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

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Isaiah 36

1 Sennacherib attacked and captured all of the cities of Judah that had high walls around them. It was in the 14th year of the rule of Hezekiah. Sennacherib was king of Assyria.
2 He sent his field commander from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He sent him along with a large army. The commander stopped at the channel that brings water from the Upper Pool. It was on the road to the Washerman's Field.
3 Eliakim, Shebna and Joah went out to him. Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, was in charge of the palace. Shebna was the secretary. Joah, the son of Asaph, kept the records.
4 The field commander said to them, "Give Hezekiah this message. Tell him, " 'Sennacherib is the great king of Assyria. He says, "Why are you putting your faith in what your king says?
5 You say you have a military plan. You say you have a strong army. But your words don't mean anything. Who are you depending on? Why don't you want to stay under my control?
6 " ' "You are depending on Egypt. Why are you doing that? Egypt is nothing but a broken papyrus stem. Try leaning on it. It will only cut your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is just like that to everyone who depends on him.
7 " ' "Suppose you say to me, 'We are depending on the LORD our God.' Didn't Hezekiah remove your god's high places and altars? Didn't Hezekiah say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, 'You must worship at the altar in Jerusalem'?
8 " ' "Come on. Make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I'll give you 2,000 horses. But only if you can put riders on them!
9 You are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen. You can't drive away even the least important officer among my master's officials.
10 " ' "Besides, do you think I've come without being sent by the LORD? Have I come to attack and destroy this land without receiving a message from him? The LORD himself told me to march out against your country. He told me to destroy it." ' "
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah spoke to the field commander. They said, "Please speak to us in the Aramaic language. We understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew. If you do, the people who are on the wall will be able to understand you."
12 But the commander replied, "My master sent me to say these things. Are these words only for your master and you to hear? Aren't they also for the men who are sitting on the wall? They are going to suffer just like you. They'll have to eat their own waste. They'll have to drink their own urine."
13 Then the commander stood up and spoke in the Hebrew language. He called out, "Pay attention to what the great king of Assyria is telling you.
14 He says, 'Don't let Hezekiah trick you. He can't save you!
15 Don't let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord. Don't believe him when he says, "You can be sure that the LORD will save us. This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria." '
16 "Don't listen to Hezekiah. The king of Assyria says, 'Make a peace treaty with me. Come over to my side. Then every one of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree. Every one of you will drink water from your own well.
17 You will do that until I come back. Then I'll take you to a land that is just like yours. It's a land that has a lot of grain and fresh wine. It has plenty of bread and vineyards.
18 " 'Don't let Hezekiah fool you. He's telling you a lie when he says, "The LORD will save us." Has the god of any nation ever saved his land from the powerful hand of the king of Assyria?
19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they saved Samaria from my power?
20 Which one of all of the gods of those countries has been able to save his land from me? So how can the LORD save Jerusalem from my power?' "
21 But the people remained silent. They didn't say anything. That's because King Hezekiah had commanded, "Don't answer him."
22 Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, went to Hezekiah. Eliakim was in charge of the palace. The secretary Shebna went with him. So did Joah, the son of Asaph. Joah kept the records. All of them went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn. They told him what the field commander had said.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 37

1 When King Hezekiah heard what the field commander had said, he tore his clothes. He put on black clothes. Then he went into the LORD's temple.
2 Hezekiah sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, to me. He also sent the leading priests and the secretary Shebna to me. All of them were wearing black clothes.
3 They told me, "Hezekiah says, 'Today we're in great trouble. The LORD is warning us. He's bringing shame on us. Sometimes babies come to the moment when they should be born. But their mothers aren't strong enough to allow them to be born. Today we are like those mothers. We aren't strong enough to save ourselves.
4 " 'Perhaps the LORD your God will hear everything the field commander has said. His master, the king of Assyria, has sent him to make fun of the living God. Maybe the LORD your God will punish him for what he has heard him say. So pray for the remaining people who are still alive here.' "
5 King Hezekiah's officials came to me.
6 Then I said to them, "Tell your master, 'The LORD says, "Do not be afraid of what you have heard. The officers who are under the king of Assyria have spoken evil things against me.
