Isaiah 36; Isaiah 37; Isaiah 38; Isaiah 39; Isaiah 40; Isaiah 41

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Isaiah 36

1 Assyria's King Sennacherib marched against all of Judah's fortified cities and captured them in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah.
2 Assyria's king sent his field commander from Lachish, together with a large army, to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He stood at the water channel of the Upper Pool, which is on the road to the field where clothes are washed.
3 Hilkiah's son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph's son Joah the recorder went out to them.
4 Then the field commander said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Assyria's Great King says this: Why do you feel so confident?
5 Do you think that empty words are the same as good strategy and the strength to fight? Who are you trusting that you now rebel against me?
6 It appears that you are trusting in a staff—Egypt—that's nothing but a broken reed! It will stab the hand of anyone who leans on it! That's all that Pharaoh, Egypt's king, is to anyone who trusts in him.
7 Now suppose you say to me, ‘We trust in the LORD our God.' Isn't he the one whose shrines and altars Hezekiah removed, telling Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship only at this altar'?
8 "So now, make a wager with my master, Assyria's king. I'll give you two thousand horses if you can supply the riders!
9 How will you drive back even the least important official among my master's servants when you are relying on Egypt for chariots and riders?
10 What's more, do you think I've marched against this place to destroy it without the LORD's support? It was the LORD who told me, ‘March against this land and destroy it!'"
11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, because we understand it. Don't speak with us in Hebrew, because the people on the wall will hear it."
12 The field commander said to them, "Did my master send me to speak these words just to you and your master and not also to the men on the wall? They are the ones who will have to eat their dung and drink their urine along with you."
13 Then the field commander stood up and shouted in Hebrew at the top of his voice: “Listen to the message of the great king, Assyria's king.
14 The king says this: Don't let Hezekiah lie to you. He won't be able to rescue you.
15 Don't let Hezekiah persuade you to trust the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will certainly rescue us. This city won't be handed over to Assyria's king.'
16 "Don't listen to Hezekiah, because this is what Assyria's king says: Surrender to me and come out. Then each of you will eat from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own well
17 until I come to take you to a land just like your land. It will be a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
18 Don't let Hezekiah fool you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us.' Did any of the other gods of the nations save their lands from the power of Assyria's king?
19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Did they rescue Samaria from my power?
20 Which one of the gods from those countries has rescued their land from my power? Will the LORD save Jerusalem from my power?"
21 But they kept quiet and didn't answer him with a single word, because King Hezekiah's command was, "Don't answer him!"
22 Hilkiah's son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph's son Joah the recorder came to Hezekiah with ripped clothes. They told him what the field commander had said.

