1Until like fire a prophet appeared,
his words a flaming furnace.a
2The staff of life, their bread, he shattered,
and in his zeal he made them few in number.
3By God’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.b
4How awesome are you, ELIJAH!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
5You brought a dead body back to life
from Sheol, by the will of the LORD.c
6You sent kings down to destruction,
and nobles, from their beds of sickness.d
7You heard threats at Sinai,
at Horeb avenging judgments.e
8You anointed the agent of these punishments,
the prophet to succeed in your place.f
9You were taken aloft in a whirlwind,
in a chariot with fiery horses.g
10You are destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
To turn back the hearts of parents toward their children,
and to re-establish the tribes of Israel.h
11Blessed is the one who shall have seen you before he dies!*
12When Elijah was enveloped in the whirlwind,
ELISHA was filled with his spirit;*
He worked twice as many marvels,i
and every utterance of his mouth was wonderful.
During his lifetime he feared no one,
nor was anyone able to intimidate his will.
13Nothing was beyond his power;j
and from where he lay buried, his body prophesied.*
14In life he performed wonders,
and after death, marvelous deeds.
15Despite all this the people did not repent,
nor did they give up their sins,
Until they were uprooted from their land
and scattered all over the earth.
But Judah remained, a tiny people,
with its ruler from the house of David.k
16Some of them did what was right,
but others were extremely sinful.
Hezekiah and Isaiah*
17HEZEKIAH fortified his city
and had water brought into it;l
With bronze tools he cut through the rocks
and dammed up a mountain site for water.*
18During his reign Sennacherib led an invasion
and sent his adjutant;
He shook his fist at Zion
and blasphemed God in his pride.m
19The people’s hearts melted within them,
and they were in anguish like that of childbirth.
20But they called upon the Most High God
and lifted up their hands to him;
He heard the prayer they uttered,
and saved them through ISAIAH.n
21God struck the camp of the Assyrians
and routed them with a plague.o
22For Hezekiah did what was right
and held fast to the paths of David,
As ordered by the illustrious prophet
Isaiah, who saw truth in visions.
23In his lifetime he turned back the sun
and prolonged the life of the king.p
24By his powerful spirit he looked into the futureq
and consoled the mourners of Zion;
25He foretold what would happen till the end of time,
hidden things yet to be fulfilled.
* [48:11] Verse 11b is not extant in the Hebrew; it is represented in the Greek tradition by “for we too shall certainly live.” But this can hardly be the original reading.
* [48:12–16] Elisha continued Elijah’s work (vv. 12–14), but the obstinacy of the people eventually brought on the destruction of the kingdom of Israel and the dispersion of its subjects. Judah, however, survived under the rule of Davidic kings, both good and bad (vv. 15–16).
* [48:13] The reference in v. 13b seems to be to 2 Kgs 13:21 where it is related that a dead man, thrown into Elisha’s grave, came back to life.
* [48:17–25] The fidelity of King Hezekiah (vv. 17, 22), the zeal of the prophet Isaiah, and the prayer of the people (v. 20) were effective. The Assyrian oppressors under Sennacherib withdrew (vv. 18–19, 21). The king’s life was prolonged. The people were consoled by Isaiah’s words about the future (vv. 23–25); the “consolations” refer to Is 40–66.
* [48:17] The reference is to the famous Siloam tunnel in present-day Jerusalem.
a. [48:1] 1 Kgs 17:1.
c. [48:5] 1 Kgs 17:17–23.
d. [48:6] 1 Kgs 21:19; 2 Kgs 1:17.
e. [48:7] 1 Kgs 19:8–15.
f. [48:8] 1 Kgs 19:16–17.
g. [48:9] 2 Kgs 2:11.
h. [48:10] Mal 3:23–24; Mt 17:10.
j. [48:13–14] 2 Kgs 13:21.
k. [48:15] 2 Kgs 15:29; 18:11–12.
l. [48:17] 2 Kgs 20:20; 2 Chr 32:30.
m. [48:18] 2 Kgs 18:13–37; Is 36:1–22.
n. [48:20] 2 Kgs 19:20.
o. [48:21] 2 Kgs 19:35; Is 37:36.
p. [48:23] 2 Kgs 20:11; Is 38:8.
q. [48:24–25] 2 Kgs 20:17; Is 40:1–11; 42:9; 46:10; 48:6; 61:2–3.