Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one.
I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.
I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn--conflicts on the outside, fears within.
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it--I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while--
yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.
By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.
I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well.
And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.
I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.
When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the LORD.
He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
They told him, "This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.
It may be that the LORD your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the LORD your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant 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 afraid of what you have heard--those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.
Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.' "
When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah.
Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushite king [of Egypt], was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word:
"Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, 'Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.'
Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered?
Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my forefathers deliver them: the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar?
Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, or of Hena or Ivvah?"
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD.
And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: "O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.
Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
"It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands.
They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands.
Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God."
Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria.
This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him: " 'The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises you and mocks you. The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee.
Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!
By your messengers you have heaped insults on the Lord. And you have said, "With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its pines. I have reached its remotest parts, the finest of its forests.
I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt."
" 'Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone.
Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up.
" 'But I know where you stay and when you come and go and how you rage against me.
Because you rage against me and your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came.'
"This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: "This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.
For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
"Therefore this is what the LORD says concerning the king of Assyria: "He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it.
By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the LORD.
I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant."
That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies!
So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.
One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.
Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of [Nineveh]; he will pursue his foes into darkness.
Whatever they plot against the LORD he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time.
They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble.
From you, [O Nineveh, ] has one come forth who plots evil against the LORD and counsels wickedness.
This is what the LORD says: "Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be cut off and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, [O Judah, ] I will afflict you no more.
Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away."
The LORD has given a command concerning you, [Nineveh]: "You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the carved images and cast idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile."
Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.