1When Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went into the Lord's Temple.
2He sent Eliakim the palace manager, Shebna, the scribe, and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to see the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz.
3They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, punishment. It's like when babies arrive at the entrance to the birth canal but there's no strength to deliver them.
4Maybe the Lord your God, hearing the message the army commander delivered on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria—a message sent to insult the living God—will punish him for his words. Please say a prayer for the remnant of us who still survive.”
5After Hezekiah's officials delivered his message to Isaiah,
6Isaiah replied to them, “Tell your master, This is what the Lord says: Don't be frightened by the words that you have heard, the words used by the servants of the king of Assyria to blaspheme me.
7Look, I'm going to scare him—he'll hear a rumor, and he'll have to return to his own country. When he's there I'll have him killed by the sword.”
8The Assyrian army commander left and went back to join the king of Assyria, having heard the king had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah.
9Sennacherib had received a message about Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, that said, “Watch out! He has set out to attack you.” So Sennacherib sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying,
10“Tell Hezekiah, king of Judah: ‘Don't let your God, the one you're trusting in, fool you by saying that Jerusalem won't fall into the hands of the king of Assyria.
11Look! You've heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries they've invaded— they destroyed them completely! Do you really think you'll be saved?
12Did the gods of the nations my forefathers destroyed save them—the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who lived in Telassar?
13Where today 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?”
14Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the Lord's Temple and opened it out before the Lord.
15Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying, “Lord, God of Israel, you who live above the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth, you are Creator of heaven and earth.
16Please listen with your ears, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see. Listen to the message that Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
17Yes, it's true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have destroyed these nations and their lands.
18They have thrown their gods into the fire because they are not really gods—they are just the work of human hands, made of wood and stone so they could destroy them.
19Now, Lord our God, please save us from him, in order that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that only you, Lord, are God.”
20Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent a message to Hezekiah, saying, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer about Sennacherib, king of Assyria.
21This is the word the Lord condemning him: The virgin daughter of Zion scorns you and mocks you; the daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head as you run away.
22Who have you been insulting and ridiculing? Who did you raise your voice against? Who did you look at with so proud eyes? It was against the Holy One of Israel!
23By your servants you have mocked the Lord. You said: ‘With my many chariots I have ascended to the high mountains, to the farthest peaks of Lebanon. I have chopped down its tallest cedars, the best of its cypress trees. I have reached its most distant outposts, its deepest forests.
24I have dug wells and drunk water in foreign lands. With the soles of my feet I dried up all the rivers in Egypt.’”
25The Lord replies, “Haven't you heard? I decided it long ago; I planned it in the olden days. Now I am making sure it happens—that you are to knock down fortified towns into piles of rubble.
26Their people, powerless, are terrified and humiliated. They're like plants in a field, like soft green shoots, like grass that sprouts on rooftop—scorched before it can even grow.
27But I know you very well—where you live, when you come in, when you leave, and your furious anger against me.
28Because of your furious anger against me, and because I know how you disrespect me, I'm going to put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will force you to return the same way you came.”
29“Hezekiah, this will be a sign to prove this is true: This year you'll eat what grows by itself. The second year you'll eat what grows from that. But in the third year you'll sow and reap, you'll plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
30The remnant that's left of Judah will revive again, sending roots below and bearing fruit above.
31For a remnant will come out of Jerusalem, and survivors will come from Mount Zion. The intense determination of the Lord will make sure this happens.
32This is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: He shall not enter this city or shoot an arrow at it. He shall not advance towards it with a shield, or build a siege ramp against it.
33He shall return the same way he came, and he shall not enter this city, says the Lord.
34I will defend this city and save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”
35That night the angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000. When the survivors woke up in the morning, they were surrounded by dead bodies.
36Sennacherib, king of Assyria, gave up and left. He returned home to Nineveh and stayed there.
37While he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword and then ran away to the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him as king.