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Isaiah 36 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem

36 In the fourteenth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, attacked the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. Then he ordered his chief official to go from Lachish to Jerusalem with a large military force to demand that King Hezekiah surrender. The official occupied the road where the cloth makers work, by the ditch that brings water from the upper pool. Three Judeans came out to meet him: the official in charge of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah; the court secretary, Shebna; and the official in charge of the records, Joah son of Asaph. The Assyrian official told them that the emperor wanted to know what made King Hezekiah so confident. He demanded, “Do you think that words can take the place of military skill and might? Who do you think will help you rebel against Assyria? You are expecting Egypt to help you, but that would be like using a reed as a walking stick—it would break and would jab your hand. That is what the king of Egypt is like when anyone relies on him.”

The Assyrian official went on, “Or will you tell me that you are relying on the Lord your God? It was the Lord's shrines and altars that Hezekiah destroyed when he told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship at one altar only. I will make a bargain with you in the name of the emperor. I will give you two thousand horses if you can find that many riders. You are no match for even the lowest ranking Assyrian official, and yet you expect the Egyptians to send you chariots and horsemen. 10 Do you think I have attacked your country and destroyed it without the Lord's help? The Lord himself told me to attack it and destroy it.”

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah told the official, “Speak Aramaic to us. We understand it. Don't speak Hebrew; all the people on the wall are listening.”

12 He replied, “Do you think you and the king are the only ones the emperor sent me to say all these things to? No, I am also talking to the people who are sitting on the wall, who will have to eat their excrement and drink their urine, just as you will.”

13 Then the official stood up and shouted in Hebrew, “Listen to what the emperor of Assyria is telling you. 14 He warns you not to let Hezekiah deceive you. Hezekiah can't save you. 15 And don't let him persuade you to rely on the Lord. Don't think that the Lord will save you and that he will stop our Assyrian army from capturing your city. 16 Don't listen to Hezekiah! The emperor of Assyria commands you to come out of the city and surrender. You will all be allowed to eat grapes from your own vines and figs from your own trees, and to drink water from your own wells— 17 until the emperor resettles you in a country much like your own, where there are vineyards to give wine and there is grain for making bread. 18 Don't let Hezekiah fool you into thinking that the Lord will rescue you. Did the gods of any other nations save their countries from the emperor of Assyria? 19 Where are they now, the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Did anyone save Samaria? 20 When did any of the gods of all these countries ever save their country from our emperor? Then what makes you think the Lord can save Jerusalem?”

21 The people kept quiet, just as King Hezekiah had told them to; they did not say a word. 22 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah tore their clothes in grief and went and reported to the king what the Assyrian official had said.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Isaiah 36 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem

36 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. The king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. He stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. And there came out to him Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? See, you are relying on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar’? 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 on them. 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? 10 Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.”

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, 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.” 12 But the Rabshakeh said, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?”

13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. 15 Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 17 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. 18 Do not let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, The Lord will save us. Has any of the gods of the nations saved their land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these countries have saved their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should save Jerusalem out of my hand?’”

21 But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 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.

Isaiah 36 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

36 It was in the fourteenth year of King Hizkiyahu that Sancheriv king of Ashur advanced against all the fortified cities of Y’hudah and captured them. From Lakhish the king of Ashur sent Rav-Shakeh to Hizkiyahu in Yerushalayim with a large army. He positioned himself by the aqueduct from the Upper Pool, which is by the road to the Launderers’ Field. Elyakim the son of Hilkiyahu, who was in charge of the household, Shevnah the general secretary and Yo’ach the son of Asaf the foreign minister went out to meet him.

Rav-Shakeh addressed them: “Tell Hizkiyahu: ‘Here is what the great king, the king of Ashur, says: “What makes you so confident? I say: do mere words constitute strategy and strength for battle? In whom, then, are you trusting when you rebel against me like this? Look! Relying on Egypt is like using a broken stick as a staff — when you lean on it, it punctures your hand. That’s what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like for anyone who puts his trust in him. But if you tell me, ‘We trust in Adonai our God,’ then isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hizkiyahu has removed, telling Y’hudah and Yerushalayim, ‘You must worship before this altar’? All right, then, make a wager with my lord the king of Ashur: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find enough riders for them. How then can you repulse even one of my master’s lowest-ranked army officers? Yet you are relying on Egypt for chariots and riders! 10 Do you think I have come up to this land to destroy it without Adonai’s approval? Adonai said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it!’ ” ’ ”

