A Guidebook to the Biblical Literature

By John Franklin Genung | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
AFTER THE REPRIEVE

[From 701 to 586 B.C.]

WITH the sudden release of Jerusalem and Judah from the long-standing menace of Assyria, in 701 B.C., there came a corresponding revulsion. It was like opening the eyes of the nation to the true source and secret of their welfare; a visible proof that trust in Jehovah was not misplaced. For the first time since the cloud of invasion and tyranny had first appeared on the horizon, in the days of Amos and Hosea, the people of Jehovah could breathe freely. True, the revulsion caused by Sennacherib's retreat came to a people scarred and crippled. The northern kingdom had fallen, and exiles from it were scattered in the lands beyond the Euphrates (cf. 2 Kings xviii, 11). Judah had been ravaged with the loss of forty-six towns and over two hundred thousand inhabitants (cf. Isa. i, 7; vi, 11, 12; and the Taylor cylinder). The nation, when not intriguing with Egypt and Ethiopia against Assyria, had been obliged to buy off the invader by the payment of enormous tribute (cf. 2 Kings xviii, 14-16). But now, for a time at least, the cloud of anxiety and suspense was lifted. The people whose lands had been ravaged could sow their fields again and resume their peaceful occupations; it was the sign, Isaiah told them, that the long peril was over (xxxvii, 30). Men of thought and letters could now turn their attention to the deeper meanings that lay infolded in the nation's strange experience. The miraculous deliverance, with the spiritual emancipation it caused, was one of the cardinal

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