7 Listen! I will send him news from his own country. It will upset him so much that he will return home. There I will have him cut down with a sword." ' "
8 The field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. So the commander pulled his troops back from Jerusalem. He went to join the king. He found out that the king was fighting against Libnah.
9 During that time Sennacherib received a report. He was told that Tirhakah was marching out to fight against him. Tirhakah was king of Egypt. He was from the land of Cush. When Sennacherib heard the report, he sent messengers again to Hezekiah with a letter. It said,
10 "Tell Hezekiah, the king of Judah, 'Don't let the god you depend on trick you. He says, "Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria." But don't believe him.
11 I'm sure you have heard about what the kings of Assyria have done to all of the other countries. They have destroyed them completely. So do you think you will be saved?
12 " 'The kings who ruled before me destroyed many nations. Did the gods of those nations save them? Did the gods of Gozan, Haran or Rezeph save them? What about the gods of the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar?
13 Where is the king of Hamath? Where is the king of Arpad? Where is the king of the city of Sepharvaim? Where are the kings of Hena or Ivvah?' "
14 When Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers, he read it. Then he went up to the LORD's temple. There he spread the letter out in front of the Lord.
15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. He said,
16 "LORD who rules over all, you are the God of Israel. You sit on your throne between the cherubim. You alone are God over all of the kingdoms on earth. You have made heaven and earth.
17 Listen, Lord. Hear us. Open your eyes, Lord. Look at the trouble we're in. Listen to what Sennacherib is saying. You are the living God. And he dares to make fun of you!
18 "Lord, it's true that the kings of Assyria have completely destroyed many nations and their lands.
19 They have thrown the statues of the gods of those nations into the fire. And they have destroyed them. That's because they weren't really gods at all. They were nothing but statues that were made out of wood and stone. They were made by human hands.
20 "LORD our God, save us from the powerful hand of Sennacherib. Then all of the kingdoms on earth will know that you alone are God."
21 I sent a message to Hezekiah. I said, "The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, 'You have prayed to me about Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.
22 So here is the message I have spoken against him. I am telling him, " ' "You will not win the battle over Zion. Its people hate you and make fun of you. The people of Jerusalem lift up their heads proudly as you run away.
23 Who have you laughed at? Who have you spoken evil things against? Who have you raised your voice against? Who have you looked at so proudly? You have done it against me. I am the Holy One of Israel!
24 Through your messengers you have laughed at me again and again. And you have said, 'I have many chariots. With them I have climbed to the tops of the mountains. I've climbed the highest mountains in Lebanon. I've cut down its tallest cedar trees. I've cut down the best of its pine trees. I've reached its farthest mountains. I've reached its finest forests.
25 I've dug wells in strange lands. I've drunk the water from them. I've walked through all of Egypt's streams. I've dried up every one of them.'
26 " ' "But I, the Lord, say, 'Haven't you heard what I have done? Long ago I arranged for you to do all of that. In days of old I planned it. Now I have made it happen. You have turned cities with high walls into piles of stone.
27 Their people do not have any power left. They are troubled and put to shame. They are like plants in the field. They are like new green plants. They are like grass that grows on a roof. It dries up before it is completely grown.
28 " ' " 'But I know where you live. I know when you come and go. I know how very angry you are with me.
29 You roar against me and brag. And I have heard your bragging. So I will put my hook in your nose. I will put my bit in your mouth. And I will make you go home by the same way you came.' " ' "
30 The LORD said, "Hezekiah, here is a miraculous sign for you. "This year you will eat what grows by itself. Next year you will eat what grows from that. But in the third year you will plant your crops and gather them in. You will plant your grapevines and eat their fruit.
31 The people of Judah who are still alive will be like plants. Once more they will put down roots and produce fruit.
32 Out of Jerusalem will come those who remain. Out of Mount Zion will come those who are still left alive. My great love will make sure that happens. I rule over all.
33 "Here is a message from me about the king of Assyria. It says, " 'He will not enter this city. He will not even shoot an arrow at it. He will not come near it with a shield. He will not build a ramp in order to climb over its walls.
