Isaiah 36-41 Bible in Basic English

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The Invasion of Sennacherib

36 1  And it came about in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up against all the walled towns of Judah and took them. 2  And the king of Assyria sent the Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah with a strong force, and he took up his position by the stream of the higher pool, by the highway of the washerman's 3  And there came out to him Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder. 4  And the Rab-shakeh said to them, Say now to Hezekiah, These are the words of the great king, the king of Assyria: In what are you placing your hope? 5  You say you have a design and strength for war, but these are only words: now to whom are you looking for support, that you have gone against my authority? 6  See, you are basing your hope on that broken rod of Egypt, which will go into a man's hand if he makes use of it for a support; for so is Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to all who put their faith in him. 7  And if you say to me, Our hope is in the Lord our God; is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has taken away, saying to Judah and Jerusalem that worship may only be given before this altar? 8  And now, take a chance with my master, the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able to put horsemen on them. 9  How then may you put to shame the least of my master's servants? and you have put your hope in Egypt for war-carriages and horsemen: 10  And have I now come to send destruction on this land without the Lord's authority? It was the Lord himself who said to me, Go up against this land and make it waste.

11  Then Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the Rab-shakeh, Please make use of the Aramaean language in talking to your servants, for we are used to it, and do not make use of the Jews' language in the hearing of the people on the wall. 12  But the Rab-shakeh said, Is it to your master or to you that my master has sent me to say these words? has he not sent me to the men seated on the wall? for they are the people who will be short of food with you when the town is shut in. 13  Then the Rab-shakeh got up and said with a loud voice in the Jews' language, Give ear to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria: 14  This is what the king says: Do not be tricked by Hezekiah, for there is no salvation for you in him. 15  And do not let Hezekiah make you put your faith in the Lord, saying, The Lord will certainly keep us safe, and this town will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria. 16  Do not give ear to Hezekiah, for this is what the king of Assyria says, Make peace with me, and come out to me; and everyone will be free to take the fruit of his vine and of his fig-tree, and the water of his spring; 17  Till I come and take you away to a land like yours, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vine-gardens. 18  Give no attention to Hezekiah when he says to you, The Lord will keep us safe. Has any one of the gods of the nations kept his land from falling into the hands of the king of Assyria? 19  Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? where are the gods of Samaria? and have they kept Samaria out of my hand? 20  Who among all the gods of these countries have kept their country from falling into my hand, to give cause for the thought that the Lord will keep Jerusalem from falling into my hand? 21  But they kept quiet and gave him no answer: for the king's order was, Give him no answer. 22  Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothing parted as a sign of grief, and gave him an account of what the Rab-shakeh had said.

Judah Delivered from Sennacherib

37 1  And on hearing it Hezekiah took off his robe and put on haircloth and went into the house of the Lord. 2  And he sent Eliakim, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and the chief priests, dressed in haircloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. 3  And they said to him, Hezekiah says, This day is a day of trouble and punishment and shame: for the children are ready to come to birth, but there is no strength to give birth to them. 4  It may be that the Lord your God will give ear to the words of the Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria, his master, has sent to say evil things against the living God, and will make his words come to nothing: so make your prayer for the rest of the people. 5  So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6  And Isaiah said to them, This is what you are to say to your master: The Lord says, Be not troubled by the words which the servants of the king of Assyria have said against me in your hearing. 7  See, I will put a spirit into him, and bad news will come to his ears, and he will go back to his land; and there I will have him put to death.

8  So the Rab-shakeh went back, and when he got there the king of Assyria was making war against Libnah: for it had come to his ears that the king of Assyria had gone away from Lachish. 9  And when news came to him that Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, had made an attack on him, ... And he sent representatives to Hezekiah, king of Judah, saying, 10  This is what you are to say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: Let not your God, in whom is your faith, give you a false hope, saying, Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria. 11  No doubt the story has come to your ears of what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, putting them to the curse: and will you be kept safe from their fate? 12  Did the gods of the nations keep safe those on whom my fathers sent destruction, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar? 13  Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the town of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivva? 14  And Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of those who had come with it; and after reading it, Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, opening the letter there before the Lord, 15  And he made prayer to the Lord, saying, 16  O Lord of armies, the God of Israel, seated between the winged ones, you only are the God of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17  Let your ear be turned to us, O Lord; let your eyes be open, O Lord, and see: take note of all the words of Sennacherib who has sent men to say evil against the living God. 18  Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have made waste all the nations and their lands, 19  And have given their gods to the fire: for they were no gods, but wood and stone, the work of men's hands; so they have given them to destruction. 20  But now, O Lord our God, give us salvation from his hand, so that it may be clear to all the kingdoms of the earth that you, and you only, are the Lord.

