Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah became king during the third year Hoshea son of Elah was king of Israel.
Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.
Hezekiah did what the Lord said was right, just as his ancestor David had done.
He removed the places where gods were worshiped. He smashed the stone pillars and cut down the Asherah idols. Also the Israelites had been burning incense to Nehushtan, the bronze snake Moses had made. But Hezekiah broke it into pieces.
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
Hezekiah was loyal to the Lord and did not stop following him; he obeyed the commands the Lord had given Moses.
And the Lord was with Hezekiah, so he had success in everything he did. He turned against the king of Assyria and stopped serving him.
Hezekiah defeated the Philistines all the way to Gaza and its borders, including the watchtowers and the strong, walled cities.
Shalmaneser king of Assyria surrounded Samaria and attacked it in the fourth year Hezekiah was king. This was the seventh year Hoshea son of Elah was king of Israel.
After three years the Assyrians captured Samaria. This was in the sixth year Hezekiah was king, which was Hoshea's ninth year as king of Israel.
The king of Assyria took the Israelites away to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River, and in the cities of the Medes.
This happened because they did not obey the Lord their God. They broke his agreement and did not obey all that Moses, the Lord's servant, had commanded. They would not listen to the commands or do them.
During Hezekiah's fourteenth year as king, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the strong, walled cities of Judah and captured them.
Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent a message to the king of Assyria at Lachish. He said, "I have done wrong. Leave me alone, and I will pay anything you ask." So the king of Assyria made Hezekiah pay about twenty-two thousand pounds of silver and two thousand pounds of gold.
Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was in the Temple of the Lord and in the palace treasuries.
Hezekiah stripped all the gold that covered the doors and doorposts of the Temple of the Lord. Hezekiah had put gold on these doors himself, but he gave it all to the king of Assyria.
The king of Assyria sent out his supreme commander, his chief officer, and his field commander. They went with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. When they came near the waterway from the upper pool on the road where people do their laundry, they stopped.
They called for the king, so the king sent Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah out to meet them. Eliakim son of Hilkiah was the palace manager, Shebna was the royal secretary, and Joah son of Asaph was the recorder.
The field commander said to them, "Tell Hezekiah this: "'The great king, the king of Assyria, says: What can you trust in now?
You say you have battle plans and power for war, but your words mean nothing. Whom are you trusting for help so that you turn against me?
Look, you are depending on Egypt to help you, but Egypt is like a splintered walking stick. If you lean on it for help, it will stab your hand and hurt you. The king of Egypt will hurt all those who depend on him.
You might say, "We are depending on the Lord our God," but Hezekiah destroyed the Lord's altars and the places of worship. Hezekiah told Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship only at this one altar in Jerusalem."
"'Now make an agreement with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find enough men to ride them.
You cannot defeat one of my master's least important officers, so why do you depend on Egypt to give you chariots and horsemen?
I have not come to attack and destroy this place without an order from the Lord. The Lord himself told me to come to this country and destroy it.'"
Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to us in the Aramaic language. We understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew, because the people on the city wall can hear you."
"No," the commander said, "my master did not send me to tell these things only to you and your king. He sent me to speak also to those people sitting on the wall who will have to eat their own dung and drink their own urine like you."
Then the commander stood and shouted loudly in the Hebrew language, "Listen to what the great king, the king of Assyria, says!
The king says you should not let Hezekiah fool you, because he can't save you from my power.
Don't let Hezekiah talk you into trusting the Lord by saying, 'The Lord will surely save us. This city won't be handed over to the king of Assyria.'
"Don't listen to Hezekiah. The king of Assyria says, 'Make peace with me, and come out of the city to me. Then everyone will be free to eat the fruit from his own grapevine and fig tree and to drink water from his own well.
After that I will come and take you to a land like your own -- a land with grain and new wine, bread and vineyards, olives, and honey. Choose to live and not to die!' "Don't listen to Hezekiah. He is fooling you when he says, 'The Lord will save us.'
Has a god of any other nation saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria?
Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? They did not save Samaria from my power.
Not one of all the gods of these countries has saved his people from me. Neither can the Lord save Jerusalem from my power."
The people were silent. They didn't answer the commander at all, because King Hezekiah had ordered, "Don't answer him."
Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah tore their clothes to show how upset they were. (Eliakim son of Hilkiah was the palace manager, Shebna was the royal secretary, and Joah son of Asaph was the recorder.) The three men went to Hezekiah and told him what the field commander had said.
When King Hezekiah heard the message, he tore his clothes and put on rough cloth to show how sad he was. Then he went into the Temple of the Lord.
Hezekiah sent Eliakim, the palace manager, and Shebna, the royal secretary, and the older priests to Isaiah. They were all wearing rough cloth when they came to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.
They told Isaiah, "This is what Hezekiah says: Today is a day of sorrow and punishment and disgrace, as when a child should be born, but the mother is not strong enough to give birth to it.
The king of Assyria sent his field commander to make fun of the living God. Maybe the Lord your God will hear what the commander said and will punish him for it. So pray for the few of us who are left alive."
When Hezekiah's officers came to Isaiah,
he said to them, "Tell your master this: The Lord says, 'Don't be afraid of what you have heard. Don't be frightened by the words the servants of the king of Assyria have spoken against me.
Listen! I am going to put a spirit in the king of Assyria. He will hear a report that will make him return to his own country, and I will cause him to die by the sword there.'"
The field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. When he went back, he found the king fighting against the city of Libnah.
The king received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushite king of Egypt, was coming to attack him. When the king of Assyria heard this, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
"Tell Hezekiah king of Judah: Don't be fooled by the god you trust. Don't believe him when he says Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.
You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done. They have completely defeated every country, so do not think you will be saved.
Did the gods of those people save them? My ancestors destroyed them, defeating the cities of Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and the people of Eden living in Tel Assar.
Where are the kings of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?"
When Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Temple of the Lord. He spread the letter out before the Lord
and prayed to the Lord: "Lord, God of Israel, whose throne is between the gold creatures with wings, only you are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth.
Hear, Lord, and listen. Open your eyes, Lord, and see. Listen to the words Sennacherib has said to insult the living God.
It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed these countries and their lands.
They have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire, but they were only wood and rock statues that people made. So the kings have destroyed them.
Now, Lord our God, save us from the king's power so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, Lord, are the only God."
Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah that said, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.
This is what the Lord has said against Sennacherib: 'The people of Jerusalem hate you and make fun of you. laugh at you as you run away.
You have insulted me and spoken against me; you have raised your voice against me. You have a proud look on your face, which is against me, the Holy One of Israel.
You have sent your messengers to insult the Lord. You have said, "With my many chariots I have gone to the tops of the mountains, to the highest mountains of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its best pine trees. I have gone to its farthest places and to its best forests.
I have dug wells in foreign countries and drunk water there. By the soles of my feet, I have dried up all the rivers of Egypt."
"'King of Assyria, surely you have heard. Long ago I, the Lord, planned these things. Long ago I designed them, and now I have made them happen. I allowed you to turn those strong, walled cities into piles of rocks.
The people in those cities were weak; they were frightened and put to shame. They were like grass in the field, like tender, young grass, like grass on the housetop that is burned by the wind before it can grow.
"'I know when you rest, when you come and go, and how you rage against me.
Because you rage against me, and because I have heard your proud words, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. Then I will force you to leave my country the same way you came.'
"Then the Lord said, 'Hezekiah, I will give you this sign: This year you will eat the grain that grows wild, and the second year you will eat what grows wild from that. But in the third year, plant grain and harvest it. Plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
Some of the people in the family of Judah will escape. Like plants that take root, they will grow strong and have many children.
A few people will come out of Jerusalem alive; a few from Mount Zion will live. will make this happen.'
"So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: 'He will not enter this city or even shoot an arrow here. He will not fight against it with shields or build a ramp to attack the city walls.
He will return to his country the same way he came, and he will not enter this city,' says the Lord.
'I will defend and save this city for my sake and for the sake of David, my servant.'"
That night the angel of the Lord went out and killed one hundred eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up early the next morning, they saw all the dead bodies.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria left and went back to Nineveh and stayed there.
One day as Sennacherib was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword. Then they escaped to the land of Ararat. So Sennacherib's son Esarhaddon became king of Assyria.