Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, became king of Judah in the third year of the reign of Hoshea, son of Elah, king of Israel. He was twenty-five when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abi, daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the Lord's sight, following all that his forefather David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the stone idols, and cut down the Asherah poles. He ground to pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, because up to then the Israelites had been sacrificing offerings to it. It was called Nehushtan.
Hezekiah put his trust in the Lord, the God of Israel. Among the kings of Judah there was no one like him, neither before him nor after him. He stayed faithful to the Lord and did not give up following him. He kept the commandments that the Lord had given Moses. The Lord was with him; he was successful in everything he did. He defied the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. He defeated the Philistines all the way to Gaza and the surrounding area, from watchtower to fortified town.
In the fourth year of Hezekiah's reign, equivalent to the seventh year of the reign of Hoshea, son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, attacked Samaria, besieging it. 10 The Assyrians conquered it after three years. This was during the sixth year of Hezekiah, equivalent to the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel. 11 The king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River, and in the towns of the Medes. 12 This happened because they refused to listen to the Lord their God and broke his agreementall that Moses, the Lord's servant, had commanded. They refused to listen and did not obey.
13 Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attacked and conquered all the fortified towns of Judah in the fourteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah. 14 So Hezekiah, king of Judah, sent a message to the king of Assyria who was at Lachish, saying, “I've made a terrible mistake! Please retreat and leave me alone, and I'll pay you whatever you want!” The king of Assyria demanded Hezekiah, king of Judah, pay three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah paid him using all the silver from the Lord's Temple and the treasuries of the royal palace. 16 He even stripped the gold he had used to overlay the doors and doorposts of the Lord's Temple and gave everything to the king of Assyria.
17 Even so, the king of Assyria sent his commander in chief, his head officer, and his army general,* along with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They approached Jerusalem and made camp beside the aqueduct of the upper pool, on the road to where laundry is washed. 18 They called for the king. Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, the palace manager, Shebnah the scribe, and Joah, son of Asaph, the record-keeper, went out to speak with them.
19 The Assyrian army general said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: What are you trusting in that gives you such confidence? 20 You say you have a strategy and are ready for war, but these are empty words. Who are you relying on, now that you have rebelled against me? 21 Now look! You're trusting in Egypt, a walking stick that's like a broken reed that will cut the hand of anyone leaning on it. That's what Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is like to everyone who trusts in him.
22 If you tell me, ‘We're trusting in the Lord our God,’ well didn't Hezekiah remove his high places and his altars, telling Judah and Jerusalem: ‘You have to worship at this altar in Jerusalem’?
23 Why don't you accept a challenge from my master, the king of Assyria? He says, I'll give you two thousand horses, if you can find enough riders for them! 24 How could you defeat even a single officer in charge of the weakest of my master's men when you're trusting in Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25 More than thatwould I have come to attack this pace without the Lord's encouragement? It was the Lord himself who told me, ‘Go and attack this land and destroy it.’ ”
26 Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, together with Shebnah and Joah, said to the army general, “Please speak to us, your servants, in Aramaic, for we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew while the people on the wall are listening.”
27 But the army general replied, “Did my master only send me to say these things to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall? They too, just like you, are going to have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine!”
28 Then the army general shouted out in Hebrew, “Listen to this from the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Don't let Hezekiah trick you! He can't save you from me! 30 Don't believe Hezekiah when he tells you to trust in the Lord, saying, ‘I'm certain the Lord will save us. This city will never fall into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ 31 Don't listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king says: Make a peace treaty with me and surrender to me. That way everyone will eat from their own vine and their own fig tree, and drink water from their own well! 32 I will come and take you to a land that's like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Then you will live and not die.
But don't listen to Hezekiah, for he's tricking you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Have any of the gods of any nation ever saved their land from the power of the king of Assyria? 34 Where were the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where were the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Were they able to save Samaria from me? 35 Which one of all the gods of these countries has saved their land from me? How then could the Lord save Jerusalem from me?”
36 But the people remained silent and didn't say anything, for Hezekiah had given the order, “Don't answer him.”
37 Then Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, the palace manager, Shebna the scribe, and Joah, son of Asaph, the record-keeper, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and they told him what the Assyrian army general had said.
* 18:17 Literally, “Tartan, Rab-saris, and Rabshakeh.” However, they are Assyrian titles, not personal names.