34 By the way that he came he will go home. He will not enter this city,' announces the Lord.
35 "I will guard this city and save it. I will do it for myself. And I will do it for my servant David."
36 Then the angel of the LORD went into the camp of the Assyrians. He put to death 185,000 soldiers there. The people of Jerusalem got up the next morning. They looked out and saw all of the dead bodies.
37 So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, took the army tents down. Then he left. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.
38 One day Sennacherib was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with their swords. Then they escaped to the land of Ararat. Esarhaddon became the next king after his father Sennacherib.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 38

1 In those days Hezekiah became very sick. He knew he was about to die. I went to see him. I told him, "The LORD says, 'Put everything in order. Make out your will. You are going to die soon. You will not get well again.' "
2 Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall. He prayed to the Lord. He said,
3 "Lord, please remember how faithful I've been to you. I've lived the way you wanted me to. I've served you with all my heart. I've done what is good in your sight." And Hezekiah cried bitterly.
4 A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
5 "Go and speak to Hezekiah. Tell him, 'The Lord, the God of King David, says, "I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. I will add 15 years to your life.
6 And I will save you and this city from the powerful hand of the king of Assyria. I will guard this city.
7 " ' "Here is a miraculous sign from me. It will show you that I will heal you, just as I promised I would.
8 The shadow that was made by the sun has gone down ten steps on the stairway of Ahaz. I will make it go back up those ten steps." ' " So the shadow went back up the ten steps it had gone down.
9 Here is a song of praise that was written by Hezekiah, the king of Judah. He wrote it after he was sick and had gotten well again.
10 I said, "I'm enjoying the best years of my life. Must I now go through the gates of death? Will the rest of my years be taken away from me?"
11 I said, "Lord, I'll never see you again while I'm still alive. I'll never see people anymore. I'll never again be with those who live in this world.
12 My body is like a shepherd's tent. It has been pulled down and carried off. My life is like a piece of cloth that I've rolled up. You have cut it off from the loom. In a short period of time you have brought my life to an end.
13 I waited patiently until sunrise. But like a lion you broke all of my bones. In a short period of time you have brought my life to an end.
14 I cried softly like a weak little bird. I groaned like a sad dove. My eyes grew tired as I looked up toward heaven. Lord, I'm in trouble. Please come and help me!
15 "But what can I say? You have promised to heal me. And you yourself have done it. Once I was proud and bitter. But now I will live the rest of my life free of pride.
16 Lord, people find the will to live because you keep your promises. And my spirit also finds life in your promises. You brought me back to health. You let me live.
17 I'm sure it was for my benefit that I suffered such great pain. You love me. You kept me from going down into the pit of death. You have put all of my sins behind your back.
18 People in the grave can't praise you. Dead people can't sing praise to you. Those who go down to the grave can't hope for you to be faithful to them.
19 It is those who are alive who praise you. And that's what I'm doing today. Fathers tell their children about how faithful you are.
20 "You will save me. So we will sing and play music on stringed instruments. We will sing all the days of our lives in your temple."
21 When Hezekiah was sick, I had said, "Press some figs together. Spread them on a piece of cloth. Apply them to Hezekiah's boil. Then he'll get well again."
22 At that time Hezekiah had asked me, "What will the miraculous sign be to prove I'll go up to the LORD's temple?" That's when the LORD had made the shadow go back ten steps.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 39

1 At that time Merodach-Baladan, the king of Babylonia, sent Hezekiah letters and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been sick but had gotten well again. Merodach-Baladan was the son of Baladan.
2 Hezekiah gladly received the messengers. He showed them what was in his storerooms. He showed them the silver and gold. He took them to where the spices and the fine olive oil were kept. He showed them where he kept all of his weapons. And he showed them all of his treasures. In fact, he showed them everything that was in his palace and in his whole kingdom.
3 Then I went to King Hezekiah. I asked him, "What did those men say? Where did they come from?" "They came from a land far away," Hezekiah said. "They came to me from Babylon."
4 I asked, "What did they see in your palace?" "They saw everything in my palace," Hezekiah said. "I showed them all of my treasures."
