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Isaiah 37-38 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 37

[a]When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his garments, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. He sent Eliakim, the master of the palace, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to tell the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz,

“Thus says Hezekiah:
A day of distress and rebuke,
    a day of disgrace is this day!
Children are due to come forth,
    but the strength to give birth is lacking.[b]

Perhaps the Lord, your God, will hear the words of the commander, whom his lord, the king of Assyria, sent to taunt the living God, and will rebuke him for the words which the Lord, your God, has heard. So lift up a prayer for the remnant that is here.”

When the servants of King Hezekiah had come to Isaiah, he said to them: “Tell this to your lord: Thus says the Lord: Do not be frightened by the words you have heard, by which the deputies of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

I am putting in him such a spirit
    that when he hears a report
    he will return to his land.
    I will make him fall by the sword in his land.”

When the commander, on his return, heard that the king of Assyria had withdrawn from Lachish, he found him besieging Libnah. The king of Assyria heard a report: “Tirhakah,[c] king of Ethiopia, has come out to fight against you.” Again he sent messengers to Hezekiah to say: 10 “Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by saying, ‘Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’ 11 You, certainly, have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands: they put them under the ban! And are you to be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations whom my fathers destroyed deliver them—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the Edenites in Telassar? 13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, or a king of the cities Sepharvaim, Hena or Ivvah?”

14 Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the house of the Lord, and spreading it out before the Lord, 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:

16 Lord of hosts, God of Israel,
    enthroned on the cherubim!
You alone are God
    over all the kingdoms of the earth.
It is you who made
    the heavens and the earth.[d]
17 Incline your ear, Lord, and listen!
    open your eyes, Lord, and see!
Hear all the words Sennacherib has sent
    to taunt the living God.
18 Truly, O Lord,
    the kings of Assyria have laid waste
    the nations and their lands.
19 They gave their gods to the fire
    —they were not gods at all,
    but the work of human hands—
Wood and stone, they destroyed them.
20 Therefore, Lord, our God,
    save us from this man’s power,
That all the kingdoms of the earth may know
    that you alone, Lord, are God.”

21 [e]Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you have prayed concerning Sennacherib, king of Assyria: I have listened! 22 This is the word the Lord has spoken concerning him:

She despises you, laughs you to scorn,
    the virgin daughter Zion;
Behind you she wags her head,
    daughter Jerusalem.
23 Whom have you insulted and blasphemed,
    at whom have you raised your voice
And lifted up your eyes on high?
    At the Holy One of Israel!
24 Through the mouths of your messengers
    you have insulted the Lord when you said:
‘With my many chariots I went up
    to the tops of the peaks,
    to the recesses of Lebanon,
To cut down its lofty cedars,
    its choice cypresses;
I reached the farthest shelter,
    the forest ranges.
25 I myself dug wells
    and drank foreign water;
Drying up all the rivers of Egypt
    beneath the soles of my feet.’
26 Have you not heard?
    A long time ago I prepared it,
    from days of old I planned it,
Now I have brought it about:
    You are here to reduce
    fortified cities to heaps of ruins,
27 Their people powerless,
    dismayed and distraught,
They are plants of the field,
    green growth,
    thatch on the rooftops,
Grain scorched by the east wind.
28 I know when you stand or sit,
    when you come or go,
    and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me
    and your smugness has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
    and my bit in your mouth,
And make you leave by the way you came.
30 This shall be a sign[f] for you:
This year you shall eat the aftergrowth,
    next year, what grows of itself;
But in the third year, sow and reap,
    plant vineyards and eat their fruit!
31 The remaining survivors of the house of Judah
    shall again strike root below
    and bear fruit above.
32 For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant,
    and from Mount Zion, survivors.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.

33 Therefore, thus says the Lord about the king of Assyria:

He shall not come as far as this city,
    nor shoot there an arrow,
    nor confront it with a shield,
Nor cast up a siege-work against it.
34 By the way he came he shall leave,
    never coming as far as this city,
    oracle of the Lord.
35 I will shield and save this city
    for my own sake and the sake of David my servant.”

36 Then the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all those corpses, dead![g] 37 So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, departed, returned home, and stayed in Nineveh.

38 When he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and fled into the land of Ararat.[h] His son Esarhaddon reigned in his place.

Chapter 38

Sickness and Recovery of Hezekiah. [i]In those days,[j] when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: “Thus says the Lord: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord:

“Ah, Lord, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was good in your sight!” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: Go, tell Hezekiah:[k] Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Now I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city.

