2 Kings Chapter 18 to 19 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Hezekiah Begins His Rule Over Judah

18 Hezekiah son of Ahaz was king of Judah. Hezekiah began to rule during the third year that Hoshea son of Elah was king of Israel. 2Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to rule. Hezekiah ruled 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi,* the daughter of Zechariah. 3Hezekiah did the things the Lord said were right, just like David his ancestor.* 4Hezekiah destroyed the high places.* He broke the memorial stones* and cut down the Asherah poles.* At that time, the people of Israel burned incense* to the bronze snake made by Moses. This bronze snake was called “Nehushtan.”* Hezekiah broke this bronze snake into pieces {because the people were worshiping that snake}. 5Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel. There was no person like Hezekiah among all the kings of Judah before him or after him. 6Hezekiah was very faithful to the Lord. He did not stop following the Lord. He obeyed the commands that the Lord had given to Moses. 7The Lord was with Hezekiah. Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. Hezekiah broke away from the king of Assyria. Hezekiah stopped serving the king of Assyria. 8Hezekiah defeated the Philistines all the way to Gaza and the area around it. He defeated all the Philistine cities—from the smallest town to the largest city.

The Assyrians Capture Samaria

9Shalmaneser king of Assyria went to fight against Samaria. His army surrounded the city. {This happened during} the fourth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah. (This was also the seventh year that Hoshea son of Elah was king of Israel.) 10At the end of the third year, Shalmaneser captured Samaria. He took Samaria during the sixth year that Hezekiah was king of Judah. (This was also the ninth year that Hoshea was king of Israel.) 11The king of Assyria took the Israelites as prisoners to Assyria. He made them live in Halah, on the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 12This happened because the Israelites did not obey the Lord their God. They broke the Lord’s Agreement. They did not obey all the things that Moses the Lord’s servant commanded. The people of Israel would not listen to the Lord’s Agreement, or do the things it taught them to do.

Assyria Gets Ready to Take Judah

13During the 14th year that Hezekiah was king, Sennacherib king of Assyria went to fight against all the strong cities of Judah. Sennacherib defeated all those cities. 14Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent a message to the king of Assyria at Lachish. Hezekiah said, “I have done wrong. Leave me {alone}. Then I will pay anything you want. Then the king of Assyria told Hezekiah king of Judah to pay over 11 tons* of silver and over 1 ton* of gold. 15Hezekiah gave all the silver that was in the Lord’s temple* and in the king’s treasuries. 16At this time, Hezekiah cut off the gold that covered the doors of the Lord’s temple and the doorposts. King Hezekiah had put gold on these doors and doorposts. Hezekiah gave this gold to the king of Assyria.

