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“I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to put riders on them!” Isaiah 36:8. This challenge was made by one of Sennacherib’s generals, Rabshakeh, during his speech demanding the surrender of Jerusalem.
A Message of Intimidation
The Assyrians had come down upon Judah, “like a wolf on the fold.” Rabshakeh presented a powerful piece of propaganda, laced with lies, half-truths, boasting and blasphemy. His speech was designed to demoralise and discourage God’s people and persuade them to give up all hope and surrender to the Assyrians. In his speech, he insulted and taunted the representatives of King Hezekiah. One of his memorable taunts was: How could they possible resist the overwhelming military might of Assyria. Even if he, Rabshakeh, were to give them two thousand horses, it could do them no good for they had no trained cavalry to ride them.
A Message of Inspiration
However, the Word of the Lord came through the prophet Isaiah: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him and he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” Isaiah 37:6-7
The Hand of God
“Then the Angel of the Lord went out and killed in the camp of the Assyrians, 185,000; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses, all dead. So, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, departed and went away, returned home and remained at Nineveh. Now it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch, his god, that his sons… struck him down with a sword…” Isaiah 37:36-38
An Important Insight
However, amidst the remarkable propaganda speech by Rabshakeh, is a gem of wisdom and insight. Horses for those who are able to ride them.