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Isaiah 34-39 Common English Bible (CEB)

Vengeance against Edom

34 Draw near, you nations, to hear;
    and listen, you peoples.
Hear, earth and all who fill it,
    world and all its offspring.
The Lord rages against all the nations,
    and is angry with all their armies.
God is about to wipe them out
    and has prepared them for slaughter.
Their dead will be cast out,
    the stench of their corpses will rise,
    and the mountains will melt from their blood.
All the stars of heaven will dissolve,
    the skies will roll up like a scroll,
    and all the stars will fall,
    like a leaf withering from a vine,
    like fruit from a fig tree.

When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens,
    it will descend upon Edom for judgment,
    upon a people I have doomed for destruction.
The Lord has a sword covered with blood;
    it is soaked with fat
    from the blood of lambs and goats,
    from the kidney fat of rams,
    for the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
        a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Wild oxen will fall with them,
    steers with mighty bulls,
    and their land will be drenched with blood;
    its soil soaked with fat.
The Lord has a day of vengeance,
    a year of payback for Zion’s cause.

Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch,
    its dust into sulfur,
    and its land will become burning pitch.
10 Night and day won’t be extinguished;
    its smoke will go up forever.
From generation to generation it will lie waste;
    no one will ever pass through it again.
11 Screech owls and crows will possess it;
    owls and ravens will live there.[a]
God will stretch over it the measuring line of chaos
    and the plummet stone of emptiness over its officials.
12 No Kingdom There, they will call it,
    and all its princes will disappear.
13 Thorns will grow up in its palaces,
    weeds and brambles in its fortresses.
It will be a dwelling for jackals,
    a home for ostriches.
14 Wildcats will meet hyenas,
    the goat demon will call to his friends,
    and there Lilith[b] will lurk
    and find her resting place.
15 There the snake will nest and lay eggs
    and brood and hatch in its shadow.
There too vultures will gather,
    each with its mate.[c]
16 Consult the Lord’s scroll and read:
    Not one of these will be missing;
    none will lack its mate.
    God’s own mouth has commanded;
    God’s own spirit has gathered them.
17 God has cast the lot for them;
    God’s hand allotted it to them with the measuring line.
They will possess it forever;
    they will live in it from generation to generation.

Fertile wilderness

35 The desert and the dry land will be glad;
    the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus.
They will burst into bloom,
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
They will receive the glory of Lebanon,
    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the Lord’s glory,
    the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
    and support the unsteady knees.
Say to those who are panicking:
    “Be strong! Don’t fear!
    Here’s your God,
        coming with vengeance;
        with divine retribution
    God will come to save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf will be cleared.
Then the lame will leap like the deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless will sing.
Waters will spring up in the desert,
    and streams in the wilderness.
The burning sand will become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground, fountains of water.
The jackals’ habitat, a pasture;[d]
    grass will become reeds and rushes.
A highway will be there.
    It will be called The Holy Way.
The unclean won’t travel on it,
    but it will be for those walking on that way.[e]
Even fools won’t get lost on it;
    no lion will be there,
    and no predator will go up on it.
None of these will be there;
    only the redeemed will walk on it.
10 The Lord’s ransomed ones will return and enter Zion with singing,
    with everlasting joy upon their heads.
Happiness and joy will overwhelm them;
    grief and groaning will flee away.

Sennacherib’s message

36 Assyria’s King Sennacherib marched against all of Judah’s fortified cities and captured them in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah. Assyria’s king sent his field commander from Lachish, together with a large army, to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He stood at the water channel of the Upper Pool, which is on the road to the field where clothes are washed. Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder went out to them.

Then the field commander said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Assyria’s Great King says this: Why do you feel so confident? Do you think that empty words are the same as good strategy and the strength to fight? Who are you trusting that you now rebel against me? It appears that you are trusting in a staff—Egypt—that’s nothing but a broken reed! It will stab the hand of anyone who leans on it! That’s all that Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, is to anyone who trusts in him. Now suppose you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God.’ Isn’t he the one whose shrines and altars Hezekiah removed, telling Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship only at this altar’?

“So now, make a wager with my master, Assyria’s king. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you can supply the riders! How will you drive back even the least important official among my master’s servants when you are relying on Egypt for chariots and riders? 10 What’s more, do you think I’ve marched against this place to destroy it without the Lord’s support? It was the Lord who told me, ‘March against this land and destroy it!’”

11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, because we understand it. Don’t speak with us in Hebrew,[f] because the people on the wall will hear it.”

12 The field commander said to them, “Did my master send me to speak these words just to you and your master and not also to the men on the wall? They are the ones who will have to eat their dung and drink their urine along with you.” 13 Then the field commander stood up and shouted in Hebrew at the top of his voice: “Listen to the message of the great king, Assyria’s king. 14 The king says this: Don’t let Hezekiah lie to you. He won’t be able to rescue you. 15 Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to trust the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will certainly rescue us. This city won’t be handed over to Assyria’s king.’

