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The Assyrians Invade Judah(A)

36 During Hezekiah’s fourteenth year as king [C 701 bc], Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the ·strong, walled [fortified] cities of Judah and captured them. The king of Assyria sent out ·his field commander [or chief advisor; or the Rabshakeh] with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem [2 Chr. 32:9]. When the commander came near the ·waterway [aqueduct; conduit] from the upper pool on the road ·where people do their laundry [or to the Launderer’s/T Fuller’s Field], he stopped. Eliakim son of Hilkiah [22:20], ·the palace manager [L who was over the house], Shebna [22:15], the ·royal secretary [scribe], and Joah son of Asaph, the ·recorder [royal historian] went out to meet him.

The ·field commander [chief advisor; or Rabshakeh] said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this:

“‘The great king, the king of Assyria, says: ·What can you trust in now [On what do you base your confidence; Where does this confidence come from]? You say you have ·battle plans [strategy; counsel] and ·power [strength] for war, but your words ·mean nothing [are empty]. Whom are you ·trusting [relying/counting on] for help so that you ·turn [rebel] against me? Look, you are depending on Egypt to help you, but Egypt is like a ·splintered [broken] ·walking stick [reed]. If you lean on it for help, it will stab your hand and ·hurt [pierce] you. So it will be with the king of Egypt for all those who depend on him. You might say, “We are depending on the Lord our God,” but ·Hezekiah destroyed [L did not Hezekiah destroy…?] the Lord’s altars and ·the places of worship [L high places; 2 Kin. 18:4; 2 Chr. 30:14; 31:1]. Hezekiah told Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship only at this one altar [C at the temple in Jerusalem; the Assyrian official wrongly assumes that the other altars and high places were dedicated to the Lord and that restricting worship to Jerusalem would offend him; Deut. 12].”

“‘Now make an ·agreement [pledge; deal] with my ·master [lord], the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find enough men to ride them [C a taunt that Judah’s army is too small even if Assyria were to supply it]. You cannot ·defeat [repel] one of my ·master’s [lord’s] least important officers, so why do you depend on Egypt to give you chariots and ·horsemen [charioteers]? 10 ·I have not [L Do you think I have…?] come to attack and destroy this country without ·an order from the Lord [L the Lord]. The Lord himself told me to come ·to [against] this country and destroy it [C echoing Isaiah’s prophecy that this is judgment from the Lord].’”

11 Then Eliakim [22:20], Shebna [22:15], and Joah said to the ·field commander [chief advisor; or Rabshakeh], “Please speak to ·us [L your servants] in the Aramaic language [C the language of trade and diplomacy]. We understand it. Don’t speak to us in ·Hebrew [L Judean], because the people on the city wall can hear you.”

12 But the commander said, “My master did not send me to tell these ·things [words] only to you and your ·king [L master; lord]. He sent me to speak also to those people sitting on the wall who will have to eat their own ·dung [excrement] and drink their own urine like you [C because of shortages caused by the upcoming siege].”

13 Then the commander stood and shouted loudly in ·the Hebrew language [L Judean], “·Listen to what [L Hear the word of] the great king, the king of Assyria, says. 14 The king says you should not let Hezekiah ·fool [deceive; delude] you, because he can’t ·save [rescue; T deliver] you. 15 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely ·save [rescue; T deliver] us. This city won’t be handed over to the king of Assyria.’

16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah. The king of Assyria says, ‘Make peace with me, and come out of the city to me. Then everyone will be free to eat the fruit from his own grapevine and fig tree and to drink water from his own ·well [cistern; C symbols of freedom and prosperity]. 17 ·After that [L …until] I will come and take you to a land like your own—a land with grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.’

18 “Don’t let Hezekiah ·fool [mislead] you, saying, ‘The Lord will save us.’ Has a god of any other nation saved his people from the ·power [L hand] of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad [C cities conquered by Assyria; 10:9]? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim [C city in northern Syria conquered by Assyria]? They did not save Samaria from my ·power [L hand]. 20 ·Not one [L Which…?] of all the gods of these countries has ·saved [rescued; T delivered] his people from me. Neither can the Lord ·save [rescue; T deliver] Jerusalem from my ·power [L hand].”

21 ·The people [L They] were silent. They didn’t answer the commander at all, because King Hezekiah had ordered, “Don’t answer him.”

22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah [22:20], ·the palace manager [L who was over the house], Shebna [22:15], the ·royal secretary [scribe], and Joah son of Asaph, the ·recorder [royal historian], went to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes [C a sign of grief, anguish or despair] and went in and told him what the field commander had said.