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Isaiah 37:14-38 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Hezekiah’s Prayer

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods, but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”

21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22 this is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him:

She despises you, she scorns you—
    virgin daughter Zion;
she tosses her head—behind your back,
    daughter Jerusalem.

23 “Whom have you mocked and reviled?
    Against whom have you raised your voice
and haughtily lifted your eyes?
    Against the Holy One of Israel!
24 By your servants you have mocked the Lord,
    and you have said, ‘With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
    to the far recesses of Lebanon;
I felled its tallest cedars,
    its choicest cypresses;
I came to its remotest height,
    its densest forest.
25 I dug wells
    and drank waters,
I dried up with the sole of my foot
    all the streams of Egypt.’

26 “Have you not heard
    that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
    what now I bring to pass,
that you should make fortified cities
    crash into heaps of ruins,
27 while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
    are dismayed and confounded;
they have become like plants of the field
    and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
    blighted[a] before it is grown.

28 “I know your rising up[b] and your sitting down,
    your going out and coming in,
    and your raging against me.
29 Because you have raged against me
    and your arrogance has come to my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
    and my bit in your mouth;
I will turn you back on the way
    by which you came.

30 “And this shall be the sign for you: This year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31 The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward; 32 for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

33 “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it. 34 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return; he shall not come into this city, says the Lord. 35 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

Sennacherib’s Defeat and Death

36 Then the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. 37 Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Nineveh. 38 As he was worshiping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 37:27 With 2 Kings 19.26: Heb field
  2. Isaiah 37:28 Q Ms Gk: MT lacks your rising up
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 37:14-38 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Hezekiah Prays

14 After Hezekiah had read the note from the king of Assyria, he took it to the temple and spread it out for the Lord to see. 15 Then he prayed:

16 Lord God All-Powerful of Israel, your throne is above the winged creatures.[a] You created the heavens and the earth, and you alone rule the kingdoms of this world. 17 Just look and see how Sennacherib has insulted you, the living God.

18 It is true, our Lord, that Assyrian kings have turned nations into deserts. 19 They destroyed the idols of wood and stone that the people of those nations had made and worshiped. 20 But you are our Lord and our God! We ask you to keep us safe from the Assyrian king. Then everyone in every kingdom on earth will know that you are the only Lord.

Isaiah Gives the Lord’s Answer to Hezekiah

21-22 I went to Hezekiah and told him that the Lord God of Israel had said:

Hezekiah, you prayed to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria.[b] Now this is what I say to that king:

The people of Jerusalem
    hate and make fun of you;
    they laugh behind your back.

23 Sennacherib, you cursed,
shouted, and sneered at me,
    the holy God of Israel.
24 You let your officials
    insult me, the Lord.
And here is what you
    have said about yourself,
“I led my chariots
    to the highest heights
    of Lebanon’s mountains.
I went deep into its forest,
cutting down the best cedar
    and cypress trees.
25 I dried up every stream
    in the land of Egypt,
and I drank water
    from wells I had dug.”

26 Sennacherib, now listen
    to me, the Lord.
I planned all of this long ago.
And you don’t even know
    that I alone am the one
who decided that you
    would do these things.
I let you make ruins
    of fortified cities.
27 Their people became weak,
    terribly confused.
They were like wild flowers
or like tender young grass
    growing on a flat roof
or like a field of grain
    before it matures.[c]

28 I know all about you,
    even how fiercely angry
    you are with me.
29 I have seen your pride
    and the tremendous hatred
    you have for me.
Now I will put a hook
    in your nose,
    a bit in your mouth,[d]
then I will send you back
    to where you came from.

30 Hezekiah, I will tell you what’s going to happen. This year you will eat crops that grow on their own, and the next year you will eat whatever springs up where those crops grew. But the third year, you will plant grain and vineyards, and you will eat what you harvest. 31 Those who survive in Judah will be like a vine that puts down deep roots and bears fruit. 32 I, the Lord All-Powerful, will see to it that some who live in Jerusalem will survive.

33 I promise that the king of Assyria won’t get into Jerusalem, or shoot an arrow into the city, or even surround it and prepare to attack. 34 As surely as I am the Lord, he will return by the way he came and will never enter Jerusalem. 35 I will protect it for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.

The Death of King Sennacherib

36 The Lord sent an angel to the camp of the Assyrians, and he killed one hundred eighty-five thousand of them all in one night. The next morning, the camp was full of dead bodies. 37 After this, King Sennacherib went back to Assyria and lived in the city of Nineveh. 38 One day he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, when his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords. They escaped to the land of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon became king.[e]

Footnotes:

  1. 37.16 winged creatures: Two winged creatures made of gold were on the top of the sacred chest and were symbols of the Lord’s throne on earth (see Exodus 25.18; 2 Samuel 6.2).
  2. 37.21,22 Hezekiah, you prayed. . . Assyria: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 37.27 tender young grass. . . matures: The Standard Hebrew Text; the Dead Sea Scrolls and some Hebrew manuscripts “tender young grass, growing on a flat roof and scorched by the heat.” Many of the houses had roofs made of packed earth. Grass would sometimes grow on the roof, but would die quickly because of the sun and hot winds.
  4. 37.29 I will put. . . your mouth: This is how the Assyrians treated their prisoners, and now the Lord will treat Sennacherib the same way.
  5. 37.38 Esarhaddon became king: He ruled Assyria 681-669 B.C.
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