Isaiah 37

1 When King Hezekiah heard this, he ripped his clothes, covered himself with mourning clothes, and went to the LORD's temple.
2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah, Amoz's son. They were all wearing mourning clothes.
3 They said to him, "Hezekiah says this: Today is a day of distress, punishment, and humiliation. It's as if children are ready to be born, but there's no strength to see it through.
4 Perhaps the LORD your God heard all the words of the field commander who was sent by his master, Assyria's king. He insulted the living God! Perhaps he will punish him for the words that the LORD your God has heard. Offer up a prayer for those few people who still survive."
5 When King Hezekiah's servants got to Isaiah,
6 Isaiah said to them, "Say this to your master: The LORD says this: Don't be afraid at the words you heard, which the officers of Assyria's king have used to insult me.
7 I'm about to mislead him, so when he hears a rumor, he'll go back to his own country. Then I'll have him cut down by the sword in his own land."
8 The field commander heard that the Assyrian king had left Lachish. So he went back to the king and found him attacking Libnah.
9 Then the Assyrian king learned that Cush's King Tirhakah was on his way to fight against him. So he sent messengers to Hezekiah again:
10 "Say this to Judah's King Hezekiah: Don't let the God you trust deceive you by saying, ‘Jerusalem won't fall to the Assyrian king.'
11 You yourself have heard what Assyrian kings do to other countries, wiping them out. Is it likely that you will be saved?
12 Did the gods of the nations that my ancestors destroyed save them, the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, or the people of Eden in Telassar?
13 Where now is Hamath's king, Arpad's king, or the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena, or Ivvah?"
14 Hezekiah took the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went to the temple and spread them out before the LORD.
15 Hezekiah prayed to the LORD:
16 "LORD of heavenly forces, God of Israel: you sit enthroned on the winged creatures. You alone are God over all the earth's kingdoms. You made both heaven and earth.
17 LORD, turn your ear this way and hear! LORD, open your eyes and see! Listen to Sennacherib's words. He sent them to insult the living God!
18 It's true, LORD, that the Assyrian kings have destroyed all the nations and their lands.
19 The Assyrians burned the gods of those nations with fire because they aren't real gods. They are only man-made creations of wood and stone. That's how the Assyrians could destroy them.
20 So now, LORD our God, please save us from Sennacherib's power! Then all the earth's kingdoms will know that you alone are LORD."
21 Then Isaiah, Amoz's son, sent a message to Hezekiah: The LORD God of Israel says this: Since you prayed to me about Assyria's King Sennacherib,
22 this is the message that the LORD has spoken against him: The young woman, Daughter Zion, despises you and mocks you; Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head behind your back.
23 Whom did you insult and ridicule? Against whom did you raise your voice and look on with disdain? It was against the holy one of Israel!
24 With your servants, you've insulted the Lord; you said, "I, with my many chariots, have gone up to the highest mountains, to the farthest reaches of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the best of its pine trees. I have reached its most remote lodging place, its best forest.
25 I have dug wells, have drunk water in foreign lands. With my own feet, I dried up all of Egypt's streams."
26 Haven't you heard? I set this up long ago; I planned it in the distant past! Now I have made it happen, making fortified cities collapse into piles of rubble.
27 Their citizens have lost their power; they are frightened and dismayed. They've become like plants in a field, tender green shoots, the grass on rooftops, blasted by the east wind.
28 I know where you are, how you go out and come in, and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me and because your pride has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you go back the same way you came.
30 Now this will be the sign for you, Hezekiah: This year you will eat what grows by itself. Next year you will eat what grows from that. But in the third year, plant seed and harvest it; plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
31 The survivors of Judah's family who have escaped will put down roots and bear fruit above.
32 Those who remain will go out from Jerusalem, and those who survive will go out from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of heavenly forces will do this.
33 Therefore, the LORD says this about Assyria's king: He won't enter this city. He won't shoot a single arrow here. He won't come near the city with a shield. He won't build a ramp to besiege it.
34 He'll go back by the same way he came. He won't enter this city, declares the LORD.
35 I will defend this city and save it for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.
36 The LORD's messenger went out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand soldiers in the Assyrian camp. When people got up the next morning, there were dead bodies everywhere.
37 So Assyria's King Sennacherib left and went back to Nineveh, where he stayed.
38 Later, while he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword. Then they escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon ruled after him.

