Passage: Isaiah 36, 37 (RSV)

Isaiah 36

1In the fourteenth year of King Hezeki'ah, Sennach'erib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.
2And the king of Assyria sent the Rab'shakeh from Lachish to King Hezeki'ah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller's Field.
3And there came out to him Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Jo'ah the son of Asaph, the recorder.
4And the Rab'shakeh said to them, "Say to Hezeki'ah, `Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this confidence of yours?
5Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me?
6Behold, you are relying on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him.
7But if you say to me, "We rely on the LORD our God," is it not he whose high places and altars Hezeki'ah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, "You shall worship before this altar"?
8Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders upon them.
9How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
10Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.'"
11Then Eli'akim, Shebna, and Jo'ah said to the Rab'shakeh, "Pray, speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall."
12But the Rab'shakeh said, "Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?"
13Then the Rab'shakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!
14Thus says the king: `Do not let Hezeki'ah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you.
15Do not let Hezeki'ah make you rely on the LORD by saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
16Do not listen to Hezeki'ah; for thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat of his own vine, and every one of his own fig tree, and every one of you will drink the water of his own cistern;
17until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
18Beware lest Hezeki'ah mislead you by saying, "The LORD will deliver us." Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharva'im? Have they delivered Sama'ria out of my hand?
20Who among all the gods of these countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'"
21But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, "Do not answer him."
22Then Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Jo'ah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezeki'ah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of the Rab'shakeh.

Isaiah 37

1When King Hezeki'ah heard it, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
2And he sent Eli'akim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, clothed with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz.
3They said to him, "Thus says Hezeki'ah, `This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.
4It may be that the LORD your God heard the words of the Rab'shakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'"
5When the servants of King Hezeki'ah came to Isaiah,
6Isaiah said to them, "Say to your master, `Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me.
7Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'"
8The Rab'shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he had heard that the king had left Lachish.
9Now the king heard concerning Tirha'kah king of Ethiopia, "He has set out to fight against you." And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezeki'ah, saying,
10"Thus shall you speak to Hezeki'ah king of Judah: `Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
11Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. And shall you be delivered?
12Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations which my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar?
13Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharva'im, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?'"
14Hezeki'ah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezeki'ah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
15And Hezeki'ah prayed to the LORD:
16"O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who art enthroned above the cherubim, thou art the God, thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
17Incline thy ear, O LORD, and hear; open thy eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennach'erib, which he has sent to mock the living God.
18Of a truth, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands,
19and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they were destroyed.
20So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou alone art the LORD."
21Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezeki'ah, saying, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennach'erib king of Assyria,
22this is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him: `She despises you, she scorns you -- the virgin daughter of Zion; she wags her head behind you -- the daughter of Jerusalem.
23`Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and haughtily lifted your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel!
24By your servants you have mocked the Lord, and you have said, With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon; I felled its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses; I came to its remotest height, its densest forest.
25I dug wells and drank waters, and I dried up with the sole of my foot all the streams of Egypt.
26`Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins,
27while their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and confounded, and have become like plants of the field and like tender grass, like grass on the housetops, blighted before it is grown.
28`I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me.
29Because you have raged against me and your arrogance has come to my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.'
30"And this shall be the sign for you: this year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same; then in the third year sow and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit.
31And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward;
32for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
33"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege mound against it.
34By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, says the LORD.
35For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David."
36And the angel of the LORD went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
37Then Sennach'erib king of Assyria departed, and went home and dwelt at Nin'eveh.
38And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adram'melech and Share'zer, his sons, slew him with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ar'arat. And E'sar-had'don his son reigned in his stead.

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