King of Assyria Sends Men to Jerusalem

17The king of Assyria sent his three most important commanders with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. Those men left Lachish and went to Jerusalem. They stood near the aqueduct* by the Upper Pool. (The Upper Pool is on the road to the Washers’ Field.) 18These men called for the king. Eliakim son of Hilkiah (Eliakim was in charge of the king’s house), Shebna (the secretary), and Joah son of Asaph (the record keeper) came out to meet them. 19One of the commanders said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king, the king of Assyria says: What do you trust in? 20Your words are worth nothing.* You say, “I have enough advice and power to help me in war.” But who do you trust since you have broken away from my rule? 21You are leaning on a walking stick made of broken reed! This walking stick is Egypt. If a man leans on this walking stick, {it will break and} go through his hand and hurt him! The king of Egypt is like that to all people that trust in him. 22Maybe you will say, “We trust the Lord our God.” But I know that Hezekiah took away the high places* and altars* where people worshiped the Lord. And Hezekiah told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship only in front of the altar here in Jerusalem.” 23Now make this agreement with my master, the king of Assyria. I promise that I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find men to ride them. 24You can’t defeat one officer of the lowest of my master’s officers! You depend on Egypt to give you chariots* and horse soldiers! 25I have not come against Jerusalem to destroy it without the Lord! The Lord said to me, “Go up against this country and destroy it!” 26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the commander, “Please speak to us in Aramaic. We understand that language. Do not speak with us in the language of Judah because the people on the wall can hear us!*” 27But Rabshakeh said to them, “My lord did not send me to speak only to you and your king.* I also speak to the other people that sit on the wall! They will eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you!*” 28Then the commander shouted loudly in the Jewish language, “Hear this message from the great king, the king of Assyria! 29The king says, ‘Don’t let Hezekiah fool you! He can’t save you from my power!’ 30Don’t let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord! Hezekiah says, ‘The Lord will save us! The king of Assyria will not defeat this city!’ 31But don’t listen to Hezekiah! “The king of Assyria says this: ‘Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you can eat from his own grapes, his own fig tree, and drink water from his own well. 32You can do this until I come and take you away to a land like your own land. It is a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and fields full of grapes, a land of olives and honey. Then you can live, and not die. But don’t listen to Hezekiah! He is trying to change your mind. He is saying, ‘The Lord will save us.’ 33Did any of the gods of the other nations save his land from the king of Assyria? No! 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did they save Samaria from me? No! 35Did any of the gods in the other countries save their land from me? No! Can the Lord save Jerusalem from me? No!” 36But the people were silent. They did not say a word to the commander because King Hezekiah had given them a command. He said, “Don’t say anything to him.” 37Eliakim son of Hilkiah (Eliakim was in charge of the king’s house), Shebna (the secretary), and Joah son of Asaph (the record keeper) came to Hezekiah. Their clothes were torn {to show they were upset}. They told Hezekiah the things that the Assyrian commander had said.

Abi Or “Abijah.” ancestor(s) Literally, “father(s).” This means a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. high places Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. memorial stones Stones that were set up to help people remember something special. In ancient Israel, people often set up stones as special places to worship false gods. Asherah poles These poles were used to honor the female god Asherah that the Canaanite people worshiped. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweet-smelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. Nehushtan This Hebrew name is like the words meaning “bronze” and “snake.” 11 tons 10,200kg. Literally, “300 talents.” 1 ton 1,020kg. Literally, “30 talents.” temple A special building for worshiping God. God commanded the Jews to worship him at the temple in Jerusalem. aqueduct A ditch or pipe that carries water from one place to another. Your words … nothing Literally, “a word of the lips.” altar(s) A stone table used for burning sacrifices offered as gifts to God. chariot(s) A small wagon used in war. because the people … hear us They did not want the people of Jerusalem that sat on the city wall to understand the terrible things that the commander was saying. king Literally, “master.” eat … with you The Assyrian army planned to surround Jerusalem and not let people bring any food or water into the city. He thought the people would become hungry enough to eat their own waste.

Hezekiah Talks with Isaiah the Prophet

19 King Hezekiah heard those things, and he tore his clothes and put on the rough cloth {that showed he was sad and upset}. Then he went into the Lord’s temple.* 2Hezekiah sent Eliakim (Eliakim was in charge of the king’s house), Shebna (the secretary), and the elders of the priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They wore the rough cloth {that showed they were sad and upset}. 3They said to Isaiah, “Hezekiah says, ‘This is a day of trouble, a day to show we are wrong. It is like the time for babies to be born, but there is no strength to give birth to them. 4The commander’s master, the king of Assyria, has sent him to say bad things about the living God. Maybe the Lord your God will hear all those things. Maybe the Lord will punish the enemy! So pray for the people that are still left alive.’” 5King Hezekiah’s officers went to Isaiah. 6Isaiah said to them, “Give your master Hezekiah this message: ‘The Lord says: Don’t be afraid of the things that the officers of the king of Assyria have said to make fun of me. 7I am putting a spirit in him. He will hear a rumor. Then he will run back to his own country. And I will cause him to be killed by a sword in his own country.’”

