Isaiah Chapter 37
The Lord had allowed the Assyrian empire (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) to conquer The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" (i.e. the "lost ten tribes" - see The Galilee Captivity) because of their savage corruption and idolatry. The Southern Kingdom of Judah, although no military match for the Assyrian juggernaut that surrounded them, nevertheless was not vanquished by the Assyrians because The Lord did not permit it; there was still some righteousness in them. The Lord at first provided a means for the Assyrians to save face and withdraw without a battle ("he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land"), however the fatal mistake that the by-then arrogant Assyrians made, by their king Sennacherib, was to directly and blasphemously challenge The Lord to a fight (see The Day Sennacherib Challenged God). In a single night, the bulk of the Assyrian army in that part of the world was wiped out. Isaiah himself was in the city as the Assyrian assault loomed i.e. "the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah" and he witnessed the aftermath - 185,000 dead Assyrian troops, without a single human defender of Judah injured.
"And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah [king of Judah; see Kings of Israel and Judah] heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth [see Sackcloth and Ashes], and went into the house of the LORD. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.
So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD [see The God Of The Old Testament to understand Who that was], Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?
And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD], and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth [see also Christ The Creator]. Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.
Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations [see Family, Clan, Tribe, Nation], and their countries. 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. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.
Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria: This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him;
The virgin, the Daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel. By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel. I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places.
Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as Corn blasted before it be grown up.
But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips [see also Fetters], and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion [see Zionism]: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.
Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake [see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah].
Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with The Sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead." (Isaiah 37:1-38 KJV)
Isaiah Chapter 38
Sundials were known throughout the ancient world. The miracle of having the shadow cast by a sundial go backwards as recorded in this chapter was a simple matter for the all-powerful God of Light who outshines the sun (humans can make sundials run "backwards" to a limited degree e.g. workers using arc welders outside can cast their own shadows in bright sunlight, and nuclear explosions cast shadows brighter than the sun i.e. a sundial in a nuclear explosion would show the bomb's "time").
"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live [see What Happens When You Die?].
Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart [see A Pure Heart], and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.
And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken [see also Signs Of The Times]; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.
The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:
I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave [see Through The Gates Of Hell]: I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.
What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul [see Where Is Your Soul? and Giving Up The Ghost]. O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live. Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption [see Sheol and Hades]: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.
For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover. Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?" (Isaiah 38:1-22 KJV)
Isaiah Chapter 39
The Lord defended the people of Judah from the Assyrians (as described above), but instead of them then remaining faithful and obedient to their Defender, the people of Judah became as corrupt as the people of Israel did (the reason that The Lord allowed the Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom). By that time however, the Assyrian empire had been overtaken by the Babylonian empire, so the Babylonians were the ones allowed to conquer Judah. In this chapter, the Babylonians were rising to take their turn as the "world superpower" - they were still being "diplomatic" toward the smaller fish that they were intending to consume. Isaiah informed Hezekiah of the Babylonians' true intent.
"At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the Silver, and the Gold, and the Spices, and the precious Ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures [see Temple Mount Treasures and the Fact Finder question below]: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion [ironically, dominion means an area that is dominated; the Babylonians were soon to take it from Judah], that Hezekiah showed them not.
Then came Isaiah the Prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee?
And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon [see When North Means East].
Then said he, What have they seen in thine house?
And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them.
Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days." (Isaiah 39:1-8 KJV)
Fact Finder: Of all the things that "shall be carried to Babylon" by the Babylonians, what one item would have been impossible for them to carry away from Jerusalem?
See Raiders Of The Lost Ark