37:1 When King Hezekiah heard this, 1 he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the Lord’s temple. 37:2 Eliakim the palace supervisor, Shebna the scribe, and the leading priests, 2 clothed in sackcloth, sent this message to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz: 37:3 “This is what Hezekiah says: 3 ‘This is a day of distress, insults, 4 and humiliation, 5 as when a baby is ready to leave the birth canal, but the mother lacks the strength to push it through. 6 37:4 Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all these things the chief adviser has spoken on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria, who sent him to taunt the living God. 7 When the Lord your God hears, perhaps he will punish him for the things he has said. 8 So pray for this remnant that remains.’” 9
37:5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 37:6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me. 10 37:7 Look, I will take control of his mind; 11 he will receive a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down 12 with a sword in his own land.”’”
37:8 When the chief adviser heard the king of Assyria had departed from Lachish, he left and went to Libnah, where the king was campaigning. 13 37:9 The king 14 heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia 15 was marching out to fight him. 16 He again sent 17 messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: 37:10 “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 37:11 Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands. 18 Do you really think you will be rescued? 19 37:12 Were the nations whom my predecessors 20 destroyed – the nations of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden in Telassar – rescued by their gods? 21 37:13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the kings of Lair, 22 Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?’”
37:14 Hezekiah took the letter 23 from the messengers and read it. 24 Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. 37:15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: 37:16 “O Lord who commands armies, O God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubim! 25 You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky 26 and the earth. 37:17 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to this entire message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God! 27 37:18 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the nations 28 and their lands. 37:19 They have burned the gods of the nations, 29 for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them. 30 37:20 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” 31
37:21 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Because you prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria, 32 37:22 this is what the Lord says about him: 33
“The virgin daughter Zion 34
despises you – she makes fun of you;
shakes her head after you. 35
37:23 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?
At whom have you shouted
and looked so arrogantly? 36
At the Holy One of Israel! 37
‘With my many chariots I climbed up
the high mountains,
the slopes of Lebanon.
I cut down its tall cedars
and its best evergreens.
I invaded its most remote regions, 39
its thickest woods.
37:25 I dug wells
and drank water. 40
With the soles of my feet I dried up
all the rivers of Egypt.’
Long ago I worked it out,
in ancient times I planned 43 it,
and now I am bringing it to pass.
The plan is this:
Fortified cities will crash
into heaps of ruins. 44
they are terrified and ashamed.
They are as short-lived as plants in the field
or green vegetation. 46
They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops 47
when it is scorched by the east wind. 48
37:28 I know where you live
and everything you do
and how you rage against me. 49
37:29 Because you rage against me
and the uproar you create has reached my ears, 50
I will put my hook in your nose, 51
and my bridle between your lips,
and I will lead you back
the way you came.”
37:30 52 “This will be your reminder that I have spoken the truth: 53 This year you will eat what grows wild, 54 and next year 55 what grows on its own. But the year after that 56 you will plant seed and harvest crops; you will plant vines and consume their produce. 57 37:31 Those who remain in Judah will take root in the ground and bear fruit. 58
37:32 “For a remnant will leave Jerusalem;
survivors will come out of Mount Zion.
The intense devotion of the Lord who commands armies 59 will accomplish this.
37:33 So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
‘He will not enter this city,
nor will he shoot an arrow here. 60
He will not attack it with his shielded warriors, 61
nor will he build siege works against it.
37:34 He will go back the way he came –
he will not enter this city,’ says the Lord.
37:36 The Lord’s messenger 63 went out and killed 185,000 troops 64 in the Assyrian camp. When they 65 got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses! 66 37:37 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and went on his way. He went home and stayed in Nineveh. 67 37:38 One day, 68 as he was worshiping 69 in the temple of his god Nisroch, 70 his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword. 71 They ran away to the land of Ararat; his son Esarhaddon replaced him as king.
