A Prophet Who Saved A Great City
Once the king of Assyria sent a high official with a great army to
Jerusalem. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they called for Hezekiah the
ruler of Judah, Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah, the scribe, and
Joah, the son of Asaph, and they came out to them. And the high official
said to them, "Why are you so confident? To whom do you look for help
that you have rebelled against me? You count on Egypt to help you.
Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is as weak as a broken reed. But if you say, 'We
trust in Jehovah our God,' is not he the one whose high places and
altars Hezekiah has destroyed? Now therefore make a bargain with my
master, the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if
you are able on your part to set riders upon them. How then can you
conquer one of the least of my master's servants? Have I now come up
against this place to destroy it without Jehovah's approval? Jehovah it
was who said to me, 'Go up against this land and destroy it.'"
Then Eliakim and Shebnah and Joah said to the high official, "Speak, I
pray you, to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand
it; but do not speak with us in the Jewish language in the hearing of
the people who are on the wall." But the high official said to them,
"Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words?
Is it not rather to the men who sit on the wall, who will suffer most
from the siege?"
Then the high official stood and cried with a loud voice, in the Jewish
language, saying, "Hear the message of the great king, the king of
Assyria. 'Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you; for he will
not be able to save you from my hand. Neither let Hezekiah make you
trust in Jehovah by saying, Jehovah will surely save us, and this city
shall not be given into the power of the king of Assyria.'"
"Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria, 'Make
your peace with me and come over to me; then each one of you shall eat
from his own vine and his own fig-tree and drink the waters of his own
cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a
land full of grain and new wine, a land full of bread and vineyards, a
land full of olive-trees and honey, that you may live and not die. But
do not listen to Hezekiah, when he deceives you by saying, Jehovah will
save us. Has any of the gods of the nations ever saved his land from the
power of the king of Assyria? Have the gods of the land of Samaria saved
Samaria from my power? Who are they among all the gods of the countries,
that have saved their country from my power, that Jehovah should save
Jerusalem from my power?'"
Then the people were silent and made no answer; for the ruler's command
was, "Do not answer him." But Eliakim, the steward of the palace, and
Shebnah, the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, came to Hezekiah with
torn clothes and told him the words of the high official. And as soon as
Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with
sackcloth and went into the temple of Jehovah. And he sent Eliakim, who
was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah, the scribe and the oldest of
the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah, the prophet. And they
said to him, Hezekiah says, "This is a day of trouble, of discipline and
of shame. It may be Jehovah your God will hear all the words of the high
official, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to defy the
living God, and will punish him for them; therefore lift up your prayer
for the people."
When the servants of Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, "Take
back this answer to your master: Jehovah says, 'Do not be afraid of the
words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of
Assyria have insulted me. I will put a spirit in him, so that he will
hear bad news and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall
by the sword in his own land.'"
So the high official returned and found the king of Assyria making war
against Libnah, for he had heard that he had gone from Lachish. But the
king of Assyria had heard that Tirkakah, king of Ethiopia, had come out
to fight against him. Now that very night the angel of Jehovah went out
and struck down in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five
thousand. And when men arose early the next morning, these were all
Then Sennacherib, king of Assyria, went away and returned to Nineveh.
While he was worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god, his sons
struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of
Ararat. And Esarhaddon, his son, became king in his place.
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