1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sen na cherib, king of Assyria, attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2 From La kish the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jeru salem. They halted at the channel of the Upper Pool on the highway of the Fuller’s Field. 3 So Elia kim son of Hil kiah, the palace administrator, went out to him together with Sheb na the se cre tary and Joah son of Asaph the recorder.
4 The field commander said to them, “Give Hezekiah this message of the great king of Assyria: How can you be so confident? 5 Do you think words can replace strategy and military strength? On whom are you relying to rebel against me?
6 You rely on Egypt, a broken staff which pierces the palm of him who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh, king of Egypt, for all who rely on him. 7 Yes, you may say to me: ‘We rely on Yahweh our God.’ But isn’t he the one whose altars and high places Hezekiah removed when he commanded Judah and Jerusalem: You shall worship before this altar?
8 Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king. I will give you two thousand horses if you are able to supply riders. 9 How could you ever repulse one of the least of my master’s gen erals? And you rely on Egypt for chariots and horsemen! 10 Do you think that I have come to attack and destroy this land without consulting Yahweh? He him self said to me: Go up to this land and conquer it!”
11 Then Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, we understand it. Do not speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of these people on the walls.”
12 But the field commander said, “Do you think that my master sent me to speak these words only to your master and you? Isn’t it also to the men on the walls who with you will have to eat their own dung and drink their urine?”
13 Then the field commander stood and cried out with a loud voice in Hebrew, “Hear the words of the great king of Assyria: 14 Do not let Hezekiah deceive you! No, he will not be able to help you! 15 Do not listen to him when he tells you to trust in Yahweh, saying, ‘Yahweh will save us; this city will not be given over to the king of Assyria.’ 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah but to what the king of Assy ria says, ‘Make your peace with me 17 and surrender. So I will let each of you eat of your vine and of your fig tree and drink the water of your cistern until I come again. Then I will take you to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, of bread and vineyards.’
18 Hezekiah is misleading you when he says that Yahweh will save you. Have the gods of the nations rescued their lands from the hands of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Ha math and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sheph arvaim? And have the gods delivered Samaria from my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these nations has been able to save his country from me? Do you think that Yahweh could deliver Jeru salem from my hand?’ ”
21 The people were like deaf and re mained silent, for the king had commanded them not to answer him.
22 Then Eliakim with Shebna and Joah came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him what the field commander had said.