When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes1 and put on sackcloth2 and went into the temple3 of the LORD.
He sent Eliakim4 the palace administrator, Shebna5 the secretary, and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.63
They told him, "This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress7 and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth8 and there is no strength to deliver them.
It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule9 the living God,10 and that he will rebuke him for the words the LORD your God has heard.11 Therefore pray12 for the remnant13 that still survives."
When King Hezekiah's officials came to Isaiah,
Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid14 of what you have heard--those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed15 me.
Listen! I am going to put a spirit16 in him so that when he hears a certain report,17 he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down18 with the sword.' "
When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish,19 he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah.209
Now Sennacherib21 received a report22 that Tirhakah, the Cushitea23 king [of Egypt], was marching out to fight against him. When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word:
"Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive24 you when he says, 'Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.'2511
Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered?2612
Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my forefathers27 deliver them--the gods of Gozan, Haran,28 Rezeph and the people of Eden29 who were in Tel Assar?
Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad,30 the king of the city of Sepharvaim,31 or of Hena or Ivvah?"32
Hezekiah received the letter33 from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple34 of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD.
And Hezekiah prayed35 to the LORD:
"O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned36 between the cherubim,37 you alone are God38 over all the kingdoms39 of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.4017
Give ear, O LORD, and hear;41 open your eyes, O LORD, and see;42 listen to all the words Sennacherib43 has sent to insult44 the living God.4518
"It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands.4619
They have thrown their gods into the fire47 and destroyed them,48 for they were not gods49 but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.5020
Now, O LORD our God, deliver51 us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth52 may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.b53"
Then Isaiah son of Amoz54 sent a message to Hezekiah: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria,
this is the word the LORD has spoken against him: "The Virgin Daughter55 of Zion56 despises and mocks you. The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head57 as you flee.
Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed?58 Against whom have you raised your voice59 and lifted your eyes in pride?60 Against the Holy One61 of Israel!
By your messengers you have heaped insults on the Lord. And you have said, 'With my many chariots62 I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights63 of Lebanon.64 I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its pines.65 I have reached its remotest heights, the finest of its forests.
I have dug wells in foreign landsc and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up66 all the streams of Egypt.67'
"Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained68 it. In days of old I planned69 it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone.7027
Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass71 sprouting on the roof,72 scorchedd before it grows up.
"But I know where you stay and when you come and go73 and how you rage74 against me.