If you read Isaiah 37 and compare it with 2 Kings 19, you will notice that these verses are the exact same.

How is it possible or why is it that these verses are identical?

Isaiah 37

2 Kings 19


2 Answers 2


The events recorded in the 19th Chapter of 2 Kings and the 37th Chapter of Isaiah occurred in the year 700 BC and were recorded by the Isaiah in approximately 650 BC. The writings of a Prophet with the status that Isaiah held among the Hebrews would have been preserved in both the Temple library as well as the State archive. In addition, the 18th Chapter of 2 Kings documents the presence of King Hezekiah's recorder Joah, a son of Asaph. Joah's account would also have been present in the Hebrew State archive.

Much in the same way modern history writers research, the writer of 2 Kings consulted the best and most accurate accounting of this particular event in his effort to record the events for historical purposes. Since Isaiah was an eyewitness to the event associated with these chapters, his account would have been one of the most reliable


It does indeed seem that either Isaiah 37 or 2 Kings 19 was largely copied from one source to the other. Here are three possible explanations:

  • Isaiah was an eyewitness - or at least was a counsellor to the King of Judah at the time - so his account must have been written first, while the Books of Kings were composed centuries after the event. In this scenario, the historian who wrote 2 Kings used the highly reliable earlier account from Isaiah.

  • Isaiah 37 is not the product of Isaiah himself but of and Jo′ah the son of Asaph, identified as as "the recorder" who was Isaiah's contemporary. (2 Kings 18:18)

  • That the Book of Isaiah is not the product of one author is a well established hypothesis. Here, an account from 2 Kings was inserted into "Proto-Isaiah" by a later editor. Supporting this view is the fact that the language of this part of the Book of Isaiah is uncharacteristic of prophetic writing, while it is generally consistent with the style of 2 Kings.

I tend to accept the third explanation - the material from 2 Kings was inserted into the text of Isaiah by a later editor - because the passage in question is stylistically inconsistent with the rest of Isaiah but is quite consistent with 2 Kings. However, this rationale also works for the material having been written by Joah the Recorder.

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