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2 Kings 18-20Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Hezekiah’s Reign over Judah

18 In the third year of Hoshe′a son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezeki′ah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechari′ah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Ashe′rah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had burned incense to it; it was called Nehush′tan. He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went forth, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria, and would not serve him. He smote the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

In the fourth year of King Hezeki′ah, which was the seventh year of Hoshe′a son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmane′ser king of Assyria came up against Samar′ia and besieged it 10 and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezeki′ah, which was the ninth year of Hoshe′a king of Israel, Samar′ia was taken. 11 The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed.

Sennacherib Invades Judah

13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezeki′ah Sennach′erib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14 And Hezeki′ah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” And the king of Assyria required of Hezeki′ah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 And Hezeki′ah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezeki′ah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezeki′ah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17 And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab′saris, and the Rab′shakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezeki′ah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18 And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eli′akim the son of Hilki′ah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Jo′ah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

19 And the Rab′shakeh said to them, “Say to Hezeki′ah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this confidence of yours? 20 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21 Behold, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. 22 But if you say to me, “We rely on the Lord our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezeki′ah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? 23 Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders upon them. 24 How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25 Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.’”

26 Then Eli′akim the son of Hilki′ah, and Shebnah, and Jo′ah, said to the Rab′shakeh, “Pray, speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27 But the Rab′shakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?”

28 Then the Rab′shakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezeki′ah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30 Do not let Hezeki′ah make you to rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31 Do not listen to Hezeki′ah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat of his own vine, and every one of his own fig tree, and every one of you will drink the water of his own cistern; 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezeki′ah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. 33 Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharva′im, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samar′ia out of my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”

36 But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 37 Then Eli′akim the son of Hilki′ah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Jo′ah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezeki′ah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of the Rab′shakeh.

Hezekiah Consults Isaiah

19 When King Hezeki′ah heard it, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eli′akim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. They said to him, “Thus says Hezeki′ah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rab′shakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” When the servants of King Hezeki′ah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’”

Sennacherib’s Threat

The Rab′shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he heard that the king had left Lachish. And when the king heard concerning Tirha′kah king of Ethiopia, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you,” he sent messengers again to Hezeki′ah, saying, 10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezeki′ah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. And shall you be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations which my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharva′im, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’”

Hezekiah’s Prayer

14 Hezeki′ah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezeki′ah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezeki′ah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord the God of Israel, who art enthroned above the cherubim, thou art the God, thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. 16 Incline thy ear, O Lord, and hear; open thy eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennach′erib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Of a truth, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone; therefore they were destroyed. 19 So now, O Lord our God, save us, I beseech thee, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou, O Lord, art God alone.”

20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezeki′ah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennach′erib king of Assyria I have heard. 21 This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him:

“She despises you, she scorns you—
    the virgin daughter of Zion;
she wags her head behind you—
    the daughter of Jerusalem.

22 “Whom have you mocked and reviled?
    Against whom have you raised your voice
and haughtily lifted your eyes?
    Against the Holy One of Israel!
23 By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,
    and you have said, ‘With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
    to the far recesses of Lebanon;
I felled its tallest cedars,
    its choicest cypresses;
I entered its farthest retreat,
    its densest forest.
24 I dug wells
    and drank foreign waters,
and I dried up with the sole of my foot
    all the streams of Egypt.’

25 “Have you not heard
    that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
    what now I bring to pass,
that you should turn fortified cities
    into heaps of ruins,
26 while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
    are dismayed and confounded,
and have become like plants of the field,
    and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops;
    blighted before it is grown?

27 “But I know your sitting down
    and your going out and coming in,
    and your raging against me.
28 Because you have raged against me
    and your arrogance has come into my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
    and my bit in your mouth,
and I will turn you back on the way
    by which you came.

29 “And this shall be the sign for you: this year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same; then in the third year sow, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30 And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward; 31 for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord will do this.

32 “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, says the Lord. 34 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

Sennacherib’s Defeat and Death

35 And that night the angel of the Lord went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians;[a] and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36 Then Sennach′erib king of Assyria departed, and went home, and dwelt at Nin′eveh. 37 And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adram′melech and Share′zer, his sons, slew him with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ar′arat. And Esarhad′don his son reigned in his stead.

Hezekiah’s Illness

20 In those days Hezeki′ah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order; for you shall die, you shall not recover.’” Then Hezeki′ah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in thy sight.” And Hezeki′ah wept bitterly. And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Turn back, and say to Hezeki′ah the prince of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. And I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”

And Hezeki′ah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?” And Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” 10 And Hezeki′ah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps; rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried to the Lord; and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which the sun[b] had declined on the dial of Ahaz.

Envoys from Babylon

12 At that time Mero′dach-bal′adan the son of Bal′adan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezeki′ah; for he heard that Hezeki′ah had been sick. 13 And Hezeki′ah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezeki′ah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezeki′ah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And whence did they come to you?” And Hezeki′ah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15 He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezeki′ah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezeki′ah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 18 And some of your own sons, who are born to you, shall be taken away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 Then said Hezeki′ah to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

Death of Hezekiah

20 The rest of the deeds of Hezeki′ah, and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21 And Hezeki′ah slept with his fathers; and Manas′seh his son reigned in his stead.

Footnotes:

  1. 19.35 It is usually supposed that the Assyrians were smitten by a virulent disease.
  2. 2 Kings 20:11 Syr See Is 38.8 and Tg: Heb lacks the sun
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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