1 In the fourteenth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, attacked the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2 Then he ordered his chief official to go from Lachish to Jerusalem with a large military force to demand that King Hezekiah surrender. The official occupied the road where the cloth makers work, by the ditch that brings water from the upper pool. 3 Three Judeans came out to meet him: the official in charge of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah; the court secretary, Shebna; and the official in charge of the records, Joah son of Asaph. 4 The Assyrian official told them that the emperor wanted to know what made King Hezekiah so confident. 5 He demanded, "Do you think that words can take the place of military skill and might? Who do you think will help you rebel against Assyria? 6 You are expecting Egypt to help you, but that would be like using a reed as a walking stick - it would break and would jab your hand. That is what the king of Egypt is like when anyone relies on him." 7 The Assyrian official went on, "Or will you tell me that you are relying on the Lord your God? It was the Lord's shrines and altars that Hezekiah destroyed when he told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship at one altar only. 8 I will make a bargain with you in the name of the emperor. I will give you two thousand horses if you can find that many riders. 9 You are no match for even the lowest ranking Assyrian official, and yet you expect the Egyptians to send you chariots and horsemen. 10 Do you think I have attacked your country and destroyed it without the Lord's help? The Lord himself told me to attack it and destroy it." 11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah told the official, "Speak Aramaic to us. We understand it. Don't speak Hebrew; all the people on the wall are listening." 12 He replied, "Do you think you and the king are the only ones the emperor sent me to say all these things to? No, I am also talking to the people who are sitting on the wall, who will have to eat their excrement and drink their urine, just as you will." 13 Then the official stood up and shouted in Hebrew, "Listen to what the emperor of Assyria is telling you. 14 He warns you not to let Hezekiah deceive you. Hezekiah can't save you. 15 And don't let him persuade you to rely on the Lord. Don't think that the Lord will save you and that he will stop our Assyrian army from capturing your city. 16 Don't listen to Hezekiah! The emperor of Assyria commands you to come out of the city and surrender. You will all be allowed to eat grapes from your own vines and figs from your own trees, and to drink water from your own wells - 17 until the emperor resettles you in a country much like your own, where there are vineyards to give wine and there is grain for making bread. 18 Don't let Hezekiah fool you into thinking that the Lord will rescue you. Did the gods of any other nations save their countries from the emperor of Assyria? 19 Where are they now, the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Did anyone save Samaria? 20 When did any of the gods of all these countries ever save their country from our emperor? Then what makes you think the Lord can save Jerusalem?" 21 The people kept quiet, just as King Hezekiah had told them to; they did not say a word. 22 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah tore their clothes in grief and went and reported to the king what the Assyrian official had said.
1 As soon as King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes in grief, put on sackcloth, and went to the Temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim, the official in charge of the palace, Shebna, the court secretary, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They also were wearing sackcloth. 3 This is the message which he told them to give to Isaiah: "Today is a day of suffering; we are being punished and are in disgrace. We are like a woman who is ready to give birth, but is too weak to do it. 4 The Assyrian emperor has sent his chief official to insult the living God. May the Lord your God hear these insults and punish those who spoke them. So pray to God for those of our people who survive." 5 When Isaiah received King Hezekiah's message, 6 he sent back this answer: "The Lord tells you not to let the Assyrians frighten you by their claims that he cannot save you. 7 The Lord will cause the emperor to hear a rumor that will make him go back to his own country, and the Lord will have him killed there." 8 The Assyrian official learned that the emperor had left Lachish and was fighting against the nearby city of Libnah; so he went there to consult him. 9 Word reached the Assyrians that the Egyptian army, led by King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, was coming to attack them. When the emperor heard this, he sent a letter to King Hezekiah 10 of Judah to tell him: "The god you are trusting in has told you that you will not fall into my hands, but don't let that deceive you. 11 You have heard what an Assyrian emperor does to any country he decides to destroy. Do you think that you can escape? 12 My ancestors destroyed the cities of Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and killed the people of Betheden who lived in Telassar, and none of their gods could save them. 13 Where are the kings of the cities of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?" 14 King Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went to the Temple, placed the letter there in the presence of the Lord, 15 and prayed, 16 "Almighty Lord, God of Israel, seated above the winged creatures, you alone are God, ruling all the kingdoms of the world. You created the earth and the sky. 17 Now, Lord, hear us and look at what is happening to us. Listen to all the things that Sennacherib is saying to insult you, the living God. 18 We all know, Lord, that the emperors of Assyria have destroyed many nations, made their lands desolate, 19 and burned up their gods - which were no gods at all, only images of wood and stone made by human hands. 