2 Kings 18-19Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Hezekiah Begins His Rule Over Judah
18 Hezekiah son of Ahaz was king of Judah. Hezekiah began to rule during the third year that Hoshea son of Elah was king of Israel. 2 Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to rule. He ruled 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi,[a] the daughter of Zechariah.
3 Hezekiah did what the Lord said was right, just as David his ancestor had done.
4 Hezekiah destroyed the high places. He broke the memorial stones and cut down the Asherah poles. At that time the Israelites burned incense to the bronze snake made by Moses. This bronze snake was called “Nehushtan.”[b] Hezekiah broke this bronze snake into pieces.
5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like Hezekiah among all the kings of Judah before him or after him. 6 He was very faithful to the Lord and did not stop following him. He obeyed the commands that the Lord had given to Moses. 7 The Lord was with Hezekiah, so he was successful in everything he did.
Hezekiah broke away from the king of Assyria and stopped serving him. 8 Hezekiah 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.
The Assyrians Capture Samaria
9 King Shalmaneser 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.) 10 At 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.) 11 The 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. 12 This happened because the Israelites did not obey the Lord their God. They broke his agreement and did not obey everything that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded. The Israelites would not listen to the Lord’s agreement, or do what it taught them to do.
Assyria Gets Ready to Take Judah
13 During Hezekiah’s 14th year as king, King Sennacherib of Assyria went to fight against all the strong cities of Judah. Sennacherib defeated them all. 14 Then King Hezekiah of Judah sent a message to the king of Assyria at Lachish. Hezekiah said, “I have done wrong. Leave me alone, and I will pay whatever you want.”
Then the king of Assyria told King Hezekiah of Judah to pay over 11 tons[c] of silver and over 1 ton[d] of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave all the silver that was in the Lord’s Temple and in the king’s treasuries. 16 That is when Hezekiah cut off the gold that he had put on the doors and doorposts of the Lord’s Temple and gave it to the king of Assyria.
King of Assyria Sends Men to Jerusalem
17 The king of Assyria sent his three most important officers with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. They left Lachish and went to Jerusalem. They stood near the aqueduct by the Upper Pool,[e] on the street that leads up to Laundryman’s Field. 18 These men called for the king, but Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah son of Asaph went out to meet them. Eliakim was the palace manager, Joah was the record keeper, and Shebna was the royal secretary.
19 The commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria says:
‘What are you trusting in to help you? 20 If you say, “I trust in power and great battle plans,” then that is useless. Now I ask you, who do you trust so much that you are willing to rebel against me? 21 Are you depending on Egypt to help you? Egypt is like a broken walking stick. If you lean on it for support, it will only hurt you and make a hole in your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, cannot be trusted by anyone who depends on him for help. 22 Maybe you will say, “We trust the Lord our God to help us.” But I know that Hezekiah destroyed the altars and high places where people worshiped the Lord. Hezekiah told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship only at this one altar here in Jerusalem.”
23 ‘If you still want to fight my master, the king of Assyria, I will make this agreement with you. I promise that I will give you 2000 horses if you can find enough men to ride them into battle. 24 But even then you couldn’t beat one of my master’s lowest ranking officers. So why do you still depend on Egypt’s chariots and horse soldiers?
25 ‘Now, do you think I came to this country to destroy it without the Lord’s help? No, the Lord said to me, “Go up against this country and destroy it!”’”
26 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the commander, “Please speak to us in Aramaic. We understand that language. Don’t speak to us in the language of Judah because the people on the wall will understand you.”
27 But the commander said, “My master sent me to speak to everyone, not just to you and your master. I must also speak to those people sitting there on the wall. When we surround your city, they will suffer too. Like you, they will become so hungry they will eat their own waste and drink their own urine!”
28 Then the commander, shouting loudly in Hebrew,[f] gave this warning to them all:
Hear this message from the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah fool you! He cannot save you from my power. 30 Don’t listen to him when he tells you to trust in the Lord. Don’t believe him when he says, “The Lord will save us. He will not let the king of Assyria defeat the city.”
31 Don’t listen to Hezekiah! This is what the king of Assyria says: Come out here and show me that you want peace. Then you will all be free to have grapes from your own vines, figs from your own trees, and water from your own well. 32 After some time, I will come and take you to a land like your own. In that new land, you will have plenty of grain for making bread and vineyards for producing wine. I am offering you a choice to live instead of dying.
