Hezekiah Asks God for Help

An EasyEnglish Bible Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) on Isaiah chapters 36-37

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Isaiah wrote his book in the Hebrew language. Words in brackets, ( … ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.

 

Chapter 36

Assyria’s army arrives in Judah

v1 King Hezekiah had ruled (Judah) for nearly 14 years. Then, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the cities in Judah that had high, strong walls. He beat them and they became his. v2 And the king of Assyria sent the leader of his soldiers from Lachish. (He came) to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. This leader had a large army with him. He stopped at the water stream (that went) from the higher pool. It was on the road, near the place where people wash clothes.

v3 And these people came out to (meet) him:

·           Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. (He was) the most important (servant) in the (king’s) beautiful house.

·           Shebna, the leader of the government.

·           Joah, the son of Asaph. He was (the king’s) writer.

v4-5 And the (soldiers') leader said to these men, ‘Now (please) say (this) to Hezekiah. This is what the Great King, the king of Assyria, says (to you):

·           “You should not believe (that God will help you)!

·           Words alone cannot tell you what to do!

·           And they cannot give you the power (that you need) for war!

·           I do not know anyone who will help you to fight against me!

v6 Look, (I know that) you are hoping for help from Egypt. (Egypt is like) a stick that people use. It helps them to walk. But it will break! If you push on it, it will go into your hand, like a sharp piece of *reed. That is what will happen to anybody that hopes for help from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. v7 But you might say to me, ‘We are hoping that the *LORD our God will help us.’ (Then I will answer this.) He is the (God) whose *high places and *altars Hezekiah removed! (Hezekiah) said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You must *worship (God) only at this (one) altar.’ ” v8 And now’, (said Rav Shakeh, the leader,) ‘agree today with my master, (who is) the king of Assyria. And I will give you 2000 horses, if you can put (2000) riders on them! v9 You cannot refuse (what I offer. I am) the least important of my master’s officers. But you are (still) hoping that Egypt will send *chariots and riders on horses. v10 And (there is) something else. Surely I would not attack and destroy this country without help from the *LORD! The LORD told me, “March against this country and destroy it.” ’

v11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah spoke to Rav Shakeh. (They said,) ‘Please, speak to your servants in (our) Aramaic language, because we do understand it. Do not speak to us in *Hebrew, or the people on the (city) wall may hear (you).’ v12 But Rav Shakeh said, ‘My master did not send me to say these things only to you and to your master. Also, he sent me to say them to the people that are sitting on the (city) wall. Like you, they will have to eat the material that their own body wastes. And they will have to drink the water that their own body wastes.’

v13 Then Rav Shakeh stood up. He shouted in a loud voice in *Hebrew. ‘Hear the words of the king. (They are what) the Great King of Assyria (is telling you). v14 This is what the king (of Assyria) says (to you). “Do not let Hezekiah tell you what is not true. Hezekiah cannot save you. v15 And do not let Hezekiah cause you to agree with him. (He wants you) to believe in the *LORD. He tells you that the LORD really will make you free (from Assyria). (He says that the LORD) will not give this city to the king of Assyria. v16 Do not hear (and obey) Hezekiah!” This is what the king of Assyria says (to you). “Do not have a war with me. Come out (of your city) to me. Then you will all eat (the *grapes) from your own *vines and (the *figs) from your own fig trees. And you will all drink the water from your own wells. v17 (Do this) until I come (to you). Then I will take you away to a country like your own country. (It is) a country where *grain and new *wine grow. (It is) a country (where they make) bread. And (it is a country) where *vineyards grow. v18 Do not (hear and obey) Hezekiah. He will (be like a man who) leads you the wrong (way). He says that the *LORD will save you. No other country’s god has saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria. v19 The gods of (the cities called) Hamath and Arpad (could not help them). The gods of (the city called) Sepharvaim (could not help them). None (of these gods) saved Samaria. v20 None of these gods has saved his own country from my power. Can the *LORD save Jerusalem from my power?” ’

v21 But the people were quiet and they did not answer him one word. (They did this) because King (Hezekiah) had said, ‘Do not answer him.’

v22 Then (these people) came to Hezekiah:

·           Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. (He was) the most important (servant) in the (king’s) beautiful house.

·           Shebna, the leader of the government.

·           Joah, the son of Asaph. He was (the king’s) writer.

They tore their clothes. And they told the king all the words that Rav Shakeh (had said).