5 Then I said to Hezekiah, "Listen to the message of the LORD who rules over all. He says,
6 'You can be sure the time will come when everything in your palace will be carried off to Babylon. Everything the kings before you have stored up until this day will be taken away. There will not be anything left,' says the Lord.
7 " 'Some of the members of your family line will be taken away. They will be your own flesh and blood. They will include the children who will be born into your family line in years to come. And they will serve the king of Babylonia in his palace.' "
8 "The message the LORD has spoken through you is good," Hezekiah replied. He thought, "There will be peace and safety while I'm still living."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 40

1 "Comfort my people," says your God. "Comfort them.
2 Speak tenderly to the people of Jerusalem. Announce to them that their hard service has been completed. Tell them that their sin has been paid for. Tell them I have punished them enough for all of their sins."
3 A messenger is calling out, "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord. Make a straight road through it for our God.
4 Every valley will be filled in. Every mountain and hill will be made level. The rough ground will be smoothed out. The rocky places will be made flat.
5 Then the glory of the LORD will appear. And everyone will see it. The LORD has spoken."
6 Another messenger says, "Cry out." And I said, "What should I cry?" "Cry out, 'All people are like grass. They don't last any longer than flowers in the field.
7 The grass dries up. The flowers fall to the ground. That happens when the LORD makes his wind blow on them. So people are just like grass.
8 The grass dries up. The flowers fall to the ground. But what our God says will stand forever.' "
9 Zion, you are bringing good news to your people. Go up on a high mountain and announce it. Jerusalem, you are bringing good news to them. Shout the message loudly. Shout it out loud. Don't be afraid. Say to the towns of Judah, "Your God is coming!"
10 The LORD and King is coming with power. His powerful arm will rule for him. He has set his people free. He is bringing them back as his reward. He has won the battle over their enemies.
11 He takes care of his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms. He carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have little ones.
12 Who has measured the oceans by using the palm of his hand? Who has used the width of his hand to mark off the sky? Who has measured out the dust of the earth in a basket? Who has weighed the mountains on scales? Who has weighed the hills in a balance?
13 Who can ever understand what is in the LORD's mind? Who can ever give him advice?
14 Did the LORD have to ask anyone to help him understand? Did he have to ask someone to teach him the right way? Who taught him what he knows? Who showed him how to understand?
15 The nations are only a drop in a bucket to him. He considers them as nothing but dust on the scales. He weighs the islands as if they were only fine dust.
16 Lebanon doesn't have enough trees to keep his altar fires burning. It doesn't have enough animals to sacrifice as burnt offerings to him.
17 To him, all of the nations don't amount to anything. He considers them to be worthless. In fact, they are less than nothing in his sight.
18 So who will you compare God to? Is there any other god like him?
19 Will you compare him to a statue of a god? Any skilled worker can make a statue. Then another worker covers it with gold and makes silver chains for it.
20 But someone who is too poor to bring that kind of offering will choose some wood that won't rot. Then he looks for a skilled worker. He pays the worker to make a statue of a god that won't fall over.
21 Don't you know who made everything? Haven't you heard about him? Hasn't it been told to you from the beginning? Haven't you understood it ever since the earth was made?
22 God sits on his throne high above the earth. Its people look like grasshoppers to him. He spreads the heavens out like a cover. He sets it up like a tent to live in.
23 He takes the power of princes away from them. He reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 They are planted. They are scattered like seeds. They put down roots in the ground. But as soon as that happens, God blows on them and they dry up. Then a windstorm sweeps them away like straw.
25 "So who will you compare me to? Who is equal to me?" says the Holy One.
26 Look up toward the sky. Who created everything you see? The LORD causes the stars to come out at night one by one. He gives each one of them a name. His power and strength are great. So none of the stars is missing.
27 Family of Jacob, why do you say, "The LORD doesn't notice our condition"? People of Israel, why do you say, "Our God doesn't pay any attention to our rightful claims"?
28 Don't you know who made everything? Haven't you heard about him? The LORD is the God who lives forever. He created everything on earth. He won't become worn out or get tired. No one will ever know how great his understanding is.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired. He gives power to those who are weak.
