In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's1 reign, Sennacherib2 king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.32
Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army from Lachish4 to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. When the commander stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field,53
Eliakim6 son of Hilkiah the palace administrator,7 Shebna8 the secretary,9 and Joah10 son of Asaph the recorder11 went out to him.
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 confidence of yours?
You say you have strategy and military strength--but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel12 against me?
Look now, you are depending13 on Egypt,1415 that splintered reed16 of a staff, 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 depending17 on the LORD our God"--isn't he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed,18 saying to Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship before this altar"?198
" 'Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses20--if you can put riders on them!
How then can you repulse one officer of the least of my master's officials, even though you are depending on Egypt21 for chariots22 and horsemen?2310
Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told24 me to march against this country and destroy it.' "
Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah25 said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic,26 since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."