1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah,#2Kg 18:13,17–37; 2Ch 32:1–16,18 King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2Then the king of Assyria sent his royal spokesman, along with a massive army, from Lachish#Jos 15:20,39 to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. The Assyrian stood near the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to Launderer’s Field.#Is 7:3 3Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary,#Is 22:15,20–21 and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, came out to him.
4The royal spokesman said to them, “Tell Hezekiah:
The great king, the king of Assyria, says this: What are you relying on? 5You#36:5 Many Hb mss, DSS, 2Kg 18:20; MT reads I think mere words are strategy and strength for war. Who are you now relying on that you have rebelled against me?#2Kg 18:7 6Look, you are relying on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff#Ezk 29:6–7 that will pierce the hand of anyone who grabs it and leans on it. This is how Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who rely on him.#Is 30:3–7 7Suppose you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God.’ Isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You are to worship at this altar’?#Dt 12:2–5; 2Kg 18:4–5
8“Now make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you’re able to supply riders for them! 9How then can you drive back a single officer among the least of my master’s servants? How can you rely on Egypt for chariots and horsemen?#Is 20:5; 30:2–5,7; 31:3 10Have I attacked this land to destroy it without the Lord’s approval? The Lord said to me, ‘Attack this land and destroy it.’”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the royal spokesman, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic,#Ezr 4:7; Dn 2:4 since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew#36:11 Lit Judahite, also in v. 13 within earshot of the people who are on the wall.”
12But the royal spokesman replied, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men who are sitting on the wall, who are destined with you to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”
13Then the royal spokesman stood and called out loudly in Hebrew:
Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14This is what the king says: “Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you,#Is 37:10 for he cannot rescue you. 15Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will certainly rescue us! This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’”
16Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for this is what the king of Assyria says: “Make peace#36:16 Lit a blessing with me and surrender to me. Then every one of you may eat from his own vine and his own fig tree#1Kg 4:25; Mc 4:4; Zch 3:10 and drink water from his own cistern 17until I come and take you away to a land like your own land — a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18Beware that Hezekiah does not mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us.’#Is 37:10 Has any one of the gods of the nations#1Ch 5:25; Is 37:12 rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad?#Is 10:9–11; 37:11–13; Jr 49:23 Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my power?#2Kg 17:6 20Who among all the gods of these lands ever rescued his land from my power? So will the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?”
21But they kept silent; they didn’t say anything, for the king’s command was, “Don’t answer him.”#Pr 26:4 22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and reported to him the words of the royal spokesman.