Isaiah 36-41 Revised Standard Version

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The Invasion of Sennacherib

36 1  In the fourteenth year of King Hezeki'ah, Sennach'erib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 2  And the king of Assyria sent the Rab'shakeh from Lachish to King Hezeki'ah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller's Field. 3  And there came out to him Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Jo'ah the son of Asaph, the recorder. 4  And the Rab'shakeh said to them, "Say to Hezeki'ah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this confidence of yours? 5  Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 6  Behold, you are relying on 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 rely on him. 7  But if you say to me, "We rely on the Lord our God," is it not he whose high places and altars Hezeki'ah 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 upon them. 9  How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you rely on 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 Eli'akim, Shebna, and Jo'ah said to the Rab'shakeh, "Pray, 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 Rab'shakeh 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 Rab'shakeh 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 Hezeki'ah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. 15  Do not let Hezeki'ah make you rely on 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 Hezeki'ah; for thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat of his own vine, and every one of his own fig tree, and every 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 Hezeki'ah 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 Sepharva'im? Have they delivered Sama'ria out of my hand? 20  Who among all the gods of these countries have delivered their countries 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 Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Jo'ah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezeki'ah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of the Rab'shakeh.

Judah Delivered from Sennacherib

37 1  When King Hezeki'ah heard it, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. 2  And he sent Eli'akim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, clothed with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3  They said to him, "Thus says Hezeki'ah, 'This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4  It may be that the Lord your God heard the words of the Rab'shakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'" 5  When the servants of King Hezeki'ah 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 servants 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 Rab'shakeh 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 Tirha'kah king of Ethiopia, "He has set out to fight against you." And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezeki'ah, saying, 10  "Thus shall you speak to Hezeki'ah king of Judah: 'Do not let your God on whom you rely 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, destroying them utterly. And shall you be delivered? 12  Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations which my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? 13  Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharva'im, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?'" 14  Hezeki'ah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezeki'ah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15  And Hezeki'ah prayed to the Lord: 16  "O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who art enthroned above the cherubim, thou art the God, thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. 17  Incline thy ear, O Lord, and hear; open thy eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennach'erib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18  Of a truth, 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 thou alone art the Lord."

21  Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezeki'ah, saying, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennach'erib 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 haughtily lifted your eyes? 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; I felled its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses; I came to its remotest height, its densest forest. 25  I dug wells and drank waters, and I dried 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 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 arrogance 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 eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same; 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 forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish 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, says 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 forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37  Then Sennach'erib king of Assyria departed, and went home and dwelt at Nin'eveh. 38  And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adram'melech and Share'zer, his sons, slew him with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ar'arat. And E'sar-had'don his son reigned in his stead.

Hezekiah's Sickness

38 1  In those days Hezeki'ah 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." 2  Then Hezeki'ah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, 3  and said, "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in thy sight." And Hezeki'ah wept bitterly. 4  Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5  "Go and say to Hezeki'ah, 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  I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city. 7  "This is 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.

9  A writing of Hezeki'ah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness: 10  I said, In the noontide 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 in the land of the living; I shall look upon 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 thou dost bring me to an end; 13  I cry for help until morning; like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night thou dost bring me to an end. 14  Like a swallow or a crane I clamor, I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; be thou my security! 15  But what can I say? For he has spoken to me, and he himself has done it. All my sleep has fled 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  Lo, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but thou hast held back my life from the pit of destruction, for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. 18  For Sheol cannot thank thee, death cannot praise thee; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for thy faithfulness. 19  The living, the living, he thanks thee, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children thy faithfulness. 20  The Lord will save me, and we will sing to stringed instruments all the days of our life, 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  Hezeki'ah also had said, "What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?"

Hezekiah Receives Envoys from Babylon

39 1  At that time Mer'odach-bal'adan the son of Bal'adan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezeki'ah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2  And Hezeki'ah welcomed them; 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 Hezeki'ah did not show them. 3  Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezeki'ah, and said to him, "What did these men say? And whence did they come to you?" Hezeki'ah said, "They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon." 4  He said, "What have they seen in your house?" Hezeki'ah 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 Hezeki'ah, "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 are born to you, shall be taken away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." 8  Then said Hezeki'ah to Isaiah, "The word of the Lord which 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 1  Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare 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: "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, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people is grass. 8  The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.

9  Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, 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 feed 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 directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as his counselor has instructed him? 14  Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and 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 isles 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  The idol! a workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. 20  He who is impoverished chooses for an offering wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skilful craftsman to set up an image that will not move. 21  Have you not known? Have you not heard? 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 nought, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. 24  Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon 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 hid 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 1  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? He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings under foot; 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  Every one helps his neighbor, and says to his brother, "Take courage!" 7  The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good"; and they fasten 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 victorious 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 will help you." 14  Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15  Behold, I will 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 men 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. 24  Behold, you are nothing, and your work is nought; 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 on 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 beforetime, that we might say, "He is right"? There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words. 27  I first have declared it to Zion, and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings. 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 molten images are empty wind.

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