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Isaiah 37:30-38, Sennacherib’s Defeat

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Then the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies.
— Isaiah 37:36

NL Daily Devotion for Thursday, November 22, 2018

  Hieronymus Bosch’s Hell

Hieronymus Bosch’s Hell

by Daniel D. Maurer, Clergy Stuff


Israel seems like it was always threatened from many sides.

It’s not like the real estate there was the best there was . . . or is.

But, for the Jews at the time living there, it was home.

What’s particularly interesting about this passage is that, after Israel had already received their redemption from the threat of Assyrian retaliation, they would at first be saved, but then fall into defeat and exile.

What does this mean?

I believe what it shows is that Israel’s faithfulness was a like a fragile piece of pottery in a potter’s shop, and a bull would soon enter that shop and turn everything upside down and destroy it.

But it also meant that, after the exile, God’s people would once again remember their defeats and losses of the past in a new and different light.

Prophecies are like that—they’re sometimes best understood from hindsight.


Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

Isaiah 37:30-38

‘And this shall be the sign for you: This year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards; for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

‘Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege-ramp against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return; he shall not come into this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ 

Sennacherib’s Defeat and Death

Then the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Nineveh. As he was worshipping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him.

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Earlier Event: November 21
Isaiah 37:14-29, Hezekiah’s Prayer