The King of Assyria Warns Hezekiah Again

8The commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. So the commander found his king fighting against Libnah.* 9The king of Assyria heard a rumor about Tirhakah king of Ethiopia. The rumor said, “Tirhakah has come to fight against you!” So the king of Assyria sent messengers to Hezekiah again. The king of Assyria gave a message to these messengers. He said these things: 10To Hezekiah, king of Judah Don’t let the God that you trust fool you. He says, “The king of Assyria will not defeat Jerusalem!” 11You have heard the things the kings of Assyria have done to all the other countries. We destroyed them completely! Will you be saved? No! 12The gods of those nations did not save their people. My ancestors* destroyed them all. They destroyed Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden in Tel Assar! 13Where is the king of Hamath? The king of Arpad? The king of the city of Sepharvaim? The kings of Hena and Ivvah? {They are all finished!}

Hezekiah Prays to the Lord

14Hezekiah received the letters from the messengers and read them. Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple* and laid the letters out in front of the Lord. 15Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “Lord, the God of Israel who sits as King between the Cherub angels.* You are the God—you alone—of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth! 16Lord, please listen to me. Lord, open your eyes, and see {this letter}. Hear the words that Sennacherib sent to insult the living God! 17It is true, Lord. The kings of Assyria did destroy all those nations! 18They did throw the gods of the nations into the fire. But those were not real gods. They were only wood and stone—statues that men made. That is why the kings of Assyria could destroy them. 19So now, Lord our God, save us from the king of Assyria. Then all the kingdoms on earth will know that you, Lord, are the only God.” 20Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah. He said, “The Lord God of Israel says this, ‘You have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria. I have heard you.’ 21“This is the Lord’s message about Sennacherib: The virgin daughter of Zion (Jerusalem) doesn’t think you are important. She makes fun of you! The Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head at you behind your back. 22But who did you insult and make fun of? Who did you speak against? You were against the Holy One of Israel! You acted like you were better than him! 23You sent your messengers to insult the Lord. You said, “I came with my many chariots* to the high mountains. I came deep inside Lebanon. I cut down the tallest cedar trees and the best fir trees of Lebanon. I went up to the highest part of Lebanon, up to its lush forest. 24I dug wells, and drank water from new places. I dried up the rivers of Egypt and walked on that country.” 25{That is what you said.} But haven’t you heard {what God said}? “I (God) planned it long ago, from ancient times I planned it. And now, I have made it happen. I let you tear down the strong cities and change them into piles of rocks. 26The people in the cities had no power. They people were scared and confused. They were about to be cut down like grass and plants in the field. They were like grass growing on the housetops, dying before it grows tall. 27I know when you sit down. I know when you go to war, and when you come home. And I know when you get upset at me. 28Yes, you were upset at me. I heard your proud insults. So I will put my hook in your nose. And I will put my bit* in your mouth. Then I will turn you around and lead you back the way you came.”

The Lord’s Message for Hezekiah

29“This will be the sign to prove I will help you: This year you will eat {the grain} that grows by itself. Next year you will eat the grain that comes up from that seed. But in the third year you will gather the grain from the seeds that you planted. You will plant fields of grapes and eat the grapes from them. 30The people that have escaped and are left in the family of Judah will again begin to grow. 31Why? Because a few people will remain alive. They will go out from Jerusalem. People that have escaped will go out from Mount Zion. The Lord’s strong feelings* will do this. 32“So the Lord says this about the king of Assyria: He will not come into this city. He will not shoot an arrow in this city. He will not bring his shields to this city. He will not build up a hill of dirt to attack the walls of this city. 33He will go back the same way he came. He will not come into this city. The Lord says this! 34I will protect this city and save it. I will do this for myself and for my servant David.”

The Assyrian Army Is Destroyed

35That night, the angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 people in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up in the morning, they saw all the dead bodies. 36So Sennacherib king of Assyria left and went back to Nineveh where he stayed. 37One day Sennacherib was worshiping in the temple* of Nisroch, his god. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with a sword. Then Adrammelech and Sharezer escaped into the land of Ararat.* And Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon became the new king after him.

temple A special building for worshiping God. God commanded the Jews to worship him at the temple in Jerusalem. Libnah A town in Judah. ancestors Literally, “fathers.” This means a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. Cherub angels Special angels from God. Statues of these angels were on top of the Box of the Agreement. chariot(s) A small wagon used in war. bit A piece of metal people put in a horse’s mouth to control the horse. strong feelings Or, “zeal.” The Hebrew word means strong feelings like zeal, jealousy, and love. Ararat The ancient country of Urartu, an area in Eastern Turkey.

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