Isaiah 38

1 At about that time Hezekiah became deathly sick. The prophet Isaiah, Amoz's son, came to him and said: "The LORD God says this: Put your affairs in order because you are about to die. You won't survive this."
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:
3 "Please, LORD, remember how I've walked before you in truth and sincerity. I've done what you consider to be good." Then Hezekiah cried and cried.
4 Then the LORD's word came to Isaiah:
5 "Go and say to Hezekiah: The LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says this: I have heard your prayer and have seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life.
6 I will rescue you and this city from the power of the Assyrian king. I will defend this city.
7 This will be your sign from the LORD that he will do what he promised:
8 once the shadow cast by the sun descends on the steps of Ahaz, I will make it back up ten steps." And the sun went back ten of the steps that it had already descended.
9 A composition by Judah's King Hezekiah when he was sick and then recovered from his sickness:
10 I thought, I must depart in the prime of my life; I have been relegated to the gates of the underworld for the rest of my life.
11 I thought, I won't see the LORD. The LORD is in the land of the living. I won't look upon humans again or be with the inhabitants of the world.
12 My lifetime is plucked up and taken from me like a shepherd's tent. My life is shriveled like woven cloth; God cuts me off from the loom. Between daybreak and nightfall you carry out your verdict against me.
13 I cried out until morning: "Like a lion God crushes all my bones. Between daybreak and nightfall you carry out your verdict against me.
14 Like a swallow I chirp; I moan like a dove. My eyes have grown weary looking to heaven. Lord, I'm overwhelmed; support me!"
15 What can I say? God has spoken to me; he himself has acted. I will wander my whole life with a bitter spirit.
16 The LORD Most High is the one who gives life to every heart, who gives life to the spirit!
17 Look, he indeed exchanged my bitterness for wholeness. You yourself have spared my whole being from the pit of destruction, because you have cast all my sins behind your back.
18 The underworld can't thank you, nor can death praise you; those who go down to the pit can't hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living can thank you, as I do today. Parents will tell children about your faithfulness.
20 The LORD has truly saved me, and we will make music at the LORD's house all the days of our lives.
21 Then Isaiah said, "Prepare a salve made from figs, put it on the swelling, and he'll get better."
22 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What's the sign that I'll be able to go up to the LORD's temple?"

Isaiah 39

1 At that time, Babylon's King Merodach-baladan, Baladan's son, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been ill and had recovered.
2 Hezekiah was pleased, and he showed them his treasury—the silver and the gold, the spices and fine oil—and everything in his armory, all that was found in his storerooms. There wasn't a thing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah didn't show them.
3 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, "What did these men say? Where did they come from?" Hezekiah replied, "They came to me from a distant land, from Babylon."
4 So Isaiah said, "What did they see in your house?" Hezekiah said, "They saw everything in my house. There was nothing in my storerooms that I didn't show them."
5 Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD of heavenly forces:
6 Days are coming when all that is in your house, which your ancestors have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD.
7 Some of your sons, your own descendants whom you fathered, will be taken to become eunuchs in the king of Babylon's palace."
8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The LORD's word that you delivered is good," since he thought, That means there will be peace and security in my lifetime.

Isaiah 40

1 Comfort, comfort my people! says your God.
2 Speak compassionately to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her compulsory service has ended, that her penalty has been paid, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins!
3 A voice is crying out: "Clear the LORD's way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!
4 Every valley will be raised up, and every mountain and hill will be flattened. Uneven ground will become level, and rough terrain a valley plain.
5 The LORD's glory will appear, and all humanity will see it together; the LORD's mouth has commanded it."
6 A voice was saying: "Call out!" And another said, "What should I call out?" All flesh is grass; all its loyalty is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass dries up and the flower withers when the LORD's breath blows on it. Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass dries up; the flower withers, but our God's word will exist forever.
9 Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion! Raise your voice and shout, messenger Jerusalem! Raise it; don't be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!"
10 Here is the LORD God, coming with strength, with a triumphant arm, bringing his reward with him and his payment before him.
11 Like a shepherd, God will tend the flock; he will gather lambs in his arms and lift them onto his lap. He will gently guide the nursing ewes.
12 Who has measured the waters in the palm of a hand or gauged the heavens with a ruler or scooped the earth's dust up in a measuring cup or weighed the mountains on a scale and the hills in a balance?
13 Who directed the LORD's spirit and acted as God's advisor?
14 Whom did he consult for enlightenment? Who taught him the path of justice and knowledge and explained to him the way of understanding?
15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and valued as dust on a scale. Look, God weighs the islands like fine dust.
16 Lebanon doesn't have enough fuel; its animals aren't enough for an entirely burned offering.
17 All the nations are like nothing before God. They are viewed as less than nothing and emptiness.
18 So to whom will you equate God; to what likeness will you compare him?
19 An idol? A craftsman pours it, a metalworker covers it with gold, and fashions silver chains.
20 The one who sets up an image chooses wood that won't rot and then seeks a skilled artisan to set up an idol that won't move.
21 Don't you know? Haven't you heard? Wasn't it announced to you from the beginning? Haven't you understood since the earth was founded?
22 God inhabits the earth's horizon— its inhabitants are like locusts— stretches out the skies like a curtain and spreads it out like a tent for dwelling.
23 God makes dignitaries useless and the earth's judges into nothing.
24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely is their shoot rooted in the earth when God breathes on them, and they dry up; the windstorm carries them off like straw.
25 So to whom will you compare me, and who is my equal? says the holy one.
26 Look up at the sky and consider: Who created these? The one who brings out their attendants one by one, summoning each of them by name. Because of God's great strength and mighty power, not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, Jacob, and declare, Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD my God ignores my predicament"?
28 Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He doesn't grow tired or weary. His understanding is beyond human reach,
29 giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted.
30 Youths will become tired and weary, young men will certainly stumble;
31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.

