Isaiah 36 – “Sennacherib Invades Judah”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Sennacherib invades Judah and sends an officer to Jerusalem. The officer tells the people to surrender, but they do not respond.

II. Photo
The people of Jerusalem are urged to capitulate: “Make your peace with me and come out to me, so that you may all eat from your vines and your fig trees!” (v. 16)

III. Important Verses
1: In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched against all the fortified towns of Judah and seized them.
4-7: The Rabshakeh said to them, “You tell Hezekiah: Thus said the Great King, the king of Assyria: What makes you so confident? I suppose mere talk makes counsel and valor for war! Look, on whom are you relying, that you have rebelled against me? You are relying on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which enters and punctures the palm of anyone who leans on it. That’s what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like to all who rely on him. And if you tell me that you are relying on the LORD your God, He is the very one whose shrines and altars Hezekiah did away with, telling Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship only at this altar!’
11-12: Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah replied to the Rabshakeh, “Please, speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it; do not speak to us in Judean in the hearing of the people on the wall.” But the Rabshakeh replied, “Was it to your master and to you that my master sent me to speak those words? It was precisely to the men who are sitting on the wall — who will have to eat their dung and drink their urine with you.”
18-20: Beware of letting Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will save us.’ Did any of the gods of the other nations save his land from the king of Assyria? Where were the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where were the gods of Sepharvaim? And did they save Samaria from me? Which among all the gods of those countries saved their countries from me, that the LORD should save Jerusalem from me?”

IV. Outline
1. Historical note: Sennacherib marches on Judah
2-3. The Rabshakeh meets the leaders of Jerusalem
4-10. The Rabshakeh’s message: Join the Assyrian forces
11. The leaders wish to converse in Aramaic
12-20. The Rabshakeh urges Jerusalem’s inhabitants to surrender
21. The people remain silent
22. Hezekiah is informed of the Rabshakeh incident

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. “Isaiah 1-39” The Anchor Bible vol. 19 (New York: Doubleday, 2000).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Sweeney, Marvin A. “Isaiah 1-39 with an Introduction to Prophetic Literature” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 16 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1996).
Photo taken from