16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah, because this is what Assyria’s king says: Surrender to me and come out. Then each of you will eat from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own well 17 until I come to take you to a land just like your land. It will be a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 Don’t let Hezekiah fool you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us.’ Did any of the other gods of the nations save their lands from the power of Assyria’s king? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Did they rescue Samaria from my power? 20 Which one of the gods from those countries has rescued their land from my power? Will the Lord save Jerusalem from my power?”

21 But they kept quiet and didn’t answer him with a single word, because King Hezekiah’s command was, “Don’t answer him!” 22 Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder came to Hezekiah with ripped clothes. They told him what the field commander had said.

Hezekiah and Isaiah

37 When King Hezekiah heard this, he ripped his clothes, covered himself with mourning clothes, and went to the Lord’s temple. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah, Amoz’s son. They were all wearing mourning clothes. They said to him, “Hezekiah says this: Today is a day of distress, punishment, and humiliation. It’s as if children are ready to be born, but there’s no strength to see it through. Perhaps the Lord your God heard all the words of the field commander who was sent by his master, Assyria’s king. He insulted the living God! Perhaps he will punish him for the words that the Lord your God has heard. Offer up a prayer for those few people who still survive.”

When King Hezekiah’s servants got to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Say this to your master: The Lord says this: Don’t be afraid at the words you heard, which the officers of Assyria’s king have used to insult me. I’m about to mislead him, so when he hears a rumor, he’ll go back to his own country. Then I’ll have him cut down by the sword in his own land.”

The field commander heard that the Assyrian king had left Lachish. So he went back to the king and found him attacking Libnah. Then the Assyrian king learned that Cush’s King Tirhakah was on his way to fight against him. So he sent messengers to Hezekiah again: 10 “Say this to Judah’s King Hezekiah: Don’t let the God you trust deceive you by saying, ‘Jerusalem won’t fall to the Assyrian king.’ 11 You yourself have heard what Assyrian kings do to other countries, wiping them out. Is it likely that you will be saved? 12 Did the gods of the nations that my ancestors destroyed save them, the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, or the people of Eden in Telassar? 13 Where now is Hamath’s king, Arpad’s king, or the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena, or Ivvah?”[g]

Hezekiah prays

14 Hezekiah took the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went to the temple and spread them out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:

16 Lord of heavenly forces, God of Israel: you sit enthroned on the winged creatures. You alone are God over all the earth’s kingdoms. You made both heaven and earth. 17 Lord, turn your ear this way and hear! Lord, open your eyes and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words. He sent them to insult the living God! 18 It’s true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have destroyed all the nations and their lands. 19 The Assyrians burned the gods of those nations with fire because they aren’t real gods. They are only man-made creations of wood and stone. That’s how the Assyrians could destroy them. 20 So now, Lord our God, please save us from Sennacherib’s power! Then all the earth’s kingdoms will know that you alone are Lord.”

21 Then Isaiah, Amoz’s son, sent a message to Hezekiah: The Lord God of Israel says this: Since you prayed to me about Assyria’s King Sennacherib, 22 this is the message that the Lord has spoken against him:

The young woman, Daughter Zion, despises you and mocks you;
    Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head behind your back.
23 Whom did you insult and ridicule?
    Against whom did you raise your voice
        and look on with disdain?
    It was against the holy one of Israel!
24 With your servants, you’ve insulted the Lord;
    you said, “I, with my many chariots,
        have gone up to the highest mountains,
        to the farthest reaches of Lebanon.
I have cut down its tallest cedars,
    the best of its pine trees.
I have reached its most remote lodging place,
    its best forest.
25 I have dug wells,
    have drunk water in foreign lands.[h]
With my own feet, I dried up all of Egypt’s streams.”
26 Haven’t you heard?
I set this up long ago;
        I planned it in the distant past!
Now I have made it happen,
    making fortified cities collapse into piles of rubble.
27 Their citizens have lost their power;
    they are frightened and dismayed.
They’ve become like plants in a field,
    tender green shoots,
    the grass on rooftops,
        blasted by the east wind.
28 I know where you are,
    how you go out and come in,
    and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me and because your pride has reached my ears,
    I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth.
    I will make you go back the same way you came.

30 Now this will be the sign for you, Hezekiah: This year you will eat what grows by itself. Next year you will eat what grows from that. But in the third year, plant seed and harvest it; plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 31 The survivors of Judah’s family who have escaped will put down roots and bear fruit above. 32 Those who remain will go out from Jerusalem, and those who survive will go out from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of heavenly forces will do this.