Isaiah 41

1 Be quiet before me, coastlands. Let the nations renew their strength. Let them approach and speak. Let's draw near for a judgment.
2 Who has awakened one from the east and has authority to summon him to serve— giving him nations, conquering kings, making them like dust with his sword, like scattered straw with his bow?
3 He pursues them and passes untouched, needing no path for his feet.
4 Who has acted and who has done this, calling upon generation after generation since the beginning? I, the LORD, was first, and I will be the last!
5 The coastlands see and fear; the ends of the earth tremble; they draw near and arrive.
6 Each helps the other, each saying to the other, "Take courage!"
7 The craftsman encourages the metalworker; the one who smoothes with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil, saying of the welding, "That's good," and strengthening it with nails so it won't move.
8 But you, Israel my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham, whom I love,
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 chose you and didn't reject you":
10 Don't fear, because I am with you; don't be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.
11 All who rage against you will be shamed and disgraced. Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
12 You will look for your opponents, and won't find them. Those who fight you will be of no account and will die.
13 I am the LORD your God, who grasps your strong hand, who says to you, Don't fear; I will help you.
14 Don't fear, worm of Jacob, people of Israel! I will help you, says the LORD. The holy one of Israel is your redeemer.
15 Look, I've made you into a new threshing tool with sharp teeth. You will thresh mountains and pulverize them; you will reduce hills to straw.
16 When you winnow them, the wind will carry them off; the tempest will scatter them. You will rejoice in the LORD and take pride in the holy one of Israel.
17 The poor and the needy seek water, and there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will respond to them; I, the God of Israel, won't abandon them.
18 I will open streams on treeless hilltops and springs in valleys. I will make the desert into ponds and dry land into cascades of water.
19 I will plant in the desert cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees; I will put in the wilderness cypress, elm, and pine as well,
20 so that they will see and know and observe and comprehend that the LORD's hand has done this, and the holy one of Israel has created it.
21 Present your case, says the LORD. Bring forward your evidence, says Jacob's king.
22 Let the idols approach and tell us what will happen. The prior things—what are they? Announce them, and we'll think about them and know their significance. Or proclaim to us what is to come!
23 Report things that will happen in the future, then we'll know that you are gods. Do good! Or do bad! Then we will all be afraid and fearful.
24 Look! You are nobody, and your deeds are nothing. Whoever chooses you is disgusting.
25 I woke up one from the north and he came; from the east, one who calls my name. He tramples governors like mud, as a potter treads clay.
26 Who announced this from the start so that we would know; from an earlier time so we would say, "That's right"? Truly, no one announced it, no one proclaimed it, and no one heard your words.
27 I first said it to Zion, "Look, here they are"; to Jerusalem I now send a herald.
28 But I look, and there's no one among them, no counselor; and when I ask, no one can answer.
29 Look, all of them are frauds; their deeds amount to nothing; their images are a total delusion.