21  Then Isaiah, the son of Amoz, sent to Hezekiah, saying, The Lord, the God of Israel, says, The prayer you have made to me against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, has come to my ears. 22  This is the word which the Lord has said about him: In the eyes of the virgin daughter of Zion you are shamed and laughed at; the daughter of Jerusalem has made sport of you. 23  Against whom have you said evil and bitter things? and against whom has your voice been loud and your eyes lifted up? even against the Holy One of Israel. 24  You have sent your servants with evil words against the Lord, and have said, With all my war-carriages I have come up to the top of the mountains, to the inmost parts of Lebanon; and its tall cedars will be cut down, and the best trees of its woods: I will come up into his highest places, into his thick woods. 25  I have made water-holes and taken their waters, and with my foot I have made all the rivers of Egypt dry. 26  Has it not come to your ears how I did it long before, purposing it in times long past? Now I have given effect to my design, so that by you strong towns might be turned into masses of broken walls. 27  This is why their townsmen had no power, they were broken and put to shame; they were like the grass of the field, or a green plant; like the grass on the house-tops, which a cold wind makes waste. 28  But I have knowledge of your getting up and your resting, of your going out and your coming in. 29  Because your wrath against me and your pride have come to my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my cord in your lips, and I will make you go back by the way you came. 30  And this will be the sign to you: you will get your food this year from what comes up of itself, and in the second year from the produce of the same; and in the third year you will put in your seed, and get in the grain, and make vine-gardens, and take of their fruit. 31  And those of Judah who are still living will again take root in the earth, and give fruit. 32  For from Jerusalem those who have been kept safe will go out, and those who are still living will go out of Mount Zion: by the fixed purpose of the Lord of armies this will be done. 33  For this cause the Lord says about the king of Assyria, He will not come into this town, or send an arrow against it; he will not come before it with arms, or put up an earthwork against it. 34  By the way he came he will go back, and he will not get into this town. 35  For I will keep this town safe, for my honour, and for the honour of my servant David. 36  And the angel of the Lord went out and put to death in the army of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand men: and when the people got up early in the morning, there was nothing to be seen but dead bodies. 37  Sennacherib, king of Assyria, went back to his place at Nineveh. 38  And it came about, when he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer put him to death with the sword, and they went in flight into the land of Ararat. And Esar-haddon, his son, became king in his place.

Hezekiah's Sickness

38 1  In those days Hezekiah was ill and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him, and said to him, The Lord says, Put your house in order; for your death is near. 2  And Hezekiah, turning his face to the wall, made his prayer to the Lord, saying, 3  O Lord, keep in mind how I have been true to you with all my heart, and have done what is good in your eyes. And Hezekiah gave way to bitter weeping. 4  Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, 5  Go to Hezekiah, and say, The Lord, the God of David, your father, says, Your prayer has come to my ears, and I have seen your weeping: see, I will give you fifteen more years of life. 6  And I will keep you and this town safe from the hands of the king of Assyria: and I will keep watch over this town. 7  And Isaiah said, This is the sign the Lord will give you, that he will do what he has said: 8  See, I will make the shade which has gone down on the steps of Ahaz with the sun, go back ten steps. So the shade went back the ten steps by which it had gone down.

9  The writing of Hezekiah, king of Judah, after he had been ill, and had got better from his disease. 10  I said, In the quiet of my days I am going down into the underworld: the rest of my years are being taken away from me. 11  I said, I will not see the Lord, even the Lord in the land of the living: I will not see man again or those living in the world. 12  My resting-place is pulled up and taken away from me like a herdsman's tent: my life is rolled up like a linen-worker's thread; I am cut off from the cloth on the frame: from day even to night you give me up to pain. 13  I am crying out with pain till the morning; it is as if a lion was crushing all my bones. 14  I make cries like a bird; I give out sounds of grief like a dove: my eyes are looking up with desire; O Lord, I am crushed, take up my cause. 15  What am I to say? seeing that it is he who has done it: all my time of sleeping I am turning from side to side without rest. 16  O Lord, for this cause I am waiting for you, give rest to my spirit: make me well again, and let me come back to life. 17  See, in place of peace my soul had bitter sorrow. but you have kept back my soul from the underworld; for you have put all my sins out of your memory. 18  For the underworld is not able to give you praise, death gives you no honour: for those who go down into the underworld there is no hope in your mercy. 19  The living, the living man, he will give you praise, as I do this day: the father will give the story of your mercy to his children. 20  O Lord, quickly be my saviour; so we will make my songs to corded instruments all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord. 21  And Isaiah said, Let them take a cake of figs, and put it on the diseased place, and he will get well. 22  And Hezekiah said, What is the sign that I will go up to the house of the Lord?

