During the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, Jerusalem was attacked by King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel, the son of Remaliah. The city withstood the attack, however, and was not taken.
The news had come to the royal court: "Aram is allied with Israel a against us!" So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, just as trees shake in a storm.
Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out to meet King Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub. b You will find the king at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is bleached.
Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn't need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah.
"Yes, the kings of Aram and Israel are coming against you. They are saying,
'We will invade Judah and throw its people into panic. Then we will fight our way into Jerusalem and install the son of Tabeel as Judah's king.'
"But this is what the Sovereign LORD says: This invasion will never happen,
because Aram is no stronger than its capital, Damascus. And Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed.
Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria. And Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. You do not believe me? If you want me to protect you, learn to believe what I say."
Not long after this, the LORD sent this message to King Ahaz:
"Ask me for a sign, Ahaz, to prove that I will crush your enemies as I have promised. Ask for anything you like, and make it as difficult as you want."
But the king refused. "No," he said, "I wouldn't test the LORD like that."
Then Isaiah said, "Listen well, you royal family of David! You aren't satisfied to exhaust my patience. You exhaust the patience of God as well!
All right then, the Lord himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin c will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel -- 'God is with us.'
By the time this child is old enough to eat curds and honey, he will know enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong.
But before he knows right from wrong, the two kings you fear so much -- the kings of Israel and Aram -- will both be dead.
"The LORD will bring a terrible curse on you, your nation, and your family. You will soon experience greater terror than has been known in all the years since Solomon's empire was divided into Israel and Judah. The mighty king of Assyria will come with his great army!"
In that day the LORD will whistle for the army of Upper Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies. Like bees, they will sting and kill.
They will come in vast hordes, spreading across the whole land. They will settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places.
In that day the Lord will take this "razor" -- these Assyrians you have hired to protect you -- and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people. d21
When they finally stop plundering, a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep left.
The few people still left in the land will live on curds and wild honey because that is all the land will produce.
In that day the lush vineyards, now worth as much as a thousand pieces of silver, e will become patches of briers and thorns.
The entire land will be one vast brier patch, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife.
No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)