Chapter 37

Hezekiah sends a message to Isaiah

v1 When King Hezekiah heard (the report of his servants), he tore his clothes. Then he put on cheap hairy cloth and he went into the *temple. (It was the temple) of the *LORD (in Jerusalem). v2 And he sent Eliakim and Shebna and the leaders of the *priests to Isaiah the *prophet. (Isaiah) was the son of Amoz. (Eliakim was) the most important servant in the (king’s) house. (Shebna was) the leader of the (king’s) government. And (Eliakim, Shebna and the priests) all wore cheap hairy clothes. v3 And they told (Isaiah), ‘This is what Hezekiah says. “There are many problems at this time. And (Rav Shakeh’s) words make me ashamed. (The problems) are like a child that is ready to be born. But (its mother) is not strong enough for it to be born. v4 Perhaps the *LORD, (who is) your God, will do something about the words of Rav Shakeh. Rav Shakeh’s master is the king of Assyria. (The king) sent (Rav Shakeh) to laugh in a bad way at the God who is really alive. Maybe the LORD your God will tell (Rav Shakeh) that his words were wrong. (God) has heard them. So, pray for the people that remain (in Jerusalem).” ’ v5 So Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah. v6 Isaiah said to them, ‘Tell your master that the *LORD says this. “Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard. The servants of the king of Assyria are not important. They have said very bad things about me. v7 Listen (to me)! I will put a *spirit into (the king of Assyria). Then, he will hear a certain report. When (he hears it), he will return to his own country. And there, I will cause (someone) to kill him with a *sword.” ’

v8 Then, Rav Shakeh heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish (city). So (Rav Shakeh) left Jerusalem and he found the king (of Assyria). The king was fighting against Libnah (city). v9 Now (the king of Assyria) heard (this report) about Tirhakah. (Tirhakah) was the king of Ethiopia. (The report) said, ‘He has come out (from Ethiopia) to fight against you.’ And when (the king of Assyria) heard this, he sent people (to Jerusalem) with a message. They had this message for (King) Hezekiah. v10 ‘Say this to King Hezekiah of Judah. Say, “You are hoping that your God will help you. But do not let him tell you what is not true. (Your God) says that the king of Assyria will not destroy Jerusalem. v11 But you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the (other) countries. They destroyed them completely. And (your God) will not save you. v12 The gods of (these other) countries did not save them. My *ancestors destroyed Gozan and Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden (that lived) in Tel Assar. v13 The kings of Hamath and Arpad have gone. The king of the city called Sepharvaim has gone. And the kings of Hena and Ivvah have gone.” ’

v14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the people that brought the message. And he read it and then he went up to the *temple of the *LORD. He opened the letter in front of the LORD. v15 And Hezekiah prayed to the *LORD. He said, v16 ‘*LORD of Everything, (you are) the God of Israel. You sit on a seat between the very important *angels. Only you are the God of all the countries in the world. You have made the skies and the earth. v17 *LORD, turn your ears to me and hear (me). LORD, open your eyes and look (at this letter). Listen to all the words of Sennacherib. He sent them to laugh in a bad way at the God who really is alive. v18 It is true, *LORD, that the kings of Assyria have made empty places from many countries and their land. v19 They threw their gods into the fire. They destroyed them because they were not really gods. Human hands made them from wood and stone. v20 So now, our *LORD and our God, save us from the power of (the king of Assyria)! Then all the (people in all the) *kingdoms in the world will know that only you are the LORD.’

God answers Hezekiah

v21 Then Isaiah, (who was) the son of Amoz, sent a message to Hezekiah. ‘This is what the *LORD, (who is) the God of Israel, says. “You have prayed to me about Sennacherib, (who is) the king of Assyria.” So, v22 this is what the *LORD says about him.

“(The) *Virgin Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem),

she does not like you; she laughs at you.

(The) Daughter of Jerusalem,

she moves her head about after you.

v23                  Who is it about whom you have said bad things? They were not true!

Who is it that you have shouted at?

                        Who is it that you have looked at *proudly?

(The answer is) the *Holy (God) of Israel!

v24      You have used your servants to say bad things about the *Lord.

You have said, ‘With many of my *chariots

I have gone up very high mountains,

the highest (mountains) in Lebanon.

I have cut its tallest *cedars down

and I have cut down the best of its *pine trees.

I went to its highest places and to its best forests.

v25                  I dug wells and I drank (the) water (from them).

I made all the rivers in Egypt dry with the parts under my feet.’

v26                  Surely, you have heard (this)!

                        I decided what to do a long time ago!

I decided what to do in past (years)!

Now it has happened.

You have caused strong cities to become mountains of stones.

v27                  The people in them are not strong.

They are not happy. And they are confused.

They are like plants in a field.

(They are like) the new parts of young green plants.

(They are like) grass on the roof (of a house).

(The hot winds burn them) before they can grow.

v28                  I know (everything about you).

(I know) when you sit down.

And (I know) when you go out.

And (I know) when you come in.

And (I know) when you shout *proudly at me.

v29                  You have shouted *proudly at me

and you have said bad things about me.

So I will put my hook (a bent piece of metal) in your nose.

And I will put my *bit in your mouth.

And I will cause you to return home by the same way that you came.”

v30 And this will be a sign for you, (Hezekiah).

“This year, you will eat what grows from its own (seeds).

And in the second year, (you will eat) what grows from (the first year’s seeds).

But in the third year you will plant (seeds) and you will pick (plants for food).

And you will plant again the *vineyards and you will enjoy their fruit.

v31      And this will happen also to the people that remain in Judah.

