Bible: 2 Kings 18-19

Hezekiah Becomes King of Judah

18:1 In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. 18:2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. 1  His mother 2  was Abi, 3  the daughter of Zechariah. 18:3 He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done. 4  18:4 He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. 5  He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time 6  the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan. 7  18:5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after. 8  18:6 He was loyal to 9  the Lord and did not abandon him. 10  He obeyed the commandments which the Lord had given to 11  Moses. 18:7 The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. 12  He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. 13  18:8 He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from the watchtower to the city fortress. 14 

18:9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah’s reign (it was the seventh year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea, son of Elah), King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched 15  up against Samaria 16  and besieged it. 18:10 After three years he captured it (in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign); in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign over Israel Samaria was captured. 18:11 The king of Assyria deported the people of Israel 17  to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 18:12 This happened because they did not obey 18  the Lord their God and broke his agreement with them. 19  They did not pay attention to and obey all that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded. 20 

Sennacherib Invades Judah

18:13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 18:14 King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria, who was at Lachish, “I have violated our treaty. 21  If you leave, I will do whatever you demand.” 22  So the king of Assyria demanded that King Hezekiah of Judah pay three hundred talents 23  of silver and thirty talents of gold. 18:15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver in 24  the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace. 18:16 At that time King Hezekiah of Judah stripped the metal overlays from the doors of the Lord’s temple and from the posts which he had plated 25  and gave them to the king of Assyria.

18:17 The king of Assyria sent his commanding general, the chief eunuch, and the chief adviser 26  from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 27  along with a large army. They went up and arrived at Jerusalem. They went 28  and stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 29  18:18 They summoned the king, so Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet them.

18:19 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 30  18:20 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. 31  In whom are you trusting that you would dare to rebel against me? 18:21 Now look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If a man leans for support on it, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him. 18:22 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar in Jerusalem.’ 18:23 Now make a deal 32  with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 18:24 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 33  18:25 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this place to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March 34  up against this land and destroy it.’”’ 35 

18:26 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, 36  for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect 37  in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 18:27 But the chief adviser said to them, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 38  His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you.” 39 

18:28 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, 40 Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 18:29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you from my hand! 41  18:30 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord when he says, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 18:31 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me. 42  Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 18:32 until I come and take you to a land just like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Then you will live and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” 18:33 Have any of the gods of the nations actually rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 43  18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? 44  Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria 45  from my power? 46  18:35 Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’ 47  18:36 The people were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”

18:37 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn 48  and reported to him what the chief adviser had said. 19:1 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the Lord’s temple. 19:2 He sent Eliakim the palace supervisor, Shebna the scribe, and the leading priests, 49  clothed in sackcloth, with this message to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz: 19:3 This is what Hezekiah says: 50  ‘This is a day of distress, insults, 51  and humiliation, 52  as when a baby is ready to leave the birth canal, but the mother lacks the strength to push it through. 53  19:4 Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all these things the chief adviser has spoken on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria, who sent him to taunt the living God. 54  When the Lord your God hears, perhaps he will punish him for the things he has said. 55  So pray for this remnant that remains.’ 56 

19:5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 19:6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me. 57  19:7 Look, I will take control of his mind; 58  he will receive 59  a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down 60  with a sword in his own land.”’

19:8 When the chief adviser heard the king of Assyria had departed from Lachish, he left and went to Libnah, where the king was campaigning. 61  19:9 The king 62  heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was marching out to fight him. 63  He again sent messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: 19:10 Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over 64  to the king of Assyria.” 19:11 Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands. 65  Do you really think you will be rescued? 66  19:12 Were the nations whom my ancestors destroyed – the nations of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden in Telassar – rescued by their gods? 67  19:13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of Lair, 68  Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?’

19:14 Hezekiah took the letter 69  from the messengers and read it. 70  Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. 19:15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: “Lord God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubs! 71  You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky 72  and the earth. 19:16 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to the message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God! 73  19:17 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands. 19:18 They have burned the gods of the nations, 74  for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them. 75  19:19 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, Lord, are the only God.”

19:20 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I have heard your prayer concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria. 76  19:21 This is what the Lord says about him: 77 

“The virgin daughter Zion 78 

despises you, she makes fun of you;

Daughter Jerusalem

shakes her head after you. 79 

19:22 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?

At whom have you shouted, 80 

and looked so arrogantly? 81 

At the Holy One of Israel! 82 

19:23 Through your messengers you taunted the sovereign master, 83 

‘With my many chariots 84 

I climbed up the high mountains,

the slopes of Lebanon.

I cut down its tall cedars,

and its best evergreens.

I invaded its most remote regions, 85 

its thickest woods.

19:24 I dug wells and drank

water in foreign lands. 86 

With the soles of my feet I dried up

all the rivers of Egypt.’

19:25 87 

Certainly you must have heard! 88 

Long ago I worked it out,

In ancient times I planned 89  it;

and now I am bringing it to pass.

The plan is this:

Fortified cities will crash

into heaps of ruins. 90 

19:26 Their residents are powerless, 91 

they are terrified and ashamed.

They are as short-lived as plants in the field,

or green vegetation. 92 

They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops 93 

when it is scorched by the east wind. 94 

19:27 I know where you live,

and everything you do. 95 

19:28 Because you rage against me,

and the uproar you create has reached my ears; 96 

I will put my hook in your nose, 97 

and my bridle between your lips,

and I will lead you back the way

you came.”

19:29 98 

This will be your confirmation that I have spoken the truth: 99  This year you will eat what grows wild, 100  and next year 101  what grows on its own from that. But in the third year you will plant seed and harvest crops; you will plant vines and consume their produce. 102  19:30 Those who remain in Judah will take root in the ground and bear fruit. 103 

19:31 For a remnant will leave Jerusalem;

survivors will come out of Mount Zion.

The intense devotion of the sovereign Lord 104  to his people 105  will accomplish this.

19:32 So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:

“He will not enter this city,

nor will he shoot an arrow here. 106 

He will not attack it with his shield-carrying warriors, 107 

nor will he build siege works against it.

19:33 He will go back the way he came.

He will not enter this city,” says the Lord.

19:34 I will shield this city and rescue it for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.’ 108 

19:35 That very night the Lord’s messenger went out and killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When they 109  got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses. 110  19:36 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and went on his way. He went home and stayed in Nineveh. 111  19:37 One day, 112  as he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, 113  his sons 114  Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword. 115  They escaped to the land of Ararat; his son Esarhaddon replaced him as king.

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