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2 Kings 18:19-19 Common English Bible (CEB)

19 Then the field commander said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: This is what Assyria’s Great King says: Why do you feel so confident? 20 Do you think that empty words are the same as good strategy and the strength to fight? Who are you trusting in that you now rebel against me? 21 It appears that you are trusting in a staff—Egypt—that’s nothing but a broken reed! It will stab the hand of anyone who leans on it! That’s all that Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, is to anyone who trusts in him. 22 Now suppose you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God.’ Isn’t he the one whose shrines and altars Hezekiah removed, telling Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?

23 “So now make a wager with my master, Assyria’s king. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you can supply the riders! 24 How will you drive back even the least important official among my master’s servants when you are relying on Egypt for chariots and riders? 25 What’s more, do you think I’ve marched against this place to destroy it without the Lord’s support? It was the Lord who told me, March against this land and destroy it!”

26 Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic because we understand it. Don’t speak with us in Hebrew, because the people on the wall will hear it.”

27 The field commander said to them, “Did my master send me to speak these words just to you and your master and not also to the men on the wall? They are the ones who will have to eat their dung and drink their urine along with you.” 28 Then the field commander stood up and shouted in Hebrew at the top of his voice, saying, “Listen to the message of the great king, Assyria’s king. 29 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah lie to you. He won’t be able to rescue you from the power of Assyria’s king. 30 Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to trust the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will certainly rescue us. This city won’t be handed over to Assyria’s king.’

31 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah, because this is what Assyria’s king says: Surrender to me and come out. Then each of you will eat from your own vine and fig tree, and drink water from your own well 32 until I come to take you to a land just like your land. It will be a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey. Then you will live and not die! Don’t listen to Hezekiah, because he will mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us.’ 33 Were any of the gods of the other nations able to rescue their lands from the power of Assyria’s king? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my power? 35 Which one of any of the gods of those lands has rescued their country from my power? Why should the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?”

36 But the people kept quiet and didn’t answer him with a single word, because King Hezekiah’s command was, “Don’t answer him!” 37 Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder, came to Hezekiah with ripped clothes. They told him what the field commander had said.

Hezekiah and Isaiah

19 When King Hezekiah heard this, he ripped his clothes, covered himself with mourning clothes, and went to the Lord’s temple. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah, Amoz’s son. They were all wearing mourning clothes. They said to him, “This is what Hezekiah says: Today is a day of distress, punishment, and humiliation. It’s as if children are ready to be born, but there’s no strength to see it through. Perhaps the Lord your God has heard all the words of the field commander who was sent by his master, Assyria’s king—how he insulted the living God—perhaps God will punish him for the words the Lord your God heard. Send up a prayer for those few people who still survive.”

When King Hezekiah’s servants got to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Say this to your master: ‘This is what the Lord says: Don’t be afraid at the words you heard, which the officers of Assyria’s king have used to insult me. I’m about to put a spirit in him, so when he hears a rumor, he’ll go back to his own country. Then I’ll have him cut down by the sword in his own land.’”

The field commander heard that the Assyrian king had left Lachish. So he went back to the king and found him attacking Libnah. Then the Assyrian king learned that Cush’s King Tirhakah was on his way to fight against him. So he sent messengers to Hezekiah again, saying, 10 “Say this to Judah’s King Hezekiah: Don’t let the God you trust in persuade you by saying, ‘Jerusalem won’t be handed over to the Assyrian king.’ 11 You yourself have heard what Assyrian kings do to other countries, wiping them out. Is it likely that you will be saved? 12 Did the gods of the nations destroyed by my fathers—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, or the people of Eden in Telassar—save them? 13 Where now is Hamath’s king, Arpad’s king, or the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena, or Ivvah?”[a]

Hezekiah’s prayer

14 Hezekiah took the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went to the temple and spread them out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying, “Lord God of Israel, you sit enthroned on the winged creatures. You alone are God over all the earth’s kingdoms. You made both heaven and earth. 16 Lord, turn your ear this way and hear! Lord, open your eyes and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words. He sent them to insult the living God! 17 It’s true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have destroyed many nations and their lands. 18 The Assyrians burned the gods of those nations with fire because they aren’t real gods. They are only man-made creations of wood and stone. That’s how the Assyrians could destroy them. 19 So now, Lord our God, please save us from Sennacherib’s power! Then all the earth’s kingdoms will know that you, Lord, are the only true God.”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 19:13 Or the king of the city of Sepharvaim or the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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