1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2 Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander, along with a very large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. When the field commander stopped at the aqueduct at the Upper Pool on the road to Laundryman's Field, 3 Hilkiah's son Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph's son Joah, the recorder, went out to him.
4 The field commander told them: 5 "Tell Hezekiah, king of Judah, "This is what the mighty king, the king of Assyria, has to say: What is this "guarantee" that makes you yourself rely on it? Do you really think that guarantees alone can withstand strategy and military strength? On whom are you now depending, that you're rebelling against me? 6 Take note: you're relying on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the palm of anyone who leans on it. This is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like to everybody who depends on him! 7 But if you all say to me, "We are depending on the LORD our God" - isn't he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, while he kept on telling Judah and Jerusalem, "You are to worship in front of this altar in Jerusalem'?
8 Come now, all of you, make a bet with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you can furnish riders for them! 9 How, then, can you repulse even one officer from the least of my master's officials, when you are depending for yourselves on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 10 One other thing: have I really marched against this country to destroy it apart from the LORD's direction? The LORD himself ordered me, "March against this country to destroy it.'"
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah replied to him, "Please speak with your servants with us in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew where the people sitting on the wall can hear."
12 But the field commander asked, "Was it only to all of you and to your master that my master sent me to speak these things? Wasn't it also to the men sitting on the wall who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?"
13 Then the commander stood up and shouted out loud in Hebrew: 14 "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king of Assyria says: "Don't let Hezekiah deceive you for he cannot save you! 15 Don't let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on the LORD when he says, "The LORD will really deliver us!" and "This city will never be handed over to the king of Assyria!"
16 Don't listen to Hezekiah, because this is what the king of Assyria says: "Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then everyone will eat from his own vine and from his own fig tree, and everyone will drink water from his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land to a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.' 18 Be careful not to let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, "The LORD will save us." Has any god of any nation ever delivered his country from the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sephar-vaim? Have they saved Samaria from me? 20 Who among all the gods of these countries has delivered their land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from me?'"
21 But the people remained silent and didn't respond to him with so much as a single word, because the king had commanded, "Don't answer him." 22 Then Hilkiah's son Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph's son Joah, the recorder, approached Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and let him know what the field commander had said.