When King Hezekiah heard [their report], he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the house of the LORD.
Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe, and the older priests, wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
They said to him, "Hezekiah says: 'Today is a day of distress, rebuke, and disgrace, [as] when children come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to deliver them.
Perhaps the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master, the king of Assyria, sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke [him for] the words that the LORD your God has heard. Therefore offer a prayer for the surviving remnant.'"
When King Hezekiah's servants came to Isaiah,
Isaiah said to them, "Say this to your master, 'The LORD says: Don't be afraid because of the words you have heard, which the king of Assyria's attendants have blasphemed Me with.
Look! I am putting a spirit in him and he will hear a rumor and return to his own land, where I will cause him to fall by the sword.'"
When the Rabshakeh heard that the king had left Lachish, he returned and discovered that the king of Assyria was fighting against Libnah.
The king had heard this about Tirhakah, king of Cush: "He has set out to fight against you." So when he heard this, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
"Say this to Hezekiah king of Judah: 'Don't let your God, whom you trust, deceive you by saying that Jerusalem won't be handed over to the king of Assyria.
Look, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries; they destroyed them completely. Will you be rescued?
Did the gods of the nations that my predecessors destroyed rescue them-- Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the Edenites in Telassar?
Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, or Ivvah?'"
Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, read it, then went up to the LORD's house and spread it out before the LORD.
Hezekiah prayed to the LORD:
"LORD of Hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are God-- You alone-- of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth.
Listen closely, LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, LORD, and see; hear all the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God.
LORD, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated all these countries and their lands
and have thrown their gods into the fire; for they were not gods but made by human hands-- wood and stone. So they have destroyed them.
Now, LORD our God, save us from his hand so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD-- You alone."
Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent [a message] to Hezekiah: "The LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Because you prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria,
this is the word the LORD has spoken against him: The young woman, Daughter Zion, despises you and scorns you: Daughter Jerusalem shakes [her] head behind your back.
Who is it you have mocked and blasphemed? Who have you raised [your] voice against and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!
You have mocked the LORD through your servants. You have said: With my many chariots I have gone up to the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon. I cut down its tallest cedars, its choice cypress trees. I came to its remotest heights, its densest forest.
I dug [wells] and drank water. I dried up all the streams of Egypt with the soles of my feet.
Have you not heard? I designed it long ago; I planned it in days gone by. I have now brought it to pass, and you have crushed fortified cities into piles of rubble.
Their inhabitants have become powerless, dismayed, and ashamed. They are plants of the field, tender grass, grass on the rooftops, blasted by the east wind.
But I know your sitting down, your going out and your coming in, and your raging against Me.
Because your raging against Me and your arrogance has reached My ears, I will put My hook in your nose and My bit in your mouth; I will make you go back the way you came.
" 'This will be the sign for you: This year you will eat what grows on its own, and in the second year what grows from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward.
For a remnant will go out from Jerusalem, and survivors from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this.'
" 'Therefore, this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or build up an assault ramp against it.
He will go back on the road that he came and he will not enter this city. [This is] the LORD's declaration.
I will defend this city and rescue it, because of Me and because of My servant David.'"
Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up the [next] morning-- there were all the dead bodies!
So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and left. He returned [home] and lived in Nineveh.
One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then his son Esar-haddon became king in his place.
In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, "This is what the LORD says: 'Put your affairs in order, for you are about to die; you will not recover.'"
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD.
He said, "Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah:
"Go and tell Hezekiah that this is what the LORD God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I am going to add 15 years to your life.
And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city.
This is the sign to you from the LORD that the LORD will do what He has promised:
I am going to make the sun's shadow that goes down on Ahaz's stairway return by 10 steps." So the sun's shadow went back the 10 steps it had descended.
A poem by Hezekiah king of Judah after he had been sick and had recovered from his illness:
I said: In the prime of my life I must go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the rest of my years.
I said: I will never see the LORD, the LORD in the land of the living; I will not look on humanity any longer with the inhabitants of what is passing away.
My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me like a shepherd's tent. I have rolled up my life like a weaver; He cuts me off from the loom. You make an end of me from day until night.
I thought until the morning: He will break all my bones like a lion; You make an end of me day and night.
I chirp like a swallow [or] a crane; I moan like a dove. My eyes grow weak looking upward. Lord, I am oppressed; support me.
What can I say? He has spoken to me, and He Himself has done it. I walk along slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul,
Lord, because of these [promises] people live, and in all of them is the life of my spirit as well; You have restored me to health and let me live.
Indeed, it was for [my own] welfare that I had such great bitterness; but Your love [has delivered] me from the Pit of destruction, for You have thrown all my sins behind Your back.
For Sheol cannot thank You; Death cannot praise You. Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.
The living, only the living can thank You, as I do today; a father will make Your faithfulness known to children
The LORD will save me; we will play stringed instruments all the days of our lives at the house of the LORD.
Now Isaiah had said, "Let them take a lump of figs and apply it to his infected skin, so that he may recover."
And Hezekiah had asked, "What is the sign that I will go up to the LORD's temple?"
At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick and had recovered.
Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them his treasure house-- the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil-- and all his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.
Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him, "What did these men say? The men who came to you-- where were they from?" Hezekiah replied, "They came to me from a distant country, from Babylon."
And he asked, "What have they seen in your palace?" Hezekiah answered, "They have seen everything in my palace. There isn't anything in my storehouses that I didn't show them."
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD of Hosts:
'The time will certainly come when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until this day will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,' says the LORD.
'Some of your descendants who come from you will be taken away, and they will be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'"
Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good." For he thought: There will be peace and security during my lifetime.