Isaiah 36

1During Hezekiah’s 14th year as king, Sennacherib king of Assyria went to fight against all the strong cities of Judah. Sennacherib defeated those cities. 2Sennacherib sent his commander with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The commander and his army left Lachish and went to Jerusalem. They stopped near the aqueduct by the Upper Pool. (The Upper Pool is on the road to Laundryman’s Field.) 3Three men from Jerusalem went out to talk with the commander. These men were Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Joah son of Asaph, and Shebna. Eliakim was the palace manager. Joah was the record keeper. And Shebna was the royal secretary. 4The commander told them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in to help you? 5I tell you if you are trusting in power and smart plans for battle—then that is useless. Those are nothing but empty words. Now I ask you, who do you trust so much that you are willing to rebel against me? 6Are you depending on Egypt to help you? Egypt is like a broken stick. If you lean on it for support, it will only hurt you and make a hole in your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, can’t be trusted by any of the people that depend on him for help. 7But maybe you will say, “We are trusting in the Lord our God to help us.” But I know that Hezekiah destroyed the altars and high places where people worshiped the Lord. And Hezekiah told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship only at this one altar here in Jerusalem.” 8If you still want to fight, my master, the king of Assyria will make this agreement with you. I promise that I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find enough men to ride those horses into battle. 9But even then you will not be able to defeat even one of my master’s lowest ranking officers! So why do you continue to depend on Egypt’s chariots and horse soldiers! 10Now, do you think I came to this country to destroy it without the Lord’s help! No! The Lord said to me, “Go up against this country and destroy it!” 11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah, said to the commander, “Please, speak to us in the Aramaic. We understand that language. Don’t speak to us in the language of Judah. If you use our language, the people on the city walls will understand you.” 12But the commander said, “My master did not send me to speak only to you and your master. My master sent me to also speak to the people that are sitting on the wall! Those people will not have enough food or water either; they too will eat their own waste and drink their own urine just like you.” 13Then the commander shouted loudly in the Jewish language, 14“Hear this message from the great king, the king of Assyria: Don’t let Hezekiah fool you! He can’t save you from my power! 15Don’t believe Hezekiah when he says, 'Trust in the Lord! The Lord will save us. The Lord will not let the king of Assyria defeat the city.’ 16Don’t listen to those words from Hezekiah. Listen to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria says, “We should make an agreement. You people should come out of the city to me. Then every person will be free to go home. Every person will be free to eat grapes from his own vine. And every person will be free to eat the figs from his own fig tree. Every person will be free to drink water from his own well. 17You can do this until I come and take each of you to a country like your own. In that new country you will have good grain and new wine, bread and fields of grapes.” 18Don’t let Hezekiah make trouble for you. He says, “The Lord will save us.” But I ask you, did any of the gods of other nations save their country from the king of Assyria? No! 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? ˻They are defeated!˼ Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? ˻They are defeated!˼ Did they save Samaria from my power? No! 20Did any of the gods in the other countries save their land from me? No! Can the Lord save Jerusalem from me? No!” 21But the people in Jerusalem were very quiet. They did not say a word to the commander because King Hezekiah had given them a command. He said, “Don’t say anything to him.” 22Then the palace manager (Eliakim son of Hilkiah), the royal secretary (Shebna), and the record keeper (Joah son of Asaph) went to Hezekiah. Their clothes were torn ˻to show they were upset˼. They told Hezekiah all the things that the Assyrian commander had said.

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