Day 258 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. King of Assyria with Sennacherib threatens King Hezekiah. Galatians 2: Paul is accepted by the other Apostles
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The Assyrians Invade Judah
During Hezekiah’s fourteenth year as king, Sennacherib king of Assyria went to fight against the strong cities of Judah, and he captured them. 2 Then the king of Assyria sent his commander from Lachish with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. When they came near Jerusalem, they stopped by the channel that brings water from the upper pool, on the road that leads to Laundryman’s Field.
3 Three officials from Jerusalem went out to talk with the commander. They were Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Joah son of Asaph and Shebna. Eliakim was the palace manager, Joah was the record keeper and Shebna was the secretary.
4 The commander told them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria says:
“What are you trusting in to help you? 5 I tell you, if you trust in power and great battle plans, that is useless. Those are nothing but empty words. Now I ask you, who do you trust so much that you are willing to rebel against me? 6 Are you depending on Egypt to help you? Egypt is like a broken walking stick. If you lean on it for support, it will only stab you and hurt you.
Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, cannot be trusted by anyone who depends on him for help.
7 “Maybe you will say, ‘We trust
the LORD our God to help us.’ But I know that Hezekiah destroyed the altars and places of worship where people honored the Lord. Hezekiah told the people of Judah, and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship only at this one altar here in Jerusalem.’
8 “If you still want to fight, my master, the king of Assyria, will make this agreement with you. I promise that I will give you 2000 horses if you can find enough men to ride them into battle. 9 But even then, you couldn’t defeat even one of my master’s lowest ranking officers. So why do you still depend on Egypt’s chariots and horsemen?
10 “Now, do you think I came to this country to destroy it without the LORD’s help. No, it was the LORD who said to me, ‘Go up against this country and destroy it!’”
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the commander, “Please, speak to us in Aramaic, not Hebrew.* We will understand you, but we don’t want the people there on the wall to understand what you say.”
12 But the commander said, “My master sent me to speak to everyone, not only to you and your king. I must also speak to those people sitting there on the wall. When we surround your city, they will suffer too. Like you, they will become so hungry they will eat their own waste and drink their own urine!”
13 Then the commander, shouting loudly in Hebrew, gave this warning to them all:
“Hear this message from the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah fool you! He cannot save you from my power. 15 Don’t listen to him when he tells you to trust in the LORD. Don’t believe him when he says, ‘The LORD will save us. He will not let the king of Assyria defeat the city.’
16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! This is what the king of Assyria says: Come out here and show me that you want peace. Then you will all be free to have grapes from your own vines, figs from your own trees and water from your own well. 17 After some time, I will come and take you to a land like your own. In that new land, you will have plenty of grain for making bread and vineyards for producing wine.
18 “Don’t believe Hezekiah when he tells you, ‘The LORD will save us.’ He is wrong. Did any of the gods of other nations save their land from the king of Assyria? 19 When I destroyed the cities of Hamath and Arpad, where were their gods? What about the gods of Sepharvaim? Were any gods able to save Samaria from my power? 20 None of the gods of these other places were able to save their land from me! So why do you think the LORD can save Jerusalem from me?”
21 But the people were silent. They did not say a word to the commander, because King Hezekiah had commanded them, “Don’t say anything to him.”
22 Then the palace manager Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the secretary Shebna and the record keeper Joah son of Asaph went to Hezekiah. Their clothes were
torn to show they were upset. They told Hezekiah everything the Assyrian commander had said.
Hezekiah Asks God to Help
When King Hezekiah listened to their message, he tore his clothes
to show he was upset. Then he put on rags and went to the LORD’s Temple.
2 Hezekiah sent Eliakim the palace manager, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They wore the special clothes that showed they were sad and upset. 3 They said to Isaiah, “King Hezekiah has commanded that today will be a day for sorrow and sadness. It will be a very sad day—as sad as when a baby should be born, but there is not enough strength for the birth. 4 The commander’s master, the king of Assyria, has sent him to say bad things about the living God. Maybe the LORD your God will hear it and prove the enemy is wrong. So pray for those who are still left alive.”
5 When King Hezekiah’s officers came to Isaiah, 6 he said to them, “Give this message to your master, Hezekiah: The LORD says, ‘Don’t be afraid of what you heard from the commanders! Don’t believe what those “boys” from the king of Assyria said to make fun of me. 7 Look, I will send a spirit against the king of Assyria. He will get a report that will make him return to his own country. And I will cut him down with a sword in his own country.’”
The Assyrian Army Leaves Jerusalem
8 The commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. He found him at Libnah, fighting against that city. 9 Then the king of Assyria received a report that said, “King Tirhakah* of Ethiopia is coming to fight you.”
So the king of Assyria sent messengers to Hezekiah again. 10 He told them to say this to King Hezekiah of Judah:
“Don’t be fooled by the god you trust when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be defeated by the king of Assyria.’ 11 You have heard what the kings of Assyria did to all the other countries. We destroyed them completely. Will you be saved? No! 12 Did the gods of those people save them? No, my ancestors destroyed them all. They destroyed the cities of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden living in Tel Assar. 13 Where is the king of Hamath? The king of Arpad? The king of the city of Sepharvaim? The kings of Hena and Ivvah?”