Hezekiah Receives Envoys from Babylon

39 1  At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters with an offering to Hezekiah, because he had news that Hezekiah had been ill, and was well again. 2  And Hezekiah was glad at their coming, and let them see all his store of wealth, the silver and the gold and the spices and the oil, and all the house of his arms, and everything there was in his stores: there was nothing in all his house or his kingdom which he did not let them see. 3  Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, What did these men say, and where did they come from? And Hezekiah said, They came from a far country, even from Babylon. 4  And he said, What have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah said in answer, They saw everything in my house: there is nothing among my stores which I did not let them see.

5  Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Give ear to the word of the Lord of armies: 6  Truly, the days are coming when everything in your house, and whatever your fathers have put in store till this day, will be taken away to Babylon: all will be gone. 7  And your sons, even your offspring, will they take away to be unsexed servants in the house of the king of Babylon. 8  Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which you have said. And he said in his heart, There will be peace and quiet in my days.

The LORD's Comforting Words to Zion

40 1  Give comfort, give comfort, to my people, says your God. 2  Say kind words to the heart of Jerusalem, crying out to her that her time of trouble is ended, that her punishment is complete; that she has been rewarded by the Lord's hand twice over for all her sins.

3  A voice of one crying, Make ready in the waste land the way of the Lord, make level in the lowland a highway for our God. 4  Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low, and let the rough places become level, and the hilltops become a valley, 5  And the glory of the Lord will be made clear, and all flesh will see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has said it. 6  A voice of one saying, Give a cry! And I said, What is my cry to be? All flesh is grass, and all its strength like the flower of the field. 7  The grass becomes dry, the flower is dead; because the breath of the Lord goes over it: truly the people is grass. 8  The grass is dry, the flower is dead; but the word of our God is eternal.

9  You who give good news to Zion, get up into the high mountain; you who give good news to Jerusalem, let your voice be strong; let it be sounding without fear; say to the towns of Judah, See, your God! 10  See, the Lord God will come as a strong one, ruling in power: see, those made free by him are with him, and those whom he has made safe go before him. 11  He will give food to his flock like a keeper of sheep; with his arm he will get it together, and will take up the lambs on his breast, gently guiding those which are with young.

Israel's Incomparable God

12  In the hollow of whose hand have the waters been measured? and who is able to take the heavens in his stretched-out fingers? who has got together the dust of the earth in a measure? who has taken the weight of the mountains, or put the hills into the scales? 13  By whom has the spirit of the Lord been guided, or who has been his teacher? 14  Who gave him suggestions, and made clear to him the right way? who gave him knowledge, guiding him in the way of wisdom? 15  See, the nations are to him like a drop hanging from a bucket, and like the small dust in the scales: he takes up the islands like small dust. 16  And Lebanon is not enough to make a fire with, or all its cattle enough for a burned offering. 17  All the nations are as nothing before him; even less than nothing, a thing of no value.

18  Whom then is God like, in your opinion? or what will you put forward as a comparison with him? 19  The workman makes an image, and the gold-worker puts gold plates over it, and makes silver bands for it. 20  The wise workman makes selection of the mulberry-tree of the offering, a wood which will not become soft; so that the image may be fixed to it and not be moved. 21  Have you no knowledge of it? has it not come to your ears? has not news of it been given to you from the first? has it not been clear to you from the time when the earth was placed on its base? 22  It is he who is seated over the arch of the earth, and the people in it are as small as locusts; by him the heavens are stretched out like an arch, and made ready like a tent for a living-place. 23  He makes rulers come to nothing; the judges of the earth are of no value. 24  They have only now been planted, and their seed put into the earth, and they have only now taken root, when he sends out his breath over them and they become dry, and the storm-wind takes them away like dry grass. 25  Who then seems to you to be my equal? says the Holy One. 26  Let your eyes be lifted up on high, and see: who has made these? He who sends out their numbered army: who has knowledge of all their names: by whose great strength, because he is strong in power, all of them are in their places.

