1 NOW IN the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. [II Kings 18:13, 17-37; II Chron. 32:9-19.]
2 And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh [the military official] from Lachish [the Judean fortress commanding the road from Egypt] to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem with a great army. And he stood by the canal of the Upper Pool on the highway to the Fuller's Field.
3 Then came out to meet him Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was over the [royal] household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recording historian.
4 And the Rabshakeh said to them, Say to Hezekiah, Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: What reason for confidence is this in which you trust?
5 Do you suppose that mere words of the lips can pass for warlike counsel and strength? Now in whom do you trust and on whom do you rely, that you rebel against me? [II Kings 18:7.]
6 Behold, you trust in the staff of this bruised and broken reed, Egypt, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust and rely on him.
7 But if you say to me, We trust in and rely on the Lord our God–is it not He Whose high places and Whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, You shall worship before this altar? [II Kings 18:4, 5.]
8 Now therefore, I pray you, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria and give him pledges, and I will give you two thousand horses–if you are able on your part to put riders on them.
9 How then can you repulse the attack of a single captain of the least of my master's servants, when you put your reliance on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
10 Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have now come up against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it.
11 Then Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, We pray you, speak to your servants in the Aramaic or Syrian language, for we understand it; and do not speak to us in the language of the Jews in the hearing of the people on the wall.
12 But the Rabshakeh said, Has my master sent me to speak these words only to your master and to you? Has he not sent me to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?
13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the language of the Jews: Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!
14 Thus says the king: Let not Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you.
15 Nor let Hezekiah make you trust in and rely on the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
16 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me; and eat every one from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree and drink every one the water of his own cistern,
17 Until 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 lest Hezekiah persuade and mislead you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. Has any one of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad [in Syria]? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim [a place from which the Assyrians brought colonists to inhabit evacuated Samaria]? And have [the gods] delivered Samaria [capital of the ten northern tribes of Israel] out of my hand?
20 Who among all the gods of these lands has delivered his land out of my hand, that [you should think that] the Lord can deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
21 But they kept still and answered him not a word, for the king's [Hezekiah's] command was, Do not answer him.
22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recording historian came to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh [the Assyrian military official].