38:1 In those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness. 72 The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz visited him and told him, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Give instructions to your household, for you are about to die; you will not get well.’” 38:2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 38:3 “Please, Lord. Remember how I have served you 73 faithfully and with wholehearted devotion, 74 and how I have carried out your will.” 75 Then Hezekiah wept bitterly. 76
38:4 The Lord told Isaiah, 77 38:5 “Go and tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor 78 David says: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will add fifteen years to your life, 38:6 and rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will shield this city.”’” 38:7 Isaiah replied, 79 “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said: 38:8 Look, I will make the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz.” 80 And then the shadow went back ten steps. 81
38:9 This is the prayer of King Hezekiah of Judah when he was sick and then recovered from his illness:
‘In the middle of my life 83 I must walk through the gates of Sheol,
I am deprived 84 of the rest of my years.’
38:11 “I thought,
‘I will no longer see the Lord 85 in the land of the living,
I will no longer look on humankind with the inhabitants of the world. 86
like a shepherd’s tent.
I rolled up my life like a weaver rolls cloth; 89
from the loom he cuts me off. 90
You turn day into night and end my life. 91
like a lion he shatters all my bones;
you turn day into night and end my life. 93
38:14 Like a swallow or a thrush I chirp,
I coo 94 like a dove;
my eyes grow tired from looking up to the sky. 95
O sovereign master, 96 I am oppressed;
help me! 97
38:15 What can I say?
He has decreed and acted. 98
I will walk slowly all my years because I am overcome with grief. 99
38:16 O sovereign master, your decrees can give men life;
may years of life be restored to me. 100
Restore my health 101 and preserve my life.’
For you removed all my sins from your sight. 105
death does not 107 praise you.
Those who descend into the pit do not anticipate your faithfulness.
38:19 The living person, the living person, he gives you thanks,
as I do today.
A father tells his sons about your faithfulness.
and we will celebrate with music 109
for the rest of our lives in the Lord’s temple.” 11038:21 111 Isaiah ordered, “Let them take a fig cake and apply it to the ulcerated sore and he will get well.” 38:22 Hezekiah said, “What is the confirming sign that I will go up to the Lord’s temple?”
39:1 At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been ill and had recovered. 39:2 Hezekiah welcomed 112 them and showed them his storehouse with its silver, gold, spices, and high-quality olive oil, as well as his whole armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom. 113 39:3 Isaiah the prophet visited King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where do they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They come from the distant land of Babylon.” 39:4 Isaiah 114 asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything in my palace. I showed them everything in my treasuries.” 39:5 Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the word of the Lord who commands armies: 39:6 ‘Look, a time is coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors 115 have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. 39:7 ‘Some of your very own descendants whom you father 116 will be taken away and will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 39:8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s word which you have announced is appropriate.” 117 Then he thought, 118 “For 119 there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.”
2 tn Heb “elders of the priests” (so KJV, NAB, NASB); NCV “the older priests”; NRSV, TEV, CEV “the senior priests.”
3 tn In the Hebrew text this verse begins with “they said to him” (cf. NRSV).
4 tn Or “rebuke” (KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV), or “correction.”
5 tn Or “contempt”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “disgrace.”
6 tn Heb “when sons come to the cervical opening and there is no strength to give birth.”
7 tn Heb “all the words of the chief adviser whom his master, the king of Assyria, sent to taunt the living God.”
8 tn Heb “and rebuke the words which the Lord your God hears.”
9 tn Heb “and lift up a prayer on behalf of the remnant that is found.”
10 tn Heb “by which the servants of the king of Assyria have insulted me.”
11 tn Heb “I will put in him a spirit.” The precise sense of רוּחַ (ruakh, “spirit”) is uncertain in this context. It may refer to a spiritual being who will take control of his mind (see 1 Kgs 22:19), or it could refer to a disposition of concern and fear. In either case the Lord’s sovereignty over the king is apparent.
12 tn Heb “cause him to fall” (so KJV, ASV, NAB), that is, “kill him.”
13 tn Heb “and the chief adviser returned and he found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish.”
14 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
15 tn Heb “Cush” (so NASB); NIV, NCV “the Cushite king of Egypt.”
