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.
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.
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.
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."
When Hezekiah's officers came to Isaiah,
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.
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.'"
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.
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,
"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.
You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done. They have completely defeated every country, so do not think you will be saved.
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.
Where are the kings of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?"
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
and prayed to the Lord:
"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.
Hear, Lord, and listen. Open your eyes, Lord, and see. Listen to all the words Sennacherib has said to insult the living God.
"It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these countries and their lands.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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!
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.
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."
"'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.
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.
"'I know when you rest, when you come and go, and how you rage against me.
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.'
"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.
Some of the people in the family of Judah will escape. Like plants that take root, they will grow strong and have many children.
A few people will come out of Jerusalem alive; a few from Mount Zion will live. will make this happen.'
"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.
He will return to his country the same way he came, and he will not enter this city,' says the Lord.
'I will defend and save this city for my sake and for David, my servant.'"
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.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria left and went back to Nineveh and stayed there.
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.