11 Elyakim, Shevnah and Yo’ach said to Rav-Shakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it; don’t speak to us in Hebrew while the people on the wall are listening.” 12 But Rav-Shakeh answered, “Did my master send me to deliver my message just to your master and yourselves? Didn’t he send me to address the men sitting on the wall, who, like you, are going to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?” 13 Then Rav-Shakeh stood up and, speaking loudly in Hebrew, said: “Hear what the great king, the king of Ashur, says! 14 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hizkiyahu deceive you, because he won’t be able to save you. 15 And don’t let Hizkiyahu make you trust in Adonai by saying, “Adonai will surely save us; this city will not be given over to the king of Ashur.” 16 Don’t listen to Hizkiyahu.’ For this is what the king says: ‘Make peace with me, surrender to me. Then every one of you can eat from his vine and fig tree and drink the water in his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land with grain and wine, a land with bread and vineyards. 18 Beware of Hizkiyahu; he is only deluding you when he says, “Adonai will save us.” Has any god of any nation ever saved his land from the power of the king of Ashur? 19 Where are the gods of Hamat and Arpad? Where are the gods of S’farvayim? Did they save Shomron from my power? 20 Where is the god of any of these countries that has saved its country from my power, so that Adonai might be able to save Yerushalayim from my power?’” 21 But they kept still and didn’t answer him so much as a word, for the king’s order was, “Don’t answer him.”

22 Then Elyakim the son of Hilkiyahu, who was in charge of the household, Shevnah the general secretary and Yo’ach the son of Asaf the foreign minister went to Hizkiyahu with their clothes torn and reported to him what Rav-Shakeh had said.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 36 The Message (MSG)

It’s Their Fate That’s at Stake

36 1-3 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria made war on all the fortress cities of Judah and took them. Then the king of Assyria sent his general, the “Rabshekah,” accompanied by a huge army, from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah. The general stopped at the aqueduct where it empties into the upper pool on the road to the public laundry. Three men went out to meet him: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, in charge of the palace; Shebna the secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the official historian.

4-7 The Rabshekah said to them, “Tell Hezekiah that the Great King, the king of Assyria, says this: ‘What kind of backing do you think you have against me? You’re bluffing and I’m calling your bluff. Your words are no match for my weapons. What kind of backup do you have now that you’ve rebelled against me? Egypt? Don’t make me laugh. Egypt is a rubber crutch. Lean on Egypt and you’ll end up flat on your face. That’s all Pharaoh king of Egypt is to anyone who leans on him. And if you try to tell me, “We’re leaning on our God,” isn’t it a bit late? Hasn’t Hezekiah just gotten rid of all the places of worship, telling you, “You’ve got to worship at this altar”?

8-9 “‘Be reasonable. Face the facts: My master the king of Assyria will give you two thousand horses if you can put riders on them. You can’t do it, can you? So how do you think, depending on flimsy Egypt’s chariots and riders, you can stand up against even the lowest-ranking captain in my master’s army?

10 “‘And besides, do you think I came all this way to destroy this land without first getting God’s blessing? It was your God who told me, Make war on this land. Destroy it.’”

11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah answered the Rabshekah, “Please talk to us in Aramaic. We understand Aramaic. Don’t talk to us in Hebrew within earshot of all the people gathered around.”

12 But the Rabshekah replied, “Do you think my master has sent me to give this message to your master and you but not also to the people clustered here? It’s their fate that’s at stake. They’re the ones who are going to end up eating their own excrement and drinking their own urine.”

13-15 Then the Rabshekah stood up and called out loudly in Hebrew, the common language, “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria! Don’t listen to Hezekiah’s lies. He can’t save you. And don’t pay any attention to Hezekiah’s pious sermons telling you to lean on God, telling you ‘God will save us, depend on it. God won’t let this city fall to the king of Assyria.’

16-20 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah. Listen to the king of Assyria’s offer: ‘Make peace with me. Come and join me. Everyone will end up with a good life, with plenty of land and water, and eventually something far better. I’ll turn you loose in wide open spaces, with more than enough fertile and productive land for everyone.’ Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you with his lies, ‘God will save us.’ Has that ever happened? Has any god in history ever gotten the best of the king of Assyria? Look around you. Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? The gods of Sepharvaim? Did the gods do anything for Samaria? Name one god that has ever saved its countries from me. So what makes you think that God could save Jerusalem from me?’”

21 The three men were silent. They said nothing, for the king had already commanded, “Don’t answer him.”

22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, tearing their clothes in defeat and despair, went back and reported what the Rabshekah had said to Hezekiah.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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