20 Now, Lord our God, rescue us from the Assyrians, so that all the nations of the world will know that you alone are God." 21 Then Isaiah sent a message telling King Hezekiah that in answer to the king's prayer 22 the Lord had said, "The city of Jerusalem laughs at you, Sennacherib, and makes fun of you. 23 Whom do you think you have been insulting and ridiculing? You have been disrespectful to me, the holy God of Israel. 24 You sent your servants to boast to me that with all your chariots you had conquered the highest mountains of Lebanon. You boasted that there you cut down the tallest cedars and the finest cypress trees, and that you reached the deepest parts of the forests. 25 You boasted that you dug wells and drank water in foreign lands, and that the feet of your soldiers tramped the Nile River dry. 26 "Have you never heard that I planned all this long ago? And now I have carried it out. I gave you the power to turn fortified cities into piles of rubble. 27 The people who lived there were powerless; they were frightened and stunned. They were like grass in a field or weeds growing on a roof when the hot east wind blasts them. 28 "But I know everything about you, what you do and where you go. I know how you rage against me. 29 I have received the report of that rage and that pride of yours, and now I will put a hook through your nose and a bit in your mouth and will take you back by the same road you came." 30 Then Isaiah said to King Hezekiah, "Here is a sign of what will happen. This year and next you will have only wild grain to eat, but the following year you will be able to plant grain and harvest it, and plant vines and eat grapes. 31 Those in Judah who survive will flourish like plants that send roots deep into the ground and produce fruit. 32 There will be people in Jerusalem and on Mount Zion who will survive, because the Lord Almighty is determined to make this happen. 33 "And this is what the Lord has said about the Assyrian emperor: "He will not enter this city or shoot a single arrow against it. No soldiers with shields will come near the city, and no siege mounds will be built around it. 34 He will go back by the same road he came, without entering this city. I, the Lord, have spoken. 35 I will defend this city and protect it, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.' " 36 An angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. At dawn the next day there they lay, all dead! 37 Then the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib withdrew and returned to Nineveh. 38 One day when he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords and then escaped to the land of Ararat. Another of his sons, Esarhaddon, succeeded him as emperor.
1 About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and said to him, "The Lord tells you that you are to put everything in order because you will not recover. Get ready to die." 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: 3 "Remember, Lord, that I have served you faithfully and loyally, and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to." And he began to cry bitterly. 4 Then the Lord commanded Isaiah 5 to go back to Hezekiah and say to him, "I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will let you live fifteen years longer. 6 I will rescue you and this city of Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria, and I will continue to protect the city." 7 Isaiah replied, "The Lord will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. 8 On the stairway built by King Ahaz, the Lord will make the shadow go back ten steps." And the shadow moved back ten steps. 9 After Hezekiah recovered from his illness, he wrote this song of praise: 10 I thought that in the prime of life I was going to the world of the dead, Never to live out my life. 11 I thought that in this world of the living I would never again see the Lord Or any living person. 12 My life was cut off and ended, Like a tent that is taken down, Like cloth that is cut from a loom. I thought that God was ending my life. 13 All night I cried out with pain, As if a lion were breaking my bones. I thought that God was ending my life. 14 My voice was thin and weak, And I moaned like a dove. My eyes grew tired from looking to heaven. Lord, rescue me from all this trouble. 15 What can I say? The Lord has done this. My heart is bitter, and I cannot sleep. 16 Lord, I will live for you, for you alone; Heal me and let me live. 17 My bitterness will turn into peace. You save my life from all danger; You forgive all my sins. 18 No one in the world of the dead can praise you; The dead cannot trust in your faithfulness. 19 It is the living who praise you, As I praise you now. Parents tell their children how faithful you are. 20 Lord, you have healed me. We will play harps and sing your praise, Sing praise in your Temple as long as we live. 21 Isaiah told the king to put a paste made of figs on his boil, and he would get well. 22 Then King Hezekiah asked, "What is the sign to prove that I will be able to go to the Temple?"
1 About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent him a letter and a present. 2 Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth - his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 3 Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, "Where did these messengers come from and what did they say to you?" Hezekiah answered, "They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia." 4 "What did they see in the palace?" "They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn't show them." 5 Isaiah then told the king, "The Lord Almighty says that 6 a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 7 Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia." 8 King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, "The message you have given me from the Lord is good."
