Chapter 6

  1. Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. Twenty-five years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made, for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it (and he called it Nehushtan). He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he cleaved to the Lord and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments which the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him, and he prospered wherever he went forth, and he rebelled against the king of Assyria and served him not. He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city.
  2. And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it. And at the end of three years, they took it, even in the sixth year of Hezekiah — that is, the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel — Samaria was taken. And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah, and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed his covenant and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear them nor do them.
  3. Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria, to Lachish, saying, I have offended, return from me. That which you put on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king’s house. At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
  4. And the king of Assyria sent Tartan, and Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah, with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they had come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field. And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder. And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak now to Hezekiah, Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: What confidence is this wherein you trust? You say — but they are but vain words — I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? Now behold, you trust upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh, king of Egypt, unto all that trust on him. But if you say unto me, We trust in the Lord our God, is not that he whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and Jerusalem, You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem? Now therefore, I pray you, give pledges to my lord, the king of Assyria, and I will deliver you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders upon them. How then will you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Am I now come up without the Lord against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it.
  5. Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray you, to your servants in the Syrian language, for we understand it; and talk not with us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people that are on the wall. But Rabshakeh said unto them, Has my master sent me to your master, and to you, to speak these words? Has he not sent me to the men who sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung and drink their own piss with you? Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spoke, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: Let not Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Listen not to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat every man of his own vine, and everyone of his fig tree, and drink everyone the waters of his cistern until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and of honey, that you may live and not die. And listen not unto Hezekiah when he persuades you, saying, The Lord will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries that have delivered their country out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? But the people held their peace and answered him not a word, for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not. Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.
  6. And it came to pass when king Hezekiah heard it that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, Thus says Hezekiah: This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy, for the children have come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the Lord your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the Lord your God has heard. Wherefore, lift up your prayer for the remnant that are left.
  7. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall you say to your master: Thus says the Lord: Be not afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and shall return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
  8. So Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he has come out to fight against you — he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly; and shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them whom my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?
  9. And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers and read it. And Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, O Lord God of Israel, who dwell between the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Lord, bow down your ear and hear; open, Lord, your eyes and see, and hear the words of Sennacherib, who has sent him to reproach the living God. Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands — wood and stone. Therefore, they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I implore you, save us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you are the Lord God, even you only.
  10. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: That which you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him: The virgin, the daughter of Zion has despised you and laughed you to scorn, the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you. Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you exalted your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel. By your messengers, you have reproached the Lord and have said, With the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof. And I will enter into the lodgings of his borders and into the forest of his Carmel. I have dug and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places. Have you not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? Now have I brought it to pass, that you should be, to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore, their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded, they were as the grass of the field and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops and as grain blasted before it is grown up. But I know your abode, and your going out, and your coming in, and your rage against me. Because your rage against me and your tumult has come up into my ears, therefore I will put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year, that which springs of the same, and in the third year, sow, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall do this. Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return and shall not come into this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.
  11. And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred eighty-five thousand, and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went, and returned and dwelled at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
  12. In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him and said unto him, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed unto the Lord, saying, I implore you, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
  13. And it came to pass, before Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Return, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day, you shall go up unto the house of the Lord, and I will add unto your days fifteen years, and I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake. And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day? And Isaiah said, This sign shall you have of the Lord that the Lord will do the thing that he has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees. Nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord, and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
  14. At that time, Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. And Hezekiah listened unto them and showed them all the house of his precious things: the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures; there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.
  15. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? And from where did they come unto you? And Hezekiah said, They have come from a far country, even from Babylon. And he said, What have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in my house have they seen; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them. And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days come that all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And of your sons that shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
  16. Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which you have spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth are in my days? And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And Hezekiah slept with his fathers; and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.