1After King Hoshea had been ruling Israel for almost three years, Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, began to rule Judah.
2He was 25 years old when he became the king of Judah and he ruled from Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of a man whose name was Zechariah.
3Hezekiah did things that Yahweh considered to be right, like his ancestor King David had done.
4He destroyed the places where people worshiped Yahweh on the tops of hills, and he broke into pieces the stone pillars for worshiping the goddess Asherah. He also broke into pieces the bronze replica/statue of a snake that Moses had made. He did that because the people had named it Nehushtan, and they were burning incense in front of it to honor it.
5Hezekiah trusted in Yahweh, the God whom the Israelis worshiped. There was no king who ruled Judah before him or after him who was as devoted to Yahweh as he was.
6He remained loyal to Yahweh and never disobeyed him. He carefully obeyed all the commandments that Yahweh had given to Moses.
7Yahweh always ◄helped/was with► him. He was successful in everything that he did. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to ◄pay taxes to him/do what the king of Assyria wanted him to do►.
8His army defeated the soldiers of Philistia as far south as Gaza city and the nearby villages. They conquered the entire area, from the smallest watchtower to the largest cities surrounded by walls.
9After King Hezekiah had been ruling Judah for almost four years, and when King Hoshea had been ruling Israel for almost seven years, the army of King Shalmaneser of Assyria invaded Israel and surrounded Samaria city.
10In the third year they captured the city. That was when Hezekiah has been ruling Judah for almost six years, and when Hoshea had been ruling Israel for almost nine years.
11The king of Assyria commanded that the people of Israel be taken to Assyria. Some of them were taken to Halah town, some were taken to a place near the Habor River in the Gozan region, and some were taken to cities where the Mede people-group live.
12That happened because the Israelis did not obey Yahweh their God. They disobeyed the agreement that Yahweh had made with their ancestors, and all the laws that Moses, the man who served Yahweh very well, had told them to obey. They would not obey those laws; they would not even listen to them.
13After King Hezekiah had been ruling Judah for almost fourteen years, the army of King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the cities in Judah that had walls around them. They did not capture Jerusalem, but they captured all the other cities.
14King Hezekiah sent a message to Sennacherib, while Sennacherib was in Lachish, saying “What I have done was wrong. Please tell your soldiers to stop attacking us. If you do that, I will pay you whatever you tell me to.” So the king of Assyria said that Hezekiah must pay to him ◄ten tons/9,000 kg.► of silver and ◄one ton/900 kg.► of gold.
15So Hezekiah gave to him all the silver that was in the temple and that was stored in the king's palace.
16Hezekiah's men also stripped the gold from the doors of the temple and the gold that he himself had put on the doorposts, and he sent all that gold to the king of Assyria.
17But the king of Assyria sent a large army with some of his important officials from Lachish city to persuade King Hezekiah to surrender. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they stood alongside the aqueduct/channel in which water flows from the upper pool into Jerusalem, near the road to the field where the women wash clothes.
18They sent a message requesting King Hezekiah to come to them, but the king sent three of his officials to talk to them. He sent Hilkiah's son Eliakim, who supervised the palace; Shebna, the official secretary; and Asaph's son Joah, who communicated the king's messages to the people.
19One of Sennacherib's important officials told them to take this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the king of Assyria, the great king, says: ‘What are you trusting in to rescue you RHQ?
20You say that you have weapons to fight us, and some country promises to help you, and that will enable you to defeat us, but that is only talk RHQ. Who do you think will help you to rebel against my soldiers from Assyria?
21Listen to me! You are relying on the army of Egypt. But that is like MET using a broken reed for a walking stick on which you could lean. But it would pierce the hand of anyone who would lean on it! That is what the king of Egypt would be like for anyone who relied on him for help.
22But perhaps you will say to me, “No, we are ◄relying on/trusting in► Yahweh our God to help us.” I would reply, “Is he not the one whom you insulted by tearing down his shrines and altars and forcing everyone in Jerusalem and other places in Judah to worship only in front of the altar in Jerusalem?” '
23So I suggest that you make a deal between you and my master/boss, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses, but I do not think that you are able to find 2,000 of your men who can ride on them!
24You are expecting the king of Egypt to send chariots and men riding horses to assist you. But they certainly would not RHQ be able to resist/defeat even the most insignificant/unimportant official in the army of Assyria!
25Furthermore, ◄do you think that we have come to destroy Jerusalem without Yahweh's help?/do not think that we have come to Jerusalem without Yahweh's help.► RHQ It is Yahweh himself who told us to come here and destroy this land!”
26Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the official from Assyria, “Sir, please speak to us in your Aramaic language, because we understand it. Do not speak to us in our Hebrew language, because the people who are standing on the wall will understand it and be frightened.”
27But the official replied, “Do you think RHQ that my master sent me to say these things only to you and not to the people who are standing on the wall? If you reject this message, the people in this city will soon need to eat their own dung and drink their own urine, just like you will, because there will be nothing more for you to eat or drink.”
28Then the official stood up and shouted in the Hebrew language to the people sitting on the wall. He said, “Listen to this message from the great king, the king of Assyria. He says,
29‘Do not allow Hezekiah to deceive you. He will not be able to rescue you from my power MTY.
30Do not allow him to persuade you to rely on Yahweh, saying that Yahweh will rescue you, and that the army of Assyria will never capture this city!’
31Do not pay attention to what Hezekiah says! This is what the king of Assyria says: ‘Come out of the city and surrender to me. If you do that, I will arrange for each of you to drink the juice from your own grapevines, and to eat figs from your own trees, and to drink water from your own wells.
32You will be able to do that until we come and take you to a land that is like your land—a land where there is grain to make bread and vineyards to produce grapes for making wine. It will be a land that has plenty of olive trees and honey. If you do what the king of Assyria commands, you will not die. You will continue to live. Do not allow Hezekiah to persuade you to trust in Yahweh saying that he will rescue you!
33The gods that people of other nations worship have never rescued them from the power MTY of the king of Assyria RHQ!
34Why were the gods of Hamath and Arpad cities unable to rescue their people from the king of Assyria RHQ? What happened to the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah, towns that we completely destroyed and their gods disappeared RHQ? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
35No, none of the gods of the countries that my army attacked rescued their people RHQ from me! So why do you think that Yahweh will rescue you people of Jerusalem from my power MTY?’”
36But the people who were listening stayed silent. No one said anything, because King Hezekiah had told them, “ When the official from Assyria talks to you, do not answer him.”
37Then Eliakim the palace administrator and Shebna the court secretary and Joah the royal historian went back to Hezekiah with their clothes torn because they were extremely distressed, and they told him what the official from Assyria had said.