1. In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria advanced on all the fortified towns of Judah and captured them.
2. From Lachish the king of Assyria sent the cupbearer-in-chief with a large force to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The cupbearer-in-chief took up position near the conduit of the upper pool on the road to the Fuller's Field.
3. The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph went out to him.
4. The cupbearer-in-chief said to them, 'Say to Hezekiah, "The great king, the king of Assyria, says this: What makes you so confident?
5. Do you think empty words are as good as strategy and military strength? Who are you relying on, to dare to rebel against me?
6. There you are, relying on that broken reed, Egypt, which pricks and pierces the hand of the person who leans on it. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like to all who rely on him.
7. You may say to me: We rely on Yahweh our God. But haven't his high places and altars been suppressed by Hezekiah, who told Judah and Jerusalem: This is the altar before which you must worship?
8. Very well, then, make a wager with my lord the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find horsemen to ride them.
9. How could you repulse a single one of the least of my master's soldiers? And yet you have relied on Egypt for chariots and horsemen.
10. And lastly, have I marched on this country to lay it waste without warrant from Yahweh? Yahweh himself said to me: March on this country and lay it waste."
11. Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the cupbearer-in-chief, 'Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the Judaean language within earshot of the people on the ramparts.'
12. But the cupbearer-in-chief said, 'Do you think my lord sent me here to say these things to your master or to you? On the contrary, it was to the people sitting on the ramparts who, like you, are doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine.'
13. The cupbearer-in-chief then drew himself up and shouted loudly in the Judaean language, 'Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.
14. The king says this, "Do not let Hezekiah delude you! He will be powerless to save you.
15. Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on Yahweh by saying: Yahweh is sure to save us; this city will not fall into the king of Assyria's clutches.
16. Do not listen to Hezekiah, for the king of Assyria says this: Make peace with me,
17. surrender to me, and every one of you will be free to eat the fruit of his own vine and of his own fig tree and to drink the water of his own storage-well until I come and take you away to a country like your own, a land of corn and good wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
18. Do not let Hezekiah delude you by saying: Yahweh will save us. Has any god of any nation been able to save his country from the king of Assyria's clutches?
19. Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Where are the national gods of Samaria? Did they save Samaria from my clutches?
20. Of all the national gods, which ones have saved their countries from my clutches, that Yahweh should be able to save Jerusalem from my clutches?" '
21. They, however, kept quiet and said nothing in reply, since the king had given the order, 'You are not to answer him.'
22. The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph, with their clothes torn, went to Hezekiah and reported what the cupbearer-in-chief had said.