New Living Translation

Isaiah 36

Assyria Invades Judah

1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign,[a] King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them. Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff[b] from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.[c]

These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.

Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem

Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah:

“This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? Do you think[d] that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!

“But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?

“I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers? 10 What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew,[e] for the people on the wall will hear.”

12 But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”

13 Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria! 14 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you. 15 Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’

16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. 17 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.

18 “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? 19 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? 20 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?”

21 But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”

22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.

Notas al pie

  1. 36:1 The fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign was 701 B.c.
  2. 36:2a Or the rabshakeh; also in 36:4, 11, 12, 22.
  3. 36:2b Or bleached.
  4. 36:5 As in Dead Sea Scrolls (see also 2 Kgs 18:20); Masoretic Text reads Do I think.
  5. 36:11 Hebrew in the dialect of Judah; also in 36:13.

New International Reader's Version

Isaiah 36

Sennacherib Warns Jerusalem

1Sennacherib attacked and captured all the cities of Judah that had high walls around them. It was in the 14th year of the rule of Hezekiah. Sennacherib was king of Assyria. He sent his field commander from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He sent him along with a large army. The commander stopped at the channel that brings water from the Upper Pool. It was on the road to the Washerman’s Field. Eliakim, Shebna and Joah went out to him. Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, was in charge of the palace. Shebna was the secretary. Joah, the son of Asaph, kept the records.

The field commander said to them, “Give Hezekiah this message. Tell him,

“ ‘Sennacherib is the great king of Assyria. He says, “Why are you putting your faith in what your king says? You say you have a military plan. You say you have a strong army. But your words don’t mean anything. Who are you depending on? Why don’t you want to stay under my control? Look, I know you are depending on Egypt. Why are you doing that? Egypt is nothing but a broken papyrus stem. Try leaning on it. It will only cut your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is just like that to everyone who depends on him. But suppose you say to me, ‘We are depending on the Lord our God.’ Didn’t Hezekiah remove your god’s high places and altars? Didn’t Hezekiah say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at the altar in Jerusalem’?

“ ‘ “Come on. Make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I’ll give you 2,000 horses. But only if you can put riders on them! You are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen. You can’t drive away even the least important officer among my master’s officials. 10 Besides, do you think I’ve come without being sent by the Lord? Have I come to attack and destroy this land without receiving a message from him? The Lord himself told me to march out against your country. He told me to destroy it.” ’ ”

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah spoke to the field commander. They said, “Please speak to us in the Aramaic language. We understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew. If you do, the people on the wall will be able to understand you.”

12 But the commander replied, “My master sent me to say these things. Are these words only for your master and you to hear? Aren’t they also for the people sitting on the wall? They are going to suffer just like you. They’ll have to eat their own waste. They’ll have to drink their own urine.”

13 Then the commander stood up and spoke in the Hebrew language. He called out, “Pay attention to what the great king of Assyria is telling you. 14 He says, ‘Don’t let Hezekiah trick you. He can’t save you! 15 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord. Don’t believe him when he says, “You can be sure that the Lord will save us. This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” ’

16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah. The king of Assyria says, ‘Make a peace treaty with me. Come over to my side. Then each one of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree. Each one of you will drink water from your own well. 17 You will do that until I come back. Then I’ll take you to a land just like yours. It’s a land that has a lot of grain and fresh wine. It has plenty of bread and vineyards.

18 “ ‘Don’t let Hezekiah fool you. He’s telling you a lie when he says, “The Lord will save us.” Have the gods of any nations ever saved their lands from the power of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they saved Samaria from my power? 20 Which one of all the gods of those countries has been able to save their lands from me? So how can the Lord save Jerusalem from my power?’ ”

21 But the people remained silent. They didn’t say anything. That’s because King Hezekiah had commanded, “Don’t answer him.”

22 Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, went to Hezekiah. Eliakim was in charge of the palace. Shebna the secretary went with him. So did Joah, the son of Asaph. Joah kept the records. All of them went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn. They told him what the field commander had said.