When King Hezekiah heard the message, he tore his clothes in grief, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the LORD's temple.
Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe, and the leaders of the priests, clothed in sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz.
They said to him, "This is what Hezekiah says: Today is a day filled with misery, punishment, and disgrace. We are like a woman who is about to give birth but doesn't have the strength to do it.
The LORD your God may have heard the words of the field commander. His master, the king of Assyria, sent him to defy the living God. The LORD your God may punish him because of the message that the LORD your God heard. Pray for the few people who are left."
So King Hezekiah's men went to Isaiah.
Isaiah answered them, "Say this to your master, 'This is what the LORD says: Don't be afraid of the message that you heard when the Assyrian king's assistants slandered me.
I'm going to put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor and return to his own country. I'll have him assassinated in his own country.'"
The field commander returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah. He had heard that the king left Lachish.
Now, Sennacherib heard that King Tirhakah of Sudan was coming to fight him. When he heard this, he again sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
"Tell King Hezekiah of Judah, 'Don't let the god whom you trust deceive you by saying that Jerusalem will not be put under the control of the king of Assyria.
You heard what the kings of Assyria did to all countries, how they totally destroyed them. Will you be rescued?
Did the gods of the nations which my ancestors destroyed rescue Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar?
Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of the cities of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?'"
Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, read it, and went to the LORD's temple. He spread it out in front of the LORD
and prayed to the LORD,
"LORD of Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned over the angels. You alone are God of the kingdoms of the world. You made heaven and earth.
Turn your ear toward me, LORD, and listen. Open your eyes, LORD, and see. Listen to the entire message that Sennacherib sent to defy the living God.
It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have leveled every country.
They have thrown the gods from these countries into fires because these gods aren't real gods. They're only wooden and stone statues made by human hands. So the Assyrians have destroyed them.
Now, LORD our God, rescue us from Assyria's control so that all the kingdoms on earth will know that you alone are the LORD."
Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent a message to Hezekiah, "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: You prayed to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria.
This is the message that the LORD speaks to him, 'My dear people in Zion despise you and laugh at you. My people in Jerusalem shake their heads behind your back.
Whom are you defying and slandering? Against whom are you shouting? Who are you looking at so arrogantly? It is the Holy One of Israel!
Through your servants you defy the Lord and say, "With my many chariots I'll ride up the high mountains, up the slopes of Lebanon. I'll cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypresses. I'll come to its most distant heights and its most fertile forests.
I'll dig wells and drink water. I'll dry up all the streams of Egypt with the trampling of my feet."
"'Haven't you heard? I did this long ago. I planned it in the distant past. Now I make it happen so that you will turn fortified cities into piles of rubble.
Those who live in these cities are weak, discouraged, and ashamed. They will be like plants in the field, like fresh, green grass on the roofs, dried up by the east wind.
I know when you [get up] and sit down, when you go out and come in, and how you rage against me.
Since you rage against me and your boasting has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your mouth. I will make you go back the way you came.
"'And this will be a sign for you, Hezekiah: You will eat what grows by itself this year, and the next year you will eat what comes up by itself. But in the third year you will plant and harvest, plant vineyards, and eat what is produced.
Those few people from the nation of Judah who escape will again take root and produce crops.
Those few people will go out from Jerusalem, and those who escape will go out from Mount Zion. The LORD of Armies is determined to do this.'
"This is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: He will never come into this city, shoot an arrow here, hold a shield in front of it, or put up dirt ramps to attack it.
He will go back the way he came, and he won't come into this city," declares the LORD of Armies.
"I will shield this city to rescue it for my sake and for the sake of my servant David."
The LORD's angel went out and killed 185,000 [soldiers] in the Assyrian camp. When the Judeans got up early in the morning, they saw all the corpses.
Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left. He went home to Nineveh and stayed there.
While he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, assassinated him and escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon succeeded him as king.
