Good News Translation (GNB)
35

The Road of Holiness

351The desert will rejoice,

and flowers will bloom in the wilderness.

2The desert will sing and shout for joy;

it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains

and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon.

Everyone will see the LORD's splendour,

see his greatness and power.

3

35.3:
Heb 12.12
Give strength to hands that are tired

and to knees that tremble with weakness.

4Tell everyone who is discouraged,

“Be strong and don't be afraid!

God is coming to your rescue,

coming to punish your enemies.”

5

35.5–6:
Mt 11.5
Lk 7.22
The blind will be able to see,

and the deaf will hear.

6The lame will leap and dance,

and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.

Streams of water will flow through the desert;

7the burning sand will become a lake,

and dry land will be filled with springs.

Where jackals used to live,

marsh grass and reeds will grow.

8There will be a highway there,

called “The Road of Holiness”.

No sinner will ever travel that road;

no fools will mislead those who follow it.35.8 Probable text no foolsfollow it; Hebrew unclear.

9No lions will be there;

no fierce animals will pass that way.

Those whom the LORD has rescued

will travel home by that road.

10They will reach Jerusalem with gladness,

singing and shouting for joy.

They will be happy for ever,

for ever free from sorrow and grief.

36

The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem

(2 Kgs 18.13–27; 2 Chr 32.1–19)

361In the fourteenth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, attacked the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2Then he ordered his chief official to go from Lachish to Jerusalem with a large military force to demand that King Hezekiah should surrender. The official occupied the road where the clothmakers work, by the ditch that brings water from the upper pond. 3Three Judeans came out to meet him: the official in charge of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah; the court secretary, Shebna; and the official in charge of the records, Joah son of Asaph. 4The Assyrian official told them that the emperor wanted to know what made King Hezekiah so confident. 5He demanded, “Do you think that words can take the place of military skill and might? Who do you think will help you rebel against Assyria? 6

36.6:
Ezek 29.6–7
You are expecting Egypt to help you, but that would be like using a reed as a walking stick — it would break and jab your hand. That is what the king of Egypt is like when anyone relies on him.”

7The Assyrian official went on, “Or will you tell me that you are relying on the LORD your God? It was the LORD's shrines and altars that Hezekiah destroyed when he told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship at one altar only. 8I will make a bargain with you in the name of the emperor. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many riders. 9You are no match for even the lowest ranking Assyrian official, and yet you expect the Egyptians to send you chariots and cavalry. 10Do you think I have attacked your country and destroyed it without the LORD's help? The LORD himself told me to attack it and destroy it.”

11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the official, “Speak Aramaic to us. We understand it. Don't speak Hebrew; all the people on the wall are listening.”

12He replied, “Do you think you and the king are the only ones the emperor sent me to say all these things to? No, I am also talking to the people who are sitting on the wall, who will have to eat their excrement and drink their urine, just as you will.”

13Then the official stood up and shouted in Hebrew, “Listen to what the emperor of Assyria is telling you. 14He warns you not to let Hezekiah deceive you. Hezekiah can't save you. 15And don't let him persuade you to rely on the LORD. Don't think that the LORD will save you and that he will stop our Assyrian army from capturing your city. 16Don't listen to Hezekiah! The emperor of Assyria commands you to come out of the city and surrender. You will all be allowed to eat grapes from your own vines and figs from your own trees, and to drink water from your own wells — 17until the emperor resettles you in a country much like your own, where there are vineyards to give wine and there is corn for making bread. 18Don't let Hezekiah fool you into thinking that the LORD will rescue you. Did the gods of any other nations save their countries from the emperor of Assyria? 19Where are they now, the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Did anyone save Samaria? 20When did any of the gods of all these countries ever save their country from our emperor? Then what makes you think the LORD can save Jerusalem?”

21The people kept quiet, just as King Hezekiah had told them to; they did not say a word. 22Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah tore their clothes in grief and went and reported to the king what the Assyrian official had said.