16 tn Heb “heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, ‘He has come out to fight with you.’”
18 tn Heb “Look, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, annihilating them.”
19 tn Heb “and will you be rescued?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “No, of course not!”
20 tn Heb “fathers” (so KJV, NAB, NASB); NIV “forefathers”; NCV “ancestors.”
21 tn Heb “Did the gods of the nations whom my fathers destroyed rescue them – Gozan and Haran, and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who are in Telassar?”
22 sn Lair was a city located in northeastern Babylon. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 235.
23 tc The Hebrew text has the plural, “letters.” The final mem (ם) may be dittographic (note the initial mem on the form that immediately follows). Some Greek and Aramaic witnesses have the singular. If so, one still has to deal with the yod that is part of the plural ending. J. N. Oswalt refers to various commentators who have suggested ways to understand the plural form (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:652).
25 sn Cherubim (singular “cherub”) refers to the images of winged angelic creatures that were above the ark of the covenant.
26 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
27 tn Heb “Hear all the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God.”
29 tn Heb “and they put their gods in the fire.”
30 tn Heb “so they destroyed them” (NASB similar).
32 tn The parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:20 reads, “That which you prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.” The verb “I have heard” does not appear in Isa 37:21, where אֲשֶׁר (’asher) probably has a causal sense: “because.”
33 tn Heb “this is the word which the Lord has spoken about him.”
34 sn Zion (Jerusalem) is pictured here as a young, vulnerable daughter whose purity is being threatened by the would-be Assyrian rapist. The personification hints at the reality which the young girls of the city would face if the Assyrians conquer it.
35 sn Shaking the head was a mocking gesture of derision.
36 tn Heb “and lifted your eyes on high?” Cf. NIV “lifted your eyes in pride”; NRSV “haughtily lifted your eyes.”
38 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
39 tn Heb “the height of its extremity”; ASV “its farthest height.”
40 tc The Hebrew text has simply, “I dug and drank water.” But the parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:24 has “foreign waters.” זָרִים (zarim, “foreign”) may have accidentally dropped out of the Isaianic text by homoioteleuton (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT). Note that the preceding word, מַיִם (mayim, “water) also ends in mem (ם). The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has “foreign waters” for this line. However, in several other passages the 1QIsaa scroll harmonizes with 2 Kgs 19 against the MT (Isa 36:5; 37:9, 20). Since the addition of “foreign” to this text in Isaiah by a later scribe would be more likely than its deletion, the MT reading should be accepted.
42 tn Heb “Have you not heard?” The rhetorical question expresses the Lord’s amazement that anyone might be ignorant of what he is about to say.
43 tn Heb “formed” (so KJV, ASV).
44 tn Heb “and it is to cause to crash into heaps of ruins fortified cities.” The subject of the third feminine singular verb תְהִי (tÿhi) is the implied plan, referred to in the preceding lines with third feminine singular pronominal suffixes.
45 tn Heb “short of hand”; KJV, ASV “of small power”; NASB “short of strength.”
47 tn Heb “[they are] grass on the rooftops.” See the preceding note.
48 tc The Hebrew text has “scorched before the standing grain” (perhaps meaning “before it reaches maturity”), but it is preferable to emend קָמָה (qamah, “standing grain”) to קָדִים (qadim, “east wind”) with the support of 1Q Isaa; cf. J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:657, n. 8.
49 tc Heb “your going out and your coming in and how you have raged against me.” Several scholars have suggested that this line is probably dittographic (note the beginning of the next line). However, most English translations include the statement in question at the end of v. 28 and the beginning of v. 29. Interestingly, the LXX does not have this clause at the end of v. 28 and the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does not have it at the beginning of v. 29. In light of this ambiguous manuscript evidence, it appears best to retain the clause in both verses.
50 tc Heb “and your complacency comes up into my ears.” The parallelism is improved if שַׁאֲנַנְךָ (sha’anankha, “your complacency”) is emended to שְׁאוֹנְךָ (shÿ’onÿkha, “your uproar”). See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 237-38. However, the LXX seems to support the MT and Sennacherib’s cavalier dismissal of Yahweh depicts an arrogant complacency (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:658, n. 10).
