In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria advanced against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
Then the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh, along with a massive army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. The Assyrian stood near the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Fuller's Field.
Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph, the record keeper, came out to him.
The Rabshakeh said to them, "Tell Hezekiah: The great king, the king of Assyria, says this: 'What are you basing your confidence on?a5
Ib say that your plans and military preparedness are mere words. Now who are you trusting in that you have rebelled against me?
Look, you are trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which will enter and pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. This is how Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who trust in him.
Suppose you say to me: We trust in the Lord our God. Isn't He the One whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem: You are to worship at this altar?
Now make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I'll give you 2,000 horses if you can put riders on them!
How then can you repel [the attackc of even] the weakest of my master's officers, and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen?
Have I attacked this land to destroy it without the Lord's [approval]? The Lord said to me, 'Attack this land and destroy it.' "
Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand [it]; don't speak to us in Hebrewd within earshot of the people who are on the wall."
But the Rabshakeh replied, "Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men who sit on the wall, [who are destined] with you to eat their excrement and drink their urine?"
Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out loudly in Hebrew:e Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!
The king says: "Don't let Hezekiah deceive you, for he cannot deliver you.
Don't let Hezekiah persuade you to trust the Lord, saying, 'The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.' "
Don't listen to Hezekiah. For the king of Assyria says: "Make peacef with me and surrender to me; then every one of you will eat from his own vine and his own fig tree and drink water from his own cistern
until I come and take you away to a land like your land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
[Beware] that Hezekiah does not mislead you by saying, 'The Lord will deliver us.' Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?
Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria from my hand?
Who of all the gods of these lands [ever] delivered his land from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem?"g21
But they were silent and did not answer him at all, for the king's command was, "Don't answer him."
Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph, the record keeper, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and they reported to him the words of the Rabshakeh.h