Chapter 13

  1. Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem, unto king Hezekiah, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field. Then came forth unto him Eliakim (Hilkiah’s son) who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah (Asaph’s son) the recorder.
  2. And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say now to Hezekiah, Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: What confidence is this wherein you trust? I say your words are but vain when you say, I have counsel and strength for war. Now, on whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? Behold, you trust in the staff of this broken reed — on Egypt — on which, if a man lean, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him. But if you say to me, We trust in the Lord our God — is it not he whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, You shall worship before this altar? Now therefore give pledges, I pray you, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders upon them. How then will you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? And have I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? The Lord said unto me, Go up against this land and destroy it.
  3. Then said Eliakim, and Shebna, and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray you, unto your servants in the Syrian language, for we understand it; and speak not to us in the Jews’ language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall. But Rabshakeh said, Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words? Has he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung and drink their own piss with you?
  4. Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: Let not Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Listen not to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and eat everyone of his vine and everyone of his fig tree, and drink everyone the waters of his own cistern, until 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. Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The Lord will deliver us. Have any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? And have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of these lands that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
  5. But they held their peace and answered him not a word, for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not. Then came Eliakim (the son of Hilkiah) that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah (the son of Asaph) the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.
  6. And it came to pass when king Hezekiah heard it that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, Thus says Hezekiah: This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy, for the children have come to the birth and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the Lord your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the Lord your God has heard; wherefore, lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.
  7. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah, and Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall you say unto your master: Thus says the Lord: Be not afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
  8. So Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah (for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish). And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia: He has come forth to make war with you. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly, and shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them whom my fathers have destroyed — as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?
  9. And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying, O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel who dwells between the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made Heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their countries, and have cast their gods into the fire — for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone; therefore, they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you are the Lord, even you only.
  10. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: Whereas you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word which the Lord has spoken concerning him: The virgin, the daughter of Zion, has despised you and laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you. Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you exalted your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel. By your servants have you reproached the Lord, and have said, By the multitude of my chariots have I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof and the choice fir trees thereof; and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel. I have dug and drunk water, and with the soles of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places. Have you not heard long ago how I have done it? And of ancient times that I have formed it? Now have I brought it to pass, that you should be, to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore, their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded. They were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as grain blasted before it is grown up. But I know your abode, and your going out, and your coming in, and your rage against me. Because your rage against me and your tumult has come up into my ears, therefore will I put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came.
  11. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall eat this year such as grows of itself; and the second year, that which springs of the same; and in the third year, you sow, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Jerusalem shall come up upon Mount Zion; the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall do this.
  12. Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return and shall not come into this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it for my own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. Then the angel of the Lord went forth and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when they who were left arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelled at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer — his sons — smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia, and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
  13. In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came unto him and said unto him, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall and prayed unto the Lord, and said, Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight. And Hezekiah wept severely. Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying, Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add unto your days fifteen years. And I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city. And this shall be a sign unto you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has spoken: behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.
  14. The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick and was recovered of his sickness: I said in the cutting off of my days I shall go to the gates of the grave, I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living; I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. My age is departed and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent. I have cut off like a weaver my life; he will cut me off with withering sickness. From day even to night will you make an end of me. I reckoned until morning that as a lion, so will he break all my bones; from day even to night will you make an end of me. Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove. My eyes fail with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me. What shall I say? He has both spoken unto me and himself has healed me. I shall go softly all my years, that I may not walk in the bitterness of my soul. O Lord, you who are the life of my spirit, in whom I live, so will you recover me and make me to live; and in all these things I will praise you. Behold, I had great bitterness instead of peace; but you have, in love to my soul, saved me from the pit of corruption, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot celebrate you, they that go down into the pit cannot hope for your truth. The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do this day; the father to the children shall make known your truth. The Lord was ready to save me; therefore, we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.
  15. For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover. Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?
  16. At that time, Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that he had been sick and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things — the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What did these men say? And from where did they come unto you? And Hezekiah said, They have come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in my house have they seen; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of Hosts: Behold, the days come that all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And of your sons that shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which you have spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.
  17. Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak comfortingly to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.