"Thou Trustest In The Staff Of This Broken Reed"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 181

Context: Isaiah, prophet of the Lord, declares his vision of "Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." Denouncing the sins of the people and urging obedience to the will of the Lord, Isaiah prophesies the coming of a messiah, the future greatness of Jerusalem and Judah, and the destruction of the enemies of the Lord. Other prophets also foretell God's wrath, His vengeance on His foes, and His deliverance of His people. In a biographical passage, a later writer recounts the movement of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, against Hezekiah, king of Judah, and the prophesy by Isaiah of the defeat of the Assyrians. With Jerusalem surrounded, Sennacherib's envoy presents himself, demands surrender, and asks in whom Hezekiah places his trust in a time of peril:

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. . . on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

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