1. And it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.
2. And the king of Assyria sent the chief field commander from Lachish to Jerusalem, to King Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the Fuller’s Field.
3. Then Eliakim, Hilkiah’s son, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Asaph’s son Joah, the recorder, came out to him.
4. And the chief field commander said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, “What hope is this in which you trust?
5. I say, ‘You claim to have counsel and mastery for war, but they are only words.’ Now, in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me?
6. Lo, you trust in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; on which, if a man lean on it, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.
7. But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the LORD our God;’ is it not He Whose high places and altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar’?” ‘
8. Now then, please exchange pledges with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses if you are able on your part to set riders upon them for you.
9. How then will you turn away the face of one commander of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
10. Have I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’ ”
11. And Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the chief field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. But do not speak to us in the Jews’ language in the hearing of the people on the wall.”
12. But the chief field commander said, “Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit upon the wall—who will yet eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you?”
13. Then the chief field commander stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.
14. Thus says the king, ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you.
15. Nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be delivered into the hands of the king of Assyria.” ‘
16. Do not hearken to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria, ‘Make peace with me and come out to me; and let everyone eat of his vine, and everyone of his fig tree, and everyone drink the waters of his own cistern,
17. Until 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.
18. Let not Hezekiah mislead you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
19. Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? And when have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
20. Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ ”
21. But they were silent and did not answer him a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.”
22. Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the chief field commander.
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