The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander,2 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,3 on the road to the Washerman's Field.
They called for the king; and Eliakim4 son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna5 the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them.
The field commander said to them, "Tell Hezekiah: " 'This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence6 of yours?
You say you have strategy and military strength--but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?
Look now, you are depending on Egypt,7 that splintered reed of a staff,8 which pierces a man's hand and wounds him if he leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.
And 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"?
" '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!
How can you repulse one officer9 of the least of my master's officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemena ?
Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the LORD?10 The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.' "
Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic,11 since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."