2 Kings 18

Listen to 2 Kings 18

Hezekiah Reigns in Judah

1 1In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, 2Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign.
2 He was 3twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was 4Abi the daughter of Zechariah.
3 5And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.
4 6He removed the high places and broke the 7pillars and cut down 8the Asherah. And he broke in pieces 9the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).[a]
5 10He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, 11so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.
6 12For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses.
7 13And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, 14he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.
8 15He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, 16from watchtower to fortified city.
9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, 17Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it,
10 and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.
11 The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria and put them in 18Halah, and on the 19Habor, 20the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
12 because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened nor obeyed.

Sennacherib Attacks Judah

13 21In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.
14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, "I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you impose on me I will bear."22And the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents[b] of silver and thirty talents of gold.
15 And Hezekiah 23gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king's house.
16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD and from the doorposts that Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria.
17 And the king of Assyria sent the 24Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by 25the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer's Field.
18 And when they called for the king, there came out to them 26Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and 27Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.
19 And the Rabshakeh said to them, "Say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours?
20 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?
21 Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of 28a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.
22 But if you say to me, "We trust in the LORD our God," is it not he 29whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, "You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem"?
23 Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them.
24 How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
25 Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.'"
26 Then 30Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and 31Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in 32Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall."
27 But the Rabshakeh said to them, "Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?"
28 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria!
29 Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my[c] hand.
30 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'
31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: 'Make your peace with me[d] and come out to me. Then 33each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern,
32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, 34a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and 35honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The LORD will deliver us.
33 36Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
34 37Where are the gods of 38Hamath and 39Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and 40Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, 41that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'"
36 But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, "Do not answer him."
37 Then 42Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah 43with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

2 Kings 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

Good reign of Hezekiah in Judah, Idolatry. (1-8) Sennacherib invades Judah. (9-16) Rabshakeh's blasphemies. (17-37)

Verses 1-8 Hezekiah was a true son of David. Some others did that which was right, but not like David. Let us not suppose that when times and men are bad, they must needs grow worse and worse; that does not follow: after many bad kings, God raised one up like David himself. The brazen serpent had been carefully preserved, as a memorial of God's goodness to their fathers in the wilderness; but it was idle and wicked to burn incense to it. All helps to devotion, not warranted by the word of God, interrupt the exercise of faith; they always lead to superstition and other dangerous evils. Human nature perverts every thing of this kind. True faith needs not such aids; the word of God, daily thought upon and prayed over, is all the outward help we need.

Verses 9-16 The descent Sennacherib made upon Judah, was a great calamity to that kingdom, by which God would try the faith of Hezekiah, and chastise the people. The secret dislike, the hypocrisy, and lukewarmness of numbers, require correction; such trials purify the faith and hope of the upright, and bring them to simple dependence on God.

Verses 17-37 Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is, therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiah's nobles held their peace. There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and fervent prayer.

Cross References 43

  • 1. [2 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 17:1]
  • 2. 2 Chronicles 28:27; Matthew 1:9
  • 3. For ver. 2, 3, see 2 Chronicles 29:1, 2
  • 4. [2 Chronicles 29:1]
  • 5. 2 Kings 20:3; 2 Chronicles 31:20
  • 6. ver. 22; 2 Chronicles 31:1
  • 7. 2 Kings 17:10; See Exodus 23:24
  • 8. 2 Kings 17:16; See Deuteronomy 16:21
  • 9. Numbers 21:8, 9
  • 10. 2 Kings 19:10
  • 11. 2 Kings 23:25
  • 12. [Deuteronomy 10:20; Joshua 23:8]
  • 13. 2 Chronicles 15:2
  • 14. [2 Kings 16:7]
  • 15. [Isaiah 14:29]
  • 16. 2 Kings 17:9
  • 17. For ver. 9-12, see 2 Kings 17:3-7
  • 18. 2 Kings 17:6; 1 Chronicles 5:26
  • 19. 2 Kings 17:6; 1 Chronicles 5:26
  • 20. 2 Kings 17:6; 1 Chronicles 5:26
  • 21. For ver. 13-37, see 2 Chronicles 32:1-20; Isaiah 36:1-22
  • 22. [2 Kings 23:33]
  • 23. [2 Kings 12:18; 2 Kings 16:8]
  • 24. Isaiah 20:1
  • 25. Isaiah 7:3; [2 Kings 20:20]
  • 26. Isaiah 22:20
  • 27. Isaiah 22:15
  • 28. [Ezekiel 29:6, 7]; See Isa. 30:2, 3, 7
  • 29. [ver. 4; 2 Chronicles 31:1]
  • 30. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 31. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 32. [Ezra 4:7; Daniel 2:4]
  • 33. [1 Kings 4:25]
  • 34. Deuteronomy 8:7, 8
  • 35. See Exodus 3:8
  • 36. 2 Kings 19:12; [Isaiah 10:10, 11]
  • 37. [2 Kings 19:13]
  • 38. See 1 Kings 8:65
  • 39. Isaiah 10:9
  • 40. [2 Kings 17:24]
  • 41. [Daniel 3:15]
  • 42. ver. 18, 26; 2 Kings 19:2
  • 43. See Joshua 7:6

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Nehushtan sounds like the Hebrew for both bronze and serpent
  • [b]. A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
  • [c]. Hebrew his
  • [d]. Hebrew Make a blessing with me

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with the good reign of Hezekiah king of Judah, the reformation he made in the kingdom, and the prosperity that attended him when Israel was carried captive, 2Ki 18:1-12 and gives an account of the siege of Jerusalem by the king of Assyria, and of the distress Hezekiah was in, and the hard measures he was obliged to submit unto, 2Ki 18:13-18 and of the reviling and blasphemous speech of Rabshakeh, one of the generals of the king of Assyria, urging the Jews to a revolt from their king, 2Ki 18:19-37.

2 Kings 18 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.