When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore1 his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the LORD.
He sent Eliakim2 the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests,3 all wearing sackcloth,4 to the prophet Isaiah5 son of Amoz.
They told him, "This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point6 of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.
It 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 ridicule7 the living God, and that he will rebuke8 him for the words the LORD your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant9 that still survives."
When King Hezekiah's officials came to Isaiah,
Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid10 of what you have heard--those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed11 me.
Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report,12 he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.13' "
When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish,14 he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah.159
Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushitea king [of Egypt], was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word:
"Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend16 on deceive17 you when he says, 'Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.'
Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered?
Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my forefathers deliver18 them: the gods of Gozan,19 Haran,20 Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar?
Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, or of Hena or Ivvah?"21