“When King Hezekiah heard this, he also tore his clothes. He covered himself with sackcloth. He went into the house of Yahweh. He sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebnah the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. They said to him. ‘Thus says King Hezekiah. This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace. Children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that Yahweh your God heard all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God. Will you rebuke the words which Yahweh your God has heard? Therefore, lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’”
It seems like it was common to tear your clothes whenever you heard bad news. If you were a pessimist you would need a large wardrobe or wear torn clothes all the time. Instead of the torn clothes you wore sackcloth, the cloth that carried the various vegetables or food. Being the good king, Hezekiah went into the house of Yahweh, the temple. Then he decided to send his consultants, Eliakim, Shebnah, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. Notice that Joah did not go. They would all be wearing sackcloth. Things are in distress and disgrace. In an interesting metaphor they say that women are coming to the moment of childbirth but have no strength to bring their children into the world. They mentioned that perhaps Yahweh had heard the mocking words of Rabshakeh. The king of Assyria’s representative mocked the living God. How would you rebuke him? They wanted prayers for the “remnant.” This theme of the faithful few left behind will occur quite often.