Isaiah 37 – “Hezekiah’s Prayer and God’s Response; Catastrophe for the Assyrians”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Hezekiah petitions God to save him, God guarantees him salvation, and an angel kills 185,000 Assyrians in one night. Sennacherib flees and is killed by his sons in Nineveh.

II. Photo
God has harsh words for Assyria: “Because you have raged against me, and your tumult has reached my ears, I will place my hook in your nose and my bit between your jaws; And I will make you go back by the road by which you came.” (v. 29)

III. Important Verses
1: When King Hezekiah heard this, he rent his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the House of the LORD.
6-7: Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master as follows: Thus said the LORD: Do not be frightened by the words of blasphemy against Me that you have heard from the minions of the king of Assyria. I will delude him: He will hear a rumor and return to his land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his land.”
10-13: “Tell this to King Hezekiah of Judah: Do not let your God, on whom you are relying, mislead you into thinking that Jerusalem will not be delivered into the hands of the king of Assyria. You yourself have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, how they have annihilated them; and can you escape? Were the nations that my predecessors destroyed — Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the Bethedenites in Telassar — saved by their gods? Where is the king of Hamath? and the king of Arpad? and the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
33-38: “Assuredly, thus said the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not enter this city; He shall not shoot an arrow at it, Or advance upon it with a shield, Or pile up a siegemound against it. He shall go back By the way he came, He shall not enter this city — declares the LORD;  I will protect and save this city for My sake And for the sake of My servant David.” That night an angel of the LORD went out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp, and the following morning they were all dead corpses. So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and retreated, and stayed in Nineveh. While he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, he was struck down with the sword by his sons Adrammelech and Sarezer. They fled to the land of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon succeeded him as king.

IV. Outline

1. Hezekiah’s distress
2-4. Hezekiah asks Isaiah to pray
5-7. Isaiah’s response
    5-6a. Introduction
    6b-7. Orcale #1: God will trick the Assyrians
8-9a. The Assyrians hear of an approaching Nubian army
9b-13. Sennacherib’s warning
14-20. Hezekiah’s prayer
    14-15. Introduction
    16. Invocation/praise
    17-19. Background information
    20. Petition for salvation
21-35. God’s response
    21. Isaiah delivers the message
    22-29. Oracle #2
        22a. Introduction
        22b-24a. The Assyrians have blasphemed God
        24b-25. Assyrian hubris
        26-27. Assyrian success was part of God’s plan
        28-29. God will punish the Assyrians and send them home
    30-32. Isaiah’s reassurance
    33-35. Oracle #3
        33a. Introduction
        33b-35. God will protect Jerusalem
36. God kills 185,000 Assyrians in one night
37-38. Sennacherib flees and is killed by his son

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).
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