“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” – Isaiah 39:2
Hezekiah had recently been healed miraculously of a fatal illness. Merodach Baladan, King of Babylon, sent a delegation of distinguished Babylonians to congratulate him on his recovery. At least this was the reason set forth by Babylon. We usually have more than one reason for every act, and we do not always give the main one.
The truth was that Merodach Baladan cared little for Hezekiah’s recovery. He was, however, very much interested in the resources of the kingdom of Judah. And this embassy was practically a band of spies instructed to inspect the country and its treasures, so that if Babylon should ever desire to invade Judah, the undertaking could be accomplished more intelligently. Espionage is not new; it goes back into the dim past. Claiming to be solicitous for Hezekiah’s health, this Babylonian delegation came really to inspect the arsenals and the golden and silver treasures which they hoped one day to rifle.
Hezekiah was taken in by their flatteries and showed them his treasures, which had been gathered laboriously through many generations – even the sacred vessels of the temple fashioned of the purest gold.