Hezekiah and Isaiah. 1When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his garments, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. 2He sent Eliakim, the master of the palace, Shebnah the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to tell the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, 3“Thus says Hezekiah:
A day of distress and rebuke,
a day of disgrace is this day!
Children are due to come forth,
but the strength to give birth is lacking.*
4Perhaps the LORD, your God, will hear all the words of the commander, whom his lord, the king of Assyria, sent to taunt the living God, and will rebuke him for the words which the LORD, your God, has heard. So lift up a prayer for the remnant that is here.” 5When the servants of King Hezekiah had come to Isaiah, 6he said to them, “Tell this to your lord: Thus says the LORD: Do not be frightened by the words you have heard, by which the deputies of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.a 7I am putting in him such a spirit that when he hears a report he will return to his land. I will make him fall by the sword in his land.”
8When the commander, on his return, heard that the king of Assyria had withdrawn from Lachish, he found him besieging Libnah.
Sennacherib, Hezekiah, and Isaiah. 9The king of Assyria heard a report: “Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, has come out to fight against you.” Again he sent messengers to Hezekiah to say: 10“Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by saying, ‘Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’ 11You, certainly, have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands: they put them under the ban! And are you to be rescued? 12b Did the gods of the nations whom my fathers destroyed deliver them—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, or the Edenites in Telassar? 13Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, or the kings of the cities Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”
14Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the house of the LORD, and spreading it out before the LORD, 15Hezekiah prayed in the LORD’s presence: “LORD, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. It is you who made the heavens and the earth.c 16Incline your ear, LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, LORD, and see! Hear the words Sennacherib has sent to taunt the living God. 17Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands. 18They gave their gods to the fire—they were not gods at all, but the work of human hands—wood and stone, they destroyed them. 19Therefore, LORD, our God, save us from this man’s power, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, LORD, are God.”d
20Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to whom you have prayed concerning Sennacherib, king of Assyria: I have listened! 21* This is the word the LORD has spoken concerning him:
She despises you, laughs you to scorn,
the virgin daughter Zion!
Behind you she wags her head,
22Whom have you insulted and blasphemed,
at whom have you raised your voice
And lifted up your eyes on high?
At the Holy One of Israel!
23Through the mouths of your messengers
you insulted the Lord when you said,
‘With my many chariots I went up
to the tops of the peaks,
to the recesses of Lebanon,
To cut down its lofty cedars,
its choice cypresses;
I reached to the farthest shelter,
the forest ranges.
24I myself dug wells
and drank foreign waters,
Drying up all the rivers of Egypt
beneath the soles of my feet.’
25“Have you not heard?
A long time ago I prepared it,
from days of old I planned it.
Now I have brought it about:
You are here to reduce
fortified cities to heaps of ruins,
26Their people powerless,
dismayed and distraught.
They are plants of the field,
thatch on the rooftops,
Grain scorched by the east wind.
27I know when you stand or sit,
when you come or goe
and how you rage against me.
28Because you rage against me,
and your smugness has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
And make you leave by the way you came.
29“This shall be a sign for you:
This year you shall eat the aftergrowth,
next year, what grows of itself;
But in the third year, sow and reap,
plant vineyards and eat their fruit!
30The remaining survivors of the house of Judah
shall again strike root below
and bear fruit above.
31For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant,
and from Mount Zion, survivors.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.
32“Therefore, thus says the LORD about the king:
He shall not come as far as this city,
nor shoot there an arrow,
nor confront it with a shield,
Nor cast up a siege-work against it.
33By the way he came he shall leave,
never coming as far as this city,
oracle of the LORD.
34I will shield and save this city
for my own sake and the sake of David my servant.”f
35That night the angel of the LORD went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, dead, all those corpses!g 36So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, departed, returned home, and stayed in Nineveh.
37When he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and fled into the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon reigned in his place.
* [19:21–31] Verses 21–28 are addressed to Sennacherib, vv. 29–31 to Judah.
b. [19:12–13] 2 Kgs 17:6, 24; 18:34.
c. [19:15] Ex 25:17–22; 1 Kgs 6:23–28; 8:6–7.
d. [19:19] 1 Kgs 18:36.