Woe to Jerusalem; for year after year her feasts come around, and they are duly celebrated, but the people have removed their hearts far from the LORD, and their honor of Him is only lip service. They think they hide their iniquity far from Him, and that no one sees it, but they pervert justice, and bring down the one who reproves iniquity with truth, and make speaking words of truth a crime instead of perverse deeds.
The LORD is going to deliver Himself of this state of affairs among His people, by Himself encamping against Jerusalem and bringing a siege against her. She will be humbled; the wisdom of her so- called wise men will perish in that day, and the understanding of her so- called prudent men will be hidden in that day, and the workers of iniquity will be cut off from her.
Then the LORD will do a wonder and a marvelous work among His people: the nations that come against her will be punished in an instant by the LORD, and they will be gone as when a man wakes up from a dream, and behold: it was a dream. God Himself will make Jacob’s children, the work of His hands; they will hallow the Holy One of Jacob and fear the God of Israel from the heart and in truth.
This prophecy has a two fold fulfillment: Hezekiah became king after a period in which Judah had gone after idols with her whole heart. Hezekiah cleansed the land of idols and sought to restore Israel to the LORD; so the people maintained an outward show of godliness and church going while their hearts were far from Him. Then Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came against Jerusalem and encamped against it, and the terror of their situation was like blows to the heart which cleansed away the evil of their hypocrisy, and Jerusalem and Judah returned to the LORD in truth. The LORD miraculously delivered them and they were restored to Him in truth.
But also, this prophecy will have a second fulfillment, for modern Israel is in many ways like one who observes all the outward forms of godliness but whose heart is far from the LORD. The devout (haredim) comprise just 8% of the Jewish population, while 42%, the greatest percentage, define themselves as secular. We can expect to see a future siege against Jerusalem from all the nations, which will cause a true repentance and return to the LORD within her, and a sudden miraculous deliverance from the besieging nations.
Hezekiah considered making an alliance with Egypt in order to stand against Sennacherib and Assyria, but Isaiah assures the king that such an alliance would be of no help to him. What would truly help him, is to return to the LORD, and to rest in Him; not to flee to Egypt, but to remain in his place, quietly confident in the graciousness and mercy of the LORD. If Hezekiah were to do that, God’s anger would burn against Assyria on behalf of Jerusalem, and He would deliver Judah so thoroughly that all Jerusalem will sing songs in the night with great joy.
Again, people of Jerusalem, do not put your trust in Egypt, who are but men, but put your trust in the LORD, who is Spirit. Return to the LORD in truth, throw away your worthless idols, and the LORD Himself will defend Jerusalem. Assyria will fall by the sword, but not the sword of men; for the LORD will strike terror in them who have been a terror to others.
This siege of Sennacherib and its miraculous outcome, as we will see, unfolded exactly as Isaiah predicted it would, by the word of the LORD.