27  Why do you say, O Jacob, such words as these, O Israel, The Lord's eyes are not on my way, and my God gives no attention to my cause? 28  Have you no knowledge of it? has it not come to your ears? The eternal God, the Lord, the Maker of the ends of the earth, is never feeble or tired; there is no searching out of his wisdom. 29  He gives power to the feeble, increasing the strength of him who has no force. 30  Even the young men will become feeble and tired, and the best of them will come to the end of his strength; 31  But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness.

God's Assurance to Israel

41 1  Come quietly before me, O sea-lands, and let the peoples get together their strength: let them come near; then let them say what they have to say: let us put forward our cause against one another. 2  Who sent out from the east one who is right wherever he goes? he gives the nations into his hands, and makes him ruler over kings; he gives them as the dust to his sword, as dry stems before the wind to his bow. 3  He goes after them safely, not touching the road with his feet. 4  Whose purpose and work was it? His who sent out the generations from the start. I the Lord, the first, and with the last, I am he. 5  The sea-lands saw it, and were in fear; the ends of the earth were shaking: they came near. 6  They gave help everyone to his neighbour; and everyone said to his brother, Take heart! 7  So the metal-worker put heart into the gold-worker, and he who was hammering the metal smooth said kind words to the iron-worker, saying of the plate, It is ready: and he put it together with nails, so that there might be no slipping. 8  But as for you, Israel, my servant, and you, Jacob, whom I have taken for myself, the seed of Abraham my friend: 9  You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and sent for from its farthest parts, saying to you, You are my servant, whom I have taken for myself, and whom I have not given up:

10  Have no fear, for I am with you; do not be looking about in trouble, for I am your God; I will give you strength, yes, I will be your helper; yes, my true right hand will be your support. 11  Truly, all those who are angry with you will be made low and put to shame: those desiring to do you wrong will come to nothing and never again be seen. 12  You will make search for your haters but they will not be there; those who make war against you will be as nothing and will come to destruction. 13  For I, the Lord your God, have taken your right hand in mine, saying to you, Have no fear; I will be your helper. 14  Have no fear, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will be your helper, says the Lord, even he who takes up your cause, the Holy One of Israel. 15  See, I will make you like a new grain-crushing instrument with teeth, crushing the mountains small, and making the hills like dry stems. 16  You will send the wind over them, and it will take them away; they will go in all directions before the storm-wind: you will have joy in the Lord, and be glad in the Holy One of Israel. 17  The poor and crushed are looking for water where no water is, and their tongue is dry for need of it: I the Lord will give ear to their prayer, I the God of Israel will not give them up. 18  I will make rivers on the dry mountain-tops, and fountains in the valleys: I will make the waste land a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19  I will put in the waste land the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive-tree; and in the lowland will be planted the fir-tree, the plane, and the cypress together: 20  So that they may see and be wise and give their mind to it, and that it may be clear to them all that the hand of the Lord has done this, and that the Holy One of Israel has made it.

The LORD's Challenge to False Gods

21  Put forward your cause, says the Lord; let your strong argument come out, says the King of Jacob. 22  Let the future be made clear to us: give us news of the past things, so that we may give thought to them; or of the things to come, so that we may see if they are true. 23  Give us word of what will be after this, so that we may be certain that you are gods: yes, do good or do evil, so that we may all see it and be surprised. 24  But you are nothing, and your work is of no value: foolish is he who takes you for his gods. 25  I have sent for one from the north, and from the dawn he has come; in my name he will get rulers together and go against them; they will be like dust, even as the wet earth is stamped on by the feet of the potter. 26  Who has given knowledge of it from the first, so that we may be certain of it? and from the start, so that we may say, His word is true? There is no one who gives news, or says anything, or who gives ear to your words. 27  I was the first to give word of it to Zion, and I gave the good news to Jerusalem. 28  And I saw that there was no man, even no wise man among them, who might give an answer to my questions. 29  Truly they are all nothing, their works are nothing and of no value: their metal images are of no more use than wind.

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