In the early days of the Southern Confederacy, General Robert E. Lee was severely criticized by
General Whiting. It might have been expected that Lee would try to get even with Whiting. A day
came when president Jefferson Davis asked General Lee to come for consultation. He wante … More
Horrified by the demands of the Assyrians, King Hezekiah “rent his clothes” and “went into the house of the Lord” (v. 1) showing symbolically that the nation could do nothing on their own that their destruction was completely up to God. Hezekiah’s kingdom was in danger of extermination, and he fully realized that only God could intervene to spare them. He then sent two of his top leaders along with the leading priests to Isaiah for consultation and to inform him of the situation (v. 2). He told them how this was a difficult and disgraceful time (v. 3) and to please pray (v. 4). In contrast to the fear of everyone else, Isaiah spoke with great confidence, urging the people to “Be not afraid of the words that thou has heard.” (vv. 5-6), because the king is going to die a violent death (v. 7).
In the meantime, Sennacherib had left Lachish and was at Libnah about five miles north of Lachish (v. 8). When the Assyrian officers found him, they learned that an Egyptian army was on its way to help defend Hezekiah (v. 9). Sennacherib did not want to fight a war on two fronts, so he put pressure on Jerusalem to surrender immediately. He sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah telling him how they had wiped out other nations (vv. 10-13). When this was delivered to Hezekiah, he took it to the temple and “spread it before the Lord.” (v. 14) This was a symbolic action of his dependence upon God. He began his prayer with praise (vv 15-16). In a humble way he asks God to “save us so that the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord” (vv. 17-20). He did not want deliverance for the people’s sake, but that God might be glorified.
As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore 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 secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, 'This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'" When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, "Say to your master, 'Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'" The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, "He has set out to fight against you." And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will 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, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where 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?'" Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: "O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, 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 mock the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 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 were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD."
View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »
Isaiah 34:1-17Destruction of The Gentile World
Isaiah 35:1-10Blessings in the Millennial Kingdom
Isaiah 36:1-22Invasion of Sennacherib
Isaiah 37:1-20Consultation With Isaiah
Isaiah 37:21-38Prediction of Isaiah
Isaiah 38:1-22Conclusion of Hezekiah’s Reign
Isaiah 39:1-8Isaiah’s Prophecy
Isaiah 40:1-17Comfort of Restoration
Isaiah 40:18-31Sustaining Power of God