1 "Comfort my people," says our God. "Comfort them! 2 Encourage the people of Jerusalem. Tell them they have suffered long enough and their sins are now forgiven. I have punished them in full for all their sins." 3 A voice cries out, "Prepare in the wilderness a road for the Lord! Clear the way in the desert for our God! 4 Fill every valley; level every mountain. The hills will become a plain, and the rough country will be made smooth. 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it. The Lord himself has promised this." 6 A voice cries out, "Proclaim a message!" "What message shall I proclaim?" I ask. "Proclaim that all human beings are like grass; they last no longer than wild flowers. 7 Grass withers and flowers fade when the Lord sends the wind blowing over them. People are no more enduring than grass. 8 Yes, grass withers and flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever." 9 Jerusalem, go up on a high mountain and proclaim the good news! Call out with a loud voice, Zion; announce the good news! Speak out and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah that their God is coming! 10 The Sovereign Lord is coming to rule with power, bringing with him the people he has rescued. 11 He will take care of his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs together and carry them in his arms; he will gently lead their mothers. 12 Can anyone measure the ocean by handfuls or measure the sky with his hands? Can anyone hold the soil of the earth in a cup or weigh the mountains and hills on scales? 13 Can anyone tell the Lord what to do? Who can teach him or give him advice? 14 With whom does God consult in order to know and understand and to learn how things should be done? 15 To the Lord the nations are nothing, no more than a drop of water; the distant islands are as light as dust. 16 All the animals in the forests of Lebanon are not enough for a sacrifice to our God, and its trees are too few to kindle the fire. 17 The nations are nothing at all to him. 18 To whom can God be compared? How can you describe what he is like? 19 He is not like an idol that workers make, that metalworkers cover with gold and set in a base of silver. 20 Anyone who cannot afford silver or gold chooses wood that will not rot. He finds a skillful worker to make an image that won't fall down. 21 Do you not know? Were you not told long ago? Have you not heard how the world began? 22 It was made by the one who sits on his throne above the earth and beyond the sky; the people below look as tiny as ants. He stretched out the sky like a curtain, like a tent in which to live. 23 He brings down powerful rulers and reduces them to nothing. 24 They are like young plants, just set out and barely rooted. When the Lord sends a wind, they dry up and blow away like straw. 25 To whom can the holy God be compared? Is there anyone else like him? 26 Look up at the sky! Who created the stars you see? The one who leads them out like an army, he knows how many there are and calls each one by name! His power is so great - not one of them is ever missing! 27 Israel, why then do you complain that the Lord doesn't know your troubles or care if you suffer injustice? 28 Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary. No one understands his thoughts. 29 He strengthens those who are weak and tired. 30 Even those who are young grow weak; young people can fall exhausted. 31 But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.
1 God says, "Be silent and listen to me, you distant lands! Get ready to present your case in court; you will have your chance to speak. Let us come together to decide who is right. 2 "Who was it that brought the conqueror from the east and makes him triumphant wherever he goes? Who gives him victory over kings and nations? His sword strikes them down as if they were dust. His arrows scatter them like straw before the wind. 3 He follows in pursuit and marches safely on, so fast that he hardly touches the ground! 4 Who was it that made this happen? Who has determined the course of history? I, the Lord, was there at the beginning, and I, the Lord, will be there at the end. 5 "The people of distant lands have seen what I have done; they are frightened and tremble with fear. So they all assemble and come. 6 The skilled workers help and encourage each other. 7 The carpenter says to the goldsmith, "Well done!' The one who beats the idol smooth encourages the one who nails it together. They say, "The soldering is good' - and they fasten the idol in place with nails. 8 "But you, Israel my servant, you are the people that I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham, my friend. 9 I brought you from the ends of the earth; I called you from its farthest corners and said to you, "You are my servant.' I did not reject you, but chose you. 10 Do not be afraid - I am with you! I am your God - let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you. 11 "Those who are angry with you will know the shame of defeat. Those who fight against you will die 12 and will disappear from the earth. 13 I am the Lord your God; I strengthen you and tell you, "Do not be afraid; I will help you.' " 14 The Lord says, "Small and weak as you are, Israel, don't be afraid; I will help you. I, the holy God of Israel, am the one who saves you. 15 I will make you like a threshing board, with spikes that are new and sharp. You will thresh mountains and destroy them; hills will crumble into dust. 16 You will toss them in the air; the wind will carry them off, and they will be scattered by the storm. Then you will be happy because I am your God; you will praise me, the holy God of Israel. 17 "When my people in their need look for water, when their throats are dry with thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer their prayer; I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. 18 I will make rivers flow among barren hills and springs of water run in the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water and the dry land into flowing springs. 19 I will make cedars grow in the desert, and acacias and myrtles and olive trees. Forests will grow in barren land, forests of pine and juniper and cypress. 20 People will see this and know that I, the Lord, have done it. They will come to understand that Israel's holy God has made it happen." 21 The Lord, the king of Israel, has this to say: "You gods of the nations, present your case. Bring the best arguments you have! 22 Come here and predict what will happen, so that we will know it when it takes place. Explain to the court the events of the past, and tell us what they mean. 23 Tell us what the future holds - then we will know that you are gods! Do something good or bring some disaster; fill us with fear and awe! 24 You and all you do are nothing; those who worship you are disgusting! 25 "I have chosen a man who lives in the east; I will bring him to attack from the north. He tramples on rulers as if they were mud, like a potter trampling clay. 26 Which of you predicted that this would happen, so that we could say that you were right? None of you said a word about it; no one heard you say a thing! 27 I, the Lord, was the first to tell Zion the news; I sent a messenger to Jerusalem to say, "Your people are coming! They are coming home!' 28 When I looked among the gods, none of them had a thing to say; not one could answer the questions I asked. 29 All these gods are useless; they can do nothing at all - these idols are weak and powerless."