Hezekiah sends a message to Isaiah
1 When King Hezekiah heard the report of his officers, he tore his clothes. Then he put on rough sackcloth and he went into the Lord's temple. 2 He sent Eliakim, Shebna and the leaders of the priests to Amoz's son, Isaiah the prophet. Eliakim was the most important officer in the king's palace. Shebna was a government officer. They were all wearing sackcloth. 3 They told Hezekiah's message to Isaiah:
‘This is a time of great trouble. Assyria has insulted us to make us ashamed. Our nation is like a woman who is ready to give birth, but she is too weak to push the child out. 4 The Assyrian officer has brought a message from his king to insult the God who lives for ever. Maybe the Lord your God has heard that message. He should punish the officer for his wicked message. So, please pray for the people who remain in Jerusalem.’
5 When King Hezekiah's officers told their message to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, ‘Tell your master that the Lord says this: “Do not let the words that you have heard make you afraid. The servants of the king of Assyria have insulted me, the Lord. 7 Listen to me! I will put a spirit into the king of Assyria's mind. He will hear a report which will cause him to return to his own country. There, in his own land, I will cause someone to kill him with a sword.” ’
8 At that time, the king of Assyria had left Lachish city. When the Assyrian officer heard that news, he left Jerusalem. He went to meet the king at Libnah, where the king was now fighting a battle. 9 Then the king of Assyria heard a report about Tirhakah, the king of Ethiopia. People told him, ‘He has brought his army from Ethiopia to fight against you.’
When the king of Assyria heard that news, he sent another message to Hezekiah in Jerusalem. 10 This was his message to King Hezekiah of Judah: ‘You are hoping that your God will help you. Your God may say that the king of Assyria will not destroy Jerusalem. But do not let him deceive you. 11 You have heard how the kings of Assyria have completely destroyed all other countries. So do not think that your God will rescue you. 12 The gods of those other countries did not save them. Our kings destroyed the nations of Gozan, Haran and Rezeph. They killed the people of Eden who lived in Tel Assar. 13 The kings of Hamath and Arpad have gone. The king of Sepharvaim city has gone. The kings of Hena and Ivvah have also gone.’
14 When Hezekiah received the letter with this message, he read it. Then he went up to the Lord's temple. He put the letter there, in front of the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. He said:
16 ‘Lord Almighty, you are Israel's God. You sit on your throne between the cherubs. Only you are the God who rules all the kingdoms in the world. You have made the heavens and the earth. 17 Lord, please listen carefully to me. Lord, look carefully at this letter. Listen to Sennacherib's message. He is insulting you, the God who lives for ever. 18 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these people and their lands. 19 They threw the gods of these nations into the fire. Those idols are not really gods. People used wood and stone to make them. So the Assyrians could destroy them. 20 So now, Lord, you are our God! Save us from the power of Sennacherib! Then all the kingdoms in the world will know that you alone are the Lord.’
37:16The Covenant Box in the temple had images of cherubs over it.
God answers Hezekiah
21 Then Amoz's son, Isaiah, sent this message to Hezekiah: ‘The Lord, Israel's God, says, “You have prayed to me about Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.” 22 This is the Lord's reply. The Lord says this about King Sennacherib:
“The holy people of Zion laugh at you!
They think that you are useless.
Yes, the people of Jerusalem shake their heads
as you run away.
23 Who do you think it is that you have insulted?
Who have you shouted at?
Who have you looked at so proudly?
The answer is the Holy God of Israel!
24 You have sent your servants
to insult the Lord God.
You have said, ‘I have taken all my chariots
and I have gone up high mountains,
the highest mountains in Lebanon.
I have cut down its tall cedar trees,
and I have cut down its best pine trees.
I went up to its highest places,
and I went far into its forests.
25 I dug wells and they gave me water to drink.
My army marched through all the rivers in Egypt,
and the rivers became dry.’
26 You said that, but now listen to this!
37:26The Lord continues to speak his message to King Sennacherib.
You must surely have heard it already.
I decided what to do a long time ago!
Now I am causing it to happen.
I decided that you would destroy strong cities
so that they became heaps of stones.
27 The people of those cities have no power.
They are afraid and they are confused.
They are like plants in a field,
that cannot live for a long time.
They are like fresh green grass,
or grass that grows on the roof of a house.
When a hot wind blows on them,
it burns them and they die.
28 I know everything about you.
I know where you live.
I know when you go out.
And I know when you return home.
I know how much you shout against me,
when you are angry.
29 Yes, you do shout at me!
And I have heard all your proud noise.
So I will put my hook in your nose.
I will tie a rope to your mouth.
Then I will pull you back home
by the same way that you came.”
30 King Hezekiah, this is how you will know that I have spoken a true message from the Lord. This year, you will eat crops that grow by themselves. And next year you will eat what grows from the same seeds. But in the third year you will plant seeds for yourselves, and they will give you a harvest of crops. You will plant vines again and you will eat grapes from them. 31 The people who remain in Judah will be like strong plants that put their roots down into the ground. Their branches will give lots of fruit.
37:30Isaiah has told Hezekiah about the Lord's message to King Sennacherib. Now he speaks to King Hezekiah himself.
32 A small number of people will still be alive in Jerusalem. They will leave Mount Zion and they will go to other places. The great love that the Lord Almighty has for his people will cause that to happen!
33 This is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
“His army will not come into this city.
His soldiers will not shoot any arrows here.
They will not attack the city as they hold their shields.
They will not build heaps of earth against the city's walls.
34 No! The king will return home by the way that he came.
He will not come into this city.”
That is what the Lord says.
35 “I will make this city safe and I will rescue it.
I will do that to show that I am great.
I promised my servant David that I would do it.
So I will do it.” ’
The Lord destroys Assyria's army
36 Then the Lord's angel went to the camp of the Assyrian army. He killed 185,000 of their soldiers. When people got up in the morning, they saw all those dead bodies! 37 So King Sennacherib of Assyria took his army away. He returned to Assyria and he lived in Nineveh.
38 One day, Sennacherib was worshipping his god Nisrok, in Nisrok's temple. Two of Sennacherib's sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, went in and they killed him with their swords. Then they ran away to the region of Ararat. Sennacherib's son, Esarhaddon, now ruled Assyria as king.
37:38This happened about 20 years after verse 37 happened.