Isaiah 37:1-20

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.