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32 Some time later after this good work of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah and laid siege to the fortified cities, planning to place them under tribute. When it was clear that Sennacherib was intending to attack Jerusalem, Hezekiah summoned his princes and officers for a council of war, and it was decided to plug the springs outside the city. They organized a huge work crew to block them and to cut off the brook running through the fields.

“Why should the king of Assyria come and find water?” they asked.

Then Hezekiah further strengthened his defenses by repairing the wall wherever it was broken down, and by adding to the fortifications, and constructing a second wall outside it. He also reinforced Fort Millo in the City of David and manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields. He recruited an army and appointed officers, and summoned them to the plains before the city, and encouraged them with this address:

“Be strong, be brave, and do not be afraid of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is someone with us who is far greater than he is! He has a great army, but they are all mere men, while we have the Lord our God to fight our battles for us!” This greatly encouraged them.

Then King Sennacherib of Assyria, while still besieging the city of Lachish, sent ambassadors with this message to King Hezekiah and the citizens of Jerusalem:

10 “King Sennacherib of Assyria asks, ‘Do you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? 11 King Hezekiah is trying to persuade you to commit suicide by staying there—to die by famine and thirst—while he promises that “the Lord our God will deliver us from the king of Assyria”! 12 Don’t you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the idols, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem to use only the one altar at the Temple, and to burn incense upon it alone? 13 Don’t you realize that I and the other kings of Assyria before me have never yet failed to conquer a nation we attacked? The gods of those nations weren’t able to do a thing to save their lands! 14 Name just one time when anyone, anywhere, was able to resist us successfully. What makes you think your God can do any better? 15 Don’t let Hezekiah fool you! Don’t believe him. I say it again—no god of any nation has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors; how much less your God!’” 16 Thus the ambassador mocked the Lord God and God’s servant Hezekiah, heaping up insults.

17 King Sennacherib also sent letters scorning the Lord God of Israel.

“The gods of all the other nations failed to save their people from my hand, and the God of Hezekiah will fail too,” he wrote.

18 The messengers who brought the letters shouted threats in the Jewish language to the people gathered on the walls of the city, trying to frighten and dishearten them. 19 These messengers talked about the God of Jerusalem just as though he were one of the heathen gods—a handmade idol!

20 Then King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet (son of Amoz) cried out in prayer to God in heaven, 21 and the Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its officers and generals! So Sennacherib returned home in deep shame to his own land. And when he arrived at the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there. 22 That is how the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. And now there was peace at last throughout his realm.

23 From then on King Hezekiah became immensely respected among the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the Lord arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah too.

24 But about that time Hezekiah became deathly sick, and he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord replied with a miracle. 25 However, Hezekiah didn’t respond with true thanksgiving and praise for he had become proud, and so the anger of God was upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem. 26 But finally Hezekiah and the residents of Jerusalem humbled themselves, so the wrath of the Lord did not fall upon them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.

27 So Hezekiah became very wealthy and was highly honored. He had to construct special treasury buildings for his silver, gold, precious stones, and spices, and for his shields and gold bowls. 28-29 He also built many storehouses for his grain, new wine, and olive oil, with many stalls for his animals and folds for the great flocks of sheep and goats he purchased; and he acquired many towns, for God had given him great wealth. 30 He dammed up Gihon’s Upper Spring and brought the water down through an aqueduct to the west side of the City of David sector in Jerusalem. He prospered in everything he did.

31 However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to find out about the miracle of his being healed, God left him to himself in order to test him and to see what he was really like.

32 The rest of the story of Hezekiah and all of the good things he did are written in The Book of Isaiah (the prophet, the son of Amoz), and in The Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 When Hezekiah died, he was buried in the royal hillside cemetery among the other kings, and all Judah and Jerusalem honored him at his death. Then his son Manasseh became the new king.

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