The children are come to the birth - The Jewish state is here represented under the emblem of a woman in travail, who has been so long in the pangs of parturition, that her strength is now entirely exhausted, and her deliverance is hopeless, without a miracle. The image is very fine and highly appropriate.
A similar image is employed by Homer, when he represents the agonies which Agamemnon suffers from his wound: -
Οφρα οἱ αἱμ ' ετι θερμον ανηνοθεν εξ ωτειλης·π
Λυταρ επει το μεν ἑλκος ετερσετο παυσατο δ ' αἱμα,π
Οξειαι οδυναι δυνον μενος Ατρειδαο·π
Ως δ ' ὁταν ωδινουσαν εχῃ βελος οξυ γυναικα,π
Δριμυ, το τε προΐεισι μογοστοκοι Ειλειθυιαιπ
Ἡρης θυγατερες πικ ρας ωδινας εχουσαι·π
Ὡς οξει ' οδυναι δυνον μενος Ατρειδαο.
Il. xi., ver. 266.
This, while yet warm, distill'd the purple flood;
But when the wound grew stiff with clotted blood,
Then grinding tortures his strong bosom rend.
Less keen those darts the fierce Ilythiae send,
The powers that cause the teeming matron's throes,
Sad mothers of unutterable woes.
Better translated by Macpherson; but in neither well:
"So long as from the gaping wound gushed forth, in its warmth, the blood; but when the wound became dry, when ceased the blood to flow amain, sharp pains pervade the strength of Atrides. Racking pangs glide through his frame; as when the Ilythiae, who preside over births, the daughters of white armed Juno, fierce dealers of bitter pains, throw all their darts on hapless women, that travail with child. Such pains pervade the strength of Atrides."
The “trouble” consisted in rebuke” (rather, “chastisement,”) for sins at the hand of God, and “blasphemy” (rather, “reproach,”) at the hands of man.
The children - i. e., “we are in a fearful extremity - at the last gasp - and lack the strength that might carry us through the danger.”
To these taunts the children of Judah “answered him not a word.” The conference was at an end. The Jewish representatives returned to Hezekiah “with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.” Verses 21, 22. The king, upon learning of the blasphemous challenge, “rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.” 2 Kings 19:1. PK 354.1
A messenger was dispatched to Isaiah to inform him of the outcome of the conference. “This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy,” was the word the king sent. “It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.” Verses 3, 4. PK 354.2
“For this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to Heaven.” 2 Chronicles 32:20. PK 354.3Read in context »