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.”
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
“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.”
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 when… them; 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.
381About this time King Hezekiah fell ill and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and said to him, “The LORD tells you that you are to put everything in order because you will not recover. Get ready to die.”
2Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: 3“Remember, LORD, that I have served you faithfully and loyally, and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to.” And he began to cry bitterly.
4Then the LORD commanded Isaiah 5to go back to Hezekiah and say to him, “I, the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will let you live fifteen years longer. 6I will rescue you and this city of Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria, and I will continue to protect the city.”
2138.21 Verses 21–22 are moved here from the end of the chapter (see 2 Kgs 20.6–9). Isaiah told the king to put a paste made of figs on his boil, and he would get well. 22Then King Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign to prove that I will be able to go to the Temple?”
7Isaiah replied, “The LORD will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. 8On the stairway built by King Ahaz, the LORD will make the shadow go back ten steps.” And the shadow moved back ten steps.38.8 stairway… ten steps… steps; or sundial… ten degrees… degrees (see 2 Kgs 20.9–11).
9After Hezekiah recovered from his illness, he wrote this song of praise:
10I thought that in the prime of life
I was going to the world of the dead,
Never to live out my life.
11I thought that in this world of the living
I would never again see the LORD
Or any living person.
12My life was cut off and ended,
Like a tent that is taken down,
Like cloth that is cut from a loom.
I thought that God was ending my life.38.12 I thought… my life; Hebrew unclear.
13All night I cried out with pain,
As if a lion were breaking my bones.
I thought that God was ending my life.38.13 Verse 13 in Hebrew is unclear.
14My voice was thin and weak,
And I moaned like a dove.
My eyes grew tired from looking to heaven.
Lord, rescue me from all this trouble.
15What can I say? The LORD has done this.
My heart is bitter, and I cannot sleep.
16Lord, I will live for you, for you alone;
Heal me and let me live.38.16 Verses 15–16 in Hebrew are unclear.
17My bitterness will turn into peace.
You save38.17 Some ancient translations save; Hebrew love. my life from all danger;
You forgive all my sins.
18No one in the world of the dead can praise you;
The dead cannot trust in your faithfulness.
19It is the living who praise you,
As I praise you now.
Parents tell their children how faithful you are.
20LORD, you have healed me.
We will play harps and sing your praise,
Sing praise in your Temple as long as we live.38.20 Verses 21–22 are placed after verse 6.
391About this time, the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been ill, so he sent him a letter and a present. 2Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth — his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 3Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, “Where did they come from and what did they say to you?”
Hezekiah answered, “They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia.”
4“What did they see in the palace?”
“They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn't show them.”
5Isaiah then told the king, “The LORD Almighty says that 6a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 7
Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia.”
8King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, “The message you have given me from the LORD is good.”