Isaiah 38

Sennacherib Invades Judah

36 jIn the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, kSennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. lAnd the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh1 from mLachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood nby the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. And there came out to him oEliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and oShebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

And the Rabshakeh said to them, Say to Hezekiah, Thus says the pgreat king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? qBehold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. But if you say to me, We trust in the Lord our God, is it not he rwhose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, You shall worship before this altar? Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. How then can you repulse sa single captain among the least of my master's servants, when tyou trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10 Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this land to destroy it? uThe Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it.

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, Please speak to your servants vin Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall. 12 But the Rabshakeh said, Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?

13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 Thus says the king: wDo not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. 15 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me2 and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, 17 until xI come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 yWhere are the gods of zHamath and zArpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? aHave they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20 bWho among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?

21 But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, Do not answer him. 22 cThen Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah's Help

37 dAs soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet eIsaiah the son of Amoz. They said to him, Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a fday of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; gchildren have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. hIt may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for ithe remnant that is left.

When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, Say to your master, Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, jI will put a spirit in him, so that khe shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and lI will make him fall by the sword in his own land.

The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against mLibnah, for he had heard that the king had left mLachish. Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of nCush,1 He has set out to fight against you. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: oDo not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12 pHave the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, qGozan, rHaran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 pWhere is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?

Hezekiah's Prayer for Deliverance

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, senthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; tyou have made heaven and earth. 17 uIncline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear vall the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O Lord, wthe kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.

Sennacherib's Fall

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

She despises you, she scorns you

xthe virgin daughter of Zion;

she wags her head behind you

the daughter of Jerusalem.

23  Whom have you mocked and reviled?

Against whom have you raised your voice

and lifted your eyes to the heights?

Against ythe Holy One of Israel!

24  By your servants you have mocked the Lord,

and you have said, zWith my many chariots

I have gone up the heights of the mountains,

to the far recesses of Lebanon,

ato cut down its tallest cedars,

its choicest cypresses,

to come to its remotest height,

its most fruitful forest.

25  I dug wells

and drank waters,

to dry up with the sole of my foot

all bthe streams cof Egypt.

26  dHave 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,

and have become like plants of the field

and like tender grass,

like grass on the housetops,

blighted2 before it is grown.

28  I know your sitting down

and your going out and coming in,

and your raging against me.

29  eBecause you have raged against me

and your complacency has come to my ears,

I will put my hook in your nose

and my bit in your mouth,

and fI will turn you back on the way

by which you came.

30 And this shall be the sign for you: this year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that. Then in the third year sow and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31 And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah gshall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32 hFor out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. iThe 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 or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or jcast up a siege mound against it. 34 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. 35 kFor I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for lthe sake of my servant David.

36 mAnd the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at nNineveh. 38 And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword. And after they escaped into the land of oArarat, pEsarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

Hezekiah's Sickness and Recovery

38 qIn those days Hezekiah became rsick and was at the point of death. And sIsaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.1 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said, Please, O Lord, remember how tI have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add ufifteen years to your life.2 vI will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.

This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: wBehold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps. So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.3

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:

10  I said, xIn the middle4 of my days

I must depart;

I am consigned to the gates of Sheol

for the rest of my years.

11  I said, I shall not see the Lord,

the Lord yin the land of the living;

I shall look on man no more

among the inhabitants of the world.

12  My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me

zlike a shepherd's tent;

alike a weaver bI have rolled up my life;

che cuts me off from the loom;

dfrom day to night you bring me to an end;

13  eI calmed myself5 until morning;

like a lion fhe breaks all my bones;

from day to night you bring me to an end.

14  Like ga swallow or a crane I chirp;

hI moan like a dove.

iMy eyes are weary with looking upward.

O Lord, I am oppressed; jbe my pledge of safety!

15  What shall I say? For he has spoken to me,

and he himself has done it.

kI walk slowly all my years

because of the bitterness of my soul.

16  lO Lord, by these things men live,

and in all these is the life of my spirit.

Oh restore me to health and make me live!

17  mBehold, it was for my welfare

that I had great bitterness;

nbut in love you have delivered my life

from the pit of destruction,

nfor you have cast all my sins

behind your back.

18  oFor Sheol does not thank you;

death does not praise you;

those who go down to the pit do not hope

for your faithfulness.

19  The living, the living, he thanks you,

as I do this day;

pthe father makes known to the children

your faithfulness.

20  The Lord will save me,

and we will play my music on stringed instruments

all the days of our lives,

qat the house of the Lord.

21 rNow Isaiah had said, Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover. 22 Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?

Envoys from Babylon

39 sAt that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, tsent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, uthe silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. vThere was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, What did these men say? And from where did they come to you? Hezekiah said, They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon. He said, What have they seen in your house? Hezekiah answered, They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: wBehold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. xAnd some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good. For he thought, yThere will be peace and security in my days.

Comfort for God's People

40  zComfort, comfort my people, says your God.

aSpeak tenderly to Jerusalem,

and cry to her

that bher warfare1 is ended,

that her iniquity is pardoned,

that she has received from the Lord's hand

double for all her sins.

cA voice cries:2

dIn the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;

emake straight in the desert a highway for our God.

fEvery valley shall be lifted up,

and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level,

and the rough places a plain.

gAnd the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,

and all flesh shall see it together,

hfor the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The Word of God Stands Forever

A voice says, Cry!

And I said,3 What shall I cry?

iAll flesh is grass,

and all its beauty4 is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

jThe grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.

The Greatness of God

Go on up to a high mountain,

O Zion, kherald of good news;5

lift up your voice with strength,

O Jerusalem, herald of good news;6

lift it up, fear not;

say to the cities of Judah,

Behold your God!

10  lBehold, the Lord God comes with might,

and his arm rules for him;

mbehold, his reward is with him,

and his recompense before him.

11  nHe will tend his flock like a shepherd;

ohe will gather the lambs in his arms;

phe will carry them in his bosom,

and gently lead those that are with young.

12  qWho has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand

and marked off the heavens with a span,

enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure

and weighed the mountains in scales

and the hills in a balance?

13  rWho has measured7 the Spirit of the Lord,

or what man shows him his counsel?

14  Whom did he consult,

and who made him understand?

sWho taught him the path of justice,

and taught him knowledge,

and showed him the way of understanding?

15  Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,

and are accounted tas the dust on the scales;

behold, he takes up uthe coastlands like fine dust.

16  Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,

nor are vits beasts enough for a burnt offering.

17  wAll the nations are as nothing before him,

they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

18  xTo whom then will you liken God,

yor what likeness compare with him?

19  yAn idol! A craftsman casts it,

and a goldsmith overlays it with gold

and casts for it silver chains.

20  zHe who is too impoverished for an offering

chooses wood8 that will not rot;

he seeks out a skillful craftsman

to set up an idol that will not move.

21  aDo you not know? Do you not hear?

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22  It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,

and its inhabitants are blike grasshoppers;

cwho stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;

23  dwho brings princes to nothing,

and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

24  Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,

scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

when he blows on them, and they wither,

eand the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25  fTo whom then will you compare me,

that I should be like him? says the Holy One.

26  Lift up your eyes on high and see:

who created these?

gHe who brings out their host by number,

calling them all by name;

by the greatness of his might

and because he is strong in power,

not one is missing.

27  Why do you say, O Jacob,

and speak, O Israel,

hMy way is hidden from the Lord,

iand my right is disregarded by my God?

28  Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is jthe everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

khis understanding is unsearchable.

29  He gives power to the faint,

and to him who has no might he increases strength.

30  Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall exhausted;

31  but lthey who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings mlike eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

they shall walk and not faint.