2 Kings 18 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Judah’s King Hezekiah
18 In the third year of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah. 2 He was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi[a] daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for the Israelites burned incense to it up to that time. He called it Nehushtan.[b]
5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. 6 He remained faithful to Yahweh and did not turn from following Him but kept the commands the Lord had commanded Moses.
7 The Lord was with him, and wherever he went he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its borders, from watchtower to fortified city.
Review of Israel’s Fall
9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and besieged it. 10 The Assyrians captured it at the end of three years. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Israel’s King Hoshea, Samaria was captured. 11 The king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria and put them in Halah and by the Habor, Gozan’s river, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord their God but violated His covenant—all He had commanded Moses the servant of the Lord. They did not listen, and they did not obey.
13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent word to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you demand from me, I will pay.” The king of Assyria demanded 11 tons[c] of silver and one ton[d] of gold from King Hezekiah of Judah. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver found in the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the king’s palace.
16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the Lord’s sanctuary and from the doorposts he had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria.
17 Then the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh, along with a massive army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They advanced and came to Jerusalem, and[e] they took their position by the aqueduct of the upper pool, which is by the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18 Then they called for the king, but Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebnah the court secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, came out to them.
The Rabshakeh’s Speech
19 Then the Rabshakeh said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: ‘What are you relying on?[f] 20 You think mere words are strategy and strength for war. What are you now relying on so that you have rebelled against me? 21 Look, you are now trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff that will enter and pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. This is how Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who trust in him. 22 Suppose you say to me: We trust in the Lord our God. Isn’t He the One whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem: You must worship at this altar in Jerusalem?’
23 “So now make a bargain with my master the king of Assyria. I’ll give you 2,000 horses if you’re able to supply riders for them! 24 How then can you drive back a single officer among the least of my master’s servants and trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25 Have I attacked this place to destroy it without the Lord’s approval? The Lord said to me, ‘Attack this land and destroy it.’”
26 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebnah, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak with us in Hebrew[g] within earshot of the people on the wall.”
27 But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to speak these words? Hasn’t he also sent me to the men who sit on the wall, destined with you to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”
28 The Rabshakeh stood and called out loudly in Hebrew.[h] Then he spoke: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria. 29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you; he can’t deliver you from my hand. 30 Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord by saying: Certainly the Lord will deliver us! This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’
31 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for this is what the king of Assyria says: ‘Make peace[i] with me and surrender to me. Then every one of you may eat from his own vine and his own fig tree, and every one may drink water from his own cistern 32 until 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, a land of olive trees and honey—so that you may live and not die. But don’t listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you, saying: The Lord will deliver us. 33 Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?[j] Have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands has delivered his land from my power? So will the Lord deliver Jerusalem?’”
36 But the people kept silent; they didn’t say anything, for the king’s command was, “Don’t answer him.” 37 Then 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 Rabshakeh.