Don’t believe Hezekiah when he tells you, “The Lord will save us.” He is wrong. 33 Did any of the gods of other nations save their land from the king of Assyria? 34 When I destroyed the cities of Hamath and Arpad, where were their gods? What about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Were any gods able to save Samaria from my power? 35 None of the gods of these other places were able to save their land from me! So why do you think the Lord can save Jerusalem from me?
36 But the people were silent. They did not say a word to the commander, because King Hezekiah had commanded them, “Don’t say anything to him.”
37 Then the palace manager (Eliakim son of Hilkiah), the royal secretary (Shebna), and the record keeper (Joah son of Asaph) went to Hezekiah. Their clothes were torn to show they were upset. They told Hezekiah everything the Assyrian commander had said.
Hezekiah Talks With Isaiah the Prophet
19 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes to show he was upset. Then he put on sackcloth and went to the Lord’s Temple.
2 Hezekiah sent Eliakim the palace manager, Shebna the royal secretary, and the elders of the priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They wore the special clothes that showed they were sad and upset. 3 They said to Isaiah, “King Hezekiah has commanded that today will be a special day for sorrow and sadness. It will be a very sad day, like the time a child should be born, but is not strong enough to come from its mother’s womb. 4 The commander’s master, the king of Assyria, has sent him to say bad things about the living God. Maybe the Lord your God will hear all those things and answer them. Maybe the Lord your God will show how wrong the enemy is! So pray for the people who are still left alive.”
5 King Hezekiah’s officers went to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah said to them, “Give this message to your master, Hezekiah: The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid of what you heard from the commanders. Don’t believe what those “boys” from the king of Assyria said to make fun of me. 7 Look, I will send a spirit against the king of Assyria. He will get a report warning him about a danger, so he will return to his own country. And I will cut him down with a sword in his own country.’”
The Assyrian Army Leaves Jerusalem
8 The commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. He found him at Libnah, fighting against that city. 9 Then the king of Assyria heard a report that said, “Tirhakah,[g] the king of Ethiopia, has come to fight against you.”
So the king of Assyria sent messengers to Hezekiah again. 10 He told them, “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah these things:
‘Don’t be fooled by the god you trust when he says Jerusalem will not be defeated by the king of Assyria. 11 You have heard what the kings of Assyria did to all the other countries. We completely destroyed them! Will you be saved? No! 12 Did the gods of those nations save their people? No, my ancestors destroyed them all. They destroyed Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden living in Tel Assar. 13 Where is the king of Hamath? The king of Arpad? The king of the city of Sepharvaim? The kings of Hena and Ivvah?’”
Hezekiah Prays to the Lord
14 Hezekiah received the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went up to the Lord’s Temple and laid the letters out in front of the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “Lord, God of Israel, you sit as King above the Cherub angels. You alone are the God who rules all the kingdoms on earth. You made heaven and earth. 16 Lord, please listen to me. Lord, open your eyes and look at this message. Hear the words that Sennacherib sent to insult the living God. 17 It is true, Lord. The kings of Assyria did destroy all those nations. 18 They did throw the gods of those nations into the fire. But they were not real gods. They were only wood and stone—statues that people made. That is why the kings of Assyria could destroy them. 19 But you are the Lord our God, so please save us from the king of Assyria. Then all the other nations will know that you, Lord, are the only God.”
God Answers Hezekiah
20 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah. Isaiah said, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says this: You prayed to me about the message that came from King Sennacherib of Assyria. I have heard you.
21 “This is the Lord’s message against Sennacherib:
‘The virgin daughter Zion[h] does not think you are important.
25 That is what you said, but haven’t you heard what I said?
The Lord’s Message for Hezekiah
29 Then the Lord said, “I will give you a sign to show that these words are true. You were not able to plant seeds this year, so next year you will eat grain that grows wild from the previous year’s crop. But in the third year, you will eat grain from seeds that you planted. You will harvest your crops and have plenty to eat. You will plant grapevines and eat their fruit. You will plant vineyards and eat the grapes from them. 30 The people from the family of Judah who have escaped and are left alive will be like plants that send their roots deep into the ground and produce fruit above the ground. 31 That is because a few people will come out of Jerusalem alive. There will be survivors coming from Mount Zion. The strong love[i] of the Lord All-Powerful will do this.
32 “So the Lord says this about the king of Assyria:
‘He will not come into this city
The Assyrian Army Is Destroyed
35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 people in the Assyrian camp. When the others got up in the morning, they saw all the dead bodies.
36 So King Sennacherib of Assyria left and went back to Nineveh where he stayed. 37 One day Sennacherib was in the temple of his god Nisroch, worshiping him. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword and ran away to Ararat. So his son Esarhaddon became the new king of Assyria.