Bible: Isaiah 36-39

Sennacherib Invades Judah

36:1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, 1  King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 36:2 The king of Assyria sent his chief adviser 2  from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 3  along with a large army. The chief adviser 4  stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 5  36:3 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet him.

36:4 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 6  36:5 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. 7  In whom are you trusting, that you would dare to rebel against me? 36:6 Look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If someone leans on it for support, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him! 36:7 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar.’ 36:8 Now make a deal with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 36:9 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 8  36:10 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this land to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March up against this land and destroy it!’”’ 9 

36:11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, 10  for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect 11  in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 36:12 But the chief adviser said, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 12  His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you! 13 

36:13 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, 14 Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 36:14 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you! 36:15 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord by saying, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 36:16 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me. 15  Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 36:17 until I come and take you to a land just like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 36:18 Hezekiah is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” Has any of the gods of the nations rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 16  36:19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? 17  Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria 18  from my power? 19  36:20 Who among all the gods of these lands have rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’ 20  36:21 They were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”

36:22 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn in grief 21  and reported to him what the chief adviser had said. 37:1 When King Hezekiah heard this, 22  he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the Lord’s temple. 37:2 Eliakim the palace supervisor, Shebna the scribe, and the leading priests, 23  clothed in sackcloth, sent this message to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz: 37:3 This is what Hezekiah says: 24  ‘This is a day of distress, insults, 25  and humiliation, 26  as when a baby is ready to leave the birth canal, but the mother lacks the strength to push it through. 27  37:4 Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all these things the chief adviser has spoken on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria, who sent him to taunt the living God. 28  When the Lord your God hears, perhaps he will punish him for the things he has said. 29  So pray for this remnant that remains.’ 30 

37:5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 37:6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me. 31  37:7 Look, I will take control of his mind; 32  he will receive a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down 33  with a sword in his own land.”’

37:8 When the chief adviser heard the king of Assyria had departed from Lachish, he left and went to Libnah, where the king was campaigning. 34  37:9 The king 35  heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia 36  was marching out to fight him. 37  He again sent 38  messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: 37:10 Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 37:11 Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands. 39  Do you really think you will be rescued? 40  37:12 Were the nations whom my predecessors 41  destroyed – the nations of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden in Telassar – rescued by their gods? 42  37:13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the kings of Lair, 43  Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?’

37:14 Hezekiah took the letter 44  from the messengers and read it. 45  Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. 37:15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: 37:16 O Lord who commands armies, O God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubim! 46  You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky 47  and the earth. 37:17 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to this entire message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God! 48  37:18 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the nations 49  and their lands. 37:19 They have burned the gods of the nations, 50  for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them. 51  37:20 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” 52 

37:21 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Because you prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria, 53  37:22 this is what the Lord says about him: 54 

“The virgin daughter Zion 55 

despises you – she makes fun of you;

daughter Jerusalem

shakes her head after you. 56 

37:23 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?

At whom have you shouted

and looked so arrogantly? 57 

At the Holy One of Israel! 58 

37:24 Through your messengers you taunted the sovereign master, 59 

‘With my many chariots I climbed up

the high mountains,

the slopes of Lebanon.

I cut down its tall cedars

and its best evergreens.

I invaded its most remote regions, 60 

its thickest woods.

37:25 I dug wells

and drank water. 61 

With the soles of my feet I dried up

all the rivers of Egypt.’

37:26 62 

Certainly you must have heard! 63 

Long ago I worked it out,

in ancient times I planned 64  it,

and now I am bringing it to pass.

The plan is this:

Fortified cities will crash

into heaps of ruins. 65 

37:27 Their residents are powerless; 66 

they are terrified and ashamed.

They are as short-lived as plants in the field

or green vegetation. 67 

They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops 68 

when it is scorched by the east wind. 69 

37:28 I know where you live

and everything you do

and how you rage against me. 70 

37:29 Because you rage against me

and the uproar you create has reached my ears, 71 

I will put my hook in your nose, 72 

and my bridle between your lips,

and I will lead you back

the way you came.”

