Good News Translation (GNB)
38

King Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery

(2 Kgs 20.1–11; 2 Chr 32.24–26)

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 stairwayten stepssteps; 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 thoughtmy 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.

39

Messengers from Babylonia

(2 Kgs 20.12–19)

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

39.7:
Dan 1.1–7
2 Kgs 24.10–16
2 Chr 36.10
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.”

40

Words of Hope

401“Comfort my people,” says our God. “Comfort them!

2Encourage the people of Jerusalem.

Tell them they have suffered long enough

and their sins are now forgiven.40.2 and their sins are now forgiven; or they have paid for what they did.

I have punished them in full for all their sins.”

3

40.3:
Mt 3.3
Mk 1.3
Jn 1.23
40.3–5:
Lk 3.4–6
A voice cries out,

“Prepare in the wilderness a road for the LORD!

Clear the way in the desert for our God!

4Fill every valley;

level every mountain.

The hills will become a plain,

and the rough country will be made smooth.

5Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,

and the whole human race will see it.

The LORD himself has promised this.”

6

40.6–8:
Jas 1.10–11
1 Pet 1.24–25
A voice cries out, “Proclaim a message!”

“What message shall I proclaim?” I ask.

“Proclaim that all human beings are like grass;

they last no longer than wild flowers.

7Grass withers and flowers fade,

when the LORD sends the wind blowing over them.

People are no more enduring than grass.

8Yes, grass withers and flowers fade,

but the word of our God endures for ever.”

9Jerusalem, go up on a high mountain

and proclaim the good news!

Call out with a loud voice, Zion;

announce the good news!40.9 Jerusalem, go upnews!; or Go up on a high mountain and proclaim the good news to Jerusalem! Call out with a loud voice and announce the good news to Zion!

Speak out and do not be afraid.

Tell the towns of Judah

that their God is coming!

10

40.10:
Is 62.11
Rev 22.12
The Sovereign LORD is coming to rule with power,

bringing with him the people he has rescued.40.10 the people he has rescued; or the rewards he has for his people.

11

40.11:
Ezek 34.15
Jn 10.11
He will take care of his flock like a shepherd;

he will gather the lambs together

and carry them in his arms;

he will gently lead their mothers.

Israel's Incomparable God

12Can anyone measure the ocean by handfuls

or measure the sky with his hands?

Can anyone hold the soil of the earth in a cup

or weigh the mountains and hills on scales?

13

40.13:
Rom 11.34
1 Cor 2.16
Can anyone tell the LORD what to do?

Who can teach him or give him advice?

14With whom does God consult

in order to know and understand

and to learn how things should be done?

15To the LORD the nations are nothing,

no more than a drop of water;

the distant islands are as light as dust.

16All the animals in the forests of Lebanon

are not enough for a sacrifice to our God,

and its trees are too few to kindle the fire.

17The nations are nothing at all to him.

18

40.18–19:
Acts 17.29
To whom can God be compared?

How can you describe what he is like?

19He is not like an idol that workmen make,

that metalworkers cover with gold

and set in a base of silver.

20The man who cannot afford silver or gold40.20 Verses 19–20a in Hebrew are unclear.

chooses wood that will not rot.

He finds a skilful craftsman

to make an image that won't fall down.

21Do you not know?

Were you not told long ago?

Have you not heard how the world began?

22It was made by the one who sits on his throne

above the earth and beyond the sky;

the people below look as tiny as ants.

He stretched out the sky like a curtain,

like a tent in which to live.

23He brings down powerful rulers

and reduces them to nothing.

24They are like young plants,

just set out and barely rooted.

When the LORD sends a wind,

they dry up and blow away like straw.

25To whom can the holy God be compared?

Is there anyone else like him?

26Look up at the sky!

Who created the stars you see?

The one who leads them out like an army,

he knows how many there are

and calls each one by name!

His power is so great —

not one of them is ever missing!

27Israel, why then do you complain

that the LORD doesn't know your troubles

or care if you suffer injustice?

28Don't you know? Haven't you heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God;

he created all the world.

He never grows tired or weary.

No one understands his thoughts.

29He strengthens those who are weak and tired.

30Even those who are young grow weak;

young people can fall exhausted.

31But those who trust in the LORD for help

will find their strength renewed.

They will rise on wings like eagles;

they will run and not get weary;

they will walk and not grow weak.