51 sn The word-picture has a parallel in Assyrian sculpture. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 238.
53 tn Heb “and this is your sign.” In this case the אוֹת (’ot, “sign”) is a future reminder of God’s intervention designated before the actual intervention takes place. For similar “signs” see Exod 3:12 and Isa 7:14-25.
54 sn This refers to crops that grew up on their own (that is, without cultivation) from the seed planted in past years.
55 tn Heb “and in the second year” (so ASV).
56 tn Heb “in the third year” (so KJV, NAB).
58 tn Heb “The remnant of the house of Judah that is left will add roots below and produce fruit above.”
59 tn Heb “the zeal of the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].” In this context the Lord’s “zeal” refers to his intense devotion to and love for his people which prompts him to protect and restore them.
60 tn Heb “there” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV). In terms of English style “here” is expected in collocation with “this” in the previous line.
61 tn Heb “[with] a shield” (so ASV, NASB, NRSV).
62 tn Heb “for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.”
63 tn Traditionally, “the angel of the Lord” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
64 tn The word “troops” is supplied in the translation for smoothness and clarity.
65 tn This refers to the Israelites and/or the rest of the Assyrian army.
66 tn Heb “look, all of them were dead bodies”; NLT “they found corpses everywhere.”
67 tn Heb “and Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went and returned and lived in Nineveh.”
68 sn The assassination of King Sennacherib probably took place in 681
70 sn No such Mesopotamian god is presently known. Perhaps the name Nisroch is a corruption of Nusku.
71 sn Extra-biblical sources also mention the assassination of Sennacherib, though they refer to only one assassin. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 239-40.
72 tn Heb “was sick to the point of dying”; NRSV “became sick and was at the point of death.”
73 tn Heb “walked before you.” For a helpful discussion of the background and meaning of this Hebrew idiom, see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 254.
74 tn Heb “and with a complete heart”; KJV, ASV “with a perfect heart.”
75 tn Heb “and that which is good in your eyes I have done.”
76 tn Heb “wept with great weeping”; NCV “cried loudly”; TEV “began to cry bitterly.”
77 tn Heb “and the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying.”
78 tn Heb “father” (so KJV, NAB, NIV).
79 tn The words “Isaiah replied” are supplied in the translation for clarification. In the present form of the Hebrew text v. 7 is joined directly to v. 6, but vv. 21-22, if original to Isaiah 38, must be inserted here. See 2 Kgs 20:7-8.
80 tn Heb “the shadow on the steps which [the sun] had gone down, on the steps of Ahaz, with the sun, back ten steps.”
sn These steps probably functioned as a type of sundial. See HALOT 614 s.v. מַעֲלָה and M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 256.
81 tn Heb “and the sun returned ten steps on the steps which it had gone down.”
82 tn Or “I said” (KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
83 tn The precise meaning of the phrase בִּדְמִי יָמַי (bidmi yamay, “in the [?] of my days”) is uncertain. According to HALOT 226 s.v. דְּמִי this word is a hapax legomenon meaning “half.” Others derive the form from דַּמִי (dami, “quiet, rest, peacefulness”).
84 tn The precise meaning of the verb is uncertain. The Pual of of פָּקַד (paqad) occurs only here and in Exod 38:21, where it appears to mean “passed in review” or “mustered.” Perhaps the idea is, “I have been called away for the remainder of my years.” To bring out the sense more clearly, one can translate, “I am deprived of the rest of my years.”
85 tn The Hebrew text has יָהּ יָהּ (yah yah, the abbreviated form of יְהוָה [yÿhvah] repeated), but this is probably a corruption of יְהוָה.
