October 10th Isaiah 36 B Historic interlude (Prose) Sennacherib invades Israel
1: Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. 2: 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. 3: Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder. 4: And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? 5: I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? 6: Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon 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. 7: But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar? 8: Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them. 9: How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10: And am 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. 11: Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy 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. 12: But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath 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? 13: Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. 14: Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you. 15: 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. 16: Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; 17: Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18: Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19: Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20: 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? 21: But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not. 22: 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.
Isaiah, 37 Israel troubled
1: 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. 2: 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. 3: And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. 4: It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left. 5: So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6: And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7: Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, 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. 9: And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10: Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11: Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? 12: Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? 13: Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? 14: 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. 15: And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, 16: O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. 17: Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. 18: Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, 19: 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. 20: Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.
The Angel defeats Assyria
21: Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria: 22: This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. 23: Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel. 24: By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am 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. 25: I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places. 26: Hast thou 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 thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps. 27: 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 corn blasted before it be grown up. 28: But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. 29: Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest. 30: And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. 31: And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: 32: For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this. 33: Therefore thus saith 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. 34: By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. 35: For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 36: Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 37: So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 38: 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 Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.
Isaiah, 38 King Hezekiah is sick
1: In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. 2: Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, 3: And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4: Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, 5: Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. 6: And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. 7: And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; 8: 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. 9: The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness: 10: 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. 11: 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. 12: Mine 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 pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. 13: I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. 14: Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. 15: What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul. 16: O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live. 17: Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. 18: For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. 19: The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. 20: 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. 21: For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover. 22: Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?
Today we are beginning a historical section of the Book of Isaiah. This section begins here and extends as far as ch 39v8. This records a number of Historical events in Isaiah’s life in relation to Hezekiah. Ch 36v1 – 37v13 is the summons of the king of Assyria to Hezekiah to surrender. In the 14th year of Hezekiah Sennacherib the Assyrian king came to Judah and took them. Then he sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem with a great army. He stood by the water passage in the road near the fullers field and he addressed Hezekiah the king. The first thing he did was to try to shake the confidence of the king. He said what are you trusting in? I have a great army and you cannot trust in Egypt for help – Egypt is untrustworthy. Then he pre-empts Hezekiah saying you might say We trust in the LORD our God, but has he not taken away your high places saying you must worship only at Jerusalem. So give us a token of good faith that you will surrender to us. And if you do I will send you 2000 horses, that is if you can find 2000 riders. I have been sent by your LORD to destroy the land. Rabshekah’s men said speak to us in our language because we do not understand you. But he spoke to the Jews in their own language. He addressed the people over the head of the king. He said don’t let your king deceive you, because he is unable to deliver you. And may Hezekiah not trust in the LORD because we will destroy this city. If you surrender then I will take you to a land full of food and wine. Don’t listen to your king, has any god ever delivered anyone that we have attacked? No-one answered him. Because the king had commanded silence. When Hezekiah heard all that was said he humbled himself before the LORD and rent his clothes, covered himself in sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. They sent a message to Isaiah the prophets saying this is the day of trouble, rebuke and blaspheme and the king has no heir. When the message came to Isaiah he replied, tell him not be afraid, because I will send a destroying wind on him and he will return to his own land and be killed by the sword there. The exchanges go back and forth but Hezekiah went up to the temple and spread it out before the LORD. And then we have his prayer recorded.
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel,
that dwellest between the cherubims,
thou art the God, even thou alone,
of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
Incline thine ear, O LORD,
and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD,
and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib,
which hath sent to reproach the living God.
Of a truth, 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 thou art the LORD, even thou only.
Then the LORD answered him through his prophet Isaiah. Isaiah says ‘This is what the LORD says’. The virgins have despised you and laughed and shaken their heads at you, but they have spoken against the LORD and even against Christ himself. You have come here to conquer but I will send you back where you have come from because you have trusted in yourselves. Then the LORD gave a sign to know this will be true. You will eat this year what grows by itself. And the second year but in the third year you will sow and eat and reap and plant vineyards. Those that are left will put roots downward and bear fruit upward. The enemy will not come and shoot one arrow. The LORD will do this. The Lord said I will defend this city for David my servants sake. Then the angel of the LORD went forth and smote the camp of the Assyrians 185,000 died that night. And when the rest rose the next day they found all the dead. So Sennacherib left and went to live in Nineveh. And one day when he was worshipping his god his sons killed him and fled and Esar-haddon became king in his place. In Isaiah ch 38 Hezekiah became sick and he was near to death Isaiah came to him and told him he was going to die. Hezekiah turned to face the wall and wept, not because he was sorry for himself but because he had no heir. Having an heir meant that Gods promises to David could be fulfilled. Hezekiah prays again but this time its for his life and heir. He pleads his righteous life. (This could never be what Christians do. Our mortal life is not the main thing nor our heirs and never can we plead righteousness of our own) Hezekiah wept sore because he felt God was going to let him down. He had been faithful under the law and yet God had given him no son and now he will loose his life to sickness. Then the LORD answered his prayer again and the LORD spoke again through Isaiah. The Lords answer was… I have hear your prayer and seen your tears and look I will add 15 years to your life. And I will deliver you from Assyria and save the city. (Salvation in the OT was not about the salvation of the soul from sin but the salvation of their mortal lives from death) Then the Lord gave him a sign. The LORD will bring again the shadow of the degrees. In other words the shadow on the clock of Hezekiah will go back by 10 degrees. (It’s interesting that the Songs of Degrees in the Psalms describe this who story of Hezekiah. So the sun rose by ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz. Hezekiah became well again. And he said I had said I will not see the LORD in the land of the living, but I will go to my grave and loose the rest of my years. And he goes on to describe his pinning away in sorrow and sickness. Undertake for me! (The first mention of an undertaker) he praises the LORD who delivered him from the grave. He says the dead cannot praise you. (He is speaking about the dead body not the spirit) It is the living that praise the LORD. He says the LORD was ready to save me (from death) and therefore I will sing on my stringed instruments all the rest of my days in the house of the LORD. This is because Isaiah had proscribed a cure for Hezekiah. A lump of figs plastered on the boil and he recovered.