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1In the third year of Hosheʹa son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiʹah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 2He 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 Zechariʹah. 3And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. 4He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asheʹrah. 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 Nehushʹtan. 5He 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. 6For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses. 7And the Lord was with him; wherever he went forth, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria, and would not serve him. 8He smote the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

9In the fourth year of King Hezekiʹah, which was the seventh year of Hosheʹa son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneʹser king of Assyria came up against Samarʹia and besieged it 10and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiʹah, which was the ninth year of Hosheʹa king of Israel, Samarʹia was taken. 11The 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, 12because 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.

13In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiʹah Sennachʹerib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14And Hezekiʹah 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 Hezekiʹah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15And Hezekiʹah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16At that time Hezekiʹah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiʹah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabʹsaris, and the Rabʹshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiʹah 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. 18And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eliʹakim the son of Hilkiʹah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joʹah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

19And the Rabʹshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiʹah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this confidence of yours? 20Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21Behold, 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. 22But if you say to me, “We rely on the Lord our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiʹah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? 23Come 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. 24How 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? 25Moreover, 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.’ ”

26Then Eliʹakim the son of Hilkiʹah, and Shebnah, and Joʹah, said to the Rabʹshakeh, “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.” 27But the Rabʹshakeh 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?”

28Then the Rabʹshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiʹah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30Do not let Hezekiʹah 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.’ 31Do not listen to Hezekiʹah; 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; 32until 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 Hezekiʹah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. 33Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaʹim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samarʹia out of my hand? 35Who 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?’ ”

36But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 37Then Eliʹakim the son of Hilkiʹah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joʹah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiʹah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of the Rabʹshakeh.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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