30 Even young people become worn out and get tired. Even the best of them trip and fall.
31 But those who trust in the LORD will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 41

1 The LORD says, "People who live on the islands, come and stand quietly in front of me. Let the nations gain new strength in order to state their case. Let them come forward and speak. Let us go to court and find out who is right.
2 "Who has stirred up a king from the east? Who has helped him win his battles? I hand nations over to him. I bring kings under his control. He turns them into dust with his sword. With his bow he turns them into straw blowing in the wind.
3 He hunts them down. Then he moves on unharmed. He travels so fast that his feet don't seem to touch the ground.
4 Who has made that happen? Who has carried it out? Who has created all of the people who have ever lived? I, the Lord, have done it. I was with the first of them. And I will be with the last of them."
5 The people on the islands have seen that king coming. And it has made them afraid. People tremble with fear from one end of the earth to the other. They come and gather together.
6 They help each other. They say to one another, "Be strong!"
7 One skilled worker makes a statue of a god. Another covers it with gold. The first worker says to the second, "You have done a good job." Another worker smooths out the metal with a hammer. Still another gives the statue its final shape. The third worker says to the last one, "You have done a good job." Then they nail the statue down so it won't fall over.
8 The LORD says, "People of Israel, you are my servants. Family of Jacob, I have chosen you. You are the children of my friend Abraham.
9 I gathered you from one end of the earth to the other. From the farthest places on earth I brought you together. I said, 'You are my servants.' I have chosen you. I have not turned my back on you.
10 So do not be afraid. I am with you. Do not be terrified. I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. My powerful right hand will take good care of you. I always do what is right.
11 "All those who are angry with you will be put to shame. And they will be dishonored. Those who oppose you will be destroyed. And they will vanish.
12 You might search for your enemies. But you will not find them. Those who go to war against you will completely disappear.
13 I am the LORD your God. I take hold of your right hand. I say to you, 'Do not be afraid. I will help you.'
14 Family of Jacob, you are as weak as a worm. But do not be afraid. People of Israel, there are only a few of you. But do not be afraid. I myself will help you," announces the Lord. He is the one who sets his people free. He is the Holy One of Israel.
15 He says, "I will make you into a threshing sled. It will be new and sharp. It will have many teeth. You will grind the mountains down and crush them. You will turn the hills into nothing but straw.
16 You will toss them in the air. A strong wind will catch them and blow them away. You will be glad because I will make that happen. You will praise me. I am the Holy One of Israel.
17 "Those who are poor and needy search for water. But there isn't any. Their tongues are dry because they are thirsty. But I will help them. I am the Lord. I will not desert them. I am Israel's God.
18 I will make streams flow on the bare hilltops. I will make springs come up in the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water. I will turn the dry and cracked ground into flowing springs.
19 I will make trees grow in the desert. I will plant cedar and acacia trees there. I will plant myrtle and olive trees there. I will make pine trees grow in the dry and empty desert. I will plant fir and cypress trees there.
20 Then people will see and know that my powerful hand has done it. They will consider and understand that I have created it. I am the Holy One of Israel."
21 The LORD says to the nations and their gods, "State your case." Jacob's King says to them, "Prove your case to me.
22 Show me your facts. Tell me and my people what is going to happen. Tell us what happened in the past. Then we can check it out and see if it is really true. Or announce to us the things that will take place.
23 Tell us what will happen in the days ahead. Then we will know that you are gods. Do something. It does not matter whether it is good or bad. Then we will be terrified and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing. Your actions are completely worthless. I hate it when people worship you.
25 "I have stirred up a king who will come from the north. He lives in the east. He will bring honor to me. He walks all over rulers as if they were mud. He steps on them just as a potter stomps on clay.
26 Which one of you gods said those things would happen before they did? Who told us about them so we could know them? Who told us ahead of time? Who told us so we could say, 'You are right'? None of you told us about them. None of you told us ahead of time. In fact, no one heard you say anything at all.
27 I was the first to tell Zion. I said, 'Look! The people of Israel are coming back!' I sent a prophet to Jerusalem with the good news.
28 I look, but there is no one among the gods that can give me advice. None of them can answer when I ask them the simplest question.
29 So they are not really gods at all. What they do does not amount to anything. They are as useless as wind.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.