18 1IN THE third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2He was twenty-five years old when he began his twenty-nine-year reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi daughter of Zechariah. 3Hezekiah did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his [forefather] had done. 4He removed the high places, broke the images, cut down the Asherim, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until then the Israelites had burned incense to it; but he called it Nehushtan [a bronze trifle]. 5Hezekiah trusted in, leaned on, and was confident in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that neither after him nor before him was any one of all the kings of Judah like him. 6For he clung and held fast to the Lord and ceased not to follow Him, but kept His commandments, as the Lord commanded Moses. 7And the Lord was with Hezekiah; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to serve him. 8He smote the Philistines, even to Gaza [the most distant city] and its borders, from the [isolated] watchtower to the [populous] fortified city. 9In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it. 10After three years it was taken; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11The king of Assyria carried Israel away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12Because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear it or do it. 13In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, I have done wrong. Depart from me; what you put on me I will bear. And the king of Assyria exacted of Hezekiah king of Judah 300 talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16Then Hezekiah stripped off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord and from the doorposts which he as king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh [the high officials] from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem with a great army. They went up to Jerusalem, and when they arrived, they came and stood by the canal of the Upper Pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was over the king’s household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder. 19The Rabshakeh told them, Say to Hezekiah, Thus says the great king of Assyria: What justifies this confidence of yours? 20You say--but they are empty words--There is counsel and strength for war. Now on whom do you rely, that you rebel against me? 21Behold, you are relying on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff; if a man leans on it, it will pierce his hand. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust and rely on him. 22But if you tell me, We trust in and rely on the Lord our God, is it not He Whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem? 23So now, make a wager and give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria: I will deliver you 2,000 horses--if you can on your part put riders on them. 24How then can you beat back one captain among the least of my master’s servants, when your trust is put in Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25Have I come up without the Lord against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it. 26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah and Shebna and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, We pray you, speak to your servants in the Aramaic (Syrian) language, for we understand it; and do not speak to us in the Jews’ language in the hearing of the people on the wall. 27But the Rabshakeh said to them, Has my master sent me to your master and you only to say these things? Has he not sent me to the men who sit on the wall [whom Hezekiah has doomed to be forced] to eat their own dung and drink their own urine along with you? 28Then the Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, Hear the word of the great king of Assyria! 29Thus says the king: Let not Hezekiah deceive you. For he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30Nor let Hezekiah make you trust in and rely on the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of Assyria’s king. 31Hearken not to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me, and eat every man from his own vine and fig tree and drink every man the waters of his own cistern, 32Until I come and take you away to a land like your own, a land of grain and vintage fruit, of bread and vineyards, of olive trees and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he urges you, saying, The Lord will deliver us. 33Has any one of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad [in Syria]? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah [in the Euphrates Valley]? Have they delivered Samaria [Israel’s capital] out of my hand? 35Who of all the gods of the countries has delivered his country out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? 36But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for Hezekiah had commanded, Do not answer him. 37Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was over the royal household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder came to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him what the Rabshakeh had said.
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