King Hoshea, son of Elah, had been king in Israel for three years when King Hezekiah, son of Ahaz of Judah, began to rule as king.
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi, daughter of Zechariah.
He did what the LORD considered right, as his ancestor David had done.
He got rid of the illegal places of worship, crushed the sacred stones, and cut down the poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah. He even crushed the bronze snake that Moses had made because up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. They called it Nehushtan.
Hezekiah trusted the LORD God of Israel. No king among all the kings of Judah was like Hezekiah.
He was loyal to the LORD and never turned away from him. He obeyed the commands that the LORD had given through Moses,
so the LORD was with him. He succeeded in everything he tried: He rebelled against the king of Assyria and wouldn't serve him anymore.
He conquered the Philistines from the [smallest] watchtower to the [largest] fortified city all the way to Gaza and its territory.
In Hezekiah's fourth year as king (which was the seventh year in the reign of King Hoshea, son of Elah of Israel) King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked Samaria, blockaded it,
and captured it at the end of three years. Samaria was taken in Hezekiah's sixth year as king (which was Hoshea's ninth year as king of Israel).
The king of Assyria took the Israelites to Assyria as captives. He put them in Halah, along the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
This happened because they refused to obey the LORD their God and disregarded the conditions of the promise he made to them. They refused to obey everything that Moses, the LORD's servant, had commanded.
In Hezekiah's fourteenth year as king, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
Then King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: "I have done wrong. Go away, and leave me alone. I'll pay whatever penalty you give me." So the king of Assyria demanded that King Hezekiah of Judah pay 22,500 pounds of silver and 2,250 pounds of gold.
Hezekiah gave him all the silver that could be found in the LORD's temple and in the royal palace treasury.
At that time Hezekiah stripped [the gold] off the doors and doorposts of the LORD's temple. ([Earlier] Hezekiah had them covered [with gold].) He gave the gold to the king of Assyria.
Then the king of Assyria sent his commander-in-chief, his quartermaster, and his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came there and stood at the channel for the Upper Pool on the road to the Laundryman's Field.
When they called for King Hezekiah, Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace and was the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah the scribe, and Joah, who was the royal historian and the son of Asaph, went out to the field commander.
He said to them, "Tell Hezekiah, 'This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: What makes you so confident?
You give useless advice about getting ready for war. Whom, then, do you trust for support in your rebellion against me?
Now, look! When you trust Egypt, you're trusting a broken stick for a staff. If you lean on it, it stabs your hand and goes through it. This is what Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) is like for everyone who trusts him.
Suppose you tell me, "We're trusting the LORD our God." He's the god whose places of worship and altars Hezekiah got rid of. He told Judah and Jerusalem, "Worship at this altar in Jerusalem."'
"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 can you defeat my master's lowest-ranking officers when you trust Egypt for chariots and horses?
"Have I come to destroy this place without the LORD on my side? The LORD said to me, 'Attack this country, and destroy it.'"
Then Eliakim (son of Hilkiah), Shebnah, and Joah said to the field commander, "Speak to us in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in the Judean language as long as there are people on the wall listening."
But the field commander asked them, "Did my master send me to tell these things only to you and your master? Didn't he send me to the men sitting on the wall who will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine with you?"
Then the field commander stood and shouted loudly in the Judean language, "Listen to the great king, the king of Assyria.
This is what the king says: Don't let Hezekiah deceive you. He can't rescue you from me.
Don't let Hezekiah get you to trust the LORD by saying, 'The LORD will certainly rescue us, and this city will not be put under the control of the king of Assyria.'
Don't listen to Hezekiah, because this is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me! Come out and give yourselves up to me! Everyone will eat from his own grapevine and fig tree and drink from his own cistern.
Then I will come and take you away to a country like your own. It's a country with grain and new wine, a country with bread and vineyards, a country with olive trees, olive oil, and honey. Live! Don't die! Don't listen to Hezekiah when he tries to mislead you by saying to you, 'The LORD will rescue us.'
Did any of the gods of the nations rescue their countries from the king of Assyria?
Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did they rescue Samaria from my control?
Did the gods of those countries rescue them from my control? Could the LORD then rescue Jerusalem from my control?"
But the people were silent and didn't say anything to him because the king commanded them not to answer him.
Then Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace and was the son of Hilkiah, Shebna the scribe, and Joah, who was the royal historian and the son of Asaph, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn in grief. They told him the message from the field commander.