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Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah’s Counsel

37 As soon as Hezekiah the king[a] heard this, he tore his clothes, dressed himself in sackcloth, and went into the Lord’s Temple. Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, all wearing sackcloth, to Amoz’s son, the prophet Isaiah. “Here is what Hezekiah says,” they told him. “This day is a day of trouble, rebuke, and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no energy to deliver them. Perhaps the Lord your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, sent to mock the living God, and perhaps he will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard. So lift up a prayer for the remnant that still survives in this city.”[b] That’s why King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah.

Isaiah Responds to Hezekiah

“Here is what to tell your master,” Isaiah told them. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Don’t be afraid of the words you’ve heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have insulted me. Watch this! I’m going to place an attitude[c] within him,[d] so that when he hears a certain report, he’ll return to his own country. Then I’ll have him cut down by the sword in his own land.”[e]

Sennacherib Retreats

So the field commander returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, since he had heard that the king of Assyria[f] had left Lachish. Now King Sennacherib[g] had received this report concerning King Tirhakah of Cush: “He has marched out to fight against you.”

When he heard it, he returned and[h] sent messengers to Hezekiah: 10 “Say this to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Don’t let your God on whom you depend deceive you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 11 Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all countries, dooming them to destruction. So do you think you will be saved? 12 Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my ancestors save them—the nations of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden, who were in Tel-assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sephar-vaim, or of Hena, or of Ivvah, or of Samaria?’”[i]

Hezekiah Prays

14 Hezekiah received the letters from the messengers, and read them.[j] Then he[k] went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread the letters[l] in front of the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:

16 “O Lord of the Heavenly Armies, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you alone are the God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made heaven and earth. 17 Extend your ear, Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, Lord, and look! Listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God. 18 It is true, Lord, that Assyrian kings have devastated all these countries,[m] 19 and have thrown their gods into the fire—but they are not gods, but rather the products[n] of human hands, mere wood and stone. So the Assyrians[o] destroyed them. 20 So now, Lord our God, save us from his oppressive[p] hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”[q]

God’s Answer

21 Then Amoz’s son Isaiah sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, to whom you prayed[r] concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. 22 This is the message that the Lord has spoken in opposition to him:

“‘The Virgin Daughter of Zion
    despises and mocks you;
the Daughter of Jerusalem—
    she tosses her head behind you as you flee.
23 Whom have you insulted and reviled?
    Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
    Against the Holy One of Israel!
24 By your messengers[s] you have insulted the Lord,
    and you have said,
“With my many chariots
    I have climbed the heights of mountains,
        the utmost heights of Lebanon.
I cut down its tallest cedars,
    the choicest of its pines;
I reached its remotest heights,
    the most verdant of its forests.
25 I myself dug wells[t]
    and drank foreign[u] waters;
with the soles of my feet
    I dried up all the streams of Egypt.”

26 “‘Didn’t you hear
    how in the distant past I decided to do it,
        how[v] I planned from days of old?
Now I’ve made it happen—
    that fortified cities become devastated, besieged heaps.[w]
27 Their inhabitants are devoid of power,
    and are terrified and put to shame.
They’ve become like plants in the field,
    like[x] green shoots,
like grass on rooftops,
    scorched by the east wind.[y]

28 “‘I know when you rise up
    and[z] when you sit down,
your comings and goings—
    and how you’ve become enraged at me.
29 Your insolence[aa] has reached my ears,
    so I’ll put my hook in your nose
        and my bit in your mouth,[ab]
and I’ll make you turn back on the road
    by which you came.

30 “And this will be your sign, Hezekiah:[ac] Eat this year what grows on its own, and in the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31 Then the ones belonging to the house of Judah who have escaped will gather,[ad] and those who are found[ae] will take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32 For a remnant will come out of Zion,[af] and a band of survivors from Jerusalem.[ag] The zeal of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies will accomplish this.

33 “Therefore this what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He won’t enter this city, build up a siege ramp against it, shoot an arrow here, or threaten it with a shield.[ah] 34 By the same way that he came, he will return; he won’t enter this city,’ declares the Lord, 35 ‘because I will defend this city and deliver[ai] it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David!’”

Sennacherib is Defeated

36 After this, the angel of the Lord went out and put to death 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When Hezekiah’s army[aj] awakened in the morning—there were all the dead bodies!

37 King Sennacherib broke camp, retreated, returned home to Nineveh, and remained there. 38 Later, while he was worshiping in[ak] the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with swords and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then Sennacherib’s[al] son Esar-haddon reigned in his place.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 37:1 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX read the king Hezekiah
  2. Isaiah 37:4 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX lack in this city
  3. Isaiah 37:7 Or to put a spirit
  4. Isaiah 37:7 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX read put a spirit in him
  5. Isaiah 37:7 So MT LXX 1QIsaa corrector; 1QIsaa lacks vss. 5-7
  6. Isaiah 37:8 Lit. that he
  7. Isaiah 37:9 Lit. Now he
  8. Isaiah 37:9 So 1QIsaa LXX; cf. 2Kgs 19:9 MT; the Heb. lacks returned and
  9. Isaiah 37:13 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX lack or of Samaria
  10. Isaiah 37:14 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX read it
  11. Isaiah 37:14 Lit. Hezekiah
  12. Isaiah 37:14 Lit. it
  13. Isaiah 37:18 So 1QIsaa; MT reads countries and their land; some MTmss read nations and their land
  14. Isaiah 37:19 So 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads work
  15. Isaiah 37:19 Lit. So they
  16. Isaiah 37:20 1QIsaa LXX MT lack oppressive
  17. Isaiah 37:20 So 1QIsaa; MT reads alone are Lord; LXX reads alone are God
  18. Isaiah 37:21 So 1QIsaa; MT reads because you prayed to me; cf. LXX
  19. Isaiah 37:24 Lit. servants
  20. Isaiah 37:25 So 1QIsaa; MT reads dug; LXX reads appointed
  21. Isaiah 37:25 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX lack foreign
  22. Isaiah 37:26 So 1QIsaa; MT reads and how
  23. Isaiah 37:26 So 1QIsaa; MT reads you should make fortified cities crash into ruined heaps
  24. Isaiah 37:27 So 1QIsaa; MT reads and like
  25. Isaiah 37:27 So 1QIsaa; MT reads and a field before the standing grain
  26. Isaiah 37:28 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX lack when you rise up and
  27. Isaiah 37:29 So 1QIsaa; MT reads because your raging against me and your insolence; cf. LXX
  28. Isaiah 37:29 Lit. lips; so 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads lip
  29. Isaiah 37:30 So 1QIsaa; the Heb. lacks Hezekiah
  30. Isaiah 37:31 So 1QIsaa; MT reads be increased
  31. Isaiah 37:31 So 1QIsaa; MT reads and the remainder; cf. LXX
  32. Isaiah 37:32 So 1QIsaa; 4QIsab MT LXX read Jerusalem
  33. Isaiah 37:32 So 1QIsaa; 4QIsab MT LXX read Mount Zion
  34. Isaiah 37:33 So 1QIsaa; MT reads or shoot an arrow here, or threaten it with a shield, or build up a siege ramp against it
  35. Isaiah 37:35 Or save
  36. Isaiah 37:36 Lit. When the people
  37. Isaiah 37:38 So 1QIsaa LXX; the Heb. lacks in
  38. Isaiah 37:38 Lit. his

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