1Hezekiah son of Ahaz was king of Judah. Hezekiah began to rule during the third year that Hoshea son of Elah was king of Israel. 2Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to rule. Hezekiah ruled 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. 3Hezekiah did the things the Lord said were right, just like David his ancestor. 4Hezekiah destroyed the high places. He broke the memorial stones and cut down the Asherah poles. At that time, the people of Israel burned incense to the bronze snake made by Moses. This bronze snake was called “Nehushtan.” Hezekiah broke this bronze snake into pieces ˻because the people were worshiping that snake˼. 5Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel. There was no person like Hezekiah among all the kings of Judah before him or after him. 6Hezekiah was very faithful to the Lord. He did not stop following the Lord. He obeyed the commands that the Lord had given to Moses. 7The Lord was with Hezekiah. Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. Hezekiah broke away from the king of Assyria. Hezekiah stopped serving the king of Assyria. 8Hezekiah defeated the Philistines all the way to Gaza and the area around it. He defeated all the Philistine cities—from the smallest town to the largest city. 9Shalmaneser king of Assyria went to fight against Samaria. His army surrounded the city. ˻This happened during˼ the fourth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah. (This was also the seventh year that Hoshea son of Elah was king of Israel.) 10At the end of the third year, Shalmaneser captured Samaria. He took Samaria during the sixth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah. (This was also the ninth year that Hoshea was king of Israel.) 11The king of Assyria took the Israelites as prisoners to Assyria. He made them live in Halah, on the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 12This happened because the Israelites did not obey the Lord their God. They broke the Lord’s Agreement. They did not obey all the things that Moses the Lord’s servant commanded. The people of Israel would not listen to the Lord’s Agreement, or do the things it taught them to do. 13During the 14th year that Hezekiah was king, Sennacherib king of Assyria went to fight against all the strong cities of Judah. Sennacherib defeated all those cities. 14Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent a message to the king of Assyria at Lachish. Hezekiah said, “I have done wrong. Leave me ˻alone˼. Then I will pay anything you want. Then the king of Assyria told Hezekiah king of Judah to pay over 11 tons of silver and over 1 ton of gold. 15Hezekiah gave all the silver that was in the Lord’s temple and in the king’s treasuries. 16At this time, Hezekiah cut off the gold that covered the doors of the Lord’s temple and the doorposts. King Hezekiah had put gold on these doors and doorposts. Hezekiah gave this gold to the king of Assyria. 17The king of Assyria sent his three most important commanders with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. Those men left Lachish and went to Jerusalem. They stood near the aqueduct by the Upper Pool. (The Upper Pool is on the road to the Washers’ Field.) 18These men called for the king. Eliakim son of Hilkiah (Eliakim was in charge of the king’s house), Shebna (the secretary), and Joah son of Asaph (the record keeper) came out to meet them. 19One of the commanders said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria says: What do you trust in? 20Your words are worth nothing. You say, “I have enough advice and power to help me in war.” But who do you trust since you have broken away from my rule? 21You are leaning on a walking stick made of broken reed! This walking stick is Egypt. If a man leans on this walking stick, ˻it will break and˼ go through his hand and hurt him! The king of Egypt is like that to all people that trust in him. 22Maybe you will say, “We trust the Lord our God.” But I know that Hezekiah took away the high places and altars where people worshiped the Lord. And Hezekiah told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship only in front of the altar here in Jerusalem.” 23Now make this agreement with my master, the king of Assyria. I promise that I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find men to ride them. 24You can’t defeat one officer of the lowest of my master’s officers! You depend on Egypt to give you chariots and horse soldiers! 25I have not come against Jerusalem to destroy it without the Lord! The Lord said to me, “Go up against this country and destroy it!” 26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the commander, “Please speak to us in Aramaic. We understand that language. Do not speak with us in the language of Judah because the people on the wall can hear us!” 27But Rabshakeh said to them, “My lord did not send me to speak only to you and your king. I also speak to the other people that sit on the wall! They will eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you!” 28Then the commander shouted loudly in the Jewish language, “Hear this message from the great king, the king of Assyria! 29The king says, 'Don’t let Hezekiah fool you! He can’t save you from my power!’ 30Don’t let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord! Hezekiah says, 'The Lord will save us! The king of Assyria will not defeat this city!’ 31But don’t listen to Hezekiah! “The king of Assyria says this: 'Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you can eat from his own grapes, his own fig tree, and drink water from his own well. 32You can do this until I come and take you away to a land like your own land. It is a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and fields full of grapes, a land of olives and honey. Then you can live, and not die. But don’t listen to Hezekiah! He is trying to change your mind. He is saying, 'The Lord will save us.’ 33Did any of the gods of the other nations save his land from the king of Assyria? No! 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did they save Samaria from me? No! 35Did any of the gods in the other countries save their land from me? No! Can the Lord save Jerusalem from me? No!” 36But the people were silent. They did not say a word to the commander because King Hezekiah had given them a command. He said, “Don’t say anything to him.” 37Eliakim son of Hilkiah (Eliakim was in charge of the king’s house), Shebna (the secretary), and Joah son of Asaph (the record keeper) came to Hezekiah. Their clothes were torn ˻to show they were upset˼. They told Hezekiah the things that the Assyrian commander had said.
2 Kings 18