33 Therefore, the Lord says this about Assyria’s king: He won’t enter this city. He won’t shoot a single arrow here. He won’t come near the city with a shield. He won’t build a ramp to besiege it. 34 He’ll go back by the same way he came. He won’t enter this city, declares the Lord. 35 I will defend this city and save it for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.

36 The Lord’s messenger went out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand soldiers in the Assyrian camp. When people got up the next morning, there were dead bodies everywhere. 37 So Assyria’s King Sennacherib left and went back to Nineveh, where he stayed. 38 Later, while he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword. Then they escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon ruled after him.

Hezekiah’s illness

38 At about that time Hezekiah became deathly sick. The prophet Isaiah, Amoz’s son, came to him and said: “The Lord God says this: Put your affairs in order because you are about to die. You won’t survive this.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, remember how I’ve walked before you in truth and sincerity. I’ve done what you consider to be good.” Then Hezekiah cried and cried.

Then the Lord’s word came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah: The Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says this: I have heard your prayer and have seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the power of the Assyrian king. I will defend this city. This will be your sign from the Lord that he will do what he promised: once the shadow cast by the sun descends on the steps of Ahaz, I will make it back up ten steps.” And the sun went back ten of the steps that it had already descended.

A composition by Judah’s King Hezekiah when he was sick and then recovered from his sickness:

10 I thought, I must depart in the prime of my life;
    I have been relegated to the gates of the underworld[i] for the rest of my life.
11 I thought, I won’t see the Lord.
    The Lord is in the land of the living.
I won’t look upon humans again
    or be with the inhabitants of the world.
12 My lifetime is plucked up
    and taken from me like a shepherd’s tent.
My life is shriveled like woven cloth;
    God cuts me off from the loom.
Between daybreak and nightfall
    you carry out your verdict against me.
13 I cried out[j] until morning:
    “Like a lion God crushes all my bones.
Between daybreak and nightfall
    you carry out your verdict against me.
14 Like a swallow[k] I chirp;
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes have grown weary looking to heaven.
    Lord, I’m overwhelmed; support me!”

15 What can I say?
    God has spoken to me;
    he himself has acted.
I will wander[l] my whole life
    with a bitter spirit.
16 The Lord Most High is the one who gives life to every heart,
    who gives life to the spirit![m]
17 Look, he indeed exchanged my bitterness for wholeness.[n]

You yourself have spared[o] my whole being
        from the pit of destruction,
    because you have cast all my sins
        behind your back.
18 The underworld[p] can’t thank you,
        nor can death[q] praise you;
    those who go down to the pit
        can’t hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living can thank you, as I do today.
    Parents will tell children about your faithfulness.
20 The Lord has truly saved me,
    and we will make music[r] at the Lord’s house all the days of our lives.

21 Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a salve made from figs, put it on the swelling, and he’ll get better.”

22 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What’s the sign that I’ll be able to go up to the Lord’s temple?”

The Babylonian king’s messengers

39 At that time, Babylon’s King Merodach-baladan, Baladan’s son, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been ill and had recovered. Hezekiah was pleased, and he showed them his treasury—the silver and the gold, the spices and fine oil—and everything in his armory, all that was found in his storerooms. There wasn’t a thing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah didn’t show them.

Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, “What did these men say? Where did they come from?”

Hezekiah replied, “They came to me from a distant land, from Babylon.”

So Isaiah said, “What did they see in your house?”

Hezekiah said, “They saw everything in my house. There was nothing in my storerooms that I didn’t show them.”

Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of heavenly forces: Days are coming when all that is in your house, which your ancestors have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. Some of your sons, your own descendants whom you fathered, will be taken to become eunuchs in the king of Babylon’s palace.”

Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s word that you delivered is good,” since he thought, That means there will be peace and security in my lifetime.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 34:11 Species uncertain
  2. Isaiah 34:14 Name of a demon
  3. Isaiah 34:15 Species uncertain
  4. Isaiah 35:7 Heb uncertain
  5. Isaiah 35:8 Heb uncertain
  6. Isaiah 36:11 MT Judean, so also 36:13
  7. Isaiah 37:13 Or the king of the city of Sepharvaim; or the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah
  8. Isaiah 37:25 Heb uncertain; DSS (1QIsaa) in foreign lands
  9. Isaiah 38:10 Heb Sheol
  10. Isaiah 38:13 Or I lay down
  11. Isaiah 38:14 Heb uncertain
  12. Isaiah 38:15 Heb uncertain
  13. Isaiah 38:16 Heb uncertain
  14. Isaiah 38:17 Heb uncertain
  15. Isaiah 38:17 Cf LXX, Vulg; MT loved
  16. Isaiah 38:18 Heb Sheol
  17. Isaiah 38:18 Heb Maveth
  18. Isaiah 38:20 Or my stringed instruments
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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