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was about to die. The prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came to him and said, "This is what the LORD says: Give final instructions to your household, because you're about to die. You won't get well."
Hezekiah turned to the wall and prayed to the LORD.
"Please, LORD, remember how I've lived faithfully and sincerely in your presence. I've done what you consider right." And he cried bitterly.
Then the LORD spoke his word to Isaiah,
"Go and say to Hezekiah, 'This is what the LORD God of your ancestor David says: I've heard your prayer. I've seen your tears. I'm going to give you 15 more years to live.
I'll rescue you and defend this city from the control of the king of Assyria.'" [38:21] Then Isaiah said, "Take a fig cake, and place it over the boil so that the king will get well." [38:22] Hezekiah asked, "What is the sign that I'll go to the LORD's temple?"
[Isaiah said,] "This is your sign from the LORD that he will do what he promises.
The sun made a shadow that went down the stairway of Ahaz's upper palace. I'm going to make the shadow go back ten steps." So the sun on the stairway went back up the ten steps it had gone down.
King Hezekiah of Judah wrote this after he was sick and became well again:
I thought that in the prime of my life I would go down to the gates of Sheol and be robbed of the rest of my life.
I thought that I wouldn't see the LORD in this world. Even with all the people in the world, I thought I would never see another person.
My life was over. You rolled it up like a shepherd's tent. You rolled up my life like a weaver. You cut me off from the loom. You ended my life in one day.
I cried out until morning as if a lion had crushed all my bones. You ended my life in one day.
I chirped like swallows and cranes. I cooed like doves. My eyes were tired from looking up to heaven. I've suffered miserably, O Lord! Please help me!
What can I say now that he has spoken to me? He has done this. I will be careful the rest of my life because of my bitter experience.
Lord, people live in spite of such things, and I have the will to live in spite of them. You give me health and keep me alive.
Now my bitter experience turns into peace. You have saved me and kept me from the rotting pit. You have thrown all my sins behind you.
Sheol doesn't thank you! Death doesn't praise you! Those who go down to the pit cannot expect you to be faithful.
Those who are living praise you as I do today. Fathers make your faithfulness known to their children.
The LORD is going to rescue me, so let us play stringed instruments. We live our lives in the LORD's temple.
Since you were brought back to life with Christ, focus on the things that are above--where Christ holds the highest position.
Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things.
You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Christ is your life. When he appears, then you, too, will appear with him in glory.
Therefore, put to death whatever is worldly in you: your sexual sin, perversion, passion, lust, and greed (which is the same thing as worshiping wealth).
It is because of these sins that God's anger comes on those who refuse to obey him.
You used to live that kind of sinful life.
Also get rid of your anger, hot tempers, hatred, cursing, obscene language, and all similar sins.
Don't lie to each other. You've gotten rid of the person you used to be and the life you used to live,
and you've become a new person. This new person is continually renewed in knowledge to be like its Creator.
Where this happens, there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, uncivilized person, slave, or free person. Instead, Christ is everything and in everything.
As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.
Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Above all, be loving.This ties everything together perfectly.
Also, let Christ's peace control you. God has called you into this peace by bringing you into one body. Be thankful.
Let Christ's word with all its wisdom and richness live in you. Use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to teach and instruct yourselves about [God's] kindness. Sing to God in your hearts.
Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wives, place yourselves under your husbands' authority. This is appropriate behavior for the Lord's people.
Husbands, love your wives, and don't be harsh with them.
Children, always obey your parents. This is pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, don't make your children resentful, or they will become discouraged.
Slaves, always obey your earthly masters. Don't obey them only while you're being watched, as if you merely wanted to please people. Be sincere in your motives out of respect for your real master.
Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as though you were working for your real master and not merely for humans.
You know that your real master will give you an inheritance as your reward. It is Christ, your real master, whom you are serving.
The person who does wrong will be paid back for the wrong he has done. God does not play favorites.