86 tc The Hebrew text has חָדֶל (khadel), which appears to be derived from a verbal root meaning “to cease, refrain.” But the form has probably suffered an error of transmission; the original form (attested in a few medieval Hebrew
87 tn According to HALOT 217 s.v. דּוֹר this noun is a hapax legomenon meaning “dwelling place,” derived from a verbal root meaning “live” (see Ps 84:10). For an interpretation that understands the form as the well-attested noun meaning “generation,” see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:679, n. 4.
88 tn The verb form appears to be a Niphal from גָּלָה (galah), which normally means “uncovered, revealed” in the Niphal. Because of the following reference to a shepherd’s tent, some prefer to emend the form to וְנָגַל, a Niphal from גָלָל (galal, “roll”) and translate “is rolled [or “folded”] up.”
89 tn Heb “I rolled up, like a weaver, my life” (so ASV).
90 sn For a discussion of the imagery employed here, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:684.
91 tn Heb “from day to night you bring me to an end.”
92 tn The verb form in the Hebrew text is a Piel from שָׁוַה (shavah). There are two homonyms שָׁוַה, one meaning in the Piel “level, smooth out,” the other “set, place.” Neither fits in v. 13. It is likely that the original reading was שִׁוַּעְתִּי (shivva’ti, “I cry out”) from the verbal root שָׁוַע (shava’), which occurs exclusively in the Piel.
93 tn Heb “from day to night you bring me to an end.”
94 tn Or “moan” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); KJV, CEV “mourn.”
95 tn Heb “my eyes become weak, toward the height.”
97 tn Heb “stand surety for me.” Hezekiah seems to be picturing himself as a debtor who is being exploited; he asks that the Lord might relieve his debt and deliver him from the oppressive creditor.
98 tn Heb “and he has spoken and he has acted.”
99 tn Heb “because of the bitterness of my soul.”
100 tn The translation offered here is purely speculative. The text as it stands is meaningless and probably corrupt. It reads literally, “O lord, on account of them [the suffix is masculine plural], they live, and to all in them [the suffix is feminine plural], life of my spirit.”
101 tn The prefixed verbal form could be taken as indicative, “you restore my health,” but the following imperatival form suggests it be understood as an imperfect of request.
102 tn Heb “Look, for peace bitterness was to me bitter”; NAB “thus is my bitterness transformed into peace.”
103 tc The Hebrew text reads, “you loved my soul,” but this does not fit syntactically with the following prepositional phrase. חָשַׁקְתָּ (khashaqta, “you loved”), may reflect an aural error; most emend the form to חָשַׂכְת, (khasakht, “you held back”).
104 tn בְּלִי (bÿli) most often appears as a negation, meaning “without,” suggesting the meaning “nothingness, oblivion,” here. Some translate “decay” or “destruction.”
105 tn Heb “for you threw behind your back all my sins.”
106 tn Or “For” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
107 tn The negative particle is understood by ellipsis in this line. See GKC 483 §152.z.
108 tn The infinitive construct is used here to indicate that an action is imminent. See GKC 348-49 §114.i, and IBHS 610 §36.2.3g.
109 tn Heb “and music [or perhaps, “stringed instruments”] we will play.”
110 tn Heb “all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord.”
111 tc If original to Isaiah 38, vv. 21-22 have obviously been misplaced in the course of the text’s transmission, and would most naturally be placed here, between Isa 38:6 and 38:7. See 2 Kgs 20:7-8, where these verses are placed at this point in the narrative, not at the end. Another possibility is that these verses were not in the original account, and a scribe, familiar with the 2 Kgs version of the story, appended vv. 21-22 to the end of the account in Isaiah 38.
112 tn Heb “was happy with”; NAB, NASB “was pleased”; NIV “received the envoys gladly.”
113 tn Heb “there was nothing which Hezekiah did not show them in his house and in all his kingdom.”
114 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Isaiah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
115 tn Heb “fathers” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV).
116 tn Heb “Some of your sons, who go out from you, whom you father.”
117 tn Heb “good” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “favorable.”
118 tn Heb “and he said.” The verb אָמַר (’amar, “say”) is sometimes used of what one thinks (that is, says to oneself).
119 tn Or “surely”; cf. CEV “At least.”