The Second Book of the Kings

Chapter 18

Hezekiah's good reign, 1-3. He destroys idolatry and prospers, 4-8. The inhabitants of Samaria are carried captive for their sins, 9-12. Sennacherib, invading Judah, is pacified by a tribute, 13-16. Rab-shakeh, by blasphemous persuasions, solicits the people to revolt, 17-37.

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. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. 3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. 4 He removed the high places, broke the images, cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the children of Israel burnt incense to it. And he called it Nehushtan. 5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel so that after him there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any who were before him. 6 For he cleaved to the LORD and did not depart from following him, but kept his commandments which the LORD commanded Moses.

7 And the LORD was with him, and he prospered wherever he went forth. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 He smote the Philistines to Gaza and its borders, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city.

9 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. 10 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. 11 And the king of Assyria carried away Israel to Assyria and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan and in the cities of the Medes, 12 Because they did not obey 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.

13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14 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 I will bear." And the king of Assyria appointed to Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 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. 16 At that time 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.

17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan, Rab-saris, and Rab-shakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great army 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. 18 And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.

19 And Rab-shakeh said to them, "Speak now to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: "What confidence is this in which you trust? 20 You say (but they are but vain words), 'I have counsel and strength for the war.' Now in whom do you trust that you rebel against me? 21 Now behold, you trust upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. Thus is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. 22 But if you say to me, 'We trust in the LORD our God,' is it not 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'? 23 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. 24 How then will you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants and put your trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25 Have 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.'"'"

26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to Rab-shakeh, "Speak, I pray you, to your servants in the Syrian language, for we understand it. And do not talk with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people who are on the wall." 27 But Rab-shakeh said to 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, who will have to feed on their vilest excretions with you?"

28 Then Rab-shakeh 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. 29 Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand. 30 Do not 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." 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: "Make an agreement with me by a present and come out to me, and then each of you eat of his own vine and each one of his fig-tree, and each of you drink the waters of his cistern, 32 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, so that you may live and not die." And do not listen to Hezekiah when he persuades you, saying, "The LORD will deliver us." 33 Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their country out of my hand that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'"

36 But the people held their peace and did not answer him a word, for the king's commandment was, saying, "Do not answer him." 37 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes rent and told him the words of Rab-shakeh.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Kings, Chapter 18[➚]