idols besides him, both graven and molten, in this temple, as is here expressed; very probably here stood an image of Belus or Pul, the first Assyrian monarch, and who; was deified; and perhaps Adrammelech the god of the Sepharvites was another, since one of Sennacherib's sons bore this name; and it was usual with the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians, to give the names of their gods to their princes, or insert them in theirs: here also might be the Assyrian Venus, Derceto, Semiramis, and others: fishes also were worshipped by the Assyrians, in honour of Derceto; and doves in remembrance of Semiramis, said to be nourished by one in her infancy, and turned into one at her death; hence those creatures became sacred in Assyria, and were not suffered to be touched and killed, as Philo observed at Askelon; See Gill on Hosea 11:11; and LucianF25De Dea Syria. at Hieropolis in Syria; where, he says, of all birds, they think the dove most holy; so that they count it very unlawful to touch them; and if by chance they do, they reckon themselves unclean that whole day; hence you may see them frequently in their houses conversing familiarly with them, generally feeding on the ground, without any fear; and he also saysF26In Jupiter Tragoedus. the Assyrians sacrifice to a dove, and which he must have known, since he himself was an Assyrian, as he tells us; but, whatever these graven and molten images were, it is here predicted they should be utterly demolished. The sense is, that whereas Sennacherib's empire should be destroyed, and his capital taken, the temple where he worshipped would be defaced, and all his gods he gloried of, all his images, both graven and molten, would be cut to pieces, falling into the conqueror's hands, as was usual in such cases; these would not be able to defend him or his, or secure them from the vengeance of God, whom he had blasphemed:
I will make thy grave, for thou art vile: the Targum is,
"there will I put thy grave;'
that is, in the house of thy god, as Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it; where he was slain by two of his sons, as before observed; and this judgment came upon him by the will of God, because he was a loose vile creature; because he had vilified the true God, and reproached him, as unable to deliver Hezekiah and his people out of his hands. The Targum paraphrases it,
"because this is easy before me;'
what the Lord could easily do, make his idol temple his grave; or, however, take away his life, and lay his honour in the dust: or it may be rendered, "I will put upon thy grave that thou art vile"F1אשים קברך כי קלות. ; he, who thought to have a superb monument over his grave, and an epitaph inscribed on it to his immortal honour, as kings used to have; this shall be the sepulchral inscription,
"here lies a vile, wicked, and contemptible man;'
so Abarbinel. There was a statue of this king in an Egyptian temple, as HerodotusF2 εστ' εμε τις ορεων, ευσεβησ εστω. Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 141. relates, according, as many think, with this inscription on it,
"whosoever looks on me, let him be religious;'
though I rather think it was a statue of Sethon the priest of Vulcan, and last king of Egypt. Here ends the first chapter in some Hebrew copies, and in the Syriac and Arabic versions, and in Aben Ezra.