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

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Isaiah 36

1 During Hezekiah's fourteenth year as king, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the strong, walled cities of Judah and captured them.
2 The king of Assyria sent out his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. When the commander came near the waterway from the upper pool on the road where people do their laundry, he stopped.
3 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah went out to meet him. Eliakim son of Hilkiah was the palace manager, Shebna was the royal secretary, and Joah son of Asaph was the recorder.
4 The field commander said to them, "Tell Hezekiah this: "'The great king, the king of Assyria, says: What can you trust in now?
5 You say you have battle plans and power for war, but your words mean nothing. Whom are you trusting for help so that you turn against me?
6 Look, you are depending on Egypt to help you, but Egypt is like a splintered walking stick. If you lean on it for help, it will stab your hand and hurt you. The king of Egypt will hurt all those who depend on him.
7 You might say, "We are depending on the Lord our God," but Hezekiah destroyed the Lord's altars and the places of worship. Hezekiah told Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship only at this one altar."
8 "'Now make an agreement with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find enough men to ride them.
9 You cannot defeat one of my master's least important officers, so why do you depend on Egypt to give you chariots and horsemen?
10 I have not come to attack and destroy this country without an order from the Lord. The Lord himself told me to come to this country and destroy it.'"
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to us in the Aramaic language. We understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew, because the people on the city wall can hear you."
12 But the commander said, "My master did not send me to tell these things only to you and your king. He sent me to speak also to those people sitting on the wall who will have to eat their own dung and drink their own urine like you."
13 Then the commander stood and shouted loudly in the Hebrew language, "Listen to what the great king, the king of Assyria says,
14 The king says you should not let Hezekiah fool you, because he can't save you.
15 Don't let Hezekiah talk you into trusting the Lord by saying, 'The Lord will surely save us. This city won't be handed over to the king of Assyria.'
16 "Don't listen to Hezekiah. The king of Assyria says, 'Make peace with me, and come out of the city to me. Then everyone will be free to eat the fruit from his own grapevine and fig tree and to drink water from his own well.
17 After that I will come and take you to a land like your own -- a land with grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.'
18 "Don't let Hezekiah fool you, saying, 'The Lord will save us.' Has a god of any other nation saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria?
19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? They did not save Samaria from my power.
20 Not one of all the gods of these countries has saved his people from me. Neither can the Lord save Jerusalem from my power."
21 The people were silent. They didn't answer the commander at all, because King Hezekiah had ordered, "Don't answer him."
22 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah tore their clothes to show how upset they were. (Eliakim son of Hilkiah was the palace manager, Shebna was the royal secretary, and Joah son of Asaph was the recorder.) The three men went to Hezekiah and told him what the field commander had said.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 37

