Isaiah chapter 37

King Hezekiah consults Isaiah and prays to the LORD. That night the LORD God sends one angel who decimates the mighty Assyrian army.



NOTE. See also 2 Kings 18:13-37 and Isaiah 36





VERSE 1. When king Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the LORD’s house.

he tore his clothes. Hezekiah was disturbed because of the Assyrian threat and also because the name of the LORD had been profaned.

covered himself with sackcloth. Putting on sackcloth was an act of mourning.

went into the LORD’s house. Hezekiah’s first instinct is to go straight to prayer. He knew their destiny was completely up to the LORD God.


VERSE 2. He sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.

to Isaiah the prophet. Hezekiah’s second instinct is to consult the prophet of the LORD God.


VERSE 3. They said to him, “Hezekiah says, ‘Today is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of rejection; for the children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to give birth.


VERSE 4. It may be the LORD your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to defy the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’ ”

the LORD your God. This makes it seem ask if Hezekiah does not believe in the LORD God. Or it might have been a humble way of addressing the prophet of the Most High God.


VERSE 5. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.


VERSE 6. Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘The LORD says, “Don’t be afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

The LORD says. Prophets are convinced that God speaks to them. How do they know whether a message is from God or just from themselves?  Here are the most popular theories »

Don’t be afraid. The Bible tells us this often.



VERSE 7. Behold, I will put a spirit in him and he will hear news, and will return to his own land. I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” ’ ”

he will hear news, and will return to his own land. Jerusalem is faced with the most epic of battles. And yet the solution is simple. The enemy will just leave.

This is fulfilled in verse 37 below.




VERSE 8. So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.


VERSE 9. He heard news concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, “He has come out to fight against you.” When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,

Tirhakah king of Ethiopia. Before becoming king, Tirhakah might have been an anmy general.


VERSE 10. “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem won’t be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”

Don’t let your God … deceive you. The enemy wants them to doubt the promises of LORD God.


VERSE 11. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered?


VERSE 12. Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar?


VERSE 13. Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?’ ”


VERSE 14. Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the LORD’s house, and spread it before the LORD.

Hezekiah went up to the LORD’s house. Again we see that Hezekiah’s first instinct is to go straight to prayer.

spread it before the LORD. Hezekiah literally places the matter before the LORD.


VERSE 15. Hezekiah prayed to the LORD, saying,


VERSE 16. “LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned among the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

you are the God, even you alone. The LORD is one. He is God alone. He is the one God and Father of all. Beside him there is no other God. There is none like him. Read more »

You have made heaven and earth. Hezekiah acknowledges the LORD God as the creator.


VERSE 17. Turn your ear, LORD, and hear. Open your eyes, LORD, and behold. Hear all of the words of Sennacherib, who has sent to defy the living God.


VERSE 18. Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the countries and their land,

the kings of Assyria have destroyed. King Hezekiah does not deny the reality of the threat or the gravity of the situation.


VERSE 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.


VERSE 20. Now therefore, LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you are the LORD, even you only.”

you are the LORD, even you only. The LORD is one. He is God alone. He is the one God and Father of all. Beside him there is no other God. There is none like him. Read more »


VERSE 21. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “The LORD, the God of Israel says, ‘Because you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria,

Because you have prayed to me. God heard King Hezekiah’s prayer. And God hears our prayers as well.


VERSE 22. this is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him. The virgin daughter of Zion has despised you and ridiculed you. The daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you.

NLT translation. the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.

despises you and laughs at you. Tiny little Jerusalem laughs at the threats of the mighty Assyrian army!

It is like a tiny little puppy laughing at a giant grizzly bear who is about to attack.


VERSE 23. Whom have you defied and blasphemed? Against whom have you exalted your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel.

Against the Holy One of Israel. When mighty Assyria rages against tiny Jerusalem, they are raging against the LORD God Almighty.