37

The King Asks Isaiah's Advice

(2 Kgs 19.1–7)

371As soon as King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes in grief, put on sackcloth, and went to the Temple of the LORD. 2He sent Eliakim, the official in charge of the palace, Shebna, the court secretary, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They also were wearing sackcloth. 3This is the message which he told them to give to Isaiah: “Today is a day of suffering; we are being punished and are in disgrace. We are like a woman who is ready to give birth, but is too weak to do it. 4The Assyrian emperor has sent his chief official to insult the living God. May the LORD your God hear these insults and punish those who spoke them. So pray to God for those of our people who survive.”

5When Isaiah received King Hezekiah's message, 6he sent back this answer: “The LORD tells you not to let the Assyrians frighten you by their claims that he cannot save you. 7The LORD will cause the emperor to hear a rumour that will make him go back to his own country, and the LORD will have him killed there.”

The Assyrians Send Another Threat

(2 Kgs 19.8–19)

8The Assyrian official learnt that the emperor had left Lachish and was fighting against the nearby city of Libnah; so he went there to consult him. 9Word reached the Assyrians that the Egyptian army, led by King Tirhakah of Ethiopia37.9 Ethiopia: See Word List., was coming to attack them. When the emperor heard this, he sent a letter to King Hezekiah 10of Judah to say to him, “The god you are trusting in has told you that you will not fall into my hands, but don't let that deceive you. 11You have heard what an Assyrian emperor does to any country he decides to destroy. Do you think that you can escape? 12My ancestors destroyed the cities of Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and killed the people of Betheden who lived in Telassar, and none of their gods could save them. 13Where are the kings of the cities of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”

14King Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went to the Temple, placed the letter there in the presence of the LORD, 15and prayed, 16

37.16:
Ex 25.22
“Almighty LORD, God of Israel, enthroned above the winged creatures, you alone are God, ruling all the kingdoms of the world. You created the earth and the sky. 17Now, LORD, hear us and look at what is happening to us. Listen to all the things that Sennacherib is saying to insult you, the living God. 18We all know, LORD, that the emperors of Assyria have destroyed many nations, made their lands desolate, 19and burnt up their gods — which were no gods at all, only images of wood and stone made by human hands. 20Now, LORD our God, rescue us from the Assyrians, so that all the nations of the world will know that you alone are God.”

Isaiah's Message to the King

(2 Kgs 19.20–37)

21Then Isaiah sent a message telling King Hezekiah that in answer to the king's prayer 22the LORD had said, “The city of Jerusalem laughs at you, Sennacherib, and despises you. 23Whom do you think you have been insulting and ridiculing? You have been disrespectful to me, the holy God of Israel. 24You sent your servants to boast to me that with all your chariots you had conquered the highest mountains of Lebanon. You boasted that there you cut down the tallest cedars and the finest cypress trees, and that you reached the deepest parts of the forests. 25You boasted that you dug wells and drank water in foreign lands, and that the feet of your soldiers tramped the River Nile dry.

26“Have you never heard that I planned all this long ago? And now I have carried it out. I gave you the power to turn fortified cities into piles of rubble. 27The people who lived there were powerless; they were frightened and stunned. They were like grass in a field or weeds growing on a roof when the hot east wind blasts them.37.27 Probable text whenthem; Hebrew blasted before they are grown.

28“But I know everything about you, what you do and where you go. I know how you rage against me. 29I have received the report of that rage and that pride of yours, and now I will put a hook through your nose and a bit in your mouth and will take you back by the road on which you came.”

30Then Isaiah said to King Hezekiah, “This is a sign of what will happen. This year and next you will have only wild grain to eat, but the following year you will be able to sow your corn and harvest it, and plant vines and eat grapes. 31Those in Judah who survive will flourish like plants that send roots deep into the ground and produce fruit. 32There will be people in Jerusalem and on Mount Zion who will survive, because the LORD Almighty is determined to make this happen.

33“This is what the LORD has said about the Assyrian emperor: ‘He will not enter this city or shoot a single arrow against it. No soldiers with shields will come near the city, and no siege mounds will be built round it. 34He will go back by the road on which he came, without entering this city. I, the LORD, have spoken. 35I will defend this city and protect it, for the sake of my own honour and because of the promise I made to my servant David.’ ”

36An angel of the LORD went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. At dawn the next day there they lay, all dead! 37Then the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib withdrew and returned to Nineveh. 38One day when he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords and then escaped to the land of Ararat. Another of his sons, Esarhaddon, succeeded him as emperor.