1 When King Hezekiah heard the message, he tore his clothes and put on rough cloth to show how sad he was. Then he went into the Temple of the Lord.
2 Hezekiah sent Eliakim, the palace manager, and Shebna, the royal secretary, and the older priests to Isaiah. They were all wearing rough cloth when they came to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.
3 They told Isaiah, "This is what Hezekiah says: Today is a day of sorrow and punishment and disgrace, as when a child should be born, but the mother is not strong enough to give birth to it.
4 The king of Assyria sent his field commander to make fun of the living God. Maybe the Lord your God will hear what the commander said and will punish him for it. So pray for the few of us who are left alive."
5 When Hezekiah's officers came to Isaiah,
6 he said to them, "Tell your master this: The Lord says, 'Don't be afraid of what you have heard. Don't be frightened by the words the servants of the king of Assyria have spoken against me.
7 Listen! I am going to put a spirit in the king of Assyria. He will hear a report that will make him return to his own country, and I will cause him to die by the sword there.'"
8 The field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. When he went back, he found the king fighting against the city of Libnah.
9 The king received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushite king of Egypt, was coming to attack him. When the king of Assyria heard this, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
10 "Tell Hezekiah king of Judah: Don't be fooled by the god you trust. Don't believe him when he says Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.
11 You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done. They have completely defeated every country, so do not think you will be saved.
12 Did the gods of those people save them? My ancestors destroyed them, defeating the cities of Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and the people of Eden living in Tel Assar.
13 Where are the kings of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?"
14 When Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Temple of the Lord. He spread the letter out before the Lord
15 and prayed to the Lord:
16 "Lord All-Powerful, you are the God of Israel, whose throne is between the gold creatures with wings, only you are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth.
17 Hear, Lord, and listen. Open your eyes, Lord, and see. Listen to all the words Sennacherib has said to insult the living God.
18 "It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these countries and their lands.
19 They have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire, but they were only wood and rock statues that people made. So the kings have destroyed them.
20 Now, Lord our God, save us from the king's power so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, Lord, are the only God."
21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah that said, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'You prayed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.
22 So this is what the Lord has said against Sennacherib: hate you and make fun of you; the people of Jerusalem laugh at you as you run away.
23 You have insulted me and spoken against me; you have raised your voice against me. You have a proud look on your face, which is against me, the Holy One of Israel!
24 You have sent your messengers to insult the Lord. You have said, "With my many chariots I have gone to the tops of the mountains, to the highest mountains of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its best pine trees. I have gone to its greatest heights and its best forests.
25 I have dug wells in foreign countries and drunk water there. By the soles of my feet, I have dried up all the rivers of Egypt."
26 "'King of Assyria, surely you have heard. Long ago I, the Lord, planned these things. Long ago I designed them, and now I have made them happen. I allowed you to turn those strong, walled cities into piles of rocks.
27 The people in those cities were weak; they were frightened and put to shame. They were like grass in the field, like tender, young grass, like grass on the housetop that is burned by the wind before it can grow.
28 "'I know when you rest, when you come and go, and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me, and because I have heard your proud words, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. Then I will force you to leave my country the same way you came.'
30 "Then the Lord said, 'Hezekiah, I will give you this sign: This year you will eat the grain that grows wild, and the second year you will eat what grows wild from that. But in the third year, plant grain and harvest it. Plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
31 Some of the people in the family of Judah will escape. Like plants that take root, they will grow strong and have many children.
32 A few people will come out of Jerusalem alive; a few from Mount Zion will live. will make this happen.'
33 "So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: 'He will not enter this city or even shoot an arrow here. He will not fight against it with shields or build a ramp to attack the city walls.
34 He will return to his country the same way he came, and he will not enter this city,' says the Lord.
35 'I will defend and save this city for my sake and for David, my servant.'"
36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and killed one hundred eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up early the next morning, they saw all the dead bodies.
37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria left and went back to Nineveh and stayed there.
38 One day as Sennacherib was worshiping 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. So Sennacherib's son Esarhaddon became king of Assyria.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 38

1 At that time Hezekiah became very sick; he was almost dead. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and told him, "This is what the Lord says: Make arrangements, because you are not going to live, but die."
2 Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed to the Lord,
3 "Lord, please remember that I have always obeyed you. I have given myself completely to you and have done what you said was right." Then Hezekiah cried loudly.
4 Then the Lord spoke his word to Isaiah:
5 "Go to Hezekiah and tell him: 'This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. So I will add fifteen years to your life.
6 I will save you and this city from the king of Assyria; I will defend this city.
7 "'The Lord will do what he says. This is the sign from the Lord to show you:
8 The sun has made a shadow go down the stairway of Ahaz, but I will make it go back ten steps.'" So the shadow made by the sun went back up the ten steps it had gone down.
9 After Hezekiah king of Judah got well, he wrote this song:
10 I said, "I am in the middle of my life. Do I have to go through the gates of death? Will I have the rest of my life taken away from me?"
11 I said, "I will not see the Lord in the land of the living again. I will not again see the people who live on the earth.
12 Like a shepherd's tent, my home has been pulled down and taken from me. I am finished like the cloth a weaver rolls up and cuts from the loom. In one day you brought me to this end.
13 All night I cried loudly. Like a lion, he crushed all my bones. In one day you brought me to this end.
14 I cried like a bird and moaned like a dove. My eyes became tired as I looked to the heavens. Lord, I have troubles. Please help me."
15 What can I say? The Lord told me what would happen and then made it happen. I have had these troubles in my soul, so now I will be humble all my life.
16 Lord, because of you, people live. Because of you, my spirit also lives; you made me well and let me live.
17 It was for my own good that I had such troubles. Because you love me very much, you did not let me die but threw my sins far away.
18 People in the place of the dead cannot praise you; those who have died cannot sing praises to you; those who die don't trust you to help them.
19 The people who are alive are the ones who praise you. They praise you as I praise you today. A father should tell his children that you provide help.
20 The Lord saved me, so we will play songs on stringed instruments in the Temple of the Lord all the days of our lives.
21 Then Isaiah said, "Make a paste from figs and put it on Hezekiah's boil. Then he will get well."
22 Hezekiah then asked Isaiah, "What will be the sign? What will show that I will go up to the Temple of the Lord?"
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 39

