2 Kings 18

Hezekiah king of Judah

1In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah
Hebrew Abi, a variant of Abijah
daughter of Zechariah.
3He did what was right in the eyes of the  Lord, just as his father David had done. 4He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.
Nehushtan sounds like the Hebrew for both bronze and snake.
)

5Hezekiah trusted in the  Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6He held fast to the  Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the  Lord had given Moses. 7And the  Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.

9In King Hezekiah’s fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 10At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel. 11The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the River Habor and in towns of the Medes. 12This happened because they had not obeyed the  Lord their God, but had violated his covenant – all that Moses the servant of the  Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.

13In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: ‘I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.’ The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents
That is, about 10 metric tons
of silver and thirty talents
That is, about one metric ton
of gold.
15So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the  Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace.

16At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the  Lord, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem

17The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. 18They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them.

19The field commander said to them, ‘Tell Hezekiah:

‘“This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: on what are you basing this confidence of yours?
20You say you have the counsel and the might for war – but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? 21Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. 22But if you say to me, ‘We are depending on the  Lord our God’ – isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?

23‘“Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses – if you can put riders on them! 24How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen
Or charioteers
?
25Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the  Lord? The  Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.”’

26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.’

27But the commander replied, ‘Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall – who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?’

28Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, ‘Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29This is what the king says: do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the  Lord when he says, “The  Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”

31‘Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig-tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32until I come and take you to a land like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!

‘Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, “The  Lord will deliver us.”
33Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 35Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the  Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’

36But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, ‘Do not answer him.’

37Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said.

2 Kings 19

Jerusalem’s deliverance foretold

1When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the  Lord. 2He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3They told him, ‘This is what Hezekiah says: this day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4It may be that the  Lord your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the  Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.’

5When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them, ‘Tell your master, “This is what the  Lord says: do not be afraid of what you have heard – those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.”’

8When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah.

9Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the king of Cush,
That is, the upper Nile region
was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word:
10‘Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.” 11Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? 12Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them – the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?’

Hezekiah’s prayer

14Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the  Lord and spread it out before the  Lord. 15And Hezekiah prayed to the  Lord: ‘ Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16Give ear,  Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

17‘It is true,  Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19Now,  Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.’

Isaiah prophesies Sennacherib’s fall

20Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: ‘This is what the  Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. 21This is the word that the  Lord has spoken against him:

‘“Virgin Daughter Zion
despises you and mocks you.
Daughter Jerusalem
tosses her head as you flee.
22Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
23By your messengers
you have ridiculed the  Lord.
And you have said,
‘With my many chariots
I have ascended the heights of the mountains,
the utmost heights of Lebanon.
I have cut down its tallest cedars,
the choicest of its junipers.
I have reached its remotest parts,
the finest of its forests.
24I have dug wells in foreign lands
and drunk the water there.
With the soles of my feet
I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.’
25‘“Have you not heard?
Long ago I ordained it.
In days of old I planned it;
now I have brought it to pass,
that you have turned fortified cities
into piles of stone.
26Their people, drained of power,
are dismayed and put to shame.
They are like plants in the field,
like tender green shoots,
like grass sprouting on the roof,
scorched before it grows up.
27‘“But I know where you are
and when you come and go
and how you rage against me.
28Because you rage against me
and because your insolence has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will make you return
by the way you came.”

29‘This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah:

‘This year you will eat what grows by itself,
and the second year what springs from that.
But in the third year sow and reap,
plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
30Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
will take root below and bear fruit above.
31For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.
‘The zeal of the  Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

32‘Therefore this is what the  Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:

‘“He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
33By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city
declares the  Lord.
34I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.”’

35That night the angel of the  Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning – there were all the dead bodies! 36So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

37One day, while he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.

2 Kings 20

Hezekiah’s illness

1In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, ‘This is what the  Lord says: put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’

2Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the  Lord, 3‘Remember,  Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

4Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the  Lord came to him: 5‘Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, “This is what the  Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the  Lord. 6I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.”’

7Then Isaiah said, ‘Prepare a poultice of figs.’ They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

8Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, ‘What will be the sign that the  Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the  Lord on the third day from now?’

9Isaiah answered, ‘This is the  Lord’s sign to you that the  Lord will do what he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?’

10‘It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,’ said Hezekiah. ‘Rather, let it go back ten steps.’

11Then the prophet Isaiah called on the  Lord, and the  Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

Envoys from Babylon

12At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. 13Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses – the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine oil – his armoury and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

14Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, ‘What did those men say, and where did they come from?’

‘From a distant land,’ Hezekiah replied. ‘They came from Babylon.’

15The prophet asked, ‘What did they see in your palace?’

‘They saw everything in my palace,’ Hezekiah said. ‘There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.’

16Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the  Lord: 17the time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the  Lord. 18And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’

19‘The word of the  Lord you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’

20As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 21Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.

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