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Hezekiah Consults Isaiah


When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the L ord. 2And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, 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 L ord your God heard the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the L ord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.”

5 When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the L ord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’ ”

8 The Rabshakeh 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 King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, “He has set out to fight against you.” When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10“Thus shall you speak to King Hezekiah 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. 11See, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered? 12Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my predecessors destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?”

Hezekiah’s Prayer

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then Hezekiah went up to the house of the L ord and spread it before the L ord. 15And Hezekiah prayed to the L ord, saying: 16“O L ord of hosts, God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17Incline your ear, O L ord, and hear; open your eyes, O L ord, and see; hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18Truly, O L ord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19and have hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods, but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed. 20So now, O L ord our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the L ord.”

21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying: “Thus says the L ord, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22this is the word that the L ord has spoken concerning him:

She despises you, she scorns you—

virgin daughter Zion;

she tosses her head—behind your back,

daughter Jerusalem.



“Whom have you mocked and reviled?

Against whom have you raised your voice

and haughtily lifted your eyes?

Against the Holy One of Israel!


By 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.


I dug wells

and drank waters,

I dried up with the sole of my foot

all the streams of Egypt.’



“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,


while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,

are dismayed and confounded;

they have become like plants of the field

and like tender grass,

like grass on the housetops,

blighted before it is grown.



“I know your rising up and your sitting down,

your going out and coming in,

and your raging against me.


Because 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;

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 from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward; 32for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the L ord of hosts will do this.

33 “Therefore thus says the L ord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it. 34By the way that he came, by the same he shall return; he shall not come into this city, says the L ord. 35For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”


Sennacherib’s Defeat and Death

36 Then the angel of the L ord set out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. 37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Nineveh. 38As he was worshiping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him.

17. incline thine ear, O Jehovah. From these words we conclude how great was the perplexity of Hezekiah; for the earnestness that pervades the prayer breathes an amazing power of anguish, so that it is easily seen that he had a struggle attended by uncommon difficulty to escape from the temptation. Though his warmth in prayer shews the strength and eminence of his faith, yet at the same time it exhibits, as in a mirror, the stormy passions. Whenever we shall be called to sustain such contests, let us learn by the example of the pious king to combat our passions by everything that is fitted to strengthen our faith, so that the very disturbance may conduct us to safety and peace, and that we may not be terrified by a conviction of our weakness, if at any time we shall be powerfully assailed by fear and perplexity. It is, indeed, the will of the Lord that we shall toil hard, and sweat and shiver; for we must not expect to gain the victory while we repose in indolence, but after diversified contests he promises to us a prosperous issue, which he will undoubtedly grant.

But why does Hezekiah demand that God should listen? Does he think float he is asleep or does not hear? By no means; but in a matter of such difficulty we frequently speak in such a manner as if we thought that God was absent or did not attend to our afflictions. He shews that he was oppressed by so great perplexity that he almost thought that God had forsaken him; that is, according to the eyes of the flesh; for if he had not by the eyes of faith beheld God as present, he would have lost courage.

Open thine eyes, O Jehovah, and see. It is as if Hezekiah had prayed that the assistance of God, which he had long kept in his heart committed to the guardianship of hope, would be actually and publicly manifested; and therefore he prays that Jehovah would “open his eyes and see;” that is, would shew that he cares about these matters. Hezekiah shews plainly what was the subject about which he was most anxious, namely, that God would revenge the insults offered to him; for although he was deeply affected by anxiety about his kingdom and people, yet he set a higher value on the glory of God than on all other sources of uneasiness. The advancement of that glory ought, indeed, above all things, to move and impress our hearts, and the more especially because we know that it is closely connected with our salvation.

Thus Hezekiah here represents this tyrant as an enemy of God, who dishonors him by reproaches and curses because Jerusalem glories in his name and protection, and concludes that God cannot forsake the city which he hath undertaken to defend, without at the same time abandoning his own name. Since, therefore, God in his infinite goodness chooses to connect our salvation with his glory, we ought to lay held on those promises for the purpose of strengthening our hearts, that although the wicked, while they reproach God and pour and vomit out the venom of their breast, harden themselves in the vain hope that they shall not be punished, still there will not be a syllable which the Lord does not hear, and which he does not at length call to account.

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