1 At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan was king of Baby- lon. He sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, because he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick and was now well.
2 Hezekiah was pleased and showed the messengers what was in his storehouses: the silver, gold, spices, expensive perfumes, his swords and shields, and all his wealth. He showed them everything in his palace and in his kingdom.
3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, "What did these men say? Where did they come from?" Hezekiah said, "They came from a faraway country -- from Babylon."
4 So Isaiah asked him, "What did they see in your palace?" Hezekiah said, "They saw everything in my palace. I showed them all my wealth."
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah: "Listen to the words of the Lord All-Powerful:
6 'In the future everything in your palace and everything your ancestors have stored up until this day will be taken away to Babylon. Nothing will be left,' says the Lord.
7 Some of your own children, those who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become servants in the palace of the king of Babylon."
8 Hezekiah told Isaiah, "These words from the Lord are good." He said this because he thought, "There will be peace and security in my lifetime."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 40

1 Your God says, "Comfort, comfort my people.
2 Speak kindly to the people of Jerusalem and tell them that their time of service is finished, that they have paid for their sins, that the Lord has punished Jerusalem twice for every sin they did."
3 This is the voice of one who calls out: "Prepare in the desert the way for the Lord. Make a straight road in the dry lands for our God.
4 Every valley should be raised up, and every mountain and hill should be made flat. The rough ground should be made level, and the rugged ground should be made smooth.
5 Then the glory of the Lord will be shown, and all people together will see it. The Lord himself said these things."
6 A voice says, "Cry out!" Then I said, "What shall I cry out?" "Say all people are like the grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass dies and the flowers fall when the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are like grass.
8 The grass dies and the flowers fall, but the word of our God will live forever."
9 Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Go up on a high mountain. Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Shout out loud the good news. Shout it out and don't be afraid. Say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God."
10 Look, the Lord God is coming with power to rule all the people. Look, he will bring reward for his people; he will have their payment with him.
11 He takes care of his people like a shepherd. He gathers them like lambs in his arms and carries them close to him. He gently leads the mothers of the lambs.
12 Who has measured the oceans in the palm of his hand? Who has used his hand to measure the sky? Who has used a bowl to measure all the dust of the earth and scales to weigh the mountains and hills?
13 Who has known the mind of the Lord or been able to give him advice?
14 Whom did he ask for help? Who taught him the right way? Who taught him knowledge and showed him the way to understanding?
15 The nations are like one small drop in a bucket; they are no more than the dust on his measuring scales. To him the islands are no more than fine dust on his scales.
16 All the trees in Lebanon are not enough for the altar fires, and all the animals in Lebanon are not enough for burnt offerings.
17 Compared to the Lord all the nations are worth nothing; to him they are less than nothing.
18 Can you compare God to anything? Can you compare him to an image of anything?
19 An idol is formed by a craftsman, and a goldsmith covers it with gold and makes silver chains for it.
20 A poor person cannot buy those expensive statues, so he finds a tree that will not rot. Then he finds a skilled craftsman to make it into an idol that will not fall over.
21 Surely you know. Surely you have heard. Surely from the beginning someone told you. Surely you understand how the earth was created.
22 God sits on his throne above the circle of the earth, and compared to him, people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the skies like a piece of cloth and spreads them out like a tent to sit under.
23 He makes rulers unimportant and the judges of this world worth nothing.
24 They are like plants that are placed in the ground, like seeds that are planted. As soon as they begin to grow strong, he blows on them and they die, and the wind blows them away like chaff.
25 God, the Holy One, says, "Can you compare me to anyone? Is anyone equal to me?"
26 Look up to the skies. Who created all these stars? He leads out the army of heaven one by one and calls all the stars by name. Because he is strong and powerful, not one of them is missing.
27 People of Jacob, why do you complain? People of Israel, why do you say, "The Lord does not see what happens to me; he does not care if I am treated fairly"?
28 Surely you know. Surely you have heard. The Lord is the God who lives forever, who created all the world. He does not become tired or need to rest. No one can understand how great his wisdom is.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak.
30 Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall.
31 But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 41