Hezekiah Prays to the Lord
14 Hezekiah received the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went up to the LORD’s Temple and laid the letters out in front of the LORD. 15 He prayed to the LORD: 16 “LORD All-Powerful, God of Israel, you sit as King above the winged creatures. You alone are the God who rules all the kingdoms on earth. You made heaven and earth. 17 LORD, please pay attention and hear this. Open your eyes, LORD, and see what is happening. Listen to all the insults against the living God in the message Sennacherib sent! 18 It is true, LORD. The kings of Assyria did destroy all those nations. 19 They did throw the gods of those nations into the fire,
but they were not real gods. They were only wood and stone—statues that people made. That is why the kings of Assyria could destroy them. 20 But you are the LORD our God, so please save us from the king of Assyria. Then all the other nations will know that you are the LORD, the only God.”
God Answers Hezekiah
21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: The LORD, the God of Israel, says this: “You prayed to me about the message that came from King Sennacherib of Assyria. I have heard you.† 22 So this is the LORD’s message against Sennacherib:
“The virgin Daughter Zion‡ does not think you are important.
She makes fun of you.
Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head at you
and laughs behind your back.
23 But who is the one you have insulted and made fun of?
Who is the one you have been shouting at
with such a proud look on your face?
All this you have done against the Holy One of Israel!
24 You sent your officers to insult the Lord.
This is what you said:
‘I took my many chariots up the high mountains
deep inside Lebanon.
I cut down its tallest cedars and its best fir trees.
I went to the top of its highest mountains and deep inside its forests.
25 I dug wells and drank water from foreign places.
I dried up the rivers of Egypt
and walked where the water was.’
26 “How could you say this, Sennacherib?
Did no one ever tell you that I, the Lord, planned these things long ago?
From ancient times I decided what would happen,
and now I have made it happen.
I let you tear down strong cities
and change them into piles of rocks.
27 The people living there had no power. They were afraid and confused.
They were about to be cut down like grass and plants in the field.
They were like grass growing on the housetops,
dried up by the east wind.†
28 I know all about you—where you stay and when you come and go.
I also know that you rage against me.
29 Yes, I have heard your raging and your proud insults.
So I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth.
Then I will turn you around
and lead you back the way you came.”
The Lord’s Message for Hezekiah
30 Then the Lord said this: “You will know that what I say is true when this happens: This year and next year, the only grain you will eat is that which grows wild. But in the third year, you will eat grain from seeds you have planted. Then you will harvest your crops, and you will have plenty to eat. You will plant vineyards and eat grapes from them.
31 “The people from the family of Ju- dah who are left alive will do well. They will be like plants that send their roots deep into the ground, then grow and produce plenty of fruit. 32 Yes, there will be people who will come out of Jerusalem alive. Survivors will come from Mount Zion.” It is the deep desire of the LORD All-Powerful to make this happen!
33 So the LORD says this about the king of Assyria:
“His army will not come into this city or shoot an arrow at it.
None of his troops carrying shields will come near it
or build a ramp to attack its walls.
34 He will go back the way he came. He will not come into this city.” The LORD says this:
35 “I will protect this city and save it.
I will do this for myself and for my servant David.”
The Assyrian Army Is Destroyed
36 That night the angel of the LORD went out and killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up in the morning, they saw all the dead bodies. 37 So King Sennacherib of Assyria went back to Nineveh and stayed there.
38 One day Sennacherib was in the temple of his god Nisroch, worshipping him. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword and ran away to Ararat. So Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon became the new king of Assyria.
The Other Apostles Accepted Paul
After 14 years I went back to Jerusalem with Barnabas and took Titus with me. 2 I went there because God revealed the need for me to go. I explained to them the Good News that I tell the non-Jewish people. I also met alone with those who were considered to be the leaders. I wanted to be sure we were in agreement so that my past work and the work I do now would not be wasted. 3 Titus, who was with me, is a Greek.
But these leaders still did not force him to be circumcised. 4 We needed to talk about this because some who pretended to be our brothers had come into our group secretly. They came in like spies to find out how they could take away the freedom we have as those who belong to Christ Jesus. They wanted us to obey them like slaves. 5 But we did not agree to anything they demanded so that the truth of the Good News would remain unchanged for you.
6 And those men who were considered to be important leaders there did not add anything to the message I tell people. (It doesn’t matter to me if they were “important” or not. To God everyone is the same.) 7 But these leaders saw that God had given me a special work, the same as Peter. God gave Peter the work of telling the Good News to the Jews. But God gave me the work of telling the Good News to the non-Jewish people. 8 God gave Peter the power to work as an apostle for the Jewish people. God gave me the power to work as an apostle too, but for those who are not Jews. 9 James, Peter and John are the ones who seemed to be the main leaders.† And they saw that God had given me this special gift of ministry, so they accepted Barnabas and me as co-workers. They agreed that we should continue to work among those who are not Jews, while they continued to work among the Jews. 10 They asked us to do only one thing—to remember to help those among the believers there who are poor. And this is something I have made every effort to do.
23 Some sailed the sea in ships.
Their business carried them across the water.
24 They saw what the LORD can do,
the amazing things he did at sea.
25 He gave the command, and a strong wind began to blow.
The waves became higher and higher.
26 The waves lifted them high into the sky
and dropped them into the deep sea.
Facing such danger, the men lost their courage.
27 They were stumbling and falling like drunks.
Their skill as sailors was useless.
28 In their trouble they cried out to the LORD,
and he saved them from the danger.
29 He stopped the storm and calmed the waves.
30 The sailors were happy when the sea
and he led them safely to where they wanted to go.
31 Thank the LORD for his faithful love
and for the amazing things he does for people.
32 They should praise him when his people come together.
They should praise him where the older leaders meet.
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