This will be the sign for you from the Lord that the Lord will carry out the word he has spoken: See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz[l] go back the ten steps it has advanced. So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Hezekiah’s Hymn of Thanksgiving. The song of Hezekiah, king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his illness:

10 In the noontime of life[m] I said,
    I must depart!
To the gates of Sheol I have been consigned
    for the rest of my years.
11 I said, I shall see the Lord[n] no more
    in the land of the living.
Nor look on any mortals
    among those who dwell in the world.
12 My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
    is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
    who severs me from the last thread.[o]
From morning to night you make an end of me;
13     I cry out even until the dawn.
Like a lion he breaks all my bones;
    from morning to night you make an end of me.
14 Like a swallow I chirp;
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes grow weary looking heavenward:
    Lord, I am overwhelmed; go security for me!
15 [p]What am I to say or tell him?
    He is the one who has done it!
All my sleep has fled,
    because of the bitterness of my soul.
16 Those live whom the Lord protects;
    yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me health and restored my life!
17     Peace in place of bitterness!
You have preserved my life
    from the pit of destruction;
Behind your back
    you cast all my sins.[q]
18 [r]For it is not Sheol that gives you thanks,
    nor death that praises you;
Neither do those who go down into the pit
    await your kindness.
19 The living, the living give you thanks,
    as I do today.
Parents declare to their children,
    O God, your faithfulness.
20 The Lord is there to save us.
    We shall play our music
In the house of the Lord
    all the days of our life.

21 [s]Then Isaiah said, “Bring a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil for his recovery.” 22 Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?”

Footnotes:

  1. 37:1–35 There appear to be parallel accounts of Hezekiah’s appeal and the response received (vv. 1–7 and vv. 14–35): in each, Hezekiah goes to the Temple, refers to the Assyrian boasts (found in 36:15–20; 37:10–14), and receives a favorable response from Isaiah.
  2. 37:3 A proverbial expression. In the Bible the pangs of childbirth often typify extreme anguish; cf. 13:8; Jer 6:24; Mi 4:9–10. In this instance there is reference to the desperate situation of Hezekiah from which he would scarcely be able to free himself.
  3. 37:9 Tirhakah: may have been general of the Egyptian army in 701 B.C.; later he became pharaoh, one of the Ethiopian dynasty of Egyptian kings (ca. 690–664 B.C.). Many consider that this account in Isaiah combines features of two originally distinct sieges of Jerusalem by Sennacherib.
  4. 37:16 In contrast to the empty boasting of the Assyrians, Hezekiah proclaims the Lord as “God over all the kingdoms of the earth.”
  5. 37:21–37 The reversal of Isaiah’s attitude toward Hezekiah’s revolt (see note on 36:1) and a wonderful deliverance after Hezekiah had already submitted and paid tribute raise questions difficult to answer. See note on 22:1–14. Some have postulated that chaps. 36–37 combine accounts of two different Assyrian invasions.
  6. 37:30 A sign: sets a time limit. After two years the normal conditions of life will be resumed. See the similar use of time limits as signs in 7:15–16; 8:4; 16:14; and 21:16. You: Hezekiah.
  7. 37:36 The destruction of Sennacherib’s army is also recorded by Herodotus, a Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. It was possibly owing to a plague, which the author interprets as God’s activity.
  8. 37:38 The violent death of Sennacherib (681 B.C.) is also mentioned in non-biblical sources. It occurred twenty years after his invasion of Judah. Ararat: the land of Urartu in the mountains north of Assyria.
  9. 38:1–39:8 The events of this section—sickness and recovery of Hezekiah, embassy of Merodach-baladan—anticipate the rise of Babylon (chaps. 40–66). They occurred prior to the events of 36:1–37:38, which point back to Assyria (1:1–35:10).
  10. 38:1 In those days: before the siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C.
  11. 38:5 Since Hezekiah died in 687 B.C., his sickness may have occurred in 702 B.C., that is, fifteen years before.
  12. 38:8 Stairway to the terrace of Ahaz: this interpretation is based on a reading of the Hebrew text revised according to the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah; cf. 2 Kgs 23:12. Many translate the phrase as “steps of Ahaz” and understand this as referring to a sundial.
  13. 38:10 In the noontime of life: long before the end of a full span of life; cf. Ps 55:24; 102:25.
  14. 38:11 See the Lord: go to the Temple and take part in its service.
  15. 38:12 These two metaphors emphasize the suddenness and finality of death.
  16. 38:15–16 The Hebrew text is very problematic and its meaning uncertain.
  17. 38:17 Behind your back you cast all my sins: figurative language to express the divine forgiveness of sins, as if God no longer saw or cared about them.
  18. 38:18–19 See note on Ps 6:6.
  19. 38:21–22 These verses are clearly out of place. Logically they should come after v. 6, as they do in the parallel account in 2 Kgs 20, but the two accounts are not identical, and it appears that the version in Isaiah is abbreviated from that in Kings. If that is so, Is 38:21–22 would be a secondary addition from Kings, inserted by a later reader who thought the account incomplete.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 1:1-15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Foreword

Inasmuch as many and great truths have been given to us through the Law, the prophets, and the authors who followed them,[a] for which the instruction and wisdom of Israel merit praise, it is the duty of those who read the scriptures not only to become knowledgeable themselves but also to use their love of learning in speech and in writing to help others less familiar. So my grandfather Jesus, who had long devoted himself to the study of the law, the prophets, and the rest of the books of our ancestors, and had acquired great familiarity with them, was moved to write something himself regarding instruction and wisdom. He did this so that those who love learning might, by accepting what he had written, make even greater progress in living according to the Law.

