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2 Kings 18; 2 Kings 19

1 Hezekiah began to rule as king over Judah. It was in the third year that Hoshea was king of Israel. He was the son of Elah. Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz. 2 Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother's name was Abijah. She was the daughter of Zechariah. 3 Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as King David had done. 4 Hezekiah removed the high places. He smashed the sacred stones. He cut down the poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made. Up to that time the people of Israel had been burning incense to it. They called it Nehushtan. 5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all of the kings of Judah. There was no king like him either before him or after him. 6 Hezekiah remained true to the Lord. He didn't stop following him. He obeyed the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 The LORD was with Hezekiah. He was successful in everything he did. He refused to remain under the control of the king of Assyria. He didn't serve him. 8 He won the war against the Philistines. He won battles at their lookout towers. He won battles at their cities that had high walls around them. He won battles against the Philistines all the way to Gaza and its territory. 9 Shalmaneser marched to Samaria and surrounded it. It was in the fourth year of King Hezekiah. That was the seventh year of Hoshea, the king of Israel. He was the son of Elah. Shalmaneser was king of Assyria. 10 At the end of three years the army of Assyria took Samaria. So it was captured in the sixth year of Hezekiah. That was the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Israel. 11 The king of Assyria took the people of Israel away from their own land. He sent them off to Assyria. He settled some of them in Halah. He settled others in Gozan on the Habor River. And he settled still others in the towns of the Medes. 12 Those things happened because the Israelites hadn't obeyed the LORD their God. They had broken the covenant he had made with them. They had refused to do everything Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded. They hadn't paid any attention to those commands. They hadn't obeyed them. 13 Sennacherib attacked and captured all of the cities of Judah that had high walls around them. It was in the 14th year of the rule of Hezekiah. Sennacherib was king of Assyria. 14 Hezekiah, the king of Judah, sent a message to the king of Assyria at Lachish. It said, "I have done what is wrong. Pull your troops back from me. Then I'll pay you anything you ask me to." The king of Assyria forced Hezekiah, the king of Judah, to give him 11 tons of silver. Hezekiah also had to give him a ton of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all of the silver that was in the LORD's temple. He also gave him all of the silver that was among the treasures in the royal palace. 16 Hezekiah, the king of Judah, had covered the doors and doorposts of the LORD's temple with gold. But now he had to strip it off. He had to give it to the king of Assyria. 17 The king of Assyria sent his highest commander from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He also sent his chief officer and his field commander along with a large army. All of them came up to Jerusalem. They stopped at the channel that brings water from the Upper Pool. It was on the road to the Washerman's Field. 18 They called for King Hezekiah. Eliakim, Shebna and Joah went out to them. Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, was in charge of the palace. Shebna was the secretary. Joah, the son of Asaph, kept the records. 19 The field commander said to them, "Give Hezekiah this message. Tell him, " 'Sennacherib is the great king of Assyria. He says, "Why are you putting your faith in what your king says? 20 You say you have a military plan. You say you have a strong army. But your words don't mean anything. Who are you depending on? Why don't you want to stay under my control? 21 " ' "You are depending on Egypt. Why are you doing that? Egypt is nothing but a broken papyrus stem. Try leaning on it. It will only cut your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is just like that to everyone who depends on him. 22 " ' "Suppose you say to me, 'We are depending on the LORD our God.' Didn't Hezekiah remove your god's high places and altars? Didn't Hezekiah say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, 'You must worship at the altar in Jerusalem'? 23 " ' "Come on. Make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I'll give you 2,000 horses. But only if you can put riders on them! 24 You are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen. You can't drive away even the least important officer among my master's officials. 25 " ' "Besides, do you think I've come without receiving a message from the Lord? Have I come to attack and destroy this place without a message from him? The LORD himself told me to march out against your country. He told me to destroy it." ' " 26 Then Shebna, Joah and Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, spoke to the field commander. They said, "Please speak to us in the Aramaic language. We understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew. If you do, the people who are on the wall will be able to understand you." 27 But the commander replied, "My master sent me to say these things. Are these words only for your master and you to hear? Aren't they also for the men who are sitting on the wall? They are going to suffer just like you. They'll have to eat their own waste. They'll have to drink their own urine." 28 Then the commander stood up and spoke in the Hebrew language. He called out, "Pay attention to what the great king of Assyria is telling you. 29 He says, 'Don't let Hezekiah trick you. He can't save you from my powerful hand. 30 Don't let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord. Don't believe him when he says, "You can be sure that the LORD will save us. This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria." ' 31 "Don't listen to Hezekiah. The king of Assyria says, 'Make a peace treaty with me. Come over to my side. Then every one of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree. Every one of you will drink water from your own well. 32 You will do that until I come back. Then I'll take you to a land that is just like yours. It's a land that has a lot of grain and fresh wine. It has plenty of bread and vineyards. It has olive trees and honey. So choose life! Don't choose death!' "Don't pay any attention to Hezekiah. He's telling you a lie when he says, 'The LORD will save us.' 33 "Has the god of any nation ever saved his land from the powerful hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they saved Samaria from my power? 35 "Which one of all of the gods of those countries has been able to save his land from me? So how can the LORD save Jerusalem from my power?" 36 But the people remained silent. They didn't say anything. That's because King Hezekiah had commanded, "Don't answer him." 37 Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, went to Hezekiah. Eliakim was in charge of the palace. The secretary Shebna went with him. So did Joah, the son of Asaph. Joah kept the records. All of them went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn. They told him what the field commander had said.