(Like plants), they will put *roots down below (the ground) and they will grow fruit above (it).

v32                  (This will happen) because a *remnant will come out from Jerusalem.

And the people that remain will come out from the hill (called) Zion.

The great love that the *LORD of Everything has (for his people) will cause this to happen!”

v33 This is what the *LORD says about the king of Assyria.

“He will not come into this city,

and he will not shoot an *arrow here.

He will not stand in front of it with a *shield.

He will not build mountains of earth against it.

v34                  He will return (to Assyria) by the way that he came,

and he will not come into this city.”

                                    (This is) the promise of the *LORD.

v35      “So I will make this city safe and I will save it.

(I will do this to keep) my good name.

I promised my servant David (that I would do it). (That is why I will do it.)” ’

God destroys Assyria’s army

v36 Then an *angel of the *LORD went and he killed 185 000 men in the (army) from Assyria. When people got up in the morning, they saw all these dead bodies! v37 So Sennacherib, (who was) the king of Assyria, took his army away. He returned to (Assyria) and he stayed there in Nineveh. v38 He was *worshipping his god Nisroch in the house (of Nisroch). (Two of) his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with (their) *swords. Then, they ran away into the country called Ararat. (So) Esarhaddon, (who was another of) his sons, ruled instead of (Sennacherib).

Verse 38 This happened about 20 years after verse 37 happened.

Word List

altar ~ a special table. People offer gifts to their god on an altar.

ancestors ~ fathers and grandfathers and people years ago that they were born to.

angels ~ servants of God that live with him in his home called Heaven.

arrows ~ sticks with sharp points. Bows shoot them.

bit ~ people use it to cause a horse to go where they want it to go.

cart ~ a box a bit like a car but without an engine that animals pull along; a thing to carry people in; horses usually pull a cart.

cedar ~ a large, beautiful tree. It does not lose its leaves in winter.

chariots ~ *carts that soldiers rode in; horses pulled the carts.

fig ~ a fruit.

grain ~ fruit of a plant that people use to make bread.

grapes ~ fruit that people use to make a drink with alcohol in it.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke.

high places ~ places where people built *altars.

holy ~ very, very good; only God is really holy; this makes him separate from people.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

kingdom ~ a country that has a king.

LORD ~ LORD is a special name of God. In the *Hebrew language it is YAHWEH. It may mean ‘always alive’. So LORD is a sign that the *Hebrew word is YAHWEH.

LORD of Everything ~ a special name for God that Isaiah often used. Some Bibles translate it as ‘*LORD of Angel Armies’. An angel is a servant of God that we usually cannot see.

Lord ~ lord means master; Lord is a name for God. It is not the same as *LORD.

pine ~ a beautiful tree that does not lose its leaves in winter.

priest ~ a special servant of God in his house (the *temple) in Jerusalem.

prophet ~ a prophet did two things. He told people what God had said to him. He told people what would happen in future years.

proud ~ proud people think that they are very important.

reed ~ a plant that grows near water.

remnant ~ a small piece of something bigger.

roots ~ the parts of a plant that are in the ground.

shield ~ what a soldier uses to stop an enemy’s *sword hurting him.

spirit ~ the part of a person that is alive, which we cannot see; it can speak to other spirits; there are spirits that we cannot see; they can be good or bad.

sword ~ a long knife that soldiers used to kill people.

temple ~ like a large church. The Temple in Jerusalem was the House of God.

vine ~ a plant which climbs. Its fruits are called grapes. People use grapes to make *wine.

vineyard ~ a field where people grow *vines. *Grapes grow on vines. People make *wine from grapes.

virgin ~ a woman that has not had sex.

wine ~ a drink that people make from fruit called grapes. It contains alcohol.

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great; and tell them that you love them.

Book List

John R. Kohlenberger III ~ The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament ~ Zondervan, 1987

Sir Lancelot Brenton ~ The Septuagint with Apocrypha ~ Hendrickson, 1995

B. Davidson ~ Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon ~ Bagster, 1959

G. Abbott-Smith ~ Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament ~ T. & T. Clark, 1936

The Comparative Study Bible, NIV, NASB, AB, KJV ~ Zondervan

Various English Translations of the Bible, apart from those above, including:

The English Version for the Deaf ~ Baker, 1992

The Promise ~ Nelson, 1995

The New English Bible ~ Oxford-Cambridge, 1970

The Revised Standard Version ~ Nelson, 1957

The Revised Authorised Version ~ Bagster

The Living Bible ~ Tyndale, 1971

The Revised English Bible ~ Oxford-Cambridge, 1989

The New Revised Standard Version ~ Nelson, 1989

The New Living Translation ~ Tyndale, 1997

The Good News Bible ~ Collins, 1978

The Jerusalem Bible ~ Darton, Longman & Todd, 1968

The Four Prophets ~ J. B. Phillips ~ Bles, 1963

A Handbook on Isaiah ~ UBS Handbooks Helps for Translators Series (Draft Copy)

 

©1997-2007, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

September 2007

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