VERSE 24. By your servants, you have defied the Lord, and have said, “With the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the innermost parts of Lebanon. I will cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypress trees. I will enter into its farthest height, the forest of its fruitful field.


VERSE 25. I have dug and drunk water, and with the sole of my feet I will dry up all the rivers of Egypt.”


VERSE 26. “ ‘Have you not heard how I have done it long ago, and formed it in ancient times? Now I have brought it to pass, that it should be yours to destroy fortified cities, turning them into ruinous heaps.


VERSE 27. Therefore their inhabitants had little power. They were dismayed and confounded. They were like the grass of the field, and like the green herb, like the grass on the housetops, and like a field before its crop has grown.

their inhabitants had little power. Sometimes God’s people are feeble. However, that does not circumvent God’s ability to rescue them.


VERSE 28. But I know your sitting down, your going out, your coming in, and your raging against me.


VERSE 29. Because of your raging against me, and because your arrogance has come up into my ears, therefore I will put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came.


VERSE 30. “ ‘This shall be the sign to you. You will eat this year that which grows of itself, and in the second year that which springs from it; and in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit.

NIV 1984 translation. This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”

This verse describes three time periods. For God’s people, the income situation in each time period is different. How he goes about providing for them in each time period is different.

this year. For their first year of freedom, they are to “eat what grows by itself.” This suggests effortless living. They will not work or hunt. They will just gather what is placed before them and eat it. Yet this first year is not flowing with abundance.

the second year. For their second year of freedom, they are to eat “what springs from that.” This new supply flows from the first year and is similar to it. It’s a different harvest than before, even though it resembles it and flows from the harvest of the first time period. We imagine this second year was less abundant than the first year.

the third year. For their third time period, they were to “sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” They will return to a life of producing income for themselves. They are to not just forage. This third time period will be a time of abundance for them. They sow seed and plant vineyards. Then, in the fullness of time, they will reap the harvest and eat the fruit.

These years are not a time of scarcity or lack. It wil be a time of abundance greater than they had ever known in the years previous. Yet they do not need to be workaholics. They live balanced lives. They are not foraging or begging or subsistence-living.

When they can finally “sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit,” that’s when they know the Promised Land as the land flowing with milk and honey. That’s when they know abundance and overflow.


VERSE 31. The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah will again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.


VERSE 32. For out of Jerusalem a remnant will go out, and survivors will escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this.’

NLT translation. For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Armies will make this happen!

a remnant. The Bible describes a uniquely faithful group of believers called “the remnant.” Are they Jewish or Christians? Now or in the future? Who are they really? Read more »

passionate commitment. God is passionately committed to us!

the LORD of Armies. Perhaps this is a veiled reference to Jesus Christ.


VERSE 33. “Therefore the LORD says concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He will not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither will he come before it with shield, nor cast up a mound against it.


VERSE 34. He will return the way that he came, and he won’t come to this city,’ says the LORD.


VERSE 35. ‘For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.’ ”

I will defend this city to save it. This is a marvelous promise! And in our day, God will protect and defend us.


VERSE 36. Then the LORD’s angel went out and struck one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the camp of the Assyrians. When men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.

the LORD’s angel. Some people speculate that this was the preincarnate Son of God.

went out. On behalf of his own people, God acts promptly and decisively. What does he do against the most powerful army on earth? He sends one angel.

one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. That one angel inflicts devastating casualties on the army.

these were all dead bodies. There was nothing to be seen but dead bodies. The Assyrian army was devastated.


VERSE 37. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, went away, returned to Nineveh, and stayed there.

Sennacherib king of Assyria departed. He went back to his place. Sure enough, just like the LORD said in verse 7 above, the enemy simply walked away.


VERSE 38. As he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons struck him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Esar Haddon his son reigned in his place.

his sons struck him with the sword. Sennacherib’s own sons put him to death. As the LORD God said, the enemy king was put to death in his own land.

The LORD had said this would happen in verse 7 above.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.