2 Kings 17-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Israel’s King Hoshea
17 In the twelfth year of Judah’s King Ahaz, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria and reigned nine years. 2 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.
3 Shalmaneser king of Assyria attacked him, and Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute money. 4 But the king of Assyria discovered Hoshea’s conspiracy. He had sent envoys to So king of Egypt and had not paid tribute money to the king of Assyria as in previous years.[a] Therefore the king of Assyria arrested him and put him in prison. 5 Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land, marched up to Samaria, and besieged it for three years.
The Fall of Samaria
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah and by the Habor, Gozan’s river, and in the cities of the Medes.
Why Israel Fell
7 This disaster happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they had worshiped[b] other gods. 8 They had lived according to the customs of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites and the customs the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did what was not right[c] against the Lord their God. They built high places in all their towns from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense on all the high places just like those nations that the Lord had driven out before them. They did evil things, provoking the Lord. 12 They served idols, although the Lord had told them, “You must not do this.” 13 Still, the Lord warned Israel and Judah through every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commands and statutes according to all the law I commanded your ancestors and sent to you through My servants the prophets.”
14 But they would not listen. Instead they became obstinate like[d] their ancestors who did not believe the Lord their God. 15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant He had made with their ancestors and the decrees He had given them. They pursued worthless idols and became worthless themselves, following the surrounding nations the Lord had commanded them not to imitate.
16 They abandoned all the commands of the Lord their God. They made cast images for themselves, two calves, and an Asherah pole. They worshiped the whole heavenly host and served Baal. 17 They made their sons and daughters pass through the fire and practiced divination and interpreted omens. They devoted themselves to do what was evil in the Lord’s sight and provoked Him.
18 Therefore, the Lord was very angry with Israel, and He removed them from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained. 19 Even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God but lived according to the customs Israel had introduced. 20 So the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and handed them over to plunderers until He had banished them from His presence.
Summary of Israel’s History
21 When the Lord tore Israel from the house of David, Israel made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam led Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit great sin. 22 The Israelites persisted in all the sins that Jeroboam committed and did not turn away from them. 23 Finally, the Lord removed Israel from His presence just as He had declared through all His servants the prophets. So Israel has been exiled to Assyria from their homeland until today.
Foreign Refugees in Israel
24 Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in place of the Israelites in the cities of Samaria. The settlers took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 When they first lived there, they did not fear Yahweh. So the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 The settlers spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations that you have deported and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land. Therefore He has sent lions among them that are killing them because the people don’t know the requirements of the God of the land.”
27 Then the king of Assyria issued a command: “Send back one of the priests you deported. Have him go and live there so he can teach them the requirements of the God of the land.” 28 So one of the priests they had deported came and lived in Bethel, and he began to teach them how they should fear Yahweh.
29 But the people of each nation were still making their own gods in the cities where they lived and putting them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made. 30 The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of the Sepharvaim. 32 They feared the Lord, but they also appointed from their number priests to serve them in the shrines of the high places. 33 They feared the Lord, but they also worshiped their own gods according to the custom of the nations where they had been deported from.
34 They are still practicing the former customs to this day. None of them fear the Lord or observe their statutes and ordinances, the law and commandments the Lord commanded the descendants of Jacob. He had renamed him Israel. 35 The Lord made a covenant with them and commanded them, “Do not fear other gods; do not bow down to them; do not serve them; do not sacrifice to them. 36 Instead fear the Lord, who brought you from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to Him, and you are to sacrifice to Him. 37 You are to be careful always to observe the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandments He wrote for you; do not fear other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant that I have made with you. Do not fear other gods, 39 but fear the Lord your God, and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”
40 However, they would not listen but continued practicing their former customs. 41 These nations feared the Lord but also served their idols. Their children and grandchildren continue doing as their fathers did until today.
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[e] 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.[f]
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[g] of silver and one ton[h] 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[i] 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?[j] 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[k] 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.[l] 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[m] 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?[n] 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.