18:17 The king of Assyria sent his commanding general, the chief eunuch, and the chief adviser 1 from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 2 along with a large army. They went up and arrived at Jerusalem. They went 3 and stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 4 18:18 They summoned the king, so Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet them.
18:19 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 5 18:20 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. 6 In whom are you trusting that you would dare to rebel against me? 18:21 Now look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If a man leans for support on it, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him. 18:22 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar in Jerusalem.’ 18:23 Now make a deal 7 with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 18:24 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 8 18:25 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this place to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March 9 up against this land and destroy it.’”’” 10
18:26 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, 11 for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect 12 in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 18:27 But the chief adviser said to them, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 13 His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you.” 14
18:28 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, 15 “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 18:29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you from my hand! 16 18:30 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord when he says, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 18:31 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me. 17 Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 18:32 until I come and take you to a land just like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Then you will live and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” 18:33 Have any of the gods of the nations actually rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 18 18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? 19 Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria 20 from my power? 21 18:35 Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’” 22 18:36 The people were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”
18:37 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn 23 and reported to him what the chief adviser had said.
1 sn For a discussion of these titles see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 229-30.
3 tn Heb “and they went up and came.”
4 tn Heb “the field of the washer.”
5 tn Heb “What is this object of trust in which you are trusting?”
6 tn Heb “you say only a word of lips, counsel and might for battle.” Sennacherib’s message appears to be in broken Hebrew at this point. The phrase “word of lips” refers to mere or empty talk in Prov 14:23.
7 tn Heb “exchange pledges.”
8 tn Heb “How can you turn back the face of an official [from among] the least of my master’s servants and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen?” In vv. 23-24 the chief adviser develops further the argument begun in v. 21. His reasoning seems to be as follows: “In your weakened condition you obviously need military strength. Agree to the king’s terms and I will personally give you more horses than you are capable of outfitting. If I, a mere minor official, am capable of giving you such military might, just think what power the king has. There is no way the Egyptians can match our strength. It makes much better sense to deal with us.”
9 tn Heb “Go.”
10 sn In v. 25 the chief adviser develops further the argument begun in v. 22. He claims that Hezekiah has offended the Lord and that the Lord has commissioned Assyria as his instrument of discipline and judgment.
11 sn Aramaic was the diplomatic language of the empire.
12 tn Or “Hebrew.”
13 tn Heb “To your master and to you did my master send me to speak these words?” The rhetorical question expects a negative answer.
14 tn Heb “[Is it] not [also] to the men…?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Yes, it is.”
sn The chief adviser alludes to the horrible reality of siege warfare, when the starving people in the besieged city would resort to eating and drinking anything to stay alive.
15 tn The Hebrew text also has, “and he spoke and said.”
16 tc The MT has “his hand,” but this is due to graphic confusion of vav (ו) and yod (י). The translation reads “my hand,” along with many medieval Hebrew
17 tn Heb “make with me a blessing and come out to me.”
18 tn Heb “Have the gods of the nations really rescued, each his land, from the hand of the king of Assyria?” The infinitive absolute lends emphasis to the main verb. The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course not!”
21 tn Heb “that they rescued Samaria from my hand?” But this gives the impression that the gods of Sepharvaim were responsible for protecting Samaria, which is obviously not the case. The implied subject of the plural verb “rescued” must be the generic “gods of the nations/lands” (vv. 33, 35).
22 tn Heb “that the
23 sn As a sign of grief and mourning.