Messengers from Babylon Visit Hezekiah
39:1 At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been ill and had recovered. 39:2 Hezekiah welcomed them and showed them his storehouse with its silver, gold, spices, and high-quality olive oil, as well as his whole armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom. 39:3 Isaiah the prophet visited King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where do they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They come from the distant land of Babylon.” 39:4 Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything in my palace. I showed them everything in my treasuries.” 39:5 Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the word of the LORD who commands armies: 39:6 ‘Look, a time is coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD. 39:7 ‘Some of your very own descendants whom you father will be taken away and will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ” 39:8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The LORD’s word which you have announced is appropriate.” Then he thought, “For there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.”
This episode can be dated in the following way:-
Isa 39:1 pinpoints that it took place soon after Hezekiah’s illness and recovery (described in the previous chapter).
According to Isa 38:5 the Lord added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life. Therefore, the present incident occurred about 15 years before his death.
According to 2 Kings 18:1f, Hezekiah reigned for 29 years. Therefore, the present incident occurred around the 14th year of his reign.
According to Isa 36:1, it was in this 14th year of Hezekiah’s reign that Sennacherib king of Assyria seized the fortified cities of Judah.
This dating is confirm by Isa 38:6, where the announcement of Hezekiah’s recovery is linked with a promise to deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrians.
In 2 Kings 18:14–16 we read that Hezekiah was required to ‘buy off’ the advancing king of Assyria by giving him all the precious metal and treasures in the temple and the palace.
So how then could Hezekiah then show off such wealth as is described in v2 of the present chapter? 2 Chron 32:22f provides the answer: the surrounding nations were so impressed that the Assyrians had gone from the area that they gave gifts to Hezekiah, so that he was able to show off his restored wealth. (Source)