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

1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them. 2 Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. 3 These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian. 4 Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? 5 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? 6 On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable! 7 “But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem? 8 “I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! 9 With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers? 10 What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD ’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’” 11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.” 12 But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.” 13 Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria! 14 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you. 15 Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’ 16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. 17 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards. 18 “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? 19 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? 20 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?” 21 But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.” 22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.
1 When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD . 2 And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby. 4 But perhaps the LORD your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!” 5 After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah, 6 the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. 7 Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’” 8 Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah. 9 Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message: 10 “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. 11 You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? 12 Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! 13 What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?” 14 After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD ’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD . 15 And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD : 16 “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. 17 Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. 18 “It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. 19 And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. 20 Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God. ” 21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22 the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee. 23 “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel! 24 By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests. 25 I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’ 26 “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. 27 That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall. 28 “But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. 29 And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.” 30 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit. 31 And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish. 32 For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! 33 “And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. 34 The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD . 35 ‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’” 36 That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. 37 Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there. 38 One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
1 About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’” 2 When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 “Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly. 4 Then this message came to Isaiah from the LORD : 5 “Go back 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. I will add fifteen years to your life, 6 and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city. 7 “‘And this is the sign from the LORD to prove that he will do as he promised: 8 I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!’” So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps. 9 When King Hezekiah was well again, he wrote this poem: 10 I said, “In the prime of my life, must I now enter the place of the dead? Am I to be robbed of the rest of my years?” 11 I said, “Never again will I see the LORD GOD while still in the land of the living. Never again will I see my friends or be with those who live in this world. 12 My life has been blown away like a shepherd’s tent in a storm. It has been cut short, as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom. Suddenly, my life was over. 13 I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over. 14 Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!” 15 But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt. 16 Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! 17 Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. 18 For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. 19 Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. 20 Think of it—the LORD is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD . 21 Isaiah had said to Hezekiah’s servants, “Make an ointment from figs and spread it over the boil, and Hezekiah will recover.” 22 And Hezekiah had asked, “What sign will prove that I will go to the Temple of the LORD ?”
1 Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered. 2 Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them. 3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.” 4 “What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah. “They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.” 5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: 6 ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the LORD . 7 ‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’” 8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the LORD is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”
1 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. 2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the LORD has punished her twice over for all her sins.” 3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD ! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! 4 Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. 5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken!” 6 A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD . And so it is with people. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” 9 O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!” 10 Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. 12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? 13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD ? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? 14 Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? 15 No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand. 16 All the wood in Lebanon’s forests and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough to make a burnt offering worthy of our God. 17 The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes they count for less than nothing— mere emptiness and froth. 18 To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him? 19 Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains? 20 Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall down! 21 Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God— the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant? 22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. 23 He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. 24 They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff. 25 “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. 26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. 27 O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? 28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
1 “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case. 2 “Who has stirred up this king from the east, rightly calling him to God’s service? Who gives this man victory over many nations and permits him to trample their kings underfoot? With his sword, he reduces armies to dust. With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind. 3 He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground. 4 Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.” 5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war. 6 The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!” 7 The carver encourages the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.” Carefully they join the parts together, then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over. 8 “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend, 9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing. 12 You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing. 13 For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. 14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the LORD, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.’ 15 You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains. 16 You will toss them into the air, and the wind will blow them all away; a whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in the LORD . You will glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. 18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground. 19 I will plant trees in the barren desert— cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine. 20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means— that it is the LORD who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it. 21 “Present the case for your idols,” says the LORD . “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel. 22 “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen. 23 Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us. 24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Those who choose you pollute themselves. 25 “But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north. From the east he will call on my name. I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay. 26 “Who told you from the beginning that this would happen? Who predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one said a word! 27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news. 28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked. 29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.