You are invited therefore to read it with good will and attention, with indulgence for any failure on our part, despite earnest efforts, in the interpretation of particular passages. For words spoken originally in Hebrew do not have the same effect when they are translated into another language. That is true not only of this book but of the Law itself, the prophecies, and the rest of the books, which differ no little when they are read in the original.

I arrived in Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of King Euergetes, and while there, I had access to no little learning. I therefore considered it my duty to devote some diligence and industry to the translation of this book. During this time I applied my skill for many sleepless hours to complete the book and publish it for those living abroad who wish to acquire learning and are disposed to live their lives according to the Law.

The Wisdom of Ben Sira

Chapter 1

God’s Gift of Wisdom[b]

All wisdom[c] is from the Lord
    and remains with him forever.
The sands of the sea, the drops of rain,
    the days of eternity—who can count them?
Heaven’s height, earth’s extent,
    the abyss and wisdom—who can explore them?
Before all other things wisdom was created;
    and prudent understanding, from eternity.[d]

The root of wisdom—to whom has it been revealed?
    Her subtleties—who knows them?[e]
[f]There is but one, wise and truly awesome,
    seated upon his throne—the Lord.
It is he who created her,
    saw her and measured her,
Poured her forth upon all his works,
10     upon every living thing according to his bounty,
    lavished her upon those who love him.

Fear of the Lord Is Wisdom[g]

11 The fear of the Lord[h] is glory and exultation,
    gladness and a festive crown.
12 The fear of the Lord rejoices the heart,
    giving gladness, joy, and long life.[i]
13 Those who fear the Lord will be happy at the end,
    even on the day of death they will be blessed.

14 The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord;
    she is created with the faithful in the womb.
15 With the godly she was created from of old,
    and with their descendants she will keep faith.

Footnotes:

  1. Foreword The Law, the prophets, and the authors who followed them: an indication of the eventual tripartite division of the Hebrew Scriptures: Law (torah), Prophets (nebi’im), and Writings (ketubim), shortened in the acronym Tanak. Thirty-eighth…Euergetes: 132 B.C. The reference is to Ptolemy VII, Physkon Euergetes II (170–163; 145–117 B.C.).
  2. 1:1–10 This brief poem serves as an introduction to the book. The Lord is the source and preserver of all wisdom, which he pours out upon all. See Jb 28:20–28; Prv 2:6; 8:22–31; Wis 7:25–27.
  3. 1:1 Wisdom: throughout the book Ben Sira describes in great detail just what wisdom is: sometimes divine (1:6, 8), sometimes a synonym for God’s law (24:22–23). Ben Sira makes clear that all wisdom comes from God.
  4. 1:4

    Other ancient texts read as v. 5:

    The wellspring of wisdom is the word of God in the heights,

    and its runlets are the ageless commandments.

  5. 1:6

    Other ancient texts read as v. 7:

    An understanding of wisdom—to whom has this been disclosed;

    her resourcefulness, who has known?

  6. 1:8–10 In contrast to Jb 28, wisdom is not only with God, but given to all, especially Israel; see Bar 3:9; 4:4.
  7. 1:11–30 This is one of several poems of 22 bicola, or poetic lines, corresponding to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Ben Sira uses the expression “fear of the Lord” twelve times and the noun “wisdom” seven times to emphasize the connection between the two ideas. He describes the blessings that come to those who fear the Lord, i.e., those who practice true religion by loving and serving God and keeping the Law (2:7–10, 15–17; 4:11–16; see Dt 6:1–5, 24). Such blessings recur throughout the book.
  8. 1:11 Fear of the Lord: Ben Sira identifies wisdom with the fear of the Lord (vv. 26–27).
  9. 1:12

    Other ancient texts read as v. 12cd:

    Fear of the Lord is the Lord’s gift;

    also for love he makes firm paths.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

2 Peter 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

IV. The Delay of the Second Coming

Chapter 3

Denial of the Parousia. [a]This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; through them by way of reminder I am trying to stir up your sincere disposition, to recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and savior through your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers[b] will come [to] scoff, living according to their own desires and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming?[c] From the time when our ancestors fell asleep, everything has remained as it was from the beginning of creation.” They deliberately ignore the fact that the heavens existed of old and earth was formed out of water and through water[d] by the word of God; through these the world that then existed was destroyed, deluged with water.[e] The present heavens and earth have been reserved by the same word for fire, kept for the day of judgment and of destruction of the godless.

