Hezekiah rules Judah
5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, Israel’s God. There was no one like him among all of Judah’s kings—not before him and not after him. 6 He clung to the Lord and never deviated from him. He kept the commandments that the Lord had commanded Moses. 7 The Lord was with Hezekiah; he succeeded at everything he tried. He rebelled against Assyria’s king and wouldn’t serve him. 8 He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territories, from watchtower to fortified city.
9 Assyria’s King Shalmaneser marched against Samaria and attacked it in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Israel’s King Hoshea, Elah’s son. 10 After three years the Assyrians captured the city. Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was Hoshea’s ninth year. 11 Assyria’s king sent Israel into exile to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River, and in the cities of the Medes. 12 All this happened because they wouldn’t listen to the Lord their God. They broke his covenant—all that the Lord’s servant Moses had commanded them. They didn’t listen, and they didn’t do it.
13 Assyria’s King Sennacherib marched against all of Judah’s fortified cities and captured them in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah. 14 Judah’s King Hezekiah sent a message to the Assyrian king at Lachish, saying, “I admit wrongdoing. Please withdraw from me, and I’ll agree to whatever you demand from me.” Assyria’s king required Judah’s King Hezekiah to pay him three hundred kikkars of silver and thirty kikkars of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was in the Lord’s temple and in the palace treasuries. 16 At that time King Hezekiah had to strip down the doors and doorposts of the Lord’s temple, which he had covered with gold. He gave all of it to the Assyrian king.
17 Assryia’s king sent his general, his chief officer, and his field commander from Lachish, together with a large army, to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and arrived at Jerusalem. They stood at the water channel of the Upper Pool, which is on the road to the field where clothes are washed. 18 Then they called for the king. Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder went out to them.
19 Then the field commander said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: This is what Assyria’s Great King says: Why do you feel so confident? 20 Do you think that empty words are the same as good strategy and the strength to fight? Who are you trusting in that you now rebel against me? 21 It appears that you are trusting in a staff—Egypt—that’s nothing but a broken reed! It will stab the hand of anyone who leans on it! That’s all that Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, is to anyone who trusts in him. 22 Now suppose you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God.’ Isn’t he the one whose shrines and altars Hezekiah removed, telling Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?
23 “So now make a wager with my master, Assyria’s king. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you can supply the riders! 24 How will you drive back even the least important official among my master’s servants when you are relying on Egypt for chariots and riders? 25 What’s more, do you think I’ve marched against this place to destroy it without the Lord’s support? It was the Lord who told me, March against this land and destroy it!”
26 Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic because we understand it. Don’t speak with us in Hebrew, because the people on the wall will hear it.”
27 The field commander said to them, “Did my master send me to speak these words just to you and your master and not also to the men on the wall? They are the ones who will have to eat their dung and drink their urine along with you.” 28 Then the field commander stood up and shouted in Hebrew at the top of his voice, saying, “Listen to the message of the great king, Assyria’s king. 29 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah lie to you. He won’t be able to rescue you from the power of Assyria’s king. 30 Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to trust the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will certainly rescue us. This city won’t be handed over to Assyria’s king.’
31 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah, because this is what Assyria’s king says: Surrender to me and come out. Then each of you will eat from your own vine and fig tree, and drink water from your own well 32 until I come to take you to a land just like your land. It will be a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey. Then you will live and not die! Don’t listen to Hezekiah, because he will mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us.’ 33 Were any of the gods of the other nations able to rescue their lands from the power of Assyria’s king? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my power? 35 Which one of any of the gods of those lands has rescued their country from my power? Why should the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?”
36 But the people kept quiet and didn’t answer him with a single word, because King Hezekiah’s command was, “Don’t answer him!” 37 Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder, came to Hezekiah with ripped clothes. They told him what the field commander had said.
- 2 Kings 18:2 Cf 2 Chron 29:1 Abijah
- 2 Kings 18:4 Heb asherah, perhaps an object devoted to the goddess Asherah