The Assyrians Invade Judah
1During Hezekiah’s fourteenth year as king, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked Judah. He attacked all the strong, walled cities of Judah and defeated them. 2The king of Assyria sent out his field commander. He went with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. When the commander came near the waterway from the upper pool, he stopped. The upper pool is on the road to the Washerman’s Field. 3Eliakim, Shebna and Joah went out to meet him. Eliakim son of Hilkiah was the palace manager. Shebna was the royal assistant. And Joah son of Asaph was the recorder.
4The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this:
“‘The great king, the king of Assyria, says: You have nothing to trust in to help you. 5You say you have battle plans and power for war. But your words mean nothing. Whom are you trusting for help so that you turn against me? 6Look, you are depending on Egypt to help you. Egypt is like a splintered walking stick. If you lean on it for help, it will stab you and hurt you. The king of Egypt will hurt those who depend on him. 7You might say, “We are depending on the Lord our God.” But Hezekiah destroyed the Lord’s altars and the places of worship. Hezekiah told Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship only at this one altar.”
8“‘Now make an agreement with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find enough men to ride them. 9You cannot defeat one of my master’s least important officers. So why do you depend on Egypt to give you chariots and horsemen? 10I have not come to attack and destroy this country without an order from the Lord. The Lord himself told me to come to this country and destroy it.’”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah spoke to the field commander. They said, “Please speak to us in the Aramaic language. We understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew because the people on the city wall can hear you.”
12But the commander said, “No. My master did not send me to tell these things only to you and your king. My master sent me to tell them also to those people sitting on the wall. They will have to eat their own dung and drink their own urine like you.”
13Then the commander stood and shouted loudly in the Hebrew language. He said, “Listen to the words from the great king, the king of Assyria! 14The king says you should not let Hezekiah fool you. Hezekiah can’t save you. 15Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting the Lord. Hezekiah says, ‘The Lord will surely save us. This city won’t be given over to the king of Assyria.’
16“Don’t listen to Hezekiah. The king of Assyria says, ‘Make peace with me. Come out of the city to me. Then everyone will be free to eat the fruit from his own grapevine and fig tree. Everyone will be free to drink water from his own well. 17Then I will come and take you to a land like your own. It is a land with grain and new wine. It has bread and vineyards.’
18“Don’t let Hezekiah fool you. He says, ‘The Lord will save us.’ The god of any other nation has not saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria. 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? They did not save Samaria from my power. 20Not one of all the gods of these countries has saved his people from me. Then the Lord cannot save Jerusalem from my power.”
21The people were silent. They didn’t answer the commander at all. This was because King Hezekiah had ordered, “Don’t answer him.”
22Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah tore their clothes to show how upset they were. (Eliakim son of Hilkiah was the palace manager. Shebna was the royal assistant. And Joah son of Asaph was the recorder.) The three men went to Hezekiah and told him what the field commander had said.