Sennacherib Dares Jerusalem
1Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
2The king of Assyria sent the Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah with a massive army. The Rab-shakeh stood by the aqueduct of the upper pool in the highway of the washer’s field.
3Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder came out to him.
4So the Rab-shakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: ‘What is this confidence you’ve relied on?
5I say your strategy and strength for war are only words of a lip. Who do you rely on now, so that you have rebelled against me?
6Behold, you rely on this splintered reed as a staff—Egypt! If a man leans on it, it will go into the palm of his hand and pierce it—thus Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who trust in him.
7“‘But if you say to me: ‘We trust in Adonai our God’—is it not He whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, and then said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar’?
8“So now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I’ll give you 2,ooo horses—if you could put riders of your own on them.
9So, how can you repulse a single lieutenant—the least of my master’s servants? Yes, you’re relying on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen.
10“Moreover, have I now come up against this land to destroy it without Adonai’s approval? Adonai said to me: ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’”
11Then Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the Rab-shakeh: “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Don’t speak to us in the language of the Jews when the people on the wall are listening.”
12But the Rab-shakeh said: “Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to speak these words? Hasn’t he sent me to the men who sit on the wall—who will eat their own waste and drink their own urine with you?”
13Then the Rab-shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the language of the Jews and said: “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.
14Thus says the king: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you!
15Nor let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in Adonai by saying, “Adonai will surely deliver us—this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”’
16“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! For thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me and come out to me. Then everyone will eat from his own vine and fig tree, and everyone will 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 wine, a land of bread and vineyards.’
18“Beware that Hezekiah does not mislead you by saying, ‘Adonai will deliver us.’ Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?
19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, when did they deliver Samaria from my hand?
20Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their country out of my hand? So will Adonai deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”
21But they were silent, and did not answer him a word, for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.”
22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rab-shakeh.