1 It was Hezekiah's fourteenth year as king. King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
2 The king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He stood at the channel for the Upper Pool on the road to the Laundryman's Field.
3 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 out to the field commander.
4 He said to them: »Tell Hezekiah, This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: What makes you so confident?
5 »You give useless advice about getting ready for war. Whom do you trust for support in your rebellion against me?
6 »When you trust Egypt, you trust a broken stick for a staff. If you lean on it, it stabs your hand and goes through it. This is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like for everyone who trusts him.
7 »Suppose you say: We are trusting Jehovah our God. He is the god whose places of worship and altars Hezekiah got rid of. Hezekiah told Judah and Jerusalem: Worship at this altar.«
8 »Now, make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you two thousand horses if you can put riders on them.
9 »How can you defeat my master's lowest-ranking officers when you trust Egypt for chariots and horses?
10 »Have I come to destroy this country without Jehovah on my side? Jehovah said to me: Attack this country, and destroy it.«
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the field commander: »Speak to us in Aramaic, since we understand it. Do not speak to us in the Judean language as long as there are people on the wall listening.«
12 However the field commander asked: »Did my master send me to tell these things only to you and your master? Did he not send me to the men sitting on the wall who will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine with you?«
13 Then the field commander stood and shouted loudly in the Judean language: »Listen to the great king, the king of Assyria.
14 »This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot rescue you.
15 »Do not let Hezekiah get you to trust Jehovah by saying: Jehovah will certainly rescue us, and this city will not be put under the control of the king of Assyria.
16 »Do not 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.
17 »Then I will come and take you away to a country like your own. It is a country with grain and new wine, a country with bread and vineyards.
18 »Do not let Hezekiah mislead you by saying to you: Jehovah will rescue us. Did any of the gods of the nations rescue their countries from the king of Assyria?
19 »Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Did they rescue Samaria from my control?
20 »Did the gods of these countries indeed rescue them from my control? Could Jehovah then rescue Jerusalem from my control?«
21 They were silent and did not say anything to him because the king commanded them not to answer him.
22 Then Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace and was 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.