Isaiah 36-41 English Standard Version

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The Invasion of Sennacherib

36 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 2  And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh[1] from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. 3  And there came out to him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder. 4  And the Rabshakeh said to them, "Say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 5  Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? 6  Behold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. 7  But if you say to me, "We trust in the Lord our God," is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, "You shall worship before this altar"? 8  Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 9  How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10  Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it.'"

11  Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall." 12  But the Rabshakeh said, "Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?" 13  Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14  Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. 15  Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, "The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." 16  Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me[2] and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, 17  until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18  Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, "The Lord will deliver us." Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19  Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20  Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'" 21  But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, "Do not answer him." 22  Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

Judah Delivered from Sennacherib

37 As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. 2  And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3  They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, 'This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4  It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'" 5  When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6  Isaiah said to them, "Say to your master, 'Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7  Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'"

8  The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9  Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush,[3]"He has set out to fight against you." And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10  "Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11  Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12  Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13  Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?'" 14  Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15  And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16  "O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, 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, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18  Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19  and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20  So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord."

21  Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22  this is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him: "'She despises you, she scorns you-- the virgin daughter of Zion; she wags her head behind you-- the daughter of Jerusalem. 23  "'Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel! 24  By your servants you have mocked the Lord, and you have said, With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon, to cut down its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses, to come to its remotest height, its most fruitful forest. 25  I dug wells and drank waters, to dry up with the sole of my foot all the streams of Egypt. 26  "'Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins, 27  while their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and confounded, and have become like plants of the field and like tender grass, like grass on the housetops, blighted[4] before it is grown. 28  "'I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me. 29  Because you have raged against me and your complacency has come to my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.' 30  "And this shall be the sign for you: this year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that. Then in the third year sow and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31  And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32  For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 33  "Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 34  By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall 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 angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37  Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. 38  And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword. And after they escaped into the land of Ararat, Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

Hezekiah's Sickness

38 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover."[5] 2  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3  and said, "Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4  Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5  "Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.[6] 6  I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city. 7  "This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: 8  Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps." So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.[7]

9  A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness: 10  I said, In the middle[8] of my days I must depart; I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years. 11  I said, I shall not see the Lord, the Lord in the land of the living; I shall look on man no more among the inhabitants of the world. 12  My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me like a shepherd's tent; like a weaver I have rolled up my life; he cuts me off from the loom; from day to night you bring me to an end; 13  I calmed myself[9] until morning; like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end. 14  Like a swallow or a crane I chirp; I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; be my pledge of safety! 15  What shall I say? For he has spoken to me, and he himself has done it. I walk slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul. 16  O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life of my spirit. Oh restore me to health and make me live! 17  Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. 18  For Sheol does not thank you; death does not praise you; those who go down to the pit do not hope for your faithfulness. 19  The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness. 20  The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord. 21  Now Isaiah had said, "Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover." 22  Hezekiah also had said, "What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?"

Hezekiah Receives Envoys from Babylon

39 At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2  And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 3  Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, "What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?" Hezekiah said, "They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon." 4  He said, "What have they seen in your house?" Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them."

5  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: 6  Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 7  And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." 8  Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, "The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good." For he thought, "There will be peace and security in my days."

The LORD's Comforting Words to Zion

40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare[10] is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.

3  A voice cries:[11] "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." 6  A voice says, "Cry!" And I said[12], "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty[13] is like the flower of the field. 7  The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8  The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

9  Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news;[14] lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news;[15] lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" 10  Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11  He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Israel's Incomparable God

12  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? 13  Who has measured[16] the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14  Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15  Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16  Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17  All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

18  To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? 19  An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. 20  He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood[17] that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. 21  Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22  It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23  who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24  Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25  To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26  Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

27  Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God"? 28  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31  but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

God's Assurance to Israel

41 Listen to me in silence, O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, then let them speak; let us together draw near for judgment. 2  Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step?[18] He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow. 3  He pursues them and passes on safely, by paths his feet have not trod. 4  Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he. 5  The coastlands have seen and are afraid; the ends of the earth tremble; they have drawn near and come. 6  Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, "Be strong!" 7  The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good"; and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved. 8  But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; 9  you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off";

10  fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11  Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. 12  You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. 13  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." 14  Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15  Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; 16  you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. 17  When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18  I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19  I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, 20  that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The LORD's Challenge to False Gods

21  Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. 22  Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. 23  Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified.[19] 24  Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you. 25  I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay. 26  Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know, and beforehand, that we might say, "He is right"? There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words. 27  I was the first to say[20] to Zion, "Behold, here they are!" and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news. 28  But when I look, there is no one; among these there is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer. 29  Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind.

<< Isaiah 35 | Isaiah 36-41 | Isaiah 42 >>

Footnotes

[1] 36:2 Rabshakeh is the title of a high-ranking Assyrian military officer

[2] 36:16 Hebrew Make a blessing with me

[3] 37:9 Probably Nubia

[4] 37:27 Some Hebrew manuscripts and 2 Kings 19:26; most Hebrew manuscripts like a field

[5] 38:1 Or live; also verses 9, 21

[6] 38:5 Hebrew to your days

[7] 38:8 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain

[8] 38:10 Or In the quiet

[9] 38:13 Or (with Targum) I cried for help

[10] 40:2 Or time of service

[11] 40:3 Or A voice of one crying

[12] 40:6 Revocalization based on Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Vulgate; Masoretic Text And someone says

[13] 40:6 Or all its constancy

[14] 40:9 Or O herald of good news to Zion

[15] 40:9 Or O herald of good news to Jerusalem

[16] 40:13 Or has directed

[17] 40:20 Or He chooses valuable wood

[18] 41:2 Or whom righteousness calls to follow?

[19] 41:23 Or that we may both be dismayed and see

[20] 41:27 Or Formerly I said

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