Isaiah 36

36:0Chapters 36 to 39 tell us about the time when God beat the Assyrians. The Lord kept Jerusalem safe from the soldiers from Assyria.

Assyria's army arrives in Judah

1 King Hezekiah had ruled Judah for nearly 14 years. Then, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked the cities in Judah that had high, strong walls. He became the ruler of all the cities except Jerusalem and they became his. 2 And the king of Assyria sent his army officer from Lachish. He came to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The officer had a large army with him. He stopped at the stream of water that went from the higher pool. It was on the road, near the place where people wash clothes.

3 And these people came out to meet him:

· Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. He was the most important servant in the king's beautiful house.

· Shebna, the leader of the government.

· Joah, the son of Asaph. He was the king's writer.

4-5 The Assyrian army officer said to those men, ‘Go and say this to Hezekiah: “This is what the Great King, the king of Assyria, says to you:

· You should not believe that you will be safe!

· Words cannot tell you what you should do!

· And they cannot give to you the power that you need for war!

· You want to fight against me.

· Perhaps you think that someone will help you.

· But I do not know anyone who will help you!

6 Think about it! I know that you are hoping for help from Egypt. But Egypt is like a stick that people use. It helps them to walk. But it will break! If you push on it, it will go into your hand, like a sharp piece of reed. That will happen to anybody who hopes for help from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. 7 But you might say to me, ‘We are trusting the Lord our God to help us.’ Then I will answer this. He is the God whose high-places and altars Hezekiah removed! Hezekiah said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You must worship God only at this one altar.’ ”

8 So you must agree today with my master, who is the king of Assyria. And I will give you 2,000 horses, if you can put 2,000 riders on them! 9 You cannot beat any officer who works for my master. You could not beat that officer even if every other officer was more important than him. But you are still hoping that Egypt will send chariots and riders on horses. 10 And there is something else. Surely I would not attack and destroy this country without help from the Lord! The Lord said to me, “March against this country and destroy it.” ’

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah spoke to Rabshakeh. They said, ‘Please, speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, because we do understand it. Do not speak to us in Hebrew. If you do that, the people on the wall of the city may hear you.’ 12 But Rabshakeh said, ‘My master did not send me to say these things only to you and to your master. He sent me to say them to these people too. I mean these people who are sitting on the wall of the city. Like you, they will have to eat the material that their own body wastes. And they will have to drink the water that their own body wastes.’

13 Then Rabshakeh stood up. He shouted in a loud voice in Hebrew. ‘Hear the words of the king, who is the Great King of Assyria. 14 This is what the king of Assyria says to you. “Do not let Hezekiah tell you what is not true. Hezekiah cannot save you. 15 And do not let Hezekiah cause you to trust the Lord. He tells you that the Lord really will make you free from Assyria. He says that the Lord will not give this city to the king of Assyria. 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah! And do not obey him!” This is what the king of Assyria says to you. “Do not have a war with me. Come out of your city to me. Then you will all eat the grapes from your own vines and the figs from your own fig trees. And you will all drink the water from your own wells. 17 Do that until I come to you. Then I will take you away to a country like your own country. It is a country where grain and new wine grow. It is a country where there is a lot of bread. And it is a country where vineyards grow. 18 Do not listen to Hezekiah and do not obey him. He will be like a man who leads you the wrong way. He says that the Lord will save you. No other country's god has saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria. 19 The gods (of the cities called) Hamath and Arpad could not help them. The gods (of the city called) Sepharvaim could not help it. None of those gods saved Samaria. 20 None of those gods has saved his own country from my power. Can the Lord save Jerusalem from my power?” ’

21 But the people were quiet and they did not answer him one word. They did that because King (Hezekiah) had said, ‘Do not answer him.’

22 Then these people came to Hezekiah:

· Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. He was the most important servant in the king's beautiful house.

· Shebna, the leader of the government.

· Joah, the son of Asaph. He was the king's writer.

They tore their clothes. And they told the king all the words that Rabshakeh had said.