37 When King Hezekiah heard the results of the meeting, he tore his robes and wound himself in coarse cloth used for making sacks, as a sign of humility and mourning, and went over to the Temple to pray. 2 Meanwhile he sent Eliakim his prime minister, and Shebna his royal scribe, and the older priests—all dressed in sackcloth—to Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz. 3 They brought him this message from Hezekiah:
“This is a day of trouble and frustration and blasphemy; it is a serious time, as when a woman is in heavy labor trying to give birth and the child does not come. 4 But perhaps the Lord your God heard the blasphemy of the king of Assyria’s representative as he scoffed at the living God. Surely God won’t let him get away with this. Surely God will rebuke him for those words. Oh, Isaiah, pray for us who are left!”
5 So they took the king’s message to Isaiah.
6 Then Isaiah replied, “Tell King Hezekiah that the Lord says: Don’t be disturbed by this speech from the servant of the king of Assyria and his blasphemy. 7 For a report from Assyria will reach the king that he is needed at home at once, and he will return to his own land, where I will have him killed.”
8-9 Now the Assyrian envoy left Jerusalem and went to consult his king, who had left Lachish and was besieging Libnah. But at this point the Assyrian king received word that Tirhakah, crown prince of Ethiopia, was leading an army against him from the south.[a] Upon hearing this, he sent messengers back to Jerusalem to Hezekiah with this message:
10 “Don’t let this God you trust in fool you by promising that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria! 11 Just remember what has happened wherever the kings of Assyria have gone, for they have crushed everyone who has opposed them. Do you think you will be any different? 12 Did their gods save the cities of Gozan, Haran, or Rezeph, or the people of Eden in Telassar? No, the Assyrian kings completely destroyed them! 13 And don’t forget what happened to the king of Hamath, to the king of Arpad, and to the kings of the cities of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah.”
14 As soon as King Hezekiah had read this letter, he went over to the Temple and spread it out before the Lord 15 and prayed, saying, 16-17 “O Lord, Almighty God of Israel enthroned between the Guardian Angels, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone made heaven and earth. Listen as I plead; see me as I pray. Look at this letter from King Sennacherib, for he has mocked the living God. 18 It is true, O Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all those nations, just as the letter says, 19 and thrown their gods into the fire; for they weren’t gods at all but merely idols, carved by men from wood and stone. Of course the Assyrians could destroy them. 20 O Lord our God, save us so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you are God, and you alone.”
21 Then Isaiah, the son of Amoz, sent this message to King Hezekiah: “The Lord God of Israel says: This is my answer to your prayer against Sennacherib, Assyria’s king.
22 “The Lord says to him: My people—the helpless virgin daughter of Zion—laughs at you and scoffs and shakes her head at you in scorn. 23 Who is it you scoffed against and mocked? Whom did you revile? At whom did you direct your violence and pride? It was against the Holy One of Israel! 24 You have sent your messengers to mock the Lord. You boast, ‘I came with my mighty army against the nations of the west. I cut down the tallest cedars and choicest cypress trees. I conquered their highest mountains and destroyed their thickest forests.’
25 “You boast of wells you’ve dug in many a conquered land, and Egypt with all its armies is no obstacle to you! 26 But do you not yet know that it was I who decided all this long ago? That it was I who gave you all this power from ancient times? I have caused all this to happen as I planned—that you should crush walled cities into ruined heaps. 27 That’s why their people had so little power and were such easy prey for you. They were as helpless as the grass, as tender plants you trample down beneath your feet, as grass upon the housetops, burnt yellow by the sun. 28 But I know you well—your comings and goings and all you do—and the way you have raged against me. 29 Because of your anger against the Lord—and I heard it all!—I have put a hook in your nose and a bit in your mouth and led you back to your own land by the same road you came.”
30 Then God said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that I am the one who is delivering this city from the king of Assyria: This year[b] he will abandon his siege. Although it is too late now to plant your crops, and you will have only volunteer grain this fall, still it will give you enough seed for a small harvest next year, and two years from now you will be living in luxury again. 31 And you who are left in Judah will take root again in your own soil and flourish and multiply. 32 For a remnant shall go out from Jerusalem to repopulate the land; the power of the Lord Almighty will cause all this to come to pass.
33 “As for the king of Assyria, his armies shall not enter Jerusalem, nor shoot their arrows there, nor march outside its gates, nor build up an earthen bank against its walls. 34 He will return to his own country by the road he came on and will not enter this city, says the Lord. 35 For my own honor I will defend it and in memory of my servant David.”
36 That night the Angel of the Lord went out to the camp of the Assyrians and killed 185,000 soldiers; when the living wakened the next morning, all these lay dead before them. 37 Then Sennacherib, king of Assyria, returned to his own country, to Nineveh. 38 And one day while he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords; then they escaped into the land of Ararat, and Esar-haddon his son became king.
- Isaiah 37:8 from the south, implied.
- Isaiah 37:30 This year, implied. two years from now you will be living in luxury again. The third harvest from then would yield a bumper crop.
The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.