37:30 73 

This will be your reminder that I have spoken the truth: 74  This year you will eat what grows wild, 75  and next year 76  what grows on its own. But the year after that 77  you will plant seed and harvest crops; you will plant vines and consume their produce. 78  37:31 Those who remain in Judah will take root in the ground and bear fruit. 79 

37:32For a remnant will leave Jerusalem;

survivors will come out of Mount Zion.

The intense devotion of the Lord who commands armies 80  will accomplish this.

37:33 So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:

‘He will not enter this city,

nor will he shoot an arrow here. 81 

He will not attack it with his shielded warriors, 82 

nor will he build siege works against it.

37:34 He will go back the way he came

he will not enter this city,’ says the Lord.

37:35 I will shield this city and rescue it for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.”’ 83 

37:36 The Lord’s messenger 84  went out and killed 185,000 troops 85  in the Assyrian camp. When they 86  got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses! 87  37:37 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and went on his way. He went home and stayed in Nineveh. 88  37:38 One day, 89  as he was worshiping 90  in the temple of his god Nisroch, 91  his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword. 92  They ran away to the land of Ararat; his son Esarhaddon replaced him as king.

The Lord Hears Hezekiah’s Prayer

38:1 In those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness. 93  The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz visited him and told him, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Give instructions to your household, for you are about to die; you will not get well.’ 38:2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 38:3 Please, Lord. Remember how I have served you 94  faithfully and with wholehearted devotion, 95  and how I have carried out your will.” 96  Then Hezekiah wept bitterly. 97 

38:4 The Lord told Isaiah, 98  38:5 Go and tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor 99  David says: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will add fifteen years to your life, 38:6 and rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will shield this city.”’ 38:7 Isaiah replied, 100  “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said: 38:8 Look, I will make the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz.” 101  And then the shadow went back ten steps. 102 

Hezekiah’s Song of Thanks

38:9 This is the prayer of King Hezekiah of Judah when he was sick and then recovered from his illness:

38:10I thought, 103 

‘In the middle of my life 104  I must walk through the gates of Sheol,

I am deprived 105  of the rest of my years.’

38:11I thought,

I will no longer see the Lord 106  in the land of the living,

I will no longer look on humankind with the inhabitants of the world. 107 

38:12 My dwelling place 108  is removed and taken away 109  from me

like a shepherd’s tent.

I rolled up my life like a weaver rolls cloth; 110 

from the loom he cuts me off. 111 

You turn day into night and end my life. 112 

38:13 I cry out 113  until morning;

like a lion he shatters all my bones;

you turn day into night and end my life. 114 

38:14 Like a swallow or a thrush I chirp,

I coo 115  like a dove;

my eyes grow tired from looking up to the sky. 116 

O sovereign master, 117  I am oppressed;

help me! 118 

38:15 What can I say?

He has decreed and acted. 119 

I will walk slowly all my years because I am overcome with grief. 120 

38:16 O sovereign master, your decrees can give men life;

may years of life be restored to me. 121 

Restore my health 122  and preserve my life.’

38:17Look, the grief I experienced was for my benefit. 123 

You delivered me 124  from the pit of oblivion. 125 

For you removed all my sins from your sight. 126 

38:18 Indeed 127  Sheol does not give you thanks;

death does not 128  praise you.

Those who descend into the pit do not anticipate your faithfulness.

38:19 The living person, the living person, he gives you thanks,

as I do today.

A father tells his sons about your faithfulness.

38:20 The Lord is about to deliver me, 129 

and we will celebrate with music 130 

for the rest of our lives in the Lord’s temple.” 131 

38:21 132  Isaiah ordered, “Let them take a fig cake and apply it to the ulcerated sore and he will get well.” 38:22 Hezekiah said, “What is the confirming sign that I will go up to the Lord’s temple?

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 133  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. 134  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 135  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 136  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 137  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.” 138  Then he thought, 139 For 140  there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.”

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