Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah’s Help
1And when King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. 2 Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the [royal] household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “This is what Hezekiah says, ‘This day is a day of distress, rebuke and disgrace; for children have come to birth, and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh [the commander], whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to taunt and defy the living God, and will avenge the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant [of His people] that is left.’”
5 So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah said to them, “You shall say the following to your master: ‘This is what the Lord says, “Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7 Listen carefully, I will put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor and return to his own land. And I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.”’”
8 So the Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah [a fortified city of Judah], for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9 And Sennacherib king of Assyria, heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush (Ethiopia), “He has come out to fight against you.” And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “You shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Listen carefully, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, utterly destroying them. So will you be rescued? 12 Did the gods of the nations which my fathers destroyed rescue them—[a]Gozan, Haran [of Mesopotamia], Rezeph, and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad [of northern Syria], the king of the city of Sepharvaim, [the king of] Hena, or [the king of] Ivvah?’”
Hezekiah’s Prayer in the Temple
14 Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord saying, 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib that he has sent to taunt and defy the living God. 18 It is true, O Lord, that the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the countries and their lands, 19 and have cast the gods [of those peoples] into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they have destroyed them. 20 Now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know and fully realize that You alone, Lord, are [b]God.”
God Answers through Isaiah
21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah, saying, “For the Lord, the God of Israel says this, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word that the Lord has spoken against him:
“She has shown contempt for you and mocked you,
The Virgin Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem);
She has shaken her head behind you,
The Daughter of Jerusalem!
“Whom have you taunted and blasphemed?
And against whom have you raised your voice
And haughtily lifted up your eyes?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
“Through your servants you have taunted and defied the Lord,
And you have said, ‘With my many chariots I have gone up to the heights of the mountains,
To the remotest parts of Lebanon.
I cut down its tallest cedars and its choicest cypress trees;
And I will go to its remotest height, its most luxuriant and thickest forest.
‘I dug wells and drank [foreign] waters,
And with the sole of my feet I dried up
All the canals [of the Nile] of Egypt.’
“Have you not heard [says the God of Israel]
That I did it long ago,
That I planned it in ancient times?
Now I have brought it to pass,
That you [king of Assyria] would [be My instrument to] turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps.
“Therefore their inhabitants had little power,
They were terrorized and shamed;
They were like the grass of the field and the green vegetation,
Like grass on the housetops and like a field [of grain] scorched before it is grown.
“But I know your sitting down
And your going out and your coming in [every detail of your life],
And your raging against Me.
“Because your raging against Me
And your arrogance has come up to My ears,
I will put My hook in your nose
And My bridle in your [c]mouth,
And I will turn you back by the way you came.
30 “This shall be the sign [of these things] to you [Hezekiah]: you are to eat this year [d]what grows of itself, and in the second year that which springs from the same, and in the third year you are to sow and harvest, and plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 31 The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”’
33 “Therefore, the Lord says this concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He will not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with shield, or raise an assault ramp against it. 34 By the way that he came, by the same way he will return, and he will not come into this city,’ declares the Lord. 35 ‘For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake and for the sake of My servant David.’”
36 And the [e]angel of the Lord went out and [f]struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when the [surviving] men got up early the next morning, they saw all the dead. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned and lived at Nineveh. 38 It came to pass as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat [in Armenia]. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.
- Isaiah 37:12 The place-names in this verse are all found on the Assyrian monuments. For further information, see E.S. Schrader, Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament, and his comments on 2 Kin 19:12.
- Isaiah 37:20 So DSS and 2 Kin 19:19; MT omits God.
- Isaiah 37:29 Lit lips.
- Isaiah 37:30 Called “second growth,” this ordinarily referred to uncultivated produce that grew during the Sabbath year (when sowing was forbidden) from seed that fell outside the boundaries of the field the preceding year.
- Isaiah 37:36 See note Gen 16:7.
- Isaiah 37:36 This is the fulfillment of the prophecy made in Is 31:8, 9. See also 10:33, 34; 14:25; 17:14; 30:31.