After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib1 king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself.
When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem,23
he consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him.
A large force of men assembled, and they blocked all the springs3 and the stream that flowed through the land. "Why should the kingsa of Assyria come and find plenty of water?" they said.
Then he worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall4 and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the supporting terracesb5 of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons6 and shields.
He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words:
"Be strong and courageous.7 Do not be afraid or discouraged8 because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.98
With him is only the arm of flesh,10 but with us11 is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles."12 And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.
Later, when Sennacherib king of Assyria and all his forces were laying siege to Lachish,13 he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah king of Judah and for all the people of Judah who were there:
"This is what Sennacherib king of Assyria says: On what are you basing your confidence,14 that you remain in Jerusalem under siege?
When Hezekiah says, 'The LORD our God will save us from the hand of the king of Assyria,' he is misleading15 you, to let you die of hunger and thirst.
Did not Hezekiah himself remove this god's high places and altars, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, 'You must worship before one altar16 and burn sacrifices on it'?
"Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand?1714
Who of all the gods of these nations that my fathers destroyed has been able to save his people from me? How then can your god deliver you from my hand?
Now do not let Hezekiah deceive18 you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver19 his people from my hand or the hand of my fathers.20 How much less will your god deliver you from my hand!"
Sennacherib's officers spoke further against the LORD God and against his servant Hezekiah.
The king also wrote letters21 insulting22 the LORD, the God of Israel, and saying this against him: "Just as the gods23 of the peoples of the other lands did not rescue their people from my hand, so the god of Hezekiah will not rescue his people from my hand."
Then they called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to terrify them and make them afraid in order to capture the city.
They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as they did about the gods of the other peoples of the world--the work of men's hands.2420
King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer25 to heaven about this.