Passage: 2 Kings 18, 19 (RSV)


2 Kings 18


1In the third year of Hoshe'a son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezeki'ah 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 Zechari'ah.
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 Ashe'rah. 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 Nehush'tan.
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 Hezeki'ah, which was the seventh year of Hoshe'a son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmane'ser king of Assyria came up against Sama'ria and besieged it
10and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezeki'ah, which was the ninth year of Hoshe'a king of Israel, Sama'ria 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 Hezeki'ah Sennach'erib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.
14And Hezeki'ah 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 Hezeki'ah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
15And Hezeki'ah 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 Hezeki'ah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the doorposts which Hezeki'ah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria.
17And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab'saris, and the Rab'shakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezeki'ah 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 Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Jo'ah the son of Asaph, the recorder.
19And the Rab'shakeh said to them, "Say to Hezeki'ah, `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 Hezeki'ah 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 Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, and Shebnah, and Jo'ah, said to the Rab'shakeh, "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 Rab'shakeh 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 Rab'shakeh 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 Hezeki'ah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand.
30Do not let Hezeki'ah 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 Hezeki'ah; 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 Hezeki'ah 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 Sepharva'im, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Sama'ria 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 Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Jo'ah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezeki'ah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of the Rab'shakeh.

2 Kings 19


1When King Hezeki'ah heard it, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
2And he sent Eli'akim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz.
3They said to him, "Thus says Hezeki'ah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.
4It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rab'shakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left."
5When the servants of King Hezeki'ah came to Isaiah,
6Isaiah said to them, "Say to your master, `Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me.
7Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.'"
8The Rab'shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he heard that the king had left Lachish.
9And when the king heard concerning Tirha'kah king of Ethiopia, "Behold, he has set out to fight against you," he sent messengers again to Hezeki'ah, saying,
10"Thus shall you speak to Hezeki'ah king of Judah: `Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
11Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. And shall you be delivered?
12Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations which my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar?
13Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharva'im, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?'"
14Hezeki'ah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezeki'ah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
15And Hezeki'ah prayed before the LORD, and said: "O LORD the God of Israel, who art enthroned above the cherubim, thou art the God, thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
16Incline thy ear, O LORD, and hear; open thy eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennach'erib, which he has sent to mock the living God.
17Of a truth, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands,
18and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they were destroyed.
19So now, O LORD our God, save us, I beseech thee, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou, O LORD, art God alone."
20Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezeki'ah, saying, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennach'erib king of Assyria I have heard.
21This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him: "She despises you, she scorns you -- the virgin daughter of Zion; she wags her head behind you -- the daughter of Jerusalem.
22"Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and haughtily lifted your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel!
23By your messengers you have mocked the LORD, and you have said, `With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon; I felled its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses; I entered its farthest retreat, its densest forest.
24I dug wells and drank foreign waters, and I dried up with the sole of my foot all the streams of Egypt.'
25"Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins,
26while their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and confounded, and have become like plants of the field, and like tender grass, like grass on the housetops; blighted before it is grown?
27"But I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me.
28Because you have raged against me and your arrogance has come into my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.
29"And this shall be the sign for you: this year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same; then in the third year sow, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit.
30And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward;
31for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.
32"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it.
33By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, says the LORD.
34For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David."
35And that night the angel of the LORD went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
36Then Sennach'erib king of Assyria departed, and went home, and dwelt at Nin'eveh.
37And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adram'melech and Share'zer, his sons, slew him with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ar'arat. And Esarhad'don his son reigned in his stead.



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