Hezekiah Asks God to Help
37 When King Hezekiah listened to their message, he tore his clothes to show he was upset. Then he put on sackcloth and went to the Lord’s Temple.
2 Hezekiah sent Eliakim, the palace manager, Shebna, the royal secretary, and the elders of the priests to the prophet, Isaiah son of Amoz. They wore the special clothes that showed they were sad and upset. 3 They said to Isaiah, “King Hezekiah has commanded that today will be a special day for sorrow and sadness. It will be a very sad day—as sad as when a baby should be born, but there is not enough strength for the birth. 4 The commander’s master, the king of Assyria, has sent him to say bad things about the living God. Maybe the Lord your God will hear it and prove the enemy is wrong. So pray for those who are still left alive.”
5 When King Hezekiah’s officers came to Isaiah, 6 he said to them, “Give this message to your master, Hezekiah: The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid of what you heard from the commanders! Don’t believe what those “boys” from the king of Assyria said to make fun of me. 7 Look, I will send a spirit against the king of Assyria. He will get a report that will make him return to his own country. And I will cut him down with a sword in his own country.’”
The Assyrian Army Leaves Jerusalem
8 The commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. He found him at Libnah, fighting against that city. 9 Then the king of Assyria got a report that said, “King Tirhakah[a] of Ethiopia is coming to fight you.”
So the king of Assyria sent messengers to Hezekiah again. 10 He told them, “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah these things:
‘Don’t be fooled by the god you trust when he says, “Jerusalem will not be defeated by the king of Assyria.” 11 You have heard what the kings of Assyria did to all the other countries. We destroyed them completely. Will you be saved? No! 12 Did the gods of those people save them? No, my ancestors destroyed them all. They destroyed the cities of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden living in Tel Assar. 13 Where is the king of Hamath? The king of Arpad? The king of the city of Sepharvaim? The kings of Hena and Ivvah?’”
Hezekiah Prays to the Lord
14 Hezekiah received the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went up to the Lord’s Temple and laid the letters out in front of the Lord. 15 He prayed to the Lord: 16 “Lord All-Powerful, God of Israel, you sit as King above the Cherub angels. You alone are the God who rules all the kingdoms on earth. You made heaven and earth. 17 Lord, please pay attention and hear this. Open your eyes, Lord, and see what is happening. Listen to all the insults against the living God in the message Sennacherib sent! 18 It is true, Lord. The kings of Assyria did destroy all those nations. 19 They did throw the gods of those nations into the fire, but they were not real gods. They were only wood and stone—statues that people made. That is why the kings of Assyria could destroy them. 20 But you are the Lord our God, so please save us from the king of Assyria. Then all the other nations will know that you are the Lord, the only God.”
God Answers Hezekiah
21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘You prayed to me about the message that came from King Sennacherib of Assyria. I have heard you.[b]’
22 “So this is the Lord’s message against Sennacherib:
‘The virgin daughter Zion[c] does not think you are important.
She makes fun of you.
Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head at you
and laughs behind your back.
23 But who was it that you insulted and made fun of?
Who was it that you spoke against?
You were speaking against the Holy One of Israel.
You acted like you were great and he was nothing.
24 You sent your officers to insult the Lord.
This is what you said:
“I took my many chariots up the high mountains
deep inside Lebanon.
I cut down its tallest cedars
and its best fir trees.
I have been on its highest mountain
and deep inside its forests.
25 I dug wells and drank water from new places.
I dried up the rivers of Egypt
and walked where the water was.”
26 ‘How could you say this, Sennacherib?
Did no one ever tell you that I, the Lord, planned these things long ago?
From ancient times I decided what would happen.
And now I have made it happen.
I let you tear down strong cities
and change them into piles of rocks.
27 The people living there had no power.
They were afraid and confused.
They were about to be cut down
like grass and plants in the field.
They were like grass growing on the housetops,
dying before it grows tall.
28 I know all about your battles;
I know when you rested,
when you went out to war,
and when you came home.
I also know when you got upset at me.
29 Yes, you were upset at me.
I heard your proud insults.
So I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth.
Then I will turn you around
and lead you back the way you came.’”
The Lord’s Message for Hezekiah
30 Then the Lord said, “I will give you a sign to show you that these words are true. You will not be able to plant seeds this year, so next year you will eat grain that grew wild from the previous year’s crop. But in the third year, you will eat grain from seeds that you planted. You will harvest your crops, and you will have plenty to eat. You will plant vineyards and eat grapes from them.
31 “The people from the family of Judah who have escaped and are left alive will be like plants that send their roots deep into the ground and produce fruit above the ground. 32 That is because a few people will come out of Jerusalem alive. There will be survivors coming from Mount Zion.” The strong love[d] of the Lord All-Powerful will do this.
33 So the Lord says this about the king of Assyria:
“He will not come into this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not bring his shields up against this city
or build up a hill of dirt to attack its walls.
34 He will go back the way he came.
He will not come into this city.
The Lord says this!
35 I will protect this city and save it.
I will do this for myself and for my servant David.”
The Assyrian Army Is Destroyed
36 That night the angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up in the morning, they saw all the dead bodies. 37 So King Sennacherib of Assyria went back to Nineveh and stayed there.
38 One day Sennacherib was in the temple of his god Nisroch, worshiping him. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword and ran away to Ararat. So Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon became the new king of Assyria.
- Isaiah 37:9 Tirhakah This is probably Taharqa, the Pharaoh of Egypt about 690–664 B.C.
- Isaiah 37:21 I have heard you This is from the ancient Greek version and 2 Kings 19:20.
- Isaiah 37:22 The virgin daughter Zion The city of Jerusalem, which is in danger of attack by the Assyrians. See “Zion” in the Word List.
- Isaiah 37:32 strong love The Hebrew word can mean strong feelings such as zeal, jealousy, or love.