[f]But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years[g] and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,[h] and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Exhortation to Preparedness.[i] 11 Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought [you] to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, 12 [j]waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. 13 But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth[k] in which righteousness dwells.

14 Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. 15 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, 16 speaking of these things[l] as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.

V. Final Exhortation and Doxology[m]

17 Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. 18 But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. [Amen.]

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1–4 The false teachers not only flout Christian morality (cf. Jude 8–19); they also deny the second coming of Christ and the judgment (2 Pt 3:4; cf. 2 Pt 3:7). They seek to justify their licentiousness by arguing that the promised return of Christ has not been realized and the world is the same, no better than it was before (2 Pt 3:3–4). The author wishes to strengthen the faithful against such errors by reminding them in this second letter of the instruction in 1 Peter and of the teaching of the prophets and of Christ, conveyed through the apostles (2 Pt 3:1–2; cf. Jude 17); cf. 1 Pt 1:10–12, 16–21, especially 16–21; Eph 2:20.
  2. 3:3 Scoffers: cf. Jude 18, where, however, only the passions of the scoffers are mentioned, not a denial on their part of Jesus’ parousia.
  3. 3:4–7 The false teachers tried to justify their immorality by pointing out that the promised coming (parousia) of the Lord has not yet occurred, even though early Christians expected it in their day. They thus insinuate that God is not guiding the world’s history anymore, since nothing has changed and the first generation of Christians, our ancestors (2 Pt 3:4), has all died by this time. The author replies that, just as God destroyed the earth by water in the flood (2 Pt 3:5–6, cf. 2 Pt 2:5), so he will destroy it along with the false teachers on judgment day (2 Pt 3:7). The word of God, which called the world into being (Gn 1; Ps 33:6) and destroyed it by the waters of a flood, will destroy it again by fire on the day of judgment (2 Pt 3:5–7).
  4. 3:5 Formed out of water and through water: Gn 1:2, 6–8 is reflected as well as Greek views that water was the basic element from which all is derived.
  5. 3:6 Destroyed, deluged with water: cf. 2 Pt 2:5; Gn 7:11–8:2.
  6. 3:8–10 The scoffers’ objection (2 Pt 3:4) is refuted also by showing that delay of the Lord’s second coming is not a failure to fulfill his word but rather a sign of his patience: God is giving time for repentance before the final judgment (cf. Wis 11:23–26; Ez 18:23; 33:11).
  7. 3:8 Cf. Ps 90:4.
  8. 3:10 Like a thief: Mt 24:43; 1 Thes 5:2; Rev 3:3. Will be found out: cf. 1 Cor 3:13–15. Some few versions read, as the sense may demand, “will not be found out”; many manuscripts read “will be burned up”; there are further variants in other manuscripts, versions, and Fathers. Total destruction is assumed (2 Pt 3:11).
  9. 3:11–16 The second coming of Christ and the judgment of the world are the doctrinal bases for the moral exhortation to readiness through vigilance and a virtuous life; cf. Mt 24:42, 50–51; Lk 12:40; 1 Thes 5:1–11; Jude 20–21.
  10. 3:12 Flames…fire: although this is the only New Testament passage about a final conflagration, the idea was common in apocalyptic and Greco-Roman thought. Hastening: eschatology is here used to motivate ethics (2 Pt 3:11), as elsewhere in the New Testament. Jewish sources and Acts 3:19–20 assume that proper ethical conduct can help bring the promised day of the Lord; cf. 2 Pt 3:9. Some render the phrase, however, “desiring it earnestly.”
  11. 3:13 New heavens and a new earth: cf. Is 65:17; 66:22. The divine promises will be fulfilled after the day of judgment will have passed. The universe will be transformed by the reign of God’s righteousness or justice; cf. Is 65:17–18; Acts 3:21; Rom 8:18–25; Rev 21:1.
  12. 3:16 These things: the teachings of this letter find parallels in Paul, e.g., God’s will to save (Rom 2:4; 9:22–23; 1 Cor 1:7–8), the coming of Christ (1 Thes 4:16–17; 1 Cor 15:23–52), and preparedness for the judgment (Col 1:22–23; Eph 1:4–14; 4:30; 5:5–14). Other scriptures: used to guide the faith and life of the Christian community. The letters of Paul are thus here placed on the same level as books of the Old Testament. Possibly other New Testament writings could also be included.
  13. 3:17–18 To avoid the dangers of error and loss of stability, Christians are forewarned to be on guard and to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pt 1:2) of Christ. The doxology (2 Pt 3:18) recalls 1 Pt 4:11. Some manuscripts add Amen.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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