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2 Kings 18-20 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. 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. He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done. 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]

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. He remained faithful to Yahweh and did not turn from following Him but kept the commands the Lord had commanded Moses.

The Lord was with him, and wherever he went he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its borders, from watchtower to fortified city.

Review of Israel’s Fall

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.

Sennacherib’s Invasion

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.

Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah’s Counsel

19 When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the Lord’s temple. Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, who were wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They said to him, “This is what Hezekiah says: ‘Today is a day of distress, rebuke, and disgrace, for children have come to the point of birth, but there is no strength to deliver them. Perhaps Yahweh your God will hear all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke him for the words that Yahweh your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the surviving remnant.’”

So the servants of King Hezekiah went to Isaiah, who said to them, “Tell your master this, ‘The Lord says: Don’t be afraid because of the words you have heard, that the king of Assyria’s attendants have blasphemed Me with. I am about to put a spirit in him, and he will hear a rumor and return to his own land where I will cause him to fall by the sword.’”

Sennacherib’s Departing Threat

When the Rabshakeh heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he returned and found him fighting against Libnah. The king had heard this about Tirhakah king of Cush: “Look, he has set out to fight against you.” So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Say this to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Don’t let your God, whom you trust, deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria. 11 Look, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries: they completely destroyed them. Will you be rescued? 12 Did the gods of the nations that my predecessors destroyed rescue them—nations such as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the Edenites in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, or Ivvah?’”

Hezekiah’s Prayer

14 Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers, read it, then went up to the Lord’s temple, and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord:

Lord God of Israel who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are God—You alone—of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. 16 Listen closely, Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God. 17 Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made by human hands—wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19 Now, Lord our God, please save us from his hand so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God—You alone.

God’s Answer through Isaiah

20 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “The Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘I have heard your prayer to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.’ 21 This is the word the Lord has spoken against him:

Virgin Daughter Zion
despises you and scorns you:
Daughter Jerusalem
shakes her head behind your back.[k]
22 Who is it you mocked and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
23 You have mocked the Lord[l] through[m] your messengers.
You have said:

With my many chariots
I have gone up to the heights of the mountains,
to the far recesses of Lebanon.
I cut down its tallest cedars,
its choice cypress trees.
I came to its farthest outpost,
its densest forest.
24 I dug wells,
and I drank foreign waters.
I dried up all the streams of Egypt
with the soles of my feet.

25 Have you not heard?
I designed it long ago;
I planned it in days gone by.
I have now brought it to pass,
and you have crushed fortified cities
into piles of rubble.
26 Their inhabitants have become powerless,
dismayed, and ashamed.
They are plants of the field,
tender grass,
grass on the rooftops,
blasted by the east wind.[n]

27 But I know your sitting down,[o]
your going out and your coming in,
and your raging against Me.
28 Because your raging against Me
and your arrogance have reached My ears,
I will put My hook in your nose
and My bit in your mouth;
I will make you go back
the way you came.

29 “This will be the sign for you: This year you will eat what grows on its own, and in the second year what grows from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 30 The surviving remnant of the house of Israel will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31 For a remnant will go out from Jerusalem and survivors, from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

32 Therefore, this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow there
or come before it with a shield
or build up an assault ramp against it.
33 He will go back
on the road that he came
and he will not enter this city.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

34 I will defend this city and rescue it
for My sake and for the sake of My servant David.”

Defeat and Death of Sennacherib

35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and left. He returned home and lived in Nineveh.

37 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then his son Esar-haddon became king in his place.

Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

20 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Put your affairs in order,[p] for you are about to die; you will not recover.’”

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Please Lord, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases You.”[q] And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Isaiah had not yet gone out of the inner courtyard when the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the Lord’s temple. I will add 15 years to your life. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for My sake and for the sake of My servant David.’”

Then Isaiah said, “Bring a lump of pressed figs.” So they brought it and applied it to his infected skin, and he recovered.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the Lord’s temple on the third day?”

Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord that He will do what He has promised: Should the shadow go ahead 10 steps or go back 10 steps?”

10 Then Hezekiah answered, “It’s easy for the shadow to lengthen 10 steps. No, let the shadow go back 10 steps.” 11 So Isaiah the prophet called out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow[r] back the 10 steps it had descended on Ahaz’s stairway.[s]

Hezekiah’s Folly

12 At that time Merodach-baladan[t] son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick. 13 Hezekiah gave them a hearing and showed them his whole treasure house—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil—and his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

14 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “Where did these men come from and what did they say to you?”

Hezekiah replied, “They came from a distant country, from Babylon.”

15 Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?”

Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything in my palace. There isn’t anything in my treasuries that I didn’t show them.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 ‘The time will certainly come when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until this day will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Some of your descendants who come from you will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs[u] in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good,” for he thought: Why not, if there will be peace and security during my lifetime?

Hezekiah’s Death

20 The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign, along with all his might and how he made the pool and the tunnel and brought water into the city, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. 21 Hezekiah rested with his fathers, and his son Manasseh became king in his place.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 18:2 = Abijah in 2Ch 29:1
  2. 2 Kings 18:4 = A bronze thing
  3. 2 Kings 18:14 Lit 300 talents
  4. 2 Kings 18:14 Lit 30 talents
  5. 2 Kings 18:17 LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads and came and
  6. 2 Kings 18:19 Lit What is this trust which you trust
  7. 2 Kings 18:26 Lit Judahite
  8. 2 Kings 18:28 Lit Judahite
  9. 2 Kings 18:31 Lit a blessing
  10. 2 Kings 18:34 Some LXX mss, Old Lat read Sepharvaim? Where are the gods of the land of Samaria?
  11. 2 Kings 19:21 Lit behind you
  12. 2 Kings 19:23 Many mss read Lord
  13. 2 Kings 19:23 Lit by the hand of
  14. 2 Kings 19:26 DSS; MT reads blasted before standing grain; Is 37:27
  15. 2 Kings 19:27 LXX, DSS read your rising up and your sitting down; Is 37:28
  16. 2 Kings 20:1 Lit Command your house
  17. 2 Kings 20:3 Lit what is good in Your eyes
  18. 2 Kings 20:11 Lit shadow on the steps
  19. 2 Kings 20:11 Tg, Vg; DSS read on the steps of Ahaz’s roof chamber; Is 38:8
  20. 2 Kings 20:12 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Tg, some Vg mss, Is 39:1; other Hb mss read Berodach-baladan
  21. 2 Kings 20:18 Or court officials

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