King Hezekiah of Judah
2 Kings 18
(2 Chronicles 29.1, 2; 31.1)
1 Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah in the third year
of Hosheas rule in Israel. 2 Hezekiah was twenty-five years
old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem.
His mother Abi was the daughter of Zechariah.
King Sennacherib of Assyria Invades
3 Hezekiah obeyed the
Lord, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He
destroyed the local shrines, then tore down the images of foreign
gods and cut down the sacred pole for worshiping the goddess Asherah.
He also smashed the bronze snake Moses had made. The people had
named it Nehushtan and had been offering sacrifices to it.
5 Hezekiah trusted the Lord God of Israel.
No other king of Judah was like Hezekiah, either before or after
him. 6 He was completely faithful to the Lord and obeyed the laws
the Lord had given to Moses for the people. 7 The Lord helped
Hezekiah, so he was successful in everything he did. He even rebelled
against the king of Assyria, refusing to be his servant. 8
Hezekiah defeated the Philistine towns as far away as Gazafrom
the smallest towns to the large, walled cities.
9 During the fourth year of Hezekiahs
rule, which was the seventh year of Hosheas rule in Israel,
King Shalmaneser of Assyria led his troops to Samaria, the capital
city of Israel. They attacked 10 and captured it three years later,
in the sixth year of Hezekiahs rule and the ninth year of
Hosheas rule. 11 The king of Assyria took the Israelites
away as prisoners; he forced some of them to live in the town
of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory
of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people
lived. 12 All of that happened because the people of Israel had
not obeyed the Lord their God. They rejected the solemn agreement
he had made with them, and they ignored everything that the Lords
servant Moses had told them.
(2 Chronicles 32.1-19; Isaiah 36.1-22)
- 13 In the fourteenth year of Hezekiahs rule
in Judah, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded the country and captured every
walled city, except Jerusalem. 14 Hezekiah sent this message to Sennacherib,
who was in the town of Lachish: I know I am guilty of rebellion. But
I will pay you whatever you want, if you stop your attack.
Sennacherib told Hezekiah to pay about eleven tons
of silver and almost a ton of gold. 15 So Hezekiah collected all the silver
from the Lords temple and the royal treasury. 16 He even stripped the
gold that he had used to cover the doors and doorposts in the temple. He gave
it all to Sennacherib.
17 The king of Assyria ordered his three highest military
officers to leave Lachish and take a large army to Jerusalem. When they arrived,
the officers stood on the road near the cloth makers shops along the
canal from the upper pool. 18 They called out to Hezekiah, and three of his
highest officials came out to meet them. One of them was Hilkiahs son
Eliakim, who was the prime minister. The other two were Shebna, assistant
to the prime minister, and Joah son of Asaph, keeper of the government records.
- 19 One of the Assyrian commanders told them:
I have a message for Hezekiah from the great king
of Assyria. Ask Hezekiah why he feels so sure of himself. 20 Does he think
he can plan and win a war with nothing but words? Who is going to help him,
now that he has turned against the king of Assyria? 21 Is he depending on
Egypt and its king? Thats the same as leaning on a broken stick, and
it will go right through his hand.
22 Is Hezekiah now depending on the Lord your God?
Didnt Hezekiah tear down all except one of the Lords altars and
places of worship? Didnt he tell the people of Jerusalem and Judah to
worship at that one place?
23 The king of Assyria wants to make a bet with you
people. He will give you two thousand horses, if you have enough troops to
ride them. 24 How could you even defeat our lowest ranking officer, when you
have to depend on Egypt for chariots and cavalry? 25 Dont forget that
it was the Lord who sent me here with orders to destroy your nation!
- 26 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said, Sir, we
dont want the people listening from the city wall to understand what
you are saying. So please speak to us in Aramaic instead of Hebrew.
27 The Assyrian army commander answered,
My king sent me to speak to everyone, not just to you leaders. These
people will soon have to eat their own body waste and drink their own urine!
And so will the three of you.
28 Then, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear,
he shouted in Hebrew:
- Listen to what the great king of Assyria says! 29
Dont be fooled by Hezekiah. He cant save you. 30 Dont trust
him when he tells you that the Lord will protect you from the king of Assyria.
31 Stop listening to Hezekiah! Pay attention to my king. Surrender to him.
He will let you keep your own vineyards, fig trees, and cisterns 32 for a
while. Then he will come and take you away to a country just like yours, where
you can plant vineyards, raise your own grain, and have plenty of olive oil
and honey. Believe me, you wont starve there.
Hezekiah claims the Lord will save you. But dont
be fooled by him. 33 Were any other gods able to defend their land against
the king of Assyria? 34 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? What
about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Were the gods of Samaria able
to protect their land against the Assyrian forces? 35 None of these gods kept
their people safe from the king of Assyria. Do you think the Lord your God
can do any better?
- 36 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah had been warned by
King Hezekiah not to answer the Assyrian commander. So they tore their clothes
in sorrow and reported to Hezekiah everything the commander had said.
The Contemporary English Version c1995 by the American
Selected texts provided for use with the Amos: Hypertext Bible Commentary