1 When King Hezekiah heard what the field commander had said, he tore his clothes. He put on black clothes. Then he went into the LORD's temple. 2 Hezekiah sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, to the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz. He also sent the leading priests and the secretary Shebna to him. All of them were wearing black clothes. 3 They told Isaiah, "Hezekiah says, 'Today we're in great trouble. The LORD is warning us. He's bringing shame on us. Sometimes babies come to the moment when they should be born. But their mothers aren't strong enough to allow them to be born. Today we are like those mothers. We aren't strong enough to save ourselves. 4 " 'Perhaps the LORD your God will hear everything the field commander has said. His master, the king of Assyria, has sent him to make fun of the living God. Maybe the LORD your God will punish him for what he has heard him say. So pray for the remaining people who are still alive here.' " 5 King Hezekiah's officials came to Isaiah. 6 Then Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'The LORD says, "Do not be afraid of what you have heard. The officers who are under the king of Assyria have spoken evil things against me. 7 Listen! I will send him news from his own country. It will upset him so much that he will return home. There I will have him cut down with a sword." ' " 8 The field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. So the commander pulled his troops back from Jerusalem. He went to join the king. He found out that the king was fighting against Libnah. 9 During that time Sennacherib received a report. He was told that Tirhakah was marching out to fight against him. Tirhakah was the king of Egypt. He was from the land of Cush. Sennacherib sent messengers again to Hezekiah with a letter. It said, 10 "Tell Hezekiah, the king of Judah, 'Don't let the god you depend on trick you. He says, "Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria." But don't believe him. 11 " 'I'm sure you have heard about what the kings of Assyria have done to all of the other countries. They have destroyed them completely. So do you think you will be saved? 12 The kings who ruled before me destroyed many nations. Did the gods of those nations save them? Did the gods of Gozan, Haran or Rezeph save them? What about the gods of the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath? Where is the king of Arpad? Where is the king of the city of Sepharvaim? Where are the kings of Hena or Ivvah?' " 14 When Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers, he read it. Then he went up to the LORD's temple. There he spread the letter out in front of the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. He said, "Lord, you are the God of Israel. You sit on your throne between the cherubim. You alone are God over all of the kingdoms on earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Listen, Lord. Hear us. Open your eyes, Lord. Look at the trouble we're in. Listen to what Sennacherib is saying. You are the living God. And he dares to make fun of you! 17 "Lord, it's true that the kings of Assyria have completely destroyed many nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown the statues of the gods of those nations into the fire. And they have destroyed them. That's because they weren't really gods at all. They were nothing but statues that were made out of wood and stone. They were made by the hands of men. 19 "LORD our God, save us from the powerful hand of Sennacherib. Then all of the kingdoms on earth will know that you alone are God." 20 Isaiah sent a message to Hezekiah. Isaiah was the son of Amoz. Isaiah said, "The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, 'I have heard your prayer about Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.' 21 "Here is the message the LORD has spoken against him. The LORD says, " 'You will not win the battle over Zion. Its people hate you and make fun of you. The people of Jerusalem lift up their heads proudly as you run away. 22 Who have you laughed at? Who have you spoken evil things against? Who have you raised your voice against? Who have you looked at so proudly? You have done it against me. I am the Holy One of Israel! 23 Through your messengers you have laughed at me again and again. And you have said, "I have many chariots. With them I have climbed to the tops of the mountains. I've climbed the highest mountains in Lebanon. I've cut down its tallest cedar trees. I've cut down the best of its pine trees. I've reached its farthest parts. I've reached its finest forests. 24 I've dug wells in strange lands. I've drunk the water from them. I've walked through all of Egypt's streams. I've dried up every one of them." 25 " 'But I, the Lord, say, "Haven't you heard what I have done? Long ago I arranged for you to do all of that. In days of old I planned it. Now I have made it happen. You have turned cities with high walls into piles of stone. 26 Their people do not have any power left. They are troubled and put to shame. They are like plants in the field. They are like new green plants. They are like grass that grows on a roof. It dries up before it is completely grown. 27 " ' "But I know where you live. I know when you come and go. I know how very angry you are with me. 28 You roar against me and brag. And I have heard your bragging. So I will put my hook in your nose. I will put my bit in your mouth. And I will make you go home by the same way you came." ' " 29 The LORD said, "Hezekiah, here is a miraculous sign for you. "This year you will eat what grows by itself. In the second year you will eat what grows from that. But in the third year you will plant your crops and gather them in. You will plant your grapevines and eat their fruit. 30 The people of Judah who are still alive will be like plants. Once more they will put down roots and produce fruit. 31 Out of Jerusalem will come those who remain. Out of Mount Zion will come those who are still left alive. "My great love will make sure that happens. I rule over all. 32 "Here is a message from me about the king of Assyria. It says, " 'He will not enter this city. He will not even shoot an arrow at it. He will not come near it with a shield. He will not build a ramp in order to climb over its walls. 33 By the same way he came he will go home. He will not enter this city,' announces the Lord. 34 " 'I will guard this city and save it. I will do it for myself. And I will do it for my servant David.' " 35 That night the angel of the LORD went into the camp of the Assyrians. He put to death 185,000 soldiers there. The people of Jerusalem got up the next morning. They looked out and saw all of the dead bodies. 36 So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, took the army tents down. Then he left. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. 37 One day Sennacherib was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with their swords. Then they escaped to the land of Ararat. Esarhaddon became the next king after his father Sennacherib.
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