1 The Lord says, "Faraway countries, listen to me. Let the nations become strong. Come to me and speak; we will meet together to decide who is right.
2 "Who caused the one to come from the east? Who gives him victories everywhere he goes? The one who brought him gives nations over to him and defeats kings. He uses his sword, and kings become like dust. He uses his bow, and they are blown away like chaff.
3 He chases them and is never hurt, going places he has never been before.
4 Who caused this to happen? Who has controlled history since the beginning? I, the Lord, am the one. I was here at the beginning, and I will be here when all things are finished."
5 All you faraway places, look and be afraid; all you places far away on the earth, shake with fear. Come close and listen to me.
6 The workers help each other and say to each other, "Be strong!"
7 The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and the workman who smooths the metal with a hammer encourages the one who shapes the metal. He says, "This metal work is good." He nails the statue to a base so it can't fall over.
8 The Lord says, "People of Israel, you are my servants. People of Jacob, I chose you. You are from the family of my friend Abraham.
9 I took you from places far away on the earth and called you from a faraway country. I said, 'You are my servants.' I have chosen you and have not turned against you.
10 So don't worry, because I am with you. Don't be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you.
11 "All those people who are angry with you will be ashamed and disgraced. Those who are against you will disappear and be lost.
12 You will look for your enemies, but you will not find them. Those who fought against you will vanish completely.
13 I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, and I tell you, 'Don't be afraid. I will help you.'
14 You few people of Israel who are left, do not be afraid even though you are weak as a worm. I myself will help you," says the Lord. "The one who saves you is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Look, I have made you like a new threshing board with many sharp teeth. So you will walk on mountains and crush them; you will make the hills like chaff.
16 You will throw them into the air, and the wind will carry them away; a windstorm will scatter them. Then you will be happy in the Lord; you will be proud of the Holy One of Israel.
17 "The poor and needy people look for water, but they can't find any. Their tongues are dry with thirst. But I, the Lord, will answer their prayers; I, the God of Israel, will not leave them to die.
18 I will make rivers flow on the dry hills and springs flow through the valleys. I will change the desert into a lake of water and the dry land into fountains of water.
19 I will make trees grow in the desert -- cedars, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees. I will put pine, fir, and cypress trees growing together in the desert.
20 People will see these things and understand; they will think carefully about these things and learn that the Lord's power did this, that the Holy One of Israel made these things."
21 The Lord says, "Present your case." The King of Jacob says, "Tell me your arguments.
22 Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Have them tell us what happened in the beginning. Then we will think about these things, and we will know how they will turn out. Or tell us what will happen in the future.
23 Tell us what is coming next so we will believe that you are gods. Do something, whether it is good or bad, and make us afraid.
24 You gods are less than nothing; you can't do anything. Those who worship you should be hated.
25 "I have brought someone to come out of the north. I have called by name a man from the east, and he knows me. He walks on kings as if they were mud, just as a potter walks on the clay.
26 Who told us about this before it happened? Who told us ahead of time so we could say, 'He was right'? None of you told us anything; none of you told us before it happened; no one heard you tell about it.
27 I, the Lord, was the first one to tell Jerusalem that the people were coming home. the good news.
28 I look at the idols, but there is not one that can answer. None of them can give advice; none of them can answer my questions.
29 Look, all these idols are false. They cannot do anything; they are worth nothing.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.