Isaiah 37

Hezekiah sends a message to Isaiah

1 When King Hezekiah heard the report of his servants, he tore his clothes. Then he put on cheap hairy cloth and he went into the temple of the Lord. 2 And he sent Eliakim and Shebna and the leaders of the priests to Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah was the son of Amoz. Eliakim was the most important servant in the king's house. Shebna was the leader of the king's government. And Eliakim, Shebna and the priests all wore cheap hairy clothes. 3 And they told Isaiah, ‘This is what Hezekiah says. “There are many problems at this time. It is a time to be ashamed. The problems are like a child who is ready for its birth. But its mother is not strong enough for it to be born. 4 Perhaps the Lord, your God will do something about the words of Rabshakeh. Rabshakeh's master is the king of Assyria. The king sent Rabshakeh to laugh in a bad way at our God. But our God is the God who is really alive. Maybe the Lord your God will tell Rabshakeh that his words were wrong. God has heard them. So, pray for the people who remain in Jerusalem.” ’ 5 So Hezekiah's servants came to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah said to them, ‘Tell your master that the Lord says this. “Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard. The servants of the king of Assyria are not important. They have said very bad things about me. 7 Listen to me! I will put a spirit into the king of Assyria. Then, he will hear a certain report. When he hears it, he will return to his own country. And there, I will cause someone to kill him with a sword.” ’

8 Then, the king of Assyria left the city called Lachish. People told Rabshakeh that the king had left Lachish. So Rabshakeh left Jerusalem and he found the king of Assyria. The king was fighting against the city called Libnah. 9 Then people told the king of Assyria this about Tirhakah, the king of Ethiopia. They said, ‘He has come out from Ethiopia to fight against you.’ And when they said that to the king of Assyria, he sent people to Jerusalem with a message. They had this message for King Hezekiah. 10 ‘Say this to King Hezekiah of Judah. Say, “You are hoping that your God will help you. But do not let your God tell you what is not true. Your God says that the king of Assyria will not destroy Jerusalem. 11 But you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the other countries. They destroyed them completely. And your God will not save you. 12 The gods of those other countries did not save them. My ancestors destroyed Gozan, Haran and Rezeph. And they killed all the people from Eden who lived in Telassar. 13 The kings of Hamath and Arpad have gone. The king of the city called Sepharvaim has gone. And the kings of Hena and Ivvah have gone.” ’

14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the people who brought the message. And he read it and then he went up to the temple of the Lord. He opened the letter in front of the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. He said, 16 ‘Lord of Many Armies, you are the God of Israel. You sit on a seat between the very important angels. Only you are the God of all the countries in the world. You have made the skies and the earth. 17 Lord, turn your ears to me and hear me. Lord, open your eyes and look at this letter. Listen to all the words of Sennacherib. He sent them to laugh in a bad way at you. But you are the God who really is alive. 18 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have caused many countries and their land to become empty places. 19 They threw their gods into the fire. They destroyed them because they were not really gods. Human hands made them from wood and stone. 20 So now, our Lord and our God, save us from the power of Sennacherib! Then all the people in all the kingdoms in the world will know that only you are the Lord.’

God answers Hezekiah

21 Then Isaiah, who was the son of Amoz, sent a message to Hezekiah. ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says. “You have prayed to me about Sennacherib, who is the king of Assyria.” So, 22 this is what the Lord says about him.

“The Virgin Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem),

she does not like you; she laughs at you.

The Daughter of Jerusalem,

she moves her head about after you.

23 Who is it that you have said bad things about? They were not true!

Who is it that you have shouted at?

Who is it that you have looked at proudly?

The answer is the Holy God of Israel!

24 You have used your servants to say bad things about the Lord.

You have said, ‘With many of my chariots

I have gone up very high mountains,

the highest mountains in Lebanon.

I have cut down its tallest cedars

and I have cut down the best of its pine trees.

I went to its highest places and to its best forests.

25 I dug wells and I drank the water from them.

I made all the rivers in Egypt dry with the parts under my feet.’

26 You said that but surely, you have heard this!

I decided what to do a long time ago!” says the Lord.

“I decided what to do in past years!

Now it has happened.

You have caused strong cities to become mountains of stones.

27 The people in them are not strong.

They are not happy. And they are confused.

They are like plants in a field.

They are like the new parts of young green plants.

They are like grass on the roof of a house.

The hot winds burn them before they can grow.

28 I know everything about you.

I know when you sit down.

And I know when you go out.

And I know when you come in.

And I know when you shout proudly at me.

29 You have shouted proudly at me

and you have said bad things about me.

So I will put my hook in your nose.

I will tie a rope in your mouth to lead you.

Then I will take you back home by the same way that you came.”

30 And this will be a sign for you, Hezekiah.

“This year, you will eat what grows from its own seeds.

And in the second year, you will eat what grows from the first year's seeds.

But in the third year you will plant seeds and you will pick plants for food.

And you will plant again the vineyards and you will enjoy their fruit.

31 And this will happen also to the people who remain in Judah.

They will be like plants that put roots down below the ground. Then those plants grow fruit above the ground.

32 That will happen because a remnant will come out from Jerusalem.

And the people who remain will come out from Zion.

The Lord of Many Armies will certainly cause it to happen!”

33 This is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria.

“He will not come into this city,

and he will not shoot an arrow here.

He will not stand in front of it with a shield.

He will not build mountains of earth against it.

34 He will return to Assyria by the way that he came,

and he will not come into this city.”

That is the promise of the Lord.

35 “So I will make this city safe and I will save it.

I will do that to keep my good name.

I promised my servant David that I would do it. That is why I will do it.” ’

God destroys Assyria's army

36 Then an angel of the Lord went and he killed 185,000 men in the army from Assyria. When people got up in the morning, they saw all those dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib, who was the king of Assyria, took his army away. He returned to Assyria and he stayed there in Nineveh. 38 He was worshipping his god Nisroch in the house of Nisroch. His sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords. Then, they ran away into the country called Ararat. So Sennacherib was dead. Esarhaddon, who was another son of Sennacherib, ruled Assyria instead.

37:38This happened about 20 years after verse 37 happened.