2 Kings, 18
1. Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, began to reign in Judah in the third year of Hoshea, son of Elah, king of Israel.
2. He was twenty-five years old then, and his reign in Jerusalem lasted for twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, daughter of Zechariah.
3. He did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh, like David, his ancestor.
4. He did away with the sanctuaries on the hills, demolished the standing stones and cut down the sacred pillars. He also destroyed the bronze serpent that Moses had fashioned in the desert for, until that time, the Israelites were offering sacrifices to it and called it Nehushtan.
5. He trusted in Yahweh more than any of the kings of Judah who preceded or succeeded him and he never departed from Yahweh.
6. He kept the commandments Yahweh had given through Moses.
7. For that reason, Yahweh was with him; he succeeded in all his undertakings. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and was no longer subject to him.
8. He imposed his authority on the Philistines as far as Gaza, and seized their land from the watchtowers to the fortified cities.
9. In the fourth year of Hezekiah's reign, which was the seventh year of Hoshea, son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, came against Samaria and besieged it.
10. At the end of three years, he conquered it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel, Samaria was conquered.
11. The king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
12. This happened to them because they did not listen to the voice of Yahweh, their God, and had broken his covenant; they did not listen to nor put into practice what Moses, the servant of Yahweh, had commanded them.
13. In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up and invaded Judah; he laid siege to all the fortified cities and seized all of them.
14. Hezekiah, king of Judah, sent a message to Sennacherib who was in Lachish, "I have acted badly, stop your attack and I will do whatever you demand of me." The king of Assyria demanded that Hezekiah give a contribution of three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold.
15. Hezekiah then handed over to him all the money that was found in the House of Yahweh and in the treasuries of the royal palace.
16. It was at that time that Hezekiah ordered that the gold sheets, with which he himself had adorned the doorposts, be stripped from the gates of the House of Yahweh, and given to the king of Assyria.
17. From Lachish the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. They halted at the channel of the Upper Pool on the highway to the Fuller's Field. The field commander called for the king; and
18. Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator, went out to him together with Shebnah the secretary and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.
19. The field commander said to them, "Give Hezekiah this message from the great king of Assyria: How can you be so confident?
20. You thought that words are as good as wisdom and replace strength in time of war? On whom are you relying that you rebel against me?
21. You rely on Egypt, a broken staff which pierces the palm of him who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh, king of Egypt, for all who rely on him.
22. Yes, you may say to me: 'We rely on Yahweh our God.' But isn't he the one whose altars and high places Hezekiah removed when he commanded Judah and Jerusalem: You shall worship before this altar?
23. Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king. I will give you two thousand horses if you are able to supply riders.
24. How could you ever repulse one of the least of my master's generals? And you rely on Egypt for chariots and horsemen!
25. Do you think that I have come to attack and destroy this land without consulting Yahweh? He himself said to me: Go up to this land and conquer it!"
26. Then Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, "Speak to your servants in Aramaic; we understand it. Do not speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of these people on the walls."
27. But the field commander said, "Do you think that my master sent me to speak these words only to your master and to you? Is it not also to the men on the walls who, with you, will have to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?"
28. Then the field commander stood and cried out with a loud voice in Hebrew, "Hear the words of the great king of Assyria:
29. Do not let Hezekiah deceive you! No, he will not be able to help you!
30. Do not listen to him when he tells you to trust in Yahweh, saying, 'Yahweh will save us; this city will not be given over to the king of Assyria.' Do not listen to Hezekiah but
31. to what the king of Assyria says, 'Make your peace with me and surrender. Then I will let each of you eat of your vine and of your fig tree and drink the water of your cistern until I come again.
32. Then I will take you to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, of bread and vineyards, of oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Hezekiah is misleading you when he says that Yahweh will save you.
33. Have the gods of the nations rescued their land from the hands of the king of Assyria?
34. Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? And have the gods delivered Samaria from my hand?
35. Who among all the gods of these nations has been able to save his country from me? Do you think that Yahweh will deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"
36. The people were like deaf men and remained silent, since the king had commanded them not to answer him.
